Saturday, July 26, 2008

Random Art Post

Water-bound azalea maze at Getty Central Garden in Los Angeles
Photo Gallery

Just some stuff I saw on the Interwebs this week.

In the studios we've been talking about a new Dale Chihuly exhibit that's coming to RISD in October. He's got a big show right now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which the San Francisco Chronicle art critic hated. Here's a photo from one of the many parts of the exhibit:

The de Young originated the Dale Chihuly exhibition, which includes "Tabac Baskets," vessels evoking American Indian baskets.

More pics of the de Young exhibit can be found at Chihuly's own site. (Oh, and incidentally, I also found that Chihuly settled the lawsuit he filed against a former employee for copyright infringement; interesting post on the whole situation on The Stranger blog.)

Group News Blog has a post
about the Art-O-Mat project, where old cigarette machines are recycled into dispensers of random cigarette pack sized pieces of original art. There's only one in Massachusetts, in Northampton; the one in Providence, Rhode Island is probably just as close. The state with the most is North Carolina, and that's because the project was started by North Carolina artist Clark Whittington. Here's a podcast of an interview with Whittington.

A woman in London hired an artist to cut the Mona Lisa into her lawn.

This aluminum can art exhibit at the Renwick in DC looks cool.

James Brown owned a lot of tacky stuff. But I love that red leather couch.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Do You Need Notes To Tell You The Price of Milk?

John McCain does. Because he so very, very rich; and so, so very out of touch with the issues regular people face. From the fabulous Jed Report:

Red Sox - Yankees Series Begins Tonight

Tonight I get to watch it on NESN, with the divine Remy & Orsillo as announcers. Unfortunately the rest of the series has been spirited away by Fox and ESPN who will give us their terrible announcing crews, bitching about Manny's hair and waxing eloquent about Derek so-so Jeter. And we'll miss moments like this from the Giggle Brothers:

Just For Laughs

Arizona Tea

I think we'll have to start calling McCain "Jed" or "Jethro" when he talks about drilling.

hat tip to Climate Progress.

Medicare Part (D)isaster: A $3.7 Billion Boondoggle for Pharmaceutical Companies

Medicare Part D a boon for drug companies, House report says
Taxpayers pay up to 30% more for prescriptions under the privately administered program than under Medicaid, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform finds.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. drug manufacturers are reaping a windfall from taxpayers because Medicare's privately administered prescription drug benefit program pays more than other government programs for the same medicines, a House committee charged in a report Thursday.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that taxpayers are paying up to 30% more for prescription drugs under Medicare's privatized Part D program for seniors and the disabled than under the government's Medicaid program for the poor.

"Medicare Part D has given the major drug companies a taxpayer-funded windfall worth billions of dollars," said committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills).


In the two years Medicare Part D has been in effect, drug manufacturers have taken in $3.7 billion more than they would have through prices under the Medicaid program, committee investigators found.

"The drug companies are making the same drugs. They are being used by the same beneficiaries. Yet because the drugs are being bought through Medicare Part D instead of Medicaid, the prices paid by the taxpayers have ballooned by billions of dollars," Waxman said.

He said Bristol-Myers made an additional $400 million from higher prices for a single drug, the stroke medication Plavix.

Hans von Vote Suppressor: OK That 98-Year-Old Nun Denied Right to Vote

Congress Keith Ellison opened a can of whoopass on Hans von Spakovsky in a hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, yesterday. He got Hansie to admit that he thought it was OK that a dozen of nuns in their 90s were blocked from voting in Indiana in the primaries. What a firstclass asshole. I hope someone comes up with video, but for now you can enjoy the transcript, from TPM Muckraker:

Ellison Slams von Spakovsky Over Disenfranchised Nuns and U.S. Attorneys

ELLISON: Now here's something that happened on the May 7th Indiana election. A dozen nuns and another unknown number of students were turned away from the polls Tuesday in the first use of Indiana's stringent voter ID law since it was upheld last week by the United State Supreme Court. Mr. von Spakovsky, you wanna stop nuns from voting?

