Saturday, January 26, 2008

South Carolina - Early Results

My brother voted for John Edwards.

So we're a mixed family. My other brother and I are Obama supporters. My mom and my sister are for Hillary.

But we're all in agreement: Whoever the nominee is, we're going Democrat all the way.

Sign the pledge to vote for whoever the Democratic Party nominates. Time to take back our country from the Rethugs.

DiCicco to Coach USWNT U-20s

Yahoo Sports: Longtime U.S. women's coach DiCicco takes over U-20 team

hat tip to Women's Soccer USA

Friday, January 25, 2008

People Who Live In Glass Houses

Hillary Clinton, Tony Rezko, Bill Clinton - unsourced picture on Drudge Report today

You know the rest of that quote. Shouldn't throw stones. In last week's debate, Hillary Clinton swung back at Barack Obama for pointing out that she had been on the board of WalMart for six years by slamming him for his association with Chicago slumlord Tony Rezko. Yes, the picture above is Hillary and Bill Clinton posing with that same Rezko.

Maybe next someone will dig out a picture of Barack Obama shopping at Walmart.

Here's my position. I'm in the Obama camp because (1) he was against the war when I was, as in, before George W. Bush lied Clinton and the rest of the Democratic sheep into voting for it; (2) Obama is more progressive than Hillary; (3) I don't want to return to the Clintonian governing mode where we talk big then lay down for the Rethugs when policy making time comes. Welfare 'reform', NAFTA, etc.

BUT, and here's the big thing, despite my support of Obama, I'm a Democrat, and I realize that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee she will be eight hundred thousand million bazillion infinitesimally better than her Republican opponent, whoever that may be. And I'll work for her, and support her, and get out the vote to get her into the White House. And any Democrat with a functioning cerebral cortex should feel the same way about all the Democratic candidates, no matter who you support.

Let's stop attacking each other about minutia. Could we get back to the issues, please? Why aren't our Democratic candidates talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, or how our military/industrial complex is draining the treasury and contributing to the recession? Why aren't they pointing out that we are paying a shadowy private army of mercenaries 100 times what we would pay the same numbers of soldiers? Why are they attacking each other, rather than tying the Republican candidates to the failed policies of George W. Bush. As a matter of fact, why aren't they promising to put George W. Bush in jail when they take office?

Let's start throwing stones at the Republicans. They're the ones living in a house of lies.

Charity Begins in the Boardroom

Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the health insurer, is organized as a charity. Hah. Their outgoing chairman was awarded a $16.4 million severance payment on his way out the door. Nice work if you can get it, but it doesn't seem very charitable. It's the way a for-profit company works. They pretend to be a charity, but we all know better, don't we? They're a charity to get tax breaks, not a charity to spread money around to the people they supposedly serve.

Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley is investigating.

Boston Globe: AG looking into $16.4m severance
Blue Cross-Blue Shield payment to ex-CEO seen as extraordinary

[William C.] Van Faasen received $16.4 million in a lump-sum retirement benefit in January 2006 when he stepped down as chief executive. He continued as chairman until his retirement this month. The size of the payment is considered extraordinary by some because as a nonprofit, Blue Cross-Blue Shield is expected to use surpluses to support its healthcare mission.

Commenting on public charities in general, Harry Pierre, a spokesman for the attorney general, said, "A public charity must use all of its funds to advance the charitable purpose for which it was established." Emily J. LaGrassa, director of communications for Coakley, declined to comment on the investigation.


With more than 3 million members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts is about twice as big as the second- and third-largest health insurers combined. In 2006 it had annual revenue, mostly from premiums, of more than $2 billion, and generated net income of $157 million.


Van Faasen earned nearly $3 million in salary and bonus in 2006, according to a recent filing made with Coakley's office, which oversees the state's charities and nonprofits. That included $500,000 in base pay and $2.46 million in bonus based on results, according to the company's filing.

