Thursday, May 29, 2003

Just when I thought I had seen it all ...
John Cusack for President
Too bad he is telling them to stop.
Invasion Iran?
"Pentagon planning massive covert attack on Iran" "The Pentagon is advocating a massive covert action program to overthrow Iran's ruling ayatollahs as the only way to stop the country's nuclear weapons ambitions, senior State Department and Pentagon officials told ABCNEWS. " Whoa.
Clean Elections killed in the state Senate
Earlier today, during a budget hearing, the Massachusetts State Senate voted by voice vote to kill the Clean Elections law ["Senate votes to kill Clean Elections during ongoing budget debate"].
This is absolute despicable. The Clean Elections Law was supported by almost 70 percent of the people in 1998. I didn't support the law when it was put on the ballot; I didn't think there should be the strict qualifying contribution standards in the law which made it impossible for "normal" people to run. Advocates said during the 1998 campaign that without the qualifying contributions, the Legislature would kill the bill. Well, they killed it any way. But in reality, "normal" people can't get 6,000 qualifying contributions of between $5 and $100 from people to run for governor. Ask Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein about how hard it is for normal people to run as Clean Elections candidates. But, the people voted on it and the Legislature should have abided by the people. Same with the seat belt law that the Legislature, thankfully, were kept from implementing an enforcement mechanism into the law yesterday. However, like always, they didn't. They stuck their thumb in the eye of the voters and in a voice vote no less, so that none of us know how our senators voted. Sickening.

Liars, liars, and more liars ...
Just about everyone fibs at one time or another. A little fib here, another there, no problem. But when you start getting into the big lies, then you will have some problems. Below are some examples of some of the lies going on right now. So much for restoring "honor and integrity" to the White House, eh Mr. President?
"The Case for War is Blown Apart" The Brits are going absolutely haywire over the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.
"Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets" Surprise, poor workers and families don't get jacksh*t in the Bush tax cut.
"Was the case for invasion built on deception?"
"Lying, Like Gambling, is a Virtue: The Republican Party 2004 Playbook"
"Will new jobs-counting method affect 2004 election? Change in Labor methodology could alter perception of employment health" This article is a must read: Corporations cut over 500,000 jobs over three months and the feds decide to count military workers for the first time in history in order to doctor the job numbers. Give me a break. However, the unemployment numbers have always been doctored in one way or another. The real unemployment numbers are much higher than most people think. Accurate "unemployment" numbers would include people who aren't working, people in prison, people who were collecting but fell off the rolls, etc.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Bought and paid for?
The Center for Public Integrity [via] is reporting that FCC has been showered with nearly $2.8 million in travel and entertainment over the past eight years, largely from the same industries the agency regulates: ["FCC Takes Junkets at Industry Expense "]

Moore's site hacked!
Filmmaker Michael Moore's Web site was hacked sometime on Sunday although it was quickly fixed. World Net Daily is reporting the incident as an exclusive ["Michael Moore website in Oscar hack attack"] but it looks like the Dumb Celeb blog beat them by a couple of hours ["Michael Moore"]. They even have a screenshot of the page! The hacker placed a link to a site [""] requesting assistance in petitioning the Academy of Arts and Sciences to rescind Moore's documentary award for "Bowling for Columbine," claiming that Moore lied in the production of the film rendering it "fiction" and not a "documentary." leads to another link: ["Truth About Bowling"]; a devistating indictment by attorney David Hardy, claiming that Moore doctored numerous footage, dates, facts, and other information to promote his anti-gun violence agenda. Since I haven't seen the film, I can't really comment on the legitimacy of the specifics. But if the claims are true, this is a serious problem.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Texas democrats as terrorists, the investigation continues ...
["DOT latest to investigate search for Laney's plane; Inquiry will probe FAA's role during walkout by Democrats"]

"Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta opened an inquiry Friday to determine whether the Federal Aviation Administration inappropriately helped look for one of the Democratic state representatives who left Texas to shut down the state House last week."

Keep it coming, Houston Chronicle! You'll get the smoking gun.

More hocus pocus?
The Sept. 11 Commission was told Friday that the military was so unprepared for the attacks that it scrambled unarmed fighter jets to meet the hijacked airlines: ["Military unprepared for 9/11 attacks"]
And what have we been spending th0se trillions on all these years?

Creepy news about implanting chips in humans
"Barcoding humans: The era of implanting people with identity chips is up on us"
In the Boston Globe no less. All I can say is this stuff gives me the creeps in a major way. I guess all those people who called me a nut 10 years ago when I started talking about this openly will have to apologize.
Misuse of federal resources, shredding documents ... hmm ...
On "Meet the Press" this morning, Tim Russert had a pretty interesting conversation with four U.S. Senators involved in the intelligence committees to discuss what the hell is going on in Iraq. However, towards the end of the discussion, Russert brought up a Washington Post editorial from Friday's newspaper addressing the very strange - and dangerous - use of the Homeland Security Dept. to track down democrats in Texas who refused to participate in voting on a redistricting bill ["Questions in Texas"].
Here is the full quote that Russert asked the senators to comment on:

"Alas, how this misuse of federal security resources occurred may be a question that state records can shed little light on. The day after the search was called off, the Department of Public Safety ordered the destruction of 'any notes, correspondence, photos, etc. that were obtained' in the investigation. The department, in a statement, said it did so because federal rules prohibit retaining 'intelligence information that is not related to criminal conduct or activity' -- and the search was not a criminal matter. But are Texas authorities usually this diligent about this particular civil liberties requirement? The public deserves convincing evidence that the document destruction was routine, not an effort to cover something up ... The public is entitled to know how a Cabinet department formed to protect America from terrorists ended up looking for Democrats who didn't want to show up for work."

