Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ann Coulter pumps the publicity shaft like a pro.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Ann Coulter uses a sharp tongue and short skirts to shill kinda clever books. She also sucks the blood from live babies, but purges later to stay thin.
I've read Ann Coulter's How To Talk To A Liberal (If You Really Have To) a few months ago. It was okay. She makes a few witty comments, but overall, she seems to subscribe to the school of "even bad publicity is still publicity." She has made calculated, ultra-controversial statements will keep her in the public eye and her books selling, including her statements regarding the protesting 9/11 widows against the Iraq War as opportunistic. She know just how to push the buttons of the right (and the left, for that matter) to get what she wants — her books sold.

“These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process.”

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”

Whatever. The widows put themselves in the public eye and in doing so agree to be criticized. Coulter has nice hair and looks passively decent in black leather or a little black dress, and tends to use that to maximum effect on her book's covers. She's obviously trying to promote a book and cash in, and that kind of statement is the "bait" to get people to buy.

It's sad that her extreme positions somehow reflect enough of the population that her remarks get defended, but if she is speaking for some percentage of the right, so be it. Too bad they are so wrapped up in their anti-liberal mentality that they don't realize they are getting used by her and her publisher. Moreover, why does the right has this bottle-blondie while the best the left can do is Hilary and Michael Moore? There must be a few half-decent looking liberals that haven't blown Clinton?

Here's Kathy Griffin (almost unrecognizable after plastic surgery) roasting her ass:


For the record, here's Coulter explaining herself on the Today Show (sorry it's poor quality):








Friday, June 29, 2007

British Perspective: Do you believe America is an empire, and if so who controls it?

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: A British citizen provides a view of America from outside the echo chamber.

In order to further test the patience and loyalty of his readers, Jay has invited me to blog on his... erm blog. Perhaps feeling there is not enough sarcasm and cynicism here, he has invited a British citizen to post. I hope that my use of the letter "U" will add humour and colour to his blog. But alas, first of all we have a rather heavy posting.

Jay's question to me was: Do you believe America is an empire, and if so who controls it?

In a somewhat cliched manner. let's look at the dictionary definition for the word empire:
  1. Supreme power; sovereignty; sway; dominion. "The empire of the sea." --Shak. [1913 Webster]

  2. The dominion of an emperor; the territory or countries under the jurisdiction and dominion of an emperor (rarely of a king), usually of greater extent than a kingdom, always comprising a variety in the nationality of, or the forms of administration in, constituent and subordinate portions; as, the Austrian empire. [1913 Webster]

  3. Any dominion; supreme control; governing influence; rule; sway; as, the empire of mind or of reason. "Under the empire of facts." --M. Arnold. [1913 Webster]

The first definition here is quite wide. It would obviously be false to say that America has supreme power as is evident from its problems in Iraq, Columbia, Afghanistan etc.

However, the third word, sway, is much looser and certainly more applicable. As a result of its cultural output, its economic might, its (actually our) language, and its military power, America certainly has a large sway over many people.

The second definition introduces the concept of territoriality, i.e. that an empire differs from a nation in that it exerts aspects of the first definition beyonds its borders. Well, yes, America certainly does hold sway over large parts of the world.

However, the word 'subordinate' is more problematic. Whilst other countries may be heavily influenced, even to the point of a loss of national sovereignty, by American decisions, they are still nominally equal in status in the eyes of international law, at the UN and so on.

The third definition, whilst repeating certain characteristics of the first, introduces perhaps the most important concept, that an empire can be of anything. The word empire usually invokes thoughts of the Roman or British Empire which were empires of land and people (or to use the collective term, nations) but we are not limited to these components.

So to answer the question: yes, by these definitions, America can be labelled an empire. An Empire of Language (though you guys picked up the baton from us on that one really) and an Empire of Culture.

But America is not certainly an Empire of Nations (though the Puerto Ricans and Al Qaeda may disagree). Nor is it an Economic Empire. The globalised world is too interconnected for their to be any single dominion holding sway over every else. Unequal influence, power or size yes, but not an Empire dictating its financial whims to others.

However, the final empire that America can lay claim to is the most contentious. It is an Empire of Values.

In the neo-conservative view of the world, America's values are universal and inherently good. They should be propagated far and wide, and in the Bush administration, this policy was combined with a miltary doctrine, to so far limited success. The locus of this policy was to bring nations suffering under despotic rule into this Empire.

Yet, in fact, even without this policy, there are millions who still wish to fall under this Empire. Some would rather strive to gain entry than have America forcibly help them (though I am sure there are still those, who despite Iraq, would welcome American intervention). To this extent, the American Empire of Values merely needs to exist. In doing so, it provides an advertisement for the empirical value of using these values on a day to day basis. We do not routinely speak of a Catholic Empire, yet in theory the Vatican and the Pope propagate and advertise a similar (and sometimes conflicting) set of values.

However, to also answer the second part of Jay's question, there is no one in charge of these Empires. It makes no sense to ask who is in charge of the English language: it's day to day use and empirical value as a lingua franca ensure its survival and its attractiveness. Similarly, there is no one in charge of the values of America. The values exist within America. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution protect these values. We could therefore say that Franklin, Jefferson & Co are in charge of the American Empire.

So, America is an Empire. But its rule is, mostly, passive and beneficial, it is in fact something to be proud of. It's most powerful effect is one of role model for the world. This makes it different to previous empires such as the British and Roman models, which were active and explicitly created for the purpose of subordinating others. As such, the inherent contradictions which ultimately brought down these empires may not apply to the American one. However, the Empire of Values is still vulnerable, still fragile and needs constant nurturing. We are lucky that in a small way this blog contributes to upholding those values by providing a forum for free speech and debate.







Al Gore's Global Warming Pledge.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: The seven-point pledge announced by Al Gore to rally support against global warming.

I pledge
  1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;

  2. To take personal action to help solve the climate crises by reducing my own C02 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become "carbon neutral";

  3. To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the C02;

  4. To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;

  5. To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;

  6. To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,

  7. To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crises and building a sustainable, just and prosperous world for the 21st century.


I'm in, Al.

algore.com

liveearth.com







Katrina victim tells Cheney to go fuck himself

Remember this? A great moment. Cheney isn't above telling others to go fuck themselves either, but it usually happens on the Senate Floor.









Robin Williams did not write this email.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Hardline email attributed to Williams is bogus.


You've probably read this before. It's been circulating the Internet's email zone for around four years in several variations. At some point it became falsely attributed to Robin Williams, though you'd think if Williams penned it would be funnier, make more sense, and not read like Rush Limbaugh's Christmas list to Santa (Williams is a noted liberal). Anyway, just wanted to dispell this one for what it's worth. It's actually a fairly odious letter in my opinion, pretty low-brow, and makes a lot of assumptions without fact to back it up. Who did write it remains a mystery. The last line about the Statue of Liberty, the only funny part, is taken from Williams' act. Item number 3 alone would cripple the farming, construction and custodial industries.

"Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan ..what we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message.

Robin William's plan. (Hard to argue with this logic!)

I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan.

1.) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past &present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic and the rest of those 'good ole boys,' We will never "interfere" again.

2.) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one sneaking through holes in the fence.

3.) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.

4.) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5.) No foreign "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If hey don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home baby.

6.) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

7.) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go some place else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

8.) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere," They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9.) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10.) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.

The Language we speak is ENGLISH.....learn it...or LEAVE..

Now, isn't that a winner of a plan. "The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'"

~~~If you agree with the above forward it to friend... If not, and I would be amazed, DELETE it !!!"

SOURCES: UrbanLegends.com







Thursday, June 28, 2007

Larry King bumps Michael Moore's health care debate for Paris Hilton

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Network needs to choose between universal health care and blonde half-wit. Blonde wins.
Dear Paris,

Welcome back! So, I hear you have decided to turn a new leaf. Cool! You said on Larry King tonight that jail "was a pretty traumatic experience, something that I really have grown from." Very mature outlook. You went on to say "I feel like God does make everything happen for a reason... And it gave me, you know, a time-out in life just to really find out what is important and what I want to do, figure out who I am." You seem ready to do some good in the world! You even are sporting new hair, wardrobe and makeup... no boobies at all. Wow, you really look all grown up. Good for you.

Okay, but here's a little tip: when Michael Moore - a filmmaker - spends years out of his life making a movie to help people get a basic service like health care and wants to get a few minutes to open up the debate on national television, TRY to let him do it before you allow him to get bumped so you can discuss your bullshit "traumatic experience." A real traumatic experience is losing your dad because a health care industry doesn't want to pay for his pancreas, or someone has to choose between what finger he can afford to re-attach.

You told King you were "a business person. I run several businesses." Great, then you must know about health care for your employees? Maybe this topic would have been of interest.

Part of growing up is learning what is really important. You moron.

Thanks for your time, Jay

----------------------------

Dear Larry,

You ratings grabbing DICK. Show some balls next time.

Thanks for your time, Jay

----------------------------

Dear Viewers of the Larry King show on 6/27,

Unless you think celebrities should be considered serious news, vote with your eyes and flip the channel next time.

Thanks for your time, Jay







Rebecca Romijn thinks Dick Cheney is very sexy.


Of course this is not true, but this picture makes me proud to be an American. John Stamos, you IDIOT.







GOP points Lugar at Bush as president calls Voinovich "a Sonovabitch"

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Republican party support for Iraq War breaking up. And I make lame jokes.
In what is being touted as a "watershed moment" in the Iraqi War, two prominent Republicans Senators (Lugar pictured above) have come forward to tell Bush it's time to get this party ended.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. George Voinovich (below left) said Tuesday the U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq, joining Richard Lugar as the second Republican lawmaker in as many days to suggest President Bush's war strategy is failing.

He said the Iraqi people must become more involved and "I don't think they'll get it until they know we're leaving."
The Ohio senator's remarks followed similar comments by Lugar, R-Ind., the previous night. The two GOP senators previously had expressed concerns about Bush's decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Iraq in a massive U.S.-led security push in Baghdad and Anbar province. But they had stopped short of saying U.S. troops should leave and declined to back Democratic legislation setting a deadline for troop withdrawals.

In a floor speech Monday, Lugar said the U.S. should reduce the military's role in Iraq and called on Bush to press other diplomatic and economic initiatives instead. Because of Lugar's position as the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, his speech was a considered a blow to the administration as it tries to shore up sagging political support for the unpopular war.

"In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved," Lugar, R-Ind., said in a Senate floor speech. "Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Lugar's speech "brilliant" and "courageous" and said it would later be noted in the history books as a turning point in the war.
Nice job old boys. I don't know much about you guys other than you look old and wealthy, and you're Republican Senators, which makes me think you are corrupt, but until I do some research, I'll think your both awesome. Would have been even MORE awesome if you spoke up in 2003, but thanks for speaking up now.

Apparently Lugar is a fairly reserved fellow who doesn't do much podium grandstanding, and isn't in need of kissing election ass, which makes his statement even more powerful.



SOURCE: apnews.myway.com







People in Iran have fuel to burn

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Not all Iranians spend every waking moment about how much they hate Americans... some are just trying get enough gas to drive to work.

Well, Americans may be bitching about gas prices, but despite cursing Mobil/Exxon at every fill-up, we haven't set anything on fire... yet. Iranians are a little more pissed off:
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Angry Iranians torched pump stations and hurled abuse at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government after the world's fourth-largest oil exporter said it was imposing fuel rationing on Wednesday.

Some drivers scuffled while waiting to fill up their tanks before rationing began. Others chanted anti-government slogans and openly criticized Ahmadinejad, who came to power two years ago vowing to share out Iran's oil wealth more fairly.

"We are swimming in oil and all they do is just put pressure on people," said taxi driver Hasan Mohammadi, 44. "I'm using my last drop of gasoline."

"Last night's riots were an expression of the anger of people with lower incomes," said government employee Saeed Sameti, although he said he in principle backed rationing.

Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and must import about 40 percent of its gasoline, a sensitive issue when world powers have threatened new U.N. sanctions in a row with Tehran over its nuclear program.


This is interesting to hear because many Americans have visions of Iranians wailing and chanting praise in support of Ahmadinejad, but that isn't exactly the case. Ahmadinejad may talk a big game but he still needs to manage a country. Having a lot of oil is useless unless you can turn it into something useful. Unfortunately it's the working class who are suffering.







Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Paris is liberated as a born-again absurdly rich person.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: There is nothing you need to know here.
I bet nobody is celebrating more than the sheriff's department. I heard she's been doing a lot of thinking while in jail and has figured out how to cure cancer, and stuff.

In a stunningly vapid deconstruction of Paris' fresh faced born-again post-prison look, a stylist (above) reviews her new leaving prision persona.

Lest we forget the arrogance that her PR firm is trying to eliminate:


In prision, I wonder if she thought about her 500K sports car's value. A person in the third world who makes 3 bucks a day could sustain his family for around 456 years off that. Just sayin.







