Wednesday, January 31, 2007
"Gov. Eliot Spitzer declared on Monday that he would propose a major increase in state aid for New York’s public schools in his first budget and would seek vastly expanded oversight of local school districts, including wide powers to remove school boards or force the dismissal of superintendents for repeated failures."
Good idea. The NY school system falls short of where it needs to be, by far. Especially when one considers that we already spend 15 billion just in New York City alone. Under Mayor Bloomberg huge strides have been made in funding, but the UFT hasn't held up their end of the deal. Hopefully they will be made more accountable.
"That’s even more impressive considering the economy was hit by the housing slump. Investment in home building for all of last year was slashed by 4.2 percent, the most in 15 years.
GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is the best barometer of the country’s economic standing.
“Housing and autos hit the economy with their best punch, and the economy is still standing. It is dancing,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group."
As I've mentioned before, the "science" of economics seems so mysterious that I wonder if Greenspan got his degree from Hogwarts. My only indicator of economic strength is how many gifts are given to me around Christmas. I made out like a bandit, so I guess it can't be all that bad.
"WASHINGTON - The U.S. government wasted tens of millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction aid, including scores of unaccounted-for weapons and a never-used camp for housing police trainers with an Olympic-size swimming pool, investigators say."
"...scores of unaccounted-for weapons." That's always comforting to hear, especially when we know whose hands those weapons end up in.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
So last night I'm watching Prison Break, which I watch religiously right before Heroes (best show on the air right now), and something happens, so...insanely ironic that I almost shit myself:
For those who don't follow the show, or who missed last night's episode, our two heroes make a video describing the government conspiracy in which the President, and other members of the CIA, etc have framed them, and killed others. The video is aired on Fox News. The CIA agent who's hunting the fugitives down, seeing the video tells his underling "Get some Arabs, burn down a forest, I don't care just get that off the air!" Later, Fox News reports a heightened terror alert as suspected terrorists are caught.
Seriously, it couldn't get more sickly ironic if Donald Trump took off his face and he was Rosie O'Donnell.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Note: ummm the best golfers seem to be named after tough ass animals. I'm going to name my kid rhino. And it won't matter if its a boy or a girl.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Crooksandliars.com may be the most popular liberal blog outside of Dailykos.com, but with posts like this, its a wonder they have any support:
"Look at this Yahoo headline of a Reuters story:
Bomb kills 15, Bush critic Pelosi visits Baghdad
"Bush critic"? That's the best descriptive Yahoo can think of to give Pelosi?
Not "Speaker of the House" Pelosi? Not "Third in Line for the Presidency" Pelosi?
Not even "California Congresswoman" Pelosi?
But, yes, all you lurking Freepers, keep crying that the media is liberal."
Seriously...this is the best you can do? Attacking Yahoo because they called Nancy Pelosi a "Bush critic?" Maybe if they had called her a "movie critic," maybe I could see...no I couldn't because who gives a F-CK! Who the hell are you even trying to convince that the media isn't left wing? The right? Riiiggghhhttt cause they all just love to check out Crooksandliars.com right after they smoke a joint and donate ten percent of their paycheck to the ACLU. Well at least you didn't follow up that post with videos of Lewis Black and Elton John. Oh wait, you did.
If I want MTV news, I'll watch MTV.
Fact is, both pundits are right. These men have been placed into a tremendously organic type of situation where natural instinct, cruel and barbaric natural instinct, takes control. Remember the shoebomber and the beatdown he recieved from the passengers on the airplane that he tried to destroy? Would you have called that revenge or a bias attack? When is the situation fight or flight and when is it political? Personally, if I was in Iraq whether it be on the US side or the Iraqi side (you can pick your favorite sect in the latter) I can tell you one thing, the longer I was there and the more people I killed the more I'd be lovin it. And after a while, in the middle of that killzone, it wouldn't much matter whose throat I had my hands around.
