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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007


From the Texas Observer:

Syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins died of breast cancer Wednesday evening at her home in Austin. She was 62 years old, and had much, much more to give this world. She remained cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasized the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never had to write fiction. She said, "Good thing we've still got politics -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented."

Although short, Molly's life was writ large. She was as eloquent a speaker and teacher as she was a writer, and her quips will last at least as long as Will Rogers'. She dubbed George W. Bush "Shrub" and Texas Governor Rick Perry "Good Hair."

Molly always said in her official résumé that the two honors she valued the most were (1) when the Minneapolis Police Department named their mascot pig after her (she was covering the police beat at the time); and (2) when she was banned from speaking on the Texas A&M University campus at least once during her years as co-editor of The Texas Observer (1970-76). However, she said with great sincerity that she would be proudest of all to die sober, and she did.

She worked as a reporter for The New York Times (1976-82) in New York and Albany and later as Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief covering nine mountain states by herself. After working for the staid Times where she was heavily edited, Molly cut loose and became a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald.

When the Herald folded, she signed on as a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2001, she became syndicated, eventually appearing in 400 newspapers. She never lost her love for The Texas Observer or her conviction that a free society relies on public-interest journalism. She found that brand of journalism the most fun. In recent years she shamelessly used her national and international contacts to raise funds for the Observer, which has always survived on a shoestring. More than $400,000 was contributed to the feisty little journal at a roast honoring Molly in Austin October 8. Molly's enduring message is, "Raise more hell."

Her full list of books and awards will be abbreviated here. In addition to compilations of her brilliant, hilarious liberal columns, she wrote with Lou Dubose, Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (Random House 2000) and Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America (Random House 2003). She was working on a Random House book documenting the Bush administration's assault on the Bill of Rights when she died.

Molly, being practical, used many of her most prestigious awards as trivets while serving exquisite French dishes at her dinner parties. Her awards include the William Allen White Award from the University of Kansas, the Eugene V. Debs award in the field of journalism, many awards for advocacy of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the David Nyhan Prize from the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Molly had a large family, many namesakes, hundreds of close friends, thousands of colleagues and hundreds of thousands of readers. She and her two siblings, Sara (Ivins) Maley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Andy Ivins of London, Texas, grew up in Houston. Her father, James Ivins, was a corporate lawyer and a Republican, which meant she always had someone to disagree with over the dinner table. Her mother, Margot, was a homemaker with a B.A. in psychology from Smith College. In addition to her brother and sister, Molly is survived by sister-in-law Carla Ivins, nephew Drew and niece Darby; niece Margot Hutchison and her husband, Neil, and their children Sam, Andy and Charlie of San Diego, Calif. and nephew Paul Maley and his wife, Karianna, and their children Marty, Anneli and Finnbar of Eltham, Victoria, Australia. Molly followed her mother to Smith and received a B.A. in 1966, followed by an M.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and an honorary doctorate from Haverford College.

Statement from The Texas Observer

Molly Ivins left her editor's chair at The Texas Observer more than 30 years ago and went on to play a larger stage. But she never left us behind. She remained convinced that Texas needed a progressive, independent voice to call the powerful to account and to stand up for the common folk.

She kept our voice alive. More than once, when the paper was on the brink of insolvency, she delivered speeches and gave us the honorariums. She donated royalties from her best-selling book Shrub to keep the doors open. Her determination and efforts sustained the Observer as a magazine, as a family, and as a community.

Molly was a hero. She was a mentor. She was a liberal. She was a patriot. She was a friend. And she always will be. With Molly's death we have lost someone we hold dear. What she has left behind we will hold dearer still.

Despite her failing health, and an impending ice storm, Molly insisted on being driven to the Observer's most recent public event in early January so she could thank our supporters. Observer writers are useful, she explained to the crowd, in much the same way as good hunting dogs. Turn them loose, let them hunt. When they return with their prey, pat them on the head, say a few words of praise, and set them loose to hunt again.

For the time being, The Texas Observer's web site will be dedicated to remembering Molly, her work, her wit, her contributions to the political discourse of a nation. We invite readers to submit their own thoughts and recollections, to say a few words of praise. Then, we will return to the hunt.

To read more about Molly Ivins or to make a comment about her, go to Texas Observer. Tax-deductible contributions in her honor may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701 or the American Civil Liberties Union, 127 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004.

Memorial services will be announced in the coming days.

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An Unique Voice Gone..... Molly Ivins, God Rest.


Selected Molly Ivins Quotations

• The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.

• What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority.

• The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.

• Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.

• I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.

• You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to.

• It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

• I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

• What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.

And my favorite.....

• It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

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Birthday Calculator

Enter your birthdate for some facts and fun. Here are my results:

You were born on a Monday
under the astrological sign Cancer.
Your Life path number is 3.

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 3, 6 & 9.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 2, 5 & 11.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 4, 7, 8 & 22.

You were born in the Chinese year of the Dragon.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Woodpecker; your plant is Wild Rose.

You are 373,507 hours old.
You are 22,410,463 minutes old.
You are 1,344,627,787 seconds old.


Your birth tree is:

Fig Tree, the Sensibility
Very strong, a bit self-willed, independent, does not allow contradiction or arguments, loves life, its family, children and animals, a bit of a butterfly, good sense of humour, likes idleness and laziness, of practical talent and intelligence.

HAT TIP to: That
Undeniable Liberal! =)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Timz

Iraqi-American rapper Timz tells his tale of the situation in "Iraq":



Filling in for Hannity, Walker Texas Ranger is dispatched to smack down Timz in a Faux News interview, and winds up looking like the moron that he is:



Today's Quote of the Day:

"Ya know, Fox is just one vowel movement away from what they
really do to the news"

-Randi Rhodes

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Bump keys

Peifer Safe & Lock of Memphis, TN recently put out the following warning to their customers. Would they like to sell you some locks and other home security products? Of course! But this is a real home security threat that you might not have been aware of if they didn't put it out there as part of their marketing strategy.

From owner, Glen Peifer:

"We are being proactive in alerting our customers of a lock picking technique that is being broadcast all over the internet. Google search
"bump key" and you will find information about how to make these keys and use them. You will even find sites where anyone can buy pre-made sets of bump keys in several common keyways. In my opinion, the risk factor is very high with this technique because it works on a high percentage of locks (residential and commercial) and it only takes a minute to learn. Locks that are especially vulnerable are master-keyed cylinders. Local and National news stations are airing stories on this problem. I want to make my customers aware of this potential threat. You need to know how to safeguard against this technique and what to be aware of. If you want more information or if I can advise you further on the security of your home or business, I will make myself available at your convenience. "



Here is the contact info for this company:

Peifer Safe & Lock • 4761 Knight Arnold • Memphis, TN • 38118
Phone: 901-363-6396 • Fax: 901-363-6986


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Local college producing bio-diesel

Last March I wrote an article about Willie Nelson and his bio-diesel production. Turns out that even a local college has jumped onto this bandwagon! My thanks to Dr.Phil for getting this story to me. From Manchester College:





Students who
eat veggie-fried foods help the environment, College - honest!