Monday, June 25, 2007

Tip & Wag's Quotes of the Day

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: I just bought a new book with cool quotes.

"I have too much respect for the idea of God to hold him responsible for such an absurd world."

- Georges Duhamel



"Faith is doubt."

- Emily Dickinson



"Brute force crushes many plants. Yet the plants rise again. The Pyramids will not last a moment compared with the daisy."

- D.H. Lawrence










Saturday, June 23, 2007

WOAH! Darwin born only 5816 years after God created universe.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Open-minded people can always find common groundFebruary 12, 2009 will mark the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, who among other things wrote the scientific watershed On the Origin of Species, giving generations of scientists and Bible fundamentalists something to argue over. But it doesn't have to be that way.

When I was at Malden Catholic High School, I took a great class, Western Civilization, taught by Brother Joseph Britt, CFX. Going to a Catholic high school was the last place I would have expected to hear any friends of Darwin. And yet, Brother Joe dispatched the whole issue quite simply.

He said there is no reason why God could not have used evolution as a method of creating the world. Furthermore, as measured time as we know it was not developed until recently, the differences between "man-time" and "God-time" could be radically different, which could account for the differences between the billions of years of scientific measured time and the 6000 years of Biblical time.

This was a revelation to me, not only for the explanation itself, but for the open-minded approach to integrating science and religion. Thanks Brother Joe!

Sadly, that explanation is SO reasonable and make SO much sense, it could never be accepted by die-hard Bible folk. Here's some links teaching kids about creation in a that special faux-friendly, anti-logic kind of way that makes me ill:

How old is the earth according to the Bible?
"Evolution — meaning that such diverse creatures as whales, worms, hummingbirds, hadrosaurs, platypuses and presidents have evolved from the same first life-form — is a belief system. It certainly has not been proved to be a scientific fact."
"There are many thousands of highly qualified scientists who believe that the Bible's account of creation is more in harmony with true science than is the theory of evolution."

This site also attacks poor Brother Joe's theory and said Darwin's evolution concept was some kind of attack on the Bible rather than pure scientific research.

Keep preaching the word, Bro.







Friday, June 22, 2007

Why we love idealistic freaks

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Heros are cool. Now go read some Joseph Campbell. It'll blow your mind.
Check out this badass. This is a pic from the new Batman film The Dark Night coming out next year. He's black, he's bad, and he hiding in the shadows ready to attack. Why are heros so appealing, even to adults who know Superman can't fly and Wonder Woman's lasso can't make you tell the truth?

We live in very complicated times. News comes at us fast, and thanks to the "if it bleeds it leads" media, it's usually bad news. Evil seems everywhere. People have less and less to believe in. Politicians are utterly compromised by corporate power. Priests are routinely arrested for sodomizing children. Everyone seems on the take, and covering their tracks with spin and public relations campaigns. Hell even Philip Morris has commercials telling you they want to help you quit smoking! It is a world full of uncertainty and grey.

In this grey world, heros are black and white. Superman never takes a bribe, never lies, and never uses his x-ray vision to look at boobies. Batman uses his vast wealth to do good in and out of the suit. Luke Skywalker turned down ruling the Empire with his daddy and freed it instead. If only George W was so noble.

Since humans began telling stories, heros have been there doing good deeds. They are pure, like we all want to be, and they protect us from what we fear. And look damn cool doing it, like Harrison Ford ready to go it again as Indiana Jones (above).

But I'm just a blogger. You want to really blow your mind on this topic, Joseph Campbell, famed American writer, orator and inspiration-giver, has written at length on this in The Hero with a Thousand Faces among other great books. If think print is dead, you can listen to it for 12 bucks here.

Now check out this picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and ask yourself why we shouldn't fight to make a world worthy of this uber-babe. Riddle me that.








Dick Cheney thinks he's above the law. Again.

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: VP Cheney pulls every trick in the book to keep America out of his monkey business.
It's been obvious for years that Dick Cheney is not only the most powerful VP in history, he's also the most clandestine. His association with corporate power is well documented, and these links have served him well financially and politically. How well? He doesn't want us to know. He gives the country a black eye every day he remains in office. He is incompetent, arrogant, and indictable. His vast network of cronies reaching back to Nixon keep him firmly held in his position, even when the country is failing and hemorrhaging money and blood. I have no idea the hubris and greed that motivates him every day, but there can be little doubt that this man in no way serves the public interest.

This wingnut is actually saying that the order for the executive branch to reveal their documents does not apply to him because HE IS NOT PART OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. HUH? He was previously recorded claiming protections of secret meetings because he WAS part of the executive. Do these people know they are being recorded, or is it just they love sound like jackasses.

Do you think he may be secretly fighting off terrorists, and this is why all his files need to be classified, and so important he won't even tell us how much classified info he keeps? We need to wake up. Information is the only way we will be able to overpower these slugs. They thrive in a country where American Idol is more important than American elections.

Am I buggin ya? Didn't mean to bug ya.



Read on:
Agency Is Target in Cheney Fight on Secrecy Data
By SCOTT SHANE

For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the National Archives unit that monitors classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested abolishing the oversight unit, according to documents released yesterday by a Democratic congressman.

The Information Security Oversight Office, a unit of the National Archives, appealed the issue to the Justice Department, which has not yet ruled on the matter.

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, disclosed Mr. Cheney’s effort to shut down the oversight office. Mr. Waxman, who has had a leading role in the stepped-up efforts by Democrats to investigate the Bush administration, outlined the matter in an eight-page letter sent Thursday to the vice president and posted, along with other documentation, on the committee’s Web site.

Officials at the National Archives and the Justice Department confirmed the basic chronology of events cited in Mr. Waxman’s letter.

The letter said that after repeatedly refusing to comply with a routine annual request from the archives for data on his staff’s classification of internal documents, the vice president’s office in 2004 blocked an on-site inspection of records that other agencies of the executive branch regularly go through.

But the National Archives is an executive branch department headed by a presidential appointee, and it is assigned to collect the data on classified documents under a presidential executive order. Its Information Security Oversight Office is the archives division that oversees classification and declassification.

“I know the vice president wants to operate with unprecedented secrecy,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview. “But this is absurd. This order is designed to keep classified information safe. His argument is really that he’s not part of the executive branch, so he doesn’t have to comply.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cheney, Megan McGinn, said, “We’re confident that we’re conducting the office properly under the law.” She declined to elaborate.

