Monday, July 28, 2008

Leaked movie trailer of ‘W.’

From Think Progress

Raw Story reports that a “leaked trailer” of the Oliver Stone’s new biopic W. “suggests the film will focus on George W. Bush’s transition from youthful drunken lout to President of the United States.” George H. W. Bush, played by James Cromwell, asks his son, played by Josh Brolin: “What are you cut out for? Partying? Chasing tail? Driving drunk? Who do you think you are, a Kennedy? You’re a Bush dammit! Act like one.”

Stone tells the LA Times, “We are trying to walk in the footsteps of W and try to feel like he does, to try to get inside his head. But it’s never meant to demean him.” Brolin adds, “It’s not a political movie. It’s a biography.” Wonkette’s movie review: “Just looks terrible, all around.”

Get Your War On - The Animated Version

Secret Pants Sketch Comedy presents "Bush or Batman"

Scott McClellan exposed Fox News as a propaganda tool for the White House

Fox in the White House: It is one of those things you kind of assume to be true all along... and yet are shocked when hard confirmation actually comes. Our fourth story tonight, from the former White House press secretary himself, word that the Bush White House routinely sent--and as far as we know, still sends-- literal talking points to Fox News for its prime time propagandists, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and others... to spout, as if ventriloquist dummies, as if they had thought of it themselves, as if they had come to those opinions independently, as if there had been a process either fair... or balanced.

Fleetwood Mac - "Silver Springs" Live


Saturday, July 26, 2008

A little Saturday Déjà Vu with C S N & Y

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu

Assholes of the Week

Political Cartoon of the Week

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fox News On-Air Racism Challenged by Huge Petition Drive and Hot Rapper Nas

A rally outside Fox News headquarters led by Color of Change delivers 620,000 signatures.

By Don Hazen, AlterNet

At a rally of a couple hundred people in front of Fox News headquarters on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, Andre Banks told the crowd: "We're here to call out Fox News on their pattern of on-air racism that is trying to make the Obama's outsiders in their own country. But it won't work. Many people think Fox is a joke. But putting racism on national TV and calling it news isn't funny."

Banks, who is Deputy Director of The Color of Change, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for progressive issues on the web, stood next to 19 stacked cardboard boxes. The number 620,127 was taped to the side of each box, representing the number of petition signatures gathered. The petition demanded that network president Roger Ailes "find a solution to address racial stereotyping and hate-mongering before it hits the airwaves."

Soon after Banks spoke, he was joined by popular performer Nas, who pulled up in his black SUV, and jumped out to address the crowd. Everyone with a camera flocked around the veteran rapper to get a shot of him.

Nas offered his own critique of Fox in what he sees as their long-term racist smear campaign against the Obama family. He mentioned Bill O'Reilly casually using the phrase "lynching party" to refer to attacks on the Senator's wife, and another Fox host's reference to the Obama couple's fist thump as a "terrorist fist jab." Said Nas, "Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news. This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president."

(You can watch a video of Nas and the protest on the right side of the screen.)

Banks explained that Nas's new album has a song called "Sly Fox," which offers a stinging critique of Fox News. (see rap lyrics below) When the Color of Change's Organizers realized they and Nas were saying the same things, they reached out to Nas to work together on the campaign.

AlterNet asked Banks for his take on the the specifics of the Fox behavior. "There are many instances, but one in particular that denigrated the Obama family made many readers angry, Fox put up images of Obama and their children and then referred to Michelle Obama as Baby Mama -- a term that is considered derogatory, and generally refers to young, unwed mothers of children," explained Banks.

The Color of Change organizing campaign against Fox clearly struck a chord. Joined by MoveOn and Brave New Films, the online petition spread around the web like wildfire, resulting in thousands of new members for each of the organizations. According to reports, Fox rejected the petitions, but Brave New Films, one of the organizers with Color of Change and said that Comedy Central's Colbert Report agreed to accept them instead, and made them a feature of his show on Wednesday night.

