{ require_once('class.compressor.php'); //Include the class. The full path may be required } $compressor = new compressor('css,javascript,page'); Left In Aboite: February 2007 <$BlogMetaData>

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All About Julie. . .

First check out this synopsis from The Young Turks:

Then check out Village Voice senior editor Wayne Barrett's outing of Rudy's HORRIBLE management decisions leading up to 9/11:

1. - Despite ALL police and fire personnel's concerns, Rudy placed his emergency mgnt center in World Trade Center 7!

2. - The REAL reason he was "bravely walking the streets at ground zero" was because his command center was IN ground zero!

3. - Communication between emergency personnel was effectively shut down on 9/11 as it was located in Rudy's choice of locale: GROUND ZERO!

The rest of the story will be coming out very soon:

Message to all of you wingnutters: PLEASE nominate this man as your candidate in 2008!

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Other Views

Another Last Song for Dick Cheney

Dennis Prager gets the bell for using "Jew" the most times in one article, and making ABSOLUTELY no sense whatsoever. A recurring theme for him. (13 pages worth of recurring)

Not only do the staff of the Politico not seem to be able to differentiate between the letters "B C" and "C L I F F", they make RNC talking points up out of whole cloth, let paid political consultants lash out at enemies in the guise of "opinion" and the sole female reporter at the rag is in charge of the gossip section, eye-rollingly entitled "SHEnanigans".

I know I'm prone to be weepy, but this this devastated me.
Compassionate Conservatives my ass.

Not really sure what this means, but knowing Soros it could become interesting.

The Army Times

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 13:37:17 EST

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
RNC Platform- Punish the victims.

Oh, those silly Liebercrats....

What's better, one of the original sponsors of the act is disgraced Liebercrat Bill Finch.

On a more serious note, it looks like one of the first election laws that really target campaign bloggers, giving legal challengers what I'd imagine is a legal standing to force campaigns to disclose conversations they have with bloggers.

The text of the (proposed) law makes several references to those making web-based appeals for donations or advocating for or against specific candidates in "consultation with" any given campaign, which would seem to require some level of official disclosure from anyone commenting for or against candidates online, or posting a donation link.
Wish they'd come up with a vaccine against that kind of stupidity.

The always on target and dreamy Joe Conason on CSpan tomorrow (3/1) at 830a.
Civil Liberties? Why THANK you, I'd LOVE some!!!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Did You Know?

Hat Tip : Fernando


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Reality Check Time

Somebody needs a reality check:

Of course, THIS family IS short-suited when it comes to reality. . .


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 26, 2007

U.S. Funds Being Funneled To Al Qaeda

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.” Watch it:

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

You Tell Me

Welcome to Monday morning, ya bastids! I did a little bit of window shopping this weekend, and came up with this entry for today's edition of "Make yer own caption":

Amaze me with your wit! Or, at least, let me know if I get these damned things hung straight. . .


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Quote from a true world statesman

On Thursday I heard several references to the following story, but I hadn't gotten a chance to research it yet. It involves a rather inappropriate comment from George Bush (imagine that) to Ariel Sharon.

Uri Dan, author of the book "Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait", was a military correspondent for the army magazine Bamahane, for the weekly Ha'olam Hazeh and for the daily Maariv. Mr. Dan, who died in December at age 71, was a part of Sharon's inner circle and was privy to alot of undisclosed information.

Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"

"I don't spend that much time thinking about him".

Apparently you do, George. Apparently you do. . .

Hat tips to Shmuel Rosner for the story and Elmo for the picture.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tragedy in Aboite!

Early this morning, during the ice storm which swept the area overnight, another innocent soul suffered the loss of his longtime home. Benjamin Bushytail, pictured here in happier times late last summer, described the incident to this reporter:

"I was fast asleep in my home in the hollow tree where I have resided all of my life. Suddenly I hear this cracking noise, and the entire top of my tree was just gone! I didn't know what to do. . .ya see, I spent all summer storing hickory nuts in my warm and dry nest, and there I was, sitting on my nuts, with freezing rain hailing down on me. So I just sat there all night, on my freezing nuts, and waited out the storm."

Mr.Bushytail spent the better part of the morning looking for temporary living quarters as well as nut storage. Longtime resident Billy Blacktail graciously offered temporary digs in his huge oak tree home across the way.

"This could have happened to any one of us", proclaimed Blacktail. "I'm happy to help out my fellow squirrel in need. Fortunately for Ben, the worst of the winter is over, at least if you can believe that crazy groundhog Phil who lives down by the lake."

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Lucky Find

Michael Starks recently got a fantastic deal at a local thrift store. Sparks was browsing at Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville, when he found a yellowed, shellacked, rolled-up document. When he inquired about the price, the clerk marked it at $2.48. Not knowing what he had for sure, Sparks did some online research and then consulted an appraisor.

What was his find? Merely a rare 184-year-old copy of the Declaration of Independence, one of only 200 official copies commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820. Sparks is auctioning it off at Raynor's Historical Collectible Auctions in Burlington, North Carolina. The opoening bid is $125,000 but appraisers estimate that it will bring nearly twice that sum, or 100,000 times what he paid for it. . .

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Before the clock runs out on this day, I need to take a minute out and wish my baby girl a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It was seven years ago today that I was blessed with the arrival of my oldest daughter, Samantha. Although I was "on the fence" regarding having children at that time, I am SO thankful for Sam and her sister!

I remember all of the details so vividly. . .I was the first to hold her. I carried her to a seperate room where they took her footprints and also pricked her foot for blood work; first time I heard her cry! My Mom (Whom I would lose 18 months later) arriving to see her for the first time. My mother-in-law and I looking for places to smoke (I quit 2 years later, for Sam, after 24 years of smoking).

