Monday, December 31, 2007

My Two Cents: Obama Should be President

It ain't easy being a progressive Democrat. Picking from this bunch of candidates requires a lot of nose holding and turning a blind eye. However, I have picked my candidate for better or worse. To best summarize my pick for the Democratic nomination, I’ve broken down some facts on my top two candidates based on issues of importance to me. Without further ado, John Edwards and Barack Obama…

Sen. Edwards has received a 100% approval rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sen. Obama has received a 0% approval rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Both voted against the Federal Abortion Ban, which shows they aren’t afraid to stand up for women even on the most nuanced of reproductive health issues.

With the Supreme Court packed with right wing zealots and the circuit courts becoming equally scary, the federal judiciary is one of the most important issues on the social justice front.

Sen. Obama has said "There is nothing wrong in voting against nominees who don't share a broader vision of what the Constitution is about. The Constitution can be interpreted in so many ways, and one way is a cramped and narrow way in which the Constitution and the courts essentially become rubber stamps for the powerful in society. And then there is another vision of the court that says that the courts are the refuge of the powerless because often times they may lose in the democratic back and forth; they may be locked out, prevented from fully participating in the democratic process."

Sen. Edwards on the current state of the courts: “I call it 'protect the powerful' jurisprudence because that is what it is designed to do: Maximize the constitutional protection for corporations and property rights. Minimize the constitutional commitment to equality. And restrict the power of the federal government to solve the country's problems.”

Gay Rights
Both Sen. Obama and Sen. Edwards have issues when it comes to gay rights. They both think gay marriage should not be legal. Instead, they favor civil unions. While this is problematic for obvious reasons, none of the other electable candidates have a different opinion. Both candidates also support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the hate crimes law.

This is the hardest issue for me. I am a pacifist. I don’t support war. I don’t support military strikes. And I certainly don’t support the slaughter of innocent Iraqis and Americans. Accordingly, I do not think we need to attack Pakistan or Iran. That makes my decision on these two candidates tough. Both buy into the War on Terror, both do not rule out military strikes.

Daily Green did a great job of lining up all of the candidates’ environmental plans. Check out Sen. Edwards’ and Sen. Obama’s.

If you ask me (and clearly someone did since I’m writing this), carbon credits are the way to go. If we make it more expensive to pollute, it should drive up the cost of oil, forcing people to opt out of purchasing it. In turn, this should encourage research and development of renewable energy. Additionally, it would cap emissions which is good for the air we breathe. Both candidates include this in their plan.

On this issue, I like Sen. Obama’s plan more. It’s more aggressive and looks at the idea of using nuclear energy. I know that nuclear is a progressive no-no, but I disagree. I have yet to see a compelling argument against it. If we allow for reprocessing in the US, then we would have less waste to dispose of, making the Yucca mountain experiment unnecessary.

Health Care
This issue makes my head spin. Both Sen. Edwards’ plan and Sen. Obama’s plan claim to give everyone without insurance, insurance. However, unless someone is truly able to tackle the insurance lobby, none of this is going to happen.

So with all of that said, I believe it comes down to electability. With a lot of polls showing Clinton, Edwards and Obama neck in neck in Iowa, it’s anyone’s guess what could happen. However, I think that Sen. Barack Obama’s smooth talkin’, center appealing, hopeful message could appeal to the most people nationally. So Obama it is, for whatever that's worth.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Navy JAG Andrew Williams Resigns Over Torture

From Think Progress:

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Williams, a JAG officer with the U.S. Naval Reserve, recently resigned his commission over the alleged use of torture by the United States and the destruction of video tapes said to contain instances of that torture.

As ThinkProgress reported in December, Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, repeatedly refused to call the hypothetical waterboarding of an American pilot by the Iranian military torture. This is his explanation in resigning his commission:

The final straw for me was listening to General Hartmann, the highest-ranking military lawyer in charge of the military commissions, testify that he refused to say that waterboarding captured U.S. soldiers by Iranian operatives would be torture.

