April 2008 Archives

Thumbs Up

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I was on my way to the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Heath and Therapy to drop off my Affidavit of CEU's because----well because I procrastinate and waited until the final day to actually have it signed and stamped by a Notary Public. Anyway, I was on my way, having just turned off Highway 110 onto 35E heading into St. Paul when this old couple in a minivan pulled up along side of me. They both smiled brightly and gave me the thumbs up.

I figure they liked my bumper stickers. I have 4 of them. One calling for us to Fight The Right, another calling to end the war, an Al Franken sticker, and a Steve Sarvi sticker. Now, usually I get angry stares, an occasional condescending smile, and once in a great while the finger. But to get a thumbs up is new. Hell I got two thumbs up.

It feels good.

Ping'n, Ping'n, Ping'n

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Okay, let's make the excuse this is an open thread so I can ping the intertubes.
Bringing "Democracy & The Rule Of Law" to a middle east country near you.

All Spin Zone

Distractions

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Right now I have time to work on my story. I have time to write blog posts. But, instead, I am allowing my mind to find all sorts of distractions. Why am I afraid to write?

Oh, and Bryan, once again you are unavailable by way of my connection to the intertubes.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
I may be in Independence, Kansas, today at the William Inge Theatre Festival, but the Liberal Coalition blogaround goes on.

- A Blog Around The Clock: EuroTrip '08.
- archy: the secret of Bamiyan.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: from the heartland.
- Bloggg: Uh huh! Yes she did!
- Collective Sigh: Go get 'em, girl.
- Dohiyi Mir: Going pink again.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: Stage one: begin poking at a study.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: It's not called the Hate Amendment for nothing.
- Iddybud Journal: Earth Day 2008
- Left Is Right: Friday fun. Bonus: graphic reality.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: Obama, meet me on camera three.
- Musing's musings: "Sorrow, sing sorrow; but let the good prevail."
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: Lotsa pictures from the New York Comic Con.
- Rook's Rant: Internal E-Mails show the VA hid suicide risk.
- rubber hose: strategy.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: Clinton comes alive in North Carolina.
- SoonerThought: a bright spot in the economy.
- Speedkill: Expelled... the movie.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: Scalia... the asswipe.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: what planet is Michael Medved writing from?
- The Invisible Library: an open letter to Hillary Clinton.
- WTF Is It Now?? "We don't torture." Yes, we do.
- ...You Are A Tree: happy blogiversary!
I haven't seen Toto yet, but I have seen a lot of friends of Dorothy...


Blue Gal, Red State: Gardens of Stone

Wanker Of The Day

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Joe Kline

Just trying to beat a certain economist from Philly to the punch.

A Ping'n We Will Go

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Ya, it's an open thread. Oh, okay. It is really just a quick post to ping the intertubes. Mud slinging and ad hominem attacks will be allowed, unless directed at me. Oh, alright, even if directed at me.
Another addition of What She Said:

To me, this primary is actually a good thing for the fall. All this hand wringing strikes me as typical Democratic nervous nellie-ism. A huge increase in Democratic voter registration, building of strong ground operations in most states, new technologies being beta tested, lots of media coverage and battle testing for the nominee are of benefit to the nominee in the fall. Meanwhile, the Democrats stay at center stage while McCain wanders around in obscurity, failing to raise money and leaving a trail of gaffes in his wake. As long as they don't know at whom to aim their fire the Republicans can't cement their narrative. In the end, I remain convinced that we are going into an election that is so fundamentally seismic that either of them can win it, even if more closely than we might want, due to the breakthrough nature of their campaigns. The primary continuing on is not going to change that.
Digby is not alone in this sentiment. I too think dragging the Democratic primary battle out until the convention is nothing but good. As to the emotional passion of both the Obama and Clinton campaigns; hey that's cool as well. Just don't go all dumb ass and decide if your dog don't win to throw it all away. In the end, anyone but a Republican. Okay?

