Sunday, August 31, 2008

Obama on "60 Minutes": Biden Pick, Reaction to Palin

Barack Obama and Joe Biden sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft Friday night in Pittsburgh for an interview to be broadcast on this Sunday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

While, Obama explained why he picked Joe Biden, he also commented on Sarah Palin, calling her (kindly, I might add) an "up-and-coming public servant."
Obama: "Let me tell you the reason I picked Joe Biden. Number one, he can step in and become president. And I don't think anybody has any doubt about that. Number two is that if I'm in the room making the kinds of tough decisions that the next president's going to have to make both on domestic policy and on international policy, then I want the counsel and advice of somebody who's not going to agree with me 100 percent of time - in fact, somebody who's independent enough that can push back and give me different perspectives and make sure that I'm catching any blind spots that I have. And Joe Biden doesn't bite his tongue.

Number three, is somebody who I know in his heart cares about the American people and the American dream, and is willing to fight for them as hard as he can. And Joe Biden fit that bill."

Kroft: "What do you think of Senator McCain's vice presidential choice? And how does it change the dynamics of this campaign?"

Obama: "Well, I don't know Governor Palin, I have not met her before. I had a brief conversation with her after she was selected to congratulate her and wish her luck - but, not too much luck! - on the campaign trial. And she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she's a fine mother and a up-and-coming public servant," Obama said. "So, it's too early for me to gauge what kind of running mate she'll be.

"My sense is that she subscribes to John McCain's agenda. And ultimately, this is going to be about where I want to take the country and where Joe Biden want to take the country, and where John McCain and his running mate want to take the country."
While it might be that she is an "up-and-comer," someone who's been governor for two years - of a state with a population so small that 16 U.S. cities are larger - and before that, was mayor of a village of 8500 people, is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

In fact, two Alaskan newspapers have declared her unfit for the nomination.

And top Alaskan Republicans are stunned - and not in a good way - over the nomination:
State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news.

"She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"
Watch the video:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

VPILF.com Goes Live

It's amazing how quickly sites like this can go up nowadays. Now that John McCain has announced he's selected former beauty queen and questionably "ready to be President" Sarah Palin as his VP candidate, VPILF.com has launched. If you don't know what the ILF part of VPILF stands for, I suggest you watch American Pie.

If you do know what the ILF stands for, you understand how the "beauty queen" part of her resume plays into things.

It's interesting because aside from her ILF-ish qualities, it's hard to determine what qualifies her as VP. And the person who's going to be McCain's VP, one heartbeat away from the Presidency should be eminently qualified. After all, he's 72.

Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska for just over one and a half years. Alaska has a population of 683,000, which would only make it the 17th most populous city in the United States. Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000.

If anyone is inexperienced in this race, it's not Obama.

Airline Removes Life Vests to Save Weight, Fuel

What do I always say about corporations? It's all about the money. In this case, Air Canada's regional carrier, Jazz, has decided to remove life vests from its planes to reduce weight, and save fuel.

Canadian regulations allow airlines to use flotation devices instead of life vests as long as the planes remain within 50 miles of shore. Floatation devices = seat cushions, which is what passengers are now being directed to use.

Jazz doesn't fly over the ocean. It does fly over the Great Lakes, however. But the airline says its flights over water are minimal.

Sure, but if an unforeseen circumstance happens, what then? Taking a look at the placard (above, which is put into seat pockets in Jazz planes), you can see you would quite naturally have to hang onto the cushion.

Can you imagine a) doing that while you exit the plane, b) doing in that freezing water in the Great Lakes?

Granted, the odds are small they would ditch in the water, but it's nice (insert sarcasm here) to see an airline playing the odds with passenger lives.

One more thing, an interesting comment here:
I agree that many posters might be less than fully informed, but not all of us are. I worked full time in the aviation industry for over 7 years and fly every working day as part of my job. I have extensively researched flight safety issues and have sat on committees that deal with such issues. Flight Safety is a part of my daily responsibilities and I do not think that removing life jackets is a good idea. I have been trained in how to egress from a submerged aircraft and it would be impossible to take a seat cushion with you. At least if you had a life jacket you could inflate once you exited the aircraft. Holding onto anything in numbingly cold water would be impossible.
Makes us all feel a little better, doesn't it?

Friday, August 29, 2008

David Duchovny Enters Sex Addiction Clinic

David Duchovny, meet Lindsay Lohan. Yes, Lohan has been accused of being a sex addict before, and now it's been revealed that David Duchovny has entered a sex addiction rehab clinic.

His lawyer, Stanton Stein released the following statement:
"I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction. I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."
Ducovny has been married to actrees Téa Leoni since May 1997. They have two children together, daughter Madelaine West, 9, and son Kyd Miller, 6.

Ironically, he received a a Golden Globe Award in January as best comic actor for playing an oversexed single dad and novelist struggling with writer's block in the Showtime series "Californication."

This season's episodes have already been filmed.

According to E! Online, sex addiction questions arose over Duchovny as early as 1997, when he said to Playgirl:
"I'm not a sex addict. I have never been to those meetings. It's hurtful to my family and if I was involved with a woman in a monogamous relationship, it would be hurtful to her.

There was another story claiming I was a neat freak. If I had to choose one of the two, I think I'd rather be a sex addict. It's not funny and I'll be glad when it goes away."
In 1998, Leoni addressed the problem herself, telling Elle it excited her:
"David was accused of being a sex addict, which I always found very exciting. And then I found out it wasn't true.

Men are like bulls. They gotta get the new cow. Maybe you've got to get the bull after he's had a lot of cows, so you might just be the last new one."
At the time of the Elle interview, Leoni and Duchovny had been married one year.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cindy Sheehan's Room Bugged?

Hmmm. Shades of Watergate?

You'll recall that Cindy Sheehan, who has been heavily involved in antiwar politics since the death of her son Casey, recently qualified for the ballot in California, setting her up for a November race against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

She's attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and on Tuesday she returned to her room to find a man working on her phone, screwdriver in hand.

According to the Huffington Post and Democracy Now!, she was told the hotel was having trouble with their phones.