Shockingly - although not really - the senators sloughed off any serious comment about the editorial or the use of a terrorism organization to track down the democrats. In fact, most of the senators started giggling about the whole incident like it was some sort of pattycake game or sleepover party. And everyone wonders why a lot of us fear our politicians and don't trust the democrats who should have used this question to attack DeLay and the other nuts in control of Congress.

Just when you thought it was safe ...
While Bush campaigns for reelection, using the dead of Sept. 11 and the invasion of Iraq, as campaign props ["Bush '04 fund-raising cites war on terrorism"], the Pentagon is making moves for regime change in Iran ["Pentagon sets sights on a new Tehran regime"]. But the beauty of life is when it is all explained simply and humorously by column goddess Maureen Dowd ["Yo, Ayatollahs!"].

... but Nigella makes life worth living
Joyce Millman from the Boston Phoenix nails it right on the head this week about why some of us absolutely love Brit cook doll Nigella Lawson: ["Beauty and the feast"]

"Curvy, orally fixated, and unabashedly foodosexual, the dark-haired Lawson glides around her home kitchen in soft focus (her shows are filmed, not taped, and there’s no studio audience). Her slightly almond-shaped eyes glitter as she dips her fingers into one concoction or another and sucks them clean, emitting little mews of pleasure."

Mmm ... meow.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Herald confirms Whitley's on
["WRKO axes McCarthy and Vigue"] Dean Johnson makes an interesting point here about demographics. Whitley attracts an older crowd and the advertisers are looking for younger demos. Also, that WRKO is being "bled" by WTKK, the FM talker over at 96.9.

Texas Democrats as terrorists, Part 5
["DeLay admits to role in hunting for Democrats; DPS focus of 'potentially criminal' action"] Friggin' whoa!

"DeLay said his staff used public information at the Federal Aviation Administration to track former Texas Speaker Pete Laney's airplane."

This is outrageous! They can't do this. Is there any mechanism by which officials can be punished for misuse of the Homeland Security Department? If there isn't, there better be something put in there after this incident. Or better yet, let's just rescind the legislation. I would bet we would all truly be a lot safer then.

'Dr. Loudmouth' fan sentenced to jail for disturbing the peace
A California woman has been sent to jail for 10 days as punishment for not turning her radio down while listening to Dr. Laura "Loudmouth" Schlessinger: ["Judge sends message loud, clear"] This punishment seems kind of extreme - unless you lived next door to the woman. I don't understand why she just didn't turn down her radio, especially while listening to the truly awful Dr. Loudmouth. I also can't believe that there is nothing about what the noise ordinance is or whether she was given any warnings before being taken to court in the story.

Pols: $500 just isn't enough; and neither is the spending
Leaders in the supposed "great and honorable court" known as the Legislature had a hearing yesterday to raise the campaign contribution limits from $500 to $1,000. ["Double take: Rep floats fat campaign $ bill"] Some reforms were also added to the measure. However, this bill is an incumbency protection act. The legislators have very few challengers as it is now, without the increased donation. Common Cause and others are right to try and stop this.
On another story, also in the Boston Herald, the state senate has loaded down their version of the budget with more pork and pet projects:["Pull of pork: Senate leaders cash in as fees rise, aid sinks"] Eh, correct me if I am wrong but I thought there was a fiscal crisis going on? More cash for the racetrack industry? Sound barriers along Route 1? Give me a break. State Sen. Charlie Shannon is my state senator, and I also cover him as a newspaper editor. I guess I will have to give him a call this morning.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Pat's Back?
All Access, a business radio site, is reporting that former WRKO morning yakker Pat Whitley will return to full-time work at the station, taking over the 9 a.m. to noon time slot. Whitley, who was part of the infamous Clapprood and Whitley show - with bleach blonde, chain-smoking, political bimbo and former state Rep. Marjorie Clapprood - will replace Darlene McCarthy and Doreen Vigue by June 2. Whitley has been doing a popular Sunday restaurant show at the station since being sacked in 1998, when the two were replaced by "hot talker" and right-wing lunatic Jeff Katz. A few weeks later, McCarthy joined Katz on the morning show but both were not long for the station. I don't know what the ratings were for McCarthy & Vigue and I admit that I didn't always listen. But when I did tune in, I thought the two of them had a good rapport, decent guests and topics, and a civil conversation. Maybe that is why they are being replaced. Whitley will provide listeners with a good show, no doubt about it - he always has in the past. And while I am not one for the whole diversity, affirmative action thing, McCarthy & Vigue provided an outlet for talk fans who wanted to listen to local female talk show hosts; something that is extremely rare in Boston these days.
In other radio news, heavy metal motor mouth Rocko, formerly of WAAF and WFNX, has landed at Cleveland rock station WMMS.

