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Monday, March 31, 2008

Obama opens up a 10-point lead

Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton by 10 percentage points in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the latest Gallup daily tracking poll.

That's Obama's biggest lead of the year so far, and the first double-digit lead for either candidate since a February 4-6 poll, when Clinton outpaced Obama by 11 percentage points.

The latest results are based on Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted March 27-29. Obama did particularly well in interviewing conducted on March 29.

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Bush booed at 2008 Nationals home opener

They weren't booing; they were saying "Boooooooooosh":

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Put Indiana Back on Track

Jill Long Thompson's new ad:

Enough is Enough

There's two on the ballot but not hard to choose

A vote makes a difference could mean win or lose

The state of Indiana is in distress

Vote Jill Long Thompson to clean up the mess

Vote Jill Long Thompson so Indiana will make it

We need a change she's the one to change it

Enough is Enough and this is how we'll say it

Enough is Enough Vote Jill Long Thompson

Who's the one to fix our state

Plain and simple the best candidate

Jill Long Thompson she'll work for you

All that know her know it's true

Enough is Enough Vote Jill Long Thompson

Enough is Enough Vote Jill Long Thompson

Let her be our voice Governor Jill Long Thompson

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You Tell Me

Welcome to Monday!!! Why am I so happy on a Monday morning? The love of my life returns today from a brief sabbatical with family and I don't do well with being separated from her. Plus, I finally got to read what the stupid saying on all of those Jeeps actually is! That's my take, but since it IS Caption Monday, YOU tell ME. . .

I gotta add that this cop probably wanted to laugh out loud as it was only a matter of time before he actually ran across this scene! LOL


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Today's Laugh

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting and an old guy said: Well, for example, the other day I went downtown and went into a shop. I was only in there for about 5 minutes and when I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket I went up to him and said, “Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break”?

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a “Nazi.” He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So I called him a “doughnut eating Gestapo.” He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket.
This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote. Personally, I didn’t care. I came downtown on the bus and the car that he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said “Hillary in ‘08.” I try to have a little fun each day now that I’m retired. It’s important to my health.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008


Bill Clinton spoke to a packed house at Penn State University Friday night and two smart Obama fans got some free publicity and made the former president look like a real ass.

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"I Want Barack" - Jay Jay French

To the tune of his band’s famous “I Wanna Rock,” Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French throws his considerable political clout behind Senator Obama:

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Memorial Coliseum Campaign Event?

We've had Bill Clinton at the Grand Wayne Center; we've had Hillary Clinton at Sara's Family Restaurant; Barack Obama's campaign had their downtown grand opening yesterday. What could be next now that Fort Wayne is officially on the political map this year? Political Notebook reports that we may see Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton appear at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum before Indiana's May 6th primary:

One influential Fort Wayne Democrat let it slip last week that staffers for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign are considering an event at Memorial Coliseum in the coming weeks.

So what are the chances?

Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown said he has been approached either directly or indirectly by both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign about possible dates.

“Nothing’s even on hold for anything, but it could be interesting couldn’t it?” Brown said. “I don’t know if it is even going to go anywhere, but I think it would be a lot of fun if it happened.”

Brown said both candidates, depending on the night chosen, would draw large crowds. But he gave the edge to Obama.

“Certainly Mr. Obama, I think just by nature of his popularity and people from Ohio and Michigan coming over as well, could easily do 11,000 people for an appearance.”

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Fort Wayne Obama office

Some great video from Jeff Pruitt over at Fort Wayne Politics! Former Mayor Graham Richard heartily endorses Barack Obama and rallies the crowd in attendance here at the grand opening of the Fort Wayne campaign office:

Be sure to follow the link above for some awesome pictures and more video of the event!

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Jonatha Brooke

This is one "indie" singer who's work I've enjoyed for years. If you linger long enough, you'll also feel a steady pull that will let you know that it's better after all:


Steady Pull

Better After All

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Hate it Here

More brilliance from Jeff Tweedy. . .

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nothing's Changed

Taking it up the, err. . .tank!

I remember when gas first surpassed $1 per gallon in 1980. I was 16 years old and driving a 1967 Bonneville ragtop with a big-block 400 topped with a Carter automatic four-barrel carb. I got 10 miles per gallon. That was bad, but Dad paid for my gas, and I couldn't understand what the big deal was. After all, gas was $.80 the year before!