This photo is from our appearance at the father/daughter dance a few weeks ago:

Sam had a great time dancing and running around with her friends that night, and, in addition to a few dances with her, I had the added pleasure of having Rep. Win Moses join us at our table. It was an enjoyable evening for us both.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite. Tonight I'm reintroducing you to one of my favorite '80's alt bands. Headed up by Andy Partridge, they are more famously known as "XTC". Influenced by the emerging New York punk scene, Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding played glam rock with homemade costumes and slowly built up a following. Drummer Terry Chambers joined in 1973. Keyboard player Barry Andrews followed in 1976, and the band finally settled on the name XTC.

By this time, the punk rock movement was in full swing, and XTC had found their style, a unique brand of hyperactive pop mixed with funk, punk, ska, reggae, and art rock. The boys were signed by Virgin Records in 1977 and produced two disappointing albums before hitting on a more traditional rock sound that resulting in the following breakthrough hit in 1979:

Making Plans For Nigel

Their 1980 LP, Black Sea spawned the hit singles "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" and "Generals and Majors". The song "Sgt Rock" namechecks the comic book character of the same name and reflects Partridge's lifelong obsession with American comics, particularly the work of Steve Ditko.

Generals and Majors

The last major hit of XTC's 1977-1982 touring phase was "Senses Working Overtime", the first single from their double album English Settlement and a top 10 hit in 1982. At the peak of their popularity, the band embarked on a major tour, but Partridge suffered a breakdown on stage during one of the first concerts of the tour in Paris on March 18, 1982.

Senses Working Overtime

Andy Partridge's breakdown, which manifested itself as uncontrollable stage fright, was reportedly precipitated by his wife throwing away his supply of Valium. Andy had become dependent upon the drug after it was prescribed to him as a teenager during his parents' divorce. He reportedly was never withdrawn from the drug and became dependent on it.

Concerned about her husband's dependence on the drug, Partridge's wife ill-advisedly threw his tablets away — without seeking medical advice — just before the Paris concert. Not surprisingly, Partridge suffered anxiety attacks of such severity that he was soon forced to withdraw from touring permanently. The European and British dates were cancelled and after one show in San Diego the whole US leg was also abandoned. Since then, XTC has been exclusively a studio band, although they have given occasional live-to-air performances from radio stations, and have made a handful of TV appearances as well.

Short vid of Andy leaving stage for the last time in Paris

In 1986, the band travelled to Todd Rundgren's studio-in-the-woods in Woodstock, New York to record Skylarking. The album revived the band's commercial fortunes, earning critical accolades and spawning the controversial hit "Dear God":

Dear God

The band's follow up,"Oranges and Lemons", was their biggest seller yet, with "Mayor of Simpleton" and "King for a Day" getting heavy airplay on MTV. During this period, Partridge began a relationship with an American fan, Erica Wexler, niece of famed American record producer Jerry Wexler. Wexler and Partridge are happily together to this day.

The Mayor of Simpleton

King For a Day

Their 1992 album, "Nonsuch" (named after Henry VIII's fabled palace), united them with famed UK producer Gus Dudgeon and drummer Dave Mattacks. The album featured the US and UK hit tune "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" which brought the band perhaps its greatest success after the early 1980s. (The video for the song drew intriguing parallels between the deaths of Jesus Christ and John F. Kennedy.)

In spite of the LP's success, soon after it was released a contractual dispute with their label, Virgin Records, saw XTC go "on strike" from 1992 through 1998, finally resulting in the termination of their contract. They issued no new material during this time, although two compilations were released: "Upsy Daisy Assortment" and the 2-CD set Fossil Fuel: "The XTC Singles 1977-1992", which featured remastered versions of their singles, including many tracks not issued on CD before.

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

From their 2000 album "Wasp Star" comes a personal favorite of mine. Listen carefully to the lyrics on this one:

Man Who Murdered Love

Andy also wrote and performed the them to one of my favorite, albeit short-lived, TV shows. The networks kill great shows like this despite protest from fans, and run reality tv 24/7 - that's why I've tuned out. But I digress. . .from Wonderfalls:

Theme from "Wonderfalls"

Thanks for joining me tonight on FNR! It's my sincere hope this evening's memories left you in XTC. . .=)

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

FOX attacks Obama

Fox is not a credible news outlet and needs to be stopped. Foxattacks.com will give you the information and tools you need to hit fox where it hurts. The current video presents the erroneous and slanted stories Fox recently ran about Barack Obama. In response, Obama refused to appear on Fox. Watch the video, then follow Obama's lead and... Do Something.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 22, 2007


By General Wesley Clark

All Americans want to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and interfering on the ground inside Iraq.

Yet, President Bush's continued saber-rattling gives the US little additional leverage to engage and dissuade Iran, and, more than likely, simply accelerates a dangerous slide into war. The United States can do better than this.

Whatever the pace of Iran's nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administration's rhetoric and accusations, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict.

Surely, it is past time to urge President Bush to exercise leadership and start to work now to avoid a widening of the conflict in the Middle East.

That's why today, I'm joining with Jon Soltz, Chairman of VoteVets.org, the preeminent organization representing Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, to launch StopIranWar.com.

StopIranWar.com today and sign the petition to President Bush. War is not the answer.

StopIranWar.com is a one-stop resource for all Americans to help stop the looming conflict with Iran. With the latest news on Iran and online tools to contact President Bush, lobby your members of Congress, and write letters to the editor to local and national print media, StopIranWar.com will help us create the groundswell of support needed to stop another dangerous war in the Middle East.

Americans and their elected officials in Congress must work together to demand that President Bush stop the rush to war with Iran. The United States must use every option available to defuse tensions with Iran - diplomatic, political, and economic - before even considering military force. Military force must be viewed as the last resort - not the first option.

Cannot the world's most powerful nation deign speak to the resentful and scheming regional power that is Iran? Can we not speak of the interests of others, work to establish a sustained dialogue, and seek to benefit the people of Iran and the region? Could not such a dialogue, properly conducted, begin a process that could, over time, help realign hardened attitudes and polarizing views within the region? And isn't it easier to undertake such a dialogue now, before more die, and more martyrs are created to feed extremist passions?

War with Iran is not the answer. We must work with our allies, talk with Iran, and use all diplomatic, political, and economic options at our disposal. Military force against Iran is not the solution now, and if we adopt the right strategy, perhaps it need never be.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Compact fluorescents only, mates!