Holy sh*t or Texas democrats as terrorists, Part 4
As if anyone needed any more reason not to trust the government, especially the Homeland Security Dept., check out the latest from the cops chasing down those democratic legislators in Texas ["Democrats' probe runs into wall"] Obstructing justice? Destroying records? What the hell!

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Trouble for Kerry?
WCVB Channel 5 is reporting that our junior senator would lose to President Bush here in Massachusetts ["Kerry Would Lose To Bush"] Of course, there is no specific information about the poll on WCVB's Web site or the Mass Insight Web site. As well, only 500 voters were polled, and who knows what their political registration is. Mass Insight is a pro-business think-tank that has been running the pro-MCAS radio ads for the last few months. I guess they have stepped in to polling too.

Check out this two-headed turtle found by a girl in Albany, NY ["Girl Finds Two-Headed Turtle "] I love the pathologist saying this didn't occur from manmade chemicals but probably a temperature change. Come on. It's a friggin' two-headed turtle!

NYT reporter bummed about being boo'ed
Last night, before watching the second half of the just okay Hitler biopic on CBS, I was listening to the audio of NYT Chris Hedges' mp3 speech from Rockford College graduation speech [click here] because I found it pretty cool that the Rockford Register managed to get the audio and post it online. While the quality isn't very good, you can hear a smattering of boos and horn honking during the speech. Apparently, it was a lot more raucous than that! Though I have to tell you, if it were my graduation, the last thing I would want to hear after four years of college is some pompous ass reporter lecturing me about the war. This, coming from a reporter and someone who was vehemently against the invasion of Iraq! As you can hear in the speech, Hedges is almost animated in his holier than though attitude without any regard for the fact that he is speaking to people from a suburban Illinois community who probably don't want to be talked down to by him. Rockford isn't Cambridge. I can't believe he couldn't have at least done something a little more brief or broad.

Lying NYT reporter prepares book, movie proposals
You have got to be kidding me! ["The Blair Pitch Project"] Why isn't this guy in the middle of nowhere somewhere pumping gas for a living? Arrgh!

Liberals in radio? Maybe
Left-wing conspiracy theorist Thom Hartmann is reporting on Common Dreams the latest news from the Talker's Magazine seminar and claims credit for a possible liberal radio network proposed by mega-radio owner Clear Channel: ["Move Over, Right Wing Radio - the Liberals Are Coming "]

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Accusations made by From the Wilderness ...
I woke up this morning to a link sent to me from a reader about a publication called From the Wilderness. The group has a whole bunch of stuff for sale about Bush and the government's prior knowledge to the Sept. 11 attacks []
I especially like the pdf file of the full page ad that was published in the Washington Post last week: ["Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"]
There is some pretty good stuff here. However, these tactics seem all too eerily familiar.
After the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, rightwing groups tore into the president about some of the heinous things he reportedly did - or allowed to occur - as governor of Arkansas. Attacking the Clintons became a cottage industry as videos, magazines, and books were published and sold implicating them in just about everything imaginable.
From funding the Contras and helping the CIA with their drug-running efforts out of an airport in Mena, Ark.; to allegations of rape, sexual assault, and improper use of state troopers for the procurement of sex for Clinton; to banking and criminal activities in the Whitewater failed land deal and beyond, including fraudulent Small Business Administration loans and the Park-o-Meter scandal; the allegations of financial improprieties with Tyson [Chicken] Corp. and Hillary’s manipulation of the commodities markets; and the shenanigans at the Rose Law firm, the attacks against the former president and his obnoxious wife were relentless and endless.
There was even a Clinton Death List - listing hundreds of accidental deaths around the Clintons.
These few examples don’t even include some of the things that went on while they were in the White House including the Vince Foster suicide/murder allegations; the death of DNC chairman Ron Brown; the Craig Livingstone “Filegate” scandal; the health care plan symposiums - held in secret, similarly to Cheney’s energy hearings - in which the public records still have never been released; the charges of manipulating the pharmaceuticals markets; etc.
After almost six years of attacks funded by conservative and religious organizations and spread like wildfire through talk radio advertising, the militia movement, gun owner groups, and underground magazines, Clinton finally was tripped up. He foolishly - and destructively - lied under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment depositions and lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky which eventually led to his impeachment. When Hillary appeared on the “Today” soon after talking about a “vast rightwing conspiracy” against her husband, she was pilloried for it, even though there was some validity to the claims. Unfortunately, Clinton held on and was not removed from office.
However, there was also validity to the claims that the Clintons were involved in some pretty bad things. Many people in their inner circle - from Clinton’s Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker; to Rose Law firm partner Webster Hubbell; to “hot pants” Susan MacDougal and her late-husband Jim who used the Madison Guaranty as his own personal slush fund, helping Clinton fund his campaigns and conquer the fairer gender - all faced jail time for basically knowing the Clintons and being involved in their scandals. All of this stuff has been pretty well documented in numerous books, videos, and magazine articles.
[As an aside, I would recommend people read Martin Gross’ very easy read “The Great Whitewater Fiasco” and Roger Morris’ amazing “Partners in Power” published by Henry Holt, to get a better grip on some of these scandals. You also might want to check out the more conspiratorial but still excellent “Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA” by Terry Reed and John Cummings.]
The Clintons however, sans the president’s zipper problems, escaped prosecution for their involvement in the crimes despite the overwhelming evidence. Shit, she was elected Senator of New York [!] and people still think her husband is God's gift to the Democratic Party!
However, more importantly, the media, the American public, the women's groups, and most liberals, ignored these charges and scandals with many saying they didn’t care about what the Clinton’s did in the past or who he was making semen deposits into in the oval office.
Now, we have these vile - and yet very realistic and plausible - charges against Bush and his friends, cohorts, staffers, and handlers that they allowed Sept. 11 and the deaths of thousands of Americans in order to gut the Bill of Rights, expand American imperialism overseas, and control the oil fields and drug fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. These charges - as conspiratorial as they may seem - are not beyond belief and most in the rest of the industrialized and “free” world believe the charges, hence the massive outpouring of opposition to Bush and his invasion of Iraq.

