Saturday, March 01, 2008

Paragliding Chihuahua

Yes, that's right. I said "Paragliding chihuahua" ..

And then you have the pigmother dachshund.

Friday, February 29, 2008

For the Girls / For the Chicks

For the Girls..
This one's for the girls. [thanks to Kristin Breitweiser]

"We need the best Commander in Chief to get us out of the foxhole -- not merely complain that we shouldn't be in the foxhole."


Here's two hipsters who more than likely won't be voting for Ralph

For the Chicks (or maybe the dudes..)
This one's for the chicks [thanks to Bill Maher at Facebook]

I don't think it matters that Ralph Nader's running. It didn't matter in 2004. How many people even remember he ran in 2004? So it's silly to make a big issue of it. At this point, Ralph's just in it for the chicks... or the dudes... always hard to tell with him. But, there can be no doubt, he's got a point about how narrow our presidential debates have become. He's the wrong messenger, because even most of the people who used to like him now hate him, but no candidate is talking about single payer health care, which 59 percent of doctors support. No candidate dares talk about cutting the bloated military budget. Gun control. A carbon tax. Gay marriage. Cloning supermodels. We won't have a debate about any of these things. That's bad for the country, isn't it? In fact, isn't Ralph Nader's platform still the best one? Couldn't Barack Obama, with all his political gifts, be borrowing more from Nader's platform? That would be real change.

Eric Brewer on Bush's Day at the Museum

I'm encouraged to read that, during recent daily press briefings in D.C., Dana Perino hasn't been totally ignoring Raw Story's Eric Brewer.

....I finally got to ask Dana a question.

My inspiration for the question was the great surge of hope I felt when I heard President Bush claim last week that he had recently learned something: "A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive."

He was in Kigali, Rwanda, talking about his visit to the genocide museum there, and although the remark was part of his explanation for why he has not intervened in Darfur, I thought the "clear lesson" might apply equally to other countries. Iraq, for instance. So I asked Dana:
"Last week, President Bush said that during his visit to Rwanda, he learned the clear lesson that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. How will the President's newfound insight affect his Iraq policy?"
Sadly, it appears, not very much. The rest of our interchange...

[Here's the rest]

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why Is It Always The Media's Election?

Fred Armisen and Amy Poehler
on last Saturday's SNL
posing all-too-realistically as
Sens. Obama and Clinton

In the article The Media's Election by Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, we see how the corporate-owned media play a large, often unnoticed role in U.S. national politics.By defining and choosing the issues, corporate MSM "acts as gatekeeper in setting the limits for political discussion and sometimes even candidacies for public office." Because John Edwards was not by definition a "marginal" candidate, MSM rejected his candidacy by "a combination of ignoring him and subjecting him to much more negative reporting than the other major contenders."

Mr. Weisbrot suggests that Sen Obama "knew how to define his candidacy within the limits of the media's constraints and still have a mass appeal."
"..From the beginning of his campaign he mostly avoided challenging powerful interests, and talked about "getting all sides to the table" and overcoming "decades of bitter partisanship." The media and punditocracy lap this stuff up like honey.
The column focuses on Obama as a crafty politician who says what he needs to say in order to sway voters in any given circumstance while avoiding media scrutiny (thanks to what appears to be the media's own temporary adoration and pedestal-placing of him). Obama is expected to once again shapeshift from his brief days as the sudden populist in Ohio and he'll likely..
"..once again hew closer to the media boundaries on their "sensitive" issues such as trade. In a different time and place this could risk alienating his base and suppressing turnout, but with the economy going down the tubes and -- no matter what the likely Republican nominee Senator John McCain thinks -- an unpopular war, this election should be the Democrat's to lose."
Mr. Weisbrot believes the general election campaign will "make any previous comments from the Clinton campaign or photos of Obama in a turban look mild by comparison."

I agree, and I don't think it's going to be as easy for Obama to convince the general public that having made a speech against the idea of the Iraq war in 2002 will provide him with convincing reason as to his judgment about what he's done in the Senate since he got there (in which most of his time's been spent running fast and furiously for POTUS)..and where to proceed from this day forward on U.S. foreign policy.