Good for the Aussies! As those of you who know me well can attest to, I've used nothing but compact fluorescents in my home for over ten years. They really DO lower your electric bill, and today's bulbs are available in many styles and even colors. They're available as floodlight bulbs, candleabra bulbs, blacklight bulbs, and many other styles. I recently switched out all of our regular CF bulbs for the new "daylight" CF bulbs with their crisp white light. So. . .if you're looking to convert, I have dozens of the softer-white CF bulbs sitting unused in a box in my garage. . .


Australia Mandates Use of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs by 2012
by Rohan Sullivan

The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country.

Legislation to gradually restrict the sale of the old-style bulbs could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent, said Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Australia produced almost 565 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2004, official figures show.

Prime Minister John Howard said the plan would help all Australians play a part in cutting harmful gas emissions: "Here's something practical that everybody will participate in."

In incandescent light bulbs, perfected for mass use by Thomas A. Edison in the late 19th century, electricity flows through a filament to create light. Much of the energy, however, is wasted in the form of heat.

Australia is not the only place looking to replace them with fluorescent lighting, which is more efficient and longer lasting.

Last month, a California assemblyman announced he would propose a bill to ban the use of incandescent bulbs in his state. And a New Jersey lawmaker has called for the state to switch to fluorescent lighting in government buildings within three years.

Cuba's Fidel Castro launched a similar program two years ago, sending youth brigades into homes and switching out regular bulbs for energy-saving ones to help battle electrical blackouts around the island.

The idea was later embraced by Castro's friend and ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who announced his own program to save energy and in recent months has given away millions of incandescent bulbs in neighborhoods nationwide.

Under the Australian plan, bulbs that do not comply with energy efficiency targets would be gradually banned from sale. Exemptions may apply for special needs such as medical lighting and oven lights.

Fluorescent bulbs are currently more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but use only about 20 percent of the power to produce the same amount of light and last longer, making them more competitive over time, advocates argue.

Environmentalists welcomed the light bulb plan, but noted than the vast bulk of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions come from industry, such as coal-fired power stations.

They urged the government to set national targets for emission reductions and renewable energy.

"It is a good, positive step. But it is a very small step. It needs to be followed through with a lot of different measures," Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Josh Meadows told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Howard has become a global warming convert, conceding in recent months for the first time that human activity is having an effect on rising temperatures.

But he has steadfastly refused to bring Australia into line with most of the world and ratify the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas reductions, arguing that doing so could damage Australia's coal-dependent economy.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Left in the fog

Downtown Ft.Wayne near the Grand Wayne Center

Downtown Ft.Wayne near the Main Library

Frozen fog on trees: Greenlawn

I-69 at Point Inverness

Scott's Foods at Chestnut Plaza

Spartan Field at Homestead HS

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Did You Hear The Joke About Faux News Hosting The Democratic Debates?


Nevada Democratic Party issued the following statement last night:

"FOX News' viewership in Western states and across the country does not always get to hear directly from Democrats in an unedited and uninterrupted fashion. The August debate in Reno will allow the Democratic Presidential candidates to speak to the Fox audience who may be hearing from them for the first time for ninety minutes unfiltered and directly."

OH MY!! My sides, stop it you crazy Nevadans!!!
Don't you remember what happened LAST time?!?

[C]onsider the September 9, 2003 Democratic debate in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted by Fox News in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus. Fox News graphics, as well as a banner over the stage, titled the event as the "Democrat Candidate Presidential Debate," a misconstruction of "Democrat" used as an an epithet. Fox News then summarized the debate with a story titled, "Democratic Candidates Offer Grim View of America," continuing with such jabs as, "The depiction of the president as the root of all evil began at the top of Tuesday night's debate...." Controversial questions included the accusation that Howard Dean had a racist gun policy by Fox News analyst Juan Williams. There were also multiple interruptions by protesters throughout the debate, leading to four arrests.

And who says Democrats have no sense of humour!!
Read more details at MyDD

Put your two cents in- email the Nevada Dems HERE..

Tell them there is NO EXCUSE for watching Faux Noise, no matter who is on.
And by that time, they may have taken over Helens' chair,
so there is a second reason to stay away!!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tom Henry for mayor

Candidate Brings Solid Experience, Community Commitment and New Energy to Race

Fort Wayne, IN - In the company of family, friends and supporters, Tom Henry today declared his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Ft. Wayne. The announcement was held in the heart of the city at Bergstaff Place, 2020 East Washington Boulevard, Suite 600, a locale that symbolizes Fort Wayne.s proud heritage and its fresh spirit of action.

"It is a good time to call Fort Wayne, Indiana home", stated Henry. "We are a city on the move, a community of people who give their best every day, a front-porch town that understands what it takes to be a world-class competitor. You can sense the momentum. You can see the changes taking place. I know that working together we can continue to build a city full of good jobs, strong neighborhoods and opportunity for every citizen. I am convinced we can do it. And I have the vision and skills to help us succeed. That is why I am running for Mayor".

A nearly lifelong resident of Fort Wayne, Henry has a long record of dedicated public service. From 1984 through 2004, he served on the Fort Wayne City Council as the voice for the 3rd District. A problem-solving legislator, he consistently championed economic growth, neighborhood enhancements and investments in municipal infrastructure and public safety. He earned a reputation for independence, innovation and progressive representation. A vocal advocate for those most in need, Henry is also well known as a proponent of collaboration to advance community goals.

"With credit to the dynamic, fiscally sound leadership of Mayor Graham Richard, we've learned that the best way to attract good jobs is to build a better city", noted Henry. "Thanks to his guidance, we are on the right track. But I believe our community can reach the next level of accomplishment. I intend to keep building. Doing the fundamentals well must remain a priority: job creation and retention, police and fire protection, neighborhood improvements, street, sewer and water repairs, and a more efficient, customer-friendly government that uses every tax dollar wisely. I know what it takes to make government work for you. The bar has been set high, but I know we will be able to exceed it".