Of course, nowadays they would just swap the phone and work on it later, not work on it in the room.

According to H.P., Sheehan said (via email):
So I walked into my room and bigger than life, there was a man standing by my desk holding the room phone with a screwdriver in his hand!

I immediately said; "What the hell are you doing? Are you putting a bug on my phone?" He looked like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and stammered out: "N--no, we are having problems with the phone." I told him to get out of my room because my phone was fine and I called the front desk and the person at the front desk stammered something out about "problems" with some of the phones.
Warrantless wiretapping? Who in America would do that? Photobucket

Of course, it's all speculation, but definitely interesting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Underwire Bra Causes Flight Delay

Earlier this year a woman, Mandi Hamlin, was forced to remove her nipple rings prior to boarding a flight, an incident that was not just humiliating but also unnecessary, based on the fact that a visual inspection was OK'ed in the case of her navel ring. On Tuesday a woman stood off against the Transportation Security Agency over her bra.

Berkeley resident Nancy Kates arrived at Oakland International Airport to board JetBlue flight 472. However, when she went through the metal detector, lo and behold: her underwire bra set off the alarm.

A female TSA agent went over Kates with a wand. Kates said:
"The woman touched my breast. I said, 'You can't do that.' She said, 'We have to pat you down.' I said, 'You can't treat me as a criminal for wearing a bra.'

They tried to humiliate me and I was not going to be humiliated over this. If I was carrying nail clippers and forgot about them, I wouldn't have gotten so upset. But here I was just wearing my underwear."
Finally she just removed the bra. However, TSA agents decided (for whatever reason) to search her luggage. At that point she'd spent 40 minutes during the ordeal and missed her flight.She was four hours late getting to Boston.

Kates said:
"It's actually a little funny in a way, but a sad, sad commentary on the state of our country. This is bigger than just me. There are 150 million women in America, and this could happen to any of them."
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said Monday that "We have to resolve an alarm. Unfortunately, we can't take a passenger's word for it."

Four Arrested in Connection with Obama Assassination Plot

The arrests in this suspected "assassination plot" were reported on Tuesday. While it's unclear if the plot was actually credible, all four suspects are being held on either drug or weapons charges. Pictured above are Nathan Johnson (L) and Tharin Gartrell. Shawn Robert Adolph and Johnson's girlfriend, Natasha Gromek are the other two suspects.

Gartell was arrested on Sunday after driving erratically in a rental truck. In the truck, police found two rifles, including one with a scope; a bulletproof vest; boxes of ammunition; walkie-talkies; and suspected narcotics.

An FBI spokesperson said the case arose out of a traffic stop. Paul Bresson, assigned to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week, said:
"This is a methamphetamine and firearms case that arose from a traffic stop made by an Aurora Police officer. Firearms and methamphetamine were seized and a number of individuals are in state custody. The matter continues to be under investigation. We’ll provide more information as it becomes available."
However, a local TV station managed an exclusive interview with Johnson (below), and he said, when questioned by reporter Brian Maaas:
"So your friends were saying threatening things about Obama?" Maass asked.

"Yeah," Nathan Johnson replied.

"It sounded like they didn't want him to be president?"

"Yeah," Johnson said.
Earlier Maas had reported that one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a rifle sighted at 750 yards.”

It's unclear if race played a role in the "plot," but despite the fact that many are trying to pretend it's not an issue in this election, it definitely is and will continue to be, at least unless your head is in the sand.

You can watch an AP report here.



CBS 4 Denver's exclusive interview with Nathan Johnson is here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Condi Rice on Joe Biden: "a True, True Patriot"

Well, this caught me by surprise, although perhaps I shouldn't be so taken aback. Though I wonder if statements like this by Rice, and an earlier one where she said that the country would be safe under Obama, are strictly meant to make sure she can get her job back at Stanford University.

During a press briefing Monday in the Middle East, Rice said the following:
"I am not going to comment on the politics of it. I’ll just say that Senator Biden is obviously a very fine statesman. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been a really very supportive committee chair for – and before that, ranking member for the State Department and for our diplomatic efforts. And so he’s a – you know, he’s a true, true patriot."
I'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop if I were Obama and Biden.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

MoveOn Accuses AP Writer of Biased Analysis of Biden Pick: "More Like Right-wing FOX Than an Unbiased News Organization"

MoveOn.org has posted a statement on its site requesting that its members write the Associated Press over a piece titled "Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence," written by Ron Fournier.

Part of the AP piece:
He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate — the ultimate insider — rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn't beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack.
According to MoveOn.org:
This isn't an isolated incident for the AP reporter who wrote this story, Ron Fournier--who was recently appointed as the AP's Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief. Media watchdog group Media Matters wrote a report showing that Fournier's presidential coverage has consistently smeared Democrats and favored John McCain.

Can you email AP reporter Ron Fournier and CC his boss, Managing Editor Mike Oreskes? Tell them that the public's faith in the 160-year-old AP will be gone if Ron Fournier is allowed to continue his slanted articles against Democrats and for McCain.

Here are their emails:

Michael Oreskes, AP Managing Editor, mOreskes@ap.org
Ron Fournier, AP reporter and Washington D.C. Bureau Chief, rfournier@ap.org

After you email them, please help us track our progress by reporting your email here: http://pol.moveon.org/call?cp_id=797&tg=508.532
In July Media Matters pointed to Fournier as a problem for AP.
Last week, we learned that while investigators for the House Oversight Committee were looking into the 2004 death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former NFL player whose story was promoted by the White House before it was revealed that he had been killed by friendly fire, they discovered that top political aide Karl Rove had exchanged emails with the Associated Press' Ron Fournier on the day the news of Tillman's death broke.

In one email, Rove asked, "How does our country continue to produce men and women like this?" Fournier responded: "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."

That sign-off, which seemed to indicate an allegiance between the two men, raised hackles all over the Internet. That kind of correspondence ("Keep up the fight") between a reporter and a partisan White House aide during a campaign year lands way outside the boundaries of acceptable newsroom practices.
MoveOn.org also lists other examples of conservative bias in their statement to their members.