His testimony had just sold all the soldiers and sailors at risk of capture and subsequent torture down the river. Indeed, he would not rule out waterboarding as torture when done by the United States and indeed felt evidence obtained by such methods could be used in future trials.
Thank you, General Hartmann, for finally admitting the United States is now part of a long tradition of torturers going back to the Inquisition.

In the middle ages, the Inquisition called waterboarding “toca” and used it with great success. In colonial times, it was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623.

Waterboarding was used by the Nazi Gestapo and the feared Japanese Kempeitai. In World War II, our grandfathers had the wisdom to convict Japanese Officer Yukio Asano of waterboarding and other torture practices in 1947, giving him 15 years hard labor.

Waterboarding was practiced by the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison. Most recently, the U.S. Army court martialed a soldier for the practice in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict.

General Hartmann, following orders was not an excuse for anyone put on trial in Nuremberg, and it will not be an excuse for you or your superiors, either.

Despite the CIA and the administration attempting to cover up the practice by destroying interrogation tapes, in direct violation of a court order, and congressional requests, the truth about torture, illegal spying on Americans and secret renditions is coming out.

New Jersey: Vote in the Subversive Garden Presidential Poll, Who Will Win the Iowa Caucuses?

From Political Wire:
The first Reuters/C-Span/Zogby tracking poll in Iowa is out this morning and confirms the findings of several polls last week that show an extremely tight presidential race for both Democrats and Republicans.

The telephone poll was conducted 12/26 thru 12/29(most polling companies will not poll during the holiday season so I find it intriguing everyone is relying on these polls). On the Democratic side, there is a three-way statistical tie with Sen. Hillary Clinton leading with 30.7% support, followed by Sen. Barack Obama at 26.8% and John Edwards at 24.2%. The poll's margin of error is 3.3%.

Key finding: Edwards is the clear second choice favorite with 30.4%, followed by Obama at 24.9% and Clinton at 12.2%. According to Democratic caucus rules, candidates who receive less than 15% of the vote are considered "non-viable." Their backers have the choice of either going home or casting their ballots for their second choice.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Barack v. Hillary

This is a video and interview with Hillary Clinton regarding Bhutto and her decision to authorize the war. I agree with Barack, completely. I do not agree with all of his policies, certainly, but there is something so very forthright about the way he approaches problems. We need that. Here is an article that makes the case nicely.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Obama on Pakistan in August

Remember this exchange over Pakistan at the AFL-CIO debate? Obama gave a speech regarding Pakistan on August 1st and the need for America to focus on that country and Al Qaida. Now, the change we needed in that country, democracy, the conduit Ms. Bhutto - assassinated. All credit, in my opinion must be given to Mr. Obama here. He had the courage and the judgement to talk about Pakistan when others were frightened. I think it says a lot about him. What do you think?

Sadly, this topic will be in the world news for a long time. Maybe it should have been on everyone's radar.

I am Supporting Obama and Edwards

I have tried desperately to choose between Edwards and Obama to make an endorsement of one of them for the nomination, but voila I cannot. Both of them have embraced a message of change (and in light of yesterday's developments it is needed more than ever) that is both believable and inspiring. Both men possess extraordinary political skills and the message of change together by both candidacies is the best avenue for this blogger.

Why I am not supporting Dennis Kucinich.

First, obviously, Kucinich possesses the best democratic message that harkens back to the new deal. If he had a chance I would most likely support him (I can hear my friend in law school telling me: "if you supported him he would have a chance"). Regardless, this is Kucinich' second time around and he has not gained the necessary traction and it appears he is the wrong messenger. I loved Nader's candidacy more than Kucinich because of his massive political skills and believe if given the chance he would have caught fire. Regardless, Kucinich is a monumental Congressman - from his organizing of a rebellion in the house to vote against the war in 2003 to his impeachment of Cheney that is where he belongs and he should focus as he has two primary challengers. Mike Gravel has been wonderful, but he too never had a chance in this media driven society. And I think his candidacy was more of a message anyway.

Why I am not supporting Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and the rest.