I've learned enough about so-called "cake-walks" in the past eight years to understand there's no such thing as any election that's "yours to lose"....not when we know that the fickle MSM is pulling the strings. A perpetual skeptic, I'm also not the true believer nor am I the Obamamaniac that so many of my fellow Democrats have fallen into becoming. He doesn't make me cry or see dead people or mystic visions. I have my personal faith for that, thank you.

I'll support Sen Obama's candidacy if it turns out that my fellow Democrats choose him as their nominee, but let's not kid ourselves. I think he's going to be in for the battle of his oh-so-brief political lifetime in the national spotlight when he butts up against John McCain. Corporate-owned mainstream media are not going to be Barack Obama's best pal and defender if and when he becomes nominee. You saw MSNBC's Tim Russert begin a new kind of crusade against their darling last night with the debate-question about the Jewish vote as it related to Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And so it begins....


Related: CNN has the video of Russert's line of questioning where Obama and Clinton discuss whether he rejects Louis Farrakhan's support. observe Hillary Clinton schooling Sen Obama on how to properly react to such a tough line.

Aubertine Wins. Will Wind-Energy Win in NY State?

Maple Ridge Wind Farm, Tug Hill Plateau, Northern NYState
Photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

The ripples from NY State Senate Democratic candidate Darrel Aubertine's historic special election victory for State Senate in the 48th District last night against Republican Will Barclay is being felt all the way to Albany, where Republicans have controlled the Senate for four decades. At the Daily Kos website, an Albany-based Democratic activist spreads the joy at the thought that Democrats, while heading toward November, are now one seat closer to taking control of the state Senate where the GOP's majority is now down to two seats [32-30].

The 48th District includes voters in the Northen NY counties of Jefferson, St.Lawrence, and Oswego. The region has more than its share of rural familes who have had trouble meeting the cost of high fuel bills generated by the need to heat their homes througout the tough Upstate winter.

One sometimes-contentious debate between the two candidates has been the respective stands on which they've taken over the region's energy demands, which have continued to increase although no new large power plants are being sited and one lies dormant in the balance between indecision and expired law. While both candidates supported alternative energies that were not limited to wind and nuclear power, I think that Aubertine was the more convincing spokesperson for the benefits of wind power in Upstate New York and less willing to accept business-as-usual on the Energy issue in NY State.

Alternative/Green Energy Solutions Win the Day in New York

In New York, there are currently six operating wind farms, five under construction, and at least 30 more planned. As you can imagine, New York has been inundated with proposals to build wind turbines and wind turbine ‘farms’ or ‘parks’.

An article from the Watertown Daily Times by Jude Seymour [quoted below] explains the difference on where the two candidates, Barclay and Aubertine, stood on Green energy-project regulation, involving Article X, a NY State Public Service law designed to streamline the siting review and approval process for major electric generating facilities, which has expired and is waiting to be newly authorized.

Power producers say the measure, which is to replace the expired Article X, is needed to attract investment in plants and to avoid electricity shortages. The ISO has warned that parts of the state could face shortages if new plants are not built by 2012.

Article X has given the state authority to override local objections to power plants and, since the law expired, State lawmakers have been unable to agree on a new bill in which major divergence ofopinion betweenRepublicanand Democrat is on the fuel sources. The Democratic-controlled Assembly has wanted to lower the plant-threshold from plants of 80-megawatt capacity to plants of 30 MW capacity. Democrats also aim to allow more local/community input on what will happen in their communities and wish to pay more regulated attention to Environmental Justice issues. Last May, the Republican-controlled NY State Senate passed a measure allowing nuclear and coal plants while the Democrat-controlled State Assembly allowed only coal plants that did not increasing global warming.

I believe, after looking at his stand on the Energy issue, that Aubertine's win is a vote of public confidence and acceptance for more wind power and other alternative energy projects in the region:

Last May, Mr. Aubertine voted for an Assembly bill, A8697, that would have revived Article X. At the time, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said the bill made "critical improvements to the law by enhancing health, safety and environmental protections as well as significantly improving community participation in siting decisions."

Any power plant that met or exceeded a 30-megawatt threshold would be subject to Article X, the bill said. That would include all proposed wind farms in Jefferson County.

Mr. Barclay voted against the bill, citing what it excluded.

