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Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Milestones

Click here for an excellent reference listing most, if not all, celebrity deaths with short bios for each.

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You Tell me

Happy last Monday of two-"ought-oh"-seven! Here's hoping that 2008 will be much better for our world - at least it will be the end of this buffoon, shown here attempting to prove why his plans for attacking Canada should be expedited by the obstructionist congressional Democrats:

Now. . .CAPTION THIS PHOTO!!! You know you want to. . .


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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Will Edwards Pull an Iowa Upset?

While John Edwards has been considered by much of the national media as the third man out in the in the juicy Clinton-Obama battle for the nomination, all of a sudden the former North Carolina senator is popping up in first place in a number of Iowa polls. And some analysts are even beginning to speak of an Edwards surge:

By local weather standards, it's a great Sunday morning. Bitter cold but no snow and no wind. And Alise Roderer, a young field organizer for the John Edwards campaign, is brightly encouraged by the tentative sunlight. Yesterday her volunteer canvass teams knocked on a thousand local doors. Today she hopes for the same.

"It's really, really important that you stress to the undecided that John Edwards is the most electable Democrat," she says to about 25 volunteers gathered in a steelworkers' union hall next door to the grimy Titan Tire factory.

The Edwards campaign is banking on the pent-up frustration of traditional and loyal Democratic voters, especially those in organized labor to muscle him to the top this week. "He's a strong Democrat and he's strong for labor," said 35 yr. old Robert Erwin, an Alabama steel worker in cammie pants and a baseball cap who came in to work this morning's Edwards phone bank in the union hall. Other union workers working the phones and getting ready to canvass hailed from California, Illinois and Wisconsin as well as some rubber workers from the Titan plant. Two college students from Seattle were running down phone lists to invite anyone who said "yes" to attend a Wednesday night John Mellencamp concert in support of Edwards.

John. . .Cougar. . .Mellencamp. . .? Hmmm. . .perhaps even I can be swayed . . .

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2007: As told by MoveOn members

From MoveOn.org:

We did some amazing things together this year.
Together, we took on the biggest problems our nation faces: the war in Iraq, health care, the climate crisis, the threat of war with Iran. Together, we worked hard, celebrated victories, weathered defeats, and laid the groundwork for the big fights to come.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

RIP Netscape

Netscape Navigator, the world's first commercial Web browser and the launch pad of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run. In recent years, Netscape has been little more than a repackaged version of the more popular Firefox, which commands about 10 percent of the Web browser market, with almost all of the rest going to Internet Explorer:

Its current caretakers, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape's usage dwindled with Microsoft Corp.'s entry into the browser business, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox.

"While internal groups within AOL have invested a great deal of time and energy in attempting to revive Netscape Navigator, these efforts have not been successful in gaining market share from Microsoft's Internet Explorer," Netscape Director Tom Drapeau wrote in a blog entry Friday.

People will still be able to download and use the Netscape browser indefinitely, but AOL will stop releasing security and other updates on Feb. 1. Drapeau recommended that the small pool of Netscape users download Firefox instead.

A separate Netscape Web portal, which has had several incarnations in recent years, will continue to operate.

The World Wide Web was but a few years old when in April 1993 a team at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications released Mosaic, the first Web browser to integrate images and sound with words. Before Mosaic, access to the Internet and the Web was largely limited to text, with any graphics displayed in separate windows.

Marc Andreessen and many of his university colleagues soon left to form a company tasked with commercializing the browser. The first version of Netscape came out in late 1994.

Netscape fed the gold-rush atmosphere with a landmark initial public offering of stock in August 1995. Netscape's stock carried a then-steep IPO price of $28 per share, a price that doubled on opening day to give the startup a $2 billion market value even though it had only $20 million in sales.

But Netscape's success also drew the attention of Microsoft, which quickly won market share by giving away its Internet Explorer browser for free with its flagship Windows operating system. The bundling prompted a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit and later a settlement with Microsoft.

Netscape eventually dropped fees for the software, but it was too late. Undone by IE, Netscape sold itself to AOL in a $10 billion deal completed in early 1999.

Netscape spawned an open-source project called Mozilla, in which developers from around the world freely contribute to writing and testing the software. Mozilla released its standalone browser, Firefox, and Netscape was never able to regain its former footing.

Although I still use AOL for my e-mail (and little else these days), Firefox is my preferred browser. It's simply faster and more reliable than IE in my opinion.

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Herbal Elements

Herbal Elements shampoo for men - enjoy!


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Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite - the New Year's edition!

Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg

New Year's Day - U2

What are You Doing New Year's Eve - Diana Krall

New Year's Resolution Song - Rhett & Link

Happy New Year - Abba

Auld Lang Syne - Jimi Hendrix

May your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want - have an excellent new year!

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Today's Morbid Milestone

As of today, 3900 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives in George Bush's neocon war for oil. How many more must die before this travesty is ended?

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Martyr Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto knew she was putting her life at risk, but she felt a duty to return to Pakistan after 8 years in self-imposed exile. Following in the steps of her father and brother, she lost her life while fighting to better her country for it's people. Here she discusses the risks with Wolf Blitzer:

Bhutto was gunned down this morning, at a political rally in Rawalpindi,by a suicide bomber who then killed another 20 people as he blew himself up. Rawalpindi, a former capital, has a history of political violence. The park where Bhutto made her last speech is the same one where the country's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot to death in 1951. It's also the site where her father was executed in 1979. From an eyewitness report:

As Bhutto left the rally in a white SUV, youths chanted her name and supportive slogans, said Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an official from Bhutto's party who was about 10 yards away. Despite the danger of physical exposure, a smiling Bhutto stuck her head out of the sunroof and responded, he said. "Then I saw a thin young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away. That was the time when I heard a blast and fell down," he said.

Bhutto's assassination may well be the final spark in a region of already smoldering powder kegs. . .

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Barron Hilton Comes to His Senses

Note to Paris Hilton - you might want to start marketing some of your sex tapes. Grampa has come to his senses:

U.S. hotel heiress Paris Hilton's potential inheritance dramatically diminished after her grandfather Barron Hilton announced plans on Wednesday to donate 97 percent of his $2.3 billion (1.16 billion pounds) fortune to charity.

That wealth includes $1.2 billion Barron Hilton stands to earn from both the recent sale of Hilton Hotels Corp. -- started by his father Conrad in 1919 when he bought a small hotel in Cisco, Texas -- and pending sale of the world's biggest casino company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

Perhaps now you'll get the chance to live out "The Simple Life" in real life. . .

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Obama now leading in Iowa

Barack Obama has officially taken the lead from Hillary Clinton in Iowa, 29% to 27.8% respectively. John Edwards is a close third at 23.1%, and. . .Al Gore, who couldn't be more clear about his non-candidacy, is in fourth place with 7%! Just imagine if Al and Barack joined forces. . .

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Wingnut Round-Up for 12-26-07

Fred Thompson: "Mexicans are to blame for the current mortgage crisis in our country!"

Kansas GOP Chair Kris Kobach: “To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!”

Mike Huckabee: "The Ten Commandments are the basis for United States laws"!

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Gone Too Soon

This is an awesome collection of videos in tribute to celebs who died long before their time. The author is You Tube director CraigCraig1427. I found surprises as well as some fond memories in each of these episodes. I hope you enjoy them as well:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace On Earth

A Happy & Healthy Whateveryoucelebrate To All.

Stolen from Cat, of course.

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Dear Santa: Bring Daddy Home

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Co-existence!

May you find peace, love and happiness this holiday season, whatever your beliefs or lack thereof. I wish for you the company of family and friends old and new, the comfort of memories for those you may have lost, the gratitude for what life has bestowed upon you, and the gifts of hope and promise for what lies ahead on your path.

If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.


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You Tell Me

Ho Ho HO! Haaaaaappy Monday! Money's tight this year for me, so here's my friggin' Christmas tree! Never mind that though, the wealth of your responses in captioning this photo is all that my heart desires:


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Keep Santa Fat!

Apparently there is a movement underway to force Santa to shed his rotund image and lead a healthier lifestyle. . .luckily enough, there's KeepSantaFat.com!

While you're at their site, be sure to check out "everything you ever wanted to know about Santa"!

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U.S.Constitution is undeliverable - Even by Claus himself

Well. . .at least he tried:

December 20, 2007, Washington, DC - This morning, Santa Claus (in the person of noted constitutional lawyer Bill Goodman) drove his sleigh to the White House to deliver thousands of copies of the U.S. Constitution to President Bush.

Americans from all over the country - more than 37,000 of them - asked that a copy of the Constitution be delivered to the President in their name and cordially requested that he make time in his busy schedule to read it.

"While I was going over the list of who's been naughty and nice," Mr. Claus said, as he prepared for his visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, "I heard from many people who feel the President hasn't been doing a very good job of upholding his oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution."

Responding to an urgent request from the Center for Constitutional Rights, Claus stepped in to bring messages from Americans who felt the President might need a refresher course in the Constitution. Citizens want to remind President Bush that the Constitution forbids torture and spying on Americans without a warrant, requires that prisoners get a fair hearing of the charges against them before a real court and makes the government's treaty obligations, such the Geneva Conventions, the law of the land.

