Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bush compared to Palin by Lawrence Wilkerson

Wilkerson was a top aide to Colin Powell.

By Rachel Weiner
www.huffingtonpost.com:

In its "Oral History of the Bush White House," Vanity Fair hears from Lawrence Wilkerson. The former top aide to Colin Powell compares our current president to none other than Sarah Palin:
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: We had this confluence of characters--and I use that term very carefully--that included people like Powell, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and so forth, which allowed one perception to be "the dream team." It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president--because, let's face it, that's what he was--was going to be protected by this national- security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire. What in effect happened was that a very astute, probably the most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur I've ever run into in my life became the vice president of the United States.

Spencer Ackerman asks whether this comparison is more insulting to Bush or to Palin. Matthew Yglesias says its no contest:

I'm going to say "more insulting to Palin." Palin's something of a laughingstock, but Bush is a villain. I mean, he wrecked the world economy, he led to millions of Iraqis being forced to flee their homes, he's a total disaster and a disgrace. Palin gave bad answers in TV interviews. There's no real comparison.

Steve Benen counters that Palin hasn't had her chance:

[I]f we put aside the question of corollaries and consider Bush's and Palin's characteristics as politicians and would-be leaders, the comparison isn't too far-fetched. Both were out of their depth seeking national office, both are strikingly uninformed, both suffer from an eerie misguided confidence, and both seem to consider policy details as minor annoyances to be ignored.


Sure, Palin wasn't able to do serious national (and international) damage, but isn't it fair to say both she and Bush are cut from the same cloth? ABSOLUTELY!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Important short video on aspartame --aimed at kids

Please pass this along to your e-mail list. I hope millions of kids/teens see it. Aspartame is a poisonous drug that is causing health problems for millions who are unaware of its damaging effects. It is contained in most "diet" products on the market -- and all "diet" soda drinks, including Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke. Link for the video clip: http://www.noticias.info/vid_w/video_play_ES.asp?Id=Eep3PJ--Czc

FOR ADULTS: See informative articles online:
http://www.mercola.com/article/aspartame/dangers.htm ASPARTAME: WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU

EXCERPT: Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.(3)

Other Articles:
http://www.douglassreport.com/reports/aspartame_3.html?gclid=CMaI_Njq6JcCFSJIagod-Wc-Cg
http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html
http://www.dorway.com/


EXCERPT from www.dorway.com:

Aspartame is NOT a natural substance!
Aspartame is NOT a diet enhancement product!
Aspartame is NOT safe - for ANYONE!
Aspartame is NOT a food "additive"
Aspartame is an UNREGULATED and UNSAFE DRUG! (It was originally slated to be a peptic ulcer drug!)
Aspartame in liquids turns to FORMALDEHYDE above freezing!
Aspartame is even worse for DIABETICS!
Aspartame poisoning is cumulative (it adds up!)
Aspartame byproducts get stored in your FAT!
Aspartame has 92 "official" side effects (the worst is DEATH!)
Aspartame MIMICS a wide range of problems
Aspartame side effects are USUALLY MISDIAGNOSED! (By 21 doctors, in my case!)
Aspartame is unfit for human consumption!
Aspartame's approval by the FDA is A SHAMELESS tragedy!
Aspartame's approval for use in EVERYTHING is far worse!
Who are the culprits? FDA, Searle, Monsanto, NutraSweet and more!
The ONLY "CURE" is total exclusion from the diet!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Palin clan increases

Bristol, Willow, Track, Piper, Trig -- and now introducingTripp....all young members of the Palin family. Too bad Bristol's mother-in-law to be was arrested on drug charges. But it appears the Johnston family will fit in well with the Palins.

Read all about it at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/29/bristol-palin-baby-son-tr_n_154081.html
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Politics in the Time of Obama

An Excellent Article...
What to Expect While We're Expecting

by David Michael Green

a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.

So who is Barack Obama?

Not only do we still not know, but in a very real sense, I don't think he knows either. Presidencies have a nasty habit of being shaped by external events and pressures that can sometimes be completely unanticipated.

I think the greatest parallels to this moment and this president are not so much to JFK or Lincoln in their times, but to 1932 and the Roosevelt presidency. FDR turned out to be one of America's greatest presidents (he's actually at the very top of my own list) and a very liberal "traitor to his class", but neither of those seminal attributes of his presidency were much anticipated by many.

Similarly, Barack Obama strikes me as something of an ideological chameleon, coming into office in a moment very similar to 1932, though obviously not (yet, anyhow) as dire. Like FDR, he enters the presidency inheriting a massive economic crisis, the proportions of which we still don't know, other than that it is already very, very big. Like FDR, he inherits this from a discredited Republican Party which has effectively ruled the country for decades. Like FDR, enormous hopes are riding on this rather unknown quantity about to be sworn in as president of the United States.

And, like FDR, I expect that this combination of conditions will give Obama wide latitude to govern, and even to fail to produce quick results, provided he is at least seen to be trying. I mean, think about it. If you wanted to follow any president in American history, who would it be? Look at what happened to John Adams, Andrew Johnson and Harry Truman, each of whom followed the most renowned and most revered of American presidents. Adams, one of the great patriots of the Revolution, one of the top handful of members in the Founders pantheon, couldn't win a second term. Johnson got impeached, in part for not being Lincoln. And Truman was run from office in 1952 with job approval ratings that matched those of a certain chimp-like character with whom we're all too familiar today.

On the other hand, look at who the great presidents followed. Washington came after George III and the Articles of Confederation. If you were Washington's chief political strategist, you couldn't write a script that good. Lincoln succeeded James Buchanan, the guy who was, until 2001, widely considered the worst president in American history. FDR followed Herbert Hoover, a president who refused to do anything while the country melted into poverty. People began naming the cardboard shanties in which they were forced to live after that guy. In short, Obama's going to have a lot of good will and latitude by virtue alone of having the good fortune to follow the most disastrous cock-up of a president in American history. Anything will be a relief after Bush. It's the Beatles coming on stage after the local beer hall cover band with the wasted drummer and out-of-tune guitarist, not the other way around.

For this reason and others, then, Obama is going to have a solid and likely long honeymoon, I suspect. And if he gets through the first two years looking good, he'll also likely keep and possibly even increase his Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. That is traditionally not so easy. With rare exception over the last century, the party controlling the White House loses seats in midterm elections (particularly the sixth year of a presidency). But I'd bet money right now, a month before Obama is even sworn-in, that Democrats do well in 2010. Not because they're so brilliant, of course. They're not. But because of the conditions described above, because of certain characteristics I see in Obama discussed below, and because the Republican Party has dug itself into a massive pair of holes.

The first of these holes is one of form. The GOP has run ugly campaign after ugly campaign since the days of Joe McCarthy, and as recently as the McCain-Palin attempt to turn Obama into a socialist who pals around with terrorists. I don't think the public is much in the mood right now for another round of insanely-divorced-from-reality carping, brought to them by the very folks who created these ugly disasters, while their president is making reasonable and centrist efforts to rescue them from sinking out of the middle class. Personally, I hope the Republicans continue to make this most egregious of mistakes, as they have been doing lately by running hysterical ads concerning the non-existent Obama-Blagojevich scandal. When even Newt Gingrich criticizes the stupidity of the party's move, you know you're hurtin', eh? But I say, bring it on, fellas! Please, please, go ahead and self-destruct. Er, self-destruct more, that is.

Of course, their other problem - a substantive one - is even more intransigent. This is the party and the ideology that delivered the country into the perfect storm of multiple simultaneous crises. Hey, would you buy a used government from the same people who brought you 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, global warming, skyrocketing national debt, torture, isolation from our allies, hatred of the world, and now what is - at the very least - the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression? If you think I'm just being cute here, ask yourself this question: Which prominent Republicans have you heard calling for a wholesale restructuring of their party's ideological commitments? Or even partial reform? Better yet, have you heard even one of them take a significant shot at George W. Bush, the very personification of regressive politics? No, we haven't heard that. Indeed, pretty much all we've heard is some mumblings about how the GOP needs to become more 'conservative'.

Not only do these guys not intend to change, but they fundamentally cannot. The party has become nothing more than a vehicle for plutocratic kleptocracy, run on the backs of an army of scary-monster, sex-obsessed, religious freaks who act as shock troops for the money boys. My guess is that the latter group has long ago now left the sinking ship and is already fast cozying up to the new bosses in town, the ones with D's after their names on the ballots. These thieves couldn't possibly care less about which party they buy - they're happy to do business with anyone. Heck, they're probably relieved not to have to attend those stinking prayer breakfasts anymore in order to keep their marionettes convinced that they give a shit.

But, of course, with the kleptocrats out the door, that leaves the religious right in full ownership of the GOP, and they ain't letting go, brother. This crowd would rather lose elections than their principles, and so they will. And, indeed, so they have been. Yes, it's true, ladies and gentlemen - Republicans will no doubt continue to be a force to be reckoned with in Utah and Mississippi for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, though, the rest of the country appears to have come to its senses. As a side note, that creates some interesting new political dynamics with potentially far-reaching consequences. I can't recall during my lifetime a moment more ripe for the development of semi-viable third and even fourth parties in America, but that will only happen, if it does, a few years out. Meanwhile, one senses that the national GOP leadership needs at least one or two more solid electoral drubbings to disabuse them of their sorry ways, by which time it will probably be too late.

But what of the Democrats and Obama? I suspect that one of the primary reasons that the Democrats have been so disappointing to progressives these last two years is that their years in the wilderness have made them 'smart'. Of course, another explanation is that they're also nearly as bought-off as the GOP, but what I mean by this is that they have learned from their past experience and have therefore resisted doing anything remotely courageous with their majority powers - like basic oversight, investigation, impeachment, ending the war in Iraq or national healthcare, for instance. From the perspective of a political party seeking only to aggrandize power, one might see why. The old adage applies well here: when your opponent is busy self-destructing, get out of the way. From the perspective of the country's needs, however, this has been something less than a powerful agenda for progress.

But, more than anything, I think Democrats have learned lessons from three unhappy experiences ranging from the Carter to the Lil' Bush years: what happens when you go off on your own without your president, what happens when your president goes off on his own without you, and what happens when you not only don't have a president, but are additionally stuck in the minority in Congress. Because they will be anxious, above all, not to repeat the latter experience, because the Harry Reids and Nancy Pelosis of this world are nothing like a Sam Rayburn or a Henry Clay, and because they seemed to easily be able to stomach rolling over for George Bush, I doubt seriously we're going to be seeing much in the way of strained relations between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Congress, and especially Democrats, have gotten good at deference, and they'll be happy to defer to Barack Obama as he helps them cement a generation-long realignment of American politics these next two, four and eight years.

And what of Obama himself? There are many laudatory words that come to mind when thinking about this supernova who has burst over the American landscape. Smart, articulate, inspiring, eloquent, balanced, grounded and thoughtful are just some of them. But what most people have not yet fully appreciated is quite how wise he is. Wisdom is a bit like being smart, but definitely not the same. Both Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were the smartest guys around. Both had mediocre presidencies, at best. Wisdom is perhaps best understood as applied smarts. In any case, it surely involves having a keen understanding of what works, what motivates people, what the public wants, and how to make decisions effectively. Look at Obama. He's been doing some enormously difficult things for two years now, under the most powerful competition and scrutiny there is. And, not only has he succeeded in ways that nobody imagined he could, he has made nary a significant mistake. That's a record unmatched in our time.

Yep, when it comes to political wisdom, this guy turns it up to eleven. That's why I think he's going to have a very successful presidency, and in doing so, he is going to cement in place a center-left, solid Democratic majority in Congress and out in the country. There will be mistakes, to be sure, and there will be ugly bummers far removed from the administration's control exploding in their faces. But what I don't think we'll see is pitched battles among the top staff, as in Carter's White House. I don't think we'll see a focus on trivial issues or personal immaturity, as in the Clinton White House. And I don't think we'll see the president trying to solve every problem all at once, as in both these precedents.

I don't know Obama's politics well enough to say for sure at this point, but I suspect he's going to be too centrist for my taste (most any president who could be president in today's America probably would). But, at the same time, I feel very confident in his competence and wisdom. That, coupled with all the other favorable conditions for him (which include many unfavorable ones for the country, chiefly Bush and his legacy) will probably make this the most successful presidency since Roosevelt. Maybe we'll even amend the Constitution to give him a third term!

Talk about getting ahead of yourself...! I know, I know. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, back on terra firma, of particular concern to progressives is the shape of the administration as it has now come together over the weeks since the election. Not only are there few progressives on Obama's team, but there are no name progressives at all. You won't find Maxine Waters there, or Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich or Mario Cuomo, or even Russ Feingold. Indeed, it's actually worse than that. It is no exaggeration to say that Republicans are better represented on this team than are progressive Democrats. And we are the ones who made Obama president, while they, of course, had a slightly different plan. And then, with the Rick Warren fiasco, it manages to get even worse still.

There is, in short, good reason for suspicion and even anger on the left. I'm not there yet, and hope not to be. Not because I'm a Barack groupie. Far from it. My attitude toward him and anyone else is to wait and see before judging. In any case, I remain still rather hopeful for two reasons. One is that conditions are already pushing the new administration and the country inexorably to the left. And the other is that, within some minor limitations, I really don't care who is secretary of this or secretary of that. What I care about is policy, and the broad strokes of policy are typically made by the guy sitting behind the sign that notes where the buck stops. So if Obama ends the Iraq war but has Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates staff it out, I'm happy. If he makes major efforts to rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country but Timothy Geithner is Secretary of the Treasury, I don't much care, to be honest.

Indeed, there is every possibility that his cabinet picks and other decisions are yet another demonstration of the wisdom that is Barack Obama, in a sort of 'keep your enemies even closer' kind of way. How soon, and how ardently, do you think Rick Warren is going to be out there criticizing the new administration? And if Obama does more such coopting of the center and even center-right, as he has in fact already been doing quite effectively, how much more ridiculous will the loonies of the GOP and the freaks on the radio look, off by themselves, trying to tear him down?

So I'm hopeful. All the conditions are there. A country demanding change, if not rescue. A thoroughly repudiated opposition. A public and in fact an entire world strongly committed to the success of the Obama presidency. And a skilled and wise occupant of the Oval Office about to be handed the keys to government.

Of course, I remain wary and gimlet-eyed for the moment. Everyone should. This is, after all, government we're talking about, and these are, after all, politicians. Moreover, Obama has already given us some minor reasons to be concerned.

At the same time, this is the most hopeful political moment of my life.

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Beltway Bozos Sound Off in their Stupidity

by Susie Madrak, www.crooksandliars.com

Oh, to live in that happy place where Fox News resides: where the sun shone out of Ronald Reagan's behind, and FDR, not Hitler, was the real villain of his time...

After Wise Men Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes pull their chin hairs and speak in somber tones about how Obama's economic stimulus package will actually hurt the economy - just like FDR's New Deal did - they wax rhapsodic over Reaganomics. (After tsk-tsking about unions quite possibly wrecking the economy under Obama, of course.)

I, too, have fond memories of Reaganomics. Why, until Reagan waved his magic wand, our unemployment checks weren't even taxed! I was absolutely thrilled to be able to make that sacrifice to fund tax cuts for the wealthy:

Another Reagan proposal that came in for criticism was the plan to tax all unemployment compensation.

[...] "What he's doing is taxing something to a person who is under a rough time to begin with," noted Herbert Paul, a New York tax lawyer. "But you don't seem to have a strong lobby group to push to eliminate that, so I think it may well stick."

And stick it did. Why, thanks to Reagan's Tax Reform Act of 1986, I only recently finished paying the taxes (and interest) due on unemployment income from 2001 - and here I am, unemployed again, thanks to yet another Republican-sponsored economic crash.

But I digress. The fact is, facts simply aren't relevant to Republicans, since their economic views and objects of veneration are more appropriate to a religious cult than intellectual rigor. (You might want to get Will Bunch's new book for a look at this phenomena - and why it's so important.)

I'm not going to pick apart the specifics of everything Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes said, because they're only interchangeable players in the larger conservative game plan. We've seen just about every possible Republican bobblehead spouting this same nonsense in the past few weeks, fresh off the RNC talking-points fax machine.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Children have a right to food...right? Nope. Not according to Bush administration

The Bush administration continues to obstruct good and defend evil:

The Right to Food

by Cernig, www.crooksandliars.com

As if we weren't already in the dregs of world society because of the dastardly deeds of Bush/Cheney, now comes this:

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)

The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day - children who could be fed if we weren't wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.

Just so you get that, here it is again:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cรดte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: United States.

Merry Christmas to the World from Dubya and his chums - who are currently geeing up the notion that an increase in defense spending (say, to 4% of GDP) would be a great economic stimulus package! Actually, it wouldn't - defense spending "drains resources from the productive economy" and costs more jobs in other sectors than it creates.

How much better an economic stimulus - both for America and the world - it would be to mobilize American might for good instead of destruction. But Dubya and his fellow travellers would rather focus on destruction.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sweet story --

The "brothers" and "sisters" who form our true families are often not of the same blood -- we meet them along the way. But these two people have a heartwarming story about their connection:

http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1498243.html
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The TOP CENSORED STORIES of 2008

There are so many stories about which the majority of the population is in the dark. Which, no doubt, is why so many of them voted for Bush & Cheney TWICE and then turned around and voted for McCain and Palin. God help us all....
http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/category/y-2009
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Cheney's Legacy of Deception

The Worst Vice President (actually President) EVER
Cheney, pulling the strings behind the idiot Bush, has brought our nation to its knees, ripping apart our Constitution and changing it to his own design, and is now defending his nefarious actions of the last eight years.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19390

EXCERPT: In the end, the shame of Vice President Dick Cheney was total: unmitigated by any notion of a graceful departure, let alone the slightest obligation of honest accounting. Although firmly ensconced, even in the popular imagination, as an example of evil incarnate--nearly a quarter of those polled in this week's CNN poll rated him the worst vice president in U.S. history, and 41 percent as "poor"--Cheney exudes the confidence of one fully convinced that he will get away with it all.

. . .With Biden occupying Cheney's old office and presumably his secret bunkers as well, maybe we will, at last, learn a bit more of the nefarious truth about the man. One place to start is with the statement of retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell's chief of staff and who stated unequivocally that Cheney was the primary author of the torture policy: "There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated--in the vice president of the United States' office."
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Danger for Dems who ride in private planes

Why Al Franken should NOT be riding in private planes
December 24, 2008

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

The tragic and suspicious death of Karl Rove's election thief in chief should send a clear message to Al Franken and other key liberals: don't be riding in any small private planes.

Death by air crash now seems to be the favored means of ridding the Rovian right of troublesome characters.

The most recent is Michael Connell, who died Friday night when his private plane crashed near his northern Ohio home. Connell was the information techology whiz kid who helped Rove steal the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, along with a few in between---possibly including the 2002 senatorial campaign in Minnesota that followed the death of Paul Wellstone.

Connell was an expert pilot whose plane crashed in clear weather. He held virtually all the secrets to how George W. Bush was illegally foisted on the American people---and the world---for eight horrifying years. By manipulating computerized results in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 Connell made history. By some accounts, he was about to tell the attorneys in the on-going King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal civil rights lawsuit how he did it. He also approached expressed a willingness to appear under oath before Congress. But now he is dead.

Current cover stories include the possibility that his plane ran out of fuel. But its crash was accompanied by a very large fireball explosion that burned for more than ten minutes. A trooper on the scene immediately identified Connell, but newspaper accounts say his body was charred beyond recognition.

Connell told various sources that he was being threatened by Rove. He canceled at least two previous flights due to mechanical failure. A father of four, his decision to fly from a highly restricted airport in Maryland remains a mystery. Connell reportedly did contract work for security-industrial agencies, like the CIA. Connell also openly acknowledged that he was the first IT contractor to move his servers behind the firewall of the US House of Representatves where he oversaw the websites of the House Judiciary Committee, Intelligence Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Administrative Committee, arguably the four most powerful committees in the House.

He now joins such critical players as Paul Wellstone, Mel Carnahan, Ron Brown, Mickey Leland, John Tower, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and many more critical public figures who have died in small plane crashes at questionable moments.

In all cases there are non-nefarious potential explanations for their deaths. Conspiracy theories can, indeed, be frivolous.

But so can their out-of-hand dismissal by coincidence theorists. Both Wellstone and Carnahan died two weeks before critical Senatorial elections they were favored to win in a divided Senate. In 2000, Carnahan's Missouri seat was taken by his wife, who subsequently lost it.

Wellstone, the leading liberal light in the US Senate, had been personally threatened by Dick Cheney for opposing the Iraq war. Wellstone's plane crashed under dubious circumstances, carrying himself, his wife and daughter. In an extremely questionable outcome, Norm Coleman got his seat.

Coleman was hand-picked by Karl Rove to run against Wellstone. His ensuing victory over stand-in candidate Walter Mondale was the highly unlikely outcome of a messy, manipulated election that coincided with equally dubious senatorial vote counts in Georgia and Colorado.

Al Franken may now be poised to take back the Wellstone seat for the Democratic Party. As an Air America talk host, he repeatedly mocked those who were investigating the theft of the 2004 election.

But he now owes the possibility of being elected to the diligent work of election protection activists who have fought all these years for fair, open and reliable vote counts. Had former Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell been in charge of this year's Minnesota election, Franken would not even be in the running.

Ironically, a brutal right-wing hate campaign is now being waged against Franken, charging him with election theft. Among other things, it claims he "went to Hollywood" for money to steal his way into the Senate.

Were it not for the deaths of so many others before him, such talk could be dismissed out of hand.

But under the circumstances, we would strongly urge Al Franken not to be flying in any small planes.

--
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection, including HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION..., and AS GOES OHIO, available at www.freepress.org, where this article was first published. They are attorney and plaintiff in the King-Lincoln civil rights lawsuit pursuing Michael Connell. This article originally appeared at http://freepress.org.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

23 percent say Cheney is worst vice president ever

Hard to believe that one quarter of our population could be so deluded. One percent say he is the best vice president ever. That one percent resides in a mental institution.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/22/poll.cheney/index.html
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Readers' comments on KBR/toxin story

Dick Cheney, whose face and curled-lip sneer show the evil that lies within him, has created so much karma for himself in this incarnation, it will take him an eternity to clean his slate. The deaths, injuries, and illnesses of our troops sent off into an unnecessary war by Cheney and Bush are only a small part of their terrible deeds in the past eight years. Their greed and power plays will be recorded in history's infamy. I hope and pray they will be indicted for their war crimes and other crimes against humanity! I am fully expecting Bush to issue Cheney a pardon at the last minute before he leaves the White House.

Obama should call in a shaman to cleanse the White House after the neocons finally leave. Their evil actions and foul energy must permeate the place. I wouldn't want to live there and breathe the dirty air they leave behind.

Some of the readers' comments on the KBR story are excellent:

This story is far from over. In the end, it will be difficult to say who did more damage to American interests, the enemy or KBR. (So Very True!)

KBR's handiwork already includes at least 16 US soldier deaths from improperly-wired facilities, and now this, an explicit tale of both indifference and incompetence from Halliburton/KBR-- the very people who got a no-bid contract for Cheney-Rumsfeld & Co. at premium prices.

And what was the rationale for awarding a no-bid contract to Halliburton/KBR? Because Cheney-Rumsfeld insisted only Halliburton/KBR could do the job correctly. (Cheney is the former head of Halliburton, and retains generous profit-sharing options. In effect, Cheney awarded himself a contract in clear conflict of interest. US taxpayers made him even richer.)

KBR is now a spin-off of Halliburton, though the same mendacity pervades both companies.

***************************************

Just a little more of the "bush-cheney" LEGACY.. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more, and we can thank good Ol bush, cheney, and all their greedy friends over at KBR, and Halliburton.. I''m sure that the Republicans will try to blame this on someone else. The "Dirty Tricks Machine" over at the RNC will be working overtime.
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Kellogg, Brown, Root (Halliburton) exposed troops to toxin

...and now some of those troops are dying of lung cancer. Here is a new addition to an old story of how America treats its troops. Remember Agent Orange in Vietnam? And Depleted Uranium in Iraq? Well, now we have Hexavalent Chromium. Even though there is evidence that KBR knew this dust was toxic to inhale, they didn't notify or protect the troops. So...what else is new?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/22/cbsnews_investigates/main4683471.shtml

(CBS) The military contractor Kellogg Brown and Root, known as KBR, has won more than $28 billion in U.S. military contracts since the beginning of the Iraq war. KBR may be facing a new scandal. First, accusations its then-parent company Halliburton was given the lucrative contract. And later, allegations of shoddy construction oversight that resulted in Americans getting electrocuted. Now, some other American soldiers say the company knowingly put their lives at risk, CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian exclusively reports.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another plane crash--another GOP threat gone forever

This guy was going to testify against Rove... it's amazing how "lucky" Rove and his fellow evil-doers are when it comes to "accidents" that take out people who are threats to them. Those small plane "accidents" are really adding up....

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Karl_Roves_IT_guru_Mike_Connell_1220.html

EXCERPT: A top level Republican IT consultant who was set to testify in a case alleging GOP election tampering in Ohio died in a plane crash late Friday night.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Some great tips for getting better sleep

Read them at: http://www.thecompounder.com/otherwarmfeetsleep.php

I definitely believe that having warm feet can help. I noticed it took me longer to get to sleep when my feet were cold, so I started wearing socks to bed. Quite an improvement! I get to sleep much faster now. The part about wearing a cap to bed is a good one, too--especially for men with thinning hair.
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Want to throw a shoe at Bush? Well, now you CAN!!!

This little online game gave me the most satisfaction I've had in a long time! (~.~)  The only improvement I could suggest is that they add Cheney to it! (And Rumsfeld...and Rice...and Perle...and Wolfowitz....(well, you get the picture).

http://www.kroma.no/2008/bushgame/

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The Axe, the Book, and the Ad: On reading in a time of depression

Dark news for readers of all kinds of printed materials...and for those who write and publish them.
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19283
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

How About Impeaching Bush and Cheney?

This article expresses my sentiments exactly!
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19270
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Bill's list of donors revealed

Look for more trouble at Hillary's confirmation hearings now that this list has been revealed. No wonder Bill was joined at the hip with George Bush, Sr. these past 8 years, traveling the world with Poppy! Poppy was making sure Bill would be saturated with big bucks from Poppy's best friends, the Saudis. Now you've got to wonder what did Bill promise Poppy (and the Saudis) in return? What connections underlie both of them? Who really runs things in our world? Good questions to ask. I would bet most people never ask them or even think about them...which is why we have been saddled with Bush & Cheney for the last 8 years. And, with Obama's choice of Hillary as Sec. of State (and fundamentalist Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration), you can see the long-armed tentacles of the real rulers of our country/world still pulling the strings behind the scenes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-feldman/the-painfully-unwatchable_b_151472.html
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mysterious cancer cluster -- brain tumors

Sounds like the chemical company Rohm and Haas is trying desperately to make us all believe 2 plus 2 does not equal 4.  I hope the people affected get some good lawyers; they're going to need them.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/15/eveningnews/main4670728.shtml?source=mostpop_story&tag=mostPopularTabsContent;mostPopularTabsStories
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Amusing short video -- Blagojevich calls in Jesus for help

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks blog tells exactly how it is done--every time--by every political crook caught with his hands in the cookie jar:
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/499.html

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Monday, December 15, 2008

A great column: Tales from the Planet Bizarre

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19220
and some good readers' comments, too!  Here's one reader's comment that is particularly apt, regarding Bush:

Extreme pathological liars

Extreme pathological liars seem to have no real connected awareness of the suffering of others, and so they feel no remorse or sense of tragedy over others' misfortunes, though they may 'act it'. As leaders they are especially bad since they strengthen and pass on these characteristics to their followers. This is obvious as you view Amerika, with all its megalomania, pretentiousness, chicanery and feigned emotions today.

Pathological liars do sometimes suffer themselves, though. They suffer from the inner insecurity caused by failing to meet their own ideological standards. From what I understand, Hitler was pretty much a physical wreck by the time of his suicide. On the other hand, certain of these types never suffer and seem to live and die at peace with themselves. So, maybe if the war had gone well for Hitler he would have lived to be 95...

Who knows what the future holds for Bush? I guess that depends on how many of us choose to remain his followers.

Read original column, Tales from the Planet Bizarre (I call it Bizarro myself), Episode 473: Still Lying, Still Allowed to Lie by David Michael Green, a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19220

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McCain has awakened from his fog: Sarah can't count on his support in 2012


Yet he took her for his vice presidential running mate, with his age and unpredictable health situation.  Thanks, John, for trying to unload her on us, when you don't even want her!

This Week: McCain Refuses To Endorse Palin in 2012

Posted: 14 Dec 2008 05:30 PM PST

This Week: McCain Refuses To Endorse Palin in 2012
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Because what the country can't get enough of is more coverage of Sarah Palin (/snark), George Stephanopoulos asks the question burning brightly in the punditocracy: Will John McCain endorse former running mate Sarah Palin for the 2012 election?

The answer? Nope.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said, after the election, that Governor Palin has a bright future in your party. Does that mean that, if she does chooses to run for president, she can count on your support?

MCCAIN: Oh, no. Listen, I have the greatest appreciation for Governor Palin and her family, and it was a great joy to know them. [..]But I can't say something like that.

Ouch. Kind of hard to deny all the rumors of rancor between the two when you get put in that spot (take that, Bill Kristol), but McCain's choice of phrasing to chide Stephanopoulos on this line of questioning was more than a little unfortunate, especially considering how his age and health made Sarah Palin's position that much more critical:

MCCAIN: ... my corpse is still warm, you know?

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Bush's protection for his "my base, the elite"

Although she's oh-so-right about the rest of it, I must disagree with the author's next-to-last statement. The disastrous Bush crew could be both incompetent and focused on delivering the goods to their buddies.  INCOMPETENCE is at the head of the list of Bush/Cheney flaws, which are innumerable! 

The Princes and the Paupers

Compare and contrast - I'm sure the Senate's southern caucus is as upset about this as they are about auto workers making $28 an hour:

Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts. In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.

At least we've laid one myth to rest. It's never been that BushCo is incompetent. Clearly, they're very focused and directed when it comes to the economic privilege of the upper classes.


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U.S. Excluded in Latin Countries Summit Meeting

As the article says, Monroe would be rolling over in his grave. Who would have thought eight years ago that the U.S. could be brought to such a low estate? (Other than those of us who knew from Day One that the idiot Bush would be the disaster he turned out to be.) Bush, Cheney, and the Republican party have reduced the U.S. image to drek.  I only hope Obama's leadership can resurrect it.  The hour is late, and getting later by the minute.  I'd like to see Bush thrown out on his ear TODAY!

Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a0a8IQrfwSFU&refer=worldwid
e
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Many are insisting Obama is not black

I've always thought of Obama as being the perfect combination of half white/half black to carry on in a Lincolnesque tradition.  And he seems to be doing just that. We have never needed a president like Lincoln more than we do right now.  Obama has many of the same qualities that Lincoln demonstrated: wisdom, thoughtfulness, compassion, reaching across party lines, a willingness to delegate and to listen to the counsel of others, a spiritual belief in brotherhood and equality, and a calm, cool demeanor that is so needed in hot times such as these. It is great, also, to see that the melting pot is working and within a few more lifetimes perhaps there will not be any racism at all because all the races will be blended together. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world where white supremacists no longer exist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/14/ap-many-insisting-that-ob_n_150846.html

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Obama left with little time to curb global warming

Never has an incoming president had more on his plate!  I do believe Obama and the people he is appointing are up to the demanding tasks that are set before them. Thankfully, we are getting rid of the men who wasted the last eight years on the global warming problem and who caused so many disasters in the world. A journalist threw a shoe at Bush today in Iraq -- I can think of much worse things I'd like to throw at him--an anvil comes to mind. He and Cheney should be brought up on criminal charges and put away for life.

GLOBAL WARMING PROBLEM INCREASING -- OBAMA MUST DO SOMETHING QUICKLY
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081214/D952LKP00.html

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Our Two-tiered System of Justice

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all the other criminals at the top of our government have exempted themselves from the law. It is up to the citizens and our representatives to hold them accountable for the disasters they have caused and the crimes they have committed.

Glenn Greenwald Talks To Bill Moyers About The Rule of Law

By Susie Madrak Sunday Dec 14, 2008

www.crooksandliars.com

Glenn Greenwald Talks To Bill Moyers About The Rule of Law
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Glenn Greenwald talked with Bill Moyers Friday night about the rule of law and how it was perverted by the Bush administration:

BILL MOYERS: To be fair, you make a strong case in here that we have to stand up to extremism but that we have to protect our own constitutional principles while we do. And as I read both of these books, it is the sense that out of this Manichean view there came this whole notion that you say is alien to America, this unitary executive powers of the presidency. Have I stated that right?

GLENN GREENWALD: You have. Let’s just quickly describe in the most dispassionate terms, as few of euphemisms, as possible, where we are and what has happened over the last eight years. We have a law in place that says it is a felony offense punishable by five years in prison or a $10,000 fine to eavesdrop on American citizens without warrants. We have laws in place that say that it is a felony punishable by decades in prison to subject detainees in our custody to treatment that violates the Geneva Conventions or that is inhumane or coercive.

We know that the president and his top aides have violated these laws. The facts are indisputable that they’ve done so. And yet as a country, as a political class, we’re deciding basically in unison that the president and our highest political officials are free to break the most serious laws that we have, that our citizens have enacted, with complete impunity, without consequences, without being held accountable under the law.

And when you juxtapose that with the fact that we are a country that has probably the most merciless criminal justice system on the planet when it comes to ordinary Americans. We imprison more of our population than any country in the world. We have less than five percent of the world’s population. And yet 25 percent almost of prisoners worldwide are inside the United States.

What you have is a two-tiered system of justice where ordinary Americans are subjected to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world. They break the law. The full weight of the criminal justice system comes crashing down upon them. But our political class, the same elites who have imposed that incredibly harsh framework on ordinary Americans, have essentially exempted themselves and the leaders of that political class from the law.

They have license to break the law. That’s what we’re deciding now as we say George Bush and his top advisors shouldn’t be investigated let alone prosecuted for the laws that we know that they’ve broken. And I can’t think of anything more damaging to our country because the rule of law is the lynchpin of everything we have.

Crooks and Liars

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Billions of our tax dollars went down the drain in Iraq reconstruction fiasco

Add this to the list of the Bush/Cheney legacy to us all... just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/world/middleeast/14reconstruct.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Colin Powell Slams Sarah Palin

Too little, too late, Colin!......Why didn't you speak up when you were part of the Bush/Cheney debacle? Powell is trying to salvage his own image now. But it's too darn late. He will go down in history, tarnished, as part of the worst presidency to ever happen to America. THE. WORST. EVER.

Colin Powell slams
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In an interview that will air this Sunday with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, General Colin Powell sounds off on Sarah Palin and her assertion that "small town values" are somehow better than values gleaned from elsewhere. In Powell's case, the South Bronx.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think is going to happen to the Republican Party? You sounded concerned then, and you always have been concerned about certain aspects of your party. Do you think it's moving in the right direction?

POWELL: We don't know yet. I don't know yet.

I think that in the latter months of the campaign, the party moved further to the right. Governor Palin, to some extent, pushed the party more to the right. And I think she had something of a polarizing effect when she talked about small-town values are good.

Well, most of us don't live in small towns. And I was raised in the South Bronx, and there's nothing wrong with my value system from the South Bronx.

Republicans like to run around complaining about "elitism" and how liberals somehow look down on other non-liberals. Yet, for the majority of the campaign, Sarah Palin hit the stump time after time essentially flipping off large swaths of the country, in some cases even labeling them un-American. Republican hypocrisy is nothing new, of course, but it's pretty interesting how the "elitism" narrative only cuts one way. The GOP noise machine sure has done a good job of advancing these false narratives.

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Colin Powell speaks sense to the Republican party

It's about time someone did! That party has been taken over by rednecks and fundamentalists. But their number is dwindling, as the minorities creep up to become the majority. Colin Powell knows this, and he and other of the intelligentsia of the party are plenty worried!

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/12/11/powell-gop-polarization-backfired-in-election/

EXCERPT:
"I think the party has to stop shouting at the world and at the country,"Powell said. "I think that the party has to take a hard look at itself, and I've talked to a number of leaders in recent weeks and they understand that." Powell, who says he still considers himself a Republican, said his party should also stop listening to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

"Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh?" Powell asked. "Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?" He could have added the names of Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Michael Reagan, Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, and many others!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great exchange between Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee

I am cheering for Jon! He is absolutely accurate in his statements that being gay is NOT a choice. It makes Huckabee's arguments fizzle into the dust. Religious people claim to be loving, caring people. Yet they will deny the right to marry to gay couples, and put themselves as judge and jury against those who were born gay. I love it in this video when Jon asks Huckabee (who is claiming that homosexuality is a "choice"), "When did you decide to be not gay?"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/10/jon-stewart-mike-huckabee_n_149906.html

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The betrayal of Gary Webb

Following is a full story of how and why reporter Gary Webb was betrayed by the so-called "journalists" at the big U.S. newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News in which Gary's truthful story of drug trafficking (Dark Alliance) was first reported. If you are interested in truth, you will want to read this article. Gary committed suicide 4 years ago, after he was ridiculed, humiliated, and drummed out of his journalistic profession--all because he told the truth, and the powers-that-be didn't like it.

WE ALL FAILED GARY WEBB: SPECIAL REPORT
by Robert Parry

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/19126
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Be sure to watch this: Validation - an amusing and touching short film

This is the perfect little film for Christmas -- and every day! Only 15 minutes long. If you take time to watch it, it will be the best 15 minutes of your day! (~.~) I'd like to see this one circle the globe!
Enjoy! :-) MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL!

Dear Friends,

Here is a little jewel of a film called 'Validation' that is guaranteed to open your heart and put a smile on your face. It is a little over 15 minutes long, in black and white, and has won many awards. It's a fable about the magic of free parking. Starring TJ Thyne & Vicki Davis. Writer/Director/Composer - Kurt Kuenne. Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Jury Award, Gen Art Chicago Film Festival, Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film, Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival, Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona Int'l Film Festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao






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Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas music with children's choir -- short video

http://videos.komando.com/2008/12/08/christmas-canon/

This great YouTube video will get you in the holiday spirit. This band has taken Christmas music in a new direction. Trans-Siberian Orchestra mixes heavy metal, classical orchestras and choirs. Hearing it is a neat experience. In this video you’ll hear their song Christmas Canon. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

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Barack O'Bama is really Irish -- ya' gotta' love this video!

Almost everybody loves our new president. The Irish are claiming him now. Regardless of whether you like him or not, I challenge you to try to forget this tune once you have heard it.... :-)
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Bush is securing his legacy of disaster

NOT HOME YET: The Terrible Carnage of Bush's Final Days


Bush is going out as he came in, acting aggressively and recklessly in the absence of any support from the people. In 2000, he came to office after losing the popular vote, but behaved as if the country had handed him a resounding conservative mandate. Rather than ruling from the center of a deeply divided nation, he placed his throne to the far right, driving the country even further apart. In 2004, he squeaked by with a contested count in Ohio, reminiscent of Florida 2000. He won only the narrowest of victories with less than a majority of the vote, but continued on as if he had a vote of confidence, ignoring the growing pressure of voter discontent. Now, after the election of Barack Obama, in which the American voters have spoken clearly, Bush has turned a deaf ear to the ringing cry for change.

Subverting the will of the people, our lame duck president is hell-bent on institutionalizing his far-right-wing agenda, so clearly repudiated in the last election. He is doing so through an extensive series of rules changes, the Executive Branch version of passing legislation. With typical disdain for the law, Bush has twisted to his own purpose the process of modifying the Federal Register to force through as many changes as possible in his waning weeks. Federal standards require at least a 60 day notification period for any "significant" rules changes that would carry an economic cost of more than $100 million, while lesser changes require only 30 days. In a self-serving monomaniacal power grab, Bush has simply declared that the distinction is "irrelevant" to him, giving him the shorter window at his whim.

His minions are working furiously with reckless abandon to ensure that the new rules will all take effect before the magic day of January 20. In an unprecedented flurry, Bush has pushed 53 such rules changes through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in just the last few weeks of his Administration. We are witnessing an orgy of changes that will severely tie the hands of his successor and bypass the Congress. Bush has blithely ignored the change demanded by the electorate.

These are not benign or trivial changes to the nation's rules and regulations. Have no doubt that Bush's assault on the Federal Register threatens our civil liberties, limits a woman's right to choose her own reproductive destiny, attacks the environment and endangers the planet. Just a cursory overview will highlight the extent of the damage.

• The Department of Justice has proposed a rule that would give state and local police more authority to collect intelligence on American citizens on the basis of nothing but "reasonable suspicion" that the target "might" be engaged in criminal activity. The rule does not define reasonable suspicion or who would have the authority to designate a suspect of being suspicious.

• The Department of Health and Human Services leaked a rule that would classify oral contraception as a form of abortion.

• Bush will narrow the scope of services that can be provided to poor people under Medicaid's outpatient hospital benefit.

• Bush has changed how the government calculates occupational risks with the goal of downplaying their severity; the rule also hampers the government's ability to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.

• Bush will accelerate oil shale development by weakening environmental standards across more than 2 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

• He will auction drilling rights for lands contiguous to national parks, allow mining wastes to be dumped into rivers and streams, and exempt factory farms from critical environmental regulations.

• He has weakened air pollution standards for mercury and lead, abandoned the Endangered Species Act, and let loose gun-toting weekend warriors in our national forests.

Let us look at a few of these rule changes in more detail to get a sense of how much damage Bush has done.

Rambo Meets Smokey the Bear

The most recent in this flurry of rules changes came on December 5, when Bush overturned a 25-year-old federal restriction on carrying loaded guns in national parks. Thank goodness he is focusing on the important issues plaguing our country.

The new rule allows national park visitors to carry concealed hand guns, not to mention loaded shotguns and rifles. Ronald Reagan is simply not conservative enough for Bush and his friends at the National Rifle Association, because the original weapons ban was proposed and implemented by none other than the cowboy hero of the right. Reagan imposed rules that only allowed unloaded guns secured in a trunk or truck bed to pass through the park, with the idea of allowing hunters to transit to hunting grounds outside the park.

Bush now comes to the rescue for all those living in fear that criminals are lurking behind every tree in our protected forests. Other than pleasing the NRA, this rule change has no justification. NRA lobbyist Chris Cox claims that families need loaded handguns for protection while enjoying nature's bounty. Chris conveniently ignores the fact that the lowest crime rates in the United State are found in our national parks. Introducing loaded guns will have no impact other than to create a new threat to visitors, park officials and unsuspecting wildlife like killer raccoons and vicious attack squirrels.

Smokey Mountains -- Literally

Weekend Rambos are not the only danger to our national parks. Bush is oddly offended by clean air and clear vistas in our nation's protected forests. So much so that Bush has proposed a rules change on behalf of dirty air by modifying how air pollution is measured in America's iconic wilderness areas. Existing rules logically seek to ensure that national parks provide visitors with the cleanest air by imposing the strictest safeguards against pollution. But the change would allow coal-fired power plants to be built adjacent to parks, ignoring the impact of smog and haze. Apparently Bush pines for an urban experience when visiting woodlands.

The new rules would also allow 17,000 existing power plants to dump pollutants into the air with abandon. While the relaxed pollution standard was proposed by EPA political hacks under White House direction, many of that organization's own scientists opposed the change. Such opposition is understandable, because this action would undermine a key component of the Clean Air Act, recognized globally as one of the most successful pieces of environmental legislation ever enacted.

The details of this rules change are worth examining because they expose Bush's deep disdain for the law and for the people. Under the original law, existing power plants at the time of enactment were exempted until the time the plant did any major upgrade. Routine maintenance was excluded. But Bush has cynically redefined "routine maintenance" in a way that intentionally guts the law, allowing a plant to virtually rebuild without meeting modern pollution standards.

The result of this rules change will be an additional 34 tons of mercury dumped into the air by 2010, an amount 6 times what would have been emitted under enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Bush's approach to mercury is particularly sad because economically viable technologies exist to reduce mercury pollution by 90%. Bush will not be satisfied until we have dense smog that offers each of us air we can taste. His legacy will linger for generations in the haze of toxic smog blanketing our once-pristine forests.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Species

In perhaps his greatest act of destruction, Bush has gutted the Endangered Species Act by imposing the most significant changes since 1986 to the regulations protecting animals and plants threatened with extinction. He did so while ignoring more than 200,000 overwhelmingly negative comments on the proposed change. Now, with no care for public or scientific concerns, Bush will exclude from consideration the emission of greenhouse gases when evaluating if a species could be harmed by a new project. A double blow to wildlife and climate change.

Bush will also now exclude advice from his own government biologists who evaluate the impact of federal projects, such as dams, on endangered species. Bush is silencing the scientists hired specifically to do the job the Administration is now undermining. This is an amazing admission that if facts are inconvenient to Bush's faith-based objectives, then those facts will be ignored. No other president has ever sought to silence his own scientists because he did not like the answers yielded by the natural world. But for Bush, if reality proves tiresome he simply changes the rules.

As if eight long years of hell under Bush were not enough, we now have to suffer this accelerated push to destroy our future in the last days of his reign of terror. Bush's utter disdain for the inconveniences of democracy has never been clearer. In his final backdoor assault on reason, logic, science and the rule of law, Bush has secured his legacy as the nation's worst president ever.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

General Shinseki to direct Veterans Affairs

WHAT A PERFECT CHOICE! Justice finally prevails! Isn't it great having an adult in charge of our government--finally--after 8 long years of degradation of the office of president and our Constitution? I thank God every day for the choice that was made on November 4th by the American people, who finally woke up!

Shinseki will be a man who REALLY CARES about our soldiers and veterans, and will make sure they get all the help and support they need.

We have been trekking through the desert with Bush, Cheney, and the rest of those criminals who took over our government, bringing ruin to our country. With the election of Obama, we have finally reached an oasis, but a long, hard climb lies in front of us as we now have to tackle the mountain of problems left to us by the worst presidential administration in history. We can't fool ourselves: there will be no easy times for us during this protracted recovery period. I believe Obama is equal to the incredibly difficult job he is assuming -- and I hope the American people are ready to pay the price for having elected TWICE in a row the dastardly bunch who tried to change our country from a democratic republic to a dictatorship. There is SO MUCH to UNDO!!!
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When Insults Had Class


Best, most clever insults ever....pay special attention to who said each one. Many of them had me laughing out loud. (~.~) It's interesting how many of them could apply if used to describe certain politicians today, even though they were said in a different time about different people entirely. Several of them seem tailor-made for Bush (i.e., "He had delusions of adequacy" AND "He had all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire") or for both Bush and Sarah Palin (
"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge"). More proof, if we needed it, that the same old stupidity just keeps recycling in new forms.


When Insults Had Class...

These glorious insults are from an era before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words, not to mention waving middle fingers.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison," and he said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease." "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli,
"on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress"

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the Dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... If you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... If there is One." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure." - Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." - Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts.. For support rather than illumination. " - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx





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Saturday, December 06, 2008

REMARKABLE VIDEO DOCUMENTARY ON YOUTUBE

The Real RainMan: Kim Peek, A Living Google

This is a fascinating documentary -- in 5 parts on You Tube. See it at: http://videos.komando.com/2008/11/09/the-real-rain-man/

Kim Peek has an extraordinary mind. It’s a fascinating mix of genius and disability.

Peek is a savant, but not in the usual sense. His brain retains everything he learns. His mind holds more information than you can imagine. You’ll dive deep into that mind throughout this documentary. It’s five parts long. But I guarantee you’ll be riveted.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

America's Second Great Depression Has Started

Read this full MARKET ORACLE article at: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article7610.html In my opinion, it contains some good advice by Martin Weiss.

IMPORTANT EXCERPT:

What brings me closer to a visceral understanding of this crisis is the half century I shared with my father, J. Irving Weiss, one of the few economists who not only advised investors during the First Great Depression, but actually predicted it.

Here are your tasks in a nutshell:

Your first and most urgent priority is to survive the depression, while building the biggest pile of CASH you can. Whether it's a molehill of pennies that you pinch from daily sacrifices or a mountain of dollars you squeeze out of asset sales, the more cash you can accumulate now, the better.

Your second priority
is to make sure your cash is in the safest place possible. That may not be the nearest bank or the biggest insurance company. Short-term Treasury securities, despite their low yield, must be the primary vehicle.

Third
, for the duration of this crisis, plus any new ones that may strike, your best friend and companion will be patience.
Don't yield to the temptation of so-called "bargains" and "big discounts" from peak prices. Many of those peak prices were a fiction from a bygone era that may never be seen again in my lifetime or yours.
Don't jump in too soon. You can afford to wait. Indeed, just by waiting patiently, you can build wealth tremendously.

Fourth,
I recognize that not everyone is able to follow all my instructions to the letter.
You may have real estate you cannot sell or a pension fund beyond your control.
You may have bonds that have no market or a business that continues to provide income.
All could be assets that you must keep; and yet, at the same time, all are assets that could be vulnerable to big losses in a continuing decline.
To untie that knotty dilemma, you may need a hedge — a protective shield that can help offset your losses. Alternatively, if you are a risk-taker, those same hedges can be turned into pure profit opportunities during a market decline. I hope you have already read and acted on the guide to hedging I sent you a while ago. If not, the latest rally in the market gives you a great time to start. ( Click here to download the pdf file.)

Last
, the big pay-off will come when we hit rock bottom and it's time to buy the greatest bargains of the century. So recognizing the bottom can unlock the opportunity to boost your income, allowing you to buy some of the best assets in the world for a pittance and stake out the high ground for yourself, your children and generations to come. I will do my utmost to alert you when the time comes.

Just remember that nothing is predetermined. Right now, the tsunami of crisis seems unstoppable. But in the foreseeable future, there will also come a singular moment in time when the worst of the storm has passed and the tides of history have ebbed, opening a window for you, me and our leaders to choose our own destiny. Before then, let's have a serious discussion about what the best — and worst — choices may be.


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