Other officials familiar with Mr. Cheney’s view said that he and his legal adviser, David S. Addington, did not believe that the executive order applied to the vice president’s office because it had a legislative as well as an executive status in the Constitution. Other White House offices, including the National Security Council, routinely comply with the oversight requirements, according to Mr. Waxman’s office and outside experts.








Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Help us HELP YOU!

Like this blog? Please pass the word around! We'd really appreciate it!!

I'll even help make it easy, simply cut and paste one of the following:

OPTION ONE:

Dear __________,
Hey, check out this blog: http://www.tipofthehatwagofthefinger.com
I find these people insightful, and they are earnestly trying to inform on a wide range of topics and give critical opinion. Send it around to anyone you like. This is a great example of democracy in action.
Thanks, ___________


OPTION TWO:

Dear __________,
Hey, check out this blog: http://www.tipofthehatwagofthefinger.com
These people are so full of shit they must leave a trail of flies behind them. Can you believe how misguided they are? It's alarming such trailer trash are allowed to have a computer. This is why democracy is failing. Send them to gitmo.
Thanks, ___________

Thanks in advance!







Monday, June 18, 2007

I dare you to stare into the icy cold eyes of this magnificent bastard

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mike Gravel is running for President. He appears worthy of the gig.



For anyone who has actually been able to find the debates on television, and if so sit through them, you get to see a couple of gunslingers with little chance of winning, mostly because they lack the cash. With that kind of pressure off them, they get to do the much needed service of holding the "leading" (read: bankrolled) candidates accountable. On the Republican side you have Ron Paul, on for the Dems you have former Senator Mike Gravel. I like this guy. He doesn't talk like the others. He also doesn't get the exposure like the others, even in the dreadfully unequal debates. To help counter this, he's done a few viral youtube videos, like the one above.

Julie Mason from Beltway Confidential puts it all nicely:
Former Sen. Mike Gravel continues to crazy-up the Democratic presidential campaign, in the best sense of the words. We love, love, love his opaque new videos, which feature the candidate staring mutely into the camera, dropping a big rock into some water, and sitting mournfully by a fire.

What is the inscrutable, irascible Gravel up to? Campaign press secretary Shaun Alexander Colvin told MSNBC that "the senator has a very artistic spirit."

"It's about a candidate looking you in the eye," Colvin said. "He's laying himself out, exposing himself, showing who he is. He's a man who'll look you in the eye. He could've been standing in the park making political statements and promises and such, and he's doing just the opposite. His message is out there. He's articulated it for a year. He's standing by his word. And giving you a chance to see who he is."


He's more than a pretty face: Here's some clips:







His YouTube Channel is here.

Go git'em, tiger. Someone worthy of consideration.

Here's some recent posts about Republican candidate Ron Paul:








Sunday, June 17, 2007

Habeas Corpus getting some of it's bite back?

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Courts are telling Bush he's overstepping his authority. THWACK.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's broad assertions of power in his war on terrorism are under assault by U.S. judges who have rejected his indefinite imprisonment of enemy combatants and the domestic spying program.

A pair of recent rulings, one from military judges and the other from a U.S. appeals court, delivered new legal setbacks for Bush's tactics in dealing with terrorism suspects held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or in the United States.

"In case after case, this nation's judicial branch has told the administration that it may not trample on fundamental rights in the name of national security," said Hina Shamsi of the New York-based group Human Rights First.

A federal appeals court panel in Virginia ruled 2-1 on Monday that Bush could not declare civilians in this country to be enemy combatants and have the military hold them indefinitely.

The ruling said Bush overstepped his authority in the case of a Qatari national and suspected al-Qaeda operative, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who has been held in military custody for four years without any charges.

"Once again, the courts have stepped in to rein in the executive and restore the rule of law," said Jennifer Daskal, U.S. advocacy director of Human Rights Watch.

No doubt Bush and the boys are trying to do some good, but the end can't justify the means in this case. We got to have our system in place. It's part of what makes us a worthwhile country, even when a villian gets off on a technicality. We can't respect ourselves (and get respect from the world) unless we in turn respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The judges did a good thing here, and we're moving in the right direction.

Entire Reuters article here







Friday, June 15, 2007

Don't worry, it's still perfectly legal in Massachusetts

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gay marriage in Massachusetts upheld. Prudes and homophobes upset.


From Erika Hayasaki, LA Times Staff Writer:

In a victory for supporters of gay marriage, Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday blocked a measure to let voters decide whether a constitutional amendment should ban same-sex marriage in the only state that allows it.

State legislators killed the ballot proposal after a four-year attempt by conservative groups to override a historic 2003 court decision that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which backed the measure, said opponents of same-sex marriage were "disappointed and shocked" by the defeat.

This is great news. I think people should do what they want, and any one who stays up at night worried about homosexuals really needs to start thinking about helping to solve more pressing matters. I'm sure you can find quotes in the Bible that have to do with things other than damning gays.

If only people would obsess over the enviroment or human rights as much as they worry about these two fine young Americans pictured above. Ladies, you are patriots in my book... keep up the good work.







Weapons of Hot Man-on-Man Action: Pentagon considered a bomb to turn enemies gay?

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Documented research of chemical to make soldiers too horney to fight.


From D-Listed:
The Pentagon has confirmed it was building a "gay bomb" that would make their enemies more interested in fucking each other than fucking over the enemy.

Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project said, "The Ohio Air Force Lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another. The notion was that a chemical that would probably be pleasant in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that soldiers would become gay."

The Pentagon said it was proposed in 1994, but quickly dismissed.
Here's the BBC report on the "Love Bomb"

News report. Don't ask, don't tell.


Make love, not war and buy a calendar of sexy marines from freedomisnotfree.com. Proceeds go to help wounded vets.







The Control Room: Media and the Iraq Invasion

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: AlJazeera, the CNN of the Middle East, contains a few thoughtful people with useful perspectives Americans blissfully unaware of.


An excellent documentary called The Control Room is a revealing look at all the media covering the first few months of the Iraqi conflict, including perspectives from AlJazeera and the U.S. military press core. All of whom struggled with what they were seeing and tried to make sense of it from their somewhat isolated news outposts.

I think it is an even handed and objective film with lots on insights by, as reviewer Tom Keogh puts it, "well-meaning, Western-educated, pro-democratic Arabs an opportunity to express views on Iraq as they see it--in an international context, and in a way most Americans never hear about."

I think most Americans would be surprised to hear the thoughtful reactions to events like the removal of Saddam's statude in Baghdad or the bombing of AlJazeera positions (See earlier post on this event).

From an Amazon.com reviewer of the film:
"One of the things I really, really liked about this documentary is that it isn't out from the get go to demonize anyone. The vast majority of the people portrayed in the film (US military press core, western news media, arab news media, etc.) come across as basically well intentioned people with very different perspectives of what is going on and what needs to be done, different cultural understandings, etc."

Link to it on Amazon, though I rented my copy from a local Blockbuster.

Directed by Jehane Noujaim (Startup.com)







Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why?

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Assholes bomb religious and cultural treasures to provoke civil war.


"You are sons and grandsons of the two greatest imams who ever lived. Please stop the sabotage and destruction, and work on the aims and goals of the city."

Salaheddin Gov. Hamed Hamoud Shekti, Iraq


Above: Al-Askariya Mosque. Samarra, Iraq. Repeatedly bombed, possibly by Al Queda, to incite a Sunni/Shi'ite civil war. It's working.







Allahu akbar!? Please, explain to this ignorant American why I shouldn't think Palestinians get what they deserve?

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Palestinian factions can't decide if they hate eachother more than the Jews.


Picture above: A Palestinian militant from Hamas holds a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, as he stands on a desk inside the Preventive Security headquarters after it was captured from Fatah loyalist security forces in Gaza. Courtesy AP.
GAZA (Reuters) - Islamist Hamas fighters hunted down key loyalists of the Western-backed Palestinian president in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after seizing most of the final strongholds of his secular Fatah movement in the enclave.

After six days of fighting that have killed over 100 people and ripped apart Palestinians' hopes for a state, President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and declared a state of emergency. He held out the prospect of early elections but it was gun law not the constitution that held sway in Gaza.

Hamas militants "executed" a top Fatah "collaborator" and paraded his body through the streets and leaders issued a death list of other Fatah supporters. They dismissed the decrees issued in the Fatah-controlled West Bank and said Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas remained in charge in their enclave.

Jubilant young Hamas gunmen hoisted green Islamist flags over captured Fatah buildings and pounded the remaining Fatah bastion, Abbas's own Gaza compound, with heavy weaponry.

Generally speaking, I am not a big supporter of Israel. Their recent military actions are as draconian and clueless as the U.S. That said, when I see these animals running around dragging dead bodies behind them, that concrete wall Israel's working on is looking better and better all the time.

I am sure gaining more insight into complex historical web of this would help (blah blah blah) but watching this unfold along side the Sunni/Shi'ites/Kurd three-way-gang-shoot in Iraq, it seems like Middle East violence is more of a way of life, with teenage men full of rage running around saying "God is Great. Gimmie someone to shoot at. God is Great." Maybe thugs like Arafat or Saddam are the only power they really respect. There is nothing worse than being both radicalized AND stupid.

Fatah totally wasted their opportunity in power, but if Hamas take over, I'm sure Israeli tanks will be heading back in before long, creating more bloodshed. The cycle of wasted chances continue.

Daily Show makes funny:








Ron Paul does Stephen Cobert, proves self un-electable

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Republican candidate Ron Paul makes a lot of sense and does not appear tied to lameass conservative dogma.

Too much common sense could never be elected. What a shame. I'd almost be willing to go Republican for this kind of dude.



More on Paul here.







Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clever bastards! Bush administration ends dispute over gay marriage by curing homosexuality

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: Bush wants new Surgeon General to be a dude who thinks gays can be cured.


President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Kentucky cardiologist Dr. James Holsinger, has the distinction of writing a 1991 paper that gay sex is unnatural and an unhealthy. Additionally, Holsinger helped found a Methodist congregation that believes homosexuality is a matter of choice and can be "cured." Yes, he's one of those... and he wants the job as America's top physician.
"He has a pretty clear bias against gays and lesbians," said Christina Gilgor, director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, a gay rights group. "This ideology flies in the face of current scientific medical studies. That makes me uneasy that he rejects science and promotes ideology."

Genius! This wingnut is another recycled member of Daddy Bush's old gaurd. It's stunning that W has the time to find the absolute WORST people to bring into his administration. This is from the Recovery page of the Hope Spring Community Church website, which Holsinger helped to found:
Men’s Sexual Integrity: Offers an opportunity for men to heal from sexual brokenness and find strength to overcome unhealthy sexual behaviors in a safe and confidential environment. Find the support and accountability you need and develop a closer relationship with the one who can heal, Jesus Christ."

Below is an excerpt from a study of homosexuality by Holsinger. It get's me so HOT.


He goes on to justify the the legitimacy of heterosexual sex via plumbing jargon for pipes. Think I'm bullshitting you? Read the entire study here.

I don't care if this guy has a cure for cancer. Anyone who is not an advocate for the rights of any consenting American to screw any other consenting American is unacceptable. If he kept his opinions to himself, that is one thing, but since he is using his influence as a physician to publicly bolster anti-gay sentiments, his personal opinions do affect his viability as surgeon general.

I am not gay, but just the same, please keep your mind off my anus, doctor. There is only one way to cure homosexuality, and this is it:








OPEN LETTER: An American's Apology to the People of Iraq

THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW: "Too many of us did far less than we could have to avert disaster."

Citizens of Iraq: I'm an American, and I have something to tell you that is long overdue. It does not come easily. Many people in my country would berate me for saying it, call me a coward, think me morally weak, or even worse –  betraying the soldiers who fight on behalf of my freedom. But I do not believe any of that. I believe the those who fear saying what they believe are the true cowards, and are not free at all.

People of Iraq, I would like to tell you I am sorry.

I am sorry for the unjust suffering that my government has inflicted upon you in my name.

I am sorry that at the conclusion of our first war with Iraq when Saddam invaded Kuwait, our former President encouraged you to rise up, promising you our support, and when you did, we let you be killed by the thousands while we did nothing but watch.

I am sorry for a new war that was sold to America with outright lies, half-truths, and omissions of fact. I am sorry that most of us believed them, allowing ourselves to be frightened beyond reason by tales of secret Iraqi weapons, though many truly knowledgeable people knew better. The "yellow-cake" uranium from Africa. The aluminum centrifuges. The mobile poison gas facilities. The "smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud."

I am sorry we allowed those who questioned our government's assertions to be bullied into silence, sidelined, punished, or black-listed as un-American, including those of reason within our Congress, our military, and the news media we trusted to objectively inform us and protect our best interests.

I regret a fabricated coalition that was formed to invade your country. Fourty-nine countries, many of whom were present in name only to satisfy American demands. This so-called "coalition" cheapened the true coalitions of history that were created to fight for just and noble causes.

I regret that our soldiers were ordered to leave a worthy cause in Afghanistan to turn it's attentions upon your country, though I trust few of you were sorry to see Saddam ousted. Our soldiers are by-and-large good people with spirit and character. They sacrifice everything to protect their country. The deserve better than they have received, yet they still try to do what is decent and honorable.

I apologize that during the siege of your capital, the short-sightedness of our military planners – so focused on your oil – forgot to protect you and your national treasures from criminals, the mob, and fanatic warlords.

I am sorry that while years were spent planning the invasion of your country, only weeks were spent considering how to deal with what came after. I am sorry we put people in charge that had no credentials other than being ideologically aligned with our President and his staff.

I am deeply sorry that in our rush to oust the tyrant who brutalized your country, we did not study your history, which would have easily foretold the civil unrest and retribution killing which plague you now. Some did foresee this, though again, those voices were silenced or ignored. Without this insight, we allowed your communities to fall into chaos, causing many of you to flee homes your families have owned for generations and see loved ones murdered without cause.

I regret the thousands of people sent to Abu Ghraib to be tortured and humiliated. Torture has been proven time and again to not produce reliable information, though it often works well on American television. I fear our current leaders did not know the difference.

More over, I am deeply sorry that in this rush to war, we took our eyes off the true threats that we all share, and somehow must learn to face together.

Apologies can be hard to come by in uncertain times. They are particularly scarce from this American government.

People of Iraq, America is a nation of good people. We will spill our blood at a moment's notice for a worthy cause, even for people we have never met. 3,500 American soldiers have died, and 20,000 have been wounded for a cause they believe worthy. More innocent Iraqis have died and than can be reliably counted. But our government has betrayed us, and has betrayed you as well. I hope someday soon we will restore our government to one that is worthy of our people – and you will be able to rebuild your country free of tyranny and chaos.

Finally, and most importantly, I am so very sorry that we came to Iraq with the premise of defeating religious fanatics willing to kill for power, while not realizing we had those very same people in charge our own country.

Sincerely,
Jay

Sting playing Fragile, September 11, 2001







Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Here's a Shi'ite-load of guns... just don't shoot them at us. 'Kay? Thanks!!!


From the New York Times:
U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies
BAGHDAD, June 10 — With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.
This is my favorite line in the article:
In exchange for American backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al Qaeda and halt attacks on American units.
The article then continues, reminding us that we just spent $15 billion (BILLION) training 350,000 Iraqi army and police force who... wait for it... ...are heavily SHI'ITE.

Read it and weap here.

Um, I'm just spit-ballin' here, but isn't this how we ended up with Bin Laden et al. back when he was fighting the Soviets? Hey, what the fuck, right? Let's see what happens. What are the chances we're suppling our enemies with American weapons, right? 'Cause that'd just be crazy.

PS: Sorry couldn't resist using the shi'ite joke. I know Stewart used it all ready. :-/







Who the hell does Ron Paul think he is?

Our name is Ron, and one of us is running for President.
Actually, a more appropriate question might be: “Who the hell is Ron Paul?”

When I first mentioned Paul’s name to Jay, he thought I was talking about a porn star.

In case you were thinking the same thing, allow me to clarify:

Ron Paul is not a porn star. He is a Republican Congressman from the Longhorn State. And he’s running for president.

Ron Jeremy is a porn star. He has long been in a horny state. He’s not running for president.

I like Ron Paul. I don’t know if he’d make a good president. He certainly doesn’t stand much of a chance of getting elected. But he’s got the courage of his convictions and a long history of going against the political tide in defense of his beliefs.

At a time when we've already got a go-at-it-alone Commander-in-Chief, this might hardly seem like an attractive quality; but the difference here is that Paul bases his decisions on whether or not they are Constitutional.

The Republican machine doesn’t want to see this guy on stage during their debates. Like the John McCain of old, Ron Paul is something of a loose canon and can’t be counted on to tow the party line. But true conservatives should be paying more attention to this guy. He’s a poster boy for the Reaganesque ideals of limited government and sensible foreign policy.

Of course, Paul’s recent comments about US foreign policy haven’t done much to endear him to the Republican base, although it has generated some buzz and support – particularly over the Internet (much like Howard Dean in 2004). At last month’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, Paul suggested that US foreign policy invited the September 11 attacks, which of course didn’t sit well with Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the gang.

Here's a debate clip:


I didn’t watch the entire debate on TV, but I did see that statement live, and I’ve since watched it again online. I don’t think Ron Paul was saying that the US got what was coming to it on 9/11. We did not deserve that. No one does. Of course, I wish he had just come out and said as much. Not doing so hurt him.

Paul’s point, as I interpret it (and you need to read past this paragraph to see the logic through), was that the US sometimes makes mistakes in its foreign policies. Those mistakes do cause people in other countries to see us in a negative light. And their grievances can be legitimate.

Just as individuals need to self-reflect from time-to-time to ensure their behavior is consistent with their code of ethics and standards, nations should do the same.

Now, that’s not to say that if you oppose US foreign policy you can ever be justified in hijacking our planes or murdering our people. When you take a legitimate grievance and use it to advance perverse and evil ideologies, in my book, you lose your right to be “understood.”

But many people never take their discontent to that level. And they’re often unheard and ignored. It’s only when the hijackers, shoe bombers and beheaders enter the picture that we seem to notice that there are other people around the world who aren’t so happy with us. And at that time, we can choose to:

a) get angry and kick some ass

or

b) stop those who want to harm us while also making sure that we’re living up to our noble ideals

I think this is what Paul was trying to say, though I can only speak for myself here. I can understand why Giuliani and the other Republicans were so quick to anger – I used to get the same way myself when this topic came up. But six years and two wars later, I’m more willing to listen to the argument.

And that’s what I like about Paul. He’s willing to bring it up.

Here's a clip from Bill Maher:








Monday, June 11, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is The Magic Right-Wing Cracker

I know this one has been out there a while. This is Rush Limbaugh with the Barack Obama spoof "Barack The Magic Negro".

Here's a clip:


Limbaugh carefully precedes the multiple airings of the song with an explanation why he's using the term "magic negro", which was supposed to justify creating the song. He cited the Los Angeles Times columnist David Ehrenstein: "But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the 'Magic Negro."

Read his article here. It's pretty weak, in my opinion. Sounds like he's getting bored of writing movie reviews and wants to get in political editorials. Anyway have a look.

Ehrenstein is African-American, while Limbaugh is as white as a sheet of fax paper. That gives him slightly more of a right to use a term like "negro". Also, Ehrenstein's premise that a white person voting for Obama is in fact a way to "assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history." Then he goes into a history of the "magic negro" in popular films. He concludes with "Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him."

Huh? Is he any more a mythic transformation of Rudy Giuliani from semi-unpopular NYC mayor to post-911 superleader? He was knighted by the Queen! I'd call that mythic.

Dude, I'm white, and I feel no guilt about slavery, besides thinking it was wrong and I'm glad it was ended. I am, however, looking for someone to vote for that isn't full of shit -- so far Obama is full of less shit that most -- so he's a potential person to vote for. That's as far as my thinking goes. I never even SAW Driving Miss Daisy.