But it was the $16.4 million that attracted the most attention within Massachusetts' close-knit healthcare industry. The retirement pay was earned throughout Van Faasen's 17-year career at Blue Cross-Blue Shield, the company said. Some of the payout was disclosed in filings with the attorney general's office made in previous years, Murphy said at the time. Other portions were not disclosed, because of arcane disclosure rules and how the retirement payments had vested.

Eddie Johnson on Transfer to Fulham

hat tip to DuNord

Republicans Embrace Iraq War and Bush

Only the Republican field for the 2008 election can make batshit Ron Paul look reasonable. From last night's debate, aka Beddy-Bye in Boca:

hat tip to Hullabaloo

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Al Gore Endorses Gay Marriage


Good for Al. But now we know that he's definitely not running for President, because in 2008 at least, gay marriage is the third rail of American politics. Of all the major Presidential candidates, only the spouse of one -- the courageous Elizabeth Edwards -- favors gay marriage.

As Al says,

"I think that gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women, to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage," Gore said. "And I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by gays and lesbians. Shouldn’t we be promoting that kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner regardless of sexual orientation?

Al Gore Endorses Gay Marriage (video)

Huffington Post: Al Gore Endorses the Freedom to Marry

Everybody Hates the Mittwit

Even the other candidates.

NYTimes: Romney Leads in Ill Will Among G.O.P. Candidates

Fulham Sign Eddie Johnson

Fulham signs their fifth American (Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Kasey Keller & Brian McBride precede Johnson). The $6 million transfer fee is the largest in MLS history. Of course, the fees look higher and higher as the value of the dollar drops relative to the pound; in pounds, it's only 3 million (my keyboard doesn't have a pound sign)

Last year Clint Dempsey scored the $100 million dollar goal that kept Fulham from being relegated to the Championship. Unfortunately they are back in the drop zone. Let's hope Eddie Johnson finds the form that made GAM the first US player ever to score 8 goals in his first 8 games for the USMNT.

Dempsey and Johnson are good friends, so that should help Johnson adjust to England and the English game. They roomed together at the 2006 World Cup. Some links to videos of the two below.


Soccer by Ives: Eddie Johnson granted UK work permit, signs with Fulham

Studio 90 Follows Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson for BBQ (video)

Clint & EJ Interview Each Other on the bus in Germany (video)

Words from Nac (video of Clint Dempsey discussing his Don't Tread video; EJ appears at the end)

Nike: Inside Eddie Johnson video

Nike: Eddie Shows the Love video

The Kop: 1964, 1973 and 1994

I am posting this for my Liverpool-worshipping brother's birthday. This is as close as I can get you to The Kop this season.

link to 1994 video

wikipedia: 100 Players Who Shook the Kop

Origin of the term "Kop" (from wikipedia):

Spion Kop (or Kop for short) is the name for a number of terraces and stands at sports stadia; so named due to their steep nature, resembling a hill near Ladysmith, South Africa that was the scene of the Battle of Spion Kop in the Second Boer War.


"The Afrikaans name for the battle," writes Liverpool Daily Post columnist Mike Chapple, "is Spioenkop; spioen for spy or look out and kop meaning hill or outcropping."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


How fucking stupid can Republicans be? You want to mobilize women voters against your 18th century views? Start an anti-Hillary 527 group (Swiftboat-style) and call it "Citizens United Not Timid". Yes, that acronym is CUNT.

The group is headed by Roger Stone, an excreble excuse for a human being, who started out working for Richard Nixon's CREEP. He lost his respectable jobs when he got outed as a family values hypocrite who was advertising for group sex and visiting sex clubs with his wife. Love those family values.

I had an old lawyer call me a cunt once, during a telephone call where we were arguing about some discovery issue. He was one of those old disheveled white guys sitting in a one-room office keeping his crooked shingle by the skin of his teeth. I didn't saying anything to him when he said it, but in my head I was furious. And after that call I wouldn't give him an inch, on anything. No continuances, no courtesies, nothing. He was dead to me and I enjoyed my revenge (a dish best enjoyed cold.) He paid a lot more for that case than he would had he been merely civil.