But there are some striking similarities between the charges against the Clintons and the charges against Bush.
The partisan nature of both - and the denial of both by the organizations behind each president - is the same. Democrats denied the charges against the Clinton’s; the republicans will deny - or ignore - the charges against Bush and Co. I would bet that if the democrats even hint a conspiracy that Bush allowed Sept. 11 to occur, and the American people grab a hold of it in much the same way that they grabbed on to the Clinton accusations, the military will probably be called out to restore “order” to the nation and we'll never see our much needed regime change.
Then, there is the media ignoring the charges.
Sure, the leftists involved in forwarding many of these Bush conspiracies can rightly complain about the media ignoring their pretty outlandish allegations. For the most part, these same leftists were silent about Clinton’s stuff. But absent the swirling dynamic around the sex issue, the Whitewater stuff was pretty much ignored - which elevated the “liberal media conspiracy” that rightwingers are now using to make mucho cash and manipulate the majority of normal, hardworking Americans who are seeing their lives being robbed right before their eyes. So, the leftists can complain all they want but they shouldn’t be surprised. The media, for the most part, protected Clinton for doing more than what Nixon was run out of town on a rail for.
Another similarity includes the pushing the purchase of gold and precious metals as a reliable and safe investment opportunity.
On the From the Wilderness site, there is a link urging people to buy gold. Anyone who has studied or followed the militia movement or other rightwing, conservative, or religious organizations, hear some of the same urgings.
This leads me to the last question and point: Is this just a cottage industry producing videos, magazines, and books by scheming entrepreneurs against whatever or whoever, regardless of party affiliation or political view, to make a lot of money? Or is this something more sinister? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see what happens.
Having said all this, I can truly say that nothing surprises me anymore. In this world which can often contain so much pure evil - in the board rooms, churches, state houses, playing fields, and neighborhoods of America - it shouldn’t surprise you either.

My token line for people of late has been, When Bush campaigned as a “compassionate conservative,” we didn’t know he meant “friendly fascist.” These charges against Bush and Co. don't surprise me at all. Hey, I believed much of the Clinton stuff but that was only because I was involved in the 1992 primary process and saw firsthand just how despicable Bill and Hillary Clinton and their friends were. I also examined evidence about their terrible record in Arkansas and didn’t believe them when they held hands and mouthed the words “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” Many of us were still trying to get a hold on the truth of yesterday.

Whether this group or others will be able to build the case against Bush remains to be seen. But whatever happens, one thing is for sure: The people selling videos, books, and magazines are going to make a serious chunk of money.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Liberating Iraq? Think again ...
In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off

" American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts here told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would remain in charge of Iraq for an indefinite period..."

Wow. This is amazing - unless the reporter for the NYT is making it all up, which is plausible. However, the key now is, what will the democrats do with this information? Will they take on Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Inc., as liars and murderers or will they be silent? Will they just take them on about failed missions? The invasion was about weapons of mass destruction - which haven't been be found. The invasion was also about freeing the Iraqi people - which now isn't going to happen - "for an indefinite period." It was all about the oil. And at the same time, no one knows where Osama bin-Laden is - but we know that Al-quaida is regrouping and attacking Americans in Saudi Arabia and bombing Morocco. Amazing.

Texas democrats as terrorists, Part 3
U.S. Agency to Review Its Role in Hunt for Texas Lawmaker

"The Department of Homeland Security said today that it would conduct an
internal investigation to see if there was misuse of federal resources when the
department helped Texas law enforcement agencies in a politically inspired
search for the private plane of a prominent Democratic state legislator."

Heads should roll after this but more than likely, nothing will happen.