What
started curiously with a “What if?” is fueling student lab work,
lessons in environmental science – and Manchester College lawnmowers, a
maintenance van and leaf blowers.



What
if the College converted that used vegetable frying oil from Chartwells
dining service into biodiesel, wondered Jeff Osborne, assistant
professor of chemistry. “The concept of taking a waste product, such as
vegetable oil and converting it into something useful is what I like,”
the scientist noted.



Chartwells was happy to
provide the cash and to part with its grease for education, and for
stewardship – of the environment and the College’s fuel resources.



Osborne found plans for an
“Appleseed reactor” on the internet. The name is for the spirit of the
reactor: that people should spread the recycling word like Johnny did
his appleseed and make their own non-profit, biodiesel contraption.



The process is fairly simple:
Osborne and a student researcher mix methanol and lye (sodium hydroxide)
with the vegetable oil in an 80-gallon water heater for three hours,
then pump the mixture into a separation tank. In the tank, the biodiesel
rises to the top and glycerol, which forms during the reaction, sinks to
the bottom with other by-products and is drained out. Then, the
biodiesel is washed with water, turning it the color of honey – and not
smelling a bit like diesel.



They are creating fuel so
safe a curious animal could swallow a taste or two without harm. The
fuel also is very difficult to ignite with a match. And the biodiesel
actually can clean deposits out of the fuel tank.




Manchester
is using its biodiesel in lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and some vehicles.
The fuel requires no alterations to the equipment, said campus mechanic
Cornelius “Corny” Troyer. An engine that runs on diesel will run on
biodiesel, too, although he is quick to note there are cold-weather
challenges and that Manchester is far from fueling all of its vehicles
with the grease concoction.



Test runs began a year ago,
when January Session students in Osborne’s Chemical Science class first
poured their experiment into an engine. Troyer is still pretty sneaky as
he oversees the biodiesel fueling of MC equipment. He doesn’t tell
machine operators they are running biodiesel so they won’t form
preconceived notions about the fuel or how it affects their engines.
He’ll arrive at work at 5 a.m., just so no one sees which fuel he is
pouring into the tanks.



So far – nary a complaint,
although mower Carl Strike is quite certain he’s whiffing French fries
as he crisscrosses the campus mall.



Amanda Patch ’08
,
a biology-chemistry major from Otterbein, Ind., is assisting Osborne –
and helped demonstrate the project at what students say is one of the
neatest convocations ever, with fireballs, a huge mower on stage, a
boots-clad executive, explosions and fire extinguishers at the ready.



Patch has medical school in
her future. “I’m doing this because I have to give back to Manchester
somehow and this is a great way to do that while learning about
chemistry and the various solutions to energy,” she said.



What’s in it for the College?
A constant reminder of the possibilities of biodiesel to students,
faculty and staff as they see mowing and leaf-blowing on campus. Good
training in environmental science for students participating in the
grease-to-diesel conversion. An environmentally cleaner campus and less
landfill waste.



With assistance from its
students, the College’s Biology and Chemistry departments can produce
about 100 gallons of biodiesel per month. (Each batch is 50 gallons.) To
supply the College’s need for 1,750 gallons a year would require larger
equipment and a funding/staffing shift from the laboratory to the
maintenance department.



And, of course, there’s the
math:



The college spends $2.60 to
$2.80 per gallon for diesel. (Some already is manufactured biodiesel,
Troyer notes)



The biodiesel costs 80 cents
a gallon to make in the lab during the school year, for a maximum output
of 900 gallons. That’s a potential $1,800 savings for the
College.



“Biodiesel is not the
answer,” admits Osborne, who is quick to note that MC academics are not
getting into the fuel business. “But we have to do something different
to help protect the environment.”



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Monday, January 29, 2007

They Speak For Themselves

better than any of us could....

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"The Real McCain". Must Check Out New Site!!!



Wonderful new site started by Robert Greenwald & Cliff Schecter.
Check out the "Double Talk Express"!!!!

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South Bend Tribune LTE Writer Makes Funny On Mitch

I can't find it on the website (I always have problems with their site- it sucks),
but take my word for it, this was in todays' paper.

A Comparison

Having "My Man Mitch" as your governor is like having a really bad boyfriend:
First, he sells off all of your stuff without asking,
then he starts nagging you all the time to lose weight.

Jeff Reed
South Bend



Couldn't have said it better myself.


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You tell me. . .

Welcome once again to another edition of "Make Yer Own Caption", the only thing worth looking forward to on Monday mornings! Well. . .aside from actually waking up at all. . .

Wind up yer wit, pound out some puns, and. . .amaze me once more:

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

One week from today. . .

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Stunningly Simple Move From Senator Tester


Just an incredibly smart and d'oh-why-didn't-they-think of it move....
CNN


Tester aims for Senate transparency online




WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Whether it's a visit to the gym, a meeting with the founder of the Montana Meth Project, or an interview with Wolf Blitzer, staff for freshman Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, post his entire schedule online each workday -- a Senate first.

A spokesman says Tester pledged to do this early in his 2006 campaign out of a "desire for transparency." The Senator's schedule reflects meetings with visiting Montanans, committee colleagues, as well as the occasional lobbyist. The information "gives people an opportunity to see with whom [Tester] is meeting, and if they represent the opposite point of view, they can also request a meeting," said the spokesman.

The Sunlight Foundation -- a group working for greater government transparency -- has been pushing for more online disclosures of this kind.

You can see it here.

I wonder how many of our elected officials will be following suit?

****crickets*****

Cross Posted at Sipping Pickle Juice

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Leiberman Has To GO!!!

Faux News Sunday

WALLACE: As soon as he did, Senate Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi said nope, there's a bipartisan structure, it's called the committee system.

LIEBERMAN: Yes. Well, I was really disappointed with the reaction of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to the president's offer or invitation to have essentially a bipartisan war council, and it's a war on terror council.

(snip)

WALLACE: Joe Lieberman grew up in John Bailey's Connecticut, Democratic vice presidential nominee. You're saying you might vote Republican in 2008.

LIEBERMAN: I am




Cross Posted at Sipping Pickle Juice

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Ted Kennedy vs GOP on Minimum Wage

THANK YOU, Ted! That SO needed to be said. . .

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

PT Cruiser returns!




"I have an overhead projector...

and I'm not afraid to use it."






Ladies and gentlemen! Children of all ages! After a long and rather unpleasant encounter with Vonage, The PT Cruiser is back on the streets of San Francisco!

Do drop in and pay him a visit. . .he fears that we have forgotten him! As if!
Welcome back, amigo! You have been missed here in the left blogosphere. . .

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The Mechanic

A gynecologist had a burning desire to change careers and become a mechanic. So she found out from her local tech college what was involved, signed up for evening classes and attended diligently, learning all she could.

When time for the practical exam approached, she prepared carefully for weeks, and completed the exam with tremendous skill.When the results came back, she was surprised to find that she had obtained a mark of 150%. Fearing an error, she called the instructor, saying "I don't want to appear ungrateful for such an outstanding result, but I wondered if there had been an error which needed adjusting."