The Hastings Star Gazette

About 50 Hastings-based soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard will soon be returning to Iraq for their second deployment in four years.

The soldiers are part of Charlie Company of the 834th Aviation Support Battalion of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade. They’ll be leaving near the end of May for an approximately year-long tour, Shane Hudella, a spokesman for the National Guard said.
After 5 years this should not be happening. Putting aside the lies, the deception, and the manipulation that led us into this occupation, if the current administration had any competent leadership abilities, this type of extreme rotation would not be needed. Instead, there would already be an international coalition in Iraq, with the Iraqis themselves supply the bulk of security in their own country.

Instead, we are left as the major, if not sole, security force in the country that does not want us there, while a certain vice-president's company reaps a whirlwind profit. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army was soundly rebuffed by local militias and shows no signs of being able to improve its standing.

CBS News

In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it's not outside the norm.

"There is no epidemic in suicide in VA," Katz told Keteyian in November.

But in this e-mail to his top media adviser, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilities."

Katz's e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.
What the hell do you say to this type of cover up?

Suicide is an extremely serious problem. Denial on the part of those responsible for helping the veteran's struggling with depression clearly means our military personnel are not getting the help they need. Katz is suppose to be focusing on the welfare of his patients, not the greater good of the military.

The man acted dishonorably, tarnishing the reputation of our military personnel, many who are now struggling to overcome the psychological damage caused by what was clearly an untenable situation.
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton sought a convincing win to keep her flickering White House hopes alive on Tuesday as Pennsylvania Democrats chose between her and Barack Obama in their presidential nominating contest.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I am soooooo excited! I can't wait to see who wins. Of course, I am also looking forward to that root canal next month.
And here I thought China made a habit of not interfering with other countries internal politics. Huh, I guess not.

AP

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A shipment of weapons to Zimbabwe may be returned to China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, after the troubled southern African nation's neighbors prevented the cargo from being unloaded.

The Chinese freighter arrived in South Africa last week, and human rights groups and others said they feared the mortar grenades and bullets onboard could be used by President Robert Mugabe's regime to clamp down on its opposition.


Well, of course they did. When you consider that your comment, even if taken out of context, involved two African Americans. It was a poorly articulated comment and that makes it your mistake, President Clinton. Whether Obama's team chose to frame it as racist is immaterial. You said it, it got used against you. Duh.
Star Tribune

JONESVILLE, S.C. - A South Carolina pastor says he wasn't trying to be political when he posted a sign in front of his church linking Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Pastor Roger Byrd said he just wanted to make people think when he put up a sign reading "Obama, Osama — humm, are they brothers" in front of the Jonesville Church of God on Thursday.


The pastor is lying. Wasn't trying to be political my ass. He put up a damn sign about a person running for President. That's political.

We are getting closer to creating the Cylons.



Robots for everyone! Oh, Hat Tip: PSoTD It's the last link.

Update: The GirlFriend™ just watched the video and commented a person could ride it.
The New Republic

Rife with big egos and competing centers of influence--veterans of Hillary's First Lady days, relative newbies from her Senate office, Bill's '92 people, Bill's '96 people--Team Hillary has never been a comfortably cohesive group. In happier times, discipline was easier to maintain. But, as this race has grown longer and rougher, the staff's nerves and relations have been badly strained by persistent financial troubles and constant turf wars, not to mention one increasingly unmanageable ex-president. Some days, it's hard to remember that, just six months ago, the campaign was regarded as a highly disciplined machine. More and more, it resembles an unruly rock band plagued by dysfunction and public infighting. From Williams's arrival to Solis Doyle's demise to Penn's ascent, fall, and return, the ebb and flow of power in Hillaryland over the past few months has left multiple people acting like they are in charge--and no one really in control.
You want my vote for president? Not if you can't create an efficient, smooth running team. This is more reminiscent of BushCo™ than of any successful presidency.