That's the way this CUNT group strikes me. Hillary's not my candidate, and tactics like this make me WANT to vote for her, just to send your sexist pig asses to Canada, or hell, or wherever the scumbag Republicans go when the Dems take over in January. Can't happen soon enough.

Here's my 527 group:

Prevalence of Republican Idiocy Confounds Knowledgeable Skeptics = P.R.I.C.K.S.

After all, how fucking stupid can they be?

Superbowl Prediction: A Pat Riot

Check out this hilarious music video by Pats fans, hat tip to Yahoo Sports:

Lying By Omission


Bush and his administration haven't just lied about weapons of mass destruction. They've forced our scientists to lie by pressuring them to change scientific reports, all part of Bushco's attempt to deny the reality of climate change and global warming.

der Spiegel: Politicians Censor Report on Dangers of Arctic Drilling

There's black gold beneath the snow white Arctic -- and oil companies are gearing up to exploit it on a massive scale. Scientists had hoped to warn of the scope of the environmental dangers of Arctic drilling in a new report, but 60 passages have been removed following pressure from the United States and Sweden.

By all accounts, this ought to be a triumphant day for John Calder. The graying director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Arctic Research division spent four years writing his report titled "Arctic Oil and Gas" -- together with 150 scientists with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). And now it's finally time for Calder to publicly present his first summary of the report. His presentation in the large auditorium at the University of Tromsø is the highlight of the Arctic Frontiers Conference, at which 500 experts will spend the remainder of the week discussing the outlook for oil and gas production in the ever-warming Arctic (more...).


The Phrase "Climate Change" Is Unwelcome

But despite these commendable warnings, there is a significant problem behind the work of Calder and other scientists: it has been devalued by political wrangling. Until recently, the summary ended with more than 60 recommendations the scientists had compiled for politicians. Those recommendations have since disappeared.

The modifications are the result of quarrels within the Arctic Council, which commissioned the AMAP study. Unanimity is required between the permanent members of the Council, which include the Scandinavian countries, Iceland, Canada, the United States and Russia -- but Sweden and the US were opposed to the document. Sources at the Tromsø meeting said the Americans didn't even want the term "climate change" to be used in the final report.

hat tip to The Pump Handle

A Little Sushi with Your Mercury, Sir?

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Tuna sushi is a popular item in New York but may be risky.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. Children should never eat any fish that may contain high levels of mercury as they are most at risk for brain damage.

NYTimes: High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi

Recent laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sushi from 5 of the 20 places had mercury levels so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.
The sushi was bought by The New York Times in October.

“No one should eat a meal of tuna with mercury levels like those found in the restaurant samples more than about once every three weeks," said Dr. Michael Gochfeld, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.

EPA: Health Effects of Mercury

Bush Lied, People Died: Catalog of the Many Lies

The Center for Public Integrity: False Pretenses
Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003. Not surprisingly, the officials with the most opportunities to make speeches, grant media interviews, and otherwise frame the public debate also made the most false statements, according to this first-ever analysis of the entire body of prewar rhetoric.

President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

The Mittwit Gets Down

Some of his best friends are black! That's why he's comfortable enough to sing them a song he thinks they'll appreciate.

The man is phonier than a three-dollar bill.

CBSNews: "Who Let The Dogs Out?” Mitt Romney Wants To Know

As he posed for a picture with a group of young people, the typically old-fashioned Romney was relaxed enough to quote from a popular hit single from a few years back.

“Who let the dogs out?” he called out, as he stood there beaming in his shirt and tie. “Who! Who!”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rudy "Petty" Giuliani

Good thing he's imploding.