Selected lyrics from "Sly Fox" by Nas:

It's sly Fox, cyclops
We locked in an idiot box
The video slots broadcasting
Waco Dividian plots
They own YouTube, MySpace
When this ignorant shit going to stop?
They monopolize and lose your views
And the channel you choose

What's a fox characteristic?
Slick shit, sins in, misinformation
Pimp the station, over-stimulation
Reception, deception
Comcast digital Satan
The Fox has a bushy tale
And Bush tells lies and foxtrots
So, I don't know what's real (what's real)

Watch what you're watching
Fox keeps feeding us toxins
Stop sleeping
Start thinking outside of the box
And unplugged from the Matrix stopped you
But watch what you say, Fox Fire is watching

Only fox that I loved was the red one
Only black man that Fox love is
in jail or a dead one

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nas - Sly Fox

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More from Hillary on Bush's Attacks

See Article below for Hillary's full statement

Hillarys Op-Ed from the Huffington Post

An Outrageous Attempt by the Bush Administration to Undermine Women's Rights

by Hillary Clinton @ The Huffington Post

The Bush administration is up to its old tricks again, quietly putting ideology before science and women's health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is poised to put in place new barriers to accessing common forms of contraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs by labeling them "abortion." These proposed regulations set to be released next week will allow healthcare providers to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it. We can't let them get away with this underhanded move to undermine women's health and that's why I am sounding the alarm.

These rules pose a serious threat to providers and uninsured and low-income Americans seeking care. They could prevent providers of federally-funded family planning services, like Medicaid and Title X, from guaranteeing their patients access to the full range of comprehensive family planning services. They'll also build significant barriers to counseling, education, contraception and preventive health services for those who need it most: low-income and uninsured women and men.

The regulations could even invalidate state laws that currently ensure access to contraception for many Americans. In fact, they describe New York and California's laws requiring prescription drug insurance plans to provide coverage for contraceptives as part of "the problem." These rules would even interfere with New York State law that ensures survivors of sexual assault and rape receive emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms.

We've seen this kind of ideologically driven move from the Bush administration before. Senator Patty Murray and I went toe to toe with the Bush administration to demand a decision on Plan B by the FDA. We won that fight and we need to win this one too.

When I learned about these proposed rules, I immediately joined with Senator Murray to call on the Bush administration to stop these dangerous plans. I am joining with New York family planning and healthcare advocates to spread the word. Now is the time to raise our voices. I will continue to press HHS and I hope you will join me. I have posted information on how to get involved here.

Lion Hugs

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

A Must See Movie. Although I liked the story line of Batman Returns a lot better, The Dark Knight has it's high points. Heath Ledger stole the show as The Joker and Christian Bales version of Batman is my favorite. This is a Five Star movie you shouldn't miss.

Things that make you go Hummm

from Think Progress

Bush Administration Strong-Arms Maliki To Withdraw His Endorsement Of Obama’s Redeployment Plan

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made international headlines when he endorsed Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months.

On Sunday, however, the U.S. military distributed a vague statement from Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, saying that Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated.” The clarification, however, failed to cite specific examples of errors.

In reality, Iraqi government officials may not have been worried about an error in translation. Instead, it appears that they were pressured by the Bush administration to walk back Maliki’s statements :

But after the Spiegel interview was published and began generating headlines Saturday, officials at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad contacted Maliki’s office to express concern and seek clarification on the remarks, according to White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Later in the day, a Maliki aide released a statement saying the remarks had been misinterpreted, though without citing specific comments.

Today, the New York Times casts further doubt on al-Dabbagh’s excuse. The interpreter for the interview worked for Maliki’s office, not Der Spiegel. The Times also double-checked the translation by obtaining an audio recording of Maliki’s interview, which was conducted in Arabic. Directly translated, it reads:

Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq. … Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.

In the past, the Bush administration has also tried to cite clerical errors to undermine the Iraqi desire for a U.S. withdrawal. Earlier this month when Maliki suggested a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops, the State Department dismissed the comments, saying they were likely the result of an inaccurate transcription.

But as Matt Yglesias notes, “Because in fantasytown, the fact that Maliki repeatedly endorses a timetable and keeps being forced by the Bush administration to walk it back undermines the authenticity of his support for withdrawal. Back in realityville, Maliki keeps saying this because he wants us to set a timeline, viewing this as the only politically feasible way forward.”