However, don't mistake this as some kind of endorsement of Obama. Or McCain. I am going to support the Democratic ticket come November 2. Unless Gore steps in as an independent at the last minute.
Washington Post

John McCain cupped a fist and began pumping it, up and down, along the side of his body. It was a gesture familiar to a participant in the closed-door meeting of the Senate committee who hoped that it merely signaled, as it sometimes had in the past, McCain's mounting frustration with one of his colleagues.

But when McCain leaned toward Charles E. Grassley and slowly said, "My friend . . ." it seemed clear that ugliness was looming: While the plural "my friends" was usually a warm salutation from McCain, "my friend" was often a prelude to his most caustic attacks. Grassley, an Iowa Republican with a reputation as an unwavering legislator, calmly held his ground. McCain became angrier, his fist pumping even faster.

It was early 1992, and the occasion was an informal gathering of a select committee investigating lingering issues about Vietnam War prisoners and those missing in action, most notably whether any American servicemen were still being held by the Vietnamese. It is unclear precisely what issue set off McCain that day. But at some point, he mocked Grassley to his face and used a profanity to describe him. Grassley stood and, according to two participants at the meeting, told McCain, "I don't have to take this. I think you should apologize."

McCain refused and stood to face Grassley. "There was some shouting and shoving between them, but no punches," recalls a spectator, who said that Nebraska Democrat Bob Kerrey helped break up the altercation.

Grassley said recently that "it was a very long period of time" before he and McCain spoke to each other again, though he declined, through a spokesman, to discuss the specifics of the incident.

I am not concerned about a man's temper. Hell, I've got a temper that rivals McCain's. However, what I am concerned about is his manner towards people when he is in his temper. Mocking another person, personally attacking them verbally, is simply an act of an insecure person lacking confidence. That is not what I want from a person sitting in the Oval Office.

A lot happens in this world. Much of that makes me angry. Yes, I accept that even the President of the United States can, and will, get angry. But I expect them to use that anger to energize them into constructive action. What I don't want is another childish, insecure reactionary in the office, making decisions based on misguided personal feelings of honor and dignity.

When the next person steps into the Oval Office, they damn well better understand it is not about them, but about the country. The current occupant never figured that out.

New York Times

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

You mean they are not unbiased analysts with integrity and honor? <snark>Well, knock me over with a feather.</snark>

It is a long, and damaging article detailing propaganda at its worst.

This whole interview rocks.



Hat tip to Spontaneous Arising

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Yes, I know. It's been two weeks since last I plucked code from Mustang Bobby's blog. I was feeling under the weather, and my larceny streak stole off into the night. It has returned, though, and I am feeling sticky fingered and ready to steal.

Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
The weekly wrap-up from the Liberal Coalition:

- A Blog Around The Clock: what bats know.
- archy: a sort-of apology from a state representative for an outburst.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: what elitists have in common.
- Bloggg takes on Mr. Obama.
- Collective Sigh: pod people.
- Dohiyi Mir: debacle.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: condescension
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: catch up on Florida politics.
- Iddybud Journal: debate tactics.
- Left Is Right: coffee on the brain.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: housekeeping.
- Musing's musings: prayers for the lost.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: getting ready for the comics convention.
- Rook's Rant: about torture.
- rubber hose: a new sitcom that's so bad it's good.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: Barackin' the vote in North Carolina.
- SoonerThought: reviews the reviews of the debate.
- Speedkill: curiosities about the global warming debate.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat on execution justice.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: screw conservatives.
- The Invisible Library: robbing the cradle of civilization.
- WTF Is It Now?? a complete disgrace.
- ...You Are A Tree with memories of youthful fun.
Have a great weekend.

What the hell?!?!?!

I just finished reading an article in the SAMHSA newsletter that stated Bush was planning to have the budget balanced by 2012. Now, it seems to me that for him to be able to balance the budget, he would have to be in office. Either that, or he is arrogant enough to believe his policies are going to be followed lock-step by the next president.

