Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kickass Convention!

Yet more embarrassment:
The self-proclaimed "redneck" boyfriend of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's daughter will join the family at the Republican convention in Minnesota, US reports say.

Johnston describes himself on his MySpace page as a "f***in redneck" who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes, but "I don't want kids", according to US reports.

"I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess," he wrote before his MySpace page was removed. "Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass."


Classy Christians

A church in Blacklick, Ohio, is making a statement using Katy Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl.”

Havens Corners Church put up a sign with the lyrics “I kissed a girl and I liked it” and an additional line that reads “Then I went to hell.”



Just all kinds of embarrassing.


A New Low

According to the media, we should vote for Palin because she's so f***able:

Donny Deutsch, host of CNBC’s Big Idea, praised Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as the “new creation” of the “feminist ideal” yesterday on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. “Women want to be her, men want to mate with her. It’s as simple as that,” he said, adding that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) failed because “she didn’t put a skirt on!”:

DEUTSCH: There is the new creation that the feminist woman has not figured out in 40 years of the feminist ideal that men can take in a woman in power and women can celebrate a woman in power. Hillary Clinton didn’t figure it out. She didn’t put a skirt on! […]

She [Palin] talked about energy. Didn’t matter! Today everybody’s running in circles — we want to have her over for dinner. I trust her. I want her watching my kids. I want her laying next to me in bed. That’s the way people vote.

Host Erin Burnett suggested Deutsch could use “a four-letter acronym beginning with M and ending with F.”


Nothing to See Here

Move along:
A private jet that crash-landed almost one year ago in eastern Mexico carrying 3.3 tons of cocaine had previously been used for CIA "rendition" flights, a newspaper report said here Thursday, citing documents from the United States and the European Parliament.


Friday, September 05, 2008

OMG!!! Ribbon!!!

Friday catblogging here. This would look a lot better if I had the video editing software to flip it 90 degrees. Instead you'll have to turn your screen 90 degrees to get the full effect.

This may be too much trouble for most of you, but I know at least some few will watch it. (Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, VictoriaB!) And really, it's totally cute. The latter bit is Tista prowling in wrapping paper remnants, in case he's too camouflaged to tell.

Also, in a testament to just how fabulous Gramsci is... he totally motivated our friends' baby to take her first crawl last week! She soooooooo wanted to get to him that she just finally decided to damn well start crawling, since he wasn't coming to her. (Then later Tista sniffed her and she petted him and it was almost too exciting for diapers, but Grammikins was the reason for her first crawling!)

As you can see he was very proud of himself.



What better way to create change than to use a bunch of old Bush cronies to educate Palin?

The McCain team has hastily assembled a team of former Bush White House aides to tutor the vice-presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on foreign-policy issues, to write her speeches and to begin preparing her for her all-important Oct. 2 debate against Sen. Joe Biden.


DeLay Is a Convention Star

Broken and disgraced, lobbyist Jack Abramoff will spend four years in prison for his role in a corruption scandal that upended Washington politics and contributed to the Republicans' loss of Congress in 2006.

Oh, the vagaries of organized crime.



Anti-War? At the GOP convention?

Police arrested protesters Thursday night after a lengthy series of marches and sit-ins timed to coincide with Sen. John McCain’s acceptance of the Republican Party’s nomination for president.


Bush's Army

It is not a happy place:
Soldier suicides this year could surpass the record rate of last year, Army officials said Thursday, urging military leaders at all levels to redouble prevention efforts for a force strained by two wars.

So far this year, there are 62 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers and Guard and Reserve troops called to active duty, officials said. Another 31 deaths appear to be suicides but are still being investigated.
Pointless wars and substandard VA health care tend to lead in this direction.


Absurd Law

Absolutely ridiculous:

Wendy Whitaker's name may be on Georgia's sex offender registry, but her offense suggests she is no predator.

At age 17, while a high school sophomore, Whitaker had oral sex with a 15-year-old male classmate. In 1997, she pleaded guilty to sodomy and got five years' probation.

Whitaker, 28, has moved twice because of the sex offender law's restrictions that say an offender cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate. Whitaker was recently told by a sheriff she must move again because her home is within 1,000 feet of a church.

"It's a recurrent nightmare," Whitaker said Friday. "It's like a roller coaster. One minute, I'm OK. The next, I'm not. This time, I really thought everything was going to be all right."


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Death Theatre

The Republicans are desperate, pathetic, and disgusting:
It was a video that was supposed to elicit soaring patriotism and real emotions about the Pledge of Allegiance. But to do that, it used fake soldiers and a staged military funeral instead of the real thing.

On Tuesday night, 15-year-old Victoria Blackstone, a sophomore at the St. Agnes School in St. Paul, led the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in the Pledge of Allegiance. The audience heard her 434-word essay, “Pledging myself to the Flag of the United States of America,” an essay she’d entered in the “Wave the Stars & Stripes” essay contest and won. The RNC turned that essay into a three and a half minute video, a visually stirring montage rolling over Victoria’s words about sharing the Pledge with Americans who have stood at important moments in history.

There’s the Continental Congress…A real WWII vet…Photos of workers at Ground Zero. A close-up of a folded flag presented to a grieving widow at a military funeral… profiles of soldiers swelling with pride in slo-motion.

But CBS News found that the footage of the ‘funeral’ and soldiers is what is called ‘stock’ footage. The soldiers were actors and the funeral scene was from a one-day film shoot, produced in June. No real soldiers were used during production.


Just Stupid

I'm sure the lack of a 20% discount will stop an entire campus of young adults from having sex.

Well done
After multiple complaints from students, parents and faculty, condom coupons were removed from the coupon booklet handed out to students entering The Boise State Bookstore. The coupon was for 20 percent off any purchase of $5 or more at The Ozone condom shop located on Broadway Avenue.


The War We Made

Iraqis and Kurds may soon be killing each other:

Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga forces are bracing for conflict in the disputed city of Khanaqin in the most serious threat of clashes between Arabs and Kurds since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

A delegation flew from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish regional government, to Baghdad at the weekend to try to resolve the crisis. The two main Kurdish parties are allied and form part of Iraq's coalition government.

However, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region, and leader of the Kurdish Democratic party, said Iraq was still living under the influence of Saddam's regime and the central government was not serious about sharing power with Kurds. He claimed many military decisions were made without consultations with General Babakir Zebari, a Kurd who is the Iraqi army's chief of staff.


Can Somebody Lend Me...

about half a million pounds?

The first guitar torched on stage by Jimi Hendrix is to go on sale at an auction of rock memorabilia in London.

It is thought the instrument could sell for as much as £500,000.


Don't Get Sick

At least, not until the Democrats win in November (he says, filled with optimism and gullibility):
A survey being released Thursday by the Mercer consulting firm suggests nearly 60 percent of companies intend to keep down rising health care costs in 2009 by raising workers' deductibles, copays or out-of-pocket spending limits.

The study found that on average, health care costs will go up by about 5.7 percent next year for both workers and their employers. The findings repeated this year's 5.7 percent hike, after a 6.1 percent jump in 2007.



Who could have guessed that Halliburton was incredibly corrupt?

A former colleague of the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has pleaded guilty to funnelling millions of dollars in bribes to win lucrative contracts in Nigeria for Halliburton, during the period in the Nineties when Mr Cheney ran the giant oil and gas services company.

Albert Stanley, who was appointed by Mr Cheney as chief executive of Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, admitted using a north London lawyer to channel payments to Nigerian officials as part of a bribery scheme that landed some $6bn of work in the country over a decade.

The guilty plea, announced yesterday, came after a four-year investigation by US attorneys and threatens to stir up old controversies just as eyes are trained on the Republican party convention.


More Jobless

The number of newly-laid off workers seeking unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week, the government said Thursday, reversing three weeks of declines.

The Labor Department reported that new applications for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 444,000, up 15,000 from the previous week. Economists had expected claims to drop to 420,000.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Silly and Stupid

That's what the right has to offer.

Libertarian-leaning Ron Paul told thousands of supporters at a protest convention Tuesday that true patriots support “liberty and the people,” not what the government wants.

Dan John, 23, of California, Pa., traveled in one of several passenger vans, or “Ronvoys” that picked up people on 10 routes to the event.

“Ron Paul himself wrote me an e-mail and I felt he himself was telling me to come,” John said.

Yeah John, he wrote that e-mail himself. That sort of gullibility almost qualifies you for...

Log Cabin’s endorsement of the McCain/Palin ticket was not unexpected. The gay GOP group made its announcement Tuesday following a 12-2 vote of its national board of directors.


Scary Gays!

The ex-Nazi is nervous about the gays:
French police are spying on LGBT and HIV/AIDS group ahead of next week’s visit by Pope Benedict XVI, a prominent Paris newspaper reported on Wednesday.


Last Minute Bush Bump

Heckuva job
Job cuts announced by U.S. employers last month jumped 12 percent over a year ago to cap the busiest summer of downsizing in six years, according to a report released Wednesday.


Lying Assholes

Not to put too fine a point on it, but conservative pundits are hypocritical, lying assholes:

On the September 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity said, in reference to Internet rumors about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, "[T]hey tried to make the attack that she has a young daughter, pregnant and engaged. Is that fair that they would attack that? I mean, I don't remember Chelsea Clinton being attacked. I don't remember Al Gore's children being attacked. I thought there was a general rule that children of candidates ought to be left alone." In fact, Chelsea Clinton was not "left alone" -- not by Sen. John McCain, and not by Rush Limbaugh, who has hosted numerous prominent Republicans on his syndicated radio show.

McCain reportedly told a "joke" about Chelsea Clinton in 1998, saying: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." The late columnist Molly Ivins reported of Limbaugh:

On his TV show, early in the Clinton administration, Limbaugh put up a picture of Socks, the White House cat, and asked, 'Did you know there's a White House dog?' Then he put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton, who was 13 years old at the time and as far as I know had never done any harm to anyone.


First Day of the Semester

After having taught my four classes, I feel strangely optimistic.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

America Is a Global Leader Again

We just keep on giving:
The property crash that began in the US is spreading across the globe, according to international estate agents Knight Frank, which said today that steep declines are now taking place across Europe and into Asia.


Why Kids Get Pregnant

Perhaps it is due to such policies as these:
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain, whose presumptive running mate disclosed that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, has opposed proposals to spend federal money on teen-pregnancy prevention programs and voted to require poor teenage mothers to stay in school or lose their welfare benefits.

Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska. She has supported abstinence programs in schools.

"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.

McCain's position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives or whether he supports President George W Bush's policy of promoting abstinence.

"Ahhh, I think I support the president's policy," McCain said.

When a reporter asked McCain whether he thought contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV, he replied: "You've stumped me." McCain said later that he was sure he opposed government spending on contraceptives. Asked whether he would oppose condom distribution if he knew that condoms stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, McCain said he had never got into those issues before.

The McCain campaign did not respond yesterday to repeated requests for information.

In Senate votes, McCain has opposed some proposals to pay for teen-pregnancy prevention programs. In 2006, McCain joined fellow Republicans in voting against a Senate Democratic proposal to send $US100 million ($A117.7 million) to communities for teen-pregnancy prevention programs that would have included sex education about contraceptives.


Victory in New York

Same-sex marriages must be recognized by state agencies:
A New York judge ruled Tuesday that Governor David Paterson (D) did not act illegally when he issued a directive ordering state agencies to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.


Third World Chic

Another bizarre, twisted product of late capitalism:

They could be roadside beggars; a gaunt toothless old woman thrusting her hungry toddler towards the camera, while her ragged, sad older daughter looks on with matted hair and dark circles around her eyes.

It's the kind of picture Oxfam uses to prick our consciences to dig deep for the hungry, but the giveaway is the toddler's Fendi designer bib: It costs £50 - more than two month's income for an impoverished rural Indian family.

The photographs are from the August issue of India's Vogue magazine, and the latest example of 'Third World' chic.


The Best They Can Do

The GOP is in sad, sorry shape when DeLay is a party celebrity:
Tom DeLay, the former House GOP majority leader whose connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff brought scandal and disgrace to the Republican party, returned to the spotlight in Minneapolis last night, helping to host a private party that drew hundreds of delegates and Republican officials.

"He's the man, he's the man," said one guest leaving the party.

"I've always liked him, he's a good solid conservative," said one delegate standing in line for entrance to the party, Corey Stewart, chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Prince William County, Virginia.


Asked his reaction to DeLay's appearance in Minneapolis, Cong. John Mica (R-FL) declined to answer and then head-butted the ABC camera.


Fear of a Non-Republican Planet

The GOP convention has the fear:

Following up on this weekend's extreme raids on various homes, at least 250 people were arrested here today in St. Paul, Minnesota. Beginning last night, St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 -- with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured. I'll have video of the day's events posted shortly.

Perhaps most extraordinarily, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now -- the radio and TV broadcaster who has been a working journalist for close to 20 years -- was arrested on the street and charged with "conspiracy to riot."



Another casualty in that other war:
A sailor killed in Afghanistan on Saturday was the 500th U.S. service member to die in that country since the war there began in 2001.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Harris of Lexington, North Carolina, was 36.

Twenty-two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan in August, part of a recent increase in American deaths there. In June, 28 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan -- the United States' highest one-month total in that country.


Monday, September 01, 2008

The Dangers of Blogging

In the U.S., you might get flamed. In Russia, meanwhile:
The owner of an independent website critical of authorities was shot and killed by police today in a volatile province in southern Russia, his colleague said.

The killing of owner Magomed Yevloyev could incite tensions in the province of Ingushetia west of Chechnya, which has been the site of frequent attacks on police and other officials.

Police arrested Yevloyev today, taking him off a plane that had just landed in Ingushetia province near Chechnya, said the site's deputy editor, Ruslan Khautiyev.

Police whisked Yevloyev away in a car and later dumped him on the road with a gunshot wound in the head, Khautiyev said. He said Yevloyev died in a hospital shortly afterward.


Our Allies


Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Baluchistan province, told a stunned parliament that northwestern tribesman had done nothing wrong in first shooting the women and then dumping them in a ditch.

"These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them," he said.

"Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid."

The women, three of whom were teenagers and whose "crime" was that they wished to choose who to marry, were still breathing as mud and stones were shovelled over their bodies, according to Human Rights Watch.

The three girls, thought to be aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped by a group of men from their Umrani tribe and murdered in Baba Kot, a remote village in Jafferabad district.

According to some reports, Baluchistan government vehicles were used to abduct the girls, and the killing was overseen by a tribal chief who is the brother of a provincial minister from the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Some accounts said that two older relatives had tried to intervene, but they too were shot and buried alive with the teenagers.

More than six weeks after the deaths no one has been arrested and human rights groups have accused local authorities of trying to cover up the executions.


So Far, So Good

Gustav's landfall is playing out much better than I'd feared.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Whatever It Is"

McCain is a man of principle. Or something:
Sen. John McCain said he supports raising minimum wage on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace as he admits voting against it at least 17 times.

Wallace asked McCain about his voting record on minimum wage after Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden used it to criticize the candidate during a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Wallace eventually corrected his original question by informing McCain that the senator had actually voted 19 times to keep wages at the current level, to which McCain responded, “Well, or 29 or 49, whatever it is.”