UpdateThe AP is reporting that today, after a meeting between Obama and Maliki, al-Dabbagh said that the Iraqi government "is hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rock'n with Keith

Keith Richards - Little T&A

Asshole of the Week

Political Cartoon of the Week

Monday, July 14, 2008

Race Hate Hits the Campain Trail

John McCain -- 61 Flip-Flops and Counting

By Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report. Posted July 10, 2008.

McCain argues that flip-flops are an example of a political leader who can't be trusted -- so he might as well drop out of the race.

National Security Policy

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

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

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

4. In February, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain favored closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with Predators, McCain criticized him for it. He's since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy

7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it.

8. McCain supported moving "toward normalization of relations" with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the United States should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the United States should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a "rogue state rollback" as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty's behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy

14. McCain recently claimed that he was the "greatest critic" of Rumsfeld's failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as "a mission accomplished." In March 2004, he said, "I'm confident we're on the right course." In December 2005, he said, "Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course."

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good idea and a bad idea.

16. McCain said before the war in Iraq, "We will win this conflict. We will win it easily." Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was "probably going to be long and hard and tough."

17. McCain has repeatedly said it's a dangerous mistake to tell the "enemy" when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

18. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

Domestic Policy

19. McCain defended "privatizing" Social Security. Now he says he's against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

20. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn't.

21. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

22. He argued that the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party's policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

23. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won't commit to supporting a regulation bill he's co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris' former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

24. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

25. McCain's first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn't be "rewarded" for acting "irresponsibly." His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

26. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn't be allowed.

27. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. before he supported it.

28. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he's pro-ethanol.

29. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

30. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

Economic Policy

31. McCain was against Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

32. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated," and "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a "very strong" understanding of economics.

33. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

34. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were "too tilted to the wealthy." By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

35. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

36. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a "'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?" referring to George H.W. Bush's 1988 pledge. "No new taxes," McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, "I'm not making a 'read my lips' statement, in that I will not raise taxes."

37. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

38. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

Energy Policy

39. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling; now he's against it.

40. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

41. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to be voluntary.

42. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

43. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn't.

Immigration Policy

44. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants' kids who graduate from high school. Now he's against it.

45. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

46. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders "before proceeding to other reform measures." Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he'd never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his "top priority."

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law

47. McCain said he would "not impose a litmus test on any nominee." He used to promise the opposite.

48. McCain believes the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration's warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

49. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform

50. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn't.

51. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving "feedback" on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

52. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

Politics and Associations

53. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn't.

54. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn't.

55. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry's Democratic ticket in 2004.

56. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

57. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as "an agent of intolerance" in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans "deserved" the 9/11 attacks.

58. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending "dirty money" to help finance Bush's presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

59. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

60. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn't want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he "would taint the image of the 'Straight Talk Express.'" Kissinger is now the honorary co-chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

61. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was "corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff's gay lover." McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

And while I realize there are some who believe these constant flip-flops are irrelevant, I respectfully disagree.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Born Baby Elephant at The Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's new baby girl elephant has a new name and she is going out into the elephant yard. "The baby's name is Angelina, chosen by a special donor," says Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Pittsburgh Zoo's Baby Tiger Update

The nine-week-old baby tiger cub is in his new yard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is ready to meet Zoo visitors. “The yard, located across from the Amur leopard, is just right for the little guy,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “There is plenty of space for him to explore. And the fresh air is great for him.”

“Since he is just a cub, the keepers have him on constant watch. If the weather is bad or if for some reason he is acting unusual, there may be a change in the schedule. Visitors are welcome to call the Zoo before they come.”

The tiger cub was born on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2008. He is being hand-raised after his mom, Toma, did not bond with him. He is drinking more than 20 ounces of formula a day and is steadily gaining weight and growing. As he continues to grow, staff will introduce him to solid foods. As an adult, he will grow to about 11 feet long and weigh more than 450 pounds. When he is older, keepers will introduce him to the Tiger area, where his mom Toma, dad Globus, and older brother and sister, Petya and Mara, currently reside.

Amur tigers, more commonly known as Siberian tigers, are a critically endangered species due to habitat destruction and the illegal fur trade. There are currently only an estimated 400 Amur tigers in the wild and approximately 190 Amur tigers managed in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accredited Zoos.