The instructor said, "During the exam, you took the engine apart perfectly, which was worth 50% of the total mark. You put the engine back together again perfectly, which is also worth 50% of the mark. I gave you an extra 50% because you did all of it THROUGH the muffler..."

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DC March for Peace


Tens of thousands of protesters from all across America joined numerous celebrities and lawmakers today to rally against the war at the U.S.Capitol in Washinton D.C. Their hope to press their cause with a Congress restive on the war and a country that has turned against the conflict.

Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist was among the attendees, and I'm sure he'll have a great write-up on it after he gets some well-deserved rack time. Other notable attendees included Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich. In her first protest in 34 years, Jane Fonda addressed the crowd saying "Silence is no longer an option".

The peace brigade assembled at 11 am at the National Mall to hear the featured speakers listed above, and marched around Capitol Hill at 1 pm. 300 buses from over 40 states drove protesters in, as well as untold numbers of citizens such as Mr.Rouse and company who car-pooled in together.

A small contingent of active-duty service members attended the rally, wearing civilian clothes because military rules forbid them from protesting in uniform. One, Air Force Staff Sgt. Tassi McKee, 26, said she signed up because of patriotism, travel and money for college. "After we went to Iraq, I began to see through the lies," she said.

United for Peace and Justice, a coalition group sponsoring the protest, had hoped 100,000 would come. They claimed even more afterward, but police, who no longer give official estimates, said privately the crowd was just under 100,000.

Bush, who normally manages to be out of town during these things, was at the White House, likely with all of the shades drawn. Cheney was at an undisclosed location, natch.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The deed is done. . .

Left in Aboite is now officially running under the NEW Blogger. I had received several invites to upgrade but every time I attempted to, I was told that my blog was too large to switch at this time. That was under the IE platform; tonight I attempted it once more, under Mozilla Firefox, and it went right through! Everything seems to be functioning normally, but do let me know it you encounter any problems. . .

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Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite! Tonight's feature is Mr.80's Blue-Eyed Soul himself, Paul Young. I had thought Paul Young was dead; turns out he is, but not THIS Paul Young. The Paul Young who sang in "Mike & the Mechanics" and Sad Cafe died from a heart attack in 2000.

THIS Paul Young just turned 51 on January 17th. He got his start as the teenage lead singer of "Kat Kool & The Kool Kats". In the 70's he joined "StreetBand" which scored #18 on the UK charts in 1978 with this silly little song about toast:

Toast


But you'll probably remember Paul more from his debut album here in the states, "No Parlez", which featured this catchy little number:

Come Back and Stay


In 1984, Paul suffered from a serious throat condition that left him completely unable to sing. He recovered enough to join Band-Aid at the end of the year for this perennial Christmas favorite. Enjoy all of the 80's pop stars in this one:

Do They Know It's Christmas


His problems with his vocal fold nodules led to surgery after that, which changed his voice, evident here in this comeback single:

I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down


Paul's biggest hit came with his 1985 rendition of Daryl Hall's "Every Time You Go Away":

Every Time You Go Away


Paul has worked with many other performers over the years,including Crowded House and with Queen on this tribute to Freddie Mercury shortly after his death:

Radio Gaga


His latest effort is a swing styled album which was released in Germany on November 6th 2006. "Rock Swings" contains such diverse tracks as Eminem's "Lose yourself", Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", David Bowie's "The Jean Genie", Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto", all recorded with a big band sound.

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"Path To 9/11" Redux. Bigger, Better W/Hannity On Top.

I must stress the fact that there has not been ANYONE more committed to exposing the hypocrisy of ABC News or Disney Entertainment than John at AmericaBlog. He is a whiz at co-ordinating boycotts, and he once again has ABC/Disney in his sites.

The rumblings from the ABC/Disney vs Spocko had lessened to a dull roar, when this was revealed....

Media Bistro

Hannity's America To Air Unseen Footage From ABC's "The Path To 9/11"

"Fox News Channel is touting the fact that it has obtained controversial unseen footage from ABC's miniseries 'The Path to 9/11' and is planning to air the video during 'Hannity's America' on Sunday night," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Fox News obtained the outtakes by taping a public talk that Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer and producer of 'The Path to 9/11,' gave to a World Affairs Council chapter last Friday at Cal State Channel Islands. Nowrasteh discussed making the docudrama and played several minutes edited out of the movie," the Los Angeles Times adds.


What scene you ask?



Think Progress

Richard Clarke Blasts Key Scene In ABC’s 9/11 Docudrama


The first night of Path to 9/11 has a dramatic scene where former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger refuses to give the order to the CIA to take out bin Laden — even though CIA agents, along with the Northern Alliance, have his house surrounded.
(snip)
In short, this scene — which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden — never happened. It was completely made up by Nowrasteh (writer-ed).


So, Sean Hannity on his pathetic little show, is going to show clips of this Nowrasteh guys' lecture, that includes the debunked false scenes from the POS "Path To 9/11". Pretty sad, and in itself wrong.

BUT IT GETS WRONGER

In brief, the premise behind behind the dust up between ABC and a little know blogger named Spocko....

Media Matters

In 2006, a blogger named Spocko began spotlighting inflammatory rhetoric common to several talk radio hosts on KSFO, an ABC Radio-owned station in San Francisco. Spocko compiled a litany of examples on both his weblog, Spocko's Brain, and in numerous letters to corporations advertising on KSFO.
(snip)
...on December 21, ABC Inc., a subsidiary of the Disney-ABC Television Group, apparently issued a cease-and-desist letter targeting Spocko and his blog for copyright violation. Specifically, ABC alleged that by posting brief audio clips of various talk radio hosts on KSFO, the site was "in clear violation" of the station's copyright. The letter demanded that the owner of the site "remove the content immediately." Soon after, according to Spocko, his Internet service provider shut down his blog.


So, ABC/Disney must be UP IN ARMS over this UNAUTHORIZED usage of their film clips!!! Right?

LA Times (registration required)

"I can't imagine what the news is here," he said.

An early version of the miniseries that ABC distributed to television critics is readily available on YouTube.com and other websites.

Fox News does not have ABC's permission to broadcast the unaired footage, but an attorney for the network said officials there believed that the newsworthiness of the material put it under the fair-use exception to the copyright statute.


So, what would the final judgement be?

So Disney/ABC don't care about the truth, though we already knew that. And why pray tell have Disney/ABC and YouTube refused to take down the video of the show that is STILL on YouTube to this day? It's a clear copyright violation, and we know how overzealous YouTube is about its purported copyright violations. And Disney is NOTORIOUS for asserting its copyright rights, yet in this case, Disney doesn't care. And for some reason, YouTube isn't so zealous about enforcing its own policy about illegally broadcasting video when the target is a Democrat.

Isn't that interesting.


The more I pay attention to this stuff, the more it looks like a co-ordinated attack. Everyone is giving everyone else a reach around, so everyone is "happy".