These days, however, I can relate more to Dad's grumbling about paying a mere $.25 per gallon 8 years before. When I first entered the transportation industry in 2000, diesel fuel was $1.39. Now, in the same timespan that Dad referred to, diesel has increased to $4.19! My fuel costs have risen from a monthly average of $300 to over $200 per week!

You'll have to excuse me if I feel no sympathy for Exxon-Mobil and their record profits donated by myself and the rest of you fine folks.

Barack Obama on oil prices:

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Hillary vs Obama? Lionel questions die hard supporters

Lionel asks Hillary/Obama supporters why you would rather vote for John McCain if your nominee loses? Are you out of your mind?

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The Tide is Turning

Bob Cesca has assembled this mash-up as "a tribute to everyone who has endured this seven-year-long dark ride; and to everyone who hopes that America can and will change for the better."

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A visit from Senator Hillary Clinton

Senator Hillary Clinton visited Sara's Family Restaurant in the Village at Coventry in Fort Wayne on Friday. Many people were standing outside to listen to the presidential hopeful's message. A lucky few got passes to dine with her. Clinton's campaign handed out about 100 wristbands to get in on a first-come first-serve basis; with me (Stan Matuska) being one of those 100!

A lot of people asked me why I would want to attend. Those would be either Obama supporters or Republicans. I told them that for one, she was coming to a location about a block from my office. She is a former First Lady, and may even be the next President of the United States. She is a also a Democrat. There were also many other famous faces in the crowd, such as Win Moses, Karen Goldner and Mayor Tom Henry.

If nothing else, it was an interesting experience to see what goes into one of these appearances. The security was immense with buses blocking the sides of the restaurant, dogs (bomb sniffing?), secret service and police. There was a wall full of cameras and camera crew! Hillary sat at a table with six average citizens. The rest of the crowd were seated behind her. I was in the 3rd row behind her (about 10-12 ft). So most of my view of Hillary was the back side of her head.

Hillary let each person at her table ask her a question, then she took a few questions from the patrons. She was running about 45 minutes behind schedule and she still had to attend a Muncie Indiana rally. Most questions were about the economy and jobs. The entire event was shown live on local television. I found the video footage at an Indy site http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8087248 but it is very lengthy.

I actually asked permission to post this on this blog because I know John is, well, let's just say, not as fond of Hillary as he is of Obama =)

First and foremost, I want a Democrat to win the presidency. To get there, we need the Democrat most likely to beat McCain to win the nomination. I don't know if that's Hillary or Obama. I would think all Democrats would support the candidate who wins the nomination no matter which one it is.

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Dirty Disney

Unlike most rumors of risque words images hidden in Disney’s animated films, this one is clearly true, and the images in question were undeniably purposely inserted into the movie. Approximately 38 minutes into the film, as rodents Bianca and Bernard fly through the city in a sardine can, the image of a topless woman appears in a window in the background in two non-consecutive frames. Snopes.com has verified this:

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Papparazi Moment

I was able to quickly snap this photo of Senator Clinton's plane as she left the Summit City this evening:

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Nite Retro

Okay, tonight's edition isn't really retro, but it features an artist that I've liked for some time and he may have slipped under your radar: Jack Johnson. The Hawaiian-born Johnson, 32, is the son of a famous surfer. In addition to that interest, he had a natural inclination towards music and began playing guitar at an early age. Ben Harper's producer "discovered" him in 2000, and helped him produce his first album, Brushfire Fairytales, in early 2001 with Harper and his lap steel guitar making a guest appearance.


Bubble Toes

Johnson has stated in several interviews that a big part of his success involved his friends recording "bootlegs" of his tracks and distributing them at surf competitions. Johnson has also stated that he supports the sharing of live recordings and bootlegs of his music.

"It's pretty crazy. There's stuff I would find online that I'd only given to one friend, so I know how it got there," Johnson says. "It's been a spider-web effect. That's the whole reason all this [success] started. I'm sure there's lots of people who hate [downloading], but I really dig it."

The Horizon has been Defeated

Wasting Time

As a professional surfer, Johnson endured an accident at Pipeline in which his front teeth were knocked out and he received more than 150 stitches. The accident allowed time for Jack to start on his new passions, the guitar and making music. He stated about the accident,
"I like to joke that I hit my head so hard that that's why I'm so mellow, but I think it did mellow me out."



