Monday, February 28, 2005
while all eyes were supposed to be focused on the live telecast of the oscars at an exclusive lunch yesterday, it was the blonde widow anna nicole smith who proved to be the star distraction.
about 300 special guests gathered in paddington town hall to watch the live feed but it was the enhanced inheritress who provided the entertainment.
mc erica heynatz had the unenviable job of interviewing smith during a break in the telecast and listening to her describe her efforts at surfing was like watching a car crash in slow motion.
but smith, who arrived in sydney yesterday morning, did manage to declare that australia was "the most prettiest country I have ever been to" before asking "where are the damn f...ing kangaroos?". - news.com.au
guess she didn't visit skippy last happy friday kangaroo "blogging"
the smirking chimp found an interesting editorial from knight-ridder about jeff "mandate" gannon:
but the jeff gannon/james guckert saga is far from over. it remains unclear how a graduate of a conservative training program, someone with no previous journalism experience, someone whose writings were often lifted directly from white house press releases, still managed to gain access to the white house press room, where he spent two years lobbing gentle questions at the press secretary and the president.or if he had been an intern named monica...
and some political analysts who monitor president bush's relations with the media insist that gannon (who, referring to democrats, recently asked bush, "how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?") should not be viewed as an isolated case. rather, they contend that gannon is symptomatic of a broader white house strategy to undermine the traditional media by disseminating the bush message in creative new ways…
martha kumar, a political scientist at towson university in maryland, who monitors the white house press, says: "jeff was the kind of person who saw the briefings as an opportunity to air his point of view. looking back (at the clinton era), i can't think of any analogous person on the democratic side. there were no democratic-trained partisans like jeff. if there had been anyone like that, you would have heard an uproar on capitol hill," from the republican majority.
as everyone who reads skippy knows, we coined the phrase "blogtopia." so it brings a tear to our eyes to see that this phrase is actually catching on.
that must be why we are the 16th most important blog in blogtopia (modesty prevents us from reminding you at this juncture exactly who coined that phrase)!
skimble writes a devastatingly funny parody of cole porter's "you're the top!" for jeff "mandate" gannon.
the kids from the daily cookie send us this piece from the nation, in which it's discovered that the office of special council is purging itself of employees who dissent.
it's been an inauspicious start for scott bloch, head of the government's office of special counsel (osc), the agency charged with protecting federal whistleblowers. after moving from the justice department's office of faith-based initiatives in january 2004, bloch suggested that federal employees could essentially be fired for being gay. then, directly contradicting his organization's purpose, bloch complained of "leakers" within the osc and issued a gag order for employees. in a speech last fall bloch admitted he knew little about the counsel's work before bush nominated him. now he's pushing forward a controversial agency "reorganization" plan that watchdogs liken to a purge.if nothing else, you gotta love the irony!
under bloch's orders, 20 percent of the counsel's legal and investigative team will be fired or relocated. with no prior consultation, bloch ordered twelve employees to transfer from washington to oakland, dallas or the newly-opened detroit field office. senior staff were given only ten days to agree to the transfer and sixty days to move. as a result, seven employees quit, one retired and four agreed to relocate. the project on government oversight labeled the decision "a purge to stifle dissent and re-staff the agency with handpicked loyalists."
we are adding michael berube online to our permanent blogroll. darned if we can figure out why we haven't till now. michael is erudite and funny, much like ourselves, and even more prolific than we are. please forgive our tardiness, michael.
nathan newman thinks the idea of selling green cards may have some merit.
our buddy chuck simmins sends us an update on that kangaroo found wandering the snowy reaches of wisconsin last month. the asspress tells us:
authorities in southern wisconsin have discovered that capturing a kangaroo in a snowstorm isn't the hard part. it's finding out where the animal came from.
authorities recently gave up their hunt for the owner of a red 130-pound marsupial, saying its origin will remain a mystery.
the iowa county sheriff's office has given the henry vilas zoo in madison permission to keep the kangaroo, nicknamed roo. the animal has been in quarantine at the zoo since its capture early january.
sheriff's deputies corralled the male kangaroo in a barn after receiving calls from shocked residents who had seen it hopping through rural parts of dodgeville for two days.
reader and contributor rose sends us this story about a self-made millionaire who, because he refuses to show id at the airport, is restricted from traveling inside the united states. the pittspost-gazette:
as happens to the disobedient, [john] gilmore is grounded. he is rich -- he estimates his net worth at $30 million -- and cannot fly inside the united states. nor can he ride amtrak, rent a room at most major hotels, or easily clear security in the courthouses where his case, gilmore v. ashcroft, is to be heard. in a time when more and more people and places demand some form of government-issued identification, john gilmore offers only his 49-year-old face: a study in stringy hair, high forehead, wire-rimmed glasses, ho chi minh beard and the contrariness for which the dot.com culture is renowned.he may be crazy, but he's making a valid point:
"i think of myself as being under regional arrest," he said. even with $30 million in the bank, regional arrest can be hard. he takes the bus to and from events at which he is applauded by less well-heeled computer techies who flew in from around the country after showing a boarding pass and one form of government-issued photo id and arrived in rental cars that required a valid driver's license and one major credit card.
"i will show a passport to travel internationally. i'm not willing to show a passport to travel in my own country," gilmore said. "i used to laugh at countries that had internal passports. and it's happened here and people don't even seem to know about it."
it just keeps getting worse. the nytimes:
a suicide car bomber drove into a line of about 400 volunteers for the iraqi national guard and police force today in hilla, south of baghdad, killing at least 122 people and wounding at least 170, an official at the interior ministry said.
it was the deadliest single attack since the fall of saddam hussein in april 2003.
the volunteers were waiting for medical checkups at about 9 a.m. in front of hilla's main medical center.
the crowded area lies at the site of the town's major market and government buildings, and some of the fatalities are believed to have included people shopping at market stalls.
our friend at bartcop has this on his site today:
halliburton, under scrutiny for its thefts in iraq and elsewhere, has been given bonuses by their partner-in-crime president for its work in siphoning off billions of dollars for [awol's] personal use.
an army spokesman said kbr had been awarded $9.4 million in bonus payments from its work in kuwait and afghanistan...overall, kbr has earned $7.2 billion under a 2001 contract with the military and could earn more than $10 billion under that deal. it has separate deals with the government for reconstruction work in iraq. the bulk of money paid out so far -- about $6.6 billion -- is for work in iraq which still must be assessed for future bonuses that will amount to at least hundreds of millions of dollars.
the saying goes, "you get what you pay for." with that in mind, what did we pay for and what did we get? and when do we get it back? i ask about getting it back because one thing the article doesn't mention is that halliburton is an offshore company that pays no taxes.