One last tidbit
AmericaBlog

President Clinton contacting head of Disney over rekindled "Path to 9/11" controversy
by John in DC - 1/26/2007 03:05:00 PM

President Clinton's office has just informed me that they're "taking it all the way to the top at Disney to find out why they're not enforcing copyright" in this matter.

Editor's Note: This column was written by Paddy Kraska. Blogger is NOT cooperating with her at all for some reason. . .

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Senator Hagel speaks out

Republican senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska delivers an honest assessment on Iraq and the last several years. Dick Lugar, are you heeding this man's words and actions? Hagel is a Republican with a conscience. . .heed his advice. If not, you may find your electability finally in question here in Indiana. . .

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Run, Al, Run! Please?

The ideal candidate for the Democrats may be the man who won the popular vote in 2000 -- and who opposed the war in Iraq from the very start.

From Rolling Stone magazine

A stiff vice president campaigns on his administration's legacy of unprecedented prosperity. Looks terrible on TV. Bows out, following a disputed vote count. Then, two terms later, with no incumbent in the race, he re-enters the fray. Promises to change the course of a disastrous war founded on lies. And charges to victory. I'm referring, of course, to the 1968 campaign of Richard Milhous Nixon. But four decades later, history has a chance to repeat itself for Albert Arnold Gore.

If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they'd be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration's most eloquent critic. And thanks to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he's also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time.

"He's perceived very differently now than he was six years ago," says Frank Luntz, the Republican consultant who advised George W. Bush to dispute global warming during the 2000 and 2004 elections. "He's an icon. Imagine that: Al Gore, Mr. Straight and Narrow, Mr. Dull on Wheels -- now he's culturally cool."

Indeed, Gore is unique among the increasingly crowded field of Democratic contenders. He has the buzz to beat Obama, the substance to supplant Hillary, and enough stature to enter the race late in the game and still raise the millions needed to mount a successful campaign. "Very few people who run for president can just step in when they want, with a superstar, titanic presence," says James Carville, the dean of Democratic strategists. "But Gore clearly is one of those. He's going to run, and he's going to be formidable. If he didn't run, I'd be shocked."

Look at what Gore has been up to lately, and it's hard to escape the impression that, on some level, he is already running for president. Over the past few months he has made high-profile appearances on the Today show, the Tonight Show and Oprah, and he displayed his trademark deadpan humor in a stint on Saturday Night Live. "He's keeping himself viable by keeping himself in the public eye," says Donna Brazile, who served as Gore's campaign manager in 2000.

He has also been active under the media radar. In December, Gore quietly took part in the year's largest event organized by MoveOn, the grassroots group that helped make Howard Dean the front-runner in 2004. After tens of thousands of MoveOn members gathered at house parties across the country to watch An Inconvenient Truth on DVD, Gore joined them in an Internet conference call. Although global warming was the call's official topic, the discussion was charged with electoral expectations.

As the Internet crowds submitted questions for Gore through an online interface, the text of each query popped up on an animated map of the United States for all to read on their computer screens. There were hundreds of submissions -- and at least a third of them dealt with regime change rather than climate change. "Would you please run for president," wrote Rhonda in Poway, California. "What are the circumstances under which you would run for president again?" asked Doug in Marshal, North Carolina.

Eli Pariser, who was moderating the call as MoveOn's executive director, finally rose to the bait. "I have to ask this one because it's come up so many times," he told Gore. "Carol from Indianapolis says, 'Would you please, please run?'"

Gore, on speakerphone with Tipper from his home in Nashville, offered his stock response. "I'm not planning on running for president again," he said -- stopping well short of an actual denial.

But the nation's most experienced political strategists agree that Gore is carefully laying the groundwork for a possible run. "He's running in a nontraditional way, which has been powerful," says Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic consultant. "It has made him look much more interesting than if he had just been the former vice president sitting out there and thinking about a run."

Gore has carved out a public role for himself that's usually reserved for rock stars and Tour de France winners. What Bono is to Third World debt and Lance Armstrong is to cancer, Gore is to global warming. "He's the indispensable character in the drama of the climate crisis," says Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "If it has a happy ending, he'll be the hero. If it has a tragic ending, he'll be the tragic hero." And like Bono, Gore can pack a house, even in red-state America: In January, tickets for a Gore speech at a 10,000-seat stadium in Boise, Idaho, sold out in less than twenty-four hours.

"He has built an infrastructure that is impervious to traditional political calculations," says Ron Klain, Gore's former chief of staff. "His base of support is truly national -- no matter what else happens, no matter who else is in the race."

Gore's biggest opponent for the nomination would likely be Hillary Clinton -- and no one in the current field of Democrats is better situated to capitalize on her weaknesses than Gore. In September 2002, just before Clinton and every other Democrat who hoped to run for president voted to authorize the war in Iraq, Gore gave a no-holds-barred speech inveighing against the invasion. "The chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq," he warned, "could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam."

At the time, recalls Carrick, Washington insiders dismissed the speech as sour grapes. "The Democratic establishment all said, 'Oh, Al's just out there doing this because he's bitter. This just proves he's never going to run again.' But they all proved to be wrong and he was exactly right. There's nothing more powerful than that."

Thanks to his vocal opposition to the war -- and his decision to back Howard Dean's anti-war candidacy in 2003 -- Gore has all but sewn up the backing of the party's "Netroots" activists. Eli Pariser calls Gore "a close friend of MoveOn," and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos, is equally unabashed in his support. "More than any other Democrat over the last four years, Gore has actually delivered," says Moulitsas, one of the Internet's most influential organizers. "If Gore enters the race, it's his nomination for the taking." In an online poll of 14,000 activists held in December by DailyKos, sixty percent voted for Gore. By comparison, Clinton received just 292 votes.

Gore's deep ties to online activists could neutralize Clinton's greatest advantage: her fund-raising prowess. Gore retains a network of big-dollar donors from his 2000 campaign, and many of the party's biggest funders are reportedly sitting on their checkbooks, waiting to see if he enters the race. "If Howard Dean could raise $59 million on the Internet," says Carrick, "the mind boggles as to what Al Gore might do." Joe Trippi, who managed Dean's campaign, believes Gore could raise as much as $200 million on the Internet: "Gore may have more money than anybody within days of entering the race."

What's more, strategists say, Gore has mobilized an environmental constituency that rivals Hillary's support among women and Obama's standing among black voters. "There are millions of people who call themselves environmental activists -- but until now, no one has ever been able to make the environment a voting issue," says Luntz, the GOP strategist. "Gore took the environment from deep inside the newspaper and put it on the front page for the first time. He would be able to say to people, 'If you really care about global warming, you have to vote for me.'"

Above all, Gore has replaced his image as a boring, cautious technocrat with that of a dynamic, plain-spoken visionary. "We've seen the real Al Gore," says Moulitsas of DailyKos. "Not the prepackaged, consultant-muzzled Al Gore, but the actual, this-is-what-Al-Gore-who-doesn't-give-a-shit-about-winning-elections looks like." In national polls, Gore's favorability numbers now rank above Hillary's.

Most of gore's closest associates believe that he is unlikely to run. "He's hanging out with interesting people, he's making money, but he's still having a serious impact on the political discourse," says Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network. "You could look at all that and say, 'My God, he'll never run for president.'"