More of the same across the board. From Richardson's leadership in the DLC to his oil ties, to his ridiculous comments about gay people, no thanks. Is there any doubt however if Senator Clinton wins the nomination he will be the V.P. choice?

Why I am not supporting Hillary Clinton.

There was a tremendous opportunity for Hillary Clinton to embrace change and embrace the message of peace, workers rights, and the shrill of corporations. But, at heart Senator Clinton is much like her husband in that they adore corporatism over democracy. Her health care plan which did not receive the scrutiny it should have was essentially a pay-off to the insurance industry in placing a mandate upon us, the people, rather than a mandate upon the government to insure people. It is this philosophy that I find the most dangerous, aside from her abysmal foreign policy record in support of the war and the dreadful Iran resolution that she so willingly voted for.

Our country needs a different direction, one embracing openness of government, Mrs. Clinton will be more of the same secretive deals that the Bush administration has shown us. We need transparency in government, not hiding one's records as to repel scrutiny. I don't think we really want the 90's back with the hatred spewed our way. We need a different direction and that is precisely why I will not support her. She does not offer one.

Why I support John Edwards

I don't much care about the $400 hair cut or the hedge fund stories. They are minor in my mind when you consider what former Senator Edwards stands for right now. Let me be clear, I did not support him in 2004. I was irritated by his vote for the war and his saber rattling regarding Iran during the 2004 election. As the election proceeded it was clear, however there was something likable about Edwards and his "two Americas" did not seem to be just fodder for the media.

Today, as we approach the Iowa caucuses Edwards message has been pointed and steady. As John Nichols wrote in the Nation: "Edwards has struck at the heart of issues that should matter most in the race to replace not just George W. Bush, but the Bush agenda of corporate giveaways, job-crushing free trade deals, war profiteering in Iraq, and subprime mortgage profiteering in Indiana, Idaho, Illinois and, yes, Iowa." And again: "What makes America America is at stake: jobs, the middle class, health care, preserving the environment in the world for future generations."

"But," he added, "if you look at what's happened with American trade policy, look at what America got: Big corporations made a lot of money, are continuing to make a lot of money in China. But what did America get in return? We got millions of dangerous Chinese toys. We lost millions of jobs.

"And right here in Iowa, the Maytag plant in Newton closed. A guy named Doug Bishop, who I got to know very well, had worked in that plant, and his family had worked in that plant literally for generations. And his job is now gone. The same thing, by the way, happened in the plant that my father worked in when I was growing up. It is so important that we stop allowing these corporate powers and corporate profits to run America's policy, whether it's trade policy, how we engage with China. This is not good for America. It's not good for American jobs. And it's not good for working people in this country."

This has been the central message of the campaign and strikes at the heart of what is happening in America. We are a corporatist nation. Whether it is Blackwater and Halliburton in Iraq or New Orleans, or Exxon or Walmart, we are a nation that takes care of the capitalists and not its people. Edwards understands this better than any other candidate and is delivering a populist campaign that is truly inspiring. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both voted for the recent trade agreements that will be a handout to corporations and not to the workers of these countries. Edwards clearly stands for regular people, unlike any Presidential candidate since Ralph Nader.

Why I support Barack Obama

I was and am becoming increasingly angrier at Obama mainly for his sell-out on the free trade agreements and his skip of the Iran vote. Though, he has increasingly embraced the message of change mainly due to Edwards haranguing of him. He has his own message of change; to stop the bickering and just get things done, which Paul Krugman has called incredibly naive. But, is there something more to Mr. Obama? Are we judging Obama as a change candidate through the lens of all the other change candidates we seek: mainly Kucinich, Nader and now Edwards.

My interest in Obama peaked and I headed toward Edwards fast, but that momentum stopped when I went to France. Speaking with French citizens about the possibility that a person of color named Barack Obama could represent the free world was to put it mildly, "foreign" to them. "It will never happen in France" was the response which incited a discussion of all of Europe with the same results. An African-American President would truly be historic much like a woman President in America that is without question.