"These Constitutions will make great holiday reading," Claus continued. "I want to be sure that the President has plenty of time to look at them before he decides on his New Year's resolutions."

Hat Tip: Worldwide Sawdust

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Top Signs Santa Has Marriage Problems

  • He's replaced all the elves with scantily clad Swedish exchange students.

  • Mrs. Claus calls him "that fat freak in the red underwear".

  • He traded in his sleigh for a van with a waterbed.

  • He's been spending a little too much time with the life-sized Holiday Barbie.

  • His new live-in personal elf valet, Steve.

  • Mrs. Claus having cybersex relationship with accountant from New Jersey.

  • He knows when she's been sleeping, he knows when she's awake, because he's bugged the bedroom.

  • Lately, she keeps "forgetting" to tie her robe when she brings the elves their morning coffee.

  • Stockings aren't the only things he's been nailing in front of the fireplace.

  • Not a creature is stirring in Santa's pants.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Obama/Gore '08?

Is this a possible endorsement teaser, or is something else in the works behind the scenes:

Barack Obama, last night in Portsmouth, N.H., advised a guy wearing a Santa hat to go to his Web site to learn more about his plan to combat global warming. And then he said this:

"I talk to Al Gore about every three weeks, and we're going to make sure that your home at the North Pole is still available to you," Obama said, reports NBC/NJ's Erin McPike.

When Obama was asked, at the same event, what one measure he would most like to see enacted in his presidency, he replied:

"I would enact a bold energy policy because I think that we could save so much money, engineer such a resurgence in our economy and solve climate change all at one time. And it would improve our national security posture. So you get a three-fer. It helps our environment, our economy and our national security and it would free up resources over time to deal with what I think is the most important domestic issue which is health care, and I think it would help us strategically on the international stage."

While this doesn't necessarily mean that Gore has been offered the second spot on an Obama ticket, it certainly does sound as if he has Obama's ear. It's been reported that while Gore has spoken with several of this season's presidential candidates, only Edwards and Obama have visited him at his home; Obama has on numerous occasions.

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You're So Lame

Pretty girls, good music, and political commentary - the latest masterpiece from the folks over at Barely Political:

Hat Tip: Der Parson!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 - The Year in Review

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A Seasonal Presidential Poem

'Twas the Night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land
No candidate was stirring, or shaking a hand.
The presents were wrapped-up under the tree,
In hopes that this Christmas could be campaign-free.

The voters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions from TV ads danced in their heads.
My sister in Dubuque and I here in Keene,
Tried hard to forget all the debates we had seen.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
If they'd found our lawn boy out by the shack,
Tancredo and Hunter would never come back.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave luster to yard signs posted below.
When what should appear to my wondering eye?
A van with the bumper strip, "Live free or die."

With a little old driver, so lively and plain
I knew in a moment it could be McCain.
But when I saw the sign saying "Peace to you all"
I imagined Kucinich, Gravel or even Saint Paul.

Like eagles, the reporters following him came.
He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Russert! Now Matthews! Olbermann, Schieffer,
On Broder, on Stephanopoulous, on Lehrer, on Blitzer."

It may be Christmas but we all have our jobs.
So, "On Stewart, Colbert, O'Reilly and Dobbs,
To the top of the world, to the top of it all.
Come push me on up; or at least break my fall."

As some candidates do when caught in a lie,
Climb up on their pedestal, high in the sky.
So up to the house-top the entourage flew,
With a sack full of earmarks and promises too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pandering of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney the next President came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
Soot on his clothes and soot in his hair
That ruled out both Edwards and Romney right there.

His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
Alan Keyes he was not; he just wasn't scary!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

First I thought Biden and then I thought Dodd.
But it was all make-up, so white hair wasn't odd.
That's it! Actor's make-up removed all the doubt
Except he was lively and quick, so Thompson was out.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
That ruled out Obama, unless he was joking
When he promised us all that he had stopped smoking.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
Bill Richardson maybe - or Huckabee's old self.
But a wink of his eye and a shake of his head
Let me know I was wrong without a word said.

As he filled each stocking with an American flag.
I thought, "Isn't this sort of like Rudy in drag?"
That's it. That's it. Think girls not boys.
Is Hillary the President handing out toys?

Santa sprang to the van, got the press on their bus,
And as they drove out of sight, called back to us:
"Happy Christmas to all, and don't ever forget:
Maybe the next President's not in the race yet."

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Friday Night Retro

Friday Nite Retro - the tired and burned out Christmas edition, enjoy!