But others who have worked with Gore insist that he is simply biding his time. "Gore seems committed to being a late candidate," says Dick Morris, the strategist who masterminded Bill Clinton's '96 campaign. "He's not going to be out front as a playmaker. He's going to wait and see if there's room for him."

Waiting makes sense, given the current political landscape. "Jumping in too early is a huge mistake for him," says Tony Coelho, who chaired Gore's 2000 campaign. "If the party wants to have Hillary, there's nothing Gore can do or say to stop it. But Barack Obama could be a godsend for Gore. Obama makes Hillary look like just another politician, as opposed to a fresh woman's face. He could slow her up, and John Edwards can create further doubts."

According to David Gergen, who has served in the Nixon, Reagan and Clinton administrations, that scenario could create an opening for Gore. "If the three of them fight each other to a bloody draw, nobody emerges as the cherished front-runner," he says. "Then you to turn to Al Gore as someone who is not scarred up by the battle. He would look very formidable."

Letting others battle-test Hillary's viability as a front-runner has an added benefit for Gore: It allows him to put off a bruising political confrontation with Bill Clinton. Some insiders suggest that a reticence to take on his generation's most brilliant political mind -- and someone renowned as a take-no-prisoners campaigner -- is the primary factor keeping Gore off the roster. "It's one thing to distance yourself from Bill Clinton, as Gore did in 2000," says a Democratic strategist who has advised both men. "It's another to run against Bill Clinton when the former first lady is heading the field."

If Gore does decide to run, there is no question that his entry into the race would instantly reshuffle the deck. "He would dislodge a whole lot of Hillary support," says Luntz, "opening up this race so that anyone would have a shot." He would also have history on his side: Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland, both of whom won the popular vote but lost the presidency, reached the White House on their next tries.

But even those who have worked most closely with Gore agree that his candidacy would face some significant hurdles. "You got a lot of people pretty skeptical," says Carville. "There's labor. The African-American community is not particularly close to Gore. The trial lawyers are certainly going to favor Edwards." Even Gore's prescience on the war may not be the towering advantage that many are predicting. "One is always penalized for being right about too many things," Carville says. "Prophets are shot in this town."

Further complicating the picture is the new, accelerated primary calendar, which adds South Carolina and Nevada to the traditional races in Iowa and New Hampshire, forcing Democrats to face four contests in the first fifteen days. A late start could make it tough for Gore to win Iowa, where Edwards has established an early lead and former governor Tom Vilsack looms as a hometown hero. But he would stand a good chance of beating Hillary in New Hampshire, where a battle between John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on the GOP side of that state's open primary is likely to siphon off large numbers of independent voters -- leaving anti-war Gore supporters to dominate the Democratic vote. Unlike Clinton and Obama, Gore could also sweep the South, knocking native son John Edwards out of the race.

Should he win the nomination, Gore would stack up well against the likely Republican contenders. In the earliest head-to-head polls, he performs as well as Hillary and better than any other Democrat in the field, edging McCain by one percent and running even against Giuliani. "If Gore secures the nomination," says Gergen, "his chances of victory would be strong."

Gore's biggest challenge, however, may come from within. "He's kind of a klutzy politician," says Elaine Kamarck, a Gore confidante. If he has any hope of being president, Gore has to find a way to stay in touch with the looser, more confident side of himself that has emerged in recent years.

"Al Gore is so appealing now because he's free," says Trippi. "The real question is, will he be able to maintain that freedom as a candidate? Or as soon as he has something to lose, does he revert back to that cautious, overly consulted guy we saw in 2000?"

As the campaign heats up over the next six months, Gore will remain very much in the public eye. In February, he'll be up for an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth May, he will publish a new book, The Assault on Reason, and in July he is planning a series of concerts to raise awareness about global warming.

But Gore's greatest appeal may come, ultimately, from what he represents to voters fed up with two terms of the Bush administration. "He'll be able to make the case that he should have been president already," says Carrick. "And that had he been president, things would have been a lot different, with the Iraq war being Exhibit A."

This, agrees Luntz, is Gore's greatest draw. "Democratic voters in 2008 are not only looking to turn back the last eight years, but to erase the last eight years," he says. "If I were working for Gore, I'd message around a single word: Imagine. 'Imagine if I'd been president instead of George W. Bush. Imagine where we'd be today.' "

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SOTU Recap

I, along with several other notable liberal bloggers, had a very good time last night watching the SOTU speech courtesy of our gracious host, Fernando! By "very good time" I mean I don't remember much after 9:45 and had to watch Jim Webb's response in replay today. It could have been much worse, I guess. . .I didn't wake up in bed this morning with my shoes still on like someone did! ;) Don't mess with Texas, my ass! lol

Although HaloScan was a major pain in the ass, Fernando logged over 400 comments in a roughly five-hour span! That was the only major glitch; the site set-up, the videos, the live-tequila-shots-cam, and rules for the game were well done indeed! Thanks to Nando and Hill for doing such an amazing job, and thanks to The Poetry Man for babysitting our sloshed asses (Never did get MY keys!).

A very happy, albeit belated, birthday to you, AZ! I only missed you by minutes (I think). Dusty, good to have almost run into you as well!

So. . .as you may have determined, I really have no recap of last night's laughable attempt to play to the middle whilst still staying the course on the ONE issue that America is so united AGAINST. Wait, maybe I just did. . .But here are some more elaborate writings on that subject:

- Robert Live Blogs the SOTU Speech

- Hill Tells Us How She REALLY Feels

- Pam on What We WISH He'd Said

- Sumo Likes the World Wide WEBB

- Dusty Dishes on Dumbya's Doings

I must add that this was the very first Bush SOTU speech that I actually enjoyed. But, then again, my recollections on the matter are not entirely clear. . .

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union Address..... The Prequel

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Tucker Carlsons' Dad #1 In Libby Defense Fund*Ask MSNBC Why He's Commenting?!?!

I've stewed over this for quite a while. I had heard on and off the Tucker Carlsons' dad Richard Carlson was bff with Scooter Libby, and headed his legal defense fund. SO WHY IS TUCKER COMMENTING ON THE LIBBY CASE WITHOUT AT LEAST A NOTATION TO THAT EFFECT???

CBS News

Libby Gets A Little Help From His Friends
More Than $3M Donated To Legal Fund For Indicted Former Cheney Aide


I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby won't lack powerful friends or financial resources when he goes on trial on Tuesday. A private fund set up to pay the legal bills of the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney has collected more than $3 million since Libby's indictment 14 months ago.

(snip)
One of those friends is Dick Carlson, a former ambassador and Republican stalwart who has headed the Voice of America and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (Carlson’s son is Tucker Carlson, the conservative TV pundit.)

Like many of Libby’s well-heeled friends, Carlson wasted no time in coming to his aid. On the day the indictment was announced in October 2005, Carlson said: “I sent a check by courier to Scooter’s house in McLean with the assumption that he’d need it.”