Mike Ness Unplugged Saturday

Mike Ness - Story of my life

Asshole of the Week

This is just a small example of a McSame lie. I can just imagine the big ones. We take any story about our Steelers seriously here in Steeler Nation!

McCain's mind no steel trap in recalling Steelers
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Arizona Sen. John McCain stuck his Terrible Towel in his mouth this week.

In a local television interview Wednesday, Mr. McCain recalled his love of the Steelers, saying he slyly gave the names of Steeler defensive linemen to Vietnamese interrogators while a prisoner of war in 1967.

There are couple huge problems with that statement: Mr. McCain wrote in his 1999 best-seller "Faith of My Fathers" that he actually gave interrogators names of Green Bay Packers offensive linemen.

And besides, the Steelers of the late 1960s -- before the Steel Curtain and after the retirement of Hall-of-Fame lineman Ernie Stautner -- were so unsuccessful, few people outside their immediate families would claim knowing them.

The campaign for the probable Republican presidential candidate said the comment was an "honest mistake" and blamed bloggers for insensitively stirring up the matter.

Asked Wednesday by KDKA-TV's Jon Delano what first comes to mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh, Mr. McCain said, "The Steelers. I was a mediocre high school athlete and I loved and adored sports but the Steelers really made a huge impression on me, particularly in the early years."

Sitting by his wife Cindy, the senator then told a story about his 51/2 years as a POW.

"When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, the physical pressures that were on me, I named the starting lineup -- defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- as my squadron mates."

Mr. Delano asked Mr. McCain, age 71, if he could name them now.

"No, unfortunately, I couldn't, but I certainly could then," Mr. McCain said.

You can hardly blame the senator for not knowing them. The biggest Steelers fan you know probably couldn't name the defensive line of the 4-9-1 Steelers in 1967 -- the year the Navy pilot was shot down over Hanoi -- of Chuck Hinton, Ken Kortas, Ben McGee and Lloyd Voss.

In "Faith of My Fathers," Mr. McCain describes being interrogated after crashing his plane, then -- after being discovered as the son of a Navy admiral -- being sent to a hospital for treatment. Under threats of ending the treatment, the interrogators demanded inside military information.

"Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron," he wrote on page 194.

The illustrious Packers won the Super Bowl in 1967 and 1968.

Mr. McCain has often repeated the story, including during an interview with CNN in 2005, which began with a clip from a television movie of his book. The clip showed the McCain character repeating the names "Starr, Gregg, McGee, Davis, Adderley, Brown, Ringo, Wood."

"For those who don't know the story, were those NFL football players?," asked the CNN interviewer.

"That was the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers, the first Super Bowl champions, yes," Mr. McCain said. (Center Jim Ringo left the team in 1963.)

The senator's mixup with the Steelers "was an honest mistake," a campaign spokesman said yesterday. "If bloggers want to make fun of John McCain because he forgot which team he used under torture, that is their right."

The campaign for Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama had no comment.

As noted by ABC-TV's Jake Tapper, who first reported the Steelers snafu on his blog late Thursday, Mr. McCain has also used the Packers story to illustrate his opposition to torture, saying it can lead to unreliable information, such as in a cover story he wrote for Newsweek in November 2005.

"I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse," he wrote.

Political Cartoon of the Week

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't sanitize Helms' racist past

Death has a way of sanitizing the most virulent and despicable aspects of prominent lives, especially those who trafficked in racial bigotry.

In the last several years, notorious racists such as former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox and Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina left this Earth, and in efforts to show the humanity of both, tributes poured in, speaking to their Christian faith and unyielding conservative values.

Vice President Dick Cheney spoke warmly of Thurmond at his 2003 funeral, citing his run for president in 1948. But Cheney failed to mention that he ran as an ardent segregationist.

I recall former Sen. Zell Miller holding up a Bible belonging to Maddox as he told the world about Maddox's wonderful faith, never citing how he used that same Bible to deny African-Americans basic rights.

Oh, such good Christian men Maddox and Thurmond were.

Now they are joined in the conservative wing of heaven by former Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who died July 4. I'm sure a freedom-loving man such as Helms wouldn't have it any other way: meeting his maker on the same day the United States celebrates its independence.