(sorry that my first post here is not funny. i'm not funny today. got up on the wrong side of the lilypad.)
Sunday, February 27, 2005
to the seventh cross.
awol was awarded the coveted razzie for worst actor of 2004, for his performance as an executive in chief, at the annual awards show last night. the asspress:
president bush won the worst-actor award for his appearance in news and archival footage of michael moore's satiric documentary "fahrenheit 9/11." defense secretary donald rumsfeld was voted worst supporting-actor for "fahrenheit 9/11," while britney spears' fleeting cameo in the documentary brought her the worst supporting-actress award.another politico to win a razzie last night was ah-nold schwarzenegger, who won for losing the most times in the past 25 years:
razzies founder john wilson said the prizes were not meant to mock moore's film, only the statements bush and the others make while "putting their highly paid, highly skilled feet in their mouths repeatedly and sucking on them."
schwarzenegger, who gave up hollywood to become california governor, was chosen worst razzie loser of the first 25 years, a special prize given to actors who received the most nominations without ever winning a razzie. his latest loss also came saturday, to rumsfeld in the supporting category, in which schwarzenegger was nominated for "around the world in 80 days."in a classy, funny, and endearing move, halle berry actually showed up to pick up her award as the worst actress of the year for her portrayl of "catwoman":
berry, who wore a simple black dress, explained why she showed up at the ceremony.too bad awol wasn't there. maybe a gay male escort could have asked him a question (this is hollywood, after all).
"when i was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there's no way you could be a good winner," she said.
however, she added, "i hope to god i never see these people again!"
a couple of the bloggers from dkos have set up propagannon: exposing government propaganda, a blog devoted mostly to the adventures of jeff "mandate" gannon. the site gives some excellent responses to the dismissal of the story by liberals david corn & bob somerby, as well as responses to various media pieces.
over at it's my country too, they explain the further adventures of tom delay as he co-sponsors a bill to readjust the liberal ninth circuit court into a more conservative judiciary organ.
eli stephens at lefti on the news reprints an article from the audubon society written by his friend, which details the first environmentalist to win a nobel prize for her efforts.
old fashioned patriot examines the money that awol's uncle has made from the policies of this administration.
need we say more
Saturday, February 26, 2005
more than 50 dangerous pesticides contaminate britain's food, official tests reveal. all have been found to be poisonous or are suspected of causing cancer or having "gender bender" effects by international regulatory bodies.
the revelation - in a survey of official testing results - will heighten concern about food contamination, after the withdrawal of more than 400 products contaminated with the prohibited dye sudan 1 from shops and supermarkets.
concern over the dye, normally used to colour petrol, oils, waxes and polishes, centres on its suspected role in causing cancer. but some of the pesticides found in british fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products are internationally classified as even more likely to cause the disease.
...the tests - undertaken in 2002 - found 80 pesticides in food ranging from apples to aubergines, butter to bread, and chocolate to chicken nuggets. the survey concluded that 52 of these "have been designated by
international authorities as having harmful effects on health". these included 33 identified by the world health organisation as acutely toxic, and 28 listed by the who's international agency for research on cancer, the european commission and the us environmental protection agency as suspected carcinogens. - the independent
clean it up or else is the reply from the british food safety chief. now why can't someone in this administration have the meatballs to say something like that...?
bank of america corp. has lost computer data tapes containing personal information on 1.2 million federal employees, including some members of the us senate.
the lost data includes social security numbers and account information that could make customers of a federal government charge card program vulnerable to identity theft.sen. pat leahy, d-vt., is among those senators whose personal information is on the missing tapes, spokeswoman tracy schmaler said.
"there were some senators' visa credit card accounts involved," schmaler said. "we don't know how many, but he was one of them."
the bank issued an apology. - sfgate/ap
choicepoint inc.'s top two executives made a combined $16.6 million in profit from selling company shares in the months after the data warehouser learned that people's personal information may have been compromised and before the breach was made public, regulatory filings show.
choicepoint's stock has dropped about 10 percent since last week when the company announced that criminals had duped it into allowing them access to its massive database.
...records show smith and curling bought and sold 458,600 company shares in eight biweekly transactions between nov. 9 after the company had confirmed the breach and feb. 15 the day the company publicly disclosed the breach. - abcnews
choicepoint also won't reveal details of the crime, citing an ongoing investigation. and that's incredibly frustrating for lambert, who can't find out what exactly is in his choicepoint dossier beyond his name, address and social security number.
after spending hours on the phone with choicepoint representatives, he
was told thursday that he had to sign a release simply to find out what information the company kept on him.
"they have no damage control. nobody knows what they're doing," lambert said of choicepoint. "It's beyond comprehension that in the 21st century this could happen." - sfgate
i'm beginning to think that the corporations and their "leaders" are the real criminals in these scenarios...
to nick lewis: the blog.
one good move did us all a favor and posted bill maher's recent comments about jeff "mandate" gannon (and he uses that joke) on the web for us all.
what's stranger than truth is that a skippy reader discovered yet even more hypocrisy in the white house's usage of jeff "mandate" gannon.
reader 'the oracle' points out how ironic it is that a prostitute was allowed access to the white house (using a false identity) during the same administration that allowed john ashcroft to focus the fbi's resources for arresting hookers in new orleans.
what's sauce for the gander should be sauce for the gander...
you are the 775,000th visitor to skippy!
and, as we currently only mention our site meter in integrals of 25,000 visitors, that means the next time we use this old joke will be for the coveted one millionth visitor, which, by our calculations, should happen next month sometime.
we are so proud.
addendum: we shouldn't be so proud of our math skills. as the linkmeister has pointed out, the next time we use that old joke will be for the 800,000th visitor, and it will be sometime around november that we will hit our coveted one millionth visitor.
we regret our stupidity.
the fixer at the alternate brain found a great cartoon describing the mtm (sorry, msm)'s view of bloggers.
Friday, February 25, 2005
we are proud that skippy international are always expanding. our newest addition to our staff is, no, not jeff "mandate" gannon (though we hear he's looking for a job), but the very funny g.d. frogsdong, who blogs over at blanton's and ashton's. gd has been a regular on our comments section, but we're happy to have him anyway. he's joining our list of regulars which is becoming so long that it's starting to look like the carol burnett show.
ok, stop it. right now. don't...even...go there.
to the heretik.
also, we're taking this moment to add a couple of blogs to our roll that should have been on for several months now. we are totally remiss in not having maru's second blog tblog - wtf is it now?!, as well as blogwood: norwood's fair and balanced nattering on our roll, and we are correcting that as of today.
also, abigail thinks she's a bad person because she wants people to read her blog. go read it, so she doesn't have to feel so guilty. and while you're at it, be sure to change annatopia's url on your bookmarks!
3m announced in 2000 that it was phasing out its popular scotchgard product, because the anti-stain spray contained chemicals toxic to lab animals. the chemicals had also turned up in the blood of 3m workers, though the company said its employees were not harmed.
3m produced the chemicals at its plant in cottage crove, minnesota. an investigation by minnesota public radio and american radioworks found that even after 3m said it would no longer make the toxic chemicals, the minnesota pollution control agency let two years pass before it began any inquiries.
the story raises questions about who is responsible for the safety of the public and the environment, and about whether state agencies are doing enough to protect citizens from toxic chemicals.
go listen at minnesota public radio
chemicals used to make teflon and scotchgard have been promoted as modern marvels for their ability to keep food from sticking to pots and fast-food packaging, repel stains on carpets and furniture and make
water roll off coats and clothing.
now scientists are finding that the chemicals also have managed to spread throughout the world.
researchers have detected them in polar bears roaming near the arctic circle, dolphins swimming in the mediterranean sea off the coast of italy and gulls flying above ocean cliffs outside tokyo.
...after decades of use with little government oversight, the chemicals are confounding scientists with their pervasiveness in the environment and raising concerns about their potential impact on public health. perfluoronated compounds have been found in the blood of virtually every person tested for them in the united states, including children as young as 2.
the compounds have been linked to cancer, developmental problems, liver damage and other ailments in animals, though the effects on humans remain sharply disputed.
read more at howling at a waning moon
and of course, if you are injured via toxins, this administration says "tough luck"... you can't sue
bill berkowitz, writing for working for change, wonders why the more-christian-than-thou flock has yet to work itself into a lather over that gannongate thingumajigger that virtually everyone else seems to be talking about:
they were livid over spongebob squarepants' participation in a video advocating tolerance, and fuming about buster the bunny's visit to a lesbian household. so where's the outrage from the christian right over the jeff gannon affair?...
curious about this wall of silence, i phoned several christian right groups on tuesday, february 22, hoping to find someone who could comment on the gannon affair. this is what i found:
- dr. james dobson's focus on the family: i filled out an interview form and waited to hear back. several hours later, a fotf administrative assistant called me to say that no one there could answer my questions about gannon. she said a lot of folks were out sick and no one was available. "would someone be available tomorrow or thursday?" i asked. she pointed out that no one would be available the following day or the day after to talk about the issue. "next week?" "no."
- the family research council: i spoke with amber hildebrand, frc's media director. she said "we haven't made any public comments about this. there have been other pressing issues that have taken precedent, although this came as a shock to frc." hildebrand said she would see if frc's vice president of government affairs, connie mackey, would talk with me. at press time (thursday evening) mackey has not called.
- the traditional values coalition: i filled out an interview form and waited for a call back. as of 2.22, tvc action alerts are focused on the persecution and subsequent dismissal of charges against the "philadelphia 5," a group of fundamentalists that disrupted a pro-gay activity in philadelphia in order to preach "the gospel to homosexuals," and on columbia house for developing "a new subsidiary called hush to market pornographic materials in association with playboy and other pornography companies." at press time no one had returned my call. after making a second call, a tvc spokesperson told me that "no one is available to speak on that topic right now"...
i've said it before, i'll say it again: the people doing the most to keep alive the awareness of a "homosexual agenda," real or imagined, are often the same folks who are most actively trying to stamp it out. sounds like a conflict of interests to me -- or would this be a conflict of passions?
i'd call them and ask them to clarify this, but obviously their hands are full dealing with fictional characters...
sorry, we meant "msm" for "mainstream media," not "mtm" for "mary tyler moore." although upon further reflection...
the latimes finally runs a piece on the gannon/guckert story, and, what a surprise, completely misses the point:
left-wing bloggers soon revealed that the reporter, whom colleagues knew as jeff gannon, was really named james dale guckert. they also disclosed that talon news was owned by an avowedly partisan website called gopusa. the website in turn was the creation of a conservative texas political activist named bobby eberle.the piece misses so many of the actual truths invovled in this fiasco, that we were forced to write a letter to the editor of the latimes:
that stirred a furor over how a seeming republican agent got clearance to attend white house briefings as a journalist. soon gannon resigned.
then gay activists, indulging in what one media critic called "bloglust," posted on the internet homoerotic photos of gannon advertising himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort.
"i've made mistakes in my past," gannon told the washington post's media critic, howard kurtz. "does my past mean i can't have a future? does it disqualify me from being a journalist?"
ladies and gentlemen:why not take some time write a letter of your own?
i was happy to see your paper finally cover the gannon/guckert story about a phony reporter having access to the white house without proper credentials for over two years (a story which has been discussed publicly in other print media, on television and on internet discussion forums for more than a month, but better late than never, right?). however, i have some reservations about your reportage.
ms. neuman, aside from not researching or contacting the so-called "gay activists" and "left-wing bloggers" that broke the story, stated that those bloggers "posted on the internet homoerotic photos of gannon advertising himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort." this implies some sort of invasion of privacy "outing" activity. ms. neuman failed to make clear that it was gannon/guckert who posted those "homoerotic photos" of himself on the internet for anyone with a mouse click to see (including print reporters for a large metropolitan newspaper, if they were so inclined to do any actual investigating).
and, by quoting gannon/guckert when he said "i've made mistakes in the past," ms. neuman helps to propagate the implication that gannon/guckert's escort activities were over with. in reality, the websites advertising his $200 per hour services were still current and active as of the beginning of this year, when the story broke. ms. neuman makes no mention of this fact.
further, ms. neuman failed to specify that talon news, the partisan republican website that gannon/guckert was “reporting” for, did not come into existence until several months after gannon/guckert was already allowed access into the white house under a false identity.
by focusing mainly on the "homoerotic" part of the story, ms. neuman deftly denigrates the points being made and questions being asked by thousands of americans on the internet forums (who have at least as much journalistic integrity as gannon/guckert, and therefore deserve as much respect from your paper). these are questions of national security, to wit: how did a prostitute (male escort renting sexual favors by the hour) get access to the white house under an assumed identity?
you could take a lesson from your sister paper up north, the san francisco chronicle, which ran an editorial earlier this week which ended with this conclusion: “it's hard to say which is worse: that the white house had no idea who it was allowing to be within shouting distance of the president -- or that it knew exactly who jeff gannon was and why he was there."
the kids at the daily cookie send us this greg palast article describing how choicepoint, the folks that scrubbed the florida voting lists, made a mint on the 9/11 disaster at ground zero.
to p!, a new progressive group blog with an impressive line-up of contributors, including screwie hoolie and ddjango from amsamizdat.
the record rains in southern california have done heavy damage to the dairy industry, killing or sickening cows and leaving herds udder-deep in mud and cold water.
many farmers are watching their cows die from exhaustion and exposure.
dairy farmers said the drenching has cost the southern california industry at least $38 million in lost milk production, dead and sickened animals, and damage to holding ponds and other flood-control features on their farms.
..in a normal rainy season, each dairy farmer in the region usually loses about two cows a month to exhaustion and disease. the 250 dairies this year in the region are losing about a cow a day. - yahoo/ap
wonder if these farmer folks voted for awol as they will be seeking federal assistance and, well, yah know, those tax breaks for the rich really help out in national emergencies.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
because atrios is much more patient with all you kids out there than we are. once again (and atrios does this regularly about once a year, not because he wants to, but because everyone keeps bugging him about blogging) atrios lists, in easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions, how to gain readership for your blog. some highlights:
and if we may add our two cents: the only reason anyone blogs, is not for fame or fortune, but for (at the least) to express themselves, or (at the most) to change the world. there are no other legitimate reasons, so don't expect any other results.
- write interesting stuff,
- don't bug other bloggers with emails about your stuff,
- don't fret about getting links on big blogs,
- don't whine about other blogs stealing your stuff (no such thing in the blogtopia, anyway, and yes, we coined that phrase, so, don't steal it!) or not winning the koufax awards (which we didn't, but we aren't whining, we're being ironic).
stop us if you've heard this one before: first time unemployment claims rose sharper than expected last week, sez reuters:
the number of new claims for u.s. jobless benefits climbed more than expected to 312,000 last week, government data showed on thursday, while a more reliable job market gauge fell to its lowest level in more than four years.
initial claims for state unemployment insurance rose by 9,000 in the week ended feb. 19, from an upwardly revised 303,000 the prior week, the labor department (news - web sites) said.
the number of claims came in well above the 305,000 wall street economists had forecast.
a labor department analyst said there were no special factors behind the rise in fresh claims.
[ed. note: except that awol is president, you mean]
the closely watched four-week moving average, regarded by economists as a more accurate barometer of labor market trends because it smoothes out weekly volatility, fell for the second straight week, dropping to 308,750 from 312,000 the week before. this marked its lowest level since the week of november 4, 2000, when the u.s. economy was expanding solidly.that may be good news, but the drop in durable goods orders last month certainly wasn't. cnnmoney:
new orders for long-lasting u.s.-made goods fell 0.9 percent last month as demand for autos and civilian aircraft fell, the government said thursday.[ed. note: yeah, and they expected unemployment claims to drop, too!]
a 5.3 percent tumble in transportation equipment orders lay behind the drop in demand for durable goods, expensive manufactured items made to last three years or more. it was the first decline in durable goods orders since october, the commerce department said.
excluding the often-volatile transport category, however, durable goods orders climbed 0.8 percent.
wall street economists had expected durable goods order to rise 0.1 percent with orders outside the volatile transport category up a sharper 0.4 percent.
the report also showed defense capital goods orders dropped a sharp 9.8 percent, despite a whopping 56.9 percent advance in military aircraft orders. even with defense orders stripped out, demand for durable goods was still down 0.8 percent, the first drop in three months.which would have been impressive, if this was awol's first term.
the sfchron editorializes about jeff "mandate" gannon and his adventures in the white house press briefing room:
any news reporter who has ever covered the white house, presidential campaign events or capitol hill knows the gauntlet of security checks. even reporters with familiar bylines from prominent news organizations must go through the process.(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to citizen clark's dkos diary for the link!)
the idea that the white house might try to infiltrate the press corps with a shill is a chilling thought in this democracy, but this is the administration that has been caught paying "journalists" and generating its own prefabricated "news reports" to distribute to tv stations too naïve to recognize the attempt at propaganda.
as sen. joe biden, d-del., pointed out during a meeting with the chronicle editorial board wednesday, the guckert case, at a minimum, suggests "sheer, friggin' incompetence,'' in terms of white house security. biden said congress should investigate this potential breach of security, but he acknowledged such a probe would never occur with republicans in control of the house and senate.
it's hard to say which is worse: that the white house had no idea who it was allowing to be within shouting distance of the president -- or that it knew exactly who jeff gannon was and why he was there.
julia of sisyphus shrugged sent us to the usanext ad denigrating the aarp, and to the aarp ad in response. she also sent them to her mom, because her mom knows more old people.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
with little fanfare, the bush administration is proposing to stop financing the construction of new housing for the mentally ill and physically handicapped as part of a 50 percent cut in its housing budget for people with disabilities.
the proposal, which has been overshadowed by the administration's plans to shrink its community development programs, affects what is known as the section 811 program. since 1998, section 811 has helped nonprofit developers produce more than 11,000 units of housing for low-income people with disabilities, including more than 700 in new york state.
until now, section 811 has provided equal amounts each year, roughly, for financing for new construction, and rent subsidies for disabled tenants. but under the 2006 budget proposal, the capital allocation would be eliminated and the overall budget would shrink by half, to $120 million from $238 million.
...the federal government would discontinue financing housing for people with spinal cord injuries or psychiatric illnesses who are not necessarily homeless but may live in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.
by relying exclusively on vouchers, the federal government would essentially be lumping these people with able-bodied section 8 recipients in competing for some of the same apartments. - nytimes
oh...but wait...awol is cutting section 8 funding too...
almost 12,000 families, senior citizens or disabled adults in western massachusetts - enough to populate a small town - are on a waiting list for federal housing subsidy vouchers, and - unless congress acts - it doesn't look like they'll be getting off the waiting list any time soon.
hundreds of portable subsidies - known as section 8 vouchers - were cut from the region's allotment during the current fiscal year because president bush "so low-balled the request" for funding the program, according to barbara sard, a housing policy analyst at the washington, D.C.-based center on budget and policy priorities.
without the section 8 portable housing voucher program, which funds 70 percent of the region's fair market rent for housing, many families are treading water in the struggle to make ends meet. and paying the rent may mean skipping meals or needed medical attention. - the republican (yes...the republican)
i hate to remind this hatefilled, evil administration, but there are a good number of veterans who are coming back disabled and rely on federal money to help them find housing. nice way to support the troops, apeshit boy.
i don't know what sort of "christian" awol is, but somehow in my reading the bible, i missed the part where jesus told poor and ill people to go crawl under rocks to live.
john negroponte, awol's choice for director of national intelligence, approaches the daunting task of coordinating the intelligence community's mass of raw data with extensive experience in two critical areas: telling his superiors precisely what they want to hear, and making the world safer for terrorists.
dennis hans, writing for common dreams, recalls negroponte's stint as ambassador to honduras during the conflict between the contras and the sandinistas in neighboring nicaragua:
...negroponte was dispatched to honduras in 1981 to replace u.s. ambassador jack binns, who had provoked the wrath of the reagan administration. binns, you see, was a bad apple, which he demonstrated by expressing concern over escalating torture and killings by honduran security forces at a time when u.s. policy was to hush up such crimes. from the reaganites' perspective, binns just didn't have the right stuff to supervise what was about to become the largest u.s. embassy in central america and the transformation of large chunks of honduras into a sanctuary and training facility for cold-blooded killers.
the reagan team in 1981 had an unstated policy of "regime change" in nicaragua, although it pretended to congress and the media (yep, both were lapdogs then, just like now!) that its actual goal was to stop the alleged flow of weapons of minimal destruction (small arms and the like) from nicaragua, overland through honduras, and on to el salvador, where marxist guerrillas had the audiacity to resist a 50-year-old u.s.-backed military dictatorship that, in 1980-81 alone, had killed 20,000 or so civilians.
but the arms flow was largely illusory (another parallel to our own time), particularly by the time negroponte arrived in honduras. the reaganite pretense that the contras' mission was to interdict the alleged arms flow was a necessary lie to get a spineless and gullible congress to fund the project. in fact, the reaganites were all about regime change, and their chosen instrument would be led by former officers of the nicaraguan national guard -- itself a u.s.-trained outfit that killed 30-40,000 nicaraguan civilians from 1977-79 in a vain attempt to keep in power the long-time u.s.-backed dictator anastasio somoza.
...the regime the reaganites wanted to change was dominated by marxist-oriented sandinista revolutionaries who had led the anti-somoza armed struggle. the contras were darn good at killing nurses and teachers, and absolutely fearless in executing captured and disarmed enemy combatants -- executions that were standard operating procedure. but the somocista pedigree and cutthroat tactics prevented the contras from functioning as a true guerrilla force, where you live among the people you're ostensibly liberating and rely on the for food, shelter and information. hence the need for a sanctuary in a neighboring failed state run by corrupt, brutal army officers and an imperious u.s. ambassador, john negroponte...
awol & company: winning the war on terror for the gipper.
(also: marjorie cohn writes about negroponte's honduras years plus quite a bit more over at truthout...)
David Brooks predicts that "a younger Ross Perot" will rise up
Ah, the young fresh faces of compassionate conservatism. It's a beautiful thing. I have a solution on Night Light that will please both David and the IRA.
to lead a movement of people...who are offended by the horrendous burden seniors are placing on the young [...]
We may as well be blunt about the driving force behind all this. The living and well organized are taking money from the weak and the unborn. Over the past decades we have seen a gigantic transfer of wealth from struggling young families and the next generation to members of the AARP.. [Italics mine]
In the days of the British Empire, an elderly gentleman knew how to disport himself with honor, rather than be a burden. Ah, those were the days ...
guess it's official now: poor awol is widely regarded as a lame duck on both sides of the atlantic. he certainly aimed to please, though -- and he so gave it his best effort (awol usually scores a lot o' points in the style department), but those insolent little europeans just wouldn't buy his texas meadow muffins (awol also usually scores zilch for substance). from the financial times:
president george w. bush on tuesday night completed a two-day charm offensive in brussels but failed to narrow the divide with european union leaders over arms sales to china, tactics towards iran or the future of nato.
the us president's visit ended with mutual back-slapping with jose manuel barroso, european commission president, pronouncing the end of almost three years of transatlantic discord over iraq. "europe and america have reconnected," mr. barroso said.
but mr. bush's visit to eu and nato headquarters yielded few concrete results, and left some us officials privately warning that they expected positive gestures in return from the europeans. the disagreements were pronounced over the eu's plan to lift its arms embargo against china later this year...
now what on earth could have gone wrong?
...mr. bush said: "the notion that the us is getting ready to attack iran is ridiculous." after a pause, he added: "having said that, all options are on the table"...
(thanks once again to buzzflash for their eternal vigilance...)
follow the trail from tapped to the gawker's find in last week's nytimes article on pbs president pat mitchell:
she also said she had not been personally pressured to change programming by republicans at the corporation for public broadcasting, which provides federal money to the system. but she said her programmers had worked with their counterparts at the corporation, which is led by white house appointees, in developing several new shows, including a talk show for the conservative commentator tucker carlson.
britain's attorney general, lord goldsmith, rendered a legal opinion to tony blair on march 7 2003 that an attack on iraq could be viewed as illegal (frightening blair's government so that they "put together a legal team to prepare for possible international litigation"), then lied to parliament in order to secure a vote authorizing the war.
read all about it in the guardian.
according to fletch over at austin country limits moon wars have been declared. and no, it's not family feuding over at rev. son's place of "business." since it's been raining 40 days and 40 nights here in socal and i haven't even seen the sky let alone a moon, i've borrowed an amazing photo from frederic larson of the sfchronicle.
the palace of fine arts provides a counter-glow to the full april moon rising behind the transamerica pyramid in this memorable cityscape photographed in 1996. chronicle photo by frederic larson. go visit his amazing photos.
but maybe there is a better way to participate in moon wars....mooning the so-called president (or sending someone else to do it.)
via the raw story, senator richard durbin is criculating a letter amongst his colleagues calling for awol to open an investigation of gannongate.
contact your senator and urge him/her to sign on!
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
thanks to leftilicious's dkos diary, we find this piece in madison magazine telling us that air america radio is the fastest launch in radio history:
media conglomerates surprised more than a few people by letting local stations sign on for some or all of air america's lineup, tolerating the potshots at the corporate-friendly right wing, as long as those local stations delivered audience and the resulting ad sales. and deliver they did - a test run in portland took a station from the cellar to number three in three months, and the station now sits at number two in the market. that meager handful of stations at the start has grown to 50 in just a year, in addition to two channels on satellite radio. it's back on the air in la and recently landed in bush's backyard - corpus christi, texas. by the time bush was inaugurated for his second term, aar had 40 percent of the nation's airwaves covered (projected to approach 50 percent by the time this article goes to press) and millions more sets of ears listening online.
nothing to do but frown...rainy days and tuesdays always get us down...
and it's been raining married cats and dogs (ghostbusters reference) in socal for that past, oh, it seems like 80 years. excuse the mess that was just my head echoes our weather malaise.
digby notes how the shifty boat veteran guys (now after social security) sunk gary bauer's campaign years ago.
roger ailes (the good one) finds michael kinsley engaging in shoddy reporting.
talkleft says some good things about hunter s. thompson's work against local denver injustice.
holden at first draft points out that korea is dumping its dollars in favor of euros (with a nice reference to andrew lloyd webber, to boot).
more jeff "mandate" gannon background than you can possibly want at tbogg.
tom tomorrow sees the pot (coulter) calling the kettle (rall) black (sensationalistic).
annie's annals quotes montel williams' reasons for using medical marijuana.
gee, the side show didn't make the finals of the koufax awards either! (welcome to the club, dr. carol!)
according to rabelis, over at dkos, jeff "mandate" gannon is selling his adult domain names for a mere $7500.
a u.s. citizen is under arrest for discussing the idea of killing awol, sez reuters:
a virginia man, arrested and held in saudi arabia, has been returned to the united states to face charges of supporting al qaeda, and was accused of plotting in 2002 and 2003 to kill president bush, court documents made public on tuesday said.if he received a religious blessing, you know for sure it wasn't skippy!
between september 2002 and june 9, 2003, while he was in saudi arabia, abu ali discussed with an unidentified co-conspirator two options for assassinating bush, according to the 16-page indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in alexandria, virginia.
they talked about "an operation in which abu ali would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street and ... an operation in which abu ali would detonate a car bomb," the indictment said.
the six-count indictment said abu ali received a religious blessing from another co-conspirator to carry out the plan to assassinate bush.
addendum: here's more fun with google (with apologies to quentin tarrantino)!
thanks to decartes' dkos diary, we find this oped piece in the seattle times by reed davis, described as "ran for the gop nomination to the u.s. senate last year, and is a former chairman of the king county republican party." in it, mr. davis warns repubbbs not to get to giddy over dean's chairmanship of the dnc:
republicans may think that the nomination of dean is hysterically funny — a scream, in fact, as george will recently put it — but they are deluding themselves if they think dean is nothing more than a wild-eyed ideologue with a temper and a cult following.we agree with mr. davis; the repubbbs ignore dean at their own peril.
dean brings three talents to the chairmanship that can potentially sink not just a gop presidential candidate in 2008 but the republican-controlled house and maybe even the senate well before then.
first, he's a fund-raiser par excellence. lest we republicans forget, not only did howard dean set records for fund raising, he set them in one of the most imaginative, difficult and unorthodox ways imaginable — namely, through the internet. and remember, he set those records not by initially tapping the big-money crowd but by combing through the grass roots for nickels and dimes.
second, and more important, dean knows not only how to raise money but what to do with it once he gets it. he has repeatedly declared that he's going to rebuild the democratic party from the bottom up, blade by blade, volunteer by volunteer, state by state, because he understands that face-to-face get-out-the-vote programs, not slick advertising or direct-mail merchandizing, are what win elections…
third, he is charismatic. and this is where republicans make their biggest mistake in judging him. they believe his allegedly vegan, bohemian liberalism will appeal only to lefties from new england and seattle.
well, maybe so, but that's not the secret to dean's charisma or his recent dnc election. dean's appeal doesn't lie primarily in the fact that he's a great speaker (although he is) but in the fact that he's a great listener.
dean friedman sends us his latest flash animation titled 4 more years.
mad kane, that is! this time, she's still fuming at britt hume.
francis volpe of the carlisle sentinel online gives us a jeff foxworthy take on jeff "mandate" gannon:
“you might not be a journalist if...”
• … all your biggest stories are about you instead of by you.
• … you submit white house press releases as original stories. that was typical of gannon’s m.o., although you can’t check for yourself anymore — talon news has scrubbed all of gannon’s “work” off its site.
• … you have a secret life. you won’t have the secret for long, and a big enough secret might just cost you your career once revealed. ask jayson blair and jack kelley.
• … you get paid $200 an hour or $1,200 a weekend, the rates listed in gannon’s online escort ads. you certainly wouldn’t be a print journalist, i can assure you from experience.
Monday, February 21, 2005
nearly one-third of the world's known amphibian species are threatened with extinction due to climate change and pollution, the un environment programme (unep) said in a report released here. - yahoo news
hop on over to these sites:
when frogs "croak"
the party party has their latest song posted. they tell us it's sympathy for the devil vs. the real slim shady. sort of.
not saying this is true...it comes from a british tabloid, but the funny/scary thing with this administration, is that it doesn't take that much of a leap to actually believe this sort of c**p actually happens.
george bush has banned camilla parker bowles from the white house - because she is a divorcee.the unprecedented snub has effectively sabotaged charles's plan to take his bride on a royal tour of america later this year.
the trip would have been the pair's first official tour as a married couple.
but the us president - a notoriously right-wing christian and reformed alcoholic - told aides it was "inappropriate" for him to be playing host to the newly-weds, who are both divorcees. the decision was made even though the late president ronald reagan was divorced. - the sunday mirror.
i would love to see newt grinch gingrich and mr. dittohead limp-bough banned from the white house, too.
according to holden at first draft, army recruiting has fallen below expected levels to a dangerously low place. the washpost:
the active-duty army is in danger of failing to meet its recruiting goals, and is beginning to suffer from manpower strains like those that have dropped the national guard and reserves below full strength, according to army figures and interviews with senior officers .oh yeah, invading iran will be a cakewalk.
for the first time since 2001, the army began the fiscal year in october with only 18.4 percent of the year's target of 80,000 active-duty recruits already in the pipeline. that amounts to less than half of last year's figure and falls well below the army's goal of 25 percent.
driving the manpower crunch is the army's goal of boosting the number of combat brigades needed to rotate into iraq and handle other global contingencies. yet army officials see worrisome signs that young american men and women -- and their parents -- are growing wary of military service, largely because of the iraq conflict.
"very frankly, in a couple of places our recruiting pool is getting soft," said lt. gen. franklin l. hagenbeck, the army's personnel chief. "we're hearing things like, 'well, let's wait and see how this thing settles out in iraq,' " he said in an interview. "for the active duty for '05 it's going to be tough to meet our goal, but i think we can. i think the telling year for us is going to be '06."
to one good move.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
national call joe lieberman day
by teaser (mydd.com)
lieberman is looking increasingly shaky on his opposition to defunding social security. there are shakier dems, to be sure (ben nelson comes to mind), but no shakier dems with as high a profile as joe. with this in mind, i think we should concentrate our fire on shaky joe this week and i have suggested that everyone make tuesday our "blogosphere (sic) day of action." call joe lieberman's office, starting at 10:00 am and let his staffers know how you feel about the rhetorical support he's been giving the notion of defunding social security.
tuesday starting noon eastern fight for social security - call joe lieberman:
(202) 224-4041 Voice
(202) 224-9750 Fax
(i love working assets who give me daily calls to washington at no cost and who contribute to causes i care about....)
actress sandra dee, star of many films in the 60's, including the orignal gidget flick, and 2 tammy movies, and wife of bobby darin, died in california at age 62. the nytimes:
ms. dee was probably best remembered for her portrayal of gidget, a tomboyish california teenager who discovered the joys of surfing and boys in paul wendkos's 1959 film of the same name. the bright, chirpy ms. dee defined a new kind of natural, sun-soaked innocence that america, and much of the rest of the world, quickly embraced as the radiantly healthy, outdoorsy essence of southern california living.we recently saw the kevin spacey biopic of bobby darin beyond the sea, which made us all the more nostalgic for ms. dee's performances (kate bosworth did a great job portraying her). we shall miss ms. dee's smile and the brightness she brought to all her work.
in 1960 she married the singer bobby darin, her costar in the 1961 romantic comedy "come september," after a whirlwind courtship. the story of her marriage to darin, whom she divorced in 1967 and who himself died in 1973 at the age of 37, was chronicled in kevin spacey's recent theatrical film "beyond the sea," in which mr. spacey played darin and ms. dee was played by kate bosworth.
ms. dee followed "gidget" with delmer daves's film "a summer place" (1959), in which she was paired with troy donohue as teenage lovers whose innocent confusion about how far their relationship should go ran up against the hypocrisy of an adult world - a hypocrisy vividly embodied by their adulterous parents, played by richard egan and dorothy mcguire. a tremendous commercial success, "a summer place" was among the earliest studio films to commodify youthful rebelliousness, though ms. dee was hardly an icon of adolescent revolt with her shiny helmet of flipped hair and color-coordinated outfits...
ms. dee soon proved to be as at home in melodrama as in comedy. she moved to universal for helmut kautner's "restless years," portraying the illegitimate daughter of a neurotic woman (teresa wright) trapped in a stifling small town. she remained at universal for what was probably her finest sustained performance in certainly the most important of all her films, douglas sirk's grandly brechtian soap opera "imitation of life" (1959).
playing the neglected daughter of a driven, manipulative broadway star (lana turner), ms. dee projected a genuinely touching fragility, and convincingly turned on her uncaring mother in one notable scene. "imitation of life" was universal's biggest success of the 1950's, and prompted the studio to reunite ms. dee and turner in the garish crime thriller "portrait in black."