That check was the impetus for what quickly morphed into The Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust. A source close to the trust said more than $3 million has been collected to pay Libby's legal bills. The public face of the defense fund is a cadre of Republican heavyweights that include Mary Matalin, Steve Forbes and Jack Kemp.


Back in March, it looks like Arianna took Tucker to the woodshed and dirtied the knees of his jumper. Musta pissed him off....

A nasty little propagandist
I didn't mention my father's support for Scooter Libby because it was irrelevant. Completely and utterly. Libby was my father's personal lawyer long before he joined the Bush administration. They're friends, and that has nothing at all to do with me. I've met Scooter Libby precisely once.


Tucker goes on to characterize Ariannas' column as ....." attempted character assassination by a nasty little propagandist. "

Ariannas' WONDERFULLY SOURCED COHERANT COLUMN HERE....

The Full Disclosure Tucker Carlson Isn't Making

I don't see how this could be anything but revelant. What, MSNBC doesn't have enough commenters that Tucker couldn't just bow out on this one?
Not enough semi-dirty stories for Tucker to cover?

It's called "Conflict Of Interest". He's on right now, making excuses for Libby.

dabrams@msnbc.com

Tucker just called it an "Abuse of Power".

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Goodnight, George.

Congressional Republicans today pushed back against the "decider"'s decision to increase troop strength in Iraq, despite massive public outcry against such a measure. You think he's not seeing the outcry now, just wait until Saturday! Oh, he'll still ignore what America thinks and "stay the course", although of course "it's never been about staying the course". . .is this the same asshat that labeled John Kerry a "flip-flopper"? I guess he decided to stay the course before he decided to not stay the course. Nope. . .that still sounds stupid; doesn't matter who ya fling it at. . .

Tomorrow night, this "president" will act conciliatory on several issues and attempt to prove that he is in fact a "uniter, not a divider". Yet the one issue that America has dumped back into his lap, the one issue that cost his party the majorities in both houses, the one issue that every single general has disagreed with him on, the one issue that he is most gravely wrong on. . .is the one issue on which he will remain defiant. He will stubbornly refuse to back down on his "surge" plan, let alone begin planning for an exit strategy.

This man, who has so often accused others of "flip-flops", "finger in the wind" management, and making decisions based upon the latest polls, received a hard right punch 70 days ago. He apparently is too blinded by his own stubborness and self-delusion to see the left hook coming his way if he follows through with this latest debacle. Many beleive that Democrats will only offer non-binding resolutions or other chiding. I too, beleived this not long ago. . .when I had a faint hope that he would react to the events around him and finally. . .finally. . .make the right choices. That faint hope is now disappearing, and after his "message" tomorrow eve, I fear it shall be as dead and buried as Hussein. Which is ironic, since Bush displays much of the same stubborness, defiance, and despotism of that man that he executed. Perhaps he hated the image in the mirror so much that he was compelled to destroy it. . .

Tomorrow night, George W. Bush will complete his final transformation to the dark side, little doubt there was of this happening. Over 3,000 American troops and over 600,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have died in this effort. . .but that's not enough for this man. He's the megalomaniac in Vegas who's blown $20,000, maxed out ALL of his credit cards, sold his car and taken out a note against his own home, but. . . with the $20 he has left, he CAN GET IT ALL BACK!

Go home ,George. We tire of your posturing and grand-standing. America is tired of you, Texas AND Connecticut DO NOT want you back. So. . .bow out and retire to all of that South American real estate that you've purchased before we send your non-comprehending ass to some federal real estate in the state of Kansas. . .although I doubt you will heed my warning. Paying attention to the will of the public is NOT your strong suit. Frightening us is, and, congrats. . .we're now frightened of YOU. . .

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You Tell Me. . .

Aaaarrrggghhhhh!!! Damned if Monday didn't occur again this week. . .oh well, at least we get to play "Make Your Own Caption" again. . .

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Do you know your state capitals?

Yes, you really have to answer all 50! I had these memorized as a child; but I was shocked to get them all correct today. FYI: I completed this in under two minutes:

You are 100% Knowledgable regarding US State Capitals!

Excellent Work! Nicely Done! Thank you for taking this quiz. Be sure to check out the statehood quizzes here at gotoquiz.com!

Do You Know Your State Capitals?
Make a Quiz

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Objects in mirror. . .



. . .are closer than they appear.

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Wha? Pelosi Did GOOD?

AP

By ERICA WERNER Associated Press Writer © 2007 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Sworn in just over two weeks ago as the first female
speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi wasted no time showing who's boss.

The California Democrat rammed six major bills through the House at
breakneck speed, stomped out smoking privileges near the House floor, partially
sidelined a powerful Democratic committee chairman and decided she liked
traditionally Republican office space so much she claimed it for herself.

By Democrats' timekeeping, she did it all in far under the 100
legislative hours she had allotted."We did what we promised the American
people we would," Pelosi declared on Friday, pledging it was "just the
beginning."

Pelosi's initial agenda, completed Thursday, included measures with
wide popular support: increasing the minimum wage, broadening stem cell
research, allowing government bargaining on Medicare drug prices, cutting
student loan costs, putting in place terrorism-fighting recommendations from the
Sept. 11 commission and rolling back energy company tax breaks.
Each bill passed with bipartisan majorities and Pelosi triumphantly gaveled down the
votes, at one point banging the gavel so enthusiastically that it left a small
dent in the podium.
(snip)
....In the view of many Democrats, Pelosi's opening performance bodes well. She seemed to recover from postelection stumbles such as backing the losing candidate in the contest for House majority leader.

She also is getting a honeymoon from the public. Pelosi is held in higher regard than the president or her colleagues in the Congress. An AP-AOL News poll taken Jan. 16-18 put her approval rating at 51 percent — much higher than that of Congress (34 percent) or Bush (36 percent).
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a close ally, called Pelosis performance "spectacular."
"What the Democrats in the caucus are telling me is that this is the best three weeks of their life," he crowed.


Compare and Contrast.

CNN Dumbasses On November 16th
Situation Room onscreen text: Is Pelosi "Damaged Goods?"
On the November 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer asked "how badly is [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] damaged politically?" while the question "Damaged Goods?" was displayed on screen. Blitzer was referring to an "intraparty battle" among House Democrats, in which Pelosi backed Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) to be House majority leader but Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was ultimately elected.


I don't usually get all meta about these things, but if you just think back a few months ago (barely two), Nancy Pelosi was the WORST POSSIBLE SHRILL CATTY SHALLOW GUCCI WEARING WOMAN IN THE WORLD. Now? Not so much. hehe.