"We would love to get another nuclear facility in Oswego County," he said. "With the Article X bill, it excluded nuclear power. It would have gone through the standard permitting process. That could make it more difficult to site a plant in Oswego County."

The Assembly bill also excluded waste-to-energy facilities and coal facilities that would not reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to a May memo by the Independent Power Producers of NY Inc.

"By excluding these types of generating facilities from the Article X siting process, the bill limits the state's ability to obtain fuel-diverse electricity supplies to help maintain electric system reliability, and the bill creates competitive disadvantages among companies and between technologies," the memo noted. A Senate companion bill, S5908, passed that house but remains in the Assembly Energy Committee.

Mr. Aubertine said he "would certainly consider" a modification to the Assembly bill to make the siting process more fuel and technology neutral.

- Jude Seymour

When it comes to new "green" power generation, there will always be the NIMBY problem ["not in my backyard"]. For environmentalists, the inescapable paradox to obtaining alternative energy is the eventual need to place the green energy-producers on virgin land. In last summer's NY Times, author Henry S.F. Cooper, who is clearly speaking for the NIMBYs among us, suggested a legal alternative regarding Article X, and that is to:

"..give New York’s commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation a veto on approving turbine siting. All these bills are steps in the right direction; they have critical elements that are worth incorporating into the new Article X legislation, to assure burdened upstate towns that community character and historic and scenic resources will be protected."

Monks Seek To Break Wind in Mohawk Valley

Pardon the odd take on words, I mean absolutely no disrespect. The "break" of which I speak is related to the NIMBY issue and to Henry S.F.Cooper, who is quoted directly above. Added to the recipe of NIMBY is certainly a religious freedom issue. This dispute isn't taking place in Darrel Aubertine's 48th District, but is happening further South in NY State, precisely in Jordanville, a lovely town with lush rolling hills in the Mohawk Valley region where there's a plan to erect 68 wind-turbines within view of Otsego Lake.

From The Little Falls Times, January 7, 2008:
[..] JORDANVILLE — The Holy Trinity Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is opposed to the 136-megawatt Jordanville wind project.

Its opposition to the proposed Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA wind farm received a boost Friday when the nonprofit Preservation League of New York State added the campus to its annual list of the state’s most endangered historic resources, “Seven to Save.”

Opponents to wind-power near Jordanville say:

[from article]: "The 49 wind turbines, some as close as one mile from the monastery’s 750 acres of agricultural and scenic lands, would impact the views from landmarks and places of prayer. It is for that reason that Holy Trinity Monastery was named to Seven to Save."

Proponents for windpower say:
[from article]"..Others contend that the turning rotor blades will not disturb the serenity that the monks and pilgrims have long sought.

“It’s disappointing that some opponents of clean energy have abandoned honest argument and are now using underhanded tricks in order to block the development of clean energy in New York State. There is simply no reason that the Holy Trinity Monastery cannot coexist with a wind farm for decades to come. Clean energy projects can and should be developed in concert with the protection of New York’s landscape and historic structures. This project is good for Jordanville, good for Central New York and good for New York State. The community of Jordanville should reject this dishonest attempt to curb the development of this important project in the effort to make New York green again,” said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Albany-based Alliance for Clean Energy New York, in a written statement.

F.O.R.E. (Friends of Renewable Energy), a southern Herkimer County-based citizen’s group dedicated to leading the way for green energy, issued a statement that said the issue is not the monastery, but those who are using it as a pawn to “squash any and all wind farms that try to come into the area so that visitors and residents won’t have to see them, in the distance, if the conditions are right and there is nothing in the way.”

From Cooperstown, NY's Freeman's Journal July 6, 2007:[...] "...the monks at Holy Trinity Monastery, the Russian Orthodox Church’s spiritual headquarters overseas, have begun a cycle of “molebin,” prayers of supplication somewhat like the Roman Catholic novena, and as many as a dozen people from the community have been attending.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Iraq/Recession Campaign

At the website today, you'll see this:

As long as we keep pouring that money down the drain in Iraq, we’ll never solve our economic woes. We won’t have the money to take care of people hurt by the economic downturn, or to invest in making our economy more competitive.

That’s a message that pundits and politicians need to hear.