With a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Saint Francis, Henry has started and run companies successfully throughout his professional career. He knows the challenges confronting businesses today, the requirements to retain jobs and nurture an expanding local economy.

At present, Henry is President and CEO of the Gallant Group, a local insurance agency. He also has a special appreciation for the demands facing small business owners. His wife, Cindy, is the proprietor of the Green Frog Inn, a landmark neighborhood restaurant and bar.

"I am as committed to creating and keeping good jobs as I am to creating and keeping a high quality of life. Fort Wayne needs both", observed Henry. "These ingredients are the foundation for a vital community. We must strive to achieve a healthy balance as we grow into the future, preserving our character and history, while fearlessly embracing the changes that will promote progress sustainable for generations to come".

Devoted to family and Fort Wayne, Henry is the father of two children and grandparent to two. Along with his wife, he is actively involved in his church, and he volunteers his time with many community organizations.

"I love Fort Wayne, and I am optimistic about what lies ahead. But these are serious times", added Henry. "We have problems and issues that must be addressed through thoughtful discussion and prudent action. We need a leader in our community who has the ability to not only take calculated risks, but who also can see decisions through to the end. We need someone who can work both sides of the political arena, yet not waiver from his principles or ethical foundation. We need someone to take Fort Wayne into a new decade filled with hope, trust and commitment. I stand ready to join you in our quest for Fort Wayne's brighter tomorrow".


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lock Bumping - fact or fiction?

I get alot of hits here from searches for articles on "lock bumping". That being said, I thought I'd share the following with those of you who arrive here from one of those searches. From Urban Legends at About.com:

Netlore Archive: Forwarded emails link to videos demonstrating a breaking-and-entering technique used by criminals known as lock bumping or key bumping

Description: Email flier / Video

Circulating since: January 2007

Status: True

Analysis: See below
Email example contributed by an AOL user, 7 February 2007:

This was sent to me and you need to watch it. It's called Lock Bumping. It allows a thief, or anyone, to open your lock in seconds.

It' a scary thought to know that someone can get into your locked home, where you are feeling safe, and can open your lock and come in.

Comments: The lockpicking method demonstrated in the linked video, variously known as "lock bumping," "key bumping," and "bump keying," isn't new, but it was unknown to the general public (and even to many lockmiths) until 2005, when information about it began circulating on the Internet. Since that time, a plethora of how-to articles, videos, and even do-it-yourself bump key kits have appeared online, resulting in a spate of cautionary news coverage in early 2007.Properly applied, the method can open all but a few of the most common pin tumbler locks in use, including those typically installed on most people's front doors. All it takes is a specially-cut "bump key" (also known by locksmiths as a "999 key" because all the notches are cut to the maximum depth of 9) and a lightweight mallet for tapping the key into the lock. When the key is slid into the lock and "bumped," it momentarily jars all of the tumblers into a position that will allow the bolt to be turned. It's just that easy for someone to break into your home without leaving a trace.

But here's the nitty-gritty question: How prevalent is lock bumping, really? At this point no one knows for sure. Police say they don't have statistics on this type of forced entry because it's virtually impossible to tell the difference between a lock that has been bumped and one that was never locked in the first place. There have been few, if any, cases of burglars actually being caught with lock bumping tools in their possession. Even so, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that now that this information has become so readily available, use of the technique by criminals is bound to increase.

Can you protect yourself from lock bumping? Yes, but it involves replacing standard locks with higher quality (and much more expensive) bump-resistant models. Consumers are probably best advised to consult a reputable locksmith or security expert for specific recommendations.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Army Fixing Patients' Housing

UPDATE: Yesterday we brought you the Post story regarding the horrid conditions at some areas of the Walter Reed Army Hospital. It appears the work of reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull has paid immediate dividends:

Walter Reed Army Medical Center began repairs yesterday on Building 18, a former hotel that is used to house outpatients recuperating from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan and that has been plagued with mold, leaky plumbing and a broken elevator.

Thank God for investigative journalism. . .making a difference everywhere from inappropriate greeting cards to restoring the dignity of our vets!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Who would you vote for?

According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans claim they will be willing to vote for a woman (read: Hillary Clinton) or a black (read: Barack Obama) for president next year. But they still raise questions about voting for a well-qualified Mormon (Mitt Romney) or 72-year-old (John McCain) or someone who has been divorced twice (Rudy Giuliani).

Surprisingly, nearly as many say they would vote for a homosexual (55%) as say they would vote for a 72-year-old (57%). Most censored: atheists.

"While Americans overwhelmingly say they would vote for a black, woman, Catholic, or Hispanic president, they are less likely to say they would support a Mormon candidate, one who is 72 years old, or one who has been married three times," Gallup reported.

Asked if they'd be willing to vote for a "generally well-qualified" candidate with the following characteristics, here's how the tally went in the Feb. 9- 11 poll:

Black 94%

Jewish 92%

A woman 88%

Hispanic 87%

Mormon 72%

Married for third time 67%

72 years of age 57%

A homosexual 55%

An atheist 45%

Conservatives expressed more misgivings about candidates from all of the above categories except the age question, where they are more disapproving of voting for someone 72 or over.

Hat tip: Editor & Publisher

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 19, 2007

Who is taking care of our soldiers?

Today's Washington Post has an extremely disturbing story concerning the conditions our wounded troops are facing upon their return home:

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

Would you care to venture a guess as to the location of Mr.Duncan's room? Some tenement slum apartment in a bad neighborhood? Possibly tucked away in the forgotten destruction of the New Orleans? You are not going to beleive the answer. It will make you angry. It will make you sick to your stomach:

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When you mention the name Walter Reed an image comes to mind of a top surgical institution that shines as crisp and clean as a freshly-pressed uniform. And indeed the hospital itself is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles. Yet the outpatients in the rest of the 113 acre complex, as well as dozens of nearby hotels and apartments leased by the Army, endure a completely different scenario:

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."