Cross Posted In My Jar

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Comics Round-Up

"President Bush watched the hanging of Saddam Hussein. He said he was not pleased with how the Iraqis executed Saddam Hussein. ... The Iraqis fired back, 'Yeah? We're not pleased with the way you executed the war.'" --David Letterman



"Democrats have announced that their 2008 presidential convention will be held in Denver. You know, it's interesting that the Republicans haven't made a big deal about where their 2008 convention will be. They are keeping it very low key because they are afraid President Bush will know where it is and will show up." --Jay Leno



"President Bush has the answer to global warming. He's going to send 20,000 troops to the sun." - David Letterman



President Bush said Tuesday he thought Saddam Hussein's hanging looked like a revenge killing and said he wished the Iraqis had handled the execution better. The Iraqis are just inexperienced. None of them has ever been the Governor of Texas.- Argus Hamilton

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National Sanctity of Human Life Day, January 21st

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Our Nation was founded on the belief that every human being has rights, dignity, and value. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we underscore our commitment to building a culture of life where all individuals are welcomed in life and protected in law.
(snip)

When we seek to advance science and improve our lives, we must always preserve human dignity and remember that human life is a gift from our Creator. We must not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it. America must pursue the tremendous possibilities of medicine and research and at the same time remain an ethical and compassionate society.




National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an opportunity to strengthen our resolve in creating a society where every life has meaning and our most vulnerable members are protected and defended including unborn children, the sick and dying, and persons with disabilities and birth defects. This is an ideal that appeals to the noblest and most generous instincts within us, and this is the America we will achieve by working together.



Cross Posted At Polityka, Uczeni hinduscy i Pickles.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gas Prices

The headlines say oil prices have fallen 15 percent this year. Gas station receipts tell a different story - the cost of filling 'er up has slipped from about $35 to $33. Big deal. The cost will probably drop further, but drivers shouldn't hope for a big windfall at the pump: there's a lot more that goes into gasoline prices than the current cost of crude oil. Besides taxes and the costs of refining, distributing and marketing, there are factors such as local competition among gas stations. Just as with other forms of retail, consumers see savings when one retailer lowers its price, and the others scramble to match it. "If gasoline costs me a dollar a gallon, and my competition down the street is selling it for 89 cents, my customer doesn't care what I paid for it," said Richard Oneslager, president of Balmar Petroleum, which operates 14 gas stations in Colorado.

Okay, no bashing of the local franchisees here. I worked for a local oil company in the C-Store side of the business 20 years ago here in Fort Wayne. You locals know the Lassus name well. There really IS no profit at the local level in the oil market; it's all at the top. Anyone ever involved with managing a gas station knows that the profits are all made via the "convenience" items that people purchase alongside their fuel. Hell, I used to order my checkout candy based strictly on profit margin. My top pick? Kraft carmels; they had a 44% markup back in the day!

Crude oil prices have fallen from about $61 to $51 a barrel this year on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but the price of gasoline on the side of the road has declined more slowly. The average price for a gallon of regular is down about 13 cents from $2.33 on Jan. 1 to $2.20 on Friday, a day after crude briefly fell below $50. A typical car holds 12 to 15 gallons, so if it's filled four times in a month, that's savings of less than $8 in a month - not even enough for that daily cup of coffee.

Prices here fell hard this week. The lowest I saw was $1.89 on Thursday, but the average seems to be hovering around $1.99 today. Even diesel (MY lifeblood) was available for $2.29 tax-exempt. I'm just relieved to see prices finally returning to saner levels; and I was wondering what prices have been like in YOUR area the last few days. Be it local, other parts of Indiana, or other states, what is the lowest price you have encountered for regular unleaded gasoline?


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Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro! Tonight I'm indulging myself with the works of my all-time favorite song-writer and crazy son-of-a-bitch, Jim Steinman. Many will recognize that name as the creative genius behind the artist Meatloaf, but Steinman was involved in many other projects over the years. His style is sort of "rock-opera", and his style is easy to hear in all of these songs.

I skipped the obvious choices of "Two Out of Three Aint Bad" and "Paradise By the Dashboard Light", and selected one of my favorite tracks from Meatloaf's 1977 album, Bat Out of Hell (The angry man on the right is Jim Steinman):

Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth


In 1981, Steinman had a sequel to Bat Out of Hell ready to go, but Meatloaf's voice was NOT! So Steinman recorded the album "Bad For Good" himself, reaching #32 on the charts in July of that year with my all-time favorite Steinman tune. I was unable to find a decent copy of his video, so I've subbed Meat's later rendition from Bat Out of Hell II:

Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through


The following tune was also an original Steinman track from Bad For Good. Possibly the saddest song in the world. . . Again, no original video could be found, but Barbra Streisand covered it beautifully in her 1984 album "Emotion". This was Streisand's first-ever music video:

Left in the Dark Again


Everybody knows THIS one! Steinman was looking for just the right voice to pull this one off, and despite his initial reaction to Bonnie Tyler's voice ("Sounds like Rod Stewart in mid-orgasm"), the right choice was obviously made for this 80's power ballad. Steinman performs backup vocals on this one; He's the "turn around, bright eyes" voice that you hear:

Total Eclipse of the Heart


Barry Manilow covered Steinman's song "Read 'em and Weep" and carried it to the top of the adult contemporary chart in early 1984. Recurring theme tonight, no video of that available, so here's Meatloaf's version:

Read 'em and Weep


Steinman wrote this little tune for the boys in Air Supply as well:

Making Love Out of Nothing at all


Love it or hate it, this Steinman-penned tune sung by Celine Dion was a smash hit:

It's All Coming Back to Me Now


I've tried to keep this one short, believe it or not! I'm a big fan; I could write volumes about Jim Steinman. He's still keeping himself VERY busy and regularly updates his website.

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Pelosi and Reid Should Allow Jim Webb to Address the Full Joint Session in His Democratic Response Next Week...

By Brad Friedman:

I don't know how long the tradition of an Opposition Party "Response" to the President's State of the Union address has been going on. But for as long as I can recall, it has been a drab, embarrassing, cringe-worthy effort by whichever party found itself unlucky enough to not be in the White House.

Over the last six years, the Bush Administration has run rough-shod over their co-equal Congressional partners, stealing extraordinary power for themselves at every turn with the short-sighted blessings of their Republican chums in the House and Senate as an all-but-castrated Democratic party stood quietly by in the background for the most part.

This year, the Dems have smartly tapped freshman Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to deliver the Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union Address. No simpering softee he, Webb has already shown he has the stones to look Bush straight in the eye and deliver as good as he gets in the face of a classic Dubya bully-boy alpha-dog snarl.

But no matter how much clout, moral authority or gigantic balls the former Reagan Naval Secretary and proud father of a son still serving in Iraq may be, the conventional stagecraft of the SOTU and its Democratic/Republican Response simply stacks the cards insurmountably against the opposition party and -- as is likely again this year -- only serves to reinforce a perceived, if undeserved, imbalance between the two parties and the two branches of Government.

Just moments after the predictable, but rousing reception given to any President during a SOTU address -- featuring long and loud applause break after applause break and the undeniable excitement of a live speech delivered on live television to a packed and contentious house -- there is no way that a one-camera opposition party Response delivered in an all but empty room turned TV studio can ever hope to measure up to the pomp and circumstance of the President's address. That fact would be true even if Superman was selected to deliver the opposition party Response.

It's time to make a change.

And it's time for the Dems to take back just some of the White House's self-proclaimed empirical majesty in the bargain.