A polling by has shown that, 69-to-25, U.S. swing voters have expressed their strong support for ending spending for the Iraq war.

This morning, former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards joined top anti-Iraq war leaders to announce the launch of a new nationwide, multimillion dollar campaign aimed at shining a light on the cost of war in Iraq. The new Iraq/Recession Campaign was launched with a teleconference. Along with the Edwardses on the teleconference were John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress, Eli Pariser, executive director of; Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, Jon Soltz of, among others.

As economic concerns weigh heavily on the minds of Americans, opposition to President Bush's reckless war in Iraq continues to grow. The massive cost of the war in Iraq- hurtling toward one trillion dollars - has increased demand for a strategy to bring U.S. troops home. The Iraq/Recession Campaign will highlight the majority of Americans who want to see leadership on investing in critical priorities at home and establishing real security throughout the world.

Speaking from her home in North Carolina, Elizabeth Edwards gave a reason why she was lending her name to this campaign. She said that it's important for the American people to understand, if they feel that the economy is their 'Number One issue,' that ending the war in Iraq should be their 'Number One issue.' Her husband, 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards agreed, saying that, wherever he went in this country over the course of his now-suspended campaign, there was great angst expressed among voters about their personal economic security. Issues like gasoline costs, healthcare costs and availability, rising college costs, and mortgage foreclosure crises loomed heavily on voter's minds. Former Senator Edwards stressed that voters will have a clear choice this Fall, the choice being between a Democrat who will end the war and focus on the economic anxiety that exists and a Republican - which will likely be John McCain - who will continue the Iraq war and the failed foreign policy of the Bush administration. [See Ryan Teague Beckwith's Edwards: Iraq, economy tied,]

Incidentally, John McCain said, just today, that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, he said... "Then I lose. I lose." [AP]

John Podesta of the Center for American Progress cited the falling dollar, the price of oil at times exceeding over $100 per barrel, the staggering federal IOU's due to the need to restore a nearly broken military and to take proper care of our nation's veterans, huge deficits, and stagflation the likes of which have not been seen since the 1970s as reasons for voter anxiety and deep concern about the millions the taxpayers are forced to spend each and every day that we remain occupying Iraq.


On other media websites, the word is.....

The Hill puts an Obama-spin on the new Iraq Recession campaign, but not one spokeperson involved on the campaign has said this morning that the Iraq/Recession campaign is about Obama or Clinton or even strictly about Democrats. It's about the American people and their economic priorities. See: Edwards joins Obama supporters in new anti-war effort by Walter Alarkon, The Hill

John Nichols at the Nation is still wondering if Edwards will endorse either Democratic candidate and he also talks about how Edwards is defintely not waiting around for inspiration to strike, but is instead "endorsing" an approach to the 2008 race.

CBS' Vaughn Ververs provides us with: Edwards Joins Effort To Link Iraq, Economy

The Guardian's Elana Schor tells us that Edwards speaks out against Iraq war spending, calling the group of anti-Iraq-occupation campaigners "natural allies for either Clinton or Obama during a general election race against McCain."

The Swamp at the ChiTrib has more. (and this philosophically relates to the quote I use from MoveOn's Eli Pariser at the very end of this blogpost.)

Send a Letter to the Editor

At, you can easily send a Letter to the Editor: The cost of the war and urgent needs at home

Questions for John McCain

During the January 24, 2008 Republican presidential debate, a question taken from an audience-member summarized what some are calling the Iraq recession -- the connection between the US's presence in Iraq and recession back home. has a question for Senator and likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain:

CNN's Political Ticker Showcases the ad today.
See: targets McCain on Iraq

The Caucus [Leslie Wayne,NYT Political Blog] talks about the ad.

Marc Ambinder on McCain's "100 Years" in Iraq. Listen to Senator McCain trying to clarify '100 years' here.


Recession and Iraq

Some will likely debate and perhaps dispute the connection between economic recession and the war in Iraq. This posting by NYT columnist Paul Krugman isn't directly related to the new Iraq-Recession campaign, but he gave an opinion in late January about the talk of economic recession and how the Iraq War relates (and doesn't relate) directly to U.S. economic woes. One very important point Mr. Krugman makes is that Iraq would be exporting more oil now if we hadn’t invaded — a million barrels a day, perhaps — and that would have kept today's high oil prices down somewhat.