The issue here is Rush Limbaugh frothing at the mouth because he was able to quote a column as an excuse to get away with saying "negro" on the air, and slamming Obama was just a nice added benefit. It may be argued he was trying to make some kind of point about race relations or Al Sharpton being jealous of Obama, etc. Let's just call it like it is.

Rush Limbaugh just couldn't pass up the chance of calling Obama a negro on national radio.







Tom DeLay: Liberals are Reds


I think Tom DeLay is an example of everything that is wrong about American politics. I actually prefer George Bush to DeLay -- if W. wasn't busy running the country into the ground, he may be someone fun to go to Hooters with. DeLay strikes me as someone far more dangerous.... bitter, twisted and visibly rotting from the inside out. Wrapped in the Bible, the American flag, and contempt for anyone who gets in his way.

That said, I strive to overcome my pre-conceived notions about the world. I wanted to be as fair as possible to Tommy Boy. I went onto Amazon and scored a $3 used/unwanted audiobook version of his memoir No Retreat, No Surrender. Four wonderful hours of Tom DeLay as read by the man himself. I got it in the mail yesterday, peeled it out of the manila package, feeling a little queazy that I just allowed this guy into my home, and started listening.

I wasn't disappointed. Within a 15 minutes, he shared this pearl of wisdom:

"I have learned something about liberals; they are much like communists. They believe they have to destroy you in order to win."

Communists??? Liberals are Communists?

It's refreshing to listen to someone who is so out of touch that he needs to conjure the Cold War to get people afraid of "liberals". Does he actually know that the Soviet's split over 15 years ago? Couldn't he come up with a more contemporary villain? Al Queda? The Taliban? "The Others" from LOST? I dunno. Something current.

Is this what this guy is about? Recycling tired trigger words to get knee-jerk reactions to those still traumatized by the Cold War?

15 minutes down, Three hours and forty-five minutes to go.







Saturday, June 9, 2007

Handling of Hilton: At best a semi clusterf#@k, at worst a total clusterf#@k.


Man, can California handle a single high-celebrity court case? O.J. and that Baretta dude were bad enough. Now even a simple parole violation becomes a mess!

Two UNCONFIRMED reports on bad behavior with the system are floating around now:

1) Sheriff Lee Baca (who released Hilton to house arrest and made a public statement yesterday concerned with her mental health) accepted a $1,000 campaign donation last year from Paris Hilton's grandfather, William Barron Hilton. $1,000 is the maximum amount allowable under California campaign rules. SOURCE

2) Paris was placed back in jail because Judge Sauer was pissed that he was kept out of the loop and not consulted on Paris’ release. He was never given a copy of the medical report that got her transferred home. Apparently he kept asking for the paperwork during yesterday's proceedings. SOURCE

These may be just another case of media obsession masterbating itself into paranoid rumor-induced frenzy, but if either is true, it's a poor showing for L.A. law. If the Sheriff donation story is true, it lends credence to the suspicion the Hilton family called in a favor to get special treatment -- exactly what most people thought when they heard that she was released. If the judge story is true, it's bureaucratic red-tape that trigged some kind of sado-ego-tastic power play between the Sheriff's Department and the judge. Either possibility is odious. And if these stories were fabricated, then whoever made them up are UTTER dicks. And I do believe I am using the word "dick" correctly here.

The more important point here is how can we properly handle the combo of money, celebrity, and justice. I don't even know how much Paris Hilton has little to do with it anymore, other than being another famous person who did something dumb. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it appears that Paris' fame is working against her, and this seems to be compounded by internal politics within the L.A. justice system.

Clip of Baca's statement on Friday courtesy of I Don't Like You In That Way. Still sounds straight up to me, but maybe he's just another out of work actor in L.A.








Friday, June 8, 2007

SCHADENFREUDE ALERT: Paris back in jail, but is fame affecting the severity of her sentence?


From The Superficial:
Paris Hilton has been ordered back to jail in Lynwood and will serve out her sentence with a credit for the 5 days she's already served. Reporters say she was crying through the entire process and, when Judge Michael Sauer gave his decision, she let out a huge cry and said, "This isn't right." She was then physically dragged out of the courtroom by a female deputy, in tears, screaming, "Mom, Mom, Mom."

Paris, I'm afriad it IS right to serve your time, regardless of your feeling the judge is treating you unfairly.

I do feel bad for her, I would guess that despite her endless socializing, she's a fairly lonely person. I don't know if she has the capacity to contemplate her situation and how her or her excessive lifestyle is perceived. If anything, it seems her fame is making the situation far harder than it may otherwise be, for the attention on the case makes it a test of the justice system's fairness.
From Reuters: The sheriff denied Hilton was given preferential treatment, saying that under an early release program established to ease overcrowded jails she was actually serving more time than other inmates in the same low-level category.

"Under our early release program, she would not have served any time in our jail, or would have been directly put on our home electronic monitoring system," he said. "So the special treatment, in a sense, appears to be ... more time in jail."
After hearing the statement by Sheriff Baca, who released her to house arrest yesterday, it's clear he only had her best intentions at heart, though his actions were specifically prohibited by the judge. Click here to see his statement on TMZ.com

I don't feel too good about posting the pictures of her crying in the police car today -- they seem too personal. Go to The Superficial to view those.

Thanks Judge Sauer, you restored some of my faith in the justice system, though it's unfortunate that Paris (or anybody) would need to suffer to do so. I would be interested to learn what was behind your decision to prohibit her to house arrest, though I have to say I agree with it.

Court photo courtsey AP, Sheriff photo courtesy MSNBC







Has "Cold Hard Cash" been used as a pithy title for Jefferson stories yet? It has? Bummer.


As those well-informed about things besides the current shape of Britney Spears' ass (it is not great) know, Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson was indicted Monday for allegedly using his congressional office to enrich himself and his family through a pattern of fraud, bribery and corruption that spanned five years and two continents. Jefferson maintains his innocence.
The charges, the first against a Democratic member of Congress in the wake of the Justice Department's recent crackdown on public corruption, follow a two-year investigation that gained attention when FBI agents raided Jefferson's home and found $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer "wrapped in aluminum foil, and concealed inside various frozen food containers,"
If these allegations are true, not only is this dude void of any ethical or moral guidance, he sucks at hiding cash. Doesn't he know that the freezer is one of the worst places to hide cash? This from aol money:
Here are the burglar's top five places not to hide your valuables: 3. Refrigerator & Freezer: "Many drugs last longer when refrigerated so big stashes end up in the refrigerator. Prescription drugs could also be found in the refrigerator."

Knowledge is power, Mr. Jefferson.

Any by the way, they seem to have so much evidence on you that even your fellow Democrats are resigned to the fact you are guilty, and that would mean one less seat preserving the slight Democratic majority. Nice job, buddy! Keep helping the cause. A good time line of the investigation can be found on the Seattle Times Website.

Feel free to send your letters of support or damnation to:
Congressman William J. Jefferson
SECOND DISTRICT, LOUISIANA
240 CANNON · WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515
