s skippy the bush kangaroo: February 2006

skippy the bush kangaroo

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

fat tuesday ain't so phat

mardi gras is in full swing, but the n'awlins musicians hurricane relief fund sends us this sober reminder:

dear new orleans music lovers:

mardi gras is upon us already, and six months after hurricane katrina new orleans has proven that it will survive. but it is up to us, supporters of the city’s unique culture, to shape it into the place we love. the devastation following hurricane katrina was so deep and widespread that today, after half a year of progress, wide swaths of the city are still empty and dark. before the storm, new orleans was a city of neighborhoods. its music comes from and can help revive these communities: mardi gras indians in central city, brass bands in treme, the eclectic rock scene in the 9th ward. with your help, the musicians we love can rebuild and, through their art, drive the spiritual and economic recovery of new orleans.

this process will take years, but it is well underway. every day a business reopens, a family repairs a house. so far, nomhrf has distributed $460,000 to 775 new orleans musicians. we’ve helped connect them to the instruments and gigs they need to sustain themselves and their families. through our new orleans music community leader grant program, philip frazier of the rebirth brass band is home under a new roof and the new orleans jazz vipers will record a new album.

on march 11th, nomhrf will sponsor the louisiana philharmonic orchestra’s homecoming performance featuring branford marsalis. we have also begun subsidizing performances by groups like egg yolk jubilee and the treme brass band in local venues. we’re excited about creating and supporting gigs in new orleans: this program lets musicians recover financially from the disaster while their music helps heal the city.

stay tuned for information about french quarter fest and jazz fest events connected to nomhrf. we’re constantly updating our website, http://www.nomhrf.org/, with the latest events and updates about your favorite new orleans musicians. anyone attending south by southwest in austin can drop by nomhrf’s table at the trade show march 16th-18th our “renew orleans” stuff will be all over town.

i encourage all of you to come to new orleans and experience for yourself the undying spirit of the city and the tremendous challenges we still face. on the streets leading to the fair grounds you’ll see rotting, vacant houses next to newly renovated ones: some are waiting to be rescued, others have been willed back to life. new orleans’ music and culture can survive, but only with our continued support.

thank you for helping us reach out to so many, and for staying involved.

peace,jordan hirsch
nomhrf administrator
posted by skippy at 9:20 PM | 1 comments

Time to Send Your Comments

Tata's got the skinny on what to do to stop the sale of 300,000 acres of public lands by the Forest Service over at Blanton's and Ashton's. We're gonna run out of trees if we don't do something.

UPDATE: Scrutiny Hooligans has a few things to say about this administration land-rape as well.
posted by DBK at 7:48 PM | 1 comments

"The dog did nothing in the night time"

A commenter in another thread expressed disbelief that a story as large as the one I posted about earlier involving Gulf War Syndrome and Depleted Uranium wasn't being covered by the corporate media. Well, it isn't, and that is mighty suspicious on its own.

This is from a 2003 CNN report:
About 209,000 Gulf War veterans have filed claims with the Veterans Administration, and 161,000 of them are receiving disability payments.
That puts the number on disability at 28%, which is a huge number. By comparison, the Viet Nam War had about 10% of the veterans going on disability. Wars prior to Viet Nam had about 5% (see next citation for source).

Here is a SFBayView.com article from one week ago:
“Out of the 580,400 soldiers who served in GW1 (the first Gulf War), of them, 11,000 are now dead! By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability. This astounding number of ‘Disabled Vets’ means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served have some form of permanent medical problems!” The disability rate for the wars of the last century was 5 percent; it was higher, 10 percent, in Viet Nam.

“The VA Secretary (Principi) was aware of this fact as far back as 2000,” wrote Bernklau. “He, and the Bush administration have been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret’s report, (it) ... is far too big to hide or to cover up!”

So what is this "Moret's report"? You can find it here:
Nearly 700,000 American Gulf War Veterans returned to the US from a war that lasted just a few weeks. Today more than 240,000 of those soldiers are on permanent medical disability, and over 11,000 are dead. In a US Government study on post-Gulf War babies born to 251 veterans, 67 per cent of the babies were reported to have serious illnesses or serious birth defects. They were born without eyes, ears, had missing organs, fused fingers, thyroid or other malfunctions. Depleted uranium in the semen of the soldiers internally contaminated their wives. Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time. Women in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq are afraid now to have babies, and when they do give birth, instead of asking if it is a girl or a boy, they ask ‘is it normal?’.

I could find no big media outlets writing about this at all. I find that more suspect than the story itself. Why isn't the media debunking it if it is untrue? See, much like my skeptical commenter, I can also apply common sense and come up with a conclusion that supports my personal views. But this is no Area 51 space aliens story. CNN is reporting an astonishing rate of disabilities for Gulf War vets and that should mean something. Then there's that Moret report. Something is up and the corporate media's silence is very loud.
posted by DBK at 6:52 AM | 0 comments

there's somethin' happenin' here -- what it is ain't exactly clear...

the international atomic energy agency has a faq page concerning depleted uranium. four items stand out, three in the report:

just wondering...
posted by Jim Yeager at 6:14 AM | 0 comments

no wonder aWol likes dubai

we learn via crooks & Liars that dubai ports world, in addition to raising the security concerns of the u.s. coast guard, appears not to have fully grasped the concept of a free press. and that's assuming you'd dignify cnn with the label "free press." lou dobbs, that well known commie pinko liberal, has been no fan of handing over the operation of terminals at u.s. ports to a country that helped finance 9/11. and how did that country's wholely owned subsidiary respond - by trying to muscle cnn into shutting dobbs down. so far it hasn't worked.
posted by Pudentilla at 5:01 AM | 0 comments

Monday, February 27, 2006

how low can he go?

apparently 34% (so far).
posted by skippy at 5:27 PM | 0 comments

radio free los angeles

as atrios reminds us, when you read this hoffmania! report on arbitron ratings, remember that air america is on a teeny tiny bad reception station in socal, while wingnut radio can be heard loud and clear from baja to portland.
posted by skippy at 5:22 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to all things nba.

you heard us. all things nba.
posted by skippy at 5:20 PM | 0 comments

radio free america

tho we missed her on the al franken show starring sam seder today, we must thank reddhead of fdl for linking to the blogger formerly known as gd frogsdong's report on depleted uranium.

thanks for the hits, redd!
posted by skippy at 5:06 PM | 0 comments

blogging around

the brad blog has video of arizona elections director john nelson going off on a tirade after election integrity john brakey questions him about diebold;

allison of hartsongs directs us to a dkos story about an autistic man denied a white house tour because he was on the "national security threat list" [ed. note: our own carnacki tells us about it further down our blog];

don davis, the author of "one state, two state, red state, blue state," has a new satirical political blog, titled the satirical political report;

and here's a graphic political story (told in graphics, not particularly gruesome, don't get the definitions confused here) from a. greg reynolds over at the huffpo.
posted by skippy at 4:56 PM | 0 comments

He was a most peculiar man

And here is a most peculiar story which carries a whiff of conspiracy theory. Still, I think you might want to read about the strong family connection between the Bushes and the Hinckleys. You remember the Hinckley boy, John, don't you? Shot Ronald Reagan with a gun and nearly killed him in 1981. We almost had President George H.W. Bush quite a bit earlier than we actually got him.

Then, just to carry the conspiracy theory to its logical conclusion, read this at Spontaneous Arising. Seems accounts of this story about the Hinckleys and the Bushes are disappearing from the internets. And reprint the story at your own blogs. We'll test whether the story mysteriously disappears or not.
posted by DBK at 1:53 PM | 0 comments

sorry, wrong number...

you know how that uae-owned company is close to assuming control over operations at six american ports? according to sukabi of the all spin zone, that number's a wee bit wrong. the actual number is twenty-one.

glad we could get that cleared up...
posted by Jim Yeager at 1:02 PM | 0 comments

Depleted Uranium: big story getting little attention

There have been some corporate media reports about depleted uranium, but none of them has come close to the story reported by the FreeMarketNews.com:
The Preventive Psychiatry Newsletter has written to its subscribers telling them that the real reason the former Veterans Affairs Secretary, Anthony Principi, recently resigned was because he has been involved in a massive scandal covering up the fact that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by the use of depleted uranium, according to the SF Bay View...

...The historical disability rate amongst soldiers last century was about 5 percent, although it approached 10 percent during Vietnam. But due to the use of depleted uranium in the battlefield, 56 percent of the 580,400 solders that served in the first Gulf War were on Permanent Medical Disability by 2000. 11,000 Gulf War veterans are already dead. Now 518,739 Gulf War Veterans, almost all of them, are currently on medical disability.

You may or may not believe this report, but if those numbers are real, then they demand an investigation all by themselves. And they demand that depleted uranium be dropped as a material of war until that investigation is completed.

Not scary enough for you? Try this story on depleted uranium:
The "shock and awe" bombing campaign in Iraq caused radiation levels in Britain to rocket, according to a controversial report by a Liverpool University academic.

Chris Busby claims "uranium aerosols" from the Middle East were blown across Europe, contaminating populations thousands of miles away...

...The results were detected from testing stations at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire, and four other stations in the area.

posted by DBK at 11:28 AM | 0 comments

Another Fighting Democrat Veteran

Democratic Veteran has a letter from yet another Democratic Veteran who announces he will be running for the US Senate beginning March 29, 2006. His letter contains his description of what is happening in Iraq and he is not only unhappy about what is going on there, but he says that we, the American people, are being lied to. Whatever your position on the Iraq fiasco (and I guess that tells you my position), it is worth the read.
posted by DBK at 11:24 AM | 0 comments

From the "Yes, they do die in threes" department

Actor Dennis Weaver, loved for his role as Chester Goode on the television show Gunsmoke and his portrayal of New Mexico sheriff turned New York City detective McCloud, passed away at his home in Ridgway, Colorado on Friday from cancer. That makes three popular actors dying within a few days of one another. Very strange.

Folks around my office have been remembering Dennis Weaver for another role, the harried protagonist of the Steven Spielberg film Duel.

What many people don't know about him is that he was an ardent environmentalist and a vegetarian.
posted by DBK at 10:41 AM | 0 comments

Man with autism denied White House tour

Man with autism who lives with his mother is on a "threat to national security" list. DCDemocrat has the details to this outrage.
posted by Carnacki at 8:02 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, February 26, 2006

mad limericks

mad kane. bill frist. limerick. what else can we say?
posted by skippy at 8:47 PM | 21 comments

rip darren mcgavin

reader susan tells us the sad, sad news that darren mcgavin, one of the finest character actors to grace big screen and small, died at the age 83.

mr. mcgavin is known to millions as ralphie's father in the best christmas movie ever, "christmas story." and sci-fi cult tv fans all over remember him fondly as kolchak, "the night stalker."

tho in reality, the night stalker was the name of the first monster that kolchak, intrepid if cheap reporter for the chicago news first hunted, the title stuck for the two years the show was on. we have no proof that the recent remake of mr. mcgavin's signature show had anything to do with his demise, but we would not be suprised.


the husky, tough-talking performer went on to become one of the busiest actors in television and film, starring in five tv series, including "mike hammer," and endearing holiday audiences with his role as the grouchy dad in the 1983 comedy classic "a christmas story”…

mcgavin also had leading roles in tv's "riverboat" and cult favorite "kolchak: the night stalker." among his memorable portrayals was u.s. army gen. george patton in the 1979 tv biography "ike."

despite his busy career in television, mcgavin was awarded only one emmy: in 1990 for an appearance as candice bergen's opinionated father in an episode of "murphy brown."

he lacked the prominence in films he enjoyed in television, but he registered strongly in featured roles such as the young artist in venice in "summertime," david lean's 1955 film with katharine hepburn and rosanno brazzi; frank sinatra's crafty drug supplier in "the man with the golden arm" (1955); jerry lewis's parole officer in "the delicate delinquent" (1957); and the gambler gus sands in 1984's "the natural" that starred robert redford.

mr. mcgavin was uncredited in "the natural" (one of the best baseball movies ever made), a sign that the erstwhile actor had finally achieved universal stardom.

chris carter, creator of the x-files, has often cited "night stalker" as the inspiration for his own creepy series, and in fact used mr. mcgavin several times in both that show and "millenium."

the asspress notes an irony:

he also starred alongside don knotts, who died friday night, in the 1976 family comedy "no deposit, no return."
posted by skippy at 7:27 PM | 1 comments

say hello

to the midwest values pac blog, and captain dyke!
posted by skippy at 7:25 PM | 0 comments



suskind's dkos diary tells us:

there will be a town hall meeting with harper's editor lapham, congressman john conyers, michael ratner of the center for congressional rights, and elizabeth holtzmann, member of the house judiciary committee during watergate, thursday march 2, 8pm; town hall; 123 west 43rd street, new york city; $10.00 at the town hall, or through ticketmaster (212) 307-4100.

suskind also recommends
that buying an issue of harper's sends a financial vote through the system.
posted by skippy at 7:14 PM | 0 comments

we hope you like hearing the phrase “american concentration camps”

a growing afghan prison rivals bleak guantánamo - while an international debate rages over the future of the american detention center at guantánamo bay, cuba, the military has quietly expanded another, less-visible prison in afghanistan, where it now holds some 500 terror suspects in more primitive conditions, indefinitely and without charges.

because that’s what historians are going to call it. in your name, aWol and rummy have ensured that the adjective “american” will resonate in the same moral register as the adjective “nazi" in all future discussion of the history of the early 21st century.
posted by Pudentilla at 5:37 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 25, 2006

gather 'round, boys and girls...

we're all gonna sing along with joel and jacqui veitch of rathergood.com. this here song is called, "my cat's got knees"...
posted by Jim Yeager at 5:37 PM | 0 comments

barney fife rip


don knotts, known to millions as dep. barney fife of mayberry, and to their children as jack, janet and chrissy's landlord mr. furley, died at age 81. asspress:

knotts began his show biz career even before he graduated from high school, performing as a ventriloquist at local clubs and churches. he majored in speech at west virginia university, then took off for the big city.

"i went to new york cold. on a $100 bill. bummed a ride," he recalled in a visit to his hometown of morgantown, where city officials renamed a street for him in 1998.

within six months, knotts had taken took a job on a radio western called "bobby benson and the b-bar-b riders," playing a wisecracking, know-it-all handyman. he stayed with it for five years, then came his series tv debut on "the steve allen show."

we remember him fondly as one of steve allen's troupe of misfits, and in our opinion, he did his best comedic work on that early program.

mr. knotts passed away of pulminary and respiratory complications at cedar sinai. the world will be a less funny place for the loss.
posted by skippy at 5:20 PM | 21 comments

words to live by

those who oppose the rapists' bill of rights the south dakota legislature just passed, might want to consider three little words: barratry, champerty and maintenance.
posted by Pudentilla at 12:48 PM | 0 comments

msm cw = snafu

we read a great letter in the latimes yesterday:

your editorial "port hysteria" (feb. 22) completely misses the mark. first, you say that foreign firms that run operations at u.s. ports are "not in charge of security." but the reality is far more complex.

many of these firms have received federal port security grants from the department of homeland security. giving a country such as the united arab emirates a role in running our ports could make the job of law enforcement harder. two of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were united arab emirates nationals. dubai was a key transfer point for shipments of nuclear components that were sold to iran, libya and north korea by the pakistani nuclear scientist abdul qadeer khan. the united arab emirates remains a key financial center for terrorists.

finally, your claim that lawmakers are ignoring port security is another fallacy. since 9/11, democrats in congress have voted more than a dozen times to increase funding for port security.

sen. barbara boxer (!!!)


[ed. note: emphasis, and exclamation points, ours]
posted by skippy at 12:28 PM | 0 comments

there goes another one...

"i can tell you the main reason behind all our woes -- it is america." the new york times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a sunni stronghold in iraq. "everything that is going on between sunni and shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is america."

one can't doubt that the american objective in iraq has failed. the same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the american enterprise institute. mr. reuel marc gerecht backed the american intervention. he now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred shiite mosque in samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. he concludes that "the bombing has completely demolished" what was being attempted -- to bring sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

our mission has failed because iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 americans. the great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. no doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols...

guess which bleeding-heart liberal said that...
posted by Jim Yeager at 12:03 PM | 0 comments

fun with google

it's easy to do!
posted by skippy at 11:41 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to the brand new bag.

and, while we're at it, we are happy to add the marvelous mahablog to our permanent blogroll.
posted by skippy at 11:33 AM | 0 comments

fighting terrism's hard -- it's hard work...

not long after the 9/11 attacks, awol told all of america, "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists." that's what's known as a "false dichotomy" -- awol basically reduced the newly launched war on terror to two mutually exclusive positions and discredited the one he opposed, a cheap but effective way of forcing those who were listening to accept his position. with the other side debunked, he didn't really have to defend his own. it's an old but devious little mental trick, one which he's invoked in multiple variations on many occasions during his presidency.

but the trick doesn't work if the dichotomy isn't accepted. when awol said what he said, those images of the jet plowing into the world trade center were still hot and fresh in our minds. that was an advantage for awol -- we were quite willing to share his black-and-white views of the world. since then, the world has gotten a whole lot grayer, while awol's mindset remains as black-and-white as ever. millions of us eventually saw that we were being conned, and no one likes being conned -- and this was before the nsa's domestic eavesdropping program entered the public realm.

now awol has the damn gall to insist that we have to trust him. like hell! i'll never trust him again. when trust is gone, it's f*%k&#g gone, ladies and gentlemen -- demanding it back won't ever restore it.

(warning: reading james risen's state of war may lead to blogwhoring...)
posted by Jim Yeager at 7:17 AM | 0 comments

Friday, February 24, 2006

say hello

to the s.n.a.f.u. principle:: a boy and his blog.
posted by skippy at 11:54 PM | 0 comments

come on get happy

ever since the passing of billy cowsill, we have had this tune running in our head, dedicated to our favorite blog named after an ancient element of the universe, a domesticated mammal, and a body of water (with apologies to mad kane):

you click a blog called the “daily kos”
and you keep on coastin' till you’re surfin’ past tapped now
on past woolcott and tbogg and then digby and ntodd
and the world o’crap now
you’ll see reddhedd and jane,
loren feelin’ your pain and a muffin lovin’ dog named kobe

stop and click a few links, have a laugh, have a think
about the dumb gop
(doo-wop de do do do
doo-wop de do do
doo-wop de do do
doo-wop de do do)

firedoglake is a scene you should make
in blogtopia
just keep it in mind if you’re looking to find
a lib'ral cornucopia
learn about fitz, or how bush is a ditz
or leave a comment or two
at firedoglake you’ll be able to make
the way the firedog do.

[ed. note: no, we don't understand it, either. but look for our next great hit, "berube got back"]
posted by skippy at 7:17 PM | 0 comments

why the cal. sec. of state sucks

well, maybe not sucks...but is in violation of the law.

sen. debra bowen tells us why in her letter to bruce macpherson (the einstein who certified diebold machines when everyone else was hitting the road for the 3-day presidents' day weekend), as posted over on the clark community network:

your decision to re-certify diebold’s machines violates california elections code section 19250(a), which precludes the secretary of state from approving the use of any direct recording electronic (dre) voting system unless it has received federal qualification... as you noted in the letter from the chief of your elections division to diebold, “. . . this component was not subjected to federal source code review...it is the secretary of state’s position that the source code...should have been federally reviewed.” if it was your position on december 20, 2005, that certain components of the system had never been federally reviewed, how could you lawfully certify a system on february 17 under elections code section 19250(a) that contains these uncertified components?

your decision to re-certify diebold’s machines also violates elections code section 19251(a). as you know, as of january 1, 2006, all dre voting systems have to come with an accessible voter verified paper audit trail (avvpat)...the diebold tsx doesn’t comply with this provision of the law. instead, it provides an audio read-back of how the voter’s ballot was recorded electronically...which makes the avvpat on the diebold dre useless for blind or visually-impaired voters. given that fact, it appears diebold’s voting systems don’t comply with elections code section 19251(a) and therefore can’t lawfully be certified for use in california.

more details (and reasons this decisions suck) in her letter.
posted by skippy at 5:59 PM | 0 comments

makes me want to cry...

awol on the united arab emirates gaining control of six major american ports:

"this deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the united states."

what? no, i just have a little sand in my eye. really, (sniff) it's just sand. can you (sniff) go away now, i really (sniff sniff) want to be (sob) left alone now (sob)...

(no hop for (bawl) tom tomorrow...)
posted by Jim Yeager at 3:41 PM | 0 comments

oh really?

redheadedwoman's dkos diary tells us bill "falafel" o'reilly has started a petition to get msnbc to replace keith olbermann with phil donahue.

we are glad that mr. o'reilly is so concerned with phil's fate (his was the highest-rated msnbc show when it was yanked off the air in a fit of patriotic let's-go-to-iraq frenzy...and we all know how well that worked out).

but we wonder if there isn't another agenda to mr. o'reilly's demands to remove keith o.

as media matters points out, keith has already mentioned on air (jan. 31) the fact that o'reilly's ratings went down last year, while his ratings have gone up:

in the cable ratings for the year 2005, usa network, owned by nbc, finished three full places ahead of fox news. and as to msnbc, since february of 2005, our respective ratings tell a very interesting story. in what was described today by news corp. as quote "the money demo," countdown's ratings are up 34 percent, but o'reilly's have shriveled by 21 percent. bill's obviously among our new viewers.

hm, start a petition to get the people taking your viewers fired? great idea!

sign our petition to keep georgia tech sports blog off the internets!
posted by skippy at 12:49 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to the common man.
posted by skippy at 12:12 PM | 0 comments

finally, a republican sex scandal even the msm can understand

abramoff was the pimp; foreign interests like russia’s energy companies and the government of malaysia were the johns; the republicans in congress and aWol were the whores.

taxpayers just got screwed. laura has the details.
posted by Pudentilla at 5:15 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 23, 2006

msm maybe kinda could possible be listening (we think)

scripps howard news service: time to impeach bush...

those blasphemously "liberal" media outlets have once again deprived the american public of widespread coverage of nothing less than startling poll results. the non-partisan polling firm zogby international last month found that by a margin of 52 percent to 43 percent, americans want congress to consider impeaching president bush "if he wiretapped american citizens without a judge's approval”…

yes, the poll results have been reported on a few web sites. but they have not exactly been trumpeted by the blow hard boys on the fox news channel, nor even "front-paged" on the new york times. nor have they appeared as the lead story on any of the evening newscasts. from the right to the left, this poll has been ignored _ as has a recent gallup poll showing a majority of americans consider the bush presidency to be a failure. why? because it's seen as risky…

but grassroots passion for impeachment prompted by this president's circumvention of congress and the constitution is what's driving growing public support. and america's transition from "bush fan" to "bush foe" is being ignored by the mainstream media.

surprisingly, the media did anything but ignore the republican-led impeachment movement against former president clinton, even when the public was decidedly more supportive of that president than it is of the current one

in december 1998, after the house voted to send articles of impeachment to the u.s. senate, 59 percent of americans told washington post/abc news pollsters they disapproved of the house action. a minority of 40 percent said they favored it. and that followed months and months of nonstop, primetime, mainstream media coverage of clinton's lie. if anything, the constant chorus of conservative calls for clinton's ouster coupled with unending coverage of same should have pushed the public into a more solidly pro-impeachment stand. it did not. but the media did not relent. (for the record, i wrote at the time that clinton should step down.)

it's nice to see someone in the corporate top-down media say what blogtopia (y!wctp!) has been saying for months now.

and here's an article from the brattleboro reformer showing grassroots at work:

a newfane resident's call for the impeachment of president george bush is echoing in rockingham.

maya costley, who lives in saxtons river, heard about newfane selectboard member dan dewalt's town meeting article asking rep. bernard sanders, i-vt., to open impeachment hearings against the president.

if newfane voters approve the article, dewalt is going to send sanders a letter asking the washington politician to open the impeachment hearings.

"i was inspired when i heard about that," costley said about dewalt's push. "a light turned on and i said 'this is what we need to do.'"

costley was too late to have the topic debated at rockingham's town meeting this year. she wants to gather enough signatures to call a special election.

she said she is also raising enough money so that the town will not have to fund the special election.

democracy at work.
posted by skippy at 10:30 PM | 0 comments

pardon us while we geek out

we've not seen the ninth and latest incarnation of dr. who (played by christopher eccleston). now that will soon be corrected.

fellow whovians: who's your fav doc?

addendum: here's the results of the bbc's poll of favorite docs, and here you can take the quiz to find out which doctor who are you?
posted by skippy at 10:23 PM | 0 comments

latimes examines diebold problem...on page 39

the good news is, the latimes exposes sec. of state macpherson's rush to certify the diebold voting machines in california elections, and the problems they still pose. the bad news is, they do it in the business section, 39 pages into today's edition:

as the last two presidential elections demonstrate, ballot results are of profound interest to everybody — including determined hackers with partisan agendas. therefore, it's proper to demand of the high-tech machines replacing the paper ballots and punch cards of yore that they be technologically bulletproof. the diebold systems certified by mcpherson — an optical scanner that reads hand-marked ballots and a touch screen that totes up votes directly — fall well short of that standard.

how do we know this? it's the conclusion of a panel of computer security experts mcpherson commissioned specifically to study diebold's software. three days after they issued their report feb. 14, mcpherson gave diebold thumbs up, noting that the panel regarded the software problems it found as "manageable" and had said the risks could be "mitigated" if election officials took care.

but the experts were plainly troubled by flaws in diebold's systems. the panel, which included david jefferson of lawrence livermore national laboratory and david wagner of berkeley, observed that the removable memory cards used by diebold were vulnerable to undetectable acts of tampering.

the panel found 16 software bugs that could cede "complete control" of the system to hackers who might then "change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates, change the races being voted on," and even crash the machines, bringing an election to a halt. hackers wouldn't need to know passwords or cryptographic keys, or have access to any other part of the system, to do their dirty work. voters, candidates and election monitors wouldn't necessarily know they'd been rooked.

well, we expect there was plenty more important news for the front page of the paper.

addendum: not only does brad blog also examine the latimes piece, he quotes several other news organs about the california, maryland and florida vote machine fiascos.
posted by skippy at 10:09 PM | 0 comments

how are the creationists going to explain this one?

not one, but two blogs, media needle and pharyngula, tell us that scientists have found the fossils of an extinct animal that was heretofore unknown.

media needle, who calls the animal a beavottopus:

scientist have found a fossil of a mammal, part beaver, part ottter, part platypus that lived in china 164 million years ago.

but scientists are reporting today that they have uncovered fossils of a swimming, fish-eating mammal that lived in china fully 164 million years ago, well before it was thought that some mammals could have spent much of their lives in water.

pharyngula, who calls it the jurassic beaver, has a diagram of the creature's skeleton and a cladogram showing its rightful place in the various phyla. we personally never even heard of the word "cladogram" but we impress ourselves by remembering how to correctly use "phyla."
posted by skippy at 9:36 PM | 0 comments

headline of the week...

"uae gave $1 million to bush library":

...the uae owns dubai port co., which is taking operations from london-based peninsular and oriental steam navigation co., which operates six u.s. ports. a political uproar has ensued over the deal, which the white house approved without congressional insight.

the donations were made in the early 1990s for the library, which houses the papers of former president george bush. the current president's father.

the list of donors names sheik zayed bin sultan al nahyan and the people of the united arab emirates as one donor in the $1 million or more category...

here's some fun facts: sheik zayed put up investment money for the bank of credit and commerce international in 1972; the ruling family of abu dhabi owned an ever-increasing percentage of bcci during the 80s; and bcci was finally shut down in 1991 for, among many other crimes, supporting terrorism.

but i'm certain sheik zayed's underlings intentionally left him uninformed about that last part while it was occurring. in america, that's called "giving the president plausible denial"...
posted by Jim Yeager at 9:35 PM | 0 comments

mad snow

yes, we are running out of clever titles for posts about mad kane's parodies, thanks for asking.

but here's her latest poem about the dubai port deal: snowing in hell.
posted by skippy at 9:22 PM | 0 comments

More adventures in dining

From The Telegraph of London:

Situated in an elegantly restored house beside Beijing's West Lake, it is China's first speciality penis restaurant.

Here, businessmen and government officials can sample the organs of yaks, donkeys, oxen and even seals. In fact, they have to, since they form part of every dish - except for those containing testicles.
posted by Carnacki at 8:27 PM | 0 comments

Adventures in Indian cooking

Here's a funny tale if you want a break from the political news.
posted by Carnacki at 1:15 PM | 0 comments

and other lessons

Our friend Tata sent us a link to this story about some Department of Homeland Security thugs and how our freedoms are being eroded. And also how you do not f*** with librarians. A librarian will f*** you up bad, Jack. And then she'll make you stop talking.
posted by DBK at 10:27 AM | 0 comments

skippy calls the california secretary of state

trying to keep this diebold story on the front page of blogtopia (a phrase which yes! we coined!) skippy called the office of bruce macpherson, the california secretary of state this morning.

skippy used the number (916-653-6814) found on the sec. of state contact page.

at this point we will direct you through the short phone menu, to save you frustration.

if you call, press #6 for other departments, and then press #3 for elections (skippy was lucky, he guessed the correct digits to press the first time out).

a lady answered the phone, and skippy told her who he was, and that he was calling to express disappointment with sec. of state macpherson for his decision to certify diebold voting machines last week, and that skippy hoped mr. macpherson would de-certify the machines.

the lady, after listening to skippy, said, "hold on, ma'am, let me transfer you to someone who can take your call."

skippy was a bit nonplussed at being mistaken for a woman, but this is california, we are not anything if not flexible.

another nice lady answered the phone, and skippy repeated his statement. the woman said thank you very much, she would take the message.

before she hung up, skippy asked her name, which was marsha. skippy asked if she had gotten other phone calls, and she said "a lot." skippy asked if she could guess how many agreed with skippy's position, and marsha said "all of them."

so you are all doing good work out there, but more needs to be done.

call macpherson. and call or email (or visit in person) the 5 senators on the rules committee. and it doesn't hurt to write letters to the editor.
posted by skippy at 9:18 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to blue gal and mound of blue dykes.
posted by skippy at 8:18 AM | 0 comments

new blood - a good thing?

know the only thing that really surprises me when I hear that the u.s. government had a secret deal with dubai ports world?

that it's not haliburton.
posted by The One True Tami at 5:32 AM | 0 comments

dolphins may be smiling....

the gulls compel me to take pictures of them
Originally uploaded by absentmindedprof.
but most of santa barbara's landlubbing residents are not.

2004 sb's median for homes increased 17% to $1,010,000 ($1,206,000 in jan. '05)
posted by SantaBarbarian at 12:15 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hunger in America

faith & grace
Originally uploaded by stoneth.

More than 25 million Americans turned to the nation's largest network of food banks, soup kitchens and shelters for meals last year, up 9 percent from 2001.

Those seeking food included 9 million children and nearly 3 million senior citizens, says a report from America's Second Harvest.

"The face of hunger doesn't have a particular color, and it doesn't come from a particular neighborhood," said Ertharin Cousin, executive vice president of the group. "They are your neighbors, they are working Americans, they are senior citizens who have worked their entire lives, and they are children."

...The surveys were done before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. After the hurricanes, demand for emergency food assistance tripled in Gulf Coast states, according to a separate report by the group.

The new report, being released Thursday, found that 36 percent of people seeking food came from households in which at least one person had a job. About 35 percent came from households that received food stamps.

Cousin said the numbers show that many working people don't make enough money to feed their families. She said the food stamp numbers show that the government program, while important, is insufficient.

"The benefits they are receiving are not enough," Cousin said.

Government reports also show the number of hungry Americans increasing.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last year said 13.5 million American households, or nearly 12 percent, had difficulty providing enough food for family members at some time in 2004. That was up from about 11 percent in 2003.

...Some local food-assistance groups saw big jumps in their numbers of people seeking food, despite an "improving" economy.

In Washington, the Capital Area Food Bank served more than 383,000 people last year, a 39 percent increase over 2001, said Kasandra Gunter Robinson, the food bank's spokeswoman.

Of those people, nearly half had jobs, she said.

- asspress

posted by SantaBarbarian at 11:52 PM | 0 comments

your account has been compromised

from allhatnocattle.net via best of the blogs.
posted by skippy at 9:05 PM | 0 comments

aol on awol

an aol unscientific poll:

which way is bush headed?
down, he's a lame duck
up, he can still accomplish his goals

what rating would you give him overall?
posted by skippy at 7:07 PM | 0 comments

damn that cbs! relying on scientific facts again!

cbsnews blog public eye discusses why 60 minutes didn't take the "fair and balanced" approach to its story on global warming last weekend by giving both sides of the question air time. apparently, it's because one side of the question is based entirely in fantasyland:

"there is virtually no disagreement in the scientific community any longer about global warming," he says. "the science that has been done in the last three to five years has been conclusive. we talked to the chairman of the national academy of sciences (note: this word was incorrectly transcribed and has been corrected), ralph cicerone. jim hansen at nasa, who's considered the world's leading expert in climate change. the people in the story, who are well respected in the field. there's just no longer any credible evidence that suggests that, a, the earth is not warming or, b, that greenhouse gasses are not the cause. what you do see in the data again and again and again is this almost lockstep increase between the levels of co2 and the rise of temperature in the atmosphere. and the climate models that predicted these things happening 15 years ago have proven to be accurate."

"it would be irresponsible of us to go find some scientist somewhere who is not thought of as being eminent in the field and put him on television with these other guys to cast doubt on what they're saying," he continues. "it would be difficult to find a scientist worth his salt in this subject who would suggest this wasn't happening. it would probably be someone whose grant has been funded by someone who finds reducing fossil fuel emissions detrimental to their own interests."

[ed. note: emphasis, and applause, ours]

gee, refusing to put on an opposing viewpoint which has no basis in reality just because it's an opposing viewpoint? why, that's...that's...logical, adult, and scientific! how dare they call themselves a news organ??

(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to lefthandedman's dkos diary for the link!)
posted by skippy at 5:36 PM | 0 comments

a solid majority of americans think iraq war a mistake

if we use the same criteria that the repubbbs used 2 1/2 years ago to give awol the support of a "solid majority" of americans, then that same solid number thinks the iraq war is a mistake. ed&pub:

more americans than nearly ever before now say the war in iraq is a "mistake" for the united states, according to a new gallup poll. that figure now stands at 55%, up 4% point since late january. only once before was the figure higher, at 59%, and that was during the period of overall pessimism right after hurricane katrina hit.

thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to americablog for the link!
posted by skippy at 5:14 PM | 0 comments

our oscar prediction

due to time constraints, the academy will combine the awards for best picture and best documenatry. and the winner will be:

march of the brokeback penguins.

[ed. note: be thankful we 86'd the joke about the bloggers in love movie: "blockquote mountain"]
posted by skippy at 5:04 PM | 0 comments

don't worry, it's naturally-occurring anthrax

chuck simmins reports on a case of anthrax in nyc.
posted by skippy at 4:52 PM | 0 comments

by the way, a kid with a laser pen can hack california's elections now

brad blog points out that there's no logical reason for diebold machines to have wireless infrared technology ports built into the hardware...except to be able to hack elections without a trace:

one such way to change the data on such cards -- which, until now, has been little discussed by elections officials and security experts -- is the wireless infrared (irda) port (pictured above) and software protocols built in to diebold's accuvote tsx (touch-screen) voting machines and the microsoft windows ce operating system which it uses.

a few members of the national institute of standards and technology (nist) -- which works with the the federal authorities at the election assistance commission (eac) to develop electronic voting guidelines -- have tried to warn about the dangers of this built-in off-the-shelf technology. they reported in october of 2005 that "the presence of this technology makes it possible to upload to the voting system anything that is desired after the final 'logic and accuracy' test have been performed, thus totally compromising the system."

be sure to phone cal. sec. of state macpherson's office and email the 5 cal. senators on the rules committee to lodge your complaints against the certification of these daleks into the california voting process.
posted by skippy at 4:43 PM | 0 comments

Rev. Lowery on aWol and black funerals

Rev. Joseph E. Lowery electrified supporters of Coretta Scott King with his eulogy for her. His eulogy also offended the followers of aWol, who squirmed in his seat like a petulant child behind Lowery.

aWol's followers criticized Lowery.

Yesterday, Lowery spoke out.

From The Washington Post:

Responding to charges that he used Coretta Scott King's funeral to mount a partisan attack on President Bush, the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery said yesterday that his conservative critics do not understand black funerals and are seeking to insulate the president from independent views.

"The Republicans who are criticizing me don't understand the [tradition] of a black funeral," Lowery said in an interview. "At a black funeral we always celebrate the life of the deceased and take up the causes that the decedent championed. Mrs. King's cause was peace and racial justice, and I challenged the living to do likewise."


But, Lowery said the criticism reflects a feeling among Bush's advisers and defenders that the president should not be confronted in public by people who hold opposing views -- a sentiment, he said, that explains why the audience at so many of Bush's events is so carefully screened.

"The problem is the Republicans always want to protect Bush," Lowery said. "They don't want to expose him to independent-thinking audiences. They want to shelter him from the truth."

He added: "The Republicans played politics during Reagan's funeral. Look how political it was. They are just trying to shelter Bush from reality."

There is a lot of sad truth behind that.

God bless Rev. Lowery for his work and his courage in speaking truth to power.

When the old lion roared, the weak trembled and the faithful cheered.

SisTwo had a beautiful post recently on Coretta Scott King's funeral. She included a link to a well-written column by conservative columnist Peggy Noonan, whose assessment differed from that of the other aWol follower's:

It was gracious, full of applause and cheers and amens. It was loving even when it was political. It had spirit, not rage. That's part of why it was beautiful.

posted by Carnacki at 12:10 PM | 0 comments

a woman's place is in the lt. governor's office

kmareka.com interviews elizabeth roberts, the first female lt. gov. of rhode island.
posted by skippy at 10:35 AM | 0 comments

human wrongs

amelia field of human rights first sends us this detailed study into the deaths of 20 detainees in the us's custody (pdf file).
posted by skippy at 10:32 AM | 0 comments

any port sale in a storm

julia of sisyphus shrugged directs us to steve gilliard, who points out that sec. of treasury john snow, who signed off on the deal to let the uae company run the american ports, is due to make a gazillion dollars off the deal.

why are we not surprised?

on the same subject, here is the reaction's reaction (and a fine culling of reports from blogtopia (and yes! we coined that phrase!)).
posted by skippy at 10:30 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to king of zembla
posted by skippy at 10:09 AM | 0 comments

More on the sale of public lands

Three fine pieces on the proposed sale of 300,000 acres of public lands by the Forestry Service are here and here and here. Naturally, it has been approved by the same administration that wants to sell our port security to countries that sponsor and support terrorism.

You didn't want to have trees around anyway, did you?

Hat tip to Tata for her research (and a public apology to Tata for not posting this sooner. Mea maxima culpa.)
posted by DBK at 9:07 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

rip billy cowsill

billy cowsill, the lead singer for the real inspiration for the partridge family, died saturday in calgary, canada, at the age of 58. the latimes:

the former teen star's death came less than two months after the body of his brother, barry, was discovered on a wharf in new orleans on dec. 28. the 51-year-old, a new orleans resident, had been missing since hurricane katrina hit aug. 29…

he was a teenager in 1965 when he and [brother] bob, who also played guitar, were joined by younger brothers barry (on bass) and john (on drums) to form the cowsills…

still convinced that the wholesome group could be a commercial hit, mercury producer artie kornfeld set up an independent recording date and talked barbara cowsill into contributing vocals on "the rain, the park and other things." released by mgm in fall 1967, it rose to no. 2 nationally and sold more than 1 million copies.

the brothers' siblings susan and paul soon joined the group, which was known for its bouncy rhythms and sweet harmonies. among the cowsills' other hits are "we can fly," "indian lake" and their version of the theme from the rock musical "hair”…

the cowsills even had a chance to star in their own situation comedy based on their musical lives.

but family patriarch william "bud" cowsill, a retired navy officer who began managing the boys' band in 1965 and later served as its "creative director," rejected the idea after learning that shirley jones, not barbara, would star as the mother. "the partridge family," which turned david cassidy into a teen idol, aired from 1970 to 1974.

call us cheesy, but we had fond memories of listening to "indian lake" on our transistor radio when we were youngsters. the cowsills music was schmaltzy and forgettable, but also energetic and optimistic, things music should be.
posted by skippy at 10:14 PM | 1 comments

say hello

to larvatus prodeo.
posted by skippy at 9:52 PM | 0 comments

the only reason we invited co-bloggers to our site...

...was to get nominated for a 2005 koufax award for best group blog.

and it worked.
posted by skippy at 9:46 PM | 0 comments

big mac

sen. bowen's office responded to our email with the following:

last friday afternoon, as millions of californians were preparing for their presidents' day holiday weekend, secretary of state bruce mcpherson quietly re-certified diebold electronic voting machines for the 2006 elections.

to rush through this re-certification, the secretary of state had to go back on his word -- twice -- and violate federal and state law in the process. compounding this travesty is that the re-certification is based solely on the views and recommendations of people on the secretary's payroll.

this is unacceptable!

urge secretary of state mcpherson to reverse his decision on diebold -- email him today!

the secretary of state based his decision on what he called an "independent audit" -- which was really a review of the diebold machines conducted by a board that he appointed himself. the results of this study were kept secret from you and every other california voter until after the secretary made his decision to give diebold the green light.

there was absolutely zero public review or input before this decision was made. that's not how you restore public confidence in california elections.

why is secretary mcpherson so intent to rush through this diebold certification?

where are the results of tests conducted by the federal "independent testing authorities?" mcpherson told us last december that he wouldn't even consider diebold's application until those tests were done.

and why didn't mcpherson allow experts and the general public to review and comment on this latest report before he decided to flip-flop on the issue and re-certify these diebold machines?

urge the secretary of state to reverse his decision to re-certify the diebold machines -- and schedule a public hearing to independently review new and damaging information about diebold's machines!

this report determined that "there are serious vulnerabilities" with the diebold machines "that go beyond what was previously known."

don't you think that californians deserve voting systems without "serious vulnerabilities?"

urge secretary of state mcpherson to stop the re-certification of these diebold machines until we know the facts -- send him an email today!

so, just to recap the facts here:

  • the secretary of state's own rushed secret study points out "serious vulnerabilities... that go beyond what was previously known," yet the secretary decided to re-certify the machines.
  • there has been absolutely no opportunity for public comment or review on these latest findings.
  • the secretary of state told us he would wait for test results from the federal "independent testing authorities" before acting on diebold's request to re-certify its machines. he didn't do that.
  • the secretary of state said any voting machine in california would have to meet all federal laws, rules, and regulations. these diebold machines fail that test -- especially by using "interpreted code" that is banned by the election assistance commission.
  • the secretary of state said any voting machine in california would have to meet state law. these diebold machines violate state law because they don't provide an audible "read-back" of the machines' auditable paper trail for blind and visually-impaired voters.
what could secretary of state mcpherson possibly be thinking?

tell secretary of state mcpherson to put his decision to re-certify the diebold machines on hold now!

thanks so much for your help on this critical issue. the integrity of california's state elections system is at stake.


debra bowen
california state senator

p.s. i'm pursuing many other actions as well, including compelling voting machine vendors and the secretary of state to appear before the state senate. but right now it's important for secretary of state mcpherson to hear from all of us directly, since it was his decision on friday to certify diebold's machines -- and it is his responsibility to hear the facts and comply with the law.

you can use the letter sen. bowen has on her site, or use the california secretary of state home page to contact mr. macpherson.

addendum: gary boatwright, commenting on our post at mydd, graciously provides us with the snail mail and bricks and mortar addresses for the 5 senators on the rules committee, and he suggests that nothin' says lovin' like a walk in from the coven...so pay your senator an in-person visit, and let them know how much this means to you! (and if you can't, then remember to use their phone numbers and email addresses to convey your feelings!)
posted by skippy at 6:21 PM | 0 comments

United Arab Emirates Company Unconcerned with Port Security

An article on Forbes.com describes an unsettling attitude at the Dubai World Ports company, which received Bush administration approval to take over contracts at six east coast ports, including security for the ports:
Meanwhile, P&O has said it is unperturbed by the political opposition to its takeover, and DP World has stayed tight-lipped about how it would approach any looming legal action. It did tell us though, that the security of its U.S. ports was ultimately in the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard, regardless of who owns P&O.

In other words, they'll have the port security contracts, but they aren't terribly concerned about security. Shouldn't the company in charge of port security actually take responsibility for port security?

*Cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's
posted by DBK at 1:05 PM | 0 comments

those who do not learn from history class are doomed to repeat it

sisyphus shrugged wonders why david okrent doesn't bother to read his own columns before giving speeches.
posted by skippy at 9:46 AM | 0 comments

this just in on the Wire ...

One of the benefits of attending the very lovely blogger party skippy wrote about earlier is that I got to see beloved friends like s. himself, she who is known as Leah and radiates positivity, the angelic & beautiful cookie jill, the ever engaging David Ehrenstein (David, I re-rented Performance and a Donald Cammell documentary from Cinefile after our talk), and my very dear heart Ellen of The Broad View.

Another was meeting new friends like Brad Friedman. Yet another was that I was reminded how much I enjoy reading CorrenteWire - even though (neurosis alert!) when they wrote up the party, they listed all the swell people who attended - but didn't even mention moi! "Who can remember them all?" they write. The "them all" there, that would be me, I guess ...

... and even though, when they wrote this quite-interesting piece - which says that the dominant right-wing emotion is "fear" and asking what the Left's should be - they don't even credit me with my immediate suggestion: "post-coital bliss." "As was raised at the party ..." they say. Raised by ... "oh, who can remember them all?"

Everybody's had that feeling: I'm invisible! What am I, chicken liver? Hel-lo! Jeez, if I still drank ...

So then, what is my emotion? Insecurity and self-doubt.

Actually, I know "bliss" is not exactly an emotion - but I'll take it over most other options. Neither is "hope" (one of CW's suggestions), so I guess it's back to the drawing board. I wrote up a suggestion for Wesley Clark once: Fun & excitement. Would anybody buy that from the Left? Anyhoo ...

... I'll go see my therapist now while you guys read Corrente Wire. ("You see, I was a shy and retiring child, much giving to reading, painting, and listening to music while the other kids ...") Some hide their neuroses. Others go to the keyboard. (Besides, I'm kidding - sorta!)
posted by RJ Eskow at 9:27 AM | 13 comments

those who cannot learn from history

u.s. reclassifies many documents in secret review - washington, feb. 20 — in a seven-year-old secret program at the national archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the state department and others photocopied years ago by private historians.

are doomed to repeat it. it's hard work, making the american people dumber, but aWol's going to do it.
posted by Pudentilla at 5:00 AM | 0 comments

Monday, February 20, 2006

more separated at birth

courtesy of the huffington post:

mary matalin and malicifent, the wicked queen from sleeping beauty?

posted by skippy at 5:04 PM | 0 comments

fun with google

we take all the hits we can get. but we're rather distressed to be the seventh result on this google search.
posted by skippy at 5:02 PM | 0 comments

skippy writes to the rules committee

here is our letter to the 5 california senators on the state rules committee, asking for investigations into the workings of digital election machines, as called for by ms. in la (reported by us here):

we write to you to urge you in the strongest possible terms to issue subpoenas to individuals involved in the election voting machine industry and certification insiders, forcing them to report actual workings of the voting machines to the election committee.

so many reports have documented the fallibility of digital voting machines, including the recent uc berkeley report which states:

“harri hursti's attack does work: mr. hursti's attack on the av-os (optical scanner)is definitely real. he was indeed able to change the election results by doing nothing more than modifying the contents of a memory card. he needed no passwords, no cryptographic keys, and no access to any other part of the voting system, including the gems election management server."