CBS News also noted the latest in Fournier's articles, with a piece titled "Fournier Is At It Again," so its not as though MoveOn.org and Media Matters are alone in their thoughts. What now? MoveOn.org will probably follow up as people report to them of their emails to AP.

Madonna Kicks Off "Sticky and Sweet" Tour with Sour Jab at McCain

At Cardiff, Wales' packed Millennium Stadium, Madonna made sure people knew the "Material Girl" at 50 isn't any less controversial than before. A video intermission during the four-act concert mixed images of destruction, global warming, Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's authoritarian President Robert Mugabe with those of U.S. Sen. and presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

Another sequence of images shown later pictured the late Beatle John Lennon, followed by climate activist and former V.P. Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi --- and Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

Seriously, Madonna, tell us what you think. "Sticky and Sweet" now travels across Europe, hitting London's Wembley Stadium on Sept. 11 and Paris on Sept. 20. It goes to North America in October, where it will be interesting to see reactions if she continues to use the same intermission.

McCain: Me, Flip-Flop? "They're Drinking the Kool-Aid"

As AP noted, John McCain has said that he's not a flip-flopper and essentially said he hasn't changed his position on issues:
"In all due respect to my colleagues. They're drinking the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues. All I can say is that we all grow. We all grow wiser. And we all refine our positions."
First of all: what kind of grammar is that? I think he left out a few words, like perhaps "if they think" between Aid and that. BTW, it should also be "with" all due respect, but perhaps I am just picking on the old guy who has trouble remembering stuff.

Secondly: Kool-Aid? Only thing I could think of related to Kool-Aid is Jonestown. If he really wanted to make a point, he could have said "drinking vodka," or "smoking the ganja." Once again, that old, old mind.

But anyway, he says we "refine our positions." Sorry, when you refine something you change it.

Besides, The CarpetBagger Report has a long list of his flip-flops, er, refinements.

Strangely not listed at the Report is one of his latest:

In 1999, during his first run for President, McCain supported the offshore drilling ban. In June of 2008, however, obviously playing to Americans pained by high gasoline prices, he called for an end to the ban.

Other flip-flops from the Report:
McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.
At any rate, all this criticism of changing one's mind or flip-flopping started with atttacks on John Kerry. Yet, since when is it wrong to adjust one's thinking when someone receives new information?

However, it is interesting how conveniently these particular flip-flops play to the GOP base.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DNA Shows Sushi Customers Getting Harpooned, er, Shafted

A pair of high school students, Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, who graduated this year from the Trinity School in Manhattan, say that DNA testing shows that up to 25% of fish in stores and restaurants in New York City was labeled as a more expensive type.

The project was prompted by a dinner discussion. Mark Stoeckle, Kate's father, is a scientist, quite naturally.

Sampling fish from 4 restaurants and 10 grocery stores in Manhattan, Stoeckle and Strauss sent 60 samples to the University of Guelph in Canada, where a graduate student there, Eugene Wong, who works on the Fish Barcode of Life had agreed to do the genetic analysis. Of 56 samples that could be ID'ed, 14 were incorrectly labeled.

Examples of mislabeling? Endangered Acadian redfish from the North Atlantic was instead labeled as red snapper, caught mostly off the southeast United States and in the Caribbean.

White tuna turned out to be Mozambique tilapia, a much cheaper fish. Roe supposedly from flying fish was actually from smelt.

Interestingly, none of the incorrectly labeled fish was labeled as cheaper fish. You can make your own conclusions.

Of course, the sample size is too small to serve as an indictment of the fishing industry, and it's also not possible to tell if the "mistake" took place at the restaurant or store, or the supplier.

"It bears on a number of issues -- food safety, fraud and protection of endangered species," Bob Hanner of Guelph, who oversaw the analysis of samples, told Reuters.

Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain Unsure How Many Homes He Owns; Take a Google Earth Tour Yourself

John McCain, who claims that Barack Obama is out of touch with the common man, has so many properties he apparently can't keep them straight. In an interview with Politico, he was unable to give a number.

"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain said. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."

According to his staff, the correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, although Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties.

Out of touch with society? Joihn McCain is wealthy beyond most people's imagination: for one thing, Cindy McCain inherited control of her father’s beer distributorship, the largest in Arizona, and has an estimated worth of more than $100 million.

Want to see a tour of the McCain homes? , Jed Lewison of The Jed Report takes you on a Google Earth tour of the many McCain McMansions below.



McCain on Reinstituting the Draft: "I Don't Disagree"

Russia bulldozes into Georgia ... but why are they so cocky? Because they know the U.S. is stretched too thin in the Middle East. A woman discussed this on Wednesday with John McCain at a McCain town hall meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

While she also discussed the treatment of vets (or lack, thereof), she ended on the following:
"If we don't reenact the draft, I don't think we'll have anyone to chase bin Laden to the gates of Hell."

McCain: "Ma'am, let me say that I don't disagree with anything you said. Thank you, and I am grateful for your support of all of our veterans."
Asked about the draft last September, McCain indicated that any past draft post-WWII has always seemed to be unfair; the wealthy and powerful could get out of the draft, while the poor and less powerful could not. He said, “I might consider it, I don’t think it’s necessary, but I might consider it if you could design a draft where everybody equally could serve.”

Watch the video from Wednesday's town hall:



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nice Try! Ted Stevens Bid to Move Trial to Alaska Denied

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), lost his bid to move his corruption trial from Washington, D.C. to Alaska. As he is attempting to be re-elected to his seventh Senate term, he asked for the a speedy trial in hopes of completing it before the election. Well, he got what he wanted, but he wanted more.

While his attorneys tried to argue that the distance between Alaska and Washington would be an inconvenience to some witnesses, the real reason for the move would have been to allow Stevens to campaign for re-election nights and weekends. Stevens is facing a hotly contested race this time.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan denied this motion, saying that a change of venue would delay the trial. You can't have it both ways, Ted. If you want it fast, you can't have a move.

The judge did say that it was possible he might consider a four-day trial week. Of course, that could delay the conclusion of the trial as well. Shoot, maybe he could use that new-fangled "series of tubes" called the Internet to help.