202/225-6636 · 202/225-1988 FAX · www.house.gov/jefferson


Bribeloc illustration courtesy of FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog. Not sure where they got it, but it's funny.







Daily Show makes funny with the Republican Debate

This is amusing. I think these clips do a nice job showing the tap dance Republican candidates need to do to keep the support of the big-money right wing base and their own views, which in many cases are more moderate. Sadly that tap dance turns them into mock-worthy fodder.









Thursday, June 7, 2007

Paris Hilton gets Gucci ankle braclet? Justice served on a silver tray.


NOTE, June 8: I decided not to edit my initial reaction, but after hearing the Sheriff's side of the story, I no longer think it is "an obvious case of money." Sheriff Baca, I think you probably made an ernest (though contemptuous?) call. Please don't make me retract this retraction!

In an obvious case of money making the courts go round, poor Paris Hilton was released from jail after less than five days. She was sentenced to 40 days, then reduced to 23, but she was suffering psycological distress. She was apparently released from jail due to medical reasons, although the LA County Sheriff's department has refused to release details about the "medical issue" due to confidentiality. Apparently she's been fitted with an ankle bracelet and put under house arrest for the next 40 days.

TMZ reports: "Psychiatrist Charles Sophy visited Hilton in jail yesterday and the day before. We're told after Sophy's visit yesterday, word was passed to the Sheriff that Hilton's mental state was fragile and she was at risk. The reason for releasing her had nothing to do with a rash or other physical issues. It was purely in her head."

Paris, I'm sure the blog and editorial world has just begun to get worked up over this, but all I can say is "Instant Karma is gonna git ya". Next time you tramp off to the club, barely noticing others less fortunate than you, remember there are people in that same jail with less money and darker skin for offenses like yours, and won't get out because they "couldn't take it." You disgust me, lady. And like any spoiled brat, you could care less.

From The Superficial: "Since when is being rich and famous considered a medical condition?"

Well put.

Image below of Paris' new and old bedrooms courtesy of Celebitchy



UPDATE FROM TMZ.com, June 7: The Los Angeles City Attorney has filed a motion asking the judge who sentenced Paris Hilton to have her returned to jail to serve out her full sentence.

In the documents obtained by TMZ, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is also asking Judge Michael Sauer to hold a hearing, demanding that the Sheriff's Department show why it should not be held in contempt of court for "violating Judge Sauer's May 4, 2007 order, which expressly stated "no electronic monitoring."

Late this afternoon, the judge granted the request for a hearing, which is now scheduled for 9:00 AM PDT tomorrow.







Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Scooter Libby Will Stop At Nothing To Meet Paris Hilton


From FOXNews:

WASHINGTON — Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby left a federal courtroom with his wife Tuesday after being sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

Looks like Scooter's taking the fall to save Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's collective keesters. If this guy gets a pardon I will riot in the streets (or just shake my fists in rage and bitch about it on this blog). Don't do it Bushy. Don't you do it. I know you will. But don't anyway.

Stewart makes some silly silly from the news:








Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Is this a Blog or another "echo chamber"?

I believe Blogs are empowering, giving individuals a chance to do what only big news/big money could do in the past. That said, I am basically just a guy sitting here trying to share information and make sense out of the world. So what does a BLOG really do to help anything? I do not have the time or money to fact-check every detail, so I depend heavily on books, newspapers, television, or the Internet. This means that even if I look at multiple sources from (hopefully) multiple points of view, I still lean on others to do research for me. I'm at the mercy of their biases. Does this make my Blog just a part of the "echo chamber" that is so often manipulated by politicians and corporations? Can what I publish here really be objective?

Not really.

What I can try to do is provide editorial opinion, hopefully backed with facts. Does this sound reasonable? Worth thinking about as people read all these wonderful Blogs out there. Or anything else they read or watch on TV, I suppose. Just thinkin'







WAMC: They answer to no one, so they can inform everyone


It's not easy running a public radio station. Money is hard to come by, and stations are always trying to scrape together cash for the big name shows (Car Talk is a riot, but it 'aint free). To get that cash, they need to risk alienating listeners with the dreaded on-air fundraisers. That usually means endless blathering and repeating their 800 phone number until both lips and ears go numb, trying to get the last few couple of bucks pledged before the commuters get home and turn off their car radios for the night. Meanwhile, listeners are hitting the radio's "seek" button to find NPR on some station whose not trying to pump the well for cash that week.

The constant struggle for cash eventually might have you hop into bed with corporations, who in turn may erode your ability to maintain editorial integrity. For example, WFCR in Springfield, MA has recently announced plans to join with media monster Clear Channel. This is a fairly alarming development. Clear Channel and their 1,200 station army has a history of controversy that ranges from "pay-to-play" music programming to censorship of anti-Bush commentary (Google it). Their move into public radio is disturbing to me. It's hard enough to get news that is "fair and balanced", even if it claims to be. I wish WFCR well, but a tie to Clear Channel is enough to make my radio dial run for the hills.

So here's a success story: Northeast Public Radio WAMC. Led by the seemingly inexhaustible Dr. Alan Chartock, WAMC features a bold, independent style and a diverse range of national and regional public programming. The heavy hitters in public radio are there: NPR News, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, etc. They also feature some excellent in-house shows, including The Media Project, an inside look at media coverage of current events, and Vox Pop, a daily call-in talk program with experts in just about any topic under the sun.

WAMC had tough times to, and were tempted by the dark side of public radio. In a story Chartock recalled during their current fundrive, at one point the struggling station was offered a new building and enhanced facilities... with a catch. They were never to utter the word "abortion" on the air. Chartock was enraged and walked out on the offer rather than have such restrictions. He lost a huge deal for WAMC, but preserved it's soul. Fortunately, they have a solid base of listeners who help support the station, and their radio signal on Mt. Greylock reaches parts of 7 states.

Though someone in San Diego may have little interest in the regional programming, their web site streams it's signal live to anyone with a decent Internet connection. This, in my opinion, is a gift to the world. In a world full of corporate news echo chambers, WAMC provides intelligent, insightful broadcasts that are not afraid to call it how they see it, while giving the other side of the issue a chance to respond.

They are truly a national treasure. Keep it up WAMC! My pledge is in the mail. Really.

LINKS:
Northeast Public Radio WAMC
LISTEN LIVE







Monday, June 4, 2007

Promtime in America


The ULTIMATE tip of the hat not only this kid, but his lovely date. Any girl that attractive willing to put up with your date wearing a Stormtrooper costume to the prom is my kind of girl. Come to think of it, any girl that attractive even DATING a sci-fi geek that goes out in public wearing a Stormtrooper outfit... wow. Young lady, where were you when I was 17? Oh damn, you weren't born yet when I was 17... shit I'm old.

By the way, this girl's parents should rest easy. My home boy Sean has one of these costumes; they are highly uncomfortable, and blood flow to extremities are severely impared. I guarantee that the odds of this couple having after prom sex is approximately 3,720 to 1.

Get your geek on here.