Good People


Better Together

Jack's latest single:

Sleep Through the Static

Drop by Jack's MySpace page and say "hello"!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

John Prine - Flag Decal

Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore. . .

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New Hillary-Bosnia footage proves her story (Just in time for Fort Wayne visit)!

"H-Bomb" to visit Ft.Wayne via Aboite tomorrow:

The following footage of Hillary Clinton visiting Bosnia in 1996 has just been uncovered. Watch the video and see for yourself who is telling the truth!

The "H Bomb" is dropping in on us here in Aboite tomorrow; 5:45 PM at Sara's Family Restaurant in the Village at Coventry. I imagine she'll come under a lot of fire here as well, mainly from the "Local Limbaugh Listeners". . .It's worth noting, as stated by Kevin Knuth, this marks the first visit to our city by a presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1970.

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Obama's Indiana Ad

"For Decades"

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blue Majority endorses Obama

Open Left - I just made my first contribution to Barack Obama, and I did it though the Blue Majority page on Act Blue. Now, I am asking you to do the same, since Barack Obama is the latest candidate to be added to the Blue Majority page.

Daily Kos - It's clear our communities have become heavily pro-Obama, especially as Clinton's only path to victory is via coup by super delegate and civil war, and she doesn't give a damn.

Swing State Project - Barack Obama will hold the lead in elected delegates after the last primary is conducted, and the only way Hillary Clinton can secure the nomination is if unpledged superdelegates choose to subvert the will of the pledged delegates. Given that Clinton's rolled up very few superdelegate endorsements since Super Tuesday, and the discord a superdelegate-based victory might foment within the party, this is an extremely unlikely development.

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Latest NBC-WSJ Poll Results

One of the two Democrats running for president took a hit in the poll numbers over the last two weeks - and not the one you're thinking. . .

"On one of the most critical questions we've been tracking for a few months, Obama showed resilience. When asked if the three presidential candidates could be successful in uniting the country if they were elected president, 60 percent of all voters believed Obama could be successful at doing this, 58 percent of all voters said McCain could unite the country while only 46 percent of voters said the same about Clinton. All three candidates saw dips on this issue, by the way. In January, 67 percent thought Obama could unite the country; 68 percent thought McCain could do it; and 55 percent said Clinton would be able to pull it off. "

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Richard Widmark has died at 93

Richard Widmark died at home Monday in Roxbury, Connecticut. The actor, 93, had suffered a decline in health recently due to a recent fractured verterbra. He is survived by his wife, Susan Blanchard, and daughter Anne Heath Widmark from his previous marriage to Jean Hazlewood , who died in 1997. Widmark and Blanchard, who was also married to Henry Fonda, were married in 1999.

Widmark's most famous role was that of the psychopathic killer in the 1947 classic "Kiss of Death". The film featured a chilling scene where Widmark's character ties up an old lady in a wheelchair with a piece of cord and then shoves her down a flight of stairs to her death, as he cackles dementedly.

Widmark appeared in more than 60 other films, including The Alamo with John Wayne, Judgement at Nuremberg, How the West was Won, and Murder on the Orient Express.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dead Man has a tale to tell

Zach Dunlap, pictured at left, died last November 19th in an ATV accident. Apparently somebody forgot to inform him of that incident. Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, Oklahoma, said he has no recollection of the crash but remembers the doctor pronouncing him dead.

His family had approved donation of his organs and were paying their final respects when he reacted to a pen knife being scraped against his foot. After his foot moved, pressure was applied under his fingernail which also caused movement in his hands. Zach spent another 48 days in the hospital, but returned home to continue his long recovery.

His father, describing the results of his son's brain scan, said "There was no activity at all, no blood flow at all." His mother, Pam, said that when she discovered he was still alive, "That was the most miraculous feeling. We had gone, like I said, from the lowest possible emotion that a parent could feel to the top of the mountains again".

Dunlap now has the lifesaving pocketknife that was scraped across his foot, causing the first reaction. He snarked, "Only the good die young, so I didn't go."

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"Worst Person Ever"!

With apologies to Olbermann:

On the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interview with Vice President Cheney on the war. During the segment, Cheney flatly told White House correspondent Martha Raddatz that he doesn’t care about the American public’s views on the war:

Today, after a nine-day overseas trip to Iraq, Cheney was asked about the effect on the nation of today's grim milestone of at least 4,000 U.S. deaths over the five-year Iraq war. Cheney, "They volunteered."

