Sunday, August 31, 2008

Never pray for rain

See what it gets you, Stuart Shepard of "Focus on the Family"? You stupid hateful ass!

If I did believe in a Christian god, I'd be pretty sure where he stands with regard to YOU!

Any regrets, Stu? I hope you're praying just as hard for your god to spare the good people of the Gulf Coast from this disaster of "biblical proportions" that's bearing down on them.

Video via Daily Kos

Police "snatch squads" at RNC

Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald over at FireDogLake report that "Ramsey County police raided several homes occupied by people here to protest at the Minneapolis Republican National Convention. It's believed that these were associated with another raid conducted last night, and the target were individuals associated with a group called the RNC Welcoming Committee."

These preemptive police raids against suspected protesters on trumped up or imaginary charges are highly suspect. The search warrants used for the raids are sealed by the police, so the justification for the raids isn't clear.

There's more details from "The Daily Planet Twin Cities", including the fact that one suspected peaceful protester and homeowner was arrested and jailed without charges. MN police may hold someone without charges for up to 36 hours, but that doesn't include weekends or holidays, so this person may be in jail for FIVE days without charges.

Maybe there's time to get him on a plane to Gitmo for some intensive interrogation.

The Daily Planet article also shows a list of items found in the home during the search that could be used for terrorism. Based on the list and the contents of most people's homes, you're all terrorist too. Here's what you can be arrested for and held without charges for up to five days:
* materials to create “sleeping dragons” (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape) to bind people together
* large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine (OK, this one I don't have, but that's because our toilets work)
* wrist rockets
* a machete, hatchet and several throwing knives
* a gas mask and filter (nope, I don't have any of them, either)
* empty glass bottles
* rags
* flammable liquids
* homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads)
* metal pipes
* axes
* bolt cutters
* sledge hammers
* repelling equipment
* Kryptonite locks
* empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields
* material for protective padding
* an Army helmet
So, if you take away the buckets of urine, "caltrops", gas mask and homemade shields (which given the nature of the local police, you'll need just to walk down the street without getting gassed or shot with rubber bullets) most homeowners basically have everything else on the list. So does everyone who lives on my street, and in my town, and all over the nation.

We apparently live in a nation full of terrorists. Expect a "no-knock" visit from the riot squad any time soon. This is George Bush's America!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why does God hate the Republicans?

That's the question John McCain must be asking when he gets down on his knees and prays before his beddy-bye time. How else can he explain that a dangerous Category 4 hurricane is bearing down on the Gulf Coast, with it's arrival timed to hit exactly in the middle of the Republican national convention?

New Orleans is bracing for the worst. And when I say "worst", I'm talking about the worst that FEMA and Homeland Security's response might be. Has Sen. Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, made any progress in disaster preparedness since he took the post early last year? I know one of his first actions was to break his promise to investigate the Katrina disaster response. He blew a golden opportunity to learn valuable details about the mistakes and poor decisions that were made in the immediate wake of Katrina. Lieberman said he wanted to "look ahead", rather than dwell in the past.

Well, we're likely to see just how well our junior senator has "looked ahead" if the storm does hit the Louisiana coast near New Orleans. I sincerely hope that Gustav finds a patch of cooler water and weakens, or it veers elsewhere to a much less populated area. But fate has a bitter sense of irony, and I fear the worst may happen.

Reports are describing how they don't have a refuge of last resort like the Super Dome anymore. If people can't evacuate before the storm hits, they'll have nowhere to go. I can't believe that this is good plan. There are absolutely going to be people who can't or won't evacuate, and for the disaster plan to omit the "last resort" option may endanger countless lives.

I fervently hope that New Orleans and the Gulf coast are spared a repeat of Katrina. They've suffered plenty over the last three years. Hopefully they'll catch a break.

Judgment call

You have to wonder exactly what went on in John Sidney McCain's mind during the VP selection process.

He had a slew of high profile names to choose from, and he ended up selecting a complete unknown who's in the midst of an ongoing ethics investigation. You have to ask yourself, why?

Were they hoping to capture the disaffected Clinton voters? Is it really that big of a group that McCain would sign on a complete unknown for a running mate, solely on the basis of gender?

There were some strong finalists under consideration. My personal favorite, Sen. Joe Lieberman, would have certainly given McCain a viable ticket. Lieberman has done more for Sen. McCain than any other single Republican during the campaign, and I wonder what it was that caused McCain to pass Joe over. Was it the last-minute smear job by Karl Rove against Lieberman that did it? I don't think McCain feels that he can win this without Rove's help, so he may have been afraid to cross him.

That left Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty among the finalists. He's a fairly young and telegenic candidate with strong conservative credentials, and MN is expected to be a battleground state. I don't know of any major drawbacks to his selection, but possibly they found something during the vetting process that eliminated him.

Former MA Gov. Mitt Romney was probably ruled out because of his own mega-millionaire status and his pro-Choice credentials. Massachusetts is strongly Democratic, and he would have been hard pressed to deliver his home state to McCain.

Others such as Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee were eliminated early on in the process.

So why did McCain's campaign wait so long to look at Palin's ethics investigation? Celtic Diva reports:
A very reliable source overheard Republican spokesperson McHugh Pierre state TODAY (Friday) that he had spoken to the McCain Campaign. They are coming to Alaska tomorrow to check out the "Troopergate" investigation.
I'm getting the feeling that McCain's campaign was completely stymied until almost the very last minute on whom to select. This decision has all the characteristics of a rush to judgment.

If this is how McCain makes his decisions, we're all in deep trouble if he wins in November.

Friday, August 29, 2008

She loses the PETA vote

Somebody stop me, please! The more I look into this woman, the better she looks...for the Democrats, that is!

Apparently Sarah Palin is also referred to as the "Wolf Killer", because she repeatedly has refused to sign into law a bill passed by the Alaska legislature to prohibit hunting and shooting wolves from helicopters. I hope when Wolf Blitzer inteviews her, he's wearing Kevlar!

And her favorite food is "moose stew" (whoops! there goes the vegan vote!). Sarah's quite the outdoorsy gal, willing to shoot anything bigger than her head and then throw it in a pot of boiling water.

New McCain-Palin button

Sen. John McCain and running mate "Miss Wasilla 1984".

(Apparently Miss Wasilla was so excited to be selected that she forgot to get dressed for this photo)


Now I'm just being silly:

(no more, I promise!)

Now I've seen everything

Former Nixon speech writer and annoying little fascist Pat Buchanan raves over Barack's speech.

In other news: the Hell Bobsled Team is practicing for the 2010 Winter Olympics!

(H/T to Daily KOS)

Why Palin would be a perfect choice

10:36AM BREAKING NEWS: CNN just confirmed that Palin IS the VP pick for McCain.

(In related news, Sen. Joe Lieberman was last seen standing on a ledge somewhere, muttering "Boned again...")

This morning CNN and MSNBC is reporting that a private jet from Anchorage arrived in Dayton, possibly carrying Governor Sarah Palin. While I'm mourning the fact that Joe Lieberman probably won't be selected, there are some very good reasons why she would be a great VP choice from the Democratic point of view:

1. Ethics scandal: She fired the Public Safety Commissioner who allegedly wouldn't discipline the State Trooper who was married to her sister. In the video, she claims the divorce was over several years ago, but the ongoing child custody case has been nasty, and the officer in question has been stalked by members of Palin's family and confidential state information on the officer has been leaked.

2. Experience: Palin was elected governor in 2006, meaning she's had less than TWO YEARS of experience. Apparently, as far as the GOP is concerned, experience ISN'T very important as a requirement for the Presidency. Especially when you consider that John McCain, turning 72 this week, will likely not complete two terms and the VP choice will be the President. There goes that "lack of experience" meme about Obama.

3. MILF factor: This might not be a valid reason against Ms. Palin, but her obvious good looks (former runner-up Miss Alaska) will provide endless fodder for Daily Show/Colbert Report/Letterman/Leno writers. And it has the added benefit of making John McCain the ugliest candidate out of both tickets. While this is a trite and facetious reason, nobody ever lost a dime by under estimating the shallowness of the the general public.

Here's Ms. Palin speaking about the scandal:

UPDATE: Politico reports Pawlenty won't be in Dayton today, says "was honored to be considered". If true, it's probably a bitter reaction to being passed over for VP, so he's spoiling McCain's suprise announcement. Little miffed are ya, Tim?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Obama accepts the nomination

Here's a quick video of the historic moment. This is one of those times you'll always remember where you were when it happened.

Get ready for the mud

As the Democratic National Convention winds down, the GOP propaganda machine is coming to life. The upcoming week will probably see a world record for the number of lies and half-truths emanating from the Karl Rove-inspired Republican efforts to demonize Barack Obama.

It's already happening to some extent, with commercials and online videos that chop and parse Obama's words into something completely misleading. A good example is the recent ad that has Barack supposedly saying that Iran was a "tiny" nation and not a significant threat. Those are words that speak directly to the unspecific fears of middle America that the GOP lie merchants are trying to inflame.

Well, the context of those words was conveniently and deliberately omitted. Obama was discussing the comparative total mutually-assured destructive threat to the U.S. of the Cold War Soviet Union to Iran's fledging nuclear program. Of course, the GOP liars and warhawks wouldn't want you to know the truth.

The truth is, and this bears repeating at every opportunity, is that Barack Obama believes in diplomacy as a vital step in keeping our nation secure. He believes that war is the LAST resort, to be used only if all else fails.

John McCain and George Bush believe war is the ONLY resort. They bomb first, and worry about the mess they make later. Meanwhile, they create more terrorists with every bomb they drop.

So the GOP lies about Obama. And they'll continue to lie, all the way until November. They'll turn lying into an evil art form.

What we can do is become aware of the truth to counter the incessant lies of the GOP. Spread the word to correct their obvious lies. The Republican propaganda machine is rumbling to life as I write this, and they'll stop at nothing to ensure their way of death, destruction, and record profits for the military-industrial complex continues forever. And we'll all suffer for it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ayuh We Can!

This is a photo from last night, about sunset at Ocean Point near Boothbay Harbor. Maine is a very picturesque state, especially along the coast.

It was cool to see the amount of cars driving around with Obama bumper stickers on them. And we have a chance to take a Republican senate seat and defeat a Lieberman friend, Sen. Sue Collins, by supporting Democratic challenger Tom Allen. I know you probably are distracted by all the cool stuff happening in Denver right now, but don't forget to visit Tom Allen's website and maybe consider helping out with a donation or some of your time. Ned Lamont took some of his time to appear with Tom in Maine and he endorses him.

We need the seats in the senate, since after January when Joe's favorite butt-boy John Sidney McCain III loses by a landslide, he'll certainly abandon any pretense of caucusing with the Democrats altogether. We can use the seat.

Separated at Birth? Part II

You'll have to excuse me, I'm very busy and need to stop stalling and get to work.