Think about that as you watch this.
We seriously need to plus down.
Friday, January 26, 2007
"It's a policy with a long list of potential consequences, especially "if Iran responds with escalation," putting "U.S. citizens and national interests at greater risk in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere."
But perhaps that's the point?"
Bush gives US troops authorization to kill Iranians within Iraq. Money quote:
"The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.
For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go."
See right here is the reason why I'm for a pull out in Iraq..."catch and release?" It's a shitty way to fish and an even shitter way to wage a war. I don't believe we should have "gone to war" in the first place, but much like the Surge or Plus Up or whatever you want to call it, our strategy has been one of fighting with one hand tied behind or back (or half our brain, which ever analogy you wish). Either fight the damm thing or get out. Jezz!
Note: "The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program" To Washington: Don't matter how many Iranian operatives you kill or capture, they're not giving up their program. We still haven't pulled out of Iraq no matter how many of our soldiers have been killed or captured, and unlike Iran we're actually supposed to care for our own.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Since OPERATION Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, more than 700 US soldiers have been infected or colonized with Acinetobacter baumannii. A significant number of additional cases have been found in the Canadian and British armed forces, and among wounded Iraqi civilians. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has recorded seven deaths caused by the bacteria in US hospitals along the evacuation chain. Four were unlucky civilians who picked up the bug at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, while undergoing treatment for other life-threatening conditions. Another was a 63-year-old woman, also chronically ill, who shared a ward at Landstuhl with infected coalition troops."
Even more frightening:
"A nurse explained to me, "It's this bug that grows in the soil over there and gets blown into their wounds by IEDs. These poor guys are covered with it. Around here we call it Iraqibacter." Rumors were circulating at the hospital that insurgents dosed their homemade bombs with the flesh of dead animals."
Note: It seems to me that the number of antibotic resistant bacteria worldwide is on the rise, or at least is a natural issue. Also this isn't a problem that is unique to Iraq. However if you read over the article there are several political issues that stem from this, including a possible cover up by the US government:
"The Marine Corps public affairs office sent out the customary press release attributing Gadsden's [Marine injured in Iraq] death to "injuries as a result of enemy action." But then a few weeks later, Zeada's [Gadsden's mother] dentist told her a Florida newspaper was reporting that her son had died of bacterial meningitis. Aided by US representative Bill Young, Zeada - who works as a cardiac-care technician in South Carolina - demanded an investigation.
She discovered that an autopsy was performed shortly after her son's death. The coroner recorded the "manner of death" as "homicide (explosion during war operation)" but determined the actual cause of death to be a bacterial infection. The organism that killed Gadsden, called Nocardia, had clogged the blood vessels leading to his brain. But the acinetobacter had been steadily draining his vital resources when he could least afford it. For weeks, it had been flourishing in his body, undetected by the doctors at Haley, resisting a constant assault by the most potent antibiotics in the medical arsenal.
"No one said that my son had anything like that," Zeada says. "I never had to wear gloves or a mask, and none of the nurses did either. No one had any information.""
Not trying to conjure up some type of X-files conspiracy here, but it seems to the story would be worth some media coverage.
Hat Tip: Geezer Power
"Sen. Obama knows words, and he knows how to use them. I don't think it's an accident that he uses language to raise very high expectations for his coming healthcare plan. Here are some of the things he says in his speech:
""Plans that tinker and halfway measures now belong to yesterday."
"In the 2008 campaign, affordable, universal health care for every single American must not be a question of whether, it must be a question of how."
"For too long, this debate has been stunted by what I call the smallness of our politics - the idea that there isn't much we can agree on or do about the major challenges facing our country."
"Caution is what's costly."
The Senator closes with an impassioned description of the fight to create Medicare, and the political courage that was needed to overcome resistance to change. That's raising the stakes very high for his own proposal."
Sounds good to me.
UPDATE: Find the complete text of Obama's health care speech here.