The tributes were endless and laudatory, hailing him for being a "conservative champion," according to a piece in USA Today. Some mentioned his opposition to various issues of race, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Even the Rev. Billy Graham, often called "America's pastor," honored Helms in a 174-word statement, ending it by saying that folks "honor his legendary life and extraordinary legacy."

But to recognize Helms properly in his totality, it's important to add to the list of words and phrases to describe the unapologetic conservative Republican: unabashedly racist.

It's easy in this age to say that Helms, who carried his dislike of African- Americans like a badge of honor for 30 years around the U.S. Senate, was a son of the South who was simply honoring good, old-fashioned Southern values. But when you stand in opposition to a bill that would, for the first time, give African-Americans from border to border the constitutionally guaranteed right to cast a vote, then I refuse to call you a stand-up person for the rights of every man, woman and child.

And don't try to suggest that because Helms hired several African-Americans in his office that he was still a good and decent guy who was misunderstood. No, he was very clear in how he looked at issues, and if you had the wrong skin color, sorry, but you didn't fully count as an American.

As the tributes came in, I wonder if anyone had the audacity to ask former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun what she thought of Helms.

Once when she was on the elevator and he saw her, Helms started to sing "Dixie," a call-to-arms song for lovers of the Old South, and clearly an offensive song to anyone black. He later said he did it hoping it would make her cry.

The two also didn't see eye to eye on the Confederate flag. She was an ardent opponent; he a devout proponent.

It was no surprise that when she was appointed to be a U.S. ambassador by President Clinton, who was her chief blocker? Good ol' Jesse.

Look at the effort to integrate the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Clinton. Helms was steadfast in his effort to block an African-American's appointment to the seat. He and others claimed it was because the court didn't need an additional judge and spending the money was wasteful. But it was evident that Helms didn't want an African-American sitting on what some called the most conservative federal appeals court in the nation.

And no one can forget the overt racism he displayed when running for re-election for the U.S. Senate against former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in 1990 and 1996. Realizing he could lose in 1990, Helms agreed to an ad by Republican strategist Alex Castellanos that showed a white hand destroying a job application with an announcer saying that person needed the job but it was given to a minority.

It worked with the bigots in North Carolina. That ad put Helms over the top and kept his Senate seat safe.

Did Jesse Helms have his convictions? Sure. But an ideological conviction displayed in the political arena doesn't mean we are to overlook a history of denying Americans their rights based on race.

Give Helms credit for ushering in a new brand of conservatism in the country. But don't let that cover up his racism. Roland S. Martin is an award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. He is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." Please visit his Web site at

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Congressman Wexler *We need to be looking into Impeachment!

Lieberman Must GO!

Let Them Eat Cake

World Leaders Discuss Global Food Crisis Over 18-Course Meal

Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.

But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.

The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.

On Sunday, Mr Brown called for prudence and thrift in our kitchens, after a Government report concluded that 4.1million tonnes of food was being wasted by householders.

He suggested we could save up to £8 a week by making our shopping go further. It was vital to reduce 'unnecessary demand' for food, he said.

Last night's dinner menu was created by Katsuhiro Nakamura, the first Japanese chef to win a Michelin star. It was themed: Hokkaido, blessings of the earth and the sea.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just One More Reason I'm Not Voting for Mac-Same

Iraq Vet in Famous Press Photo Dies from Overdose

By Greg Mitchell and The Associated Press

PINEHURST, N.C. A former Army medic made famous by a photograph that showed him carrying an injured Iraqi boy during the first week of the war has died of an apparent overdose, police said.

Joseph Patrick Dwyer died last week at a hospital in Pinehurst, according to the Boles Funeral Home. He was 31.

The photograph, taken in March 2003, showed Dwyer running to a makeshift military hospital while cradling the boy. The photo appeared in newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts worldwide, making Dwyer became a symbol of heroism.

Dwyer laughed when a reporter told him of the photo and its widespread circulation, and he tried to deflect focus to his entire unit. His mother, Maureen, said then that the photo embarrassed her son because it singled him out while other soldiers were doing the same thing.

Last week, Dwyer called a local taxi service to take him to the hospital after an apparent overdose, Capt. Floyd Thomas of the Pinehurst Police Department told the Fayetteville Observer. When the driver arrived, Dwyer said he couldn't get to the door, according to a police report.

Police kicked in the door at Dwyer's request, and he was taken by ambulance to a Pinehurst hospital. Thomas said bottles of prescription pills were found near Dwyer when police arrived. The former medic died later the night of June 28, according to authorities.

Dwyer served with the 3rd Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of Fort Stewart, Ga. He earned the Combat Medical Badge and other military awards.

His mother said the military could have done more to help with post-traumatic stress. "He just couldn't get over the war," Maureen Dwyer said. "He just couldn't do it. Just wasn't Joseph. Joseph never came home."

His wife, Matina, said: "He was just never the same when he came back, because of all the things he saw. ... He tried to seek treatment, but it didn’t work."

She told a reporter that she hoped that her husband’s death would bring more attention to PTSD issues.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Asshole of the Week

The Justice Dept. and The FBI

Political Cartoon of the Week

A Yes Saturday

Thursday, July 3, 2008

ACLU: Pentagon made ‘unprecedented’ effort to hide human cost of war.

The ACLU today released documents regarding Navy investigations of civilians killed by coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report notes that the administration has gone to “unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human cost” of the wars. Some of the key findings:

Banning photographers on U.S. military bases from covering the arrival of caskets containing the remains of U.S. soldiers killed overseas

– Paying Iraqi journalists to write positive accounts of the U.S. war effort

– Inviting U.S. journalists to “embed” with military units but requiring them to submit their stories for pre-publication review

Erasing journalists’ footage of civilian deaths in Afghanistan

Refusing to disclose statistics on civilian casualties.

The New York Times revealed in April that the Pentagon also had used a domestic propaganda program to paint a rosy portrait of the war effort. See the documents here.

Is The Government Tracking Your (Cell Phone's) Movements?

By TChris

Our thanks are due to the ACLU and the EFF for their tireless efforts to safeguard our privacy in the age of electronic information. As technology changes, the government finds new ways to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. These organizations do their best to stay on top of the government's intrusion into our electronic lives.

The ACLU made a Freedom of Information Act request (pdf) to the Justice Department seeking information about the government's warrantless tracking of cell phone locations.

The ACLU filed the FOIA request in November following media reports that federal officials were using Americans' cellular phones to pinpoint their locations without a warrant or any court oversight, the groups said. Some government officials at the time said they did not need probable cause to obtain tracking information from mobile phones. In addition, the reports said some federal law enforcement agents had obtained tracking data from wireless carriers without any court oversight.

The Justice Department declined the request. The ACLU and the EFF responded by filing suit (pdf) to compel the disclosure.

Hitchens Gets Waterboarded: “Believe Me, It’s Torture”

Vanity Fair:

Arms already lost to me, I wasn’t able to flail as I was pushed onto a sloping board and positioned with my head lower than my heart. (That’s the main point: the angle can be slight or steep.) Then my legs were lashed together so that the board and I were one single and trussed unit. Not to bore you with my phobias, but if I don’t have at least two pillows I wake up with acid reflux and mild sleep apnea, so even a merely supine position makes me uneasy. And, to tell you something I had been keeping from myself as well as from my new experimental friends, I do have a fear of drowning that comes from a bad childhood moment on the Isle of Wight, when I got out of my depth. As a boy reading the climactic torture scene of 1984, where what is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world, I realize that somewhere in my version of that hideous chamber comes the moment when the wave washes over me. Not that that makes me special: I don’t know anyone who likes the idea of drowning. As mammals we may have originated in the ocean, but water has many ways of reminding us that when we are in it we are out of our element. In brief, when it comes to breathing, give me good old air every time.

The entire terrifying account is truly worth the read. It’s also important to remember, as Hitchens explains, that his experience would end the moment he wanted it to and that he would be returned afterwards to his rather privileged life; not some dark cell for an indefinite period of time under the harshest of conditions. Whether or not one thinks the United States should be using this “technique” is (I guess?) open for debate. What’s not, however, is the fact that it is torture. Can we all agree on that already, please?

And in case you needed anything more to feel outraged/ashamed about today, check out this story from The New York Times about where the Gitmo “interrogtation techniques” originated from:

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.