But really, John McCain DID wake up one morning and found he'd turned into George Bush.

No way, no how, no McCain

Hillary made me happy last night.

"I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

Also this:

Saziz577 has a great thread on MLN describing yesterday's events, with lots of photos. Go over there and share the love.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maine Blogging

This evening finds me up in lovely Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I had some work in New Hampshire today, and tomorrow morning I'm scheduled to be in Augusta ME, about 40 minutes from here.

So, since I'm staying up in this area tonight, I dropped in at my niece's new restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, the Bridge Street Cafe, conveniently located at the western end of the pedestrian bridge across the harbor. If you're ever in town for breakfast or lunch, drop in and say "Hi" to my niece Sharon and enjoy a reasonably priced meal.

It's about 9:30PM right now, and I'm watching Bob Casey's speech on CNN. I'm trying to catch up on a full-day's missed coverage, so I'll be reading other blogs while the TV drones on. I'll also be checking in on My Left Nutmeg's excellent Convention Coverage, featuring Saziz, Tessa Marquis, Mike Brown, and others. Be sure to drop by and follow the developments!

Separated at birth?

Chris Shayney?

(h/t to Oldswede)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Shays crashes Himes presser in Bridgeport

Probably not one of the congressman's better moments, Chris Shays inserted himself in a public press conference by Jim Himes and members of Bridgeport's City Council.

The video below has snippets from some of the more civil moments in the exchange; apparently there wasn't video taken where Chris Shays appears to be doing his best to imitate Dick Cheney's angry sneer as portrayed in the photo above.

Rush Limbaugh's dream

And no, I'm not talking about his desire to achieve a non-Viagra assisted arousal.

That would be "Rush Limbaugh's WET dream".

Now that I've completely nauseated all of you, here's what I'm really talking about. Four months ago on his stupid radio show, Limbaugh blathered about his "dream" of rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Something along the lines of the "police riot" that occurred in Chicago in 1968, and was at least partially responsible for Richard Nixon's election later that year.

(Rush's "dream" convention)

That's some dream you got there, Rush. Compare that to MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, or Barack Obama's "Dreams of My Father", and you can see just how diseased Limbaugh's mind has become. The man is suffering from cancer of the soul.

Big ol' Ed over at Caterwauled has a nice video from Fox News that exemplifies the wingnut's most hallowed hope for the convention. They're trying real hard to color the event as a "riot" or "disruption", when in fact it appears to be merely a peaceful march...except that everyone is yelling "Fuck Fox News!"

Funny thing about some of those marchers in Ed's video. I don't doubt for a minute that the bandanna'd marchers are RNC plants sent to try to mess things up. The real activists are willing to show their faces and stand up for their beliefs. Typical Republican dirty tricks. Hopefully some inventive blogger on the scene will somehow manage to expose them and their tactics.

I'm fairly certain that Limbaugh's rant below falls under our nation's first amendment speech protections, since he clouded his rhetoric with the word "dream" rather than expressly saying he encouraged riots to break out in Denver; which would likely run afoul of one or more Federal laws against inciting a riot or conspiracy to do something stupid or similar stuff (I'm not a lawyer, obviously). But his meaning four months ago was clear, and it remains crystal clear today.

As crazy as he's been known to be, he has clearly crossed a line here. Someone spring a drug test on Rush; I'll bet a million bucks that he's pissing pure Oxycontin.

Video via CT Blogger, the hardest working blogger in Connecticut.

Vegas glitz in Denver

On with the show, this is it!

The Democrats are sparing little expense to make sure the convention looks and sounds like a big Las Vegas production. Judging from the "sets" they've built, I wouldn't be surprised to see Cirque du Soleil start leaping and pirouetting across the stage during the keynote address!

Wow, this is gonna be so cool! I can't wait to see the lasers and fog machines kick in!

Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin a week from now in Minnesota. They apparently don't have the Democrats' huge budget, so their convention will appear considerably less flashy.

Here's how I imagine it will look:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tanned, rested, and ready!

(Sunset at Watch Hill, RI - August 17th)

Well, I can't say I'm displeased at how the world somehow managed to get by without me for another week. Honestly, I didn't really miss it all that much either.

The Olympics came wheezing to an end; Barack Obama selected (wisely, I think) Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate; and the NY Mets amazingly won six out of nine games holding onto first place in the NL East, most of which we listened to on our solar/hand-crank powered radio.

We spent nights anchored in New London, Watch Hill, Block Island, and Mattituck NY before heading home. Ate some great food, both at restaurants and fresh from our grill, and did a lot of biking. Visited wineries on the North Fork, walked beaches on three sides of Block Island, and met a lot of interesting people.

And there wasn't a drop of rain in nine days!

Anyway, I'm back, and once I catch up on the rest of the big and little news, I'll continue my regularly scheduled posting. Comments are turned back on, so feel free to welcome me back!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gone Sailing, Part II

We're off to Block Island this week. I'll be back next weekend, so go check out some of the other blogs listed on the sidebar. The fact that I'm going away almost guarantees that something huge will happen this week, so enjoy whatever big news story that occurs. I'm sure I'll hear about it eventually.

Like last time, commenting is disabled until I get back. The good news is that my next vacation probably won't be until January, when I go to DC for President Obama's inauguration!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Malloy to Blumenthal: November deadline

Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy spoke to me the night of the 4th CD primary, and I asked him about a run for higher office. He said that if Attorney General Dick Blumenthal doesn't commit to run shortly after the November election, Malloy will announce his intention to run. Currently the only challenger that's announced is House Speaker Jim Amann.

Malloy was the selected party nominee for Governor at the 2006 convention, but lost to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano in a close primary. DeStefano lost to incumbent Gov. Jodi Rell.

Malloy's November deadline follows conventional wisdom that it takes a good two years for a challenger to gain enough momentum to knock off a popular incumbent. Gov. Rell is enjoying approval ratings that belie her actual job performance.

This one minute video shows Malloy answering my question about a potential run for governor.

Himes Primary Night celebration

Tuesday night Jim Himes won the Democratic nomination for Congress easily over candidate Lee Whitnum by a margin of nearly 9 to 1. This video shows the events of the evening, including interviews with Stamford mayor Dan Malloy (watch as Jim arrived in the background during the interview), Senate candidate (26th Dist) John Hartwell, and a of course, Jim Himes himself.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

100% Bush

John Sidney McCain III claims to be a "maverick".

Apparently, his definition of the word means "going along with George Bush on everything!"

(h/t to FDL)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Batman I am

I'm beyond tired today!

Last night was a blast at the Jim Himes victory celebration, and I got home a little after 11PM. I stayed up for a while and read a bunch of blogs and primary returns for various races around the state, and then I went to bed while Colbert was on.

Joyce was sound asleep, and I joined her and slept hard for a few hours.

Around 3AM, I heard a "thump" against the window. It was loud enough to shake me out of a solid sleep. I groggily listened to a rustling sound in the drapes and a thud as something fell to the floor.

I snapped fully awake and groped for the light switch. I figured a squirrel or something like that got in the house. When I hit the light, I peered over the edge of the bed and right there on the carpet was an enormous bat flailing around!

I sprung out of bed and yelled "Joyce, there's a goddamned bat in here!" She screamed and pulled the sheet up over her head. The bat, obviously freaked out by all the sudden commotion, took flight around the bedroom.

I yelled for Joyce to stay under the sheets and then immediately ran from the room, slamming the door behind me. While this might not appear to be the most chivalrous thing I've ever done, my initial thought was that I didn't want that thing flying all over our house.

Joyce was screaming with alarming regularity while I simultaneously offered words of encouragement through the closed door and dressed myself in jeans, a hoodie, a pillow case around my head, and a baseball cap holding it in place. I found a pair of gloves and put them on, too. I'm deathly afraid of rabies, and I know bats that feed on road kill occasionally carry the disease.

Joyce had progressed from constant screaming to intermittently complaining between screams about how hot it was under the sheets and when the hell was I going to do something about this animal? I returned to the room, slamming the door behind me. The bat was doing laps around the room, and I ducked frequently to avoid contact.

When the animal took a break and stuck itself to the curtain rod, I hollered for Joyce to get out of the room. She flung herself through the door and I closed it behind her.

Now it was just me and the bat. Mano a bato. This was the moment of truth!

I went over to the window, opened it wide, and removed the screen. Then I waved my arms around and got the bat flying again. It circled the room while I ducked and, according to Joyce, screamed like a frightened schoolgirl. I don't fully believe her version of the events, and choose to believe that I stoically kept my composure in the face of possible danger, and did what was needed to resolve the situation.

Suddenly it was quiet. The bat was gone. I hadn't seen it fly out the window, but Joyce and I went around the room, looking behind the furniture and on top of the drapes. It was gone.

By this time it was nearly 4AM, and we were both way too freaked out to sleep. Joyce turned on the TV while I grappled with a convenient bottle of the ol' single malt, and I poured myself a tot of scotch, neat. The booze along with my returning grogginess helped me get back to sleep, and we both crashed for another few hours.

It was quite the fun evening!

So, what does this little story have to do with anything?

Not much, except the little bugger apparently was lying low rather than enjoying certain freedom, because about an hour ago I heard Joyce screaming from the dining room. Sure enough, the little bastard was back doing laps, this time between the living room and kitchen.

So I did what any experienced bat-wrangler would do, and I put on a robe and a hat, grabbed the Swifter and my video camera, and prepared for the battle that would settle this once and for all.

Below are some clips of our courageous and epic struggle to evict the beast. Watch and enjoy. And after seeing the video, I'm realize that Joyce may be accurate in regard to my screaming abilities.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

10:25PM Wrap up

CT Blogger from Hat City Blog and Connecticut Blog, along with Charles Monaco from the Jim Himes campaign discuss the issues.

And by issues, I mean trading gossip.

I just interviewed Jim outside; all my interviews were out in front of the pub because the music and chatter was too loud inside to get decent audio.

Jim is very much looking forward to immediately starting his campaign for the general election. Judging from the results tonight, when thousands of voters turned out to support a candidate that was already expected to win easily is a huge vote of confidence for Jim and his progressive message of change.

It's going to be a really fun campaign going into November, that's for sure!

I'm done for the evening. More later this week (before vacation, hopefully!)

10:05PM Interviews

Jim is interviewed for Cablevision News 12.

Mary Himes with Tessa and Mike. Who doesn't love Mike's shirt that has a "South Park" character that looks exactly like him?

A bit earlier, Jim's mom Judy came up to me and said she was a big fan of my blog. I can't tell you how awesome it is to hear stuff like that!

9:37 PM Himes Wins!

Jim's speech 9:28PM

I didn't get any photos because I was busy shooting video, but Jim delivered an inspiring talk, and his wife Mary introduced him and said that of 7,000 votes counted so far, Jim has received 90%.

Photos courtesy of Sue from MLN

So I'm gonna go way out on a limb and predict Jim Himes will be the Democratic candidate for Congress!

9:10PM More photos

Jim just arrived. He looks like a winner!

Minutes before, I got a good interview with Dan Malloy.

Jim discusses the issues with JonK.

Greeting friends at the pub, Jim is enjoying the fun.

Tessa Marquis and Senate Candidate (26th Dist.) John Hartwell share a laugh.

Early reports are saying Jim is ahead by an unbeatable margin. More shortly.


Jon Kantrowitz and Mike Brown just got here. Lots of bloggers and activists walking around. Tessa and I just called into Aldon's "Blog Radio Show".

The music is so goddamned loud in here that I can't hardly hear anything. So I'm hoping they'll lower the music soon.

Live Blogging from Himes HQ

Not really the HQ, but the Black Bear in Norwalk. I just arrived and they have wifi, so I'll try to live blog as much as I can between shooting video.

Here's a table full of blogger types.

Get Out and Vote!

Here's to all the unsung heroes of any successful campaign: the GOTV volunteers! You guys ROCK!

GOTV (Get Out The Vote) volunteers are the people who can make the big difference in a close election, and many candidates will need YOUR help this November if you want them to win. If you have any time at all, even one day or one evening free, be sure to volunteer by contacting the campaign through their websites.

It's fun and fulfilling, and you'll be helping all of us get better leaders in government. It's a WIN-WIN situation!

Pictured above are GOTV volunteers working the phones for Jim Himes, who's facing Lee Whitnum in the Democratic Primary for Congress in the 4th District.

Tonight I'll be reporting from the Black Bear Saloon (80 Washington St, Norwalk) to watch primary results with Jim and his supporters, wifi access permitting.

Today is primary day in many communities. CT Local Politics has a full rundown of all the State Rep. and State Senate races in Connecticut today, so check over there and keep score.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Will Russia listen to Bush?

I'm not holding my breath.

Today President Bush returned from his vacation in the Stalinist nation of China and he issued a strong warning to Russia that they must agree to an immediate cease fire in Georgia, or else.

Or else what?

Or else George Bush will be very very angry with them. And he will write a strongly worded letter to the Russians saying how very angry he is.

That'll teach 'em!

Because, after seven years of Bush's illegal actions, we've lost the moral authority to tell any other nation how to act. Indeed, there's no threat that Bush can make right now that would compel the Russians to change what they're doing.

There are many costs associated with the war in Iraq that aren't obvious at first, but this is the sort of thing that knocks the air out of any argument we can make with how other nations behave. We'll be suffering from the "Bush Effect" for years, if not decades, as a result of this disastrous administration.

Thanks a lot, George.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spazeboy gets the girl

Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Spazeboy! All the very best to you both!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE: JonK had a suggestion for a new "Kiss Float"...

Here ya go:

OK everybody! All at once now!


Some might call it a bribe

Sen. Joe Lieberman, in a completely transparent attempt to curry favor with Senate Democrats, has given $115,000 to the DSCC, according to a report at CNN.Com.

There are two possible reasons why Joe has suddenly become so generous towards the Democrats after several years of criticizing their actions and supporting a Republican for president:

1) He truly likes the Democrats and wants to help further the Democratic platform, or,

2) His seat as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee is at risk and he's attempting to shore up support against what will likely be his eventual expulsion early next year.

Here's how I see it playing out:

Joe, having given a bag of other people's money to the Dems, will get a nice Thank You note from some lower level official at the DSCC. Then, in November the Democrats will win a substantial majority in the Senate to go along with President Obama. The Democrats will decide they don't need Lieberman's mealy-mouthed "support", which in fact has been completely ineffective on the big issues, and they'll strip him on his HSC chairmanship.

Sometime in March or April, Lieberman will announce his retirement from the Senate for "health reasons" to allow Gov. Rell the opportunity to appoint an honest Republican as interim Senator in his place.

After years of Lieberman's weaselly lying, it'll be a refreshing change to have a senator who honestly opposes the Democrats, rather than a useless GOP surrogate who claims to caucus with the Dems but actually works stealthily to undermine their agenda.

As much as it pains me to say this, I'll take an honest Republican over a fraudulent "Independent Democrat" shill any day.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

If Lee Whitnum was smart...


...sorry, I can't think of anything to finish that sentence.

L O L !!!!


Let me try this again.

If Lee Whitnum was the slightest bit intelligent, she wouldn't be trying to win the Democratic nomination for Congress.

After all, her platform breaks with the Democrats in several major areas. And she has absolutely negligible support from the Democrats. And she apparently had her one major fund raiser hosted by a prominent Greenwich Republican.

Also, once this primary is over, she'll most definitely sink back into relative obscurity having made only the smallest of ripples in the 4th District political pond.

No, if Lee was smart, she wouldn't be running as a Democrat.

Instead, she should have petitioned as an independent candidate. Maybe she could have formed a party similar to the one begun by our junior senator. She could call it the "Connecticut for Whitnum" party.

Here's why it would have been a good idea for her. First, she'd be on the ballot come November 4th, instead of losing on August 12th. This way she'd get the media to pay attention to her extreme rhetoric for the next three months. She'd make headlines spouting her outrageous claims and wild positions on the issues.

Plus, she'd have a valid excuse to be involved in the Himes/Shays debates, since as a petitioning candidate, she'd be given the same courtesy that the other 3rd party guy received in 2006. I'm talking about Joe Lieberman, not Alan Schlesinger; although judging from the lack of support he received from his own party, you'd think Alan was running on the "Wacky Space Alien Party" line instead of the hallowed old GOP line. So much for loyalty, eh?

Of course, the deadline for petitioning onto the ballot has passed, which is why I didn't mention this before. Because if she had thought of it, she'd certainly be smart enough to see that this was a sure way to get all the attention she seems to crave.

Or, maybe not.

The Edwards Effect

OK, I've calmed down a bit since yesterday, so maybe I'll manage to be a little more coherent here. I'm still quite upset with John Edwards though, so if I launch into another rant, I beg your forgiveness in advance.

Any personal issues aside, I think the real effect of this mess is going to be in the vetting of candidates from now on. If Edwards had managed to somehow win the nomination and this news surfaced, we'd almost definitely have President McCain being sworn in this coming January.

And Edwards was on the list of potential VP candidates for Barack Obama's ticket. We've had problems like this before, and it all boils down to the VP candidate being dishonest about their past during the vetting process.

Remember Thomas Eagleton? He (pictured above) was the senator from Missouri chosen to be George McGovern's running mate in the contentious 1972 campaign. It turns out that Eagleton forgot about his mental breakdowns and history of electric shock treatments in the 1960's.

Talk about an inconvenient truth! Eagleton was forced to withdraw from the race, and Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver took his place. McGovern's campaign basically fell to pieces after that and Nixon went on to win reelection by a huge landslide.

How about Gary Hart, remember him? The married Colorado senator was the hands-down Democratic favorite going into the 1988 campaign. Hart was dogged by rumors of infidelity for years, but he proudly dared the media to "follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'll be very bored."

Soon thereafter, photos appeared of the senator with a comely blond named Donna Rice sitting on his lap while overnighting in Bimini aboard a yacht appropriately named "Monkey Business". A week later he dropped out of the race. George H.W. Bush became our next president.

I think there's something at work besides simple hubris. It almost appears pathological the way some politicians seem to need to "break the rules" and get away with it. The idea that not only can they do anything they want, but they also get some kind of rush by lying and getting away with it.

Sure, the Eagleton thing is more a matter of someone who wants to hide a damaging past, like George W. Bush's alleged drunk driving and cocaine use or his AWOL Air National Guard service. But the likes of Gary Hart and John Edwards indicate a complete lack of any sense of responsibility for their actions, along with an indifference to the damage they will cause if their indiscretions become public.

There's one thing that I'm sure of, and that is the vetting process for VP and presidential candidates has suddenly gotten much more stringent. If they asked me, I'd say that hooking them up to lie detectors like they do with CIA applicants would be a good start. If they can't stand it to sweat it out hooked up to the machine for a few minutes, then they probably lack the intestinal fortitude to run for high office anyway.

Because, as the Edwards scandal shows, it's become tragically apparent that we can't trust anyone on their word alone anymore.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Christ on a pony!

What is it about people? Why are they so fucking dumb ALL THE TIME?!?

Thanks for the moral turpitude, you dumb sonofabitch!

Jesus, first Eliot, and now this!

Didn't you ever hear of condoms, you idiot?

You know, these fucking things? Goddammit!

* * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE: Um, upon re-reading that, it might look like I'm saying that it's OK to screw around as long as you use protection.

It's not.

I don't give a flying fuck what anyone does in their private life if they aren't running for office. But someone like John Edwards, who loudly and publicly criticized Bill Clinton for his intern fucking, for him to bang some random broad looks like the absolute height of hypocrisy. And he actively sought the nomination of our party for president. God knows what would happen if he had managed to WIN it! (can you say PRESIDENT McCAIN? Shit, untold thousands of Iranians would be dead because Edwards couldn't keep his wick dry!)

And don't even mention how he's treating his poor wife and family. It's sickening. I'd love to smash him in his stupid smug face for putting them through this!

August 8, 2006

And lest we forget, there's a much happier anniversary today.

Two years ago today Ned Lamont defeated three-term incumbent Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination for Senate, chasing Lieberman from the party.

And Joe's been getting back at us ever since!

August 8, 1974

34 years ago today, the second worst president in history announced his resignation in the wake of all three articles of impeachment passing in the House. At noon tomorrow, it will be the actual anniversary of the moment his resignation took effect.

I remember being a teenager, watching the proceedings on a little 13" black & white TV in my room. The weather outside wasn't perfect, but it was still summer and I knew that in a month I'd be back in high school. I hated the idea of wasting a day of my precious school break to watch TV. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to watch it, knowing even then it was a moment in history.

Back in those days, it seemed there were earth shaking events occurring with startling regularity every few months. My formative years were marked by the televised images of JFK's funeral, the daily nightmare of Vietnam, the devastating Apollo 1 fire (on my birthday!), Martin Luther King's and Bobby Kennedy's shocking murders, an astronaut taking that dramatic first step on the Moon, and the growing spectacle about something called the Watergate Scandal. My memories of these events are set in fuzzy black & white images.

There are arguably greater threats to our nation now than there were in the turbulent late 60's and early 70's. I don't know for sure, because it's hard to have a clear perspective when you're right in the middle of history-making events while they're happening. It might take another 20 or so years before we have an accurate frame of reference to compare this decade with the one above. But there's no doubt that we are in an historic time, and the course our nation chooses over the next several months will certainly have repercussions that will echo for decades.

For this reason it's good to study history, just to provide some insight as to what is happening today. I'm convinced that the crimes of the Bush administration are at the very least comparable to those of Nixon's (and certainly more far-reaching than the charges brought against Bill Clinton, even though he deserved to be impeached), and yet we'll probably not ever witness a photo taken that resembles the circumstances of the one at the top of this article.

But I can still dream, can't I?

John Quinn update

OK, this is funny.

I never claimed that video bloggers aren't occasionally annoying in their own way. But from the follow up video below, you can see just how the heckler deals with the situation when the tables are turned.

The video blogger follows Quinn out of the hall and asks him questions. He starts whining to the police, repeatedly, that he's being "harassed", when in fact the video blogger is simply exercising the exact same First Amendment rights that Quinn himself took advantage of when he disrupted Sen. Obama's speech.

I'm astounded by the utter hypocrisy of these pseudo-patriots like John Quinn who interrupt speeches to scream about the flag and then demand that anyone who opposes them be silenced or arrested. Hey asshole, it's STILL a free country!

And maybe you should try that shit at a McCain rally and see if you get even a fraction of the leeway you were given the other day. If you're LUCKY, you'll ONLY be shouted down by the rabid crowd. I've heard of hecklers being physically assaulted in those instances.

(Video by blogger interrupted)

Howard Dean on McCain

BigDavefromQueens over at DailyKos credits Howard Dean with coming up with the best line of the year regarding the election. He stated:
"The John McCain of 2000 wouldn't even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008."
Dave then goes on to list all the reasons why this is effective:
1. It's true.
2. It's funny.
3. It links McCain to Bush's Third Term.
4. It shows McCain's lack of integrity.
5. It reminds people that John McCain is the world champion flip flopper.
6. It reveals how unelectable McCain's 2008 stands on position are.
7. It reminds people of McCain's radical associations.
8. It eviscerates his prior claims of independence and bipartisanship.
9. It's pointed without coming across as negative.
10. It serves as a gateway to a litany of talking points.
11. It demonstrates that John McCain will say or do anything to get elected.
We all remember Big Dave (who dropped the "big" from his handle and is now known as simply "DaveFromQueens") as one of the most colorful characters on the scene during the Lamont-Lieberman race. Dave would often show up at Lieberman events wearing his Bush mask and confront the senator. Here's my favorite image of Dave:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Intellectual dishonesty

Whenever I appear at a political event as part of the media, I make no effort to hide my identity or attempt to execute some hidden agenda. I wear my ID badge on my media tags and never hesitate to reveal my name and website when asked. Even at those events where I'm clearly not in agreement with the prevailing political philosophy, I play it straight and do my job.

Which is why this guy annoys me so much.

Apparently, some idiot received a press pass for the media platform at a town meeting in Ohio where Barack Obama spoke yesterday. The guy decided it was his duty to interrupt the presidential candidate while he was speaking and scream that he absolutely needed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance right NOW! Much to his credit, Barack Obama didn't try to shout the guy down; in fact, he led the entire gathering in the Pledge, which was very classy and served to diffuse what could have been an ugly incident.

Now, I don't have a problem with somebody on the floor of a public meeting wanting his opinion to be heard (although it's rude to shout like a maniac when someone else is talking), but I do strongly object to this guy's use of the media riser to make his point.

The media riser is a platform that's supposed to be used solely by people from the media (and political blogs these days) for covering the event, not for making political statements. By applying for and receiving media credentials, in effect the guy is saying that he is there for the purpose of reporting or photographing the event. If he insists on making a spectacle of himself, he should wait in line and get in with the rest of the private citizens, and not use false pretenses to give himself a very visible stage from which to spew his hidden agenda.

I use the word "agenda" because of what happened afterwards.

When the speeches ended, the other "honest" media on the platform asked him who he was and what motivated his outburst. The guy was very indignant and refused to identify himself or explain his motivation, except for some awkward rationalizations that public meetings should always start with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Well, a little digging by the Cleveland Plain Dealer (photo credit above) exposed why he was so reticent to identify himself. His name is John Quinn of Parma, OH and (surprise, surprise!) it turns out he's a registered REPUBLICAN!

Obviously, the GOP is so threatened by Obama's candidacy that they've taken to sending in covert operatives under the guise of media to try and precipitate some kind of embarrassing incident. This is just another example of the sort of dirty tricks the GOP has long been associated with. Back in 1972, Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President (C.R.E.E.P.) made dirty tricks part of the political lexicon once the Watergate hearings exposed their methods.

But the GOP of the 21st century is now taking dirty tricks to the level of an art form. They learned their lessons well from Karl Rove. Don't be surprised to hear about more and more of these kinds of things happening as we get closer to the election. If there's one thing I know about the GOP, it's the fact that they'll never pass up a chance for intellectual dishonesty if they think there's any advantage to be gained by it.

Here's the video; you watch it and decide on this guy's motives:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sen. Lieberman knows how to multitask

Audio from the "Chaz & A.J." show on WPLR-FM 99.1 yesterday.

I'm wondering if this is a metaphor for his career after January?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Himes-Whitnum debate video

Here is the entire 28 minute video from Cablevision's News 12 "Focus On Connecticut" program of the Jim Himes-Lee Whitnum debate, taped a week ago in Norwalk.

With just about a week to go before the August 12th primary, I think it's important for this debate to be available to voters who might not have Cablevision. I did wait until after the weekend so News 12 could show the program repeatedly.

Anchorman Tom Appleby did a terrific job moderating what was a difficult debate. And if you aren't already subscribed, you should order Cablevision to receive their outstanding local coverage that isn't available through any other source.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I won't be watching

I've written about the Bejing Olympics several times; here, here, here, here, and here, among other places.

As you might gather, I'm no fan of China's government.

I am, however, a major sports fan.

So it's going to be very painful for me to NOT watch the upcoming Bejing Olympics over the coming two weeks, starting this Friday. But I'm choosing to forgo watching the events because I don't want to be even the tiniest bit in agreement with what I expect will be an exhibition of Chinese nationalism and propaganda that will rival the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The Chinese government may be our nation's favorite source for cheap goods and such, but they also lead the world in repression and human rights violations. As bad as the U.S. has gotten in recent years, I think we'll be getting back on the right track starting early next year, when President Obama and a Democratic Congress will work together to correct some of the worst excesses of the Bush/Cheney regime.

China has complained bitterly about the criticism of their actions, of course. They are experts at playing the "victim". I've seen countless examples in the media of our need to avoid "hurting the feelings" of the Chinese people; as if the whole world is mean and unfair, and poor little China is just trying to get along as best they can.

Sorry, I won't buy it.

However, I don't expect China to change anytime soon. Not as long as we continue giving them tacit approval of their awful policies in exchange for cheap toys and dog food that occasionally won't poison our children or our pets. And an uncritical media is accepting China's censorship and restrictions because their corporate owners will get a windfall of viewers and advertising dollars.

Will my little protest make any difference in the larger picture? Of course not.

But I will be able to sleep a little better at night. And the NY Mets are still on the air, so I'll get my sports fix by screaming at my TV and spewing vial abuse at their awful bullpen (they blew yet ANOTHER 2-run lead in the 9th last night!)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

My interview with Chris Shays

It hasn't happened yet, but I'm working on it.

For several months now I've been going back and forth with the Chris Shays (CT-4) people to try to set up a video interview with the congressman. I'm currently trying to interview all of our state's representatives, having already taped Chris Murphy (CT-5), and I've been in touch with Rosa DeLauro's (CT-3) staff about scheduling an interview.

Chris Shays offered to sit for an interview with me after one of his 4th District "town meetings" in Bridgeport last April, when he mistakenly accused CT Blogger and myself of being paid video "trackers" for the Jim Himes campaign. In fact, we're both independent "People-Powered Media", but that doesn't preclude us (or Fox News, for that matter) from having opinions or favoring one party over another.

But Chris was gracious when we corrected him and afterwards he made it a point to apologize to me and CT Blogger personally for singling us out and making his comments, saying that he normally would never do something like that. He seemed genuinely sorry, so I asked him if he'd be willing to do a one-on-one interview with me. He immediately agreed and invited me to come to his Bridgeport home as soon as he could schedule it. I exchanged email addresses with one of his staff and thanked him.

Over the next several weeks we exchanged emails trying to find a time slot that was mutually convenient for the both of us. Chris of course was busy with Congress being in session, and I had professional and personal commitments that made it difficult for us to sync up. Eventually I think we both sort of put the interview on a back burner.

Then last week at Jim Himes's Bridgeport "town meeting", I noticed to my surprise that there was a video tracker there from Chris Shays's campaign. So I went over and introduced myself. The camera operator's name I didn't get, but his supervisor's name was Sean and he took my card and said he'd try to have someone get in touch with me.

When I got home that night, I looked up the email exchange I'd had several months ago with the Shays people and found the name of Dave Natonski, Shays's press secretary, and I renewed my request for an interview. I'm waiting to hear back from him.

Hopefully we'll manage to schedule something later this month, because after Labor Day all the campaigns will kick into full swing and it'll be much more difficult to schedule an interview. I understand that Chris might be somewhat reticent to be interviewed by someone who runs such an obviously left-leaning blog, but he can rest assured that I'll be fair and play this one straight. Despite what some may think, I truly believe that democracy is best served when people know as much as possible about the candidates.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I guess it's safe to open my mail now

Ever since the anthrax scare that started in the days immediately following the terrorist attacks, I've been afraid to open my mail.

So I've been having CT Joyce open it! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

But seriously ladies and germs...

Today the news said that the guy likely responsible for mailing the deadly anthrax spores killed himself as authorities were closing in to finally arrest him.

It's been nearly SEVEN years since the attacks, and the suspect lived and worked in this country. No wonder George Bush hasn't been able to find Osama bin Laden!

Another disturbing fact is that the guy was an anthrax researcher and he apparently was a nasty bit of business indeed. From the Associated Press:
The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, worked at the Army's biological warfare labs at Ft. Detrick, Md., for 18 years until his death on Tuesday. He had a long history of homicidal threats, according to papers recently filed in local court by a social worker.
Let me get this straight. The guy was a scientist who worked with anthrax just about every day, and he had a history of making homicidal threats since college, and they only get around to investigating hims NOW?!?

You gotta be fucking kidding me!

It's a miracle this administration manages to do ANYTHING right!


Regular guy and humble "average Joe" Republican presidential candidate John Sidney McCain III is revealed to be a pampered elitist when it comes to his footwear, according the the Huffington Post.

Photos show the snooty millionaire wearing a pretentious pair of Ferragamo loafers priced at a dizzying $520! McCain's carefully crafted "every man" media image is in serious danger of being being blown out of the water by these photos.

Perhaps John Sidney the Third should have encased his feet in a pair of shoes that would be more in line with the fairy tale concocted for him. Here's an image of a similar set of footwear that many of his penny-pinching constituents can afford:

Other than lacking those Sterling silver buckles, they're identical. Fourteen bucks at Walmart. I wonder how many voters in middle America wear shoes like these instead of those $520 foot-caressing hand-crafted Italian leather loafers?

Only $14. With the other $506 he'll save, maybe he can help pay down the trillion dollar cost of the war he so lovingly embraces.