VON SPAKOVSKY: [silence]

ELLISON: Why don't you want nuns to vote, Mr. von Spakovsky?

VON SPAKOVSKY: Congressman Ellison, uh-

ELLISON: I'm just curious to know.

VON SPAKOVSKY: Those individuals, uh, were told, were- knew that they had to get an ID, they could have easily done so. They could have voted, uh, by absentee ballot- uh, nursing homes under the law are able to get-

ELLISON: . . . Mr. von Spakovsky, are you aware that a 98-year old nun was turned away from the polls by a-

VON SPAKOVSKY: They all had passports-

ELLISON: Excuse me.

VON SPAKOVSKY: They had expired passports which meant that they could have gotten-

ELLISON: Mr. von Spakovsky, do you know a 98-year old nun was turned away from the polls by a sister who's in her order and who knew her, but had to turn her away because she didn't have a government-issued ID? That's okay with you?


Douchebag of Liberty* Hits 86 Year Old Homeless Man In Crosswalk, Drives Away

Wednesday rightwing columnist Robert Novak -- the man who outed spy Valerie Plame -- hit a pedestrian with his car. According to eyewitness reports, the man was walking in a crosswalk. He landed on the windshield of Novak's car and rolled off, and 77-year-old Novak drove on. A bicyclist -- who happens to be a lawyer who formerly worked in the Justice Department -- chased Novak down and blocked his car so that he was forced to stop.

The lawyer who stopped Novak said the man he hit went up on the hood and was splayed on the windshield; there was no way Novak didn't realize he hit someone. The man, it turns out, was an 86-year-old homeless man. The impact of the collision dislocated his shoulder.

DC police detained Novak for about an hour and shockingly only gave him a $50 ticket for failure to yield. Not hit & run? Leaving the scene? Why didn't they pull his license immediately? Why wasn't he given a breathalyzer and a drug test? Why didn't they confiscate his cell phone to find out if he was on the phone (or his Blackberry) when the collision occurred? The man had just hit another human being and drove away. Either he was callous and should have been arrested, or he was so inattentive behind the wheel of his car that he hit someone and didn't know it. In that case his license should have been seized. There's no way a person hits your car and you don't know. I've hit birds and felt the impact.

* Douchebag of Liberty is what Jon Stewart dubbed Novak after he outed Valerie Plame.

WaPo: Novak Cited for Hitting Pedestrian

WaPo: Man Hit by Novak Has Hurt Shoulder but Is 'Doing Fine'

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take That, Lawrence Summers

Photo via Is It Just Me?

Math study finds girls are just as good as boys

McCain Attacks Obama For Doing What He Did

From the Jed Report: Damn foreigners!

So John McCain is (predictably, perhaps) attacking Barack Obama for speaking at a political gathering outside the country.

This, of course, is the same John McCain who held a political event in Ottawa at the Economic Club of Canada just one month ago.

This is the same John McCain who held a campaign fundraiser in London in March.

This is the same John McCain who is quoting Fidel Castro in an attack on Barack Obama.

This is the same John McCain who has quoted Hamas on the campaign trail in another attack on Barack Obama.

This is the same John McCain who has repeatedly used the words of Osama bin Laden to attack not just Barack Obama, but also Hillary Clinton and the entire Democratic Party.

This is a sad, desperate, and pathetic John McCain.

For that matter, why didn't McCain go to an American Sausage House today? Rather than a German Sausage Haus? Video from the Haus:

What Is It With Republicans and Fudge?

yahoo: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R[epublican By Day, Democrat By Night]-S.C., right, speaks during a news conference in front of Schmidt's Fudge Haus in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, July 24, 2008. As presidential rival Barack Obama toured Berlin, McCain told reporters he would love to give a speech in Germany. 'But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for president.'
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democratic Underground: Romney at the Fudge Factory

I managed to restrain myself before I added a picture of Larry Craig. Whew.

Obama's Berlin Speech Transcript

yahoo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama delivers his speech at the Victory Column (Siegessaeule) in Berlin July 24, 2008.
REUTERS/Michael Dalder (GERMANY)

It was a great speech.