With the Dems newly in control of both houses of Congress and with a healthy majority of the country now clearly backing them as the best hope for America's future on virtually all fronts, and with a courageous man who knows how to kill before a live crowd, its time they push back and reclaim some of their rightful Constitutional power. Public perception being as integral to that power as almost anything else.

Controlling both the House and the Senate, the Dems can make the rules for both chambers in how the place is to be run as I understand it.
To that end, unless there is something more than merely "tradition" which I'm unaware of and which keeps them from doing so, the Dems ought to give Webb the same platform of the full joint session of Congress to deliver their party's Response to the SOTU.

Webb should deliver his address to that same jam-packed and receptive chamber on the floor of Congress as the President was granted...and which the opposition party, proudly owning majorities in both chambers of the co-equal branch of Government, now deserve to lay out their vision for the country.

As President of the Senate, Dick Cheney, of course, should be invited to keep his seat during the address behind the podium and next to the Speaker of the House. It'll be up to him if he wishes to show the appropriate respect and stay for the speech and join in for the polite applause at appropriate moments, or if he chooses to shamefully abandon his post and leave the on-camera seat empty behind Webb as he gives his address to the same pomp, circumstance and applause breaks as afforded to his co-equal Executive Branch representative just moments earlier.

For the first time in its history, the Opposition Response to the SOTU can be more than merely an embarrassing, limp, pro forma, predictable "hey, don't forget about us!" rejoinder which the TV Networks begrudgingly carry while most viewers have already changed the channel or moved on to other things. Instead, the Response can truly carry the message -- from a level playing field -- of how the Democrats envision the brave new world and their plans bettering the state of our union.

I believe all it would take is a decision by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to keep the joint session open after Bush's address, and for the floor to then be given to Webb to deliver the party's response to all in attendance. I hope that both will consider doing so.

The Democratic party was placed into power last November to take back America. Webb is the perfect representation of that reclamation of power. The State of the Union address gives the Dems, via Webb's response, the perfect moment to make their intentions crystal clear to the nation. But they need to give Webb the same level playing field they've graciously granted to Bush.

In doing so, the Dems may finally show what they stand for -- and that they will no longer be cowed -- instead of merely and meekly serving as bit players and extras in background support for a grand show which George W. Bush no longer deserves.

The battle for the balance of power in this country was long ago turned into a battle measured by which party is perceived by the country as "the toughest guy." The Dems finally have such a tough guy in Jim Webb. And he's ready to go. The way the Dems choose to use the golden opportunity before them will likely say as much about their ability to lead in a dangerous, threatening world as anything else. Will they now have the cajones to finally stand up to the GOP bully as embodied by George W. Bush to reclaim their equal time so long deserved? Or at least as afforded to them by the Constitution? We'll soon find out.

Brad Friedman is Creator and Editor-in-Chief of
The BRAD BLOG.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maliki plays offense

Condi Rice - "Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's administration is on "borrowed time."

Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki - "Statements such as Rice's give morale boosts for the terrorists and push them toward making an extra effort and making them believe they have defeated the American administration". (SLAP!)

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George Bush - "We will not engage in talks with Iran or Syria". (rattling saber)

al-Maliki - "We confirm our commitment to dialogue with Iran and Syria despite U.S. opposition to those governments". (SLAP!!)

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Bush - "We will commit an additional 21,500 American troops to Iraq".

Maliki - "I think that within three to six months our need for the American troops will dramatically go down. Equip our forces so it will be possible to withdraw the Multinational forces from cities, or withdraw 50,000 soldiers from Iraq." (GET OUT!)

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I'm starting to like this guy. . .

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South Bend Tribune...Wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!!! (Part Deux)


Yesterday I had a total hissy fit!! Over and over in the South Bend Tribune print and online editions you see junk like this.....

State of the State: Daniels makes appeal to Demos

Hmmm, seems to be something wrong with that sentence.....

So, I checked dictionary.com and came up with this:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) -
dem·o /ˈdɛmoʊ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[dem-oh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun, plural dem·os. Informal.
1. demonstration (defs. 4,6).
2. demonstrator (def. 5).
3. a phonograph record or tape recording of a new song or of one performed by an unknown singer or singing group, distributed to disc jockeys, recording companies, etc., to demonstrate the merits of the song or performer.


and this......

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) -
Dem /dɛm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[dem] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation–noun Informal.
1. a member of the Democratic party.
2. the Dems, the Democratic party.


Well, I have to admit that I went a little crazy. I emailed a friend of mine who is a reporter in DC to have him check his AP Stylebook (reporters bible for guidelines in things like this) and after a bit, he let me know that Demo is an archaic diminutive for Democrat that has not been used in many years, and that DEM is the one cited in the AP Stylebook. (there is an AP Stylebook online, but it is paid subscription)

I would like to credit Fred Dodd at the South Bend Tribune for looking into this (after an admittedly semi-pissed off voice mail from me) and calling a meeting with his copy editors. They discussed it, and agreed that DEMO is not the correct diminutive to use, and from now on their policy will be to use DEM.

Now, you might be wondering why I got all hopped up about this, and I will tell you.
For YEARS, the strategists on the right have been using words to try and pigeonhole Democrats, Progressives & Liberals. They say "Democrat Party" when it should be "Democratic Party". (One reason given for this is to emphasize democRAT) They say "Looney Left, Looney Liberals" and all that other garbage. In my humble opinion and many others I have asked, DEMO sounds really close to DUMBO or DUMMO.
I am very impressed that Mr Dodd and his editors took the time to correct something that they could have very easily ignored. (well, not really, but they didn't know what a pain in the ass I could be)

Looking forward to the first Tribune headline using the correct term, DEM!!!!


Cross-Posted In My Jar

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The REAL reason for Iraq. . .

. . .finally comes to light. It's what most of us knew it to be all along: The acronym for this "war" was intentionally "spot on". . .Operation Iraqi Liberation or OIL. . .

Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.


This law will allow Western oil companies to pocket up to three-quarters of Iraqi oil profits
through "production-sharing agreements" (or PSAs) which are highly unusual in the Middle East, where the oil industry is generally state-controlled as is the case in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's two largest producers. Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.

Americans, at least those of us who are not in the upper classes or are members of the corporatist society, have paid for this endeavour through their income taxes and, in over 3,000 cases, with their very lives. This legislation will allow these corporations to step in and earn huge profits from the hostile takeover of this sovereign nation, while the rest of us have paid the cost. What an excellent investment for Haliburton, Exxon, BP, et al! No outlay of capital, no risk. . .just sit back and rake it in.

Proposing the parliamentary motion for war in 2003, Tony Blair denied the "false claim" that "we want to seize" Iraq's oil revenues. He said the money should be put into a trust fund, run by the UN, for the Iraqis, but the idea came to nothing. The same year Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, said: "It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil."

This is why George W. Bush refuses to accept any alternative to "success" in Iraq. Nothing that will jeopardize corporate oil profits can be allowed to occur, at any cost. This neo-con wet-dream of massive profits and corporate control of an oil-rich foreign nation, paid for with the blood and tax revenues of average Americans, is nirvana for these guys. And there is NOTHING they will stop at to achieve it. . .

More on this story here. . .

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