Lieberman to Open GOP Convention

My, how times change.

This isn't really a surprise, but it is a confirmation. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party's VP candidate in 2000, now an Independent, has agreed to speak at the Republican National Convention, as noted in an update on the convention's website.

In fact, Lieberman will lead off the list of speakers on Day One:
Speakers will include:
  • U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.)
  • Vice President Richard B. Cheney
  • First Lady Laura Bush
  • President George W. Bush
Just for fun, and to remind us where Lieberman stands, let's watch that Bush kissing Lieberman video again:



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

AARP Sued for Age Discrimination

Can you spell irony? AARP, after all, bills itself as:
a nonprofit membership organization of persons 50 and older dedicated to addressing their needs and interests.
Bonita Brady, a 63-year-old from Michigan, has sued the organization for age discrimination. According to the complaint, AARP passed her over for a series of jobs because she was too old, despite excellent job reviews.

Brady joined AARP in 1996. She started in Chicago as a health representative. She moved to the Lansing, MI office in 2007.

According to Brady, she lost her job in a reorganization and was passed over for nine vacancies. She sued last week in federal court in Michigan and is seeking more than $25,000.

McCain's McMansions: Who is Really Elite?

A new Brave New Films video shows just who's really out of touch with Americans and who's really in the elite. The film, titled "McCain's Mansions: the Real Elitist" highlights various McCain homes in Arizona, California and Virginia, with one valued at $4.66 million, while contrasting the scenes with the story of Eileen Gillis, a woman who lost her home because, even with her and her husband working four jobs, they were unable to meet their mortgage payments.

In the film McCain said, "I've always been committed to the principle that it's not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." Of course, we've already bailed out Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, haven't we? But John Q. Public?

Meanwhile, Gillis said, "I don't feel like I did anything irresponsible," Gillis says. "I did everything that I could to be able to make the payments, and I just couldn't do it."

Let's not forget that Phil Gramm, at the time one of McCain's top advisors, calle4d the United States "a nation of whiners."

And McCain's comment Saturday night at Saddleback Church, where McCain was asked, "Where do you move from middle class to rich?"

"If you're just talking about income, how about five million?" McCain said.

This is no time to be joking, when prices are rising at their fastest pace in 27 years.

Watch the video, and decide for yourself if McCain is elite, or just one of us. BTW, the video definitely caught the attention of the GOP, as it prompted Alex Conant, spokesman for the RNC to say: "Considering Barack Obama lives in a multi-million dollar house bought with the help of his buddy, Tony Rezko, who is now a convicted felon, it’s odd that Obama’s supporters would choose to make the candidates’ homes an issue."

But as Brave New Films said:
Besides the fact that Brave New Films is a non-profit organization and is therefore not permitted to support Obama, what's so deceptive about Conant's statement is the sly but now standard Republican sleight of hand. Any time progressives mention McCain's ten luxury homes, Republicans can make such uber affluence vanish, replacing it with Obama's minor Rezko connection. Bravo!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hey, McCain! Arnie Agrees with Obama on Tire Pressure

John McCain gave Barack Obama a hard time when Obama suggested keeping your tires inflated would save energy. However, what is true is that while it's not going to save a ton, we need all the help we can get, and even the EPA says that proper inflation can save about 3.3% of your fuel costs.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a backer of GOP presidential candidate John McCain, thinks it's a good idea, too, with an Indiana government web site recommending it.

And finally, there's Arnold Schwarzenneger. Yes, the California governor has filmed a message for for the launch (Monday) of the new site, ecodrivingUSA.
"You can reduce your fuel costs by more than 15%. And I am talking about simple things, like proper tire pressure, avoiding rapid starts and stops, and keeping your engine tuned.

In fact, if all Americans practiced ecodriving, the reductions in C02 emissions would be an equivalent to heating and powering nearly 8 cities the size of Los Angeles."
Watch the video.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain's Big Ideas? Uh ...

Earlier I wrote about Texas State Senator Kirk Watson (D-TX), who despite endorsing Barack Obama didn't seem to know much about him. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has reportedly been under consideration as McCain's VP, but despite the fact that Meet the Press host David Gregory asserted that the Republican Party “used to be the party of big ideas, ” when asked about McCain's own big ideas Jindal couldn't come up with one.
GREGORY: You've talked about the crisis within the Republican Party, that it lost its way, that it used to be the party of big ideas. And now you back Senator McCain. What's the big idea Senator McCain is campaigning on?

GOV. JINDAL: Well, I think there's several, but certainly when it comes to domestic issues, he understands the energy crisis is probably the biggest economic obstacle we face and he understands that it's not one silver bullet, that we do need more domestic oil and gas production. We do need nuclear power. We need clean coal. We need conservation. We need renewables.

MR. GREGORY: But those were Bush-Cheney big ideas in 2000. Where are the new big ideas of the Republican Party that John McCain is, is championing?

GOV. JINDAL: But you have not--you've seen gridlock in D.C. You've seen one side push only for oil and gas and you've seen the other side saying "no drilling." What you're not seeing is an aggressive push to get all of that done. Senator McCain's talking about dozens of new nuclear reactors. He's talking about the Lexington Project in terms of cutting edge research to break America's dependence on foreign energy. There's been a lot of good talk out of Washington, there hasn't been enough action. Clearly when it comes to addressing our economic crises, Senator McCain understands we need to have more independence, lower, more dependable--lower cost energy, more dependable energy, but also lower taxes. He's got a proven track record of fighting wasteful spending. And on health care, he understands we don't want the government running our health care, we need to make it more affordable. He's proposed refundable tax credits so American families can afford their own health care without having a bureaucrat tell them how they should get health care.
Wait, those are still the Bush - Cheney ideas. Hmm. And don't even get me started on that lame health care idea with 80% plus Americans want an overhaul of U.S. health care, not a band-aid, and not simply making what we currently have "more" affordable (which it really still wouldn't be anyway, because what good is affordability if the health care providers can still deny care for pre-existing conditions?).v

Watch the video from the Aug. 17th, 2008 Meet the Press:

video

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SF Zoo Tiger Attack "Victim" Goes to Prison

You'll recall the tiger attack that occurred last Christmas at the San Francisco Zoo. In it, Paul Dhaliwal and his older brother Kulbir, along with their friend Carlos Sousa Jr., were attacked by a tiger who escaped from her enclosure.