The two Washington Post reporters who broke the story spent more than four months visiting the outpatient world without the knowledge or permission of Walter Reed officials. Walter Reed occasionally showcases the heroism of these wounded soldiers and emphasizes that all is well under the circumstances, while the true conditions there remain hidden from the public eye. Bush, Rumsfeld and members of Congress have promised the best care during their regular visits to the hospital's spit-polished amputee unit, Ward 57:

"We owe them all we can give them," Bush said during his last visit, a few days before Christmas. "Not only for when they're in harm's way, but when they come home to help them adjust if they have wounds, or help them adjust after their time in service."

Apparently, suicide attempts and unintentional overdoses from prescription drugs and alcohol, which are commonplace, are the best we have to give these soldiers who have given so very much for us. Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon's story is sadly representative of the lack of managed care, to say the very least. . .

Shannon arrived as many do in November of 2004. A white-painted bus with blackened windows carried him from Andrews Air Force Base to the Walter Reed complex where, still groggy from his pain-meds for his eye injuries and shattered skull,someone handed him a map of the grounds and told him to find his room across post.

A reconnaissance and land-navigation expert, Shannon was so disoriented that he couldn't even find north. Holding the map, he stumbled around outside the hospital, sliding against walls and trying to keep himself upright, he said. He asked anyone he found for directions.

Shannon had led the 2nd Infantry Division's Ghost Recon Platoon until he was felled in a gun battle in Ramadi. He liked the solitary work of a sniper; "Lone Wolf" was his call name. But he did not expect to be left alone by the Army after such serious surgery and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He had appointments during his first two weeks as an outpatient, then nothing.

"I thought, 'Shouldn't they contact me?' " he said. "I didn't understand the paperwork. I'd start calling phone numbers, asking if I had appointments. I finally ran across someone who said: 'I'm your case manager. Where have you been?'

"Well, I've been here! Jeez Louise, people, I'm your hospital patient!"

There are more personal stories from this report available over at the
Post's website if you still have a taste for more. I do not. This, on top of Bush's plans to cut VA spending just as he plans to send more of our boys into the meat grinder of Iraq, are more than I can stomach right now. . .

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

You Tell Me

Good Monday morning. . .if there truly is such a thing. Hey, at least it's finally warming up and you get to play "Make Yer Own Caption"!

Don't laugh! It was quite the effort to get my old vehicle to the "push it, pull it, drag it" sale last week at the local auto mall!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 18, 2007


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Today's Senate vote

“A majority of the United States Senate just voted on Iraq, and a majority of the United States Senate is against the escalation in Iraq.” - Harry Reid

Today, for the second time, Republican Senators blocked efforts to force debate on the resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, but defections among them have emboldened Democrats to promise new attempts to derail BushCo's war machine. The 56-to-34 vote, just four votes short of the 60 needed to break a procedural stalemate, suggests that Democrats are slowly pulling Senate Republicans over to their side. Seven Republicans and one Independent joined 48 Democrats in voting "aye" today.

Democratic leaders intend to quickly introduce meatier proposals on Iraq after next week's break:

“We will be relentless, there will be resolution after resolution, amendment after amendment, all forcing this body to do what it has not done in the previous three years: debate and discuss Iraq.” - Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY)

“The American people can see what is happening here,and they know that some want to prevent a vote at all costs.” - Senator Ben Nelson (NE)

Details of the Democratic game plan remain under wraps, but will likely focus upon the mission of our troops in Iraq and ways to authorize funding for those troops now deployed while disallowing any additional spending for escalations.

Some Republican responses (and my thoughts on them) to today's actions:

“We want a debate about Iraq that includes funding for the troops. They’ve denounced the surge. The question is, are they going to fund the troops?” - Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)

- Yes, Mitch. WE support our troops and WE will fund our troops in the field and their redeployment. WE, however, will NOT fund "surges" at this president's whim.

“This week’s voting gave the world a glimpse of democracy’s vigor. The next votes should provide unmistakable assurance of this nation’s resolve in achieving success.” - Lapdog Tony Snow (DC)

- That it will, Tony. We've picked up five Republican votes since we last discussed this; I say we're on a roll here.

“This is the United States Senate. The majority cannot tell the minority what we are going to have one vote on, take it or leave it.” - Senator Jim Bunning (KY)

- You mean like the way things ran the last six years there, Jimbo?

“If you think we are in the middle of civil war, cut off funding.” - Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)

- Lindsey, the only voices I hear talking about cutting off funding for our current forces seem to be coming from your side of the aisle. What gives?

All this posturing for a vote that would merely open debate to begin considering the measure passed yesterday by the House. A simple message that “Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.” Republicans are clearly ducking a vote directly opposing Bush's misguided attempts to escalate our forces even as many of them display significant reservations about the conduct of the war and it's political repercussions for them.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Pickled Stuffed Meatloaf

(ed. note- Felt you guys were a little pickle deficient over here... heh.)

Sandwich-cut pickles aren't just for layering between bread.
Here, they are used in meatloaf.
Tomato slices, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese provide color and flavor accents.

2 eggs
1/2 cup flavored dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup minced onions
1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 slices mozzarella cheese
6 sliced-lengthwise-for-sandwiches dill pickles
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tomato, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat together eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, onions, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add ground beef and combine. Place half of ground beef mixture into bottom of roasting pan and mild loaf approximately 3 inches wide and 7 inches long. Fold 2 slices cheese in half and lay lengthwise down center of loaf. Top with 3 pickles, mushrooms, tomato slices and remaining pickles. Fold remaining slices of cheese in half and place on top of pickles.

Mold remaining meat mixture on top, making sure all stuffing is covered on all sides, as well as top. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 40 to 50 more minutes, or until meat is no longer pink on the inside.

Serves 4 to 6. Per serving: Calories 551; fat 39g; saturated fat 16g; cholesterol 203mg; carbohydrate 13g; sodium 1,538 mg; protein 36g.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Record Stats

I hit some record numbers here at Left in Aboite yesterday (02/16/2007):

716 unique visitors!