Watch it here.

CNN: Full script of Obama's speech

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that's when the airlift began - when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won...The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty...People of the world, look at Berlin!"

People of the world - look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall - a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope - walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers - dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we're honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth - that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations - and all nations - must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust - not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here - what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

Those are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. Those aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of those aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of those aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of those aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on history.

People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny, and once again engage in that noble struggle to bring justice and peace to our world.

Department of Misleading Headlines Poll: 'Sharp reversal' for Obama with Latino voters

Reversal. Obama's gone backwards, right?

Here's the first sentence of the story:

A new poll released Thursday shows overwhelming support from Latinos for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain.

Is it backwards day at CNN? Yes means no? White means black?

FBI Informant Squealing On Sweeney

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Live Feed for Obama Speech

Bild front page showing German politicians melded with Obama

From CNN, via Raw Story

Or you can watch it here on Irish TV.

There's some band on now, singing lyrics in English, but I have no idea who they are. The CNN feed must be being pulled from German TV, because I can hear a German voice in the background saying "Obama" occasionally.

This post from dailykos has links to German newspaper covers and photo galleries.

The Bush Administration, in their usual disregard for the First Amendment, has instructed Foreign Service workers not to attend.

HuffPo: Photos and Videos from Obama's Foreign Tour

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John McCain's Neverending War

I posted this last night, but I'm putting it up again to make sure every who visits here regularly gets to see it. John McCain's own words on the war in Iraq:

Just For Laughs

Parody of a McCain ad. NSFW!

John McCain's Daily Gaffe(s)

Yesterday was a highlight reel of McCain gaffes. Let's go to the tape.

1) Admits oil executives are directing his energy policy:

My friends, we have to drill off shore. We have to do it. It's out there and we can do it. And we can do that. The oil executives say within a couple of years we could be seeing results from it. So why not do it?

A Republican president advised by oil executives tripled gas prices in the last 7 1/2 years. A McCain presidency advised by the same self-interested group could lead to $12/gallon gas. Whee-hoo!

2) Misstates the history of "The Surge"

Watch the entire interview here. [question starts at 3:00 in]

Katie Couric: Senator McCain, Senator Obama says, while the increased number of US troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?

McCain: I don't know how you respond to something that is as-- such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history.

In fact, as Spencer Ackerman and Ilan Goldenberg have reported, the record firmly establishes the opposite: instead of being caused by the surge, the key signs of the Anbar Awakening occurred not only before that strategy was implemented, but before it was ever conceived.

As a subplot, Katie Couric's pathetic CBS Evening News that conducted the interview, didn't run McCain's actual answer during its broadcast. They edited their piece so McCain's lie was cut out of the answer. (Journalism is dead. Long live the deceitful corporate media.) Here's the CBS edited answer contrasted with the actual answer:

3) McCain accuses Obama of losing the war to win the election. Despicable. Even Joke Line at Time magazine is disgusted with this one.

I had the courage and the judgment to say that I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Sen. Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

AP Must Fire Ron Fournier

Fire this Republican cheerleader

Media Matters for America: The AP has a Ron Fournier problem

We wrote about Ron Fournier's inappropriate emails to Karl Rove here. You can read the emails in the House Oversight Committee report (pdf file) here on page 23.

Karl Rove exchanged e-mails about Pat Tillman with Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier, under the subject line "H-E-R-O." In response to Mr. Fournier's e-mail, Mr. Rove asked, "How does our country continue to produce men and women like this," to which Mr. Fournier replied, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."
When confronted with the fact of his cheerleading, Fournier claimed (a) the emails were just "too breezy" in tone, and (b) that he was researching an article on Pat Tillman's death.

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters has discovered that the second claim cannot be true, as Ron Fournier never wrote an article about Pat Tillman:

Yet according to a search of Nexis, Fournier didn't write any bylined articles about Pat Tillman's death in April 2004. Or ever, for that matter. That means Fournier wasn't reaching out as a reporter to Rove for information, quotes, or context about the sad Tillman story. Fournier didn't need Rove to be a "source" for the Tillman story because Fournier wasn't covering the Tillman story.

Instead, Fournier seemed to be using the Tillman story as an opportunity to initiate contact with Rove and let him know that Fournier was on his side, and to urge Rove to "keep up the fight."

Read the entire article at Media Matters to see Fournier and AP's history of Republican cheerleading. Fournier isn't an objective journalist. Here's just one odious example of his bias:

For instance, in the months before Fournier was privately bonding with Rove and urging the White House to "keep up the fight," this was the lead Fournier wrote for a straight-ahead news article about then-Democratic front-runner Howard Dean receiving Al Gore's endorsement:

Dean hopes the coveted endorsement eases concerns among party leaders about his lack of foreign policy experience, testy temperament, policy flip-flops, campaign miscues and edgy anti-war, antiestablishment message.

Gee, not many Rovian talking points embedded in that AP article, eh?

You can let AP know what you think of their Republican plant Ron Fournier here at their contact page. I'm sure if the AP fires him, he could very quickly get a job with the McCain campaign. For writing stuff like this:

The fact is, Fournier's McCain love runs deep and goes back years. In 2004, when McCain wasn't even a candidate, Fournier praised him in print as "a former Vietnam War hero who emerged from his 2000 defeat as one of the nation's most popular politicians, beloved by independent voters and courted by both presidential candidates."

The next year, while reviewing the possible 2008 presidential field, Fournier insisted the Arizona senator was "favored by a majority of Democrats and independents who would vote in a general election."

But that breathless claim had no factual basis.

Another Plastic Bag Ban: Los Angeles


LATimes: L.A. City Council votes for ban on plastic shopping bags

The council plans to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's stores by 2010, unless the state imposes a 25-cent fee on those who request them.

LA is the latest American city to adopt a ban on plastic grocery bags. Such bans have been adopted around the world and have been extremely successful in decreasing pollution. It makes a lot of sense. When we were in Germany two years ago, we learned very quickly to bring our own bags to the market, or we got charged a euro for a new cloth bag.

Give The Federal Reserve a Piece of Your Mind About Usurious Credit Card Fees

USAToady: Our view on credit practices: Card issuers invest in D.C.
Money from fees, usurious rates is recycled as political contributions.

The Federal Reserve has proposed new regulations (!!! during the Bush Admin., no less) to scale back some of the crushing fees credit cards are charging: huge fees on late payment, changing interest rates because of some problem on your credit report, etc. Read about the rules here:

Newshoggers: Fight back against unfair credit card practices

And use this link (scroll down to the bottom of the page) to leave the Fed your comments. Newshogger says they have already gotten 31,000 comments; no telling how many of those are from the credit card industry. I am sure they are asking their employees to comment. Let's pile on from our side.

wikipedia: Usury

John McCain's Neverending War

Another excellent compilation video on John McCain's war war war 4-eva position by the Jed Report (a little less than 10 minutes in length.)

To see the juxtaposition of his foolish comments before the war ("The success will be fairly easy.") with his recent claims to have opposed the Bushies conduct of the war is stunning.

As someone says in the comments on this video on dailykos, McCain HAS been consistent with his Iraq policy. Throughout the runup to the war until today, at every turn, McCain believes whatever Bush is doing is right.

I don't know who this Jed guy is, but he's doing a great job with these videos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain's New Yorker Cover

Courtesy of Vanity Fair:

Vanity Fair Covers The New Yorker

Red Sox Notes

flickr: citadelgrad's photostream
July 2008 Red Sox at Angels
hat tip to Red Sox Monster

Wouldn't I like to be wearing this "My Other Shirt Is Buried Under Yankee Stadium" shirt to Yankee Stadium on August 28th when Coach Mom & I go to see the last Yankees-Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium? Tee hee. I'm planning to wear my Ellsbury t.

Did you see Peter Gammons piece on Dustin Pedroia before the Sunday night game of the week on ESPN? He started it out by saying "Dustin Pedroia looks like a little stuffed toy at FAO Schwartz". It's linked here on Centerfield; also check out Centerfield's collection of baby/youth pictures of the Red Sox.

Jonathan Papelbon was all out of shape over being heckled in the All-Star parade in New York City, but maybe, maybe, showing off his World Series ring to the crowd wasn't the best decision.

MBM in Seattle: Manny gets lectured by a traffic cop for crossing the street the cop was blocking. The cop apparently had no idea who he was.

Completely Random

New York Public Library: 5 varities of pears and a half-cut pear,
from Traité des arbres et arbustes que l'on cultive en France en pleine terre / par Duhamel. (published [1801-1819])

Things that interested or amused me today, in no particular order:

McCain's gaffes are piling up.

John McCain imagines a baseball game.

Jews don't like Lieberman; they like Obama much better. I don't like Irish music but I love sushi!

Barack Obama won yesterday's war of images by a country mile. I particularly enjoy the picture of McCain with Bush 41, and the ridiculous sign on the golf cart. Grumpy old men.

While the media obediently reported that Phil Gramm was "out" of the McCain campaign, he just lost his title. He'll still be advising McCain, and he still shaped McCain's economic policies. And you knew he would never really be out if you saw these pictures of him blowing kisses to Cindy. Double ewwww.

Hullabaloo warns Obama against getting bogged down in the quicksand deathtrap that is Afghanistan. No one ever wins in Afghanistan. Ask the Soviets.

Monday, July 21, 2008

112 Year Old Artist Gets First Show

Frank Calloway, 112, draws murals on sheets of butcher paper, sometimes more than 30 feet long.

What a story. Frank Calloway has lived in mental health centers since 1952 when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Be sure to watch the (too short) slideshow to see some of his work.


CNN: At 112, artist still going strong

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (AP) -- Bent over or sitting at a table, gripping a ballpoint pen, marker or crayon, Frank Calloway spends his days turning visions from his youth into lively murals -- and at 112 years old, the images of his childhood are a window to another time.

Drawn on sheets of butcher paper and sometimes stretching to more than 30 feet long, the works mostly show rural agricultural scenes, with buildings, trains and vehicles straight out of the early 20th century.

And his colorful creations are gaining more attention in the art world.

The works by a man who has lived about half his life in state mental health centers will be part of an exhibit this fall at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

His caretakers have suspended sales of his artwork until after the show after finding out that some of his drawings could sell for thousands of dollars.

McCain's Daily Senior Moment

I think he's already had a few today, because he did more than one morning TV show. Here's the best: confuses Iraq with Afghanistan, refers to the Iraq-Pakistan border. Borders, shmorders.

I found this video on this great diary on dailykos, filled with pictures of Obama's trip. Can you say, Presidential?

Surprise, Surprise

I am shocked, shocked, to find out that Darth Cheney is running U.S. energy policy into the dark, oily ground.

truthout: Report Links Cheney Office, Oil Giant [ExxonMovil] to Global Warming Policy Shift

[P]ressure from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, ExxonMobil and others in the oil industry led the Bush administration to change course [and decide not to use the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions].

Sustainable Food Shopping Video Eastern Market

HuffPo: DIY -- Sustainable Food Shopping Video

Good basic ideas on how to shop sustainably.

Barack Obama in Afghanistan

In this photo released Saturday, July 19, 2008, by the the U.S. Army, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., poses with SPC Lakeisha Willingham, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), after a shoot-around game of basketball at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Friday, July 18, 2008, during a Congressional Delegation visit.

Barack Obama interviewed by Lara Logan

Photos And Video From Barack Obama's Foreign Tour

27 Minutes To Save The World

Watch Al Gore's climate speech, challenging the U.S. to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the next 10 years.

Or read the transcript at

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Insurance Rules

Funny video about a serious subject, from Health Care For America Now (HCAN)

The Art of Diagnosis

wikipedia: Claude Monet

What do you see in this painting?

The Boston Globe reports on medical students being offered art classes to improve their observational and diagnostic skills.

Monet? Gauguin? Using art to make better doctors
New courses improve powers of observation