Sousa was fatally mauled.

Since then, there have been allegations that the brothers and Sousa taunted the tiger before the attack, although it was also revealed that the zoo's fence was lower than the recommended height.

Of course, please note the word "recommended." Even if it was too low, there isn't a legal requirement for height, just a recommendation. This, plus the alleged taunting, as well as the legal problems of both Paul Kulbir, are why the word victim appears in quotes.

Despite this, of course, the brothers have sued.

Well, if Paul is going to enjoy his money (assuming they win or settle), it will be in prison.

He
has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for violating probation in a felony reckless driving case.

He was arrested in March for shoplifting.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

King Penguin Receives Norwegian Knighthood

Call him Sir Nils Olav. On Friday, Nils Olav, or actually, the third such King Penguin named Nils Olav, was knighted.

Nilss Olav, or at least the original Nils Olav was made an honorary member of the King's Guard in 1972 after being picked as the guard's mascot by lieutenant Nils Egelien. You can see where the Nils came from but Olav? Norway's king at the time was Olav V. Aha!

Eventually the first penguin died, and was replaced by a second one (no one, apparently, knows exactly when), and eventually a third one (yes, it sounds a lot like the succession of Lassies, right?).

Besides his mascot status, Nils Olav has medals for good conduct and long service and was made honorary colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King's Guard in 2005 (he started in 1972 as a Lance Corporal, and rose through the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, Regimental Sergeant-Major, Honourable Sergeant Major and, in 2005, to his current rank).

The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin and stands about 90 cm (3 ft) tall and weighs 11 to 16 kg (24 to 35 lb).

McCain Defends His ABBA Adoration

All right, I can understand criticizing McCain over say, his proposed tax cuts ... which cuts taxes for the rich far more than for any other group, while Obama's plan will favor the middle class, but criticizing him because he likes ABBA?

On Thursday, McCain spoke to Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. McCain was questioned about a recent interview with Blender Magazine in which he selected ABBA’s 1976 hit Dancing Queen as his favorite song.
Isaacson: “What were you thinking?"

McCain: “If there is anything I am lacking in, I’ve got to tell you, it is taste in music and art and other great things in life. I’ve got to say that a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane and never caught up again.

Now look, everybody says, ‘I hate ABBA. Oh ABBA, how terrible! Blah blah blah,’ How come everybody goes to Mamma Mia? Huh? I mean really, seriously, huh? ‘I hate ABBA, they’re no good, you know.’ Well, everybody goes. They’ve been selling out for years.”
He's right, and not only has Mamma Mia been successful in theatres, it's recently hit the movie screen as well. And I have a soft spot for Dancing Queen, remembering the first time I saw my wife dance was to the song.

After all, it's not like he said he liked Barry Manilow, is it?

Speaking of Dancing Queen ...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Colbert on Torture: "What we're doing may be cruel, but it is no longer unusual for us to do it"

Ah yes, it's amazing how Colbert hits the nail on the head again. He's got a real point here. And neither is "extraordinary rendition" all that extraordinary any longer.

On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert had Jane Mayer, the author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals on his show. They discussed her assertion that "America is synonymous with torture."

As Colbert said,
"There's nothing in the Constitution that says, 'Don't torture.' The words don't torture do not appear. It says 'cruel and unusual. What we're doing may be cruel, but it is no longer unusual for us to do it."
When Mayer said that "enhanced interrogation is a euphemism for hurting people on purpose," Colbert continued:
"You're making it sound bad, when the term itself is meant to make it sound good. 'Enhanced,' that's a positive term, like 'male enhancement.' We spend lots of money. I get emails all the time, you know, being offered to be enhanced."
Of course, many have said in this time of war, we must torture. Yet, at one time, America stood above other nations. We have managed to bring ourselves down to a level where we have been compared with China in terms of torture practices. This is Mayer's point.

Watch the video:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I.O.C. Calls Slant-Eyed Photo of Spanish Basketball Teams "Clearly Inappropriate"

I just wrote about this the other day, and the International Olympic Committee has now commented on this. The Spanish Men's and Women's basketball teams both posed in advertising photos, pulling back their eyes to make themselves look slant-eyed. The ad was for the Spanish courier company, Seur.

I would have to say, Hello, what country are you visiting for the Olympics?

Spanish star Pau Gasol, who plays for the L.A. Lakers, said:
"If anyone feels offended by it, we totally apologize for it. We never meant anything offensive by it."
Ah, there you go. I asked earlier if they were racist or just stupid, and it looks like the answer is stupid.

Although she also said the picture was "clearly inappropriate," Emmanuelle Moreau, a spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee, said in an e-mail message:
"We understand that the Spanish team intended no offense and has apologized. The matter rests there as far as the I.O.C. is concerned."
In other words, let's get past this and let's get back to the medals. Still, while the whole thing shows a lack of ... oh, say, feeling, respect, good judgment on the part of the team as well as the advertisers, is it overblown?

Spanish guard Jose Calderon said:
"I think it’s too much. I think some people want to mix that with things that have happened in Spain before. Spain is one of the most multicultural counties in the world."
Readers, what do you think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bachmann: The Planet's Already Saved; Move Along, Move Along

In a post on the continuing House Republican "revolt" over high oil prices, which is really more of a stunt than anything else, OneNewsNow (a right-wing site) highlighted some rather alarming language from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
"[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that."
Speaking of fanaticism ...

Why is this alarming? This is the kind of statement that leads further to statements like, "we don't really need to worry about the world because Jesus will return and take care of everything."

Let's say that's correct; you don't think he might be just a tad bit upset at, oh say, how many species we eradicated and just what condition we've left the Earth in?

Spain's Olympic Basketball Team: Racist or Just Stupid?