NYTimes: In Matters Big and Small, Crossing Giuliani Had Price

This sentence, about Richard L. Murphy, a man whose reputation Rudy bludgeoned to take the heat off a scandal in his own administration, could end most of the Rudy-Gets-His-Man-or Woman stories in the article:

But Mr. [fill-in-the blank]’s professional life was wrecked.

George Bush's Broken Legacy

Saad khalaf / Los Angeles Times

Reportedly George Bush has spent a lot of time recently thinking and talking about his legacy. The looting of the Iraqi museums and cultural sites will be one of the most shameful things he leaves behind.

LATimes: 'Ancient civilization . . . broken to pieces'
Illegal diggers are chipping away at Iraq's heritage at thousands of largely unguarded sites. The artifacts may never be returned.

Officials at the Iraq National Museum receive antiquities recovered from recent excavations in southern Iraq.
(Saad khalaf / Los Angeles Times)

Stock Market Takes A Dive

Value of many subprime mortgage "assets"

While the markets crash around themselves today as the subprime mortgage business is revealed as a house of cards, it is worth asking this question:

How's that plan for putting social security into the hands of Citibank, Merrill Lynch and the other financial ‘wizards’ as President Bush had so strongly urged looking now?

Attaturk, posting at Eschaton

Monday, January 21, 2008

Republicans and Martin Luther King: The Unvarnished Truth


They weren't that into him. They're still not, but they don't say so as blatantly any more.

* St. [John] McCain, a leading Republican presidential candidate, voted against the 1983 law to make King's birthday a national holiday

* Ron Paul, another Republican presidential candidate, published a newsletter that referred to the holiday as "Hate Whitey Day"

* Mitt Romney lied about seeing his father march with King [and, truth be told, also lied by saying he himself marched with MLK: "My father and I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Detroit."]

* 18 of the 22 senators who opposed that 1983 law -- including Trent Lott and Orrin Hatch -- were Republicans

* Vice President Dick Cheney, as a congressman, voted against a 1979 measure to make King's birthday a national holiday

* The red states of Arizona and New Hampshire, didn't recognize the King Holiday until 2000

* It took until 2000 for [Mitt] Willard [Romney]'s beloved Utah to finally change their "Human Rights Day" to officially honor Martin Luther King

* South Carolina, the reddest of red states, was the last state to recognize the holiday as a paid holiday for state employees

* Right-wing and Republican activists continue to peddle smears of Dr. King (see here, here, here, here, and here)

- Go to the original post by Blue Texan at firedoglake for links to all these Republican truths.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer: No to the "Real ID"

I'm a big fan of Montana governor Brian Schweitzer and think he has a future in national Democratic politics. He's certainly right that the Real ID is "a major threat to the privacy, constitutional rights, and pocketbooks of ordinary [Americans]." (His letter, pdf file)

Wired: Montana Governor Foments Real ID Rebellion

Montana governor Brian Schweitzer (D) declared independence Friday from federal identification rules and called on governors of 17 other states to join him in forcing a showdown with the federal government which says it will not accept the driver's licenses of rebel states' citizens starting May 11.

If that showdown comes to pass, a resident of a non-complying state could not use a driver's license to enter a federal courthouse or a Social Security Administration building nor could he board a plane without undergoing a pat-down search, possibly creating massive backlogs at the nation's airports and almost certainly leading to a flurry of federal lawsuits.


In his letter (.pdf) to other governors, Schweitzer makes clear he's not going to ask for an extension.

"Today, I am asking you to join with me in resisting the DHS coercion to comply with the provisions of REAL ID, " Schweitzer wrote. "If we stand together either DHS will blink or Congress will have to act to avoid havoc at our nation's airports and federal courthouses."

Obama Speech at MLK's Church

Some inspiration on Martin Luther King Day (celebrated.)

Transcript of Barack Obama speech
The Great Need of the Hour
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Sunday, January 20th, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia


BBC: Germany's new polar bear celebrity sleeps at Nuremberg Zoo. The female cub was named Flocke (Flake) following a worldwide poll in which 50,000 people sent in suggestions.