"The question of how Obama chooses to define and approach race looms large as he moves closer to formally launching his campaign next month. Although he rides a wave of enthusiasm among Democrats who like his vision of a different kind of politics and see him as an alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), it is not clear that his multiracial message can excite black voters hungry for affirmation of their top concerns."
Articles like this do and, I presume, will continue to confuse his multiracial background with his message. Of course it is early into his presidencial bid and he hasn't yet had the time to introduce himself properly to the general public, but as someone who's read The Audacity of Hope I see his message as anything but relying on race. Yes, he does recognize his heritage and has an entire chapter of his book devoted to race relations in the US; but, like the rest of Audacity, he talks this subject in the context of its changing affect on the American fabric, and how this issue falls lock step into the issues of class and economy that affect all Americans. One of his greatest challenges will be defining himself as something other than "the black guy" but I feel he's already on the right path. My worry is that he will be traveling faster than the rest of the media.
"In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.
Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”
All of the claims about Senator Obama raised in the Insight Magazine piece were thoroughly debunked by CNN, which, instead of relying on unnamed sources, sent a reporter to Obama’s former school in Jakarta to check the facts.
If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken [time] to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.
Later in the day, Fox News host John Gibson again discussed the Insight Magazine story without any attempt to independently confirm the charges.
All of the claims about Senator Obama’s faith and education raised in the Insight Magazine story and repeated on Fox News are false. Senator Obama was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother. Obama’s stepfather worked for a U.S. oil company, and sent his stepson to two years of Catholic school, as well as two years of public school. As Obama described it, “Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.” [The Audacity of Hope, p. 274]
To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa.
These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems."
Good for him. Clinton laid it out best with his "Untouchables" method of dealing with the media. You come at me, I'm coming back at you doubly hard. Keep it up.
Hat Tip: TPM
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
...then poor Dennis Kucinich.
I know, I know he looks like a Smurf, he's pretty much a hippy, and he's negative in that "who'd I'd like to have a beer with in a bar" poll (You know the one that idiots use to vote on a canidate), but he's also one of the most honest, dependable, and stand-up politicians around.
Yes, I'm for Barack Obama all the way because, experience aside, I find his positions, rehetoric, and political philsophy the best in Washington right now, but not showing Kuchinich respect, especially in light of his anti-war stance degrades our American political debate.
Rock on D.
The fact is, beyond all the talk about the Di Vinci code's commerical success no religious figure in modern history has come up with a satsfactory conclusion of where religion--and not just Christianity--should fit into our lives. I think it should be noticed how the end of the film (not the book--I can't remember how that ends) Tom Hanks' character kneels over the tomb of Mary Magdalene. Not because of some unreasonable divinity that's subscribed to her, but because of her humanity which begs admiration and emulation. Our new religion (and why shouldn't it be called that?) should be based on human deeds, because it is those very deeds that we can pragmatically imitate, just as it is human sins that we fall victim to. Now I'm not saying that we should form a Church of Martin Luther King Jr, or Albert Einstein, but the time is coming when our adoration should be reserved for Earthly matters which still and always will astound us as much as the evil that men and women do rends our hearts. This I think is the keystone of Sam Harris' argument. It's nuclear power vs. Sully's steam engine and in that battle there is no contest.
White man denied entrance into the Tennessee Congressional Black Caucus.
There's a side of me, my rational Martin Luther King Jr side, that says that this is an abandonment of the Dream, and if I were in government I'd definately push to get him installed...
But there's another side of me, my Charlie Murphy side, that says, F-ck this fool.
Fact: This is the first time a white man has been denied entrance into any group in Tennessee. True story, look it up.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Scooter's lawyer charges that his client is being set up as Rove's scapegoat.
"A dramatic split inside the Bush White House is coming to light on the first day of the Lewis Libby trial. At this moment, defense lawyer Ted Wells is making an impassioned opening argument, and much of it is a hard-edged attack on Libby's former White House colleague Karl Rove."