What ever. The idiot had 8 years to balance the budget and he couldn't get it done on his watch. Instead, after spending money like a drunk, he is simply passing the consequences on to someone else.

About Torture

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I've been loathed to post about torture. To actually have to make an argument that torture is wrong seems so ridiculous. It is like writing an essay explaining the importance of breathing. Who the hell needs to have the importance of breathing explained to them?

That we are having any type of discourse over the legitimacy of torture is beyond the pale. Our current leadership is at an intellectual capacity as to render the discourse in this country to an elementary school level. But than, we here in Left Blogstonia have been aware of the childishness of our leader since 2002.

They Advertise Cucumbers?

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By way of Fixer's post over at Alternate Brain, I stumbled upon this. And then came across this. It's going to be one of those days.

Oh. I am never going to eat a cucumber from my fridge ever again.
Not that I get all that much in way of comments. But, what the hell, I need to ping the tubes.

Another Spartacus Moment

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Cokie, I can speak for myself. I don't need you attempting to tell the rest of the country how I think, or what I believe. So, just do me a favor. The next time you feel the need to speak out for me, shut the fuck up.

Bark Bark Woof Woof

In other words, the Republicans, who can't run on their record or rely on the sharp memory of their candidate (Shia? Sunni? Iran? Al-qaeda?) or his plans for revitalizing the economy (ready for more cake?), will do precisely what they're best at: attack their opponent and try to scare the crap out of the electorate without offering anything more than platitudes, nostrums, and the firm assertion that John McCain is most assuredly not George W. Bush; he just plans to do the exact same things he did but without the fake Texas drawl.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Republicans will do exactly what Mr. Kristol predicts; that's a given, since it's worked so well the last couple of times. But Mr. Kristol's record for predicting the future is also well-known. He's one of the bunch that said that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq, that the war would last a couple of weeks or months, that it would pay for itself with the oil revenues that we'd get, and that our influence and model of democracy would turn Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia into the Iowas of the Middle East with freedom and McDonald's springing up on every street corner from Riyad to Damascus. With that kind of record, it really makes you wonder why anyone gives serious attention to anything he says other than to hold it up for mockery and derision.
When it comes to the success of Mr. Kristol's crystal ball, well,,,,, let's just say his is obviously cracked. However, I think there is one important point against Mr. Kristol's prognostication; Hillary attempted the Mighty Wurlitzer approach. She made several attempts at smearing Obama, with little success. Hell, even attempts by the Mighty Wurlitzer itself have failed to have an impact.

The problem with using the old approach was it took for granted the independent and [cough] Reagan Democrats [cough]. Back then, there really was no track record for the rabid right wing Republicans. They had managed a good propaganda campaign that imposed a label of incompetence on the Democrats that stuck because there really was no counter argument at the time.

They do not have that option today. With BushCo™ having established the true meaning of incompetence, corruption, and bad government, playing to the base will not keep the independents and [cough] Reagan Democrats [cough] in the Republican camp.

I suspect the rabid right wing minority are replaying the glory days in their heads. But today's electorate map just does not include for them a solid majority of independents and [cough] Reagan Democrats [cough]. That close to 80% of the nation thinks we are heading in the wrong direction ought wake them up to the fact they've lost the swing votes.

In fact, I would be careful if I was a Republican strategist. There is the distinct possibility we will be talking about either Clinton or Obama Republicans.

Air Force One Spin

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Star Tribune

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - White House officials waged an extraordinary campaign during an 11-hour Air Force One flight to put a positive spin on the outcome of Sunday's summit talks between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Four times on the long flight back to Washington from Sochi, Russia, Bush aides trooped back to the press cabin to make the case that the summit had turned out well, particularly on missile defenses.

It was the heaviest lobbying campaign veteran reporters could recall ever occurring on the president's plane. Press accounts of the summit had been sent to Bush's plane and administration officials thought they were too negative. Clearly, Bush's aides were disappointed.