How to take down Bush Rich Procter nails it right on the head:

"The biggest problem the Democrats have isn't Bush's popularity. It's that voters fear voting for Democrats, because Democrats look like spineless, fraidy-cat wimps. The Republicans are the bully in the schoolyard, grabbing the candy of the other kids while the Democrats stand around muttering, 'I wish they wouldn't do that. That just isn't right. Somebody should do something...'"
Here is another idea for democrats ...
Steve Gilliard from the Daily Kos makes a really good point here: George Bush raised your taxes

"...while federal taxes are being cut for some, the massive increase in state and local taxes, due in part to an utter lack of federal relief and federal budget cuts for mandated programs, are hiking your taxes. It doesn't matter if Bush cuts your federal taxes if your property and sales taxes climb, costing you hundreds of dollars more a year. Any federal refund will be more than gobbled up by local and state hikes on everything from parking tickets to hunting licenses."

Right on! And you can add into that the fact that most working people will get almost nothing in the tax package and yet still get nailed with higher state income, sales, and property taxes; as well as higher rents and living costs which come with such taxes. Bush is basically creating class warfare by transferring all the bills and costs back onto the lower classes.

Friday, May 16, 2003

More on how republicans used Homeland Security to track Texas democrats
GOP operative hinted at plane crash to lure Homeland Security into TX Dem search "That domestic intelligence capabilities would be used for partisan political purposes should be deeply disturbing to this committee and to all Americans," US Rep. Jim Turner [D]. Right on! This stuff is beyond frightening.
New Controversy as Democrats Plan Return "Americans had thought this department was to look for terrorists. Perhaps those who attacked these courageous citizen-legislators would treat them as terrorists. This is how tyranny begins," US Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D]. Whoa!

More on the secret societies
World government in action WND does the Bilderbergs!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Life is good ...
Some of Tony's very cool Red Death punch while listening to the new Frank Sinatra compilation of love songs. It's remastered romance. Hah! Life is really good right at this moment.
Deadbeat Dick Morris!
Political commentator tabbed tax delinquent Thanks to Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix for linking this to his Media Log Web site yesterday morning [I only saw it today]. Pay your taxes you filthy toe-sucking scumbag! Damn, this is so unbelievable.

Is Novak retiring?
It sure sounds like he is: 40 years of columns

Kerry won't talk about secret society
Kerry made his Bones in secret club - like Bush This story making the Herald? Wow! What's next? An expose into the Freemasons? Birchers? Council on Foreign Relations? Go Miga, Go!

Can't we all just leave him alone?
Rodney King Charged With DUI, PCP Use How much do you wanna bet that the cops are constantly on the lookout for him?

Since when are the democrats terrorists?
Homeland Security Department Used to Track Texas Democrats Well, I guess they are if they are trying to stop a bad redistricting bill or if they live in Texas!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Why America is going to hell in a handbasket, Part 1
Poll: Economy Remains Top Priority 66 percent in the poll said they couldn't identify any of the democratic candidates for president. 64 percent of democrats can't name any either. Pathetic. However, 57 percent said big business had "too much" influence in the Bush administration. So, there is hope.
WND scrutinizes Council on Foreign Relations Whoa! It is about time someone did this.
U.S. Trade Deficit 2nd Highest on Record
Cox cable will air anti-tax cut ad after all
New Study Finds 60 Million Uninsured During a Year Up from the 43 million under Clinton/Gore.
Spread of HIV Strain Began in 1940, Spurred by War Whoa!

Monday, May 12, 2003

Sunday, May 11, 2003

The latest on "Fahrenheit 911"
The Drudge Report is reporting that Michael Moore has secured millions of dollars in financing from Miramax, a Disney subsidiary, to film his documentary about the Bush family's ties to Osama bin Laden. MICKEY MOORE: DISNEY TO FINANCE NEW BUSH-BASHING DOCUMENTARY
More on Iraq: Bodine out
Senior U.S. Official in Baghdad to Be Replaced As noted by a reader, Bodine was a controversial choice in the first place since many in the intelligence community believe she hampered the FBI's investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole when she was Ambassador to Yemen.
Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq; Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons Really? Wasn't this invasion all about Saddam Hussein and how he could nuke the United States? Shocking. Really shocking.
Iraq Inc: A joint venture built on broken promises
Bush's WMD Search: No Full Speed Ahead
The Iraqi Quagmire: The Omens of Occupation are Not Good
Exxon probed over $500m Africa scandal

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Gitell's last Phoenix piece on Gephardt
Retro-chic: Missouri's Dick Gephardt injects old-fashioned populism into the presidential race
Here is a pretty good part of the article:

"Gephardt's call for an international minimum wage, on the other hand, has not received as much attention. But the proposal is almost as important to his political strategy. Under his plan, the World Trade Organization would institute a minimum wage among its member nations relative to the standard of living in each individual country. In theory, this would improve the standard of living in developing nations while also minimizing the wage disparity between the United States and other nations - which would, in turn, keep some industrialized labor in the US, a long-time Gephardt issue. 'Having an international variable minimum wage is a new idea, and one that is consistent with the trade policy that I've put out there for 20 years,' says the congressman, who opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. 'I think these are distinguishing ideas. And I think people will take a look at it.'"