You combine this historic opportunity with Obama's change message, he believes in universal healthcare (though his proposal is not quite universal) he no doubt wants an end to the occupation in Iraq and is the only "top tier" candidate that did not support the war from the beginning. His policies about energy, ending the war, the environment are virtually the same as John Edwards. He has embraced the need for New Orleans to be rebuilt not in the fashion as is currently being done ala the Shock Doctrine. And he has been the most vocal of the candidates about crisis in Sudan.

So, it is either Edwards or Obama for me. I know, it is a little chicken s***, but both are acceptable to lead the democratic party into the future. I don't know who I will vote for on February 5th. I will let Iowa decide for me. It certainly looks like Obama has the best chance to challenge Senator Clinton for the nomination. But, if Edwards wins Iowa, which many feel is the most likely scenario, one never knows.

Benazir Bhutto - Quote of the Day

"The neglect of rising poverty against the background of religious extremism can only complicate an already difficult world situation. The war against terrorism is primarily perceived as a war based on the use of force. However, economics has its own force, as does the desperation of families who cannot feed themselves.

"Militancy and greed cannot become the defining images of a new century that began with much hope. We must refocus our energy on promoting the values of democracy, accountability, broad-based government, and institutions that can respond to people's very real and very urgent needs." - Benazir Bhutto- Stop the Next War Now.

From the Huffington Post. A great article by Arianna Huffington herself. This is a blog Bhutto posted on the post not long before her death.

"I long ago realized that my personal life was to be subjugated to my political responsibilities. When my democratically elected father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested in 1977 and subsequently murdered, the mantle of leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, our nation's largest, nationwide grassroots political structure, was suddenly thrust upon me. It was not the life I planned, but it is the life I have. My husband and children accept and understand that my political responsibilities to the people of Pakistan come first, as painful as that personally is to all of us. I would like to be planning my son's move to his first year at college later this month, but instead I am planning my return to Pakistan and my party's parliamentary election campaign.

I didn't choose this life. It chose me."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Dead Heat in Iowa

Political Wire got a sneak peek at the latest Strategic Vision (R) poll from Iowa that shows both the Republican and Democratic presidential races essentially tied.

For Democrats, it's Obama at 30%, Clinton at 29% and Edwards at 28%.

For Republicans, it's Huckabee at 29%, Romney at 27%, Thompson at 15%; and McCain at 14%.

The poll, which has a 4.5% margin of error, was taken over the last two days.

I think this sheds some light on the ARG poll that puts Obama way behind. It looks like Edwards right now if I were predicting though. All these polls right now are not that accurate because of the holidays.

Watch for endorsements from SG writers over the next few days leading up to the caucus. Weigh in.

Hoboken, NJ: the Walmart City

I saw this video on Hoboken 411 and it makes me want to puke and gather my things on Park Ave and get the hell out of town. Like all Hoboken is worth is dating, buying over priced Walmartified condos and babies. Gag. Puke. Barf.

I love Hoboken's location I will give them that. But, I also like the diversity, the feel, the parks, the people, the embracing of the working class and most importantly the access to so much public transportation. Ok and the restaurants.

But, this video makes me want to move to Jersey City and fast. If Hoboken is ever to have a reputation as a real city, it better find a way to have people move here for other reasons than to get laid and buy shitty housing.

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood

Everyone is talking about this film. Probably the finest American movie made in decades. The folks at Crooks and Liars say it very well:
There will be blood if this film does not win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Original Music Score. Directed by the now grown-up wunderkind P.T. Anderson and starring the weatherworn Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood is hypnotic, riveting, violent, fascinating and at times painful to watch. It is boldly, unapologetically and immediately an American masterpiece in the company of Citizen Kane, Giant and Raging Bull. I can safely say that because there is little wiggle room here not to say it.

The Top Ten Myths About Iraq

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2007: From Juan Cole of Informed Consent

10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!