Actually, perhaps it's the advertising firm that's racist, while the basketball team is just plain stupid. Both of Spain's Olympic basketball teams posed for an ad for a courier company (a sponsor of the Spanish Basketball Federation), while pulling their eyes back in a slant-eyed manner.

I suppose no one told them they were going to China for the Olympics.

Going to the Olympics or not, you would have expected someone to object to this. What I also found strange was The Guardian's statement:
No offence was intended by the advert, but whether the Chinese see it that way is a different matter and it is likely to provoke more criticism at a delicate time for Spanish sport. The failure to recognise the potential consequences is striking in the light of the problems Spain has had with issues of race and the Spanish Olympic committee's continued desire to host the Games in Madrid in 2016 or 2020.
No offense? It couldn't help that Spain beat China in Men's Basketball on Tuesday. At least the Chinese Women's team beat Spain on August 9th.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are Jokes About McCain's Age "Dirty Pool?"

Yes, heaven forbid we would discuss the fact that if elected, John McCain would be the oldest president entering his first term of office, and wonder openly if his age might affect his ability to lead. ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast August 10, 2008, wondered if age jokes should be off limits in this presidential race.

A couple of examples:

David Letterman:
"John McCain looks like the guy that picks up his tv remote when the phone rings. Hello, hello, hello."
Jay Leno:
"McCain spoke about his vision -- which he said is a little blurry and not good at night."
Meanwhile comic Kathleen Madigan said:
I don't think he'll win because I think a lot of people who like him will forget to vote. I mean white comics aren't going to become black, and black comics aren't going to become white, so you can't say "oh, I can make fun of them because I'm going to be that," but we're all going to get old.
They went to a retirement home, and most didn't object, but Dick Shaw, 85 said "It's a form of discrimination, and I guess in that sense it's not appropriate."

In this case, however, is it discrimination? After all, if this guy's going to go senile ... and let's face it, he seems to make a lot of mistakes, why would I want to vote for him? Additionally, McCain's running mate would take on added importance.

As ABC News reported, one recent poll found that 20% of voters said they were less likely to vote for McCain because of his age.

Watch the report:

video

Obama Turns the "Celebrity" Tables on McCain

"Celebrity" has become the Swift Boat of the 2008 Presidential Race, although when you think about it, the "celebrity" that McCain is complaining about --- it's really popularity, and shouldn't be a bad thing.

At any rate, Obama's latest ad, fires back at McCain as Washington's biggest celebrity:
"For decades, he's been Washington's biggest celebrity" (showing a SNL intro of McCain).

"And as Washington embraced him, John McCain hugged right back" (showing a video of Bush hugging McCain).

"The lobbyists - running his low road campaign. The money - billions in tax breaks for oil and drug companies, but almost nothing for families like yours. Lurching to the right, then the left, the old Washington dance, whatever it takes. A Washington celebrity playing the same old Washington games."
Both sides, can we get back to the issues?

Watch the video.

Obama to Text Message, Email VP Choice to Supporters

Democrats have been cited as embracing technology to more extent than the GOP (though a close look at YouTube might dispel that concept), and in an email sent to supporters Sunday night, the Obama camp has extended a technological hand to let you know (if you really, really want to) who his VP choice is first, via SMS or email.

Sign up at the site, and you can "Be the First to Know," as the campaign calls this latest effort. Or, if you text message VP to 62262 you can receive a text message on your mobile phone.

While this might be good --- if you're really, really desperate for the news --- you could just settle for waiting a few more minutes for the news to hit Twitter. Nah.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bush Doesn't See "America Having Problems"

Now here's a politician with blinders on. I hope that the public isn't ... well, stupid enough to think this country has no problems.

At any rate, on Sunday NBC found time between Olympic events (we know how hard that would be, based on how much money they have riding on it) to air an interview with President Bush.

Remembering Bush's speech from last week when he expressed "deep concern" over human rights in China, interviewer Bob Costas asked about "America’s own problems."
Costas: This past week, you restated America’s fundamental differences with China. But given China’s growing strength, and America’s own problems, realistically, how much leverage does the U.S. have here?

Bush: First of all, I don’t see America having problems. I see America as a nation that is a world leader that has got great values.
Bush and future presidents, whoever they turn out to be, need to acknowledge what most already do: China will eventually surpass the U.S. as a world leader in economics, if not in other ways. Let's not just blindly trumpet our greatness.

And, great values? What about a economy in recession, foreclosures left and right, bank failures, warrantless wiretapping, loss of our Contitutional rights, war powers which, because a "war on terror" will never end, mean limitless power in the hands on one individual (something the Constitions checks and balances were designed to prevent), evidence of faked documents to tie Iraq to 9/11, and on and on? Yep, we have no problems at all.

Watch the video:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Order for Fake Letter Linking Iraq to 9/11 Came on White House Stationary: Transcript

As I wrote previously, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind asserts in his latest book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,that the Bush adminstration ordered a back-dated letter linking Iraq to 9/11 be forged. On Friday Suskind released a transcript of a conversation between himself and the Central Intelligence Agency's former Deputy Chief of Clandestine Operations Robert Richer.

Last Tuesday, the White House released a statement on Richer's behalf in which Richer said:
"I never received direction from George Tenet or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document ... as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book."
However, Suskind's transcript puts the lie to that statement:
Ron Suskind: The intent--the basic raison d'etre of this product is to get, is to create, here's a letter with what's in it. Okay, here's what we want on the letter, we want it to be released as essentially a representation of something Habbush says. That's all it says, that's the one paragraph. And then you pass it to whomever to do it. To get it done.

Rob Richer: It probably passed through five or six people. George probably showed it to me, but then passed it probably to Jim Pavitt, the DDO, who then passed it down to his chief of staff who passed it to me. Cause that's how--you know, so I saw the original. I got a copy of it. But it was, there probably was--

Suskind: Right. You saw the original with the White House stationery, but you didn't--down the ranks, then it creates other paper.

Richer: Yeah, no, exactly. But I couldn't tell you--again: I remember it happening, I remember a terrible brief kinda joking dialogue about it, but that was it.