Can we take a page from the middle east and publicly stone this mother fucker to death?

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Hillary's Nasty Pastorate

Wonder why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent (at least until today in Philly) regarding inflamed remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Turns out that when it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as "The "Fellowship," also known as The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

Just to grab your attention, here are a few of Hillary's "Family" co-members: Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe and Rick Santorum. Yep. Go read all about it!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

This just in from Obama Girl!

Perhaps feeling threatened by the hotness of Bill Richardson's beard, Obama Girl is back with a brand-new video wherein she once again declares herself Barack Obama's most devoted fan wearing the least clothes. In this installment, O-Girl pleads with Hillary Clinton to stop the negative campaigning (because it is so totally all her) and join her and Obama in uniting the party:

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The Obama Doctrine

Strong and RIGHT

Barack Obama is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique heard from a serious presidential contender in decades. It cuts to the heart of traditional Democratic timidity. "It's time to reject the counsel that says the American people would rather have someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak and right," Obama said in a January speech. "It's time to say that we are the party that is going to be strong and right." (The Democrat who counseled that Americans wanted someone strong and wrong, not weak and right? That was Bill Clinton in 2002.)

But to understand what Obama is proposing, it's important to ask: What, exactly, is the mind-set that led to the war? What will it mean to end it? And what will take its place? Click HERE to get the answers to these questions and more. . .

To answer these questions, spoke at length with Obama's foreign-policy brain trust, the advisers who will craft and implement a new global strategy if he wins the nomination and the general election. They envision a doctrine that first ends the politics of fear and then moves beyond a hollow, sloganeering "democracy promotion" agenda in favor of "dignity promotion," to fix the conditions of misery that breed anti-Americanism and prevent liberty, justice, and prosperity from taking root. An inextricable part of that doctrine is a relentless and thorough destruction of al-Qaeda. Is this hawkish? Is this dovish? It's both and neither -- an overhaul not just of our foreign policy but of how we think about foreign policy. And it might just be the future of American global leadership.

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97% of US death toll came after 'Mission Accomplished'

Death Toll now at 4,000.

A roadside bomb which killed four American soldiers yesterday has brought the official death toll in Iraq to 4,000. The four soldiers died when their vehicle was hit while on patrol late Sunday in southern Baghdad. Another 29,000 American soldiers have been wounded thus far in the conflict.

At least 97 percent of the deaths occurred after US President George W. Bush announced the end of "major combat" in Iraq on May 1, 2003, as the military became caught between a raging anti-American insurgency and brutal sectarian strife unleashed since the toppling of Saddam.

140 American servicemembers died before May 1, 2003, out of a total 4,000.

Despite the losses, Bush on the eve of the war's fifth anniversary defended his decision to invade Iraq, vowing no retreat as he promised American soldiers would triumph despite the "high cost in lives and treasure."

2007 was the deadliest year for the military in Iraq when it lost 901 troops on the back of the "surge", which saw an extra 30,000 soldiers pushed into the meat grinder in an effort to turn the tide of violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. This figure compares with 486 deaths in 2003, 849 in 2004, 846 in 2005 and 822 in 2006. So far this year, 96 soldiers have died.

But the hallmark of this war has been the high wounded-to-killed ratio,partly because of advances in battlefield medicine,enhanced protective gear worn by soldiers and reinforced armored vehicles. There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea.

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You Tell Me

Welcome to Monday! I hope your weekend was better than mine; which involved a drunken Saturday night hunting accident in the back yard, rabbit stew for dinner today, and some very disappointed children. . .Oh well, whaddaya gonna do? I think this eagle's in for a little bit of disappointment of his own but, since it's Monday, YOU tell ME:


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

How the Creative Economy is Making the Place Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life

It’s a mantra of the age of globalization that where you live doesn’t matter: you can telecommute to your high-tech Silicon Valley job, a ski-slope in Idaho, a beach in Hawaii or a loft in Chicago; you can innovate from Shanghai or Bangalore.

According to Richard Florida, this is wrong. Place is not only important, it’s more important than ever.