9. Myth: There have been steps toward religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007.

Fact: The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has for the moment lost the support of the Sunni Arabs in parliament. The Sunnis in his cabinet have resigned. Even some Shiite parties have abandoned the government. Sunni Arabs, who are aware that under his government Sunnis have largely been ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, see al-Maliki as a sectarian politician uninterested in the welfare of Sunnis.

8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Fact: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite. UN polling among Iraqi refugees in Syria suggests that 78% are from Baghdad and that nearly a million refugees relocated to Syria from Iraq in 2007 alone. This data suggests that over 700,000 residents of Baghdad have fled this city of 6 million during the US 'surge,' or more than 10 percent of the capital's population. Among the primary effects of the 'surge' has been to turn Baghdad into an overwhelmingly Shiite city and to displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the capital.

7. Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles (a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq.

Fact: Iran has not been proved to have sent weapons to any Iraqi guerrillas at all. It certainly would not send weapons to those who have a raging hostility toward Shiites. (Iran may have supplied war materiel to its client, the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq (ISCI), which was then sold off from warehouses because of graft, going on the arms market and being bought by guerrillas and militiamen.

6. Myth: The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women.

Fact: Iraqi women have suffered significant reversals of status, ability to circulate freely, and economic situation under the Bush administration.

5. Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration.

Fact: in the words of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Those legislative benchmarks include approving a hydrocarbon law, approving a debaathification law, completing the work of a constitutional review committee, and holding provincial elections. Those commitments, made 1 1/2 years ago, which were to have been completed by January of 2007, have not yet been kept by the Iraqi political leaders despite the breathing space the surge has provided."

4. Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants.

Fact: In interviews with the Western press, Awakening Council tribesmen often speak of attacking the Shiites after they have polished off al-Qaeda. A major pollster working in Iraq observed, ' Most of the recent survey results he has seen about political reconciliation, Warshaw said, are "more about [Iraqis] reconciling with the United States within their own particular territory, like in Anbar. . . . But it doesn't say anything about how Sunni groups feel about Shiite groups in Baghdad." Warshaw added: "In Iraq, I just don't hear statements that come from any of the Sunni, Shiite or Kurdish groups that say 'We recognize that we need to share power with the others, that we can't truly dominate.' " ' 'The polling shows that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation."

3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth.

Fact: The subterranean battle among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs for control of the oil-rich Kirkuk province makes the Iraqi north a political mine field. Kurdistan now also hosts the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas that sneak over the border and kill Turkish troops. The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart.

Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.

Bhutto Assassinated

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, aides said.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left a political rally where she addressed thousands of supporters in her campaign for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18.

This is alarming news in light of the military crackdown in Pakistan. "The whole world is on fire."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ron Paul: Lincoln Went to War for His Own Personal Gains

I can't decide whether this is naive or just plain fucking scary. I am landing on scary right now. If people really paid attention to what this guy was saying I am not sure he would be earning 6 million in internet donations in one day. It shows what kind of vacuum of choices exists for Republicans.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Tropics Come to Europe

Maybe one of the most trying challenges in combatting global warming in getting people to take a hard look at their lifestyles is that the average person may not notice any substantial changes in their immediate day-to-day routine. Their own private world hasn't drastically changed, so the problem can be put off, the immediacy ignored. Climate change is something for the wackos of Greenpeace, etc. The average Joe, well, doesn't need to worry about something so, well, distant.

Today, on Christmas day 2007, many people reading the New York Times may start to think a little differently.

The title of the article: As Earth Warms Up, Tropic Virus Moves to Italy.

Simply put, the little town of CASTIGLIONE DI CERVIA, Italy, earned the unhappy distinction of being host to the first outbreak of a tropical disease in modern Europe. This village of 2,000 fell prey to chikungunya, a relative of dengue fever normally found in the Indian Ocean region. About 100 people came down with a sickness whose sypmtoms ranged from acute bone pain, high fever, to exhaustion. And there were plenty of potential suspects. Including, unsurprisingly, immigrants. Most of the villagers blamed Africans for bringing the plights to their haven of peace and quiet. The reality was a little different.