. . .

Suskind: Now this is from the Vice President's Office is how you remembered it--not from the president?

Richer: No, no, no. What I remember is George saying, 'we got this from'--basically, from what George said was 'downtown.'

Suskind: Which is the White House?

Richer: Yes. But he did not--in my memory--never said president, vice president, or NSC. Okay? But now--he may have hinted--just by the way he said it, it would have--cause almost all that stuff came from one place only: Scooter Libby and the shop around the vice president.

Suskind: Yeah, right.

Richer: But he didn't say that specifically. I would naturally--I would probably stand on my, basically, my reputation and say it came from the vice president.

As Suskind said in his post of the transcript:
The conversation below took place in June 2008. As in all of our conversations, it shows Rob pressing to get at truth and embrace probity.

This posting is contrary to my practice across 25 years as a journalist. But the issues, in this matter, are simply too important to stand as discredited in any way.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cindy Sheehan Qualifies for the Ballot

Cindy Sheehan, who has been heavily involved in antiwar politics since the death of her son Casey, has qualified for the ballot, collecting the signatures needed to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Congress. This sets her up for a November race against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On July 23, 2007, Sheehan announced her plans to challenge Nancy Pelosi after Pelosi failed to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

It was a close call for Sheehan; on Wednesday, San Francisco elections officials found that more than 40% of the people who signed in support of Sheehan weren't registered in SF's Eighth Congressional District. A race to the finish line and the camaign ultimately turned in more than 17,000 signatures to ensure that Sheehan qualified for the ballot.

Sheehan is best known for the months she stayed at "Camp Casey," an area near President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch where she and other peace activists demonstrated against Bush and the war.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Candidate Girl Olympics: Obama Girl vs. McCain Girl

As the Beijing Olympics begin, it's only appropriate that we highlight the first annual Candidate Girl Olympics, Obama Girl vs. McCain Girl.

This seems to just be part one (based on the teaser at the end of the video). They did have some problems with the torch ceremony, though. The events highlighted in this Barely Political video were:
  • Shot put (how far each candidate will toss illegal immigrants out of the country)
  • Tug of War (swaying undecided voters)
  • Arm Wrestling (Summit Negotiation - foreign relations)
  • Wresting (going to the mat for legislation)
There seemed to be a measure of cheating, where McCain Girl kept calling for her alternate, but ...

Watch the video and don't miss part 2:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Greyhound Scraps "Bus Rage" Ads

Greyhound has decided to scrap a relatively recent ad campaign in the wake of the murder and decapitation of a traveler on one of its buses.

The campaign, which extolled the virtues of a calm, relaxing trip on a Greyhound bus, has been running since last 2007, and used the tagline:
"There's a reason you've never heard of 'bus rage.'"
Tim McLean, 22, was repeatedly stabbed and beheaded by another passenger, Vince Weiguang Li, 40, aboard a Greyhound bus traveling through Manitoba on July 30. Police reported (check the above link) that Li consumed some of McLean's flesh.

Print ads have already been removed, but outdoor signs will take some time to remove, said Greyhound spokesperson Abby Wambaugh.

During a brief court appearance on Tuesday, Li pleaded with the court to "kill him."

Paris Hilton Responds to McCain's Ad

If you haven't been asleep, you know that John McCain recently released an ad comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, comparing the presumptive Democratic candidate to celebrities. Well, never one to miss a chance for publicity (after all, she's only famous for being famous; it's not like she's really done anything!), Paris Hilton has responded (her mother responded earlier, and wasn't too happy about the McCain ad).

Her ad was released by FunnyorDie.com.

It opens:
He's the oldest celebrity in the world. Like super old. Old enough to remember when dancing was a sin, and beer was served in a bucket. But, is he ready to lead?

Hey America, I'm Paris Hilton, and I'm a celebrity, too. Only I'm not from the olden days and I'm not promising change like that other guy. I'm just hot.

But then that wrinkly white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for President. So thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude, and I want America to know that I'm like totally ready to lead.

And now I want to present my energy policy to America, just as soon as I finish reading this article on where I can fly to to get the best tan.
Watch the whole video. She says she's thinking of Rihanna as her VP candidate, BTW.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pro-Marijuana Group Launches "Drug Dealer Cindy" (McCain) Campaign

SaferChoice.org, which says that
Marijuana is safer than alcohol. It's time we treat it that way.
has launched the "Drug Dealer Cindy" campaign, which targets John McCain's wife Cindy's position as chair of her father's Hensley & Co. (one of the United State's largest Anheuser-Busch beer distributors). The site, and SaferChoice.org, argue that alcohol is more toxic, addictive and prone to inspire violence than marijuana, and thus they say:
We are not attacking Cindy McCain or her business as an alcohol distributor. Rather, we are highlighting the hypocrisy of laws that allow her to sell alcohol (a drug) while criminalizing those who prefer to use marijuana (a less harmful drug).
There's even a reward posted, but the amount, sad to say, is only $420.

Watch a video the group posted to YouTube.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author: Bush Ordered Back-Dated, Fake Letter Linking Iraq to 9/11

Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Ron Suskind's latest book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, available Tuesday, has already stirred up quite a storm of controversy. In the book, Suskind alleges that not only did the White House know Iraq had no WMDs, President Bush ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraq's intelligence service, Tahir Jalil Habbush, to Saddam Hussein, linking Iraq to the 9/11 hijackers.

The letter was first published by the conservative Sunday Telegraph in December 2003 and used as key evidence, eventually propelling the U.S. to the invasion of Iraq. For example, conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly said: "Now, if this is true, that blows the lid off al-Qaida --- Saddam."

Suskind appeared on the Today show on Tuesday to discuss the book.
Vieira: You say that this is worse than Watergate, in large part because of this letter, that you claim the White House ordered the CIA to forge that would like Iraq with 9/11, Mohamed Atta, and with al-Qaida. And CIA agents that you quote in the book agree that there was a letter, but, what has convinced you that the White House was behind it? What evidence do you have that the White House ordered it?