"interpreted code is contrary to standards: interpreted code in general is prohibited by the 2002 fec voluntary voting system standards, and also by the successor standard, the eac's voluntary voting system guidelines due to take effect in two years. in order for the diebold software architecture to be in compliance, it would appear that either the accubasic language and interpreter have to be removed, or the standard will have to be changed.

california can only run software certified by the federal ita process, by state law. the "berkeley team" is saying flat-out that such certification was not done correctly, therefore the entire diebold product line is illegal under state law." (emphasis ours).

we urge you to do everything in your power to force the officials of this industry to comply with an investigation into the feasibility of using these machines without fear of possible and easily-obtained election fraud.


if you are a resident of california, we suggest you write (or call) the 5 senators whose numbers are listed here.
posted by skippy at 4:14 PM | 1 comments

say hello

to progressive prof and the wreckroom and the satirical politcal report and hackenblog.
posted by skippy at 3:47 PM | 0 comments

if this shtetl is rockin' then don't bother knockin'

Via Liberal Oasis I've discovered jewschool, an indispensable site for young lefty Jews like we were as kids. Via jewschool I've discovered Radical Torah, a good site for spiritually inclined lefty Jews of all ages.

Tom Tomorrow's latest is also particularly good.
posted by RJ Eskow at 10:49 AM | 0 comments

Life in the war zone

Chickenhawks like Jonah Goldberg shriek and bleat that the media doesn't report the good stories happening in Iraq. Perhaps they should go and take Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi's place.

By the end of last year, we had strict security measures in place and reviewed them each time we left the house, whether to conduct an interview or to buy milk. As a rule of thumb, we never stayed anywhere for more than half an hour because any longer would allow time for a kidnapping to be orchestrated.

Drivers made sure our armored car and "chase" car -- which follows the first car as a surveillance vehicle -- were running smoothly. A guard loaded his AK-47 rifle and secured a handgun to his waist. Haqi, our translator and office manager, tested the walkie-talkie radios and placed the first-aid kit in the back seat. I draped myself in a head-to-toe black abbaya covering, the traditional attire of conservative Arab women, and sat in the back.

The goal was to be invisible, to not be noticed as a foreigner when stuck in traffic, behind a red light or whizzing through Baghdad streets. You just never knew who was sitting in the car next to you. Would they pull out a gun? Would they spot the car and chase you down the road? Would they drag you out? Who would sell you out? Would they have mercy on your Iraqi staff?
posted by Carnacki at 7:35 AM | 0 comments

The Mystery of the Quail Hunt

Empty wheel has a don't-miss diary looking at the connections and curious history of the participants of Dick Cheney's misadventure.
posted by Carnacki at 7:20 AM | 0 comments

isn't that sweet

bush hands over control of u.s. ports to a country that supplied 9/11 hijackers.
anything else i can do for you, sultan?
don't worry, citizens, the terms of the deal are classified.
posted by George at 1:42 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, February 19, 2006

separated at birth?

lisa loeb


nana mouskouri?
posted by skippy at 8:41 PM | 0 comments

skating scoring skunked

after the 'skategate' scandal of the 2002 olympics in salt lake city, when the french judge admitted (and then later retracted the admission) that she had been pressured into favouring the russia pair over the canada pair of sale and pelletier, the international skating union (isu) overhauled the scoring system - uk guardian

this has confused most viewers of this year's games. for instance, the american pair's scores from tonight were 5.5, 4.9, 72, b+, a happy face, thumbs up, a squirrel, and a "rully, rully wicked, dude."
posted by skippy at 8:35 PM | 0 comments

300,000 Acres

awol has a plan (well, does he really ever have a plan?) for the US Forestry Service to sell-off 300,000 acres of public lands because there are a lot of logging industry executives who get wood at the thought of all that wood.

There was a time when a song like This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land meant something. Now it should be "This Land Is Corporation Land". In the world of real conservatives, industries survive through innovation and efficiency. In awol World, they just have to pay off the right politicians via crooked lobbyists to get the government to reach into the taxpayers' pockets or hand over the citizens' property.

A very good posting on this ripoff is here at Scrutiny Hooligans. There is time to do something about it, but it will take every voice.
posted by DBK at 7:10 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to quietly making noise.
posted by skippy at 4:10 PM | 0 comments

diebold, die!

you may or may not know that california sec. of state bruce mcpherson has approved the use of diebold voting machines in our state.

if you think this is a ludicrous idea, and you live in the golden state, ms. in la is urging you to make 5 calls to stop it.

the 5 calls (actually, 4 calls and an email, as sen. debra bowen asks you email her office) are to the members of the rules committee:

senator don perata (chair) d
(916) 651-4009
district office (510) 286-1333

senator jim battin (vice-chair) r
(916) 651-4037

senator roy ashburn r
(916) 651-4018

senator debra bowen d
email only debra@debrabowen.com - (ms. bowen is mounting this case and will be busy preparing, emails are welcomed)

senator gilbert cedillo d
(916) 651-4022
ms. in la reminds you to be polite yet firm. (and she invites us to visit her blog, who's counting)

we suggest you make those calls/emails today.
posted by skippy at 3:37 PM | 0 comments

the birdshot heard round the world


reddhead at fdl brings us to next week's newsweek story about dead-eye dick's penchant for not telling anybody anything...including that he just shot a guy in the face:

in human terms, it is perfectly understandable why cheney was in no mood to talk to reporters then or for several days thereafter. it is a little odd, however, that he did not speak to president george w. bush until monday morning, 36 hours after the shooting, and just as peculiar that bush did not call him. the talking heads immediately speculated that bush had somehow cooled on the vice president for his handling of the shooting incident, for pushing the invasion of iraq, for becoming a lightning rod for administration critics.

cheney is often lauded as that rare no. 2 who, having no political ambition for himself, can give his all to the president. but cheney's aloofness from the ebb and flow of politics and public opinion has apparently dulled his senses in a way that is not helpful to his boss, who has been busy lately defending his administration from criticism that it was badly out of touch during hurricane katrina.
posted by skippy at 3:16 PM | 0 comments

there is no 'i' in 'so cal'...but there is in 'social'!!

skippy was pleased as punch to attend the third irregular socal bloggers' social last night, this time sponsored and hosted by about a third of correntewire.

it was planned, catered and arranged by the lovely leah, and hosted by mjs (and the beautiful mrs. mjs). skippy (sans mrs. skippy, who is feeling a bit under the weather) met lambert, chicagodyke (who is lovely and opinionated, just how we like our dykes!) and shystee (we think it was shystee, it might have been rdf...we actually learned everyone's real name, and had trouble placing their screen names; at the last social at brian lense's home, skippy insisted everyone wear name tags with their real and blog name, but brian's house was so dark it was an exercise in futility).

among the guests were bradblog (and his girlfriend mrs. blog), political animal, david e. of fablog, our own fabulous cookie jill, who was driven up from santa barbara by the gracious ellen nagler of the broadview, and our other own rj eskow, mark kleiman, and some others skippy whose names and blogs was unable to learn.

a great time was had by all, and everyone all pretty much agreed that repubbbs are destroying the world, so it's time to party as much as possible before it's too late.

we strongly recommend that bloggers in all areas make the effort to physically meet like-minded bloggers and socialize as much as possible. not only is it an effective way of maintaining a constiutency and trading ideas, it's fun and you can get drunk, too!
posted by skippy at 2:53 PM | 11 comments

big mac

sen. bowen's office responded to our email with the following:

last friday afternoon, as millions of californians were preparing for their presidents' day holiday weekend, secretary of state bruce mcpherson quietly re-certified diebold electronic voting machines for the 2006 elections.

to rush through this re-certification, the secretary of state had to go back on his word -- twice -- and violate federal and state law in the process. compounding this travesty is that the re-certification is based solely on the views and recommendations of people on the secretary's payroll.

this is unacceptable!

urge secretary of state mcpherson to reverse his decision on diebold -- email him today!

the secretary of state based his decision on what he called an "independent audit" -- which was really a review of the diebold machines conducted by a board that he appointed himself. the results of this study were kept secret from you and every other california voter until after the secretary made his decision to give diebold the green light.

there was absolutely zero public review or input before this decision was made. that's not how you restore public confidence in california elections.

why is secretary mcpherson so intent to rush through this diebold certification?

where are the results of tests conducted by the federal "independent testing authorities?" mcpherson told us last december that he wouldn't even consider diebold's application until those tests were done.

and why didn't mcpherson allow experts and the general public to review and comment on this latest report before he decided to flip-flop on the issue and re-certify these diebold machines?

urge the secretary of state to reverse his decision to re-certify the diebold machines -- and schedule a public hearing to independently review new and damaging information about diebold's machines!

this report determined that "there are serious vulnerabilities" with the diebold machines "that go beyond what was previously known."

don't you think that californians deserve voting systems without "serious vulnerabilities?"

urge secretary of state mcpherson to stop the re-certification of these diebold machines until we know the facts -- send him an email today!

so, just to recap the facts here:

  • the secretary of state's own rushed secret study points out "serious vulnerabilities... that go beyond what was previously known," yet the secretary decided to re-certify the machines.
  • there has been absolutely no opportunity for public comment or review on these latest findings.
  • the secretary of state told us he would wait for test results from the federal "independent testing authorities" before acting on diebold's request to re-certify its machines. he didn't do that.
  • the secretary of state said any voting machine in california would have to meet all federal laws, rules, and regulations. these diebold machines fail that test -- especially by using "interpreted code" that is banned by the election assistance commission.
  • the secretary of state said any voting machine in california would have to meet state law. these diebold machines violate state law because they don't provide an audible "read-back" of the machines' auditable paper trail for blind and visually-impaired voters.
what could secretary of state mcpherson possibly be thinking?

posted by skippy at 12:33 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to limoll the online magazine.
posted by skippy at 11:49 AM | 0 comments

straight from the horse's ass...

i didn't know kenneth lay had his own website:

in february 2001, i stepped down as ceo of enron. i was confident that enron was financially strong, highly profitable, growing rapidly, and had an unassailable competitive advantage over its competitors.

yet, in less than ten months, on december 2, 2001, enron would be forced to file for bankruptcy protection. this would result in thousands of employees being laid off, loss of retirement benefits and savings for thousands more, substantial losses for shareholders, creditors, and suppliers, numerous other tremendous hardships and indeed, personal and business disasters.

although many events contributed to enron's bankruptcy, the actual triggering event for enron's bankruptcy was the loss of confidence by the financial community and by enron's trading counter parties, which, although made somewhat fragile by other circumstances, began a collapse by early november 2001 that ultimately could not be arrested or reversed.

the notion that enron's cfo might be involved in illegal activities provoked the loss of confidence, causing the run on the company's treasury. this business was dependent on trust -- and the actions of andrew fastow and his cohorts irreparably breached that trust. the result for enron was catastrophic...
when you ignore fact #1, that ken lay sat on enron's board of directors; fact #2, that, in all companies, the primary function of the board is to look after the best interests of the shareholders; fact #3, the agendas of the board and that of the shareholders are almost identical; fact #4, that c-level managers like andy fastow usually have auxilliary agendas that don't necessarily mesh with those of the shareholders; fact #5, the board is inescapably responsible for monitoring the actions of the c-level crowd on behalf of the shareholders; fact #6, "plausible denial" is not an option for anyone sitting on a board of directors (see fact #5); and fact #7, ken lay utterly failed to carry out his duties as a member of the board...

then yes, his rationalization for enron's collapse makes perfect sense.

hey, look -- an enron quiz!
posted by Jim Yeager at 4:37 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 18, 2006

see what the boys in the smoke-filled backroom will have

tho the brou-ha-ha over paul hackett's withdrawl from the ohio senatorial campaign has died down, the persistent rumors of backstage manipulations have not. david goodman in mother jones tells us:

hackett had demonstrated his ability to shake money from donors during a january fundraising roadshow in california and new york. but he soon discovered that top democrats were attempting to cut off his money. the hosts of a beverly hills fundraiser for hackett received an e-mail from the political action committee of rep. henry waxman (d-calif.) that concluded, “i hope you will re-consider your efforts on behalf of hackett and give your support to sherrod.” waxman’s chief of staff, phil schiliro, said the e-mail was only sent to a handful of people and that “it probably came from a suggestion from the sherrod brown campaign.”

michael fleming, who manages internet millionaire david bohnett’s political and charitable giving, was one of the recipients of the waxman email. bohnett has given to hundreds of progressive candidates, but fleming says, “this was the first time i had ever gotten an email or communication like that. i find it discouraging and disheartening. it’s unfortunate that the powers that be didn’t let the people of ohio figure this out. we should be in the business of encouraging people like paul hackett and viable progressive candidates like him to run. the message instead is don’t bother, it’s not worth your time.”

sen. schumer was also reported to be trying to turn off hackett’s cash spigots. no one would confirm this to me on the record. but veteran political activist david mixner, who described himself as “a fanatically strong supporter” of hackett and who helped sponsor a new york fundraiser, confirmed that he “received calls from a couple people in congress urging paul hackett to withdraw or not to contribute money to his campaign. the reasons ranged from he can’t win, to he’s too controversial, brown has more money, is more centrist, and more appealing. it was that inner beltway circle crap,” said mixner. “they are people who have no idea what’s going on in the country but believe they know everything.”

mixner added, “i don’t think it’s inappropriate to call me. what’s inappropriate is that the people calling me were the same people who asked him to run, and now they wanted to push him out. that's what made this unique.”

hackett was infuriated by the subterfuge. “i felt like i got fucked by the democratic party because they enticed me in and then they pulled the rug out from beneath me. it sounds eerily familiar to sending in the military to iraq, which was a misuse of the military, and then not giving them what they need to fight.”
tho reid has publicly denied telling donors not to contribute to hackett, we'd still like his, and schumer's, response the above allegations.
posted by skippy at 3:01 PM | 0 comments

losing my political religion

digby, after profiling a conservative who's been ostracized for disliking awol, discusses how the current political clime is less politics and more religiosity:

george w bush has won two elections with the unquestioning support of conservatives. yet, in his first term he made it quite obvious that he was not a conservative in any sense that i understood conservative. from out of control spending to federalizing education to nation building and messianic foreign policy, he has simply not been conservative by any common definition of the term. none of that stopped conservatives from virtually worshipping the man. it is only now that he has become unpopular and his policies are failing that his brand of conservatism is being criticized on the right.

george w. bush will not achieve a place in the republican pantheon. conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. by liberalism.

dave neiwert chimed in on this discussion yesterday and wrote a very intriguing post in which he posits that the modern republican party might more aptly be called a political religion, which, as it happens, is an acknowledged sociological designation. he writes:

i wonder if there isn't another way of framing this that can help progressives get a handle on what we're dealing with. particularly, i wonder if it wouldn't help to think of the discrete conservative movement as a political religion.

here's the wikepedia entry, which is actually rather accurate on the subject:

in the terminology of some scholars working in sociology, a political religion is a political ideology with cultural and political power equivalent to those of a religion, and often having many sociological and ideological similarities with religion. quintessential examples are marxism and nazism, but totalitarianism is not a requirement (for example neo-liberalism can be analysed as a political religion).

... the term political religion is a sociological one, drawing on the sociological aspects of religion which can be often be found in certain secular ideologies. a political religion occupies much the same psychological and sociological space as a theistic religion, and as a result it often displaces or coopts existing religious organisations and beliefs; this is described as a "sacralisation" of politics. however, although a political religion may coopt existing religious structures or symbolism, it does not itself have any independent spiritual or theocratic elements - it is essentially secular, using religion only for political purposes, if it does not reject religious faith outright.
obviously, this movement embraces religious faith outright, which may give it certain advantages over more secular political religions, since it so readily taps into ordinary people's deeply held beliefs and exploits them…
david brooks says that the left is stalinist. i assume that's what sullivan's title refers to as well. communism is often considered a secular religion, although that clearly underestimates the huge power of state coercion. if the american left is stalinist, it certainly has been extremely ineffective. after all, conservatism now dominates all three branches of government. and i can't help but find this argument amusing considering that the primary critique of democrats is that we have no convictions and are constantly fighting amongst ourselves. we are remarkably undisciplined totalitarians.
ok, we admit it: we only quoted that section to see how many nested blockquotes we could legitimately insert into a post (and let's hope blogger chokes if it tries to eat this one!)
posted by skippy at 2:49 PM | 0 comments