Oh, for crying out loud. Just how desperate are these bozos willing to act? At this point, it is becoming obvious that Bush has developed webbed feet and is quacking loudly. All the spin in the world is not going to keep that fact from reaching an already apathetic Republican electorate.

Do you think Fox will make mention of this little fact? Okay, okay. It really is rhetorical.


Some Sunday Chess Blogging

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This game is not yet finished. But, up to this point, I am pretty pleased with myself.

Play chess online!

As it stands, I am going to be sitting pretty. I have three pawns to advance up the board, with my King leading the way. My willingness to sacrifice my Bishop for his Rook gives me a powerful advantage. No doubt, there were many other opportunities which both imado and myself missed.

Still, by taking away his Rook, I get the advantage. And in a situation like this, I believe my Knight is much more flexible, and thereby more powerful, than his Bishop.

Oh, and somehow, I just knew he'd fall for the fork between my bishop and my bottom pawn.

Housing Crisis Hits Its Own

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How ironic.

Washington Post

A year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association was thrilled to sign a contract to buy a fancy new headquarters building in downtown Washington. Interest rates were low, the group's revenues were steady and the prospects for quickly renting out part of the structure were strong.

But since then, the association has fallen on tough times as many of the subprime mortgages dispensed by some of its members proved dicey. Borrowers discovered the loans were more costly than they had anticipated. Foreclosures soared, and cheap, inexpensive credit dried up, slowing the economy.

Certainly, I am not feeling much sympathy. This association did nothing to police its industry. Instead, it merely reveled in the gluttonous profits of predatory lending practices. Let them eat cake.
The Green Zone has been stained red with American blood.

BBC

Three US service personnel have been killed and 31 wounded by rocket attacks on the Green Zone and a base elsewhere in Baghdad, the US military has said.

The rocket attack at 1530 (1230 GMT) on the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, killed two personnel and wounded at least 17.

A separate attack at the same time on a forward operating base in the Rustamiya district killed another and injured 14.

The attacks came after fierce fighting between US forces and Shia militiamen.
Somehow, I do not think this is going to jive with the testimony I am sure the White House has already written for General Petraeus's appearance before congress.
Star Tribune

SAN FRANCISCO - They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece -- not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

A growing workforce of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Of course, the bloggers profess a love of the nonstop action. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Once again, it's blame everything except the personal choices made by people. I usually don't speak ill of the dead, but in this case I have to speak out. It is not that a blogger's lifestyle kills, it is that people choose to work the hours they do, and live the life they live.

What is it with people? Something new comes along that makes a major impact on society, and those not benefiting from, or participating in, the new trend, decide it is evil and dangerous.

Cue Shatner; Get a life, people.

Actually, stop being so fraking scared. Your way of life is not going to disappear in a flash of bright light, leaving you destitute and hopeless. So some people lived life as they chose, and possibly burned themselves out to the point of death. It was their choice of lifestyle, not a diabolical new industry, that killed them.

Tour De Rook-2008

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I retrieved my bike from the garage and hit the paths here in Hastings. It is my first bike ride of 2008. I actually surprised myself with some good numbers. Well, good numbers for me. I managed to ride 9.45 mile at an average speed of 11 mph with a total riding time of 50 minutes and 56 seconds.

As usual, early in the season, my muscles are what limit my performance. Out of shape, and having to deal with the usual extra 20 to 30 pounds I put on over the winter, I rarely achieve a lung burning workout. Instead, my leg muscles wimp out on me. And that is what happened today. Still, those are good personal numbers for my first leg of the year.

Disclosure

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I will be volunteering with the Steve Sarvi's campaign, working the phones on Saturday at 9:00 AM. Should be fun.

Quick Post

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Politics is the control of wealth and power. You are being conditioned to condemn politics as petty and boring, thus granting all the more control to the powers that be. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. The choice is yours.

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Politics is the control of wealth and power. You are being conditioned to condemn politics as petty and boring, thus granting all the more control to the powers that be. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. The choice is yours.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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