As the Times put it, "But the immigrants spreading the disease were not humans but insects: tiger mosquitoes, who can thrive in a warming Europe."

This is real, and present in people's lives today, As the article explains:

And if chikungunya can spread to Castiglione — “a place not special in any way,” Dr. Angelini said — there is no reason why it cannot go to other Italian villages. There is no reason why dengue, an even more debilitating tropical disease, cannot as well.

“This is the first case of an epidemic of a tropical disease in a developed, European country,” said Dr. Roberto Bertollini, director of the World Health Organization’s Health and Environment program. “Climate change creates conditions that make it easier for this mosquito to survive and it opens the door to diseases that didn’t exist here previously. This is a real issue. Now, today. It is not something a crazy environmentalist is warning about.”

Friday, December 21, 2007

can you spare a square?

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper
can be used in any one sitting."

--Sheryl Crow
OHMY! limit squares? maybe i'm just not ultra committed to reversing global warming but limiting TP use? eek! in the movie 2 days in paris, julie delpy whines about her anxiety of using too much TP. don't we have better things to focus on that curb global warming and encourage more sustainable behaviors? am i missing the point? and what about the dining sleeve design? ok yes, we shouldn't use paper products like napkins, etc. but wiping my mouth after meals on my clothes and detaching it? how about cloth napkins that can be washed? simple and practical enough. is she trying to out-green everyone? i'm waiting for larry david's witty and biting reactions to this innovative new trend!

Crow calls for limit on loo paper Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.

Crow has suggested using "only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required".

The 45-year-old, who made the comments on her website, has just toured the US on a biodiesel-powered bus to raise awareness about climate change.

She teamed up with environmental activist Laurie David for the shows.

The pair targeted 11 university campuses to persuade students to help combat the world's environmental problems.

"I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming," Crow wrote.

"Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

The tour ended on Sunday at the George Washington University in Washington DC, where Crow performed with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Carole King.

Laurie David's husband, Seinfeld creator Larry David, also appeared.

Crow has also commented on her website about how she thinks paper napkins "represent the height of wastefulness".

She has designed a clothing line with what she calls a "dining sleeve".

The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve" after the diner has used it to wipe his or her mouth.

The shows involved a short set by the singer, a talk by David and segments of Al Gore's environmental film An Inconvenient Truth.

A Progressive Iowan Gives Her Opinion Two Weeks Before the Caucuses

From the Great State of Iowa:

It's really hard to predict! I'm campaigning for Obama ----- volunteering, serving as precinct fact, I will give his local (county) office 4 hours a day beginning 12/27 through caucus night (1/3). There are two polls out now for Iowa: one shows the rankings as follows: Obama, Clinton and Edwards; the second one reverses Clinton and Obama....Edwards is consistently coming in third. (though from conversations around here, he seems very popular!)
Darrell is supporting Edwards, will caucus for him and has done some volunteering in his campaign. We have 2 signs in front of our for Obama; one for Edwards. Edwards is my second pick; and Obama is his second pick, so we're not really fighting....

The only Republican that the Democrats need to worry about (in my opinion) is McCain....the rest of the batch are just a bunch of creepy losers....and the more we hear about them, the creepier they get....Huckabee is leading here, followed by Romney....McCain is down toward the bottom, the the Des Moines newspaper endorsed him for the Republicans...(the paper endorsed Hillary for the D's...

Have you heard that Huckabee is running an ad with a bookcase over his shoulder, talking about Jesus and Christmas? The bookcase angle looks like a cross......a little "christian" symbolism there.... He also signed something 9 years ago that said "women should graciously submit to their servant-leader husbands." Be sure to let La Francaise know that one! He is creepy, creepy, creepy!

Romney has been "crying" lately.....He says that his sons have "chosen" not to participate in the "all-volunteer army" --- and instead are expressing their patriotism by campaigning for him....He wants people to not be worried about his Mormonism, but has stated that he would not have a Muslim in his's that for hypocrisy?!?

You know more about Guliani than we do.....he doesn't come here much.....and will not do well here.