Although I will always be opposed to the WTO, this is an interesting strategy. However, who would enforce the international minimum wage? Who would set it? Would it be based on American wages or de-based on Chinese wages? Unfortunately, Gephardt Web site link on the issue [] doesn't offer much information.
Sometimes, I really dislike school officials. They just can't leave kids alone: Girl gets to graduate despite purple hair

Whoa! Too bad their home page is all in French: Woman recounts sighting of Memphremagog Monster
Things are really crazy, Part 1
Gunman Captured After Ohio College Shooting
Mother holds son at gunpoint in police standoff
Man Advertises 'Son for Sale' on Internet
Teacher's aide suspended for wearing cross
Is nothing sacred anymore?
It seems Eminem will not allow Weird Al to do a video of his upcoming parody song: ["Eminem Bars 'Weird Al' Parody Video "] This is disappointing since Weird All is so funny and one of the good guys in the music business who can put a smile on any face. Isn't that what the world needs more of these days? As Sgt. Hulka in "Stripes" said "Lighten up Francis!"

Friday, May 9, 2003

Political notes:
Why Dean is still the Democrat to watch Fineman says Dean is "not nice man."
Dean may be Democrats' ideal (and the GOP's)
Gephardt's lesbian daughter comes out for campaign
The two faces of Rumsfeld
"2000: director of a company which wins $200m contract to sell nuclear reactors to North Korea. 2002: declares North Korea a terrorist state, part of the axis of evil and a target for regime change." Right on Randeep.
Cheney firm paid millions in bribes to Nigerian official More dirt on Halliburton. Where the hell is the American media on this stuff? Enough Laci Peterson! Expose the corruption!
Ari & I - Thursday, May 8: Mokhiber nails Fleischer on Bush 43 appearing at United Defense, controlled by the Carlyle Group, Osama bin Laden's investment firm where Bush 41 is a paid advisor. You are right, Russell, the whole family is unethical.
Driving while distracted could be new offense in New Jersey
This, like taxing fatty foods, is just going way too damn far.
China blames U.S. for SARS: Floats theory virus byproduct of bioweapon research
Democrats stand divided in first debate
Anthony Schinella/Random Musings

Nine democrats running for president met in South Carolina Saturday night in what has become the earliest organized debate in the history of the nomination process.

A full nine months before the first primary vote will be cast and 19 months before the next general presidential election, the debate seemed too little, too soon. And since it was broadcast at 11:35 p.m. at night on ABC - and on C-Span Sunday - most voters probably didn't see it.

There were some pretty entertaining fireworks. But despite some creative punch lines and smart-ass remarks, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of substance from the candidates. Sure, they can complain that President George Bush has shirked his responsibilities by passing unfunded federal mandates on education and terrorism. As everyone knows, state and local governments are going broke trying to meet the mandates.

However, the democrats offered no real specifics on how they would address some of these issues.

Our state's junior Sen. John Kerry held his own against the rivals but quickly became mired in a bickering match with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean over Iraq.

Since both Kerry and Dean are the frontrunners in the latest polls out of New Hampshire - the location of the first primary - it was no surprise that the two were going to scuffle.

Kerry, who supported the president, said, "At the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity. [But] when the president made the decision, I supported him, and I supported the fact that we did disarm [Hussein]."

A former Vietnam veteran and the only candidate with military service, Kerry later said he didn't need a lesson in courage from Dean.

But Dean, who was against the invasion of Iraq, countered that another dictator could rise to power in Iraq, one who could be more of a threat to the nation's security than Saddam Hussein ever was.

"I am delighted to see Saddam Hussein gone," Dean said. "But I think this was the wrong war, at the wrong time, because we have set a new policy of [preemptive] war in this country. I think that was the wrong thing to do."

A quick note to Kerry's staff: Buy the guy a bag of Ricolas. Only actress Brenda Vaccaro and WBOS DJ Amy Brooks sound good talking with a scratchy throat.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich quickly staked out the strongest progressive populist position of the nine, proposing a single-payer health care system, cuts in military spending, and calling for an end to the free trade deals that have shipped millions of jobs to Mexico and China. But he came off slightly scatter-brained - a rare scene since he comes across knowledgeable and passionate from the House floor.

So did the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Known for being bombastic and entertaining, he seemed almost subdued in his presentation. He got the biggest laughs of the night by comparing Bush's tax cuts to Jim Jones' deadly Kool-Aid, tasting good at first but ultimately deadly.

The rivals besieged Mo. Rep. Dick Gephardt's health insurance proposal, accusing it of being too expensive and a giveaway to businesses. But at least Gephardt is trying to put together a plan which is more than the others can say.

Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, positioned himself as the most conservative candidate - verbally supporting numerous republican positions and initiatives.

But towards the end of the debate, a number of candidates like N.C. Sen. John Edwards, Fla. Sen. Bob Graham, and former Ill. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who seemed completely lost during the debate, said democrats would do a better job than Bush, no matter who was elected.

"All the people around this table are good people," Graham said. "They have good values with an intelligent agenda to deal with America's problems. We aren't fighting each other - we are trying to select one of us to be the opponent of George Bush."

While the debate was entertaining, it probably left voters even more confused then they were before. Half the candidates are trying to steer the Democratic Party back to its traditional roots; while the other half are trying to continue to move the party closer to the republicans. The latter strategy - and the negativism around it - is what doomed the party during the 2002 mid-term elections.