That is one outrageous number for this blog and is much higher than my recent average of 135 unique visitors per day. I'd like to publicly thank "the old broad" for her support of my muse and for suggesting my work to the fine folks at Crooks & Liars. I "heart ya" Hill! Your words of encouragement have been invaluable to me. . .you are a true friend and an inspiration.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

Thank God it's Friday! (It's been the week from Hell here) On tonight's edition of Friday Nite Retro, we're serving up the "all-American rock and roll dream" - Scottish-style. . .school band sticks together and makes it big! These guys officially formed in 1980 at the Jordanhill College School in west Glasgow, Scotland, and used to practice in one of the school's commons areas during their lunch hours. Lead singer Justin Currie was accused by his English teacher at the school of not paying attention and was told that he would not amount to anything in the world. Currie retorted that he didn't need to pay attention as he was going to be a rock star - Give him props for beleiving in himself!

The name of the band? Del Amitri! The name is often reported as being Greek for "from the womb", but this is not correct. Another story says the name was suggested to Currie by his girlfriend of the time who had a hand bag which had the style name 'Del Amitri'. The most likely explanation comes from Currie himself. At the very end of their 1996 tour diary video release, titled "Let's Go Home", he reads an entry from a children's encyclopedia, which supposedly refers to a false god from Greek mythology called Delama Tree, largest of all false gods, 458 feet tall and made entirely of gold. It was built on sand, and collapsed, killing the entire population of the town that built it. He ends the reading saying, "There you have it: false gods built on stupidity."

Though popular in the local music scene in Glasgow, having been signed by Chysalis in 1985, and playing back-up for The Smiths on tour, Del Amitri was unable to hit the charts. The band were dropped by Chrysalis, but continued to work and play together, touring the USA in 1986 on a tour that was financed partly by themselves and partly by their small but enthusiastic fan base. The time they spent working on new material proved worthwhile as they were eventually signed up again in 1988, this time by A&M Records.

Their new album with A&M, "Waking Hours" finally broke into the charts, hitting #6 in the UK and flirting with the American Top 40. From that breakthrough album:

Kiss This Thing Goodbye

The group's follow-up album, "Change Everything", was released in 1992 and became the band’s biggest ever chart success, reaching No. 2 in the UK, being held off top spot only by "The Best of Lionel Richie". The single "Always the Last to Know" was another Top 20 UK hit, peaking at No. 13, and again provided them with an entry into the Billboard Chart Top 40 in the US. Their increasing success in America led to an appearance on Letterman show and increasingly larger and more loyal audiences at their concerts. This was the first single I had heard from them, and is a personal favorite:

Always the Last to Know

Another great single from "Change Everything":

Be My Downfall

Their popularity in the USA saw them being invited to play at the Woodstock '94 anniversary festival. Soon after that, they released their "Twisted" album featuring our next tune, "Driving With the Brakes On". I was unable to find a complete video by Del Amitri, so first up I have a snippet of Justin Currie performing the beginning, followed by a full cover (not too bad!) by "The Massaccoustics":

Driving With the Brakes On

Driving With the Brakes On (cover)

And finally, from that same album, here's the single that almost all of you will likely recall:

Roll To Me

The current status of the band is something of a mystery. Although there had been no official word of them splitting up, it is believed that Dollimore and Price have left the band. Rumors that the remaining members are working with or under the name of "The Uncle Devil Show" have been strenuously denied on the band's official website. However, the tone of the denial is very much in keeping with the humorous spirit of the whole "Uncle Devil Show" project and even non-fans will be able to recognize the songs and voice of Justin Currie on their first album, "A Terrible Beauty", which was released in 2004 and contains six songs sung written by Currie.

In March 2005 Justin Currie announced on their US website that he was finishing up his solo album and was also 'more than halfway through' a record he had been writing together with Dels guitarist Iain Harvie for the last 18 months. At the end of August of the same year Currie added that his solo album was now finished, had a title (Rebound) and that he was talking to two labels in New York interested in releasing this record.

And that's a wrap on yet another exciting fact-filled edition of Friday Nite Retro - have a GREAT weekend!

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 15, 2007

KSFR says NO to unnamed source stories

After the recent widely-publicized stories in the main stream media about weapons from Iran allegedly killing Americans in Iraq, based completely on unnamed sources, at least one smaller news outlet has had enough of it.

Bill Dupuy, the news director of the public radio station KSFR in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to ignore national stories that quote unnamed sources. He also challenged other news outlets to take the same stance. Dupuy sent the following to his news staff:

Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occassionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed. I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments, broadcast and print, to take the same professional approach.

Mr.Dupuy, I commend you. This may be the action of one man at a small public radio station, but it shows more principle and integrity than most of your larger peers combined. May what you have started in New Mexico become a growing trend in returning to the long lost days of actual news reporting and the decline of the "stage production news-dramas" that have taken over. . .


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Al Franken for Senate!

I missed Al's online announcement yesterday on his final show due to my "snow day". . .but here is the video:

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

American Greetings subsidiary trashes Democrats

National greeting card company carrying 'Love Democratic style' card with Pelosi, others in bondage . . .

This Valentine's Day, one of the nation's largest greeting card companies is circulating a satirical online greeting card that depicts "Love Democratic Style" as "throwing family values out the window" and depicts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dressed as a dominatrix and Sen. Hillary Clinton as a maid. A similar "Love Republican Style" card could not be located at the company's website.

The short eCard from the company plays a jingle for about 30 seconds with a variety of colorful images of Democratic political leaders in compromising situations:

--The eCard first depicts an image of Senator Hillary Clinton dressed in maid garb.

--It then proceeds to show former Governor Howard Dean and Senator John Kerry both wearing dog collars.

--Several Democratic 'newbies' are then shown.

--A photograph of Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid follows with his face beneath a high heel, and the declaration that family values have been thrown "out the window".

--An image of bondage gear is then shown, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then depicted in a dominatrix outfit while the associated jingle declares that "Love is free with Pelosi".

--The greeting card ends by wishing a "Happy VD".