Um...if you didn't know this then drink an anthrax cocktail. And if you don't believe that Karl Rove or the Bush White House is capable of setting Scooter Libby up then you need to be phased out. In any event, anyone named Scooter needs to get some jail time.
"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group now steaming toward the Middle East is Washington’s way of warning Iran to back down in its attempts to dominate the region, a top U.S. diplomat said here Tuesday"
And just in case you were worried, no, we still won't talk to them:
"Nicholas Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, ruled out direct negotiations with Iran and said a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran was “not possible” until Iran halts uranium enrichment."
Seriously, the Iran war is going to rock like 20 times more than the Iraq war. You know why? They actually have an army.
Monday, January 22, 2007
"Venezuela's National Assembly has given its initial approval to a measure that would grant President Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months. Legislators voted unanimously for the bill Thursday in Caracas. A second session of the legislature, which is controlled by allies of Mr. Chavez, is expected to give the bill final approval next week."
And before everyone jumps off the handle about how Ven is becoming a totalitarian state, I'd ask you to tell me the differance between ruling by decree and signing statements. Either way Chavez wouldn't be getting all this power if America wasn't putting the full court press on him. Think it over.
Hat Tip: Cros
"When was the last time you watched a tape of Clinton's SOTU from 1999? I showed sections of it to my Media and Public Opinion class last fall and it's really a mind-blowing contrast to this year. This was right in the middle of impeachment and Clinton delivered a speech that was powerful and angry. He went through a list of accomplishments, of course, but these were actual accomplishments. Economic growth, jobs growth, surplus, peace.... on and on. One forgets. So he delivered this incredible speech to an audience -- the Republicans in Congress -- who clearly did not want to be there and did not want to hear it -- but also the larger American public, who were of course far more receptive to his message. He was clearly angry that, given all of these amazing accomplisments, he was facing impeachment over a petty sex scandal.
So, here's my question to you: can you think of one thing between last year's SOTU and this year's SOTU that Bush can claim as an accomplishment? Did even one thing go right for Bush this year? OK, I'll spot him modest job growth, modest economic growth and some stock market growth. I suppose that's something. But how about anything that he actually had anything to do with? On the other hand there's Iraq, North Korea, China, Hamas, etc. etc. So what is he going to talk about?"
I'm not sure, but I bet whatever he says will have the words: 9/11, surge, islamofacists, terrorists, evildoers, hate our freedoms, Democracy, and 9/11 in there.
Seriously though, I really do wonder what they're having for lunch at the American Enterprise Institute. Personally, I think it's Bald Eagle Stew flavored with Dred Scott with Habeas Corpus Cake for desert.
"...President George Bush will order an attack on Iran if it becomes clear to him that Iran is set to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities while he is still in office, Richard Perle told the Herzliya Conference on Sunday. Perle is close to the Bush administration, particularly to Vice President Richard Cheney. "
I'm so AMPED for this....
Just as I thought.
It's only because I'm bored that I decided to post today. For those of you that are still out there (A surprisingly good many it seems. Since I've stopped posting I've picked up 200 more hits. The more noise the less I speak? Maybe it's a good lesson for us all), I just wanted to say hi. I've been working on another novel since classes ended last semester, and while I'd love to blame that for my lack of posting that would just be a lie. The truth is that I haven't had much to say. Maybe it's because of the Democrats win last year, and the fact that my elation feels similar to how I felt when i was a kid watching Star Wars when the Death Star was destroyed, and I won't get riled up again until Rove slices off Obama's hand sometime this fall. Something seems missing, and no matter how much I try I just can't pin down what it is. Sully's debate with Sam Harris regaring doubt and moderate Christianity has been interesting, but that's been about that.
Ah well Heroes and Prison Break are returning tonight. And I've been playing God Of War for the PS2. Maybe that will inspire me to write, or care for that matter.