Let's hope for competition sake that they can get it together before next fall when the primaries really start to heat up.

Anthony Schinella is editor of The Winchester Star

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Delahunt's daughter consulting for Colombia
Holy sh*t!:
"'What my father does has no correlation with what I do for the embassy," Kara Delahunt said.
Brits investigate FoxNews for bias! Wow!
Bond collapses!
I want to wish a healthy and speedy recovery for Roger Moore, one of the coolest James Bonds ever.
GOP organization refuses to drop JFK from Bush tax cut ads
The Kennedy's, are right to be furious about this. JFK did cut income taxes on the rich - from 70 percent to 21 percent - for top wage earners in 1963, and it did boost the economy. But the lowest wage earners of the time period paid barely anything. Now, the lowest wage workers pay 30 percent of their income in taxes, with no relief in sight, and corporations pay zero by opening a mailbox in Bermuda. It is offensive. If they did this to my brother, I would be livid too.
The GOP attack machine
Great piece in the Boston Phoenix from media critic Dan Kennedy who notes the latest republican strategy to keep control of the nation. While he doesn't really acknowledge similar stances and actions taken by democrats, he is for the most part correct. Republicans are relentless of late; even to the point of challenging American principles just to make a point - or keep control. It really is amazing.

Sunday, May 4, 2003

The tax cuts ...
The NYT via Common Dreams is reporting that the House version of the tax cut bill lowers the amount awarded to people who make under $50,000 ["House G.O.P. Tax Cuts Outdo Bush Plan in Favoring Wealthy"].

"The analysis by the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution found, for example, that taxpayers with incomes of more than $1 million would get an average tax cut this year of $105,636 under the plan outlined on Thursday by Representative Bill Thomas of California, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Under the Bush proposal, the average cut for these people would be $89,509. By the same token, taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 would get an average tax cut this year of $734 under the the Bush plan and $712 under the Thomas plan; those with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 would get an average cut of $482 under the Bush plan and $456 under the Thomas version. Similar disparities exist with the smaller tax cuts at lower income levels. Eighty-four percent of all taxpayers have incomes of less than $75,000."
First off, how is giving millionaires more money while the rest of us struggle to pay the rent, heat our homes, and put food on the table, a benefit to the economy? This is completely illogical. Strangely, after having a conversation about the tax cuts with a family member yesterday it took me the better part of 30 minutes to find any specific data on the Web about who would benefit and who would not. Eventually, I did. There are some good parts to the plan – like raising the child tax credit by $400 and the end of the marriage penalty – which will help joint filers and working families with children [Hey, $8 a week per child can come in handy]. But the logic that lowering the investment and dividend tax from 20 to 15 percent will grow the economy is a false one. Giving people who already have a lot of money more will not do anything to build the economy. Bush and the Republicans are essentially rewarding the rich for already being rich.
Sure, some of that tax money could be reinvested in the stock market. But as we have seen, the stock market isn't the job creation sector of the economy. Without manufacturing, small business and consumerism are the sectors that are growing the economy. How do you expand consumer spending? By giving poor and middle class people - the ones who do most of the consumer spending - more of their money to spend on consumer items. How do you expand small business? By giving poor and middle class people more money to start small businesses. As well, you give poor and middle class people more money to save in their bank accounts so that the banks can loan money for small businesses. This is a no-brainer.
Of course Congress will cry poor and say they can't afford to give large cuts to the poor and middle class. But again, this is illogical. Closing loopholes in the tax code would provide billions that could be released to the working classes.
Old Man of the Mountain collapses
Terrible news about NH's state symbol. Sometime Friday night, the Old Man of the Mountain fell apart ["N.H.'s 'Old Man of Mountain' falls, saddening locals "]. Thankfully, Gov. Benson has promised to put the mountain back together again.
Gitell moves up in the world
According to the Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix political reporter Seth Gitell has been hired to be Boston Mayor Tom Menino's new press secretary. But not before he may have changed his tune about how Menino runs Boston ["Good job hunting"]. Gitell once said Menino had "a cockiness bordering on arrogance" who has "coasted on luck for the last nine years." But a couple of years and a job opening later, Gitell wrote a flattering piece about the mayor, in which he praised Menino for having a "sharp political imagination."
Good luck Seth. The mayor can be a good guy; but he can also be a mean bastahd!

Friday, May 2, 2003

Scarborough's ratings lower than Donahue's: Is it just MSNBC?
A quick thank you to Matt Drudge [""] for posting cable ratings. Please note that Joe Scarborough, the rightwing thug and former representative, is lower in the ratings than Phil Donahue. And who has a job? Maybe it isn't the political persuasion of the host but maybe the network?