Suskind:
Well, the CIA folks involved in the book and others talk about George coming back, Tenet coming back from the White House with the assignment on White House stationery, and turning to the CIA operatives, who are professionals, and saying, "You may not like this, but here is our next mission."

And they carried it through step by step, all the way to the finish. And ultimately people even talked about it after the fact.

It was a dark day for the CIA. It was the kind of thing where they said, "Look, this is not our charge. We’re not here to carry forth a political mandate — which is clearly what this was — to solve a political problem in America." And it was a cause of great grievance inside of the agency.
Watch the interview, from NBC's Today Show, Tuesday August 5th.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Woman Bills State of Michigan $16 for Work Zone Delay

Well, when gas prices are this high, what can you expect? Carol Greenberg, an Ohio woman, has sent Michigan transportation officials a bill for $16. Why? She says she wasted gasoline sitting in construction zone traffic.

Greenberg complained there were no signs warning about the work on southbound Interstate 275 where it merges with I-75 near Newport, Michigan, about 27 miles north of Toledo, Ohio.

Because of this, she said she was stuck idling for about 50 minutes on July 23rd.

In a polite response letter, the Michigan DoT said it is unable to reimburse drivers for time, wages, or gas lost in work zone back-ups.

My response: ever hear of turning off your engine when your stuck for that long? Probably not.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Police Tape: Canada Bus Killer Ate Victim's Flesh

This murder is horrific enough, but a tape of police radio calls, leaked to the Internet, indicate that not only did Vince Weiguang Li, 40, murder and decapitate 22-year-old Tim McLean - for no apparent reason - after reboarding a Greyhound bus on Friday, he ate some of McLean's flesh.

Li has been charged with second-degree murder.

On the tape, police repeatedly refer to Li as "Badger," and say the following:
Badger is armed with a knife and a pair scissors and is defiling the body at the front of the bus as we speak.
and later:
Badger's at the back of the bus, hacking off pieces and eating it.
Listen to the audio. Note that the video imagery in the embedded player was created by whomever posted it, and some of it is in poor taste.

Lieberman Confirms: If Asked, Will Speak at RNC

Sunday on Meet the Press, when asked by host Tom Brokaw, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) virtually guaranteed he would speak at the Republican National Convention, if asked.
BROKAW: Are you going to speak at the Republican convention?

LIEBERMAN: ...that decision--I'll let the future of politics take care of itself. I feel very good about what I've done. Am I going to speak at the convention? It's not--that decision hasn't been made. If Senator McCain feels that I can help his candidacy, which I think it's so important to elect him our next president, I will do it. But I assure you this, Tom, I'm not going to go to that convention, the Republican convention, and spend my time attacking Barack Obama. I'm going to go there really talking about why I support John McCain and why I hope a lot of other independents and Democrats will do that. And frankly, I'm going to go to a partisan convention and tell them, if I go, why it's so important that we start to act like Americans and not as, as partisan mudslingers here in Washington.

BROKAW: Sounds, sounds like you're going to go.

LIEBERMAN: Well, we'll see.
We'll see? Sounds like a virtual done deal.

Watch the video, from Meet the Press, broadcast Sunday, Aug. 3rd.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Employees Confirm Pressure to Vote GOP

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart has been warning its managers that a Democratic victory in the fall would lead to unionization at Wal-Mart stores. Of course, even Chinese Wal-Mart stores have a union. Wouldn't want that in the U.S., though, right?

Naturally Wal-Mart denied this. However, the watchdog site Wal-Mart Watch posted an email from a Wal-Mart employee confirming Wal-Mart's activities.

As Wal-Mart Watch said:
that story would not have been possible without the several brave Wal-Mart employees who stepped up and spoke out about the company’s practices. One employee wrote in to our website about Wal-Mart’s mandatory political meetings, but was too afraid of the company to write much ...
The email is above, with the email address, of course, redacted.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

U.S. Airways' Inauguration Day: No More Free Water

To which I ask: what took you so long? With fuel costs hitting airlines harder than the beleaguered public and their Hummers, U.S. Airways began what's likely to become a trend today: charging for water.

Bad enough you have to pay for luggage, right?

The charge, which began on Friday, is $2 for bottled water or soda and $1 for coffee or tea. First class and trans-Atlantic passengers still get freebies.

There will be exceptions, though, for medical emergencies, if the plane and its passengers are forced to wait on the tarmac for a long period, if the passenger forgot extra cash and is really thirsty.

Still, stock analyst and frequent flyer C. Leonard Bauer warned that U.S. Airways might be opening up a big can of worms:
"At altitude, even though airlines seek to keep cabin humidity at surface levels, the body loses water. "n long flights, particularly with those who tend to dehydrate quicker, such as the some senior citizens, there may be some medical issues. For this reason, I don't think it's wise to charge for water on flights."
Oh, and why is this inauguration day? Well, a rather contrite U.S. Airways employee, as reported by the WSJ, said it all:
“It is my very special duty to inform you that today is inauguration day’ at US Airways and what we are inaugurating is our new onboard beverage policy. You now have to pay $2 for that coke, $2 for water.”

McCain's Comparison of Paris Hilton and Obama Wins the "Dick Move of the Week"

Remember the "Dick Move of the Week," which Jon Stewart unveiled on The Daily Show in April?

Well, how about one of John McCain's latest campaign ads which equates Barack Obama with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Rumors are that Spears is considering legal action.

It's also won this week's "Dick Move of the Week." Not for the reason you might suppose, however.

It turns out one of the ladies famous for being famous, Paris Hilton, probably shouldn't have been included in this ad --- because of her parents.
It's a dick move by McCain because it turns out one of the fine young ladies featured in this ad, seen here in her natural habitat, her parents, the Hiltons, contributed $4600, the maximum you can contribute, to the campaign of none other than John McCain! John McCain's saying to the Hiltons, "I thank you kindly for your support, now if you'll excuse me I've got to go take a nationally televised dump on your daughter.

And I hope at the conclusion of this dump, that it will have no negative bearing on my Hilton points.
Wonderful move, biting the hand that feeds you, John. Ah, well, there's plenty more money where that came from.

Watch the video clip: