Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More JJB videos

Here are some more videos from the JJB Dinner.

Chris Donovan, House Majority Leader from the 84th District.

Jim Amann, Speaker of the House from Milford's 118th District.

Art House, candidate for Senate in the 8th District; introduced by Audrey Blondin and Myrna Watanabe.

John Hartwell, candidate for State Senate in the 26th District.

Peter Tercyak, State Rep. from the 26th District.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

JJB: Jim Himes

This is the first batch of quick videos from last night's JJB dinner: 4th CD candidate Jim Himes, State Senator Jonathan Harris, Senate candidate Martin Goldberg, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, and former Senate Majority Leader and past State Democratic Chairman George Jepsen.

More videos will be posted as soon as I edit them.

JJB: Jonathan Harris

JJB: Martin Goldberg

JJB: Dan Malloy

JJB: Mary Glassman

JJB: George Jepsen

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pics from the JJB

It's late, so I'm just gonna post the photos. The videos will be up a little later this week, probably by Thursday or Friday. It was a good event, and I had a lot of fun with Mike & Tessa, Branford Boy, Maura, CT Blogger, TParty, and others in attendance. More details later.

Branford Boy sweet talkin' Maura.

Me and my trusty camera. CT Blogger saved me by bringing an audio cable I needed. Thanks, buddy!

Sen. Chris Dodd through the eye of my video camera.

Lee Whitnum and Branford Boy share a table at the JJB. An eyebrow or two may have been raised.

Sen. Joe Biden makes a point during his lengthy yet interesting speech.

Many interviews will be posted as soon as I can. Thanks are due to State Central and Justin Kronholm for making it painless to get the press credentials for the event.

Amann interview tonight on "All Things Considered"


Erik Campano sent me an email today about his interview with Jim Amann, which airs later today on All Things Considered, probably at 4:50PM on WSHU. I don't have specifics on what frequency it's on, but you can go to and probably find a local NPR station or a link to listen live. Plus, it's going to be available later for on-demand listening.

Erik tells me this is a fascinating interview, and judging from the snippet he described, he's right!

UPDATE from Erik: 91.1 FM for our friends in southwestern Connecticut, 89.9 in southeastern CT.

Here's the deal: the interview that airs at 4:50PM is going to be short - 4 mins - but we'll put the long one on the web shortly thereafter for political junkies to dissect.

Scenes from last year's JJB

A blast from last (year).

Back then, who'd have thunk we'd be in a knock-down fight for the Dem nomination right now? What a year it's been!

And of course, this begs the question: how will the 2009 JJB Dinner find us?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On the JJB Menu

Yes, Monday evening will find me attending the annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner up in Hartford. The annual soirée is THE place for political luminaries to mingle, see, and be seen. Sen. Joe Biden will be the featured speaker, and I'm sure the evening will have it's share of interesting moments.

I'll have my video camera set up for interviews, and I hope to break last year's record of eight interviews.

I'm going to keep the interviews short and sweet this time around, maybe a minute or so each. That way, everyone will get a chance to make a quick statement to the voters or answer a pertinent question, and we'll maximize the exposure for as many people as possible.

So if you're going to be there and want to get some crucial "face time" on (among other blogs), be sure to look for me and my video camera set up at the pre-dinner party!

The Super Delegates speak

The New York Times has a very interesting web page that details the Democratic super delegates, especially who they're supporting; and in some cases, direct quotes from the supers.

This is the fascinating bit; reading what some delegates say about their vote. Here's a few examples, along with their current positions:

Michael Gronstal, Party official, Iowa - CLINTON
[Justifying his support for Mrs. Clinton in part because she got the most support in Pottawattamie County on caucus night] "Representing my constituents, I can make the case that's exactly what I'm doing."

Mary Gail Gwaltney, Party official, N.M. - CLINTON
"I want to have a woman president of the United States, one that I can be proud of. I think Hillary Clinton's going to win."

Steven Horsford, Party official, Nev. - OBAMA
"I think that the majority of the delegates — those that are representative of voters of states — should decide who the nominee is."

Nick Nemec, Party official, S.D. - OBAMA
"South Dakota is a pretty bright red state, and I think a lot of South Dakota Democrats were sick of being beat around the head and shoulders with the Clinton name."

Chris Whittington, Party official, La. - UNCOMMITTED
He has said Mr. Obama's decisive victory in Louisiana will partly influence his thinking, but the main consideration is who looks to be the eventual nominee. "I think we need to go with a winner."

David T. McDonald, Party official, Wash. - UNCOMMITTED
"Delegate-by-delegate fights are very emotionally intense. There is a great risk to all of us that the support base of the two candidates will not be able to work for the other. The single best way for a Republican to win is for us to have a fight that gets out of hand. Whoever we support, the overriding concern is to not have a Republican in the White House next year."

And probably the winner of all the comments is Sam Spencer, Party official, Me. - UNCOMMITTED
"Superdelegates are sort of outdated; it's not a very democratic way of doing things."

Connecticut's super delegation is strongly tilted towards Obama. According to the NY Times' list, currently out of CT's 12 supers, there is only one committed to Hillary Clinton:
Ellen Camhi, Party official, Conn.

There are eight Barack Obama delegates:
Anthony Avallone, Party official, Conn.
Rosa DeLauro, Representative, Conn.
Christopher J. Dodd, Senator, Conn.
Martin Dunleavy, Party official, Conn.
Stephen Fontana, Party official, Conn.
John B. Larson, Representative, Conn.
Christopher S. Murphy, Representative, Conn.
Donald E. Williams, Add on delegate, Conn.

Three are still uncommitted:
Joe Courtney, Representative, Conn.
Nancy DiNardo, Party official, Conn.
John W. Olsen, Party official, Conn.

And the only Connecticut super delegate quoted in the Times report is Don Williams:
"The momentum is with Sen. Obama, in state after state. Even the states Hillary Clinton won, we have seen huge leads evaporate and we've seen strong surges by Sen. Obama."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Protesting Bush's visit

CT Blogger put together a terrific video of the anti-Bush rally that was held yesterday up in Kent, near the home of wanted war criminal and unindicted Watergate co-conspirator Henry Kissenger, who hosted the President along with 5th District Republican challenger David Cappiello. Bush was joined by Gov. Rell and Chris Shays at his arrival at Bradley.

I would have liked to have been there, but work interrupted; yesterday I left my house around 7AM, then was in Manhattan at 10AM, then up to Boston by 10PM, stayed over, worked in Boston all day today, and finally back home at 6PM.

These 36-hour workdays are kind of exhausting!

Please contribute to the joint Murphy and Himes fund raising effort!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Suddenly, the 118th is exciting!

In the first 24 hours after Jim Amann's surprise announcement, there's a lot of interesting stuff happening here in little ol' Milford.

First, independent candidate Rocco Frank was the early front runner for the Speaker's seat, but only because he was the only person running when Jim made his announcement.

Within hours, Republican challengers for the seat began stirring in their burrows, cautiously poking their noses out to sniff the political winds. I'd imagine we'll see a couple exploratory committees forming very soon.

I was briefly encouraged by some of my well-intentioned but seriously misguided friends to throw my hat in the ring; but my hat is out being blocked, so I guess I'll have to sit this one out.

(Do people still get their hats blocked? It seems like an old timey kind of expression!)

Besides, there are plenty of other local Democrats with actual experience and true leadership abilities, which are qualities I sorely lack. Along with motivation, inspiration, and much of a work ethic.

Fortunately there are quite a few potential candidates here in the 118th who meet those criteria, and would be much more capable of filling Jim Amann's shoes than I could ever hope to be.

The deadline for coming up with a solid candidate is May 28th (I think), so we only have about a month to propose, discuss, vet, nominate, and select a candidate. It's going to be a busy month!

And of course, any potential candidates would do well to attempt to curry favor with me as quickly as possible, because we all know that an endorsement by "Connecticut Bob" will all but guarantee an election victory! Free pizza and beer will get you to the table.

From there, it's all up to you.

The "CT Bob Bump" is a well known political phenomenon. Just ask Jim Amann. Only TWO weeks after my exclusive video of him hit the Internet, he "crushed" his way to a huge victory in the 2006 election.

Voila! The "CT Bob Bump!"

Of course, it helps to be running unopposed. This time around, because of public campaign funding, there will be a lot less uncontested seats. Citizen representatives was the original concept in Connecticut, and the even playing field will ensure many more incumbents being held accountable for their actions by contesting their seats.

And regardless of the election results, we ALL win.

Why does the GOP love Hillary?

While the Republicans have tried several times over the years to influence the outcome of Democratic primaries to suit their wishes, I think a coordinated effort of this magnitude has never been attempted.

Which begs the question:

Why do the Republicans love Hillary?

Since early January, right-wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity have encouraged Republican voters to cross party lines to vote for Clinton, or even in the case of states like Pennsylvania, which doesn't have an "open" primary, they've implored their target audience to switch party registration so they can vote for Hillary!

Just one day after Clinton's win in the Pennsylvania primary, the North Carolina GOP has released an anti-Obama television ad, featuring the words of scandalous Obama ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright. This ad is so inflammatory that even McCain felt compelled to speak out against it. Which, of course, has the added benefit of further publicizing the ad while making St. John look like a swell guy.

Which the NC GOP will ignore, and everyone gets to see the ad anyway!

But why bother wasting precious Republican dollars on an ad that will only have minimal effect on McCain's efforts, but may directly impact the Democratic primary with the hope that it will take votes AWAY from Barack Obama?

The only reason for this that I can see is that the Republicans are chomping at the bit to face Hillary in November. They are convinced they can much more easily defeat Clinton in the general election. The GOP knows Clinton has loads of baggage, which having spent so many years in Washington is very easy to accumulate.

They feel that their DC insider can beat another DC insider.

Barack Obama terrifies the GOP exactly because he's NOT the same as McCain. While Clinton is currently enjoying a post-win bump in fund raising, Obama consistantly draws an insane amount of support from regular people; just look at the crowds you see at any Obama rally. He outdraws Clinton every single time, because he generates hope and excitement. The Republicans can't possibly cope with that kind of popularity, so they're betting they'll do well against the one Democratic candidate who most closely resembles theirs.

This is why the GOP loves it some Hillary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Help Wanted: State Rep. Candidate

Today longtime Democratic Representative and House Speaker James A. Amann announced he was stepping down after his term is complete, ostensibly to enable him to run for governor unhindered by political conflicts. Amann served the General Assembly honorably for 18 years.

So that leaves us here in the 118th Assembly District (Milford) with an opening for a Democrat to run for the soon to be vacant seat. The search is on!

Of course, quite a few of my so-called "friends" have been calling me incessantly since the news broke a couple hours ago. Just so there's no question about where I stand, here's a representative example:
Me: Hello.

Helpful "Friend": Hey Bob, did you hear about Jim Amann?

Me: Yeah, only about five times in the last hour! That was unexpected, huh?

HF: I know! It came totally out of the blue!

Me: Well, it makes sense, since he's probably going to run full-time for governor now. We should get right to it and find someone to run in his place.

HF: Absolutely. So, how about it?

Me: How about what?

HF: You should totally run!

Me: WHAT!?!

HF: Yeah Bob, it'd be great! Think of all the fun it would be having "Connecticut Bob" on the ballot! We can make some awesome T-shirts and bumper stickers! C'mon, do it!

Me: No way! Nope! No fucking chance! I'd rather chew on crushed glass and wash it down with Draino than run for office! The very idea literally makes my skin crawl! Am I clear on this?

HF: (long pause)'re not ruling it out entirely, then?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton prevails in PA

No surprise there. There was a consensus opinion just about everywhere that Hillary would beat Barack in PA.

What matters is the margin of victory for Clinton.

Two months ago, Clinton had a 25% lead in the polls. This morning at 6AM, the margin was roughly 10%, with Clinton at 55% and Obama 45%. There are 158 delegates up for grabs tonight. If I extrapolate the current results to delegates earned in PA, we get approximately the following numbers:

Clinton 87 delegates
Obama 71 delegates

That will net Hillary a 16-delegate increase. She currently trails Obama by something like 140 delegates. She'll probably gain a few more super delegates also.

In two weeks, we have North Carolina and Indiana. NC has 115 delegates at stake (not counting supers); Indiana has 72. Obama is heavily favored to win in NC and Clinton not quite as favored in Indiana.

My guess is that the May 6th primaries will help Obama balance out any gains that Clinton makes tonight, leaving the margin roughly the same as it was going into tonight.

The North Carolina primary has an additional angle. John Edwards, the only other candidate who holds any delegates, and is a super delegate himself, has said repeatedly that he will hold his vote and endorsement until AFTER the primary, and he's hinted that he will follow the will of the voters in his state. If he does that, it's almost certain that Obama will get a significant bump in the delegate count after May 6th.

In any case, the margins will probably be the same or slightly bigger for Obama by then. The difference being that there will be about 300 less delegates up for grabs, and hope for a Clinton nomination will be more diminished.

Welcome to ConnDEADicut!

People often leave their newspapers on the train. I've been reading the NY Post on some of my rides to NYC, and I think their hackiness is catching. I really wanted to use that awful title for this article. Plus, it gave me a chance to do this cheesy Photoshop.

Which reminds me of a basic rule of Photoshopping:

Zombies are ALWAYS fun!

And this extrapolation on the rule:

VOTING zombies are fun AND ironic!

But the reality is, this is a serious story. From today's Connecticut Post:
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz on Monday asked the State Elections Enforcement Commission to investigate the issue, which she called a "breakdown of communications" between town clerks who are mandated to provide monthly lists of the deceased and local registrars of voters who are required to remove the names from the state's centralized data base.
Still, over 300 dead people have voted in elections in Connecticut. One dead guy voted an astounding 19 times since 1992!

While on the surface it appears he deserves a citizenship award for "Persistence from beyond the grave", my guess is that he was an unwitting accomplice in a case of mistaken identity or a simple clerical error. The good news is that this seems to be a fairly isolated occurrence, rather than an attempt to perpetrate a fraud.

But really, wouldn't it have been more appropriate for this story to have clawed it's way to the surface around Halloween?

Desperate tactics

Hillary Clinton is using FEAR to scare the voters.

Her closing ad in Pennsylvania markets FEAR with such reckless abandon that you'd think it was one of Karl Rove's wet dreams!

The first 20 seconds of this thirty-second spot shows the following images:

* Newspaper headline: STOCK MARKET CRASHES
* Pearl Harbor footage, with headline
* Newspaper with JFK calling Communism "World Wide Threat"
* Gas pump with sign NO GAS
* Berlin Wall protesters
* Osama Bin Laden
* New Orleans flooding
* Troops marching
* More gas pumps
* Abandoned factory
* Foreclosure sign in front of a house


This is Hillary's "message" to America:

There's no doubt in my mind that what her ad inadvertently portrays is the true content of her character!

Bill Clinton best summarized this tactic in 2004, when campaigning for John Kerry:

Bill Clinton: “Now one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate's trying to scare you and the other one's trying to get you to think; if one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That's the best.”

Well said, Mr. President...well said.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dick Cheney & Me

Today I did a full day's work at that very ritzy hotel in New York that I stayed at about a month ago. When I arrived today, I noticed a large compliment of giant black SUVs out front.

Turns out Dick Cheney was staying at the hotel, a day after the Pope left town, so he could hang out and make a few speeches to wealthy corporate types and hold a fund raiser for the only Republican congressman in New York City.

I was working only a floor above his suite (actually, his contingent took over the entire floor) and I don't know if it was my imagination, but I could swear that I could actually feel the waves of concentrated evil emanating from his rooms!

The Sneer is here!

It was weird. The rather elegant surroundings took on a decidedly sinister atmosphere. The air felt heavy with oppression. The ghosts of a thousand dead quails seemed to be squawking somewhere nearby. Sweat trickled down the back of my neck.

I buckled down and finished the job. Because I am, after all, a professional. But I couldn't get out of the city fast enough. I basically ran to Grand Central, and hopped aboard the express back home.

Thank god they had a bar car on that train!

Pennsylvania (Finally!)

Boy, it's been a long wait for this primary to finally get here! Thanks to so many states front-loading the primary calendar this year, we've gone six weeks without a SINGLE primary.

Not only that, but because there's only this ONE primary in Pennsylvania tomorrow and nothing for another two weeks, the media has basically Keystoned us to death with speeches, polls and endless news about the tiniest details going on in the Quaker State.

I mean, after tomorrow, if I never see another frickin' carton of Quaker Oats for the rest of my natural life, it'll be too soon! I'm officially sick of Pennsylvania!

What tomorrow means: We'll almost definitely see a Clinton victory, but not nearly the overwhelming win that she needs or indeed expected only a couple months ago. Clinton will probably beat Obama by 6-8%, maybe 10% at the outside, but it'll be nothing like the 20+% she'll need to make a dent in Obama's significant delegate lead.

This means that after tomorrow the calls for Hillary to withdraw will get louder and spread to more and more mainstream Democrats, especially those fence-sitters among the super-delegates who are playing for favorites.

In two weeks, we'll have Indiana and North Carolina. We can expect the candidates to roughly split the delegates that are up for grabs that day, with Hillary winning in Indiana and Barack winning in N.C. There won't be a lot of change in Obama's lead, and every day beyond the primary that Hillary doesn't throw in the towel will only help McCain's efforts to win in November.

Basically, unless Hillary gets a stunning victory tomorrow, she'll have almost no chance of winning the nomination. The number of delegates up for grabs after Tuesday is too small statistically give Clinton a clear majority. And the super delegates are trickling in more to Obama than Clinton at this point.

Sorry to all you Hillary supporters out there, but that's the way I'm seeing this playing out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Upon further review...

In my article last Friday about the use of video to help voters gain oversight of their elected officials, I used as one example the "Hacker-gate" incident, where Sen. Joe Lieberman and his campaign made wayward and irresponsible accusations against Ned Lamont, his campaign staff, and the bloggers who were sympathetic to his campaign. The investigation both by the FBI and Dick Blumenthal's office turns out to show absolutely NO evidence of foul play by any of them/us.

Subsequently, the FBI's investigation further showed that the definite blame for Sen. Lieberman's website crash was caused by his own staff's incompetence and their use of a low-bandwidth ISP package, which was easily overwhelmed by their own email usage the day before the primary.

The primary was held on August 8, 2006. Attorney General Blumenthal's own investigation wrapped up in late December, which was after the general election concluded, though the results of his investigation weren't officially announced. Brian Lockhart of the Stamford Advocate made an inquiry to Blumenthal's office about the investigation and was told they had found no evidence of wrong doing in the crash.

The FBI's investigation wrapped up in October, at least 10 days before the general election, and an internal memo from October 25th was revealed by an FOI request earlier this month that not only exonerated Ned Lamont and his staff, but also placed the fault of the website crash firmly on Joe Lieberman's people.

This information may never have become public had it not been for Brian Lockhart's FOI request, which took well over a year to process.

When I interviewed Dick Blumenthal four days after the date of the FBI memo, he stated that his investigation was ongoing, which at the time it was.

This raises several immediate questions. Why didn't the FBI share this information with the CT AG's office? Why did it take so long for Blumenthal's investigation to conclude? And why, when it was clearly in the public interest to reveal the results of both the Federal and State investigations since so many people had been harmed by Lieberman's false accusations, did it take so goddamned long for this information to come out?

That being said, I do want to apologize to Dick Blumenthal if my article made it look like he had been less than truthful with me. I am now convinced that he was answering my questions honestly, and while there are many things about this case that still puzzles me and justifies further investigation, I wouldn't want any lingering doubt about Mr. Blumenthal's honesty to remain. He and his staff have been very good about having an open dialog with me ever since this story cropped up earlier this month.

So, in the parlance of an NFL referee, "upon further review, the ruling on the field is overturned."

I'll close with this, a lovely original composition by former Lieberman campaign wizard Sean Smith, entitled "An Ode To Lamont's Hackers":

Is it any wonder why so many of us were upset by this bullshit?

Downplaying workplace accidents

(Comic is from the wonderfully twisted

This is a disturbing trend that seems to be a side-effect of the health care crisis in this country. From The Charlotte Observer:
A leading group of occupational doctors is taking the unusual step of speaking out publicly against pressure from companies to downplay workplace injuries.

To outline their concerns, the physicians have sent a letter to federal workplace safety regulators and held a conference session in New York City on Monday. They're also planning to testify before Congress.

If successful, their campaign could affect the treatment of injured workers and might help change how the government assesses workplace safety.

"Our members feel they are being methodically pressured ... to under-treat and mistreat," said Dr. Robert McLellan, president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "...This is a grave ethical concern for our members. It's a grave medical concern."
The simple fact is that with out-of-control costs for health care, and no way for many workers to get adequate health insurance, businesses are often on their own when deciding how to treat victims of on the job accidents.

If we had a comprehensive system of single-payer health care, there'd be less incentive for companies to under treat and under report work place injuries. At the very least, the workers would have access to a basic level of treatment that would be free from interference from employers.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Unfiltered Truth

The Unfiltered Truth

This isn't a game of video or political "gotcha".

For many years politicians were accustomed to being able to misrepresent themselves and their views and speak half-truths with complete impunity. Anyone who challenged anything that a legislator said often ended up in a game of "he said/she said", with little or no proof. Almost everything contradictory to what a politician said was considered hearsay.

Those days have finally come to an end.

Video has become a very useful tool in providing citizens with oversight of their leaders. If a politician plays fast and loose with the facts, or contradicts their own statements, there is usually a tape somewhere that shows this.

Sometimes the video is shot by a video blogger like myself. Other times it's a local or national news organization. In some cases, the video is provided by the state owned video network.

An Example

Today's little flap about Gov. Rell is a prime example. The Hartford Courant is reporting that while the governor is running around claiming that she denied knowing that the cost overruns on the New Haven Rail project would exceed the $300 million budget, a CT-N (Connecticut government Network) video clearly shows her at the ceremonial ribbon cutting back in December of 2006 being told by DOT officials that the project would most likely come to $800 million.

This is a wonderful example of video oversight. Now, whether the governor intentionally misrepresented the facts, or if she honestly forgot the speech (which is entirely plausible) doesn't really matter. What matters is that an inaccuracy wasn't allowed to be repeated endlessly in the mainstream media and used as a political weapon. Gov. Rell can no longer insist that she wasn't informed about the cost overrun.


(Disclaimer: I wrote most of this article before the statement from the Attorney General's office was released. It's important to make clear that there hasn't yet been any evidence of suppression of fact by his office.)

Another example is Attorney General Dick Blumenthal's denial of knowing anything about the FBI conclusion back on October 25, 2006 that neither Ned Lamont's campaign or any bloggers had anything to do with Sen. Lieberman's web site crashing the night before the hotly contested primary election. My video interview from four days later, October 29th, shows the AG denying any knowledge of the FBI's investigation being closed.

This information was obviously known to the FBI and was circulated as an internal email more than a week before the November general election, and could potentially have had a significant impact had it been made public.

Not to mention it would have cleared Ned Lamont's campaign and all of us local bloggers of the cloud of suspicion that had a negative effect on our efforts to work and report on the events. I can't remember exactly how many people asked me if I had anything to do with the alleged "hacking", but every single one of those instances annoyed the hell out of me.

And, because the Lieberman noise machine was unrelenting in it's accusations of us, it sort of became accepted public knowledge that we MUST be guilty of it.

This morning the Attorney General released a statement that reads in part:
"Neither I nor any member of my staff has ever seen the October 25, 2006 FBI email. Nor were we ever informed of its contents. I first learned of it when I read a report in The Stamford Advocate on April 9, 2008."


"Throughout the investigation, there were discussions between my office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding the direction of the federal investigation, but not any conclusions until after the election. To have made any premature public predictions before our investigation ended in December 2006 would have been irresponsible and improper."

(thanks to Chris Hoffman from the Office of the Attorney General)
This begs the question as to WHY an important email from the FBI regarding the investigation wasn't entered into the discussion by the U.S. Attorney's office? Everyone involved must have been aware of the importance of reaching a conclusion before the election. Letting the investigation go on for over seven weeks after this information was available is difficult to understand.

I'd like to follow up on this story with Mr. Blumenthal at some point soon. His office has been very good about responding to my inquiries lately, so I'm looking forward to gaining more insight into the circumstances that resulted in this situation.

"I will crush them!"

This tongue-in-cheek video that I produced of House Speaker James Amann speaking off the cuff certainly caused a bit of a stir. While I'll be the first to admit that this wasn't "journalism" by any means, it DID reveal an interesting aspect of the Speaker's personality that all his staged public appearances and carefully crafted speeches never captured. And it allowed the people of Connecticut to learn a bit more about one of their leaders.

Months later, when Jim appeared on a radio show and discussed the incident, I did object to his characterization of me as a "video paparazzi", as if I was some kind of video stalker. When in fact the entire unedited video shows me greeting him cordially and identifying myself as a video blogger and that I intended to use the video on the internet.

I then posted the entire 27-minute video online soon afterwards without a single cut or camera stoppage to prove my point.

And some months later I removed the longer video from Youtube when I found a political opponent of Amann's was using it on his website without notifying me. I felt it was being used in a manner that I didn't agree with, especially considering that my editorial comments on the video were irrelevant to his purposes, so I blocked access to it.

If at some point the entire interview becomes relevant again, I'll post it again. The point is, the video record exists, and is accessible if needed.

The Video Revolution

There are certainly drawbacks to this culture of video. I'm sure we can build a mountain out of all the video cassettes used to shoot Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton buying a cappuccino at Starbucks. Video is often used to intrude on the private lives of public people. I've never been a fan of that kind of tabloid reporting.

But video is indispensable in the efforts to find the truths underneath the double-talk, evasions, and outright untruths that some politicians seem to depend upon. When there is an indisputable video record of everything a politician publicly says and stands for, it forces him/her to own up to their words. The likelihood of a politician saying one thing to one group, and the exact opposite to another group has dropped significantly due to the unwavering eye of the video camera.

This isn't a game of video or political "gotcha".

It IS a way for the voters to gain valuable insight into their leaders' character, honesty, and viewpoints, unshaped by corporate media or special interests.

It is the unfiltered truth.


Shown in "Sensurround"!

(disclaimer: not the earthquake that happened in Illinois this morning)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ABC's embarrassing debate team

The audience figured it out and booed them.

Last night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was an embarrassment to even half-assed members of the media. Like me.

And it's further evidence that the myth of the supposed "liberal media" is dead.

Moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulis were so consumed with repeating attack points on the candidates that a full 45 minutes went by before a single substantive issue was raised.

You know, those unimportant little things like health care, the war, the economy, the mortgage crisis, etc. Stuff that doesn't matter to the vast majority of voting Americans out there.

All that trivial shit had to wait until George and Charlie could ask about Obama's pastor (has he said anything shocking THIS week yet?) and Clinton's faulty memory of Bosnia (it's been a month now; we all GET IT!) for the first three quarters of an hour.

Because a fucking flag pin is waaaaaay more important to me than the thousands of dollars I spent to get minimal health care last year.

Yeah, the booing crowd figured it out, too.

And there's this, too; via Daily Kos:

Animal House?

Check out this story about the intern and the wild antics in the Capitol. Smoking, drinking, and sex going on!

"From now on, the General Assembly is on Double-Secret Probation!"

See what I'm talking about? A story like this makes blogging easy!

Bitterness is the flavor of the week

On "Countdown" yesterday, Keith Olbermann and Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman discussed the possibility that Joe Lieberman may speak at the Republican National Convention up in St. Paul late summer.

This video (h/t Scarce at My Left Nutmeg) examines the reasons for Joe's defection from the Democratic Party and his enthusiastic collaboration with the Republicans:
OLBERMANN: What happened to him as a political entity? ...

(Many politicians)...since 9/11, reason out the window, much of their personality subsumed by blind fear of the age of terrorism...Is he some sort of victim of 9/11 post-traumatic stress disorder, politically?

FINEMAN: No, I think he's been overcome not by fear but by bitterness. I think he feels rejected by his party, he feels dissed by his party. The primary run against him by Ned Lamont in Connecticut he felt to be a personal affront.

And when politicians start taking it personally, they lose their way.

(emphasis mine, of course)

Which face will Joe be wearing in St. Paul?

I've been having fun photoshopping stuff lately. It's a real hoot to take an image and enhance the natural elements of horror within it. It's an interesting process to try to capture the essential rotten core of a person.

The only exception is Dick Cheney.

Every time I tried to make Dick Cheney's face more hideous, it improved his looks.

The man is a challenge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This kid is goin' places!

Christine Stuart over at CT News Junkie described a statement made by a legislative intern at a forum on lawmaker's ethics. Apparently, this fellow is mightily pissed that he wasn't allowed to wear his "expensive fedora" while doing his internly duties.

The video is somewhat mind-boggling, and it might portend an interesting summer of hearings if this kid's statements are taken seriously.

I mean, good god man, there was "sex going on in actual offices"!

This might end up being quite the steamy story.

(Major kudos to Spazeboy for clipping and posting the video!)

House fails to pass voting safety measures

Once again, in a vote that emphasizes the partisan nature of the Republicans in their reluctance to do anything that President Bush disagrees with, HR 4036 was defeated. While the law didn't mandate paper ballots for states, it did encourage them to switch to them and maintain provisional paper ballots in case the electronic machines malfunctioned.

Chris Shays (CT-04) did split from the Republican minority in the House, joining 15 other Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, but it still came up short of the 2/3 necessary for it to pass.

Not that it matters much, anyway. Had the bill gone on to pass in the Senate, Bush almost definitely would have used his veto pen to kill it.

Which further reinforces the necessity of electing ANY Democrat this November.

(are you detecting a theme in some of my posts yet?)

TRENTON, N.J. - Legislation sponsored by a New Jersey congressman that would have reimbursed states wanting to adopt voting safeguards before the November presidential election failed to win approval Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, dubbed the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, even after clearing a House committee unanimously. The vote was 239-178 in favor, with all but two Democrats supporting it and all but 16 Republicans opposed.

The bill would have allowed states and jurisdictions to be reimbursed by the federal government for converting to a paper ballot system, offering emergency paper ballots or conducting audits by hand counts.

The measure was designed to ensure that every vote is properly counted. Voters in all or parts of 20 states including New Jersey now cast ballots electronically without backup paper verification, according to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

The bill would have provided reimbursements for states to provide voter-verified, audited balloting for the general election, but it would not have mandated standards for the states.

Republicans opposed the bill because of the cost.

The White House on Tuesday noted that a 2002 election reform act had authorized $3 billion to help states upgrade their voting systems, and that about one-third of that money was still available.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of the legislation at $685 million, but supporters said that applied only to a worst-case scenario where many states opted to change their systems.

Holt said he was disappointed and somewhat surprised at the result.

"This increases the likelihood around the country that there will be unaudited elections and lingering questions in many jurisdictions about the validity of the vote, and no way to answer the questions," Holt said. "There is no reason this shouldn't have passed."

Elections officials in many states are grappling with their voting systems. Concerns have been raised over the security and reliability of electronic voting machines, and voting rights advocates in New Jersey and elsewhere have pushed for a return to paper balloting.

Some states have scrapped electronic voting machines. Among them are Florida and New Mexico, which switched to paper ballots that are counted by optical scanners.

Holt's bill would have reimbursed states for making a similar switch by November.

New Jersey recently acknowledged it would not meet a June deadline for retrofitting 10,000 touch-screen voting machines with paper printers. That means millions of New Jerseyans will cast ballots in November without paper receipts.

Six counties reported problems with electronic voting machines after the presidential primary in February. The number of votes tallied in dozens of machines did not match the number counted by the machine's internal control.

The manufacturer, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts by voting rights advocates to have the machines tested independently.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chris Matthews: 'I Want To Be a Senator'

From NewsBusters:
Stephen Colbert called it "an announcement." Chris Matthews went on the Comedy Central show last night and, responding to the host's importuning to declare his candidacy for US Senator from Pennsylvania, ultimately stated: "I want to be a senator."
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Haaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Hee hee...hmmmm...heh...

...heh heh...


HAAAAA! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ah haa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haa ha ha ha ha ha! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa!

Zell Lieberman strikes again.

(this is the creepiest Photoshop I've ever done!)

I think Joe Lieberman has completely lost his mind. His blind hatred for anyone who has the audacity to disagree with him for any reason knows no bounds. Just when you think Lieberman has gone as far as he can in his efforts to completely destroy the Democratic Party, he goes and tops himself yet again.

From Mother Jones blog:
Is Obama a Marxist? Good question, says Joe Lieberman.

Here's the context. In Bill Kristol's newest column in the NY Times (no link; warmongers don't get links), he says that Obama's "bitter" comments are like Karl Marx's statement that religion is the "opium of the people."

On a radio show yesterday, Fox News' senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano sat down with Joe Lieberman, and the following transpired:
NAPOLITANO: Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that's a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he's obviously very smart and he's a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I've learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn't…I'd hesitate to say he's a Marxist, but he's got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.
Really, Joe? You may be in or close to mainstream America on a lot of issues, but the reason you're supporting John McCain is his position on the war, which is 100 years of occupation. I don't think that's anywhere near the mainstream.

The media and the blogosphere (I include myself here) are going to have to stop getting worked up every time Lieberman plays attack dog on Obama. There are tons of McCain surrogates who, in the course of any week in this campaign, will take shots at the Democratic nominee; we can't continue to treat Lieberman differently just because he's supposedly a member of the Democratic Party (he's technically an Independent, but whatever). He's a McCain operative now, and will say/do what McCain operatives say/do.

This may well be your last edition of the Weekly Joe Lieberman Outrage.
I don't blame this guy for wanting to stop exposing himself to the constant barrage of insanity that emanates from Joe Lieberman's hate-filled soul. It's wearying to hear shit like that all the time.

If anything, Lieberman provides us with a valuable lesson. This is exactly why we all need to pull together no matter WHO becomes the eventual Democratic nominee. Because if our division gives McCain a victory, it's inevitable that Joe Lieberman is going to have unlimited power in the new administration.

Just think for a minute of the tremendous damage that will be wrought by Secretary of Defense Joe Lieberman!

As you all know, I support Obama for the nomination. Not because I'm a huge fan and I think he's the second coming of Howard Dean, because I'm not and he's not. But I do like him SLIGHTLY better than Hillary Clinton, and I think he's got a SLIGHTLY better chance of beating McCain in November. That's my opinion, so don't bother arguing with me if you're a big Hillary supporter.

But if Hillary somehow becomes the nominee, I'll work overtime to see that she wins.

No matter what political machinations might be used to secure her the nomination.

Because the implications of a McCain presidency are simply too horrific to allow to happen.

Let's all be sure to remember this AFTER the convention.

Spanning the globe

Recently I viewed the stats for this blog, and as usual I was surprised at the amount of views I'm getting from all over the world. This map is a representative sampling of the "most recent 100 visits". It shows a majority of the hits coming from the U.S., but also quite a lot from various nations around the world.

I wish Youtube had a similar type of tracking. I'm curious about how some of my videos are playing to the international community. Sometimes I can guess who's watching from the links my videos get, but that only represents web sites that have put up my video, not who might be viewing it.

The thing that's cool about this is how a guy sitting in a recliner with a wireless keyboard on his lap can share his thoughts with people thousands of miles away on a daily basis.

Anyone can do this. You simply need two things:

A Lay-Z-Boy leather recliner.

An Adesso WKB-3000UB wireless trackball keyboard.

Now you know the secret to blogging. Get out there and create one for yourself. Visit now and sign up to create a blog.

The fine people of Curacao are waiting!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bush Security Adviser decries Olympics "cop-out"

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley stated today that President Bush should attend the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, rather than "cop-out" in protest China's brutal suppression of the people of Tibet and their actions in Darfur.

Hadley believes in "quiet diplomacy" rather than "frontal confrontation", once again using a tried-and-true Republican tactic of coming up with an extreme example as the alternative choice to their preferred course of action. I guess a simple protest like skipping the opening ceremonies while allowing our athletes to compete is something Bush considers too "frontal".

Gee, if only the President had considered a similar tactic back in late 2002, when the international community and U.N. inspectors were pleading with Bush to hold off on the bombing and full-frontal invasion of Iraq until they were certain that the WMDs actually existed.

Funny how "frontal confrontation" varies according to each nation, depending on Bush's whims.

The fact that Bush is still considering attending the opening ceremonies is a clear signal to Beijing that the United States has no problem whatsoever with China's fascist oppression of the Tibetan people. It's a known fact that the host country for the Olympics will use the opening ceremonies as a propaganda extravaganza; there are plenty of examples of this happening.

Gee, I wonder what Hadley would had advised if he had been part of FDR's administration? Would he have encouraged the President to hop aboard a steamer for Berlin to show America's support for the powerful industrial nation of Germany? Boy, Germany in the 1930's sure was a government who LOVED "quiet diplomacy"!

I'm not saying we should bomb China (again, I'm parroting the extreme examples of the Republican mind), but we should send them non-violent messages like skipping the opening ceremonies in protest. Hadley is just another example of the Bush administration's mealy-mouthed "support" for concepts like freedom and democracy. I guess they only support freedom in nations that we can invade and occupy, thereby making uncounted billions for huge corporations.

Tibet don't have no oil.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Shays elaborates on the NIE

Today Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) held another in a series of community meetings, where citizens can talk to him and listen to his thoughts. I decided to attend because it's close to my home and I wanted to follow up on his statement last week when he admitted he hadn't read the National Intelligence Estimate prior to his vote on authorization for the war. The NIE report is largely the justification Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress used to push the war.

At this week's meeting in Bridgeport, many of the questions centered on the economy, health care, taxes, and a few people complained about immigrants. Rep. Shays then elaborated on the NIE question when he discussed the Iraq war. He claimed to have now read it, and talked about it.

There was an awkward moment during the meeting when Rep. Shays pointed me out along with CT Blogger, who was videotaping next to me, and essentially accused us of working for the Jim Himes campaign to try to trap him in a "gotcha" moment. After a bit of a spirited discussion where we insisted we were independent bloggers and weren't working for the Himes campaign, Mr. Shays apologized to both of us.

After the meeting I went up to him to discuss blogging coverage of his events and to offer to interview him. He immediately apologized again and shook my hand, and he invited me to visit him at his home for an interview. He was a gentleman about it, and I could see that he was honestly upset that he got carried away for a moment.

I absolutely intend to follow up on the interview offer, and I hope to schedule it in the very near future. There are questions regarding several issues that I'd like to discuss with him in a conversational setting.

I then got into a civil discussion with one of his staff who said that someone was videotaping at an earlier event, and she said that he did identify himself as a Himes worker who was taping the Congressman. I said that tracking politicians at public events isn't a new thing, and if the person doing the taping is respectful of the event and the candidate, then there's nothing wrong with doing it.

I then said that as long as the candidate didn't refer to him as "macaca", there's nothing to worry about. I thought it was kind of a funny statement, but she seemed to want to leave at that point and quickly excused herself.

I sometimes have that effect on people. I don't know why.

Stay tuned for details on the upcoming interview with Congressman Shays. There were maybe 60 people at the meeting today, but an online video will be viewed by thousands.

Frozen Grand Central part II

By now there's a good chance that you're one of the over 10,000,000 people who've seen this video on Youtube:

I decided to attempt the same thing, the cheap and easy way!

Now I'll just sit back and watch those millions of views roll in! I'll be a Youtube Sensation for sure!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Did Dick Blumenthal lie to me? (UPDATE: No!)

UPDATE 01/07/10: Now that Dick Blumenthal has announced he's running for Senate, I know a lot of people are going to Google his name. Right now this post runs very high on the list of search results, so I want to make it very clear that after I wrote this article more facts came out that proved the AG didn't speak falsely about this situation. I posted a correction HERE, so feel free to read it for all the facts.


Around 10:00 tonight I watched the Keith Olbermann clip below of tonight's "Worst Person in the World" segment from his show. In it, he mentioned how the FBI sent an email out, presumably to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, regarding their conclusion of the hacking investigation.

When Olbermann mentioned the date of the email, I suddenly felt queasy. Keith mentioned that the email was sent out on October 25th, 2006, about a week before the general election. The only reason it finally saw the light of day was because of an FOI request, otherwise it may have never been revealed.

The reason I felt queasy was because I remembered an interview I did with Blumenthal four days later (October 29th) but still before the election, at a fund raiser for Dave Mooney in Stratford. This is when news of the FBI's findings may have still made a difference.

In the interview, Blumenthal said there were no definite conclusions to the investigation and that it was ongoing.

Either he wasn't CC'ed, or he doesn't read his emails from the FBI, or he may have been holding back information from the public. I don't know which.

I only know that I am now feeling a bit misled by his words on that night.

"As yet, we've reached no conclusions."
- Dick Blumenthal, October 29, 2006

Until I hear a good explanation from the Attorney General, I'm going to assume that he had the information before the election and chose not to release it to the public for political reasons.

I'll leave it to Dick to prove me wrong.

Olympic torch rolls through San Francisco

It only took the FBI a year and a half figure out what we all knew back in August, 2006.
UPDATE: Turns out, the FBI did complete the investigation in a reasonable amount of time, and a good week or so before the general election. AG Dick Blumenthal may have had this information and held it back. Click on this to read the new story.
Lieberman's own stupid staff caused their website to crash, through a remarkable combination of incompetence and lack of planning.

Meanwhile, has the FBI been investigating the $387,000 in funds unaccounted for and possibly used as "street money" by Lieberman's campaign? Why aren't FBI agents interviewing the people in Fairfield County who allegedly know about these kinds of goings-on? I know the FEC is essentially powerless to do anything these days, but if bribes can be proven, then there's certainly a criminal conspiracy that went on and I'm sure Federal Law has a few options they can use to pursue an investigation.

Anyway, like I said, we ALL knew it was a bullshit allegation by Lieberman. Here's the story in today's paper. From Newsday:
STAMFORD, Conn. - Federal investigators have concluded that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's 2006 re-election campaign caused the crash of its Web site the day before the Democratic primary with Ned Lamont.

The FBI says it has found no evidence supporting the Lieberman campaign's allegations that Lamont supporters were to blame for the Web site crash.

Lieberman had implied that was hacked by Lamont supporters.

The Advocate of Stamford is citing an e-mail from the FBI which says the server that hosted Lieberman's Web site failed because it was overused and not configured correctly.

Lieberman lost the primary to Lamont but won re-election as an independent in the general election.
By the way, I still have a complete archive of Joe's website and his vile blog from the revamped internet account. It's in a 32MB zip file, so if anyone would find it useful to keep the pressure of Joe for his broken promises and many, many lies, email me with your request.

Here's a screencap from that awful sack of crap, which was largely written by Danny Gerstein and his chinless little troll, Eric Blankenbaker:

Ah, memories. It makes my skin crawl to read some of the posts on it.

But also, there is an hysterically funny collection of blog comments that Danny thoughtfully saved and published in a .pdf file for our amusement. This was after he promised to keep the comments section open no matter what.

Well, of course, "what" happened, and Danny pulled the plug on the comments! If I can figure out how to post a .pdf file on here, maybe I'll put it online. The "Does Joe Lieberman beat his wife?" discussion is a great representation of the content in much of the user comments.

Jesus! Look at the time stamps on some of those comments! The wise-assed remarks started appearing within MINUTES of Gerstein's statement. The people who posted there were absolutely brutal and relentless! They really cracked me up.

And, as I've said many times before, I never ONCE posted a comment on Joe's blog. I felt that in order to maintain my journalistic credibility on the subject it would be best to withhold my participation and simply report on the story.

And besides, I knew there'd be plenty of creative assholery going on over there without me needing to take part in it!

McCain Still Doesn't Understand that Al Qaeda Isn't Shi'a

Jesus! How is it possible that something like 40% of Americans currently want this dummy to be our President? We need to get the word out on McCain. From by Jonathan Singer:
Last month brought a major bombshell in the race against John McCain; the presumptive GOP presidential nominee all but admitted that he didn't understand the difference between Shiite and Sunni groups, suggesting that Al Qaeda in Iraq was a Shi'ite organization affiliated with Iran (when in fact it is a Sunni group that fights against Shiites within Iraq). Now, in the nationally televised and widely broadcast Senate hearings on Iraq, McCain again made the same mistake. Take a look:

Here's a rush transcript:
John McCain: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?

David Petraeus: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.

McCain: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi'ites overall?

Petraeus: No.

McCain: Or Sunnis or anybody else.
If John McCain still doesn't understand that Al Qaeda is a Sunni group largely opposed to Shiites (as well as Americans and others) -- not a Shiite group aligned with Iran -- does he really have the national security acumen and understanding to be commander-in-chief?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Chris Shays says he never read the NIE

Yesterday Rep. Chris Shays admitted he never read the document that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Over five years later, Mr. Shays still hasn't gotten around to it.

Let the congressman tell you in his own words in this brief video:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

London protest disrupts torch relay

UPDATE: Today (Monday) French protesters did manage to extinguish the torch.

That makes the score French hooligans: 1, English hooligans: 0.

Stay tuned for other torch updates!

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Protesters angry over China's human rights record and its recent actions in Tibet scuffled with police and made attempts to grab the Olympic torch and douse it with a fire extinguisher on Sunday.
A fire extinguisher! OK, even though I don't necessarily agree with physically interfering with the torch relay, that's pretty fucking funny!
Hundreds of police officers guarded the 31-mile relay and flanked torch-bearers in an effort to limit disruptions by pro-Tibet campaigners. At least 35 people have been arrested for public disorder offences, the Metropolitan Police said.

Crowds were lining the route across the city, many waving Tibetan flags and "Free Tibet" banners.

Others carried signs reading: "Stop the killing in Tibet", "No Olympic torch in Tibet" and "China talk to Dalai Lama."

China is hosting this year's Summer Olympics.
There's no question that the protests against China's policies in Tibet are gaining support around the world. Nancy Pelosi, while not taking the bold step of calling for an outright boycott of the Bejing Olympics, has asked President Bush to skip the opening ceremonies. It's a symbolic step in the right direction, but like many of Nancy's positions, is only a half step. I guess a full boycott of the Olympics is also "off the table".
Hundreds of pro-Beijing demonstrators were also gathered along the route and in Trafalgar Square with police separating them from anti-China protesters.

Amid chaotic scenes, police officers grabbed a man in west London as he tried to snatch the flame from torchbearers.

Moments afterwards, a second man released a cloud of foam from a fire extinguisher in an apparent attempt to douse the flame. (read the entire story via the link above)
I wonder what would have happened if the Olympic flame sputtered and went out. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese have a few stand-by flames burning in a support vehicle, ready to go in case someone pisses on the torch.

I mean, it's a hell of a long jog back to Mount Olympus.

Does this mean we can finally pry it?

Heston raised a flintlock over his head and challenged his detractors to pry the rifle "from my cold, dead hands." ...

Whatever you say, Chuck!

R.I.P. you crazy old bastard.

FDL delivers petition to FEC

Last week, in an effort coordinated by Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog and Reverend Lennox Yearwood delivered 32,000 signatures to the FEC, cosigning the complaint filed last Thursday against John McCain and his campaign. It took three reams of paper and 1,400 pages to print it all out. The entire post is HERE.

The gist of the complaint is that John Sidney McCain III opted in to the campaign finance program that he helped reform and chose to receive matching federal funds. The limit on money he could spend under the law is $54 million for the primaries.

After he became the front runner in the Republican race, he decided that he needed more money and continued fund raising above the limit, including using the FEC funding as collateral for a $4 million loan.

The MSM is widely mis-reporting that McCain didn't receive federal funds, so he is choosing to opt out of the plan. Problem is, it isn't for him to decide. The FEC needs to make a ruling on the matter.

Currently the FEC lacks a quorum because of a standoff between Congress and the President on who to approve for the board. The president (of course) wants to put another lackey in place who would mindlessly do Bush's bidding, which would certainly include a vote against holding McCain to the law he helped write.

The MSM is ignoring this story, but the online effort continues. Even if the FEC refuses to rule on the complaint before the new administration is in power, we can help make this a significant campaign issue if we keep the pressure on. This story is a simple case of a senator breaking the law he helped enact. Usually the media is all over a story like this, except this time there is a lot of resistance to it for some reason.

We need to keep the pressure on. Go over to FDL and sign this petition. The full text of the complaint is HERE. Jane already has over 34,000 signatures, and maybe when they hit 50,000 or 100,000, the MSM will finally take notice.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thanks for nothing, McCain

Veteran Democratic lawmaker John Conyers (D-MI) blasted John Sidney McCain III for his anti-MLK holiday stance back in 1983 and his agreement with the Arizona governor's decision to rescind the holiday in 1987.

So now that it's politically advantageous for him to apologize for a lifetime of wrongful policies, McCain offered up a lame mea culpa for his abominable vote and acquiescence with Governor Mecham's hateful ruling, on the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.

Yeah, like that's going to make everything OK.

Watch Rep. Conyers' face at the end of the video, after he says "Oh, that's great!". The word "Bullshit!" wasn't said, but you can see it hanging there.

I love how politicians like McCain think that saying "I'm sorry" automatically wipes the slate clean of a lifetime of destructive policies and hateful rhetoric. They seem to believe that forgiveness is automatic once a person asks for it. Maybe that's what Christianity teaches as the way to square things with God, but here on Earth, you're supposed to take responsibility for your actions.

"Sorry" doesn't right your wrongs, McCain. It takes actions, not empty words to earn forgiveness.

And nobody's holding their breath to see if you're actually going to do anything to earn it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Everyone should do this once

What I mean is, everyone should ride in a chauffeured Bentley down 5th Avenue at least once in their life.

I finished up the job late today at the hotel, and I wasn't really looking forward to dragging all my luggage and computer hardware the twelve or fifteen blocks to Grand Central during rush hour.

So after I checked out, I stopped at the concierge's desk and asked if they had a courtesy car or shuttle service over to the terminal. He said if the Bentley was available, I was welcome to it.

Obviously he didn't have to mention that twice. I spun through the revolving doors and trundled my luggage down to the curb. The doorman asked if I needed anything, and I told him about the car. He waved the car smartly up to the curb and placed my bags in the trunk.

I didn't wait for the doorman, I opened my own door and slid into total luxury. The aroma of fine leather and immense wealth was intoxicating. If I could capture that smell and market it as a cologne, I'd be rich enough to actually deserve to be in that car.

They usually only drive guests to places within a 10-block radius of the hotel, usually for shopping, so they were being very generous with me. I let the driver drop me off at 44th and Madison so he'd have a quicker time getting back to the hotel. I'm sure there were some ridiculously wealthy people waiting impatiently by the curb back at the hotel for their ride to Cartier's, while a wayward blogger was being schlepped to the train station in the hotel's expensive roadster.

That thought made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So I'm home now. I can cross a few more things off the "stuff I never thought I'd get to do" list. It was an interesting and busy week, but no matter where I've been there's always something satisfying about coming home.

And don't worry, I'll be back to political stuff now.

There'll be a few interesting things to discuss over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Film shoot

Today there was a movie being shot right outside my hotel. A big film crew arrived early and started setting up on 55th St. Around lunchtime I strolled over to see what was going on.

There was a small crowd of people milling around the street corner, near a hot dog vending cart, so I wandered over to check it out.

I walked up next to a couple standing on the sidewalk and looked around. There was a makeup person applying some powder to what I figured was an actor a few feet away. I looked down and realized I was standing right at the end of dolly tracks, and a big Panaflex 35mm camera was mounted on a dolly and pointing my way.

"Excuse me sir! You need to move," a production assistant said to me.

"I'm sorry, I was just watching with these people," I said.

"Those are all extras! You're in the shot! You need to be across the street," she said, pointing to a much bigger crowd, all looking my way.

Ah! That makes sense! I muttered an apology and skulked across the street, somewhat embarrassed.

So I fired off a few shots and quickly left. I don't even know yet what was being filmed, but I can always call my butler and ask him to find out for me.

Butlers rule. Everybody should have one.

I don't know how I survived this long without one.

UPDATE: I asked the concierge instead. He said the movie was "Confessions of a Shopaholic", which apparently is a Disney vehicle with a slew of well-known actors in it, none of whom I saw during the few minutes I was there.

Also, tonight there's a big-time poker tournament for charity being held in the banquet rooms.

With a $5,000 buy-in.

I briefly considered entering, but my tuxedo is out being martinized, so I'm gonna have to sit this one out.