MAY 1, '03
SHEP 1.5

JULY 16 '02
KING 1.2
Guess who has a gambling problem?
The Man of Virtues Has a Vice

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Bush is ace of spades on Greenpeace cards Hah!
Newsweek: The Secrets of September 11. The White House is battling to keep a report on the terror attacks secret. Does the 2004 election have anything to do with it?
Another reason to stop flying ...
Troopers training to carry submachine guns at Logan
"A specially trained state police unit will begin patrolling Logan International Airport with submachine guns next month, making the airport the first in the country to use such heavy weaponry. The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, has purchased 30 of the guns for $2,500 each. The MP-5's have 30-round clips and a two-round burst capacity, which allows two shots to be fired automatically with one push of the trigger."
Let's hope that none of these troopers are as psycho as that state trooper who was recently arrested for allegedly dealing in cocaine, ecstacy, and doing offensive things to his wife with his gun.
Note to Kerry: Stop fibbing!
In today's Boston Globe, our junior Sen. John Kerry said that he will stop telling voters that his first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate was in support of abortion rights. ["Kerry admits to an error in boast about 1st speech"]

"As he has campaigned for the presidency, the Massachusetts Democrat has on numerous occasions stated that his maiden speech as a senator was about abortion rights. Kerry did so last month before a group of women in Des Moines, as he pledged to nominate only supporters of abortion rights to the Supreme Court. But the Congressional Record shows that Kerry's first speech in the Senate, on March 19, 1985, was made in opposition to President Reagan's push to build 21 MX missiles."

Come on Long Jawn, get it together ... and stop fibbing!

Sex slaves smuggled into N.J.
"There are several thousand Slavic women in New Jersey forced into destitute lives of prostitution and indentured servitude with little hope of escaping, experts on the Russian mafia estimated Wednesday ... According to one estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency, 45,000 to 50,000 women are smuggled into the United States each year. Approximately 7,000 of them wind up in the New York/New Jersey area."
This is unbelievable. Where is the pre-emptive strike against this kind of terror ... Right here on our own shores?
The passing of an icon:
Here is my editorial in The Winchester Star this week, a tribute to Jerry Williams:
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Radio will never be the same after the death of The Dean of Talk Radio, Jerry Williams, on Tuesday.
For those of you who didn't know Williams, he ruled the Boston airwaves for the better part of four decades and was one of the founders of the talk radio format.
At the height of his career, Williams was holding down the afternoon shift at WRKO, informing New England about the issues of the day. He pursued truth and justice for his listeners in a way that drove elected officials to their wits end.
Most people believed Williams was a conservative because of his relentless attacks on former-Gov. Mike Dukakis and Democratic hacks on Beacon Hill.
But in fact, Williams was a rare political breed - a unique combination of classic liberalism and populism seldom heard these days. He was one of the only talk radio hosts to stand against the Vietnam War or to interview black leaders like Malcolm X. President Richard Nixon had him on his enemies list and consumer advocate Ralph Nader was a regular guest over the years. So were strange callers like Grace, Queen of the Cockamamies, a crazy old lady who would call up and blather about nothing. And who could forget his annual week of sex survey shows during the summer.
During the last recession, in 1991, Williams' show was a magnet of activity, as callers laid-off from their jobs freely talked about their frustrations.
But as radio stations consolidated, Williams was pushed out of his job. The consultants said it was his age - nearly 70 - when he was bumped from his full-time gig. However, conversational, issue-based talkers were driven out of the business all across the nation, replaced by more "lifestyle" programming; shows that acted more like a mind-numbing distraction then the empowering call to action Williams offered listeners.
His last fight was exposing cost overruns on The Big Dig. As it turned out, Williams was right - but very few people were listening.
In 1996, The Dean was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, but he still joked that no one ever held a dinner for him.
Sorry Jerry, we never did have that dinner for you. But thank you for everything you did for us.
Tax increases defeated
["Reps nix tax"]
Thank God! But, the state should not be shutting down rape crisis centers ["Activists fight to save rape victim services"].
Romney and housing
While it is still too early to give praise, comments from the corner office about limiting changes to the 40B developer law are encouraging to see ["Romney backs housing law"]. The 40B law allows developers more power to ignore local zoning laws if 10 percent of a community's housing units [public and private] are not deemed "affordable." Most cities, because of Section 8 vouchers, large elderly housing complexes, and set asides, meet this requirement. But most suburban communities - with vast amounts of open space and very few housing units - do not. Towns have been fighting to kill 40B, along with buying up open space, in an effort to keep poorer families out of their communities. They say that they can't afford the higher school costs that come along with a large influx of children. But instead of getting at the heart of the matter - an education reform law that raised school costs with no significant results - towns would prefer to just keep the houses from being built. This action has limited the construction of new housing units - and limited options for working families and couples trying to buy in the market. $600,000 for a dumpy two-family in Arlington? $1 million for a cape in Winchester? Give me a break. It's insanity, but 40B needs to be preserved so that "the pain" of taking care of families - only the backbone of American society - can be shared by ALL communities.
Elected School Committee in Boston?
The issue of an elected versus appointed School Committee raised its ugly head again last night["Committee votes to close five schools"]. The last time they made a stink, the effort was completely disorganized and compromised by insiders. Let's hope activists can get it together this time and take some power away from Mayor Menino. As well, these budget cuts wouldn't be happening if Menino didn't allow all the downtown developers to escape paying property taxes through the sweetheart 121A deals. Some of those buildings pay pennies on the dollar in taxes. Shame!