Globalization is not flattening the world; on the contrary, the world is spiky. Place is becoming more relevant to the global economy and our individual lives. The choice of where to live, therefore, is not an arbitrary one. It is arguably the most important decision we make, as important as choosing a spouse or a career. In fact, place exerts powerful influence over the jobs and careers we have access to, the people meet and our “mating markets” and our ability to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Who’s Your City provides the first ever-rankings of cities by life-stage, rating the best places for singles, young families and empty-nesters. And it grounds its new ideas and data to provide an essential guide for the more than 40 million Americans of who move each year on how to choose where to live, and what those choices mean for their lives, happiness and communities.

My place finder results:

(Not a huge surprise - I was born in The Golden State and am a progressive Democrat)

You should probably leave Fort Wayne, Indiana - final score:34 (below the average [50.6] score)
You should definitely consider moving to San Francisco - final score:57 (amongst the highest scores)
You should probably not move to Denver - final score:50 (below the average [50.6] score)
You should probably not move to Washington, DC -final score:50 (below the average [50.6] score)
You should definitely consider moving to Seattle -final score:62 (amongst the highest scores)

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Only on FOX. . .

Best meat in the tri-state area!

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Happy Easter!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pastor Wright - Redux

Unedited video shows a different story

There's been alot of discussion about Pastor Jeremiah Wright, and much further discussion about the effects of his oratory on Barack Obama. I took the time tonight to sit down and watch this "unedited by the media" version of Pastor Wright's speech after 9-11, and I have to tell you, I don't disagree a bit with what the man states in this sermon. I strongly encourage you to spend 15 minutes and review it for yourself:

Jeff Fecke over at Shakesville has a great post about this as well.

And DO drop by and visit the blog "The Truth About Trinity United Church of Christ" after viewing these videos.

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Speak Out against Daylight Savings Time

For those of you who would prefer to NOT have DST in Indiana, and don't care to move to Hawaii or Arizona, there is a website where you can sign an e-petition to have the issue placed on the November ballot as a referendum (since the issue was never put to a vote in the first place). E-petitions are generally ineffective, especially the ones where you just add your name to a long list and forward it on to everybody. But this is one where you go to a website and give your full name and address.

This "petition" may not be fully effective either, but it's structured in a way that at least it has a chance of being taken seriously. In any case, it can't hurt.Of course, it also never hurts to pressure your elected officials as well, particularly in an election year where "change" looms large on the agenda and eagerness to appease the populace abounds. . .

Go to www.no2inddst.net to sign up. You have until August.

*Thanks to long-time friend Bill Zabel for the heads up on this one.*

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"Bad Boy Bill" rides again!

Three of those fingers appear to be pointing back at him. . .

Quick! Somebody dial out on that "3 A.M." line, and tell Hillary that it's time to pull on the choker chain again:

As Senator Barack Obama folded his arms and looked on, one of his leading military advisers forcefully defended Mr. Obama's patriotism here Saturday and accused former President Bill Clinton of trying to employ "divisive attacks" to promote his wife's presidential candidacy.

Mr. Clinton, in a speech to voters in North Carolina on Friday, said "it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country."

At a town meeting here Saturday, retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, who is a co-chairman of Mr. Obama's campaign, read the quote from Mr. Clinton. A few members of the audience gasped and hissed at the former president's words.

"Let me say first, we will have such an election this year because both Barack Obama and John McCain are great patriots who love this country and are devoted to it -- so is Hillary Clinton," General McPeak said, speaking over loud applause. "Any suggestion to the contrary is flat wrong."

Mr. Obama, on his first trip to Oregon before the state's primary on May 13, did not address the comments from Mr. Clinton. He stood a few feet away from the retired general as he made his remarks before a crowd of more than 1,500 people in a Medford community center.

McPeak, later firing back a response , compared former President Bill Clinton to Joseph McCarthy in questioning Obama's patriotism. "It sounds more like McCarthy," McPeak said. "I grew up, I was going to college when Joe McCarthy was accusing good Americans of being traitors, so I've had enough of it."

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"3 A.M." girl films ad for Obama

Eyes wide open in this one:

Casey Knowles,the young actress playing one of the sleeping children in Hillary Clinton's famous "3 AM" commercial has cut another campaign ad - this one for Barack Obama, whom she is supporting:

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Poll: Majority Doesn't Believe Obama Shares Wright's Views

A new Fox News poll, the first major poll taken since Barack Obama's big speech on race relations, shows that the effect of the Jeremiah Wright flap might not be so bad after all.

By a 57%-24% margin, registered votes do not believe that Obama shares Wright's controversial views. The internals show only 17% of Democrats saying Obama shares Wright's ideas, along with 20% of independents and 36% of Republicans.

Fox also asked respondents whether they had doubts about Obama because of his association with Wright. The results: 35% Yes, 54% No, with the numbers standing at 26%-66% for Democrats, 27%-61% among independents, and 56%-33% with Republicans.

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Obama - More Voices

Barack Obama talked earlier this week about bridging divides and bringing people together to solve our common problems. That's not just the theme of this campaign -- it's been the theme of his life's work.

When Barack came back to Chicago after law school, he led a voter registration drive to attract people to the political process. Watch this short video about Barack's voter registration efforts and do something to help register new voters in the upcoming states:

Registering voters and bringing more voices into the political process is what this campaign is all about. In the ten contests left in this race, we have an opportunity to build a base of support that will lead Democrats to victory up and down the ballot in November.But more importantly, we have the chance to transform our party and our politics.

By bringing in new voters and encouraging voters who have gotten fed up to get involved again, we can move beyond the divisive and petty tactics that have dominated our politics for far too long. We can send a message that we're ready for something new -- something positive that brings us together around a shared goal of a better future for all Americans.

You can help build our movement and create a lasting change in our party and in our country.

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Save the planet, but save yourself first!!!

Would you place your families health in jeopardy to help Al Gore and prevent global warming? Well, apparently helping to save the planet is a bit more dangerous than any of us might have imagined. Mercury is deadly and dangerous. Well, apparently we are asking each other day after day to store more deadly mercury into our homes in order to save the planet. Don't worry - it's only a problem if you drop it!!!

Stan - From Popular Mechanics:

How much mercury is contained in a CFL?
Each bulb contains an average of 5 milligrams of mercury, “which is just enough to cover a ballpoint pen tip,” says Leslie, associate director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer. “Though it’s nothing to laugh at, unless you wipe up mercury [without gloves] and then lick your hand, you’re probably going to be okay.”

So, wear gloves, keep your tongue where it belongs and, relax. . . =)

- John

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Trouble in the "FOX den"

"Anchors Away!"

I am about to utter words that will make me feel very dirty. But they must be said. . .I am proud of Chris Wallace and Brian Kilmeade. I would normally find no common ground with either FOX News anchor, but today they stood up to the blatant race-baiting and distortion tactics that their network uses daily in it's attempts to shape public opinion. And for that they are to be commended:

Fox News' very own anchors are speaking out — and walking off — over what they perceive to be "Obama-bashing" on their network.

This morning on "Fox and Friends," Brian Kilmeade walked off the set after a dispute with his co-hosts Gretchen Carlson (she who celebrates deadly floods) and Steve DoucheyDoocy over Obama's comment that his grandmother is a "typical white person." Kilmeade argued that the remark needed to be taken in context and eventually got so fed up with his co-hosts that he walked off set.

FOX News anchor walks off set over Obama-bashing

Later, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace came on the show and railed against "Fox and Friends" for what he called "Obama-bashing."

Chris Wallace takes Fox & Friends to task over Obama

The following is the actual statement made by Senator Obama, in it's full context, rather then the clipped version that FOX and Friends aired over and over:

Hat Tip to: MFC (You know who you are, buddy!)

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The importance of meaningful access to Congressional information

Why is meaningful access to congressional information important? Congressional information allows people to properly evaluate what their members of Congress are doing and who they are doing it for. Congress works for us and we, therefore, should be able to know everything that has to do with the business of lawmaking. Not having this information is like interviewing someone with a blank resume. The Sunlight Foundation, in honor of Sunshine Week, brings you, “The interview that transparency forgot.” Ask yourself if it is possible to hire someone without essential work experience information.


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Friday Nite Retro

TGIF! It was the week from hell here. . .oh well, a little music will make it all better! Tonight's focus is on my favorite GoGo - Jane Wiedlin. You know her as the rhythm guitarist for that group, but she was involved in numerous other projects over the years.

The Oconomowoc, Wisconsin born Wiedlin turns the big FIVE-OH in May of this year. Back in her younger days, Wiedlin was part of the LA punk scene that spawned bands like X and The Dickies and went by the name "Jane Drano."

As a member of The Go-Go's, she had a brief love affair with Specials and Fun Boy Three member Terry Hall. It was the ups and downs of this long-distance celebrity relationship with Hall that inspired the hit Go-Go's song "Our Lips Are Sealed":

Our Lips are Sealed

In 1983, Wiedlin recorded "Cool Places" with the new wave band Sparks:

Cool Places

In 1984, she was the first to leave the Go-Go's to pursue a solo career. Her first solo album, the aptly named Jane Wiedlin (1985), spawned this single:

Blue Kiss

Her sophomore effort, Fur (1988) spawned a top-ten single and personal favorite of mine:

Rush Hour

As well as a follow up single:

Inside a Dream

These firs
t three efforts sold poorly and she was dropped from EMI Records. She formed a punk band, froSTed (the unusual orthography coming from the fact Wiedlin is a huge Star Trek fan), which released an album in 1995 to good reviews but poor sales. Kissproof World was released in 2000 on Painful Discs Records.

After a successful tour and clearing of the animosity which had contributed to the original spli
t, The Go-Go's reformed as a regular unit in 2000. The band released God Bless the Go-Go's in 2001, on Beyond Records, its first studio effort in 17 years. However it failed to crack the top 40. Beyond Records folded soon after.

Wiedlin has also acted in movies and provided the voice for several characters on TV and the big screen, including a one-liner role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Her other roles include Joan of Arc (with no spoken lines in English) in the time travel comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and an ill-fated singing telegram girl in the cult comedy/mystery film Clue. In 2000, she sang in the choir on the Frasier episode "They're Playing Our Song".

Wanna see what Jane's up to today? Drop by her official website, or visit her MySpace page. And that is a wrap on this episode of FNR - Have a GREAT weekend!

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Richardson has endorsed Obama

Clinton's loss is Obama's gain

From Reuters:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president, Obama's aides said on Friday, in a big boost for the senator.

"I can confirm that he (Bill Richardson) is endorsing (Obama) and that he will be at the rally in Portland tomorrow," said an official with the Obama campaign.

Richardson's endorsement has been fiercely sought by both Obama and his rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in part because as a Hispanic he is seen as influential within the Latino community, which could be a key voting bloc in the November presidential election.

Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, largely backed Clinton in nominating contests on "Super Tuesday," with exit polls showing her winning two-thirds of the Latino vote in several states.

Obama, a senator from Illinois, and Clinton, a senator from New York and former first lady, are locked in a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

They have both sought high-profile endorsements as a way to bolster their campaigns. Both have also actively courted former presidential candidate John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator. Edwards has yet to endorse either candidate.

Richardson, 60, was energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1997.

Richardson also ran for the Democratic nomination but abandoned his bid in January, stating he lacked the funds to continue after finishing fourth in voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

A skilled negotiator and diplomat, the popular governor has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate or secretary of state in a Democratic administration.

Obama is due to hold a rally in Portland, Oregon, on Friday at 9:35 a.m. local time (12:35 p.m. EDT), his campaign said. He will then spend the rest of the day campaigning in the state, which holds a primary on May 20.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Passport File Breached

Three State Dept. employees involved:

Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama "without a need to do so," State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.

The three people who had access to Obama's passport records were contract employees of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News has learned. The unauthorized activity concerning Obama's passport information occurred in January.

"A monitoring system was tripped when an employee accessed the records of a high-profile individual,” a department official told NBC News. "When the monitoring system is tripped, we immediately seek an explanation for the records access. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the supervisor is notified."

Explaining why the contractors had access to the files, the official said: "The State Department uses cleared contractors to design, build and maintain our systems and cleared contract employees provide support to government employees and several steps of passport processing including data entry, file searches, customer service and quality control.

"Each time an employee logs on, he or she acknowledges the records are protected by the privacy act and that they are only available on a need-to-know basis," the official added.

Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign responded sternly, calling for a thorough investigation.

“This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an Administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement released Thursday night. “Our governments duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes.

“This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama’s passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach.”

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The Obama Speech - Reactions

Two days after Obama's speech on race and politics in America, religious groups and academic bodies are enthusiastically embracing his words. Universities are moving to incorporate the issues Obama raised into classroom discussions and course work, and churches were trying to find ways to do the same in sermons and Bible studies.

Ed Schultz

The Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of a mostly white evangelical church of about 12,000 in Central Florida, described Mr. Obama’s speech, in which the Democratic presidential candidate discussed his relationship with the former pastor of his home church in Chicago, as a kind of “Rorschach inkblot test” for the nation.

“It calls out of you what is already in you,” Dr. Hunter said, predicting that those desiring to address the topic would regard the speech as a spur, while those indifferent to issues of race might pay it little heed.

Dr. Hunter said the Obama speech led to a series of conversations Wednesday morning with his staff members. “We want for there to be healing and reconciliation, but unless it’s raised in a very public manner, it’s tough for us in our regular conversation to raise it,” he said.

Rev.Joseph Lowery

Janet Murguia, president of The National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy and social welfare group, hoped that Mr. Obama’s speech would help “create a safe space to talk about this, where people aren’t threatened or pigeonholed” and “can talk more openly and honestly about the tensions, both overt and as an undercurrent, that exist around race and racial politics.”

On the Internet and in many areas of the traditional news media, such a discussion was already taking shape. Some four million people watched Mr. Obama’s speech live, and it is now the top YouTube video. The speech has stimulated passionate discussion on scores of blogs of varying ideological tendencies, and an article about the speech in The New York Times has provoked more than 2,250 comments.

Roland Martin

On the ABC talk show “The View” on Wednesday morning, the co-hosts discussed the substance of Mr. Obama’s speech and its impact on the presidential campaign. “Finally we can talk about” race “without being afraid we are offending” others, one co-host,Barbara Walters, said, while Whoopi Goldberg said she “felt he was talking about stuff that we tiptoe around.”

Some conservative commentators, including Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, found positive elements in the Obama speech, which Mr. O’Reilly called “a mixed deal.” He criticized Mr. Obama for not repudiating Mr. Wright’s views in stronger terms but also said that Mr. Obama “was right that race remains an unresolved problem in America on both sides.”

Katie Couric

Around the country, ministers of the United Church of Christ, which is Mr. Obama’s denomination, are recommending in Holy Week newsletters that their congregants read or view Mr. Obama’s speech.

One message, sent from the Union Congregational Church in Montclair, N.J., said, “No matter what your party affiliation or your political persuasion, the conversations about race that have been elicited by the campaign are important.”

The message also cited a brief prayer, “Lord, help me to remember we are all your children,” and expressed the hope that “we take the high road” in addressing the issue.

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Eagle Ray kills Woman

An unidentified Michigan woman died in a freak accident today off of the Florida Keys. The woman, 55, was sunbathing on a small boat when a large eagle ray jumped onto the craft and landed on her. Conflicting reports state either that the 80-100 pound ray crushed her or caused her to strike her head, or that the ray stung her in the neck.

Eagle Rays are common in the waters off South Florida and the Keys. They normally live close to the coast in depths of 3 to 60 feet and in exceptional cases they are found as deep as 900 feet.

These rays can grow extremely large; up to 17 feet in length with a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They also have a long tail which is armed with sharp barb, it looks like a whip and may be as long as the body.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5th Anniversary of the War in Iraq

Cenk breaks it down by the numbers:

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Pick up the Torch

An important message from Barry Welsh:

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Ivan Dixon has died at 76

Ivan Dixon, best known as Sgt. Kinchloe on "Hogan's Heroes", died on Sunday, March 16th. Dixon helped change racial stereotypes in his film and TV roles, was active in the Civil Rights movement, and president of Negro Actors for Action. After a long and celebrated career as an actor and director, he was the owner-operator of radio station KONI-FM in Maui. In 2001 he left the islands for health reasons and sold the radio station in 2002.

In his role as POW Staff Sergeant James Kinchloe in the hit TV series Hogan's Heroes, SSG Kinchloe's role was the communications officer; he would frequently be ordered by Colonel Hogan to encode a message and send it to Allied Headquarters in London, a submarine, or to the German underground. Dixon played Kinchloe from 1965 to 1970, making him the only original actor on Hogan's Heroes not to stay for the entire series (Hogan's Heroes finished in 1971, by which time Kenneth Washington had replaced him).

In 1964 he starred in the independent film Nothing But a Man, which was written and directed by Michael Roemer. He was practically unrecognizable as "Lonnie" in the cult classic Car Wash (1976). Dixon spent many years (1970–1993) behind the camera directing television shows and movies such as Trouble Man, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, Magnum, P.I. and The A-Team.

He played a doctor and leader of a guerrilla movement in the controversial 1987 ABC miniseries Amerika, set in post-Soviet invasion Nebraska. Perhaps his most memorable scene was his dramatic rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, which had been banned by the puppet government led by Robert Urich.

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