I think the Republicans want Hillary to be the D's nominee because she would be the easiest to beat. Both Obama and Edwards show much better numbers running against all the R's than, why or why do the dems keep nominating such losers?!?

Quotes for the Holidays: Martin Luther King, jr.

". . . we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. . . . .
When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are
considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism,
materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." [Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., Riverside Church, April 4, 1967.]

Can You Say Bernie Goetz All Over Again?

While we are on the particularly controversial topic of race, if you have not heard of the case of Joe Horn who shot two black Colombian men in the back while they were robbing his neighbor's house. As of yet, it is my understanding the man has not yet been charged with a crime. The Black Panthers are calling for murder charges. After listening to the 911 call I agree. Here it is below. It is not for the faint of heart, but I believe it is important in light of guns being the overwhelming culprit in this case. No gun, no deaths, just property gone. Even then, the two men were on the verge of being caught. It happened in Pasadena, TX and word is now the two men were running away from him while he shot them in the back. And a plain clothes policeman had just arrived on the scene.

If the video is not working above, use this link.

I'm a Good Liberal, I'm not Racist.

I'll admit white privilege is something that I think about from time to time. Yes, only time to time. In a country as messed up as the US is about race, I only spend a little bit of my energy considering how to help change the system and myself. To exacerbate matters, my professional career has been focused in movements that merely give lip service to issues of race in this country. So you can imagine the surprise/delight/fear I felt when I found this article on Alternet this morning.

The author's points are so right on. I have been guilty of many of these things myself. He/She analyzes 10 misunderstandings white liberals have about race and white privelege.

1. White supremacy? You mean white men in white sheets?
This one is fairly self explanatory. It is much easier for us to point out some terrible thing some overt racist said or did then to work to dismantle our institutions that are inherently racist.

2. I'm not racist, but ...
The author writes and I agree, "The liberal establishment -- everyone from the Democratic Party to Daily Kos -- fails the anti-racism test by merely paying lip service to racial oppression while maintaining a predominantly white constituency."

3. Colorblind as a bat.

4. Kumbaya, multiculturalism!
While they are certainly different, number 3 & 4 speak to me on a similar level. They go hand and hand in every learning environment I've ever been in. People use to say in my graduate level policy classes "I don't see race, so what's the point in talking about it?" Then we'd saunter on down to the international food fair and oooh and ahhh over the "strange" dishes the international students made.

The author writes "Stanley Fish calls it boutique multiculturalism. But it's just food. Or earrings. Or music. It reduces culture to benign, apolitical trinkets." So right on.

5. It's not a "[insert racial group here]" issue as much as it is a "human" issue.
To me, this one is very self explanatory.

6. One of my best friends is [insert nonwhite group here]!
"But how does a white person having sex with a nonwhite person -- or having a nonwhite "best friend" for that matter -- necessarily make her less racist? Strom Thurmond managed the contradiction fairly well."

7. How could I have white privilege? I'm poor/female/gay/Polish/disabled!
This is something that most every progressive political group struggles with. I love that the author points out the hypocrisy of the gay rights and feminists movements. In my experience, they may be the worst. They are quick to categorize people as other and simply pretend to be inclusive.

8. The white savior complex.
"It's the difference between social service and social justice, where the former works to alleviate hardship, while the latter aims to eradicate the root causes of that hardship."

9. "Good" people of color
The author's Obama example is perfect.

10. All that guilt.
I've got a lot of that.

White Washing New Orleans

The City Council voted unanimously to greenlight the demolition of the city's four largest public housing developments, saying they are too damaged by Hurricane Katrina to allow residents back into them.

But many in New Orleans, including former residents of the developments, say they fear the local and federal governments will not guarantee similarly affordable housing be built in their place -- calling the demolition an effort to move poor people out of the city.

Below see some clips of the violent protests. The city concil meetings are usually open to the public, but of course the "public" disagrees with the council, they close the doors.