Have You Heard About the Bush-Legacy Bus?

One new bit of information I got this morning (and what I thought to be rather amusing for some reason) is Brad Woodhouse's explanation of the "Bush Legacy Bus" project. The Washington Post has explained the project, virtually a rolling museum, as only part of an ever-growing effort for critics to chip away studiously at the legacy of the President who has said, time and time again, that he believes history will judge him ever-so-kindly when the smoke of the many unnecessary fires he's created has dissipated to somehow magically reveal a transformed Middle East.
A negative verdict on Bush also animates the work of the Bush Legacy Project, launched recently by the liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change, which announced plans to spend $8.5 million over the next year to keep the public focused on what it considers the administration's many failures. [WaPo, Michael Abramowitz, February 4, 2008]

I guess it's the name "Bush Legacy Bus" that's caused me to mentally visualize a short yellow bus carting around all of the simpleton-like Bushisms and pathetic misleadings that have passed from the President's clumsy lips over the past eight years.

The Wall Street Journal's Susan Davis says,
Americans United for Change will spend an estimated $8-$9 million on their Bush Legacy Project, a "national multi-faceted effort to define President George Bush’s legacy," and seeks to define McCain as an extension of that. Additionally, USAction said they will spend $10 million on their campaign that includes Iraq, health care, the budget and education. Jeff Blum, executive director of the group, discussed a recent USAction-commissioned poll that showed 74% of respondents stating the country is on the wrong track and that the war and the economy are top issues of concern. "The results show people are angry. They want to get out of Iraq to invest in America’s future," he said.


Progressive Voters Give John and Elizabeth Edwards Credit and Thanks

NCDem blogs about the new campaign at the website Daily Kos. See: Edwards and Obama Endorsers, MoveOn & SEIU, Launch "Iraq/Recession" Campaign

A February 19, 2008 quote from Eli Pariser,

As of today, we've spent over $495 billion in Iraq.

With the economy in the tank, think about what that money could do here at home: Cover millions of kids who don't have insurance, or help folks who're losing their jobs and homes. Instead, it's supporting a failed occupation in Iraq. More and more Americans are making the connection between the billions we've spent over there and the crumbling economy here at home. In fact, a new AP poll shows that most Americans think ending the war is the best way to help the economy.

But pundits still talk about the war and the economy as two unrelated things. That's why we're launching our "Iraq/Recession" campaign—our push to make sure that politicians and pundits understand what voters already know: As long as we keep pouring that money down the drain in Iraq, we won't have the money we need to solve our economic woes.

MacKinnon: Don't Fight Poverty!

At the Baltimore Sun, Douglas MacKinnon, former White House and Pentagon official is ideologically resigned to the belief that the poor will always be with us. He tells us that he's humbled and gratified that John Edwards has focused on Poverty during his 2008 presidential campaign. Sounds complimentary, doesn't it? At the same time, MacKinnon says he believes that Poverty should never seriously be the central part of any leader's political campaign.

" someone who was humbled by abject poverty, I appreciate the fact that, whatever his motivation, he has brought much-needed attention to an issue that begs for a constant media spotlight. It is gratifying, too, that upon his exit from the presidential campaign, Mr. Edwards said that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama "have both pledged to me and, more importantly, through me to America, that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency."

MacKinnon directly proceeds to turn off his so-called humble gratitude and appreciation, shifting gears to accuse John Edwards of political spin because of MacKinnon's own personal lack of faith that a change is indeed possible. It's no wonder that Conservatives have never seriously tried to end Poverty or create real-life solutions to the conditions in our society that breed poverty.

It's all about resignation. Failure registers with Conservatives from the get-go because of their personal notions. I could say "There will always be rape" and turn my head when one of my sisters is raped. Why imprison the rapist? There will always be rapists.

MacKinnon abuses John Edwards' reputation in order to draw a final conclusion that showing the face of the homeless and poor to the world is exploiting them rather than trying to call upon the people of this nation to finally wake up and ask their government to act.

It's no wonder so many young people in this nation are scrambling toward and thronging around the hopeful. MacKinnon makes a case - not for homelessness, but for hopelessness.