although universal kept pushing her into teenage roles -as the barefoot, backwoods heroine of "tammy, tell me true" (1961) and "tammy and the doctor" (1963, opposite an equally innocent young peter fonda) - her widely publicized marriage to darin made her seem less acceptable as an adolescent. in addition to "come september," ms. dee starred with her finger-snapping husband as a jealous young wife in "if a man answers" (1962) and as a maid posing as a successful publisher in "that funny feeling" (1965). in between, however, ms. dee returned to teenage roles, playing james stewart's peacenik daughter in "take her, she's mine" (1963).
we assume she's with bobby darin now. rest in peace, both of them.
addendum: also passing over this weekend: john raitt, musical comedy star (he originated the role of "billy bigelow" in the broadway musical "carosel") and father of bonnie raitt, at age 88; and hunter s. thompson, father of gonzo journalism (the legitimate pre-cursor of blogging) and role model for the character of duke in doonesbury, by his own hand in colorado.
where else to get news these days, but from a press release? and newsweek's most recent press release details how jeff "mandate" gannon plans to sue all those mean nasty blogs that used public information to expose his gay male escort business while he was "reporting" for talon news:
jeff gannon is considering suing liberal interest groups, bloggers and others for a "political assassination" that drove him from his job as a reporter for a conservative news outfit called talon news, he told newsweek. gannon, whose real name is james guckert, singled out media matters -- a "well-funded" liberal group headed by longtime "attack dog" david brock. ("everything we wrote about him came from the public record," brock replied.)mrs. skippy, a paralegal, opines that (a) gannon cannot come to court with "clean hands" (a legal concept that roughly means someone who engages in illegal activity doesn't have a leg to stand on in court), (b) the truth is the best defense (gannon actually was a gay male escort, so writing that he was is not against any law), and (c) skippy spends way too much time blogging and not paying enough attention to his wife.
(she also thinks cheney is gannon's "contact," if you know what we mean, wink wink nudge nudge).
skippy agreed with mrs. skippy, and so spent the afternoon at bed, bath, & beyond with her, shopping for bath mats.
the things we will do for journalism.
aside from their love of scottish terriers, skippy and awol both "experimented" with marijuana in their youths! reuters:
president bush indicated in secretly taped interviews he once used marijuana but would not admit it for fear of setting a bad example for children.we certainly wouldn't want our little kid to say that, because it's such a misuse of punctuation, ending declarative statement with a question mark.
portions of the tapes, recorded from 1998 to 2000 by author doug wead without bush's knowledge, were aired on abc news on sunday and published by the new york times. their authenticity was verified by the media outlets but has not been independently checked by reuters.
"i wouldn't answer the marijuana question. you know why? because i don't want some little kid doing what i tried," bush purportedly says on the tape.
he added: "but you got to understand, i want to be president. i want to lead. i want to set -- do you want your little kid say, 'hey, daddy, president bush tried marijuana, i think i will?"'
also, we don't have a little kid.
we must admit that skippy's experiment with marijuana most likely lasted several decades longer than awol's, but, to be fair, awol's experiment with fascism is far outlasting any that skippy ever tried.
schools should not be factories churning out products. schools are instititutions of education, learning, experiencing - not just testing. human beings learn at different rates and some kids, because of emotional, nutritional or biophysical reasons are not capable of learning to pass these federally required tests. and because this no child left behind act is based upon lies and obfuscations, we have some serious problems that need to be addressed before we start blaming and firing teachers and shutting schools down. the 1600 crew wants accountability in schools? well, perhaps we need some accountability in the white house first.
the bush administration is pressing california to toughen its rules for identifying failing school districts — a change that could add 310 school systems to a watch list this year and eventually threaten the jobs of superintendents and school board members throughout the state. the us department of education warned that it could cut off money to the state if california did not change the way it classified struggling districts under the no child left behind act. - latimes
the federal no child left behind act unfairly penalizes schools that have little chance of meeting its rigorous goals, school principals told members of connecticut's congressional delegation friday. four us representatives heard principals from across the state plead for changes in the controversial 3-year-old school reform law, which requires a broad expansion of testing and a shake-up of schools that fail to meet academic standards. - latimes
perhaps they should start addressing malnutrition and poverty instead
iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional problems of children in the united states. iron deficiency in infancy may cause a permanent loss of iq later in life. iron deficiency and anemia lead to shortened attention span, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty with concentration. consequently, anemic children tend to do poorly on vocabulary, reading, and other tests (parker, 1989).
several studies have found effects of hunger and poor nutrition on cognitive ability. one such study found that among fourth grade students, those who had the least protein intake in their diets had the lowest achievement scores (asfsa, 1989).
a laboratory study that involved healthy, well-nourished school- aged children found a negative effect of morning fasting on cognitive performance. a test of the speed and accuracy of response on problem-solving tasks given to children who did or did not eat breakfast found that skipping breakfast had an adverse influence on their performance on the tests (pollitt et al., 1991).
children who are hungry or undernourished also have more difficulty fighting infection. therefore, they are more likely to become sick, miss school, and fall behind in class. - national health/education consortium
studies by tufts university's center on hunger and poverty show conclusive links between nutrition and children's cognitive development. cognitive defects can result from complex interactions between malnutrition and "environmental insults" that come from living in poverty. poor nutrition has long term consequences - national argricultural library/usda
despite the national decline in child poverty and low-income rates in the united states since the early 1990s, the rates in california have surpassed those of the nation. this demographic profile of california’s low-income families highlights the high number and rate of low-income children in california. it also features several facts that challenge stereotypes about these families. for example, a large and growing majority of poor children live in working families, and as many of california’s poor children live in two-parent as in single-parent families. - national center for children in poverty
and if people remember, the no child left behind act was based upon paige's "texas miracle", which later, proved to be false.
but like so many of bush’s claims, the “texas miracle” turned out to be both extravagant and false. in june 2003 the texas education agency discovered a pattern of rampant undercounting of dropouts, dramatic overestimations of college-bound graduates and falsified reports concerning crimes in schools. test scores were inflated, successes
wildly exaggerated, failure swept into the broom closet. - in these times. wapo. rethinkingschools