Happy Christmas

Do They Know It's Christmas

Father Christmas


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bush joins the "War against Christmas"

From Crooks and Liars:

During his end-of-year press conference this morning, President Bush joined with “secular progressives” in the right wing’s contrived War on Christmas, wishing reporters a “Happy Holidays.” Watch it:

Bill O’Reilly and Focus on the Family have been waging an aggressive campaign to pressure people to use “Merry Christmas.” In the past, O’Reilly has argued that saying “Happy Holidays” to people “absolutely does” offend Christians.

This latest affront is part of George and Laura’s three-year assault on Christmas. Bill, looks like you may have prematurely declared mission accomplished.

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What did YOU see?

Things aren't always what they seem:


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Sauce for the Gander

"I appreciate the sides trying to work on a common ground for a president, but if they can't come for agreement, then the world ought to say this: that the March 14th coalition can run their candidate in their parliament, majority- plus one ought to determine who the president is, and when that happens, the world ought to embrace the president."

US President, George Bush—Discussing the current situation in Lebanon

So...uh...Mr. President? Remind me... Is that how things worked out for you in the 2000 US presidential election?"

Kvatch—Observing that what is sauce for the goose is apparently not sauce for the gander

(Sorry for the long absence John. Trying to make up for lost time.)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huck Hawks the Vote

Mike Huckabee is reaching out to solidify the base. Base being code for the "family values" "religious right" "diminished power" 20% of Americans who can actually still be influenced by such drivel. . .

Huck's "What Really Matters" ad - nice use of the cross over yer shoulder, dude:

The ad Huck wanted to run:

And the REAL message from Huck:

George W. Bush Mike Huckabee: GOD wants ME to be president.


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Kvatch has been away for TOO long now, and. . .I'm beginning to fear the worst:

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FOX Attacks: Edwards and Obama

The latest and greatest from Brave New Films:

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Republicans: If Democrat Elected Jupiter Will Attack Earth

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ft.Wayne Blogosphere Featured on NPR

Jeannette Dillon and Don Clemmer of WBOI-FM recently interviewed local bloggers for their take on the local blogosphere and it's impact on the political scene here in Fort Wayne. I was one of the individuals selected for this interview, but was unable to attend due to some last minute events. Robert Rouse graciously filled in for me, and did a bang-up job.

Here are the audio segments, courtesy of Mitch Harper at Fort Wayne Observed:

Local Blogosphere Part One

Local Blogosphere Part Two

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Kucinich Validated on Universal Health Coverage

Whaddaya know, Dennis was right all along:

Guaranteed health insurance for all combined with several federal policy options to achieve health care system savings could result in $1.5 trillion in reduced spending over 10 years in the United States, a new study shows.

Commonwealth Fund report Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in U.S. Health Spending, analyzes 15 federal health policy options for their potential to lower spending over the next 10 years and yield higher value for the nation’s investment in health care.

The authors reviewed policies related to health information technology and improving knowledge for clinical decision making; public health measures such as reducing smoking and positive incentives for health; financial incentives aligned with quality and efficiency such as hospital pay-for-performance and strengthening primary care; and policies that use the health care market to increase efficiency, add value, and reduce costs.

The report also examines combining policy options targeted towards slowing health care cost growth with affordable health insurance for all.

Combining universal coverage with policies aimed at achieving health care savings could have a significant impact because improvements in delivery and financing would apply to a larger number of people, could lower insurance administrative costs, and lead to a more integrated health care system, according to the authors, Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen and colleagues.

The report also shows that savings from improved efficiency would substantially offset the federal cost of expanding coverage.

“This report is unique in that we focused on total national health spending, not just one aspect of spending,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. “The report illustrates there are policy solutions out there that will save money, and ensure that Americans get improved value for their health care dollars—but we need to start now.”

Currently, health spending in the U.S. is predicted to increase from $2 trillion to more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and to consume one out of every five dollars of national income as increases outpace income growth by a wide margin.

According to the report’s findings, it is possible to curb health care spending, and simultaneously enhance the overall performance of the health care system, and the sooner policy changes addressed at reducing spending are enacted, the greater the cumulative savings for families, businesses and public health insurance programs.

“The report illustrates that it is possible to insure everyone and achieve savings,” said James J. Mongan, M.D., Commission Chair and President and CEO of Partners HealthCare System. “The Commission hopes the report will stimulate constructive discussion, on the pros and cons of these options as well as others that could move the nation on a path to higher value, toward a health system that provides access to all, higher quality and better outcomes, in addition to savings.”

Now, can you give the little guy some creds? He keeps nailing it time and time again on every single issue. Get beyond the image and look at the positions. If this election was being campaigned only via the radio, Dennis would be way out in front of the pack. What does that say about our values as Americans today?

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Goodwill in Fargo

The holiday spirit is alive and well in North Dakota:

A bank is giving its full-time employees $1,000 each and part-time employees $500 each. There's one condition — use it for people in need.

State Bank & Trust Chief Operating Officer Michael Solberg said each full-time employee will receive $1,000 and each part-time employee will receive $500, as part of a $502,000 "Pay it Forward" initiative.

"We're going to really see some huge impact on our community," Solberg said.

Employees were told not to use the money for themselves, their families or families of other bank employees. The bank asked each employee to document the good deed with a video camera. The deadline is June 30.

The employees were told they may choose an individual cause, pool their money for a larger project or collaborate with donors outside the bank. The privately owned bank has more than 500 employees, he said.

The bank made the announcement over the weekend.

In previous years, the Fargo-based bank has taken 5 percent of the company earnings and divided it up at holiday time among employees.

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Chris Dodd: Today's Hero

From Crooks & Liars:

Chris Dodd thanks the netroots for their support and congratulates his colleagues for their help in the fight against retroactive immunity.

“Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy. The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I want to thank the thousands of Americans throughout the country that stood with me to get this done for our country.”

The progressive blogs, who played a huge role in lobbying the Senate to support Dodd’s leadership against retroactive immunity, are joining in the celebration now that the FISA bill has been pulled until next year.

In an email, Athenae of First Draft writes, “Seriously, that was some awesome with awesome sauce and a side of pure, crispy win.”

Crooks & Liars has video of Dodd’s closing remarks this evening.

Jason Rosenbaum at The Seminal writes, “This victory means Dodd’s filibuster has weight. It also makes it much more likely that he will win round two as he continues to stand up for the Constitution and against telecom immunity.”

Sam Stein at the Huffington Post sets the early narrative - one which I think accurately describes how events evolved over the course of the last few days - in an article titled “Dodd’s Filibuster Threat Persuades Reid.”[..]

Also, thanks to everyone at FireDogLake for all the help driving activism today.

You can keep giving Chris Dodd the props he’s due at ChrisDodd.com

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Monday, December 17, 2007

"Must See" TV - Olbermann on Bill Moyer's Journal

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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Wonderfalls (Pilot)

Let me preface this by stating that I very seldom watch TV - nearly all of my input comes from sitting behind this keyboard or listening to talk radio. However, every so often a show comes along that changes that. . .

A couple of months ago, Robert Rouse posted about a GREAT new series, "Pushing Daisies". I became an immediate fan after watching the first episode! The show immediately reminded me of the last show that I fell in love with, "Wonderfalls", for some reason (Lee Pace).

If you aren't familiar with that show, I have found the pilot episode and posted it below. It was extremely popular, yet was still canceled after only four episodes:

Originally scheduled to debut in the fall of 2003, its premiere was delayed until early 2004. When it finally debuted in March 2004, Wonderfalls received positive reviews from critics, but had trouble attracting viewers. The pilot episode, “Wax Lion”, received a higher Nielsen rating when it was repeated the Thursday after its premiere, and the show was moved from a Friday night time slot to Thursday. However, there was little notice or promotion of the time change, and the show was subsequently canceled after airing the fourth episode. (A fifth episode was advertised but never aired.)

Immediately after the show's cancellation, its producers attempted to interest other networks, including The WB, in picking up the series. If they had been successful, Wonderfalls would have been the first American series in history to change networks in the midst of its first season. In addition, some episodes were shown in theatres in Los Angeles during the summer of 2004 in order to drum up support for the series.

The series holds the dubious honour of being the second show produced by Tim Minear that was cancelled in the midst of its first season, the first being Firefly. Another similarity between "Wonderfalls" and Firefly is that they were both aired out of the order in which they were originally intended to be shown. The show now lives in syndication on the Logo cable network.

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It's Goldner in Fort Wayne's 2nd!

According to sources, Karen Goldner has fended off Don Schmidt's recount challenge, and has one the 2nd District council seat by 12 votes!

Congratulations, Karen!

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You Tell Me

Welcome to a very snowy Monday morning; much unlike today's make your own caption photo! Tell me "whassup!" and caption this:


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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dan Fogelberg dead at 56

The "Leader of the Band" has passed away after a three year battle with advanced prostate cancer.

Fogelberg was a key component of the golden age of the confessional singer/songwriter, joining the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne and more in turning pop music's focus inward after the '60s' explosion of social commentary. He had started as a rocker in bands around his hometown of Peoria, Ill., but began performing solo while attending the University of Illinois.

There he met a local booking agent, Irving Azoff. He and local band REO Speedwagon became Azoff's first managerial projects (prior to managing the Eagles). Azoff secured Fogelberg a contract with Columbia, but first album Home Free made little impact. 1974's Joe Walsh-produced Souvenirs, however, hit the top 20, thanks largely to hit single Part of the Plan, and Fogelberg embarked on a two-decade run that would include nine top-30 albums (including three that hit the top 10).

His best-remembered songs include his biggest hit, the affecting ballad Longer; The Power of Gold, a collaboration with flautist Tim Weisberg; Leader of the Band, a tribute to his bandleader father, Lawrence; and the evergreen seasonal standard Same Old Lang Syne, which originally hit the top 10 in 1980.

One of my favorites:

Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean,
Higher than any bird ever flew,
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens,
I've been in love with you,

Stronger than any mountain cathedral,
Truer than any tree ever grew,
Deeper than any forest primeval,
I am in love with you,

I'll bring fire in the winters,
You'll send showers in the springs,
We'll fly through the falls and summers,
With love on our wings,

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow,
Burning lines in the book of our lives,
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow,
I'll be in love with you,
I'll be in love with you,

Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean,
Higher than any bird ever flew,
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens,
I've been in love with you,
I am in love with you

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Snow Day

Well. . .we finally got snow. Although it doesn't look all that bad in these pics, Allen County is under a Level-II snow emergency, meaning no travel other'n emergency and to and from work.

Looking Out My Back Door (doot doot doot)

It's supposed to continue through this afternoon with another 2-3 inches expected.

The Front View

I guess I'd better go fire up the snowblower. . .

Snow Day by Three Day's Wait

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Whereinthehellis Aboite?

That question has come up time and again from my blogger buddies from out of state, so I thought I'd take some time and tell you all about it. Since we're expecting a major snowstorm this evening, I don't really have any other plans. . .

Aboite Township is located in southwest Allen County, and was incorporated by the city of Fort Wayne on January 1, 2006, after a long protracted fight. The township's population is roughly 30,000. Clicking on the satellite picture below will take you to a detailed demographic breakdown of Aboite:

Some brief stats:

Males - 48.8% Females - 51.2%

Median resident age - 36.9 years

Median home price - $150,206

Median household income - $74,874

Median property tax - $1,403

Clicking on the following map will provide you with even more demographics for Aboite:

Thanks for visiting our little piece of America - drop by and see us anytime!

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The Great Obama Hoax

CNN report debunking Obama muslim hoax:

Just minutes after Barack Obama announced he was running for president, an ignorant right-wing caller phoned C-Span and said that America should not elect Obama because he is a Muslim. One problem with that logic: he's not Muslim, he's Christian. The C-Span moderator set the caller straight.

So remind me again, what is the advantage of believing made-up information from Fox News? Late last month, the Fox Network had furthered the myth that Obama was a Muslim and attended a Madrasa -- which later was proved false:

And be sure to check out the debunking on Snopes!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome to Friday Nite Retro - The groooovy edition! It turns out that today is the 30th anniversary of the opening day for. . .Saturday Night Fever! So, in honor of Tony, Stephanie, and friends I'm dedicating tonight's FNR to the music from the film as well as any interesting trivia that I can dig up. . .

First off, in case you were either living under a rock, busy smashing records from the movie at the time, or just weren't born yet, here's a brief synopsis:

Saturday Night Fever was the big-screen breakout film for Vinnie Barbarino John Travolta, who portrayed Tony Manero, a troubled Brooklyn youth whose weekend activities are dominated by visits to a local discotheque. While in the disco, Tony is the king, and the visits help him to temporarily forget the reality of his life: a dead-end job, clashes with his un-supportive and squabbling parents, racial tensions in the local community, and his associations with a gang of dead-beat friends.

Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino

The movie significantly helped to popularize disco music around the world, and made Travolta a household name. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, featuring disco songs by the Bee Gees, became the best selling soundtrack ever, until it was surpassed by The Bodyguard.The film also showcased aspects of the music, the dancing, and the subculture surrounding the disco era: symphony-orchestrated melodies, haute-couture styles of clothing, sexual promiscuity, and graceful choreography.

The story is based upon a 1976 New York magazine article by British writer Nik Cohn, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night." In the late-1990s, Cohn acknowledged that the article had been fabricated. A newcomer to the United States and a stranger to the disco lifestyle, Cohn was unable to make any sense of the subculture he had been assigned to write about. The characters who were to become Tony Manero and his friends sprang almost completely from his imagination.

The film is also notable for being one of the first instances of cross media marketing, with the tie-in soundtrack's single being used to help promote the film before its release and the film popularizing the entire soundtrack after its release.

Stayin' Alive

The story of the film has Tony Manero connect with the aloof Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) one night at the disco. Despite her initial frosty and superior attitude toward Tony, she agrees to partner with him in the dance contest after much urging. Tony had previously agreed to dance with Annette (Donna Pescow), who had actively pursued Tony, despite his obvious disdain for her. Stephanie has a job in Manhattan as a secretary for a magazine and is poised to move there and has more opportunities to work her way up. This awakens in Tony the need to transcend his working-class roots of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. However, Stephanie herself ultimately reveals her own vulnerabilities.

Also examined throughout the film is Tony's relationship with his family (including an older brother - clearly his parents' favorite child - who abandons a planned career in the priesthood) and his association with his friends.

How Deep is Your Love

Saturday Night Fever was the favorite movie of the late film critic Gene Siskel, who claimed to have seen it 17 times. He liked the movie so much, he bought the famous white disco suit (worn by Travolta in the movie) at a charity auction for $17,000.

Night Fever

The 1980 film Airplane! contained a parody scene, with Robert Hays mocking the famous pose and the clothing shown on the poster and album cover, to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" slightly sped up (the actual song used for that scene in Saturday Night Fever was "You Should Be Dancing").

Airplane (Staying Alive)

Oddly enough, Robert Hays and Donna Pescow starred together in the short-lived sitcom "Angie" from 1979-1980 - I remember really liking it.

"Angie" (Opening Theme)

More Than a Woman

John Travolta still has the pair of high-heeled shoes he wore during the opening and dance sequences of the film (as depicted in the poster). He says he sometimes takes them out of the closet, but claims he doesn't wear them.

If I Can't Have You

In the club, a woman begs to kiss Tony and gushes, "I just kissed Al Pacino!" Later, while looking at a poster of Al Pacino in the mirror, Tony comes out of his room shouting, " Attica! Attica! Attica!" from the famous Al Pacino film, Dog Day Afternoon. (This is just for YOU, Parson!)

Dog Day Afternoon (Attica!)

A Fifth of Beethoven

The novelty song "Disco Duck", by Rick Dees,was played in the film in a humorous scene, but was not included on the soundtrack.

Disco Duck

The film was one of the inspirations for the short-lived sitcom Makin' It, whose main character was a devotee of the film.

Jive Talkin'

Madonna's video for her 2005 hit single "Hung Up" is an homage to a scene from Saturday Night Fever, when Tony first approaches Stephanie at the rehearsal studio. In the video, Madonna is wearing almost exactly the same leotard and tights set that Stephanie wears in the film, and there is wood paneling and a wooden barre much like in the rehearsal space Stephanie uses for this scene. Madonna also did a remix during the Confessions Tour in 2006, following her successful album Confessions on a Dance Floor. The remix was the instrumental of "Disco Inferno" from Saturday Night Fever mixed with Madonna's hit song "Music" from 2000. Madonna's appearance and dance moves during "Music Inferno" were similar to Travolta's in the film.

You Should Be Dancin'

John Belushi parodied the film as "Samurai Night Fever", one of his "Samurai" sketches. O.J. Simpson appears in this sketch as the Samurai's brother.

Boogie Shoes

Disco Inferno

And that's a wrap on the SNF edition of FNR! Put yer white leisure suit and disco pumps back in the very back of your closet once more, and forget this ever happened!! ;)

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Obama Hands it back to Clinton

Despite the recent spats between Obama and Clinton, the two shared some tit-for-tat sparring at today's Iowa debate. Obama was cornered with the query "With relatively little foreign policy experience, how will you rely on so many former Clinton advisors and yet still offer a break from the past". Hillary was quick to make it clear that she wanted to hear his answer. And she got it:

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Ike Beats Tina to Death

Sorry. . .just couldn't resist!

Plenty has been written on other sites about the man's passing - I'm focusing briefly on Tina's side:

His image is forever identified as the drug-addicted, wife-abusing husband of Tina Turner hauntingly portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the movie "What's Love Got To Do With It," based on Tina's autobiography.

Tina Turner declined to comment on her ex-husband's death.

"Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today. She has not had any contact with him in 35 years. No further comment will be made," said her spokeswoman, Michele Schweitzer.

Note: Proud Mary

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shamefully Sober

I'd love to hear some input on this action, from both sides of the aisle. Is it fair? Does it go too far? Not far enough? Please weigh in. . .

Maricopa County Prosecutor Andrew Thomas hopes shame will keep drunk drivers off the road with Billboards:

Andrew Thomas, County Attorney

Maricopa County, Arizona Attorney Andrew Thomas has announced a campaign aimed at reducing drunk driving in the Phoenix area. He is going to put photographs of motorists arrested for Arizona DUI on billboards and a website.

The campaign will feature faces of those convicted of Arizona DUI. The billboards will be erected in time for the upcoming holidays and remain in place through New Year’s Day. A related website will outline details of the drunk driving arrest and indicate whether there were any injuries.

Thomas, lead prosecutor in Maricopa County, wants drivers to think twice about drinking and driving by seeing the consequences of their decisions. In addition to the threat of jail time and loss of license, Thomas wants shame to be a DUI deterrent.

The campaign costs approximately three-quarters of a million dollars, and it has been paid for by an Arizona DUI-fighting grant and from a state fund containing assets seized from RICO criminal offenders.

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Who's the REAL threat?

Once more demonstrating his disregard of facts, "W" has stated that 'nothing has changed,' following the National Intelligence Estimate report which stated that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program four years ago. This assessment is, of course, in direct contradiction to the propaganda that Bush has been spewing for so long now. But following his tried and true method of ignoring reality, he said the following: "I think the NIE makes it clear that Iran needs to be taken seriously as a threat to peace."

The biggest threat to peace that the world faces today seems to be Mr. Bush himself:

The NIE report indicates that Iran is at least ten years from having a nuclear bomb, assuming that they decide soon to obtain one. That gives Mr. Bush and his successors ten years in which to normalize relations with Iran and work jointly to prevent escalating tensions. But this is not Mr. Bush's style; there is no need for negotiations and diplomacy when sufficient numbers of young Americans to fight his wars can be persuaded that their only way out of a life of poverty is a stint in the U.S. military.

That they come home in coffins, or physically and/or emotionally scarred is of no concern to Mr. Bush; his own twisted agenda, his macho self-image as a 'war president' and the enrichment of his oil-loving cronies seems to be what drives him.

Facts about Iran will not get in his way.

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Thom Hartmann is "Cracking the Code"

Thom Hartmann has a new book out about American political discourse called Cracking the Code. In an interview about the book, the state of politics today, and the future of progressive talk radio, Hartmann had the following take on the Democratic candidates for president:

"The Republican Party runs like a well-oiled machine, it really runs like a corporation. Top down, hierarchical, power driving from the top down. And when Bush talked about he was going to be the first CEO president, it made a lot of sense to Republicans. The Democratic Party on the other hand is a coalition of coalitions. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are herding cats. That's the weakness of the Democratic Party, but it's also its strength. Because it means that the institution itself is democratic, that it is reflecting the values that it seeks to uphold.

So my goal with the book is not to encourage the Democratic Party to become more like the Republican Party and become a monolithic, top down driven institution, but rather to educate and empower the many different individuals within all those different factions to be more competent with messaging.

Ronald Reagan, FDR, and Jack Kennedy were three of the greatest communicators that we've had in the White House ...What made them great was, first of all, their ability to be multimodal in their communication. They talked about their vision for America, they talked about their story of America, and they gave America a sense of what they thought it could be.

John Edwards is a brilliant communicator. Barrack Obama is a brilliant communicator. I think Edwards has the potential to be the next FDR and I think Barrack has the chance to be the next John Kennedy."

Read the full interview here.

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The Origins of Mormonism

The cartoon Mitt Romney doesn't want you to see:

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Got Brawndo?


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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What the Huck!?

In case you don't know what the "Huck" is going on, I submit the following for your perusal:

"I didn’t get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives. […] I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."


In all the sermons Huckabee delivered before jumping into politics, he no doubt revealed beliefs and ideas that would be of interest to voters today. But his campaign, looking to attract evangelical Christian voters without alienating others, is not interested in seeing that material become part of the current political discourse. Huckabee the candidate is shunning Huckabee the pastor.


Huckabee affixed his signature to the following statements:

"You are right because you recognized that the family was God's idea, not man's, and that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman for a lifetime.
"You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives.
"You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership."


Responding to an Associated Press questionnaire, Huckabee said steps should be taken to "isolate and quarantine the carriers of this plague (AIDS)" during his failed run for a U.S. Senate seat from Arkansas 15 years ago.


So, in summary, Mike Huckabee believes that he is an agent for Christ (Bush-Part Deux?). But he doesn't want you to read any of his former sermons or far right wing positions that he's stated in the past. Women are property who should faithfully serve their husbands. And AIDS patients should be locked away and allowed to expire. Any questions?

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