This is a direct assault on black New Orleans and an attempt to "whiten" the community. There is no doubt our America is in crisis.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Story of Stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Watch the 20 minute video - it will change the way you view the world. Just click and the video will start. "If everyone consumed at U.S. Rates we would need 3-5 planets. We only have one."

Democrats Holiday Message: Who of the Big Three Has the Best?

Here at the SG we are planning an endorsement of one of the candidates very soon. Before the Iowa caucuses. Only fourteen days left We are wondering who do you think has the best holiday advertisement?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chris Dodd as Majority Leader?

Momentum is building for Chris Dodd to change course and drop the Presidential campaign and make a run at Majority leader, replacing Harry Reid. This is supposedly a netroots run campaign, but is beginning to make the chatter on Capitol hill in light of Dodd's successful filibuster of telecom immunity.

Many democrats are happy with Harry Ried, but I am not. He has capitulated over and over again. And this telecom immunity bill goes way over the top. It is capitulation for capitualtion sake. There is no need. It is time to stand up to this administration as well as the corporate democrats and the corporatism that has taken over our government. Dodd is not perfect, but he seems to be defining a moment for himself in "restoring the Constitution" much like Edwards has attacked special interests. Dodd has run before for minority leader and lost to Tom Daschle. I think it is time that the progressive options in our elected officials are not stuck on the outside, but on the inside battling for the cause.

Go Chris Dodd.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fight Hunger and Get Smarter.

I have always liked words. I try to read as much as possible, which is less than it used to be, since I am now the father of two very young boys. But, after playing, I realized how much I don't know. is the brainchild of John Breen, who, as the great piece by NPR notes, started out(and still works for)

Here is a bit of the article. Play the game: it's fun and sends food to those who most need it. Then tell us at SG how you did.

"Breen said the idea came to him one day in his kitchen in Indiana. He was sitting with his two teenage sons, preparing the older for the SAT.

"The younger one made a mockery of the situation. He kept saying, 'he doesn't know this word, he doesn't know that word,'" Breen said. "So I decided to do something on the computer to help my son learn vocabulary words."

What Breen came up with was a word game that he thought others might like to play on the Internet. He was already operating the Web site to inform people about hunger. So, he merged the two, and was born.

Here's how it works: Contestants are offered four definitions for a word; by clicking on the right definition, a donation of 20 grains of rice is made to the U.N. World Food Programme. The U.N. distributes the rice worldwide.

English teacher Michael Hughes puts the Web site up on a large interactive screen and uses the game to warm up his classes at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C.

Hughes' class raised 280 grains of Rice during a short session.

While that's hardly enough for a daily ration for a starving child abroad, it still adds up, said World Food Programme spokeswoman Jennifer Parmelee.

" is up to more than 8.2 billion grains of rice, which is one heck of a lot of rice and more than enough to feed 325,000 people for the day," Parmelee said.

The Web site earns money from advertising and gives cash to the Word Food Programme. Some $100,000 has already gone to buy rice to feed survivors of a recent cyclone in Bangladesh.

Charles Grodin Eats Sean Hannity for Lunch

I love Charles Grodin and not just for Midnight Run.

Chris Dodd Offers Thanks over FISA

Dodd specifically thanked the Senators who helped manage his time on the floor yesterday. By standing with him on the floor, engaging him in the issue, and providing strong and passionate speeches against amnesty, they demonstrated to Dodd, to us, and most importantly to leadership that he's not alone in the fight. Here they are so you can add your thanks.

Chris Dodd: (202) 224-2823
Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553
Sherrod Brown: (202) 224-2315
Russ Feingold: (202) 224-5323
Ted Kennedy: (202) 224-4543
Bill Nelson: (202) 224-5274
Ron Wyden: (202) 224-5274

Assclown of the Year: Joe Lieberman

Check out this clip where Lieberman discusses supporting a 2008 "democratic" Presidential candidate. What the hell happened to this guy? Talk about a fall from grace. He said "well, ya know no democratic nominee sought my support. John McCain is a friend and he sought my support." Like that is the test. Only if someone seeks your support. This guy should be stripped of