January 2008 Archives

New York Times


"No, your computer isn't misfiring."

That's how The Wall Street Journal is introducing Environmental Capital -- its first blog on the environment (and business), which actually is an outgrowth of, and absorbs, its existing Energy Roundup blog.

Oh sure, like Fox News is fair and balanced this blog will be about conservation and the environment.

I ain't holding my breath for any truthiness to come out of that blog.
Star-Tribune

In the second surprise development in as many days in Kentucky congressional races, Rep. Ron Lewis abruptly ended his re-election campaign Tuesday.

Lewis, a Republican, withdrew from the race only moments before the campaign filing deadline, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. His chief of staff, Daniel London, filed to enter the race. Republican state Sen. Brett Guthrie also filed for the seat.

Number 23? And why? Spending more time with his family. Yeah, right.


You know, I was trying to come up with something snarky, but it just doesn't seem fair anymore. All this bad news happening to the Republicans so often, so quickly, it would be harder to shoot ducks in a barrel.

Problems at Florida Primary Polls

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Orlando Sentinel

On Florida Primary day, voters are reporting problems across Central Florida from Daytona Beach to Hunter's Creek. Among the precincts experiencing glitches was one in Orange County where voters were told by poll workers early on there was no Democratic primary today.

.....

Phil Marjason said poll workers at precinct 145 in Hunter's Creek would not give him a Democratic ballot.

"I thought it was plain wrong," he said. "We need to get Florida straightened out."

Orange County Election Supervisor Bill Cowles confirmed that the clerk at the precinct made a mistake.

"I have learned that we did have a situation right at 7 a.m. this morning," Cowles wrote via e-mail to the Sentinel. "The clerk admits she made a mistake."

But Orange County officials said their records show Marjason was given a Democratic ballot and it was cast. Marjason disagreed.

"You sign a piece of paper then you walk over to the next table and they hand you a ballot," he said. "It probably shows that I signed for it, but they didn't give me a Democratic ballot."

.....

Sheneka McDonald spent 10 minutes trying to convince poll workers at the same precinct that she should have a Democratic ballot. She questioned poll workers when she was handed a Republican ballot but was told, "this is the only ballot we have."

"I said, 'How can this be the only ballot,'" McDonald recalled. "That's when the guy chimed in from the back and said the Democratic primary was in March."

The poll captain eventually apologized to McDonald and told her they had forgotten to unpack all the ballots. "It was a little unnerving this morning," she said. "I don't see how you forget to unpack ballots. This is what gives Florida its reputation."

.....

Julie Shepherd, another Orange County voter, ran into a problem at precinct 138 at the Metrowest Golf Club and spent 35 minutes trying to convince poll workers that she's a registered Democrat.

Shepherd, who moved from Pasco County two years ago, said she's a life-long Democrat and blamed the elections supervisor's office for the mistake.

"It's not my error," she said. "Whoever entered my information must have gotten it wrong."
Alright, Kenneth, Bryan*, and Mustang Bobby, isn't it about time you straighten out that state of yours?

* Bryan's site appeared to be down but at this time is up and running. And yes, this constitutes an update. What do you need? A book written about updating a post?

More Americans Face Losing Homes

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BBC

A surge in the number of Americans at risk of losing their homes means 1% of all households are in some stage of the foreclosure process, a report says. There were 2.2m foreclosure filings in the US last year, up 75%, according to the market research firm, RealtyTrac.
So, why is it numbers like this are not being presented by our own homegrown news outlets? Are we, as a nation, so ashamed of the condition we've gotten ourselves into that we can't acknowledge any shred of truth?

The world's greatest nation got hit hard once, and look how it's made us crumble. We are afraid of facts.

Obama In Twin Cities on Saturday

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Star Tribune

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will rally his supporters in the Twin Cities on Saturday, three days before Minnesota's precinct caucuses.
Oh joy. Ring one of the Three Ring Election 2008 Circus is coming to town.
MinnPost.com

Well, in the interest of trying to stay well informed, I have committed myself to watching most of the presidential debates. A curiosity in the Republican debates is the constant invocation of a person all the candidates laud profusely: Ronald Reagan (57 times, by actual count in one debate).

Unfortunately, for the party, he is not running! He is ubiquitous in the debate, but I've never seen him on the stage.

That does not stop what appears to be a glorious memory of the grand old man -- though slightly faded, and often significantly distorted. As an interesting side note, the name of George W. Bush is rarely, if ever, mentioned in these debates by a single candidate. That should give us some pause.

Old White guys recalling the Grand Old Image of the Grand Old Savior, St. Ronnie. In case anyone is really paying attention, Grand Old Savior St. Ronnie is not all that well know by the young voters of today. Seriously, they are a bunch of last straw graspers, completely out of touch with today's evolving electorate. St. Ronnie is not known, and George W. Bush is despised.