RAW STORY, the source for this story, is awaiting comment from Democratic offices and American Greetings Interactive, the company that owns Blue Mountain. AGInteractive is owned by American Greetings, which says on its website that it is "one of the world's largest manufacturers of social expression products."

The eCard can be accessed at Blue Mountain's website.

Here is contact information for American Greetings:

Contact American Greetings
American Greetings CorporationOne American Road Cleveland, Ohio 44144-2398

216/252-7300 Fax: 216/252-6778
Corporate contacts
Consumer Relations (Customer Service):
American Greetings 800/777-4891
AmericanGreetings.com / AG Interactive 800/305-6766

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

"The Countdown"

My friend Robert Rouse, of the weblog Left of Centrist , has just recorded "The Countdown" - a "love" song to George W. Bush. From Robert's post earlier today:

"As a Valentines Day gift, I would like to present my "love" song to George W. Bush. I hope you enjoy it. Here's a link to download the mp3.

The Countdown"

There will also be a permalink to the this mp3 and other originals in the sidebar under "A Little Rouse Music"."

Robert has the full lyrics posted on his site as well. Be sure to check out more of his awesome work in the right sidebar over there!

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Snow Day

Wow. I feel like I'm back in school today. 'Cause that's the last time I ever remember having a snow day. . .My supply chain is shut down, so I have no work today, my wife's employer is closed, and our daycare provider as well as the local schools are closed as well. Some pictures from our deck:


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Memo to George

Note to George W. Bush: This is what happens when you talk to people, rather than bombing them:

A hard-won disarmament pact that the U.S. and four other nations struck with North Korea on Tuesday requires the communist nation to halt its nuclear programs in exchange for oil while leaving the ultimate abandonment of those weapons projects to a potentially trouble-filled future.

And you may wish to listen to the input of Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We're not falling for this line of bullshit twice:

On Sunday, in a briefing for reporters, U.S. military officials in Baghdad offered a slide show and examples of armor-piercing explosives that they said bore writing and serial numbers from Iran. Briefers, speaking anonymously for what they said were security reasons, said the weapons had caused the deaths of 170 U.S. soldiers in the past two years. No cameras were allowed in the briefing room, and a transcript of the session was not provided.

By the way, it would appear that you, sir, are enboldening the enemy:

Al-Zawahri called what he described as Bush' failure in Iraq and the growing Taliban resistance in Afghanistan the "most important events" of the past year. He also said "the people cooperating with the United States in Afghanistan and in Iraq would be abandoned by the Americans once they fail, the same way they did in Vietnam."

Muslims around the world, he added, should go to "Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria and Somalia, because your brothers the Mujahedeen are in need of men, money, materiel, opinion, expertise and information."

Heed the will of the American public last November. End this stubborn and foolish war dance now, or we will remove you from office. And your little buttlicker as well:

John McCain said Monday he fears an offensive by Iraqi insurgents similar to the
Tet offensive by the Viet Cong that sent U.S. casualties soaring in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago. McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press that it's not the U.S. presence in Iraq that upsets voters but rather the number of casualties and the possibility those numbers could rise.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bush's actions strengthen Ahmadinejad

Iran reformists to George W.Bush: Stop helping us!

The nuclear rhetoric and military posturing by the Bush administration only helps a faltering Ahmadinejad stay popular, according to Reformist Party members in Iran:

"Most people voted for Ahmadinejad because he promised they would never have to feel sad again on New Year's Eve in front of their children," said Farshid Bakhtieri, a 21-year-old computer salesman. "Everyone right now, they feel nothing but regret."One person says he voted for Ahmadinejad because he would create jobs. And there are no jobs. Another person says it was because he would build houses. No one can afford these houses," Bakhtieri said. "He is like all the other politicians in the history of Iran, all of them coming with lots of promises, but no one follows these promises. He is exactly like the others."

Hmmm. . .who does that remind me of. . .

Tens of thousands of Iranians will gather in the streets today for what is supposed to be a ringing public endorsement of Iran's 28-year-old Islamic Revolution and its embattled drive for nuclear power. But many Iranians say the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program has become a rallying point for a president who otherwise would be facing substantial public dissatisfaction over soaring inflation, rising unemployment and widespread censorship.

Sort of like the way the "war on terror" became a rallying part for our own "boy blunder" before 72% of us wised up. . .

This has been a source of frustration to Iran's reformists, who dealt the president's party a blow at the polls in local elections in December but complain that the Bush administration's threatening rhetoric has pulled the rug out from under them:

"You are harmful for us. We try to tell politicians in Washington, D.C., please don't do anything in favor of reform or to promote democracy in Iran. Because in 100% of the cases, it benefits the right wing," said Saeed Leylaz, a business consultant and advocate of economic reform and greater dialogue with the West."Mr. Ahmadinejad tries to make the international situation worse and worse. And now with the U.N. Security Council resolution, he can say, 'Look, we are in a dangerous position, and nobody can say anything against us, because the enemy is coming into the country.' Exactly like George W. Bush in Washington, D.C. They are helping each other. They need each other, I believe."

So, again Bush is reaching out to the right-wing, but in Iran this time. But doesn't he want to nuke Iran into glass? I'm getting confused. . .

The government and clerical establishment have gone to great pains in recent weeks to stress to Iranians that the nation's independence is under threat. More than anything else, a strong sense of national pride has pushed Iran toward developing a nuclear power program, which the U.S. and other nations believe is aimed at building a nuclear weapon:

"Our revolution was a gift from God. If we don't say 'Thank God' every day, we will lose this gift and all we have," Ahmad Khatami, a hard-line cleric from Qom, reminded hundreds gathered for Friday prayers at Tehran University last week. "Attacking the government and the parliament and the judiciary is fanning the flames of the enemy."

Ya know. . .there's a disturbing parallel here between these Irani clerics and the religious right here in America. . .Perhaps Bush's REAL intention is to annex a 51st state. . .

Ahmadinejad's approach has been broadly popular in the provinces and among many in Tehran fed up with the wealth and corruption of those in power. The slight president, who typically wears a tan jacket, lives in a simple house and drives a normal car.He has tried to give the lower classes a bigger share of Iran's oil wealth and has been known to respond to constituents who write to him about problems with a handwritten note, directing them to take it to the nearest bank for a loan.

Okay, I'm back to confused once again here. Well at least I can understand the populist appeal of Ahmadinejad. Once again, the parallels are striking: Nationalistic leader with defeciencies in the old mental-health department who comes from an upper-class background, reaches out to the poor huddled masses through butchery of the national tongue, claims of being a "regular joe just like you", and blames unfulfilled promises on everyone else while promoting an "us against them" posture.

But the state's share of the economy has swollen, and the Tehran stock exchange has lost more than a quarter of its value over the last 18 months. Unemployment stands at an official 11.5%, and little new foreign investment is coming in.Meanwhile, prices are increasing at a dizzying rate. Tomatoes have risen threefold in the last year, while housing prices in more prosperous north Tehran appear to have doubled.Bakhtieri said his mother, a university librarian, was one of several public employees who got a raise shortly after Ahmadinejad was elected, only to see it taken back when the government couldn't afford it. Some employees even had to repay the extra money they received, he said.

Bakhtieri said many Iranians blame their troubles on Ahmadinejad's generous aid programs to Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Palestinian territories and Latin America."I don't know why, when our people need lots of things, they have to be spending all this money in other countries," he said.

Bakhtieri, we feel your pain. . .

Economists say the inflation can be traced to the amount of money in circulation doubling over the last 18 months.The government ordered banks to grant millions of dollars in new loans to small and medium-sized businesses. Bad loans put the banks at risk. New roads, wastewater treatment plants and sports centers were launched, paid for by the government, and when the government couldn't afford it, from yet more bank loans. Banks are facing a reported $8.8 billion in bad loans. Meanwhile, imports have doubled, to $50 billion a year. And the oil stabilization fund, which had accumulated $9 billion in unanticipated oil revenue as a hedge for the future, is forecast by some to be tapped out by the end of next month.

Spend recklessly, throw money at problems without considering how to pay for it. . .I'm surprised that Bush and Ahmadinejad aren't sharing tongues at this point!

Voter response has been swift: When Iranians went to the polls for December's municipal council elections, Ahmadinejad's party took a beating."That is a devastating defeat for the president. And this is unprecedented in Iran, that after a year and a half in office a president's party is defeated like this," said a former government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "This voice has to be heard now by the government."The international conflict over the country's nuclear program has only compounded the economic problems.U.N. sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear and missile programs will probably have little effect on the public.

Obvious comparison here; yet the people of Iran were smart enough to revolt after only 18 months, while the sheeple here in America took at least twice that amount of time to decide that there "may be a problem" with our "clueless leader's" policies. . .

But a separate banking embargo being pushed by the Bush administration means Iranian businessmen must pay much more to import goods."The only solution we have now is to deal with Chinese companies, because the Chinese are more flexible," said Amir Saqaei, an engineer in the oil and gas industry who is developing an oil project in the western region of Cheshmakhosh. However, he said, the Chinese goods are of poor quality.

Only posible explanation: Bush supports Red China!

Not all of the government's troubles have been economic. Writers have complained of a near-halt to the publishing of novels. Foreign books such as William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" have been banned, and several newspapers have been closed. In December, crackdowns on student associations and repression of activists prompted students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University to heckle the president during an appearance there. Chanting "Death to the dictator" and carrying a banner reading "Fascist Ahmadinejad," the crowd sent a shoe sailing toward the president as he stood at the podium. A large number of parliamentary deputies signed letters this year demanding answers from the president on the nuclear issue and the economy.

But new, strong language from Washington starting in January that hinted at the possibility of a military strike quickly took the wind out of their sails.Independent legislator Akbar Alami, who had circulated a letter, said he stopped getting signatures almost immediately.

Only Bush could fuck up an otherwise healthy resistance movement in Iran by attacking the very mirror-image of himself there. . .

If Iranians perceive a foreign threat, he said, "they don't pay attention anymore to differences, and the problem they have between parties and governments doesn't matter anymore."To the contrary, said former central bank governor Mohammad Hossain Adeli, it mobilizes the Iranians and ratchets up the conflict."The foreign pressure is counterproductive and radicalizes the domestic environment," he said. "And then this radicalization results in more confrontational positions on the part of Iran."

ITMFA! . . .


Wake Up! The Next War Is Coming

Target Tehran: Washington Sets Stage for a New Confrontation

US Baiting Iran Retaliation

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Blue Indiana premieres

Blue Indiana, a new statewide blog presented by Thomas Cook, opened it's doors to the public earlier today:

"Blue Indiana is designed to be a clearinghouse for the best work of the Indiana blogosphere, with a specific interest in political issues and electing left-leaning candidates who believe in the core-principles of true, responsible representation. It will be a community blog, which is a very important distinction, because that means its success or failure will be completely dependent on you ."

After following some other state group blogs such as www.raisingkaine.com and www.myleftnutmeg.com) for some time, and, having been pleasantly surprised at the great content they put out, Thomas has decided to try the same:

"Bloggers all across this state are already writing excellent stories and providing desperately needed analysis on the politics of the Hoosier state. What this website seeks to do is provide a common place for all of this information to be aggregated and digested. This is a grassroots organization in its most true form, and as a people-powered project, Blue Indiana will hopefully become an invaluable resource for people both inside and outside the borders of our great state. For a look at how this strategy is being undertaken on a mass scale, be sure to check out the BlogPAC website for some other examples of state-level community blogs."

I wish Thomas the best in his new endeavour, and have offered whatever support that the current demands on my time allow. Hope to see you there!

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

You Tell Me

It's Monday morning here in the frigid, and soon to be snowed under, land of Aboite and that can only mean one thing. . .we all wish it were still Saturday night! Having no power to change that sad state of affairs, suck down another cup of joe, try to avoid the boss until at least noon, and wrap yer brain around producing the funniest caption in today's "Make Your Own Caption:

Man! Who knew retail was so exciting? "Always the low price. . .always".


AddThis Social Bookmark Button