The Old White Guys party; out of touch, and soon to be out of power completely.

Jury Duty

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Interestingly enough, I can blog from the jury waiting room, but I can not receive or send emails from the jury waiting room. I am not sure if it is due to the court house blocking the port for email, or there is just a problem with my computer and the router of this building. In any case, I am not going to be able to blog if I should get assigned to a trial anyway, as there is no wireless access in the courtrooms.
Ballot Access News

On January 27, the Minnesota Independence Party, which has been ballot-qualified since 1994, voted to affiliate itself with the new Independence Party of America. The Minnesota party's webpage already mentions this step. Thanks to ThirdPartyWatch for this news.
I can't help but wonder what this portends for the Republican party. As more and more of the party members resign or announce their intentions to retire, I can not help but think they know the party is dying, poisoned by their own arrogance, avarice, and malice.

Perchance the Independence party will become the next national party, with what is left of the Republican party resigned to the fringes, a regional party muscling itself a few seats along side the Green party, and others, clinging to the final, fading vestiges of it's past glory.

Or more frightening; the Democratic party will swing over to the right, with some new party taking over the left/progressive spectrum of the political realm in the United States. I suspect that political re-alignment is not a slim possibility, but the hoped for amount of change that is coming. A hoped for outcome that is wildly underestimated.

A Chinese curse is headed our way. And wouldn't you know it, I am not in the mood for anything interesting.

POTATOES

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Potatoes

An old man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his potato garden but it was very hard work as the ground was hard. His only son Fred, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

Dear Fred,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love,
Dad

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
For heaven's sake, don't dig up that garden! That's where I buried the BODIES!
Love,
Fred

At 4am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love,
Fred

Five Tips

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In case anyone might not have figured it out by now, The GirlFriend™ is quite the brat. She has, for the last few minutes, been laughing about the following plaque for sale in a catalog.

Five Tips For A Woman
  1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
  2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.
  3. It is important too find a man you can count on and doesn't lie to you.
  4. It is important that these four men don't know each other.
She's The GirlFriend™, gots to love her. And when I find out who the other three are, I am going to kill them.
ecoscraps

1. United States (FY08 budget), $623 billion
2. China (2004), $65 billion
3. Russia, $50 billion
4. France (2005), $45 billion
5. United Kingdom, $42.8 billion
6. Japan (2007), $41.75 billion
7. Germany (2003), $35.1 billion
8. Italy (2003), $28.2 billion
9. South Korea (2003), $21.1 billion
10. India (2005 est.), $19 billion
You know, I do not think we are getting our money's worth at the moment.

And no, I do not believe it is the fault of the military. I believe it would be the bozo currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Como Zoo Orangutan Gives Birth

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Minnesota Daily

A Como Zoo orangutan recently had a very interesting trip to the doctor.

On Dec. 13, an orangutan named Markisa gave birth to a baby via Cesarean section at the University's Veterinary Medical Center.

Not only were Como Zoo zookeepers and University veterinarians involved in the rare procedure, but medical personnel from the University Children's Hospital Fairview also took part.

I am a big fan of the Como Zoo. For one, it has free admission. Second, I love the Conservatory.

Katana Sword Deflects and Splits Bullets!

This is amazing!



Yes, a Katana sword was able to deflect and even split bullets with it's edge. Amazing.

Hat tip: You Are a Tree

Making A Claim

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Just claiming a feed for Bloglines.
they must need bears

Any internet conversation has reached its useful end when the issue of Mac vs. PC is raised.
Sounds like a memenic shift for Blogstonia to me.

Al Franken In Hastings

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I attended the Meet Al Franken event at the Levee Cafe in Hastings. It was well attended. All seats were filled and there were people sitting in chairs along one of the side walls and at the back of the room. Oh, and I tried to take pictures, but the lighting was bad, and I just did not get any good shots.

Although this is a long post, it falls far short of communicating every aspect of my experience. And a quick personal disclosure; at present I do not work for any one candidate, nor do I volunteer-as of yet. That being said, I have to say, I was impressed. Al was very present. As in you knew he was listening to you when you talked to him.

Well, maybe I should not speak for others. But I most definitely walked away believing he heard me. I also feel somewhat embarrassed. When he mentioned he'd written a couple of movies about recovery, I was only aware of Stuart Saves His Family.

What I didn't know, and only found out by visiting his web site after coming home from the event, was that he also wrote the screen play for "When A Man Loves A Woman." I've been using that movie in my job for years. So, now that I've wipe the egg off my face, let me get on with the night.

His speech to the crowd was good. It hit all the important issues. Each received a solid round of applause. But it is not the substance that was important. Well, it's important, but it's not what stood out for me. However, I'll get to that later.

He was tired, I could see that. Especially during his speech. As a public speaker of sorts myself, I could recognize the moments when his brain out paced his mouth. There's that little extra dramatic pause while searching back to the next part of the speech. But they were few and far between, and always occurring at a time when a dramatic pause was helpful.

You can always tell when a speaker is really tired. They start to drift into the William Shatner school of dramatic pause. You know, pauses so big Shatner and his belly could easily walk through them.

Anyway, being tired did not put Al off his game. He avoided the curse of Shatner speak. He spoke from memory, without the use of notes, and did so in a loose, comfortable manner, despite appearing tired. He held the crowd. There were occasional distractions when people arrived from downstairs, talking loudly, but the crowd did not get pulled away. I did, but I was at the back of the room, close to the stairs. Oh, and I suffer from a mild form of ADD, so it's a given I'll be distracted. However, I regained quickly, and never saw others looking back at the distractions.

But, as I said earlier, the content of his speech was really not the highlight of the night. It was how well he interacted with the crowd both before and after his speech. Any trace of exhaustion vanished. He owned that room. What was most impressive was just how well he listened. And I do not mean nodding his head, saying yes, making the right expressions and responding with generalities. I mean he actually made an effort to understand what you were telling him.

When I went up to shake his hand and explain the harsh realities of health insurance, even within the health care industry, I misspoke at the same time the crowd noise momentarily crescendoed. Instead of just acting like he understood and move on to the next person, he asked me to re-state what I said, until he understood.

And that, more than anything, is what can win him the election. After seven years of not being listened to, Al is listening.

Something To Think About

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Understanding Leviticus

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The whole save marriage hoopla is more or less done and gone. Still, this is pretty funny.

Costanzo

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (I'm pretty sure she's a virgin).

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Aren't there 'degrees' of abomination?

6. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. It must be really great to be on such close terms with God and his son, ... even better than you and your own Dad, eh?

J. Kent Ashcroft (and others).

By way of Miss Betty Bowers



Now, don't get me wrong. I will go watch a Tom Cruise movie anytime. The problem is, he doesn't know how to act when he is not acting. Okay, so some of you think he can't act when he is acting. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go find a powerful black celebrity female and jump on her couch in a fit of exuberance.

A Growing Desperation

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Speaking of Bush Legacy: Homelessness

Minnesota Monitor

The percentage of American workers represented by unions rose in 2007, reversing a quarter- century decline in union membership.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 12.1 percent of the workforce was made up of organized labor, up from 12 percent in 2006. While the gain was small, it was notable for being the first gain in union membership since the BLS began tracking it in 1983.

Another legacy that can be laid at Bush's feet; an increase in union membership. I guess despite the lack of media coverage about corporate malfeasance and union busting, the utter contempt that Bush displays for the working man has still shown through and people have seen the complete failure of the elite's corporate fascism.

I Think e's Got It.

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Canadian Cynic

It's bad to kill a blob of cells with little to no consciousness that even the Bible says has no worth until it's been outside it's mother for a month.

But it's good to let people like Michael J. Fox suffer from Parkinson's disease.

and it's good to keep people like Christopher Reeves confined to a wheelchair.
And that's before he gets good and warmed up.
The Hill

Weldon would be the 22nd GOP incumbent to announce that they will not seek reelection in 2008.
My God, the Republican party is hemorrhaging. George W. Bush really did do a number on his party, didn't he.

Friday Cat Blogging

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It has been like, well,,,, forever since I've done any cat blogging. And I've thrown The Fuskers™ in for good measure.

Cininbox.jpg

Lutz in curl.jpg


fusk and quiz.jpg

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Friday Blogaround
Live from New York, it's Friday Blogaround, featuring the week's worthiest from the Liberal Coalition.

- A Blog Around The Clock: come into the Open Laboratory.
- archy: O'Reilly? Billo offers to help the homeless vets...
- Bark Bark Woof Woof on acting like a lawyer.
- Bloggg on Heath Ledger's funeral.
- Collective Sigh on ice.
- Dohiyi Mir notes the departure of Dennis Kucinich from the race.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: blogging can make a difference.
- Iddybud Journal: is the White House a test-tube?
- Left Is Right: Bu$h's legacy.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: Fox News is scared of "Mass Effect."
- Liberty Street: how much is a rebate worth?
- Musing's musings on Barack Obama's commitment to gay rights. (Follow-up here.)
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: seeing stars on the street.
- Rook's Rant is having issues loading from here. Something I said?
- rubber hose on taking a Baath in Baghdad.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: Knowing when to leave.
- SoonerThought: how many have really died?
- Speedkill is amused by consternated conservatives.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: Al Gore supports gay marriage.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation on more right wing consternation.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life catches up with what you need to read.
- The Invisible Library: how many lies?
- WTF Is It Now?? Think Fred Thompson is really out of the race?
- ...You Are A Tree on walking in New York.
I like New York, but it's a little chilly for my taste.
New York is chilly? I'd hate to see what he'd said if he'd came to Minnesota this past week.

Are We At War With Iran?

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Have You Heard The Latest?

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It seems Kenny was born before hair was invented. Kenny is not amused.

Oh, extra points if anyone gets the reference.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Spaceship

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Spluch

flight2.jpg
British billionaire Richard Branson and the aerospace designer Burt Rutan unveiled a model Wednesday of SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle they hope will be able to take passengers on suborbital joy rides, sheerly for the fun of it, with test flights beginning as soon as this year.


The Onion

CHARLESTON, SC—After spending two months accompanying his wife, Hillary, on the campaign trail, former president Bill Clinton announced Monday that he is joining the 2008 presidential race, saying he "could no longer resist the urge."

"My fellow Americans, I am sick and tired of not being president," said Clinton, introducing his wife at a "Hillary '08" rally. "For seven agonizing years, I have sat idly by as others experienced the joys of campaigning, debating, and interacting with the people of this great nation, and I simply cannot take it anymore. I have to be president again. I have to."

Damn, I can here the heads of Clinton haters popping all over the place.

Old News Ups The Hits

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Right now sitemeter is showing a substantial amount of hits from searches for The Center For Public Integrity. I do not recall a time I have ever seen 50 hits before 10 AM. Yes, I know it is pathetic considering many blogs get 50 in a minute. I guess the creation of a searchable data base for the lies by BushCo™ was just what Blogstonia wanted.
The Center for Public Integrity

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

Wow, 260 false statements. That is a lie for every weekday. And this is our president.

New York Times

Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the research center say their work has documented “at least 935 false statements” on hundreds of occasions, particularly that Iraq had unconventional weapons, links to Al Qaeda, or both.
935, huh? Would that be a conservative count?

Yes, I know, it was bad.
In my industry, denial is a common behavior we expect from our clients. Any means to avoid the truth about their drinking and drug usage. Imagine my surprise to discover the Beer, Wine, and Spirits industry is having the same difficulties with the truth.

Washington Post

In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Ill.). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John EdwardsN.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent.
Offered without comment.

Ya, I am shocked by that as well. Who'd a thunk, me without a comment.
New York Times

In August 1997, James Schillaci, a rough-hewn chauffeur from the Bronx, dialed Mayor Giuliani’s radio program on WABC-AM to complain about a red-light sting run by the police near the Bronx Zoo. When the call yielded no results, Mr. Schillaci turned to The Daily News, which then ran a photo of the red light and this front page headline: “GOTCHA!”

That morning, police officers appeared on Mr. Schillaci’s doorstep. What are you going to do, Mr. Schillaci asked, arrest me? He was joking, but the officers were not.

They slapped on handcuffs and took him to court on a 13-year-old traffic warrant. A judge threw out the charge. A police spokeswoman later read Mr. Schillaci’s decades-old criminal rap sheet to a reporter for The Daily News, a move of questionable legality because the state restricts how such information is released. She said, falsely, that he had been convicted of sodomy.

Then Mr. Giuliani took up the cudgel.

“Mr. Schillaci was posing as an altruistic whistle-blower,” the mayor told reporters at the time. “Maybe he’s dishonest enough to lie about police officers.”

No way this asshole deserves to be president.

Fed Makes Emergency 0.75% Rate Cut

New York Times

In a statement, the Fed said: "The committee took this action in view of a weakening of the economic outlook and increasing downside risks to growth. While strains in short-term funding markets have eased somewhat, broader financial market conditions have continued to deteriorate and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households."

"Moreover," the statement continued, "incoming information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets."

In a related action, the Fed approved a 75 basis-point decrease in the discount rate, to 4 percent.

Within minutes after the announcement, trading in stock-index futures, which had been presaging a deep slide on American stock exchanges Tuesday, retraced much of their earlier declines, which had been driven by a second sour day in Asia and Europe.

I don't know shit about economics. Yet, considering I have been reading up on it for the last couple of years, even I know .75% is one hell of a big cut.

Still, I will not see a decrease in my mortgage payment.

Oh, and at least they no longer are acting as if their heads are stuck up their asses. But, it would have been nice if they'd have removed them back a few years ago.

Tom Ridge: Waterboarding Is Torture

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first secretary of the Homeland Security Department says waterboarding is torture.

"There's just no doubt in my mind -- under any set of rules -- waterboarding is torture," Tom Ridge said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press. Ridge had offered the same opinion earlier in the day to members of the American Bar Association at a homeland security conference.

"One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture," Ridge said in the interview. Ridge was secretary of the Homeland Security Department between 2003 and 2005. "And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is -- and will always be -- torture. That's a simple statement."

Say what you will about the man and his tenure as Homeland Security's secretary, it takes guts to come out and make a stance such as this. And he also was willing to point out the so called terrorists alerts under his tenure were politically motivated to influence the election in 2004. That is what I call integrity. He may have come late to it, but he came to it none the less.

Washington Post

Gregory, it turned out, flew to Israel solely for a one-on-one interview with Bush. He was one of three network reporters to fly in during the eight-day trip for separate, specially arranged sit-downs with the president, the others being Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and Terry Moran of ABC News. With television's heavy hitters having abandoned the White House to suffer the wilds of New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Bush team figured the best way to get attention for his trip in the midst of the primaries was to dole out "exclusive" interviews.

The strategy met with only modest success at best. Bush managed to get on some shows that otherwise might have ignored much of his trip, but it was hard to compete with the aftermath of comeback victories by John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, no matter how many funny robes the president put on.

"no matter how many funny robes the president put on?" Oh. My. God! Even the Washington Post is taking to mocking Bush.

Highly Skilled And Out Of Work

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Washington Post


An unusually large share of workers have been out a job for more than six months even as overall unemployment has remained low, a little-noted weakness in the labor market that analysts said threatens to intensify the impact of the unfolding economic downturn.

In November, nearly 1.4 million people -- almost one in five of those unemployed -- had been jobless for at least 27 weeks, the juncture when unemployment insurance benefits end for most recipients. That is about twice the level of long-term unemployment before the 2001 recession.

I am not convinced that unemployment has been low. The way unemployment is classified was changed by the Bush administration when they first came into office. I suspect there are quite a few millions not even included in the statistics because they stopped receiving unemployment benefits.

No doubt, when the current crop of unemployed lose their benefits, the unemployment rate will drop even more. Gee, convenient, huh?

Chicken Philosophy

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INFILTEC.COM

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD???

Plato: For the greater good.

Aristotle: To fulfill its nature on the other side.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a
chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road,
but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend
with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely
chicken's dominion maintained.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its
pancreas.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered
within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each
interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be
discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll
find out.

Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind of trip the Establishment
would let it take.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road
gazes also across you.

Oliver North: National Security was at stake.

B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its
sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that
it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be
of its own free will.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt
necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical
juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences
into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to
itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into
the objects "chicken" and "road", and circumstances came into being
which
caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road
crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing
events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented
avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement
formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable
occurence.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the
trees.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus: For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken
was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

Saddam Hussein: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were
quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.

Jack Nicholson: 'Cause it (censored) wanted to. That's the
(censored) reason.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

Ronald Reagan: Well,...................

John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the
transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself
of the opportunity.

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ... and suck all the marrow
out of life.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Mishima: For the beauty of it. The chicken's extension of its
sinuous legs sent shivers of a dark despair into the souls not only of
the silently watching hens but also the roosters, who felt a sudden
sexual desire for their exquisite comrade. The dark courage of the
chicken was as beautiful as drops of dew upon jade at midnight, struck
by a partial moon, its light filtered through clouds. One of the
deeply aroused roosters could stand the intensity of the moment no
more and bit off the head of the beautiful, courageous chicken-hero,
whose wine blood was deliciously drunken by the road, and he died.

Johnny Cochran: The chicken didn't cross the road. Some
chicken-hating, genocidal, lying public official moved the road right
under the chicken's feet while he was practicing his golf swing and
thinking about his family.

Camus: The chicken's mother had just died. But this did not really
upset him, as any number of witnesses can attest. In fact, he
crossed just because the sun got in his eyes.

John Sununu (again): I would argue that the chicken never crossed the
road at all. That it is a story concocted by the Clinton
Administration to distract attention from their failed agriculture
policy. Where is the evidence that the chicken crossed the road?
Where, Michael?

Michael Kinsley: Oh, John, come on! Everybody knows the chicken
crossed the road. What evidence do you need? It's obvious that the
chicken crossed the road. Your whole argument is just a smoke and
mirror tactic to distract us from the fact that most chickens polled
now back the Democratic Party. You ought to be ashamed of yourself,
John.

Siskel: I don't know why it crossed the road, but I loved it. Thumbs
up!

Ebert: I disagree. The whole thing left the audience wondering; the
chicken's crossing the road was never clearly explained and the
chicken didn't emote very well. It couldn't even speak English!
Thumbs down.

Michael Kinsley: But you both agree it did cross the road, right?
See, John. I'm right as usual.
I am sure this has been around once or twice. But, damn it, it hit my funny bone. So, what the hell.

Oh, and stop me if you have heard this one. Which came first; the chicken or the road?

Orcinus

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Orcinus

Over the past week or two, several events have occurred that show just how radically the range of acceptable political and media discourse has changed in the past eight years.

First, the New Republic finally got the Minneapolis Historical Society to cut loose its store of old Ron Paul Reports, put them online, and thus verified -- once and for all -- our repeated contention that Ron Paul's benign good-doctor pose was hiding a noxiously hateful and racist past.

Second, Bill Press called Pat Buchanan a white supremacist to his face on national TV. Of course, this isn't news to regular Orcinus readers -- but it is a first for the mainstream media. Press just put it right out there, like it was a stone cold fact -- and Tucker and Pat sat there, and took it as a fact. Even more stunningly: Nobody called him names. He didn't get his mike cut. He wasn't asked to leave. He'll probably even get asked back. Incredible.

Third, both Max Blumenthal and Joe Conason published different but similarly damaging articles on Friday pointing out the long-standing ties between Mike Huckabee and various Reconstructionist leaders. Huck hasn't said publicly that America needs to dump the Constitution and institute biblical law in its place; but it appears that some of the most influential people who do believe this are also some of Huck's very closest friends. As Joe points out, these friendships raise serious questions about his intentions as president that the voting public deserves some straight answers to.

It's tempting to view this simply as an assertive media just doing its job -- until you reflect on the fact that this is the first election in a decade that any of these of events had the remotest chance of occurring.
It is a long post, as they usually are over at Orcinus. But it is a post of hope, change, and an indication that the Extreme Right has finally lost it's false, glossy cover.
sfgate.com

Invoking executive privilege, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to provide lawmakers Friday with a full explanation of why it rejected California's greenhouse gas regulations. The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared with Congress. "EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting," EPA Associate Administrator Christopher Bliley wrote.
Oh, for Christ's sake, since when is deliberating over greenhouse gas regulations suddenly an attorney-client privilege? And yes, that was a rhetorical question.

BushCo™ is becoming more and more brazen in it's reach for any lie to cover their asses. These bastards are in the pocket of both the auto industry and the oil industry. What other reason would they have to prevent stricter emission caps, and increased fuel efficiency for cars? The argument that it is too costly simply does not stand up to the fact that cost is far from a concern for this administration.

Friday Chess Blogging

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It has been a while since I have published one of my games. This one is from earlier today. My opponent, khang, was keeping me muddled until move #18, when his pawn to g3 isolated his queen/rook combination on the h file. After my knight moved to f3, placing his King in check, khang decided simply to let the time run out. His only move to prevent checkmate was King to f2. But even then, it was going to be messy. He was already down a piece. I was pretty sure I would get a rook in a few moves. And his pawn on the e file.
Play chess online!
startribune.com

DULUTH, MINN. - Administrators at SMDC Health System saw them as virulent, insidious and cause for an all-out eradication campaign in its four hospitals and 17 clinics throughout northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Germs?

No, pens and note pads.

Nexavar pens. Combivir note pads. Vioxx mouse pads. Advair and Levitra clipboards A disembodied stuffed nose from Allegra that exclaims, "That's snot funny!"

As part of a new policy that experts say is one of the toughest in the nation blocking pharmaceutical companies from influencing doctors, the Duluth-based health system recently got rid of nearly every freebie with a drug company name on it.

'Bout damn time. I hope this moves into television, radio, internet, and print advertising as well. Since the ban on advertising drugs has been lifted, drug prices have gone up, not down, as was first promised.

nytimes.com

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Bobby Fischer, the reclusive American chess master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has died. He was 64.

Fischer died Thursday in a Reykjavik hospital, his spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson, said. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.


Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Friday Blogaround
Time for the weekly tour of the Liberal Coalition:

- A Blog Around The Clock: participate in the Science Blogging Conference.
- archy: Billo's assault on veterans.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof on Mike Huckabee's view of the Constitution.
- Bloggg marks four years of blogging.
- Collective Sigh: an immediate example of being an informed patient.
- Dohiyi Mir and the long walk of Rin Tin.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: the reviews are in.
- Left Is Right forwards a letter.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: welcome to Fresno politics.
- Liberty Street on hate speech laws.
- Musing's musings: the politics of self-destruction.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web takes Keith Olbermann to task.
- Rick's Cafe Americain teaches Adult Education.
- Rook's Rant: new fears for another bridge in Minnesota.
- rubber hose with a different spin on Mike Huckabee's view on marriage.
- Scrutiny Hooligans on sexism, racism, and the run for the presidency.
- SoonerThought: the biggest polluter.
- Speedkill with observations on sleep deprivation.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: AT&T listens to you.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: compare and contrast.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life: another in a series on why Ron Paul is nuts.
- The Invisible Library dreams of None of the Above.
- WTF Is It Now?? - Mike Huckabee and the Confederate flag...and the pole that goes with it.
- ...You Are A Tree ... and family.
Next week -- live from New York.
Okay, so maybe stealing code on Friday is not so blasé. However, I am a little concerned about this whole live from New York thing. So help me, Mustang Bobby better not start channeling the spirit of Chevy Chase.

Oh, wait. Chevy Chase is not dead.

Never mind.

Hastings Bridge: new doubts, new fears

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TwinCities.com

"The Hastings Bridge is not safe," state Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday. "The repairs need to happen now. The replacement needs to happen now."
I am so pissed I have even chased The GirlFriend™ from the dining room. I can't believe the bullshit that is being played over the Hastings bridge. It is in worse shape than the 35W bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis. It takes as much traffic as that bridge, and with less lanes.

And this?

The Minnesota Department of Transportation refuses to release an in-depth inspection of the outdated bridge, citing a concern that terrorists could exploit the weaknesses of the narrow span.
It exceeds bullshit by about a power of 10. Concern about terrorists? What fucking cowards. They really need to pull their fucking heads out of their asses. No terrorists are going to knock down the Hastings bridge. What the hell for? Our damn politicians are doing it for them by playing the denial game. It will fall down all by itself, the shape it is in.

Fucking assholes.
Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
Come and get it, Rook! Here's the week as seen by the Liberal Coalition.

- A Blog Around The Clock: why isn't there a birth control pill for men?
- archy: there goes the neighborhood.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: teenage wasteland.
- Bloggg switched servers, so we're catching up.
- Collective Sigh enjoys the aftershocks from New Hampshire.
- Dohiyi Mir sticks with Dennis.
- Echidne Of The Snakes takes on the New York Times and their sexism.
- Iddybud Journal wants to know if the righties are really ga-ga over Obama.
- Left Is Right: they imagined on-line shopping in 1967.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: the ten most played tunes.
- Liberty Street: the verdict on The Surge.
- Musing's musings hopes Bill Richardson gets a long look as a part of the next administration. (Me too.)
- Pen-Elayne on the Web remembers her dad and enjoys the SwiftBoat parody ads.
- Rook's Rant: The Onion is folding? Say it ain't so.
- rubber hose on the Iranian boat incident.
- Scrutiny Hooligans with the world's cheapest car.
- SoonerThought: Tom Brokaw on the stunningly obvious.
- Speedkill: Pat Robertson is always right.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: "The number you have reached is no longer in service..."
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: image is everything?
- T. Rex's Guide to Life: 85 myths.
- The Invisible Library previews BSG season 4.
- WTF Is It Now?? Temper, John, temper.
- ...You Are A Tree: Lake Tahoe.
Detroit Tigers spring training tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Stealing code on Friday is so blasé.

I've Got Nothing To Post

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Nothing

What Teh Fusk?

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I Guess I Should Post Something

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Something.

Pathocracy - Cassiopedia

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Cassiopedia

Studies have demonstrated [1] that the human population contains a percentage (approximately 5%) of essential psychopaths, that is, people without a conscience. Certain types of psychopaths instinctively gravitate towards positions of power over others - left to operate unchecked, they will always make choices that empower them to further manipulate the people around them. And so the seeds of a pathocracy exists within these psychological deviants.

Lobaczewski describes the process, as part of the hysteroidal cycle, in which during long periods of 'good times' ignorance and complacency develop within society, to the point that those psychopaths who naturally gravitate towards positions of power are actually able to gain a foothold in society, undetected. ("All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke)

Damn, that is scary.


Nathan Sawaya

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haha.nu

I never knew such things could be done with legos.

"The Onion" Satire Site Folds

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The Wired Press: Onion folds? Nobody told me? And it happened back in 2005. I guess nobody told the current Onion staff.

Cowabduction.com

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Go abduct a cow, it's fun!

The Anomalies Network:

Damn it! And I just managed to get my conspiracy theorist back in his box.


Find more videos like this on My Mysterious World

I Get Mail

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From the Blogger Formally of The Daily Brew.
[Updated and moved to the top.]

The Daily Brew 
Friday, January 4, 2008
The Republican Divorce

It is hard to get inspired by politics when Harry Reid is scheming to figure out a way to excuse the nation’s telephone companies for illegally spying on us. So if you missed Obama’s speech last night, do yourself a favor and watch it.

As pathetic as it is to admit, about the only the thing that can get me to set aside my cynicism and contempt for our elected overlords is the soaring rhetoric of speeches like Obama’s. I know it is stupid, but like Pavlov’s dog, when I hear the voice of the America I believed in during my youth, it gets me every time. My head tells me its an illusion, but my heart rules. I guess I still want to be proud of my country badly enough that when the right notes are played, the chord still strikes.

So I loved Obama’s speech. At the same time, I think it is still too soon to accurately gauge the impact of his historic victory. Time will tell if he can seal the deal. I don’t feel the same way about the Republicans, however. Regardless of who wins the nomination, Mike Huckabee’s win last night is going to rock their world.

Even though Huckabee will likely lose in New Hampshire, by winning last night on the wings of Iowa’s evangelicals, he now has South Carolina in the bag. Ever since Lee Atwater was teaching Karl Rove how to forge government letterhead, the South Carolina primary has been the GOP’s Alamo. Anyone not pre-approved by the money guys was buried in the fever swamps behind the South Carolina firewall.

The pawns in this process are and always have been the most gullible members of the party. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. While they might believe that Bennie Hinn can cure cancer, there is a limit to their credulity. Specifically, nobody is going to ever convince these people that they are better off voting for a Mormon (or a New York Mayor in drag) than a Baptist pastor. As a result, Huckabee has set the immovable object of the GOP, of huge bags of cash controlled by their plutocrats, directly in the path of the irresistible force, the foot soldiers of the Christian right.

These two camps got married in the 1980s to form a union of the true believers. Except like so many shotgun weddings, the two sides didn’t really see eye to eye. One side believed in money, or more specifically that the divine right of Kings that decreed that they should always control it. The other side believes in God. Or at least the version of God that hates gays and thinks women are property.

For the past two decades, they’ve stayed together for the three kids of different fathers, abortion, gay marriage and tax cuts. But now Huckabee won’t dance, at least to the plutocrat’s tune, so they are about to get divorced. The money guys know that if they don’t stop Huckabee before South Carolina, there is a good chance they won’t be able to stop him at all. And if Huckabee wins the nomination, the plutocrats could lose control of the GOP.

So Obama should enjoy his moment in the sun, but he ought to pay careful attention to the shitstorm that is about to rain down on Mike Huckabee like the battle of Armageddon. Because if Obama is can sing his song sweetly enough over the next month and a half to win the Democratic nomination, that same storm is fixin’ to rain on his parade next.
Update: By the way, if you want mail too, you can sign up here: Daily Brew Signup
By way of Blue Girl, Red State:

New York Times

Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was held in military detention for more than three years as an enemy combatant, filed a lawsuit Friday against a former Justice Department lawyer who helped provide the legal justifications for what the suit says was Mr. Padilla’s unconstitutional confinement and “gross physical and psychological abuse.”

The lawyer, John C. Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote or helped prepare a series of legal memorandums on interrogations and the treatment of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks.

A lawyer for Mr. Yoo, Eric M. George, called Mr. Padilla’s suit “a political diatribe” that “belongs, at best, in a journal, not before a federal court.”

Mr. Padilla, 37, was transferred from military custody to the criminal justice system in 2006, and in August he was convicted of terrorism-related charges in Miami. He awaits sentencing.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, seeks only one dollar in damages. “That’s what Padilla directed us to ask for,” said Jonathan M. Freiman, one of Mr. Padilla’s lawyers. “At bottom, this isn’t about money. It’s about right and wrong.”

I hope the son-of-a-bitch is hung out to dry by Padilla and his legal team. And wouldn't it be just grand if a memo from the President was discovered that directed Yoo to write those heinous legal opinions.

A Moment Of Silence, Please

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Rest In Peace, Andrew.

From The Big Orange

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Daily Kos

Good news, good news, good, very good, news! It has to be for me to link to the Big Orange.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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I am proud once again to pilfer code from Mustang Bobby over at Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Friday Blogaround
Here's the first Liberal Coalition blogaround of the year.

- A Blog Around The Clock has the Iowa results.
- archy: let's do this election right.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: why does Iowa matter and Florida doesn't?
- Collective Sigh looks back on 2007.
- Dohiyi Mir: what you win for being in the pink.
- Echidne Of The Snakes on choice feminism.
- First Draft: tomorrow's blogosphere today.
- Iddybud Journal on why attacking Hillary Clinton is bad for Barack Obama.
- Left Is Right: bits and pieces.
- Liberty Street: managing history.
- Musing's musings muses on the Iowa results.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: The Faire Elayne (to quote Steinbeck) gets Warholized!
- Rook's Rant on the road, looking for a (wireless) hookup.
- rubber hose on the turmoil in Kenya.
- Scrutiny Hooligans on the price of oil.
- SoonerThought gave his all for Joe Biden, but unfortunately some get to all before the rest.
- Speedkill: Sen. Conrad Burns is off the hook?
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: Is Dennis Kucinch really out of the Texas primary?
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: listen to the music.
- T. Rex's Guide to Life: Winners, losers and calming down.
- The Invisible Library: let go of Star Trek, already.
- WTF Is It Now?? demands a recount.
- ...You Are A Tree with cool hats. Happy New Year.
I hope that your team won.
I am from Minnesota; of course my team did not win. Duh.

End Of The Work Week

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It is Thursday night, I have finished group and am getting ready to head out the door. I really am fed up with not taking the time to get up in the morning to blog. Hell, I have not even done my journaling lately. I enjoyed journaling, and here I am not getting my ass up to do it.

Anyway, I am just babbling. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll have an easy day of it and be able to post extensively. I have not taken the time to log on at home, so I do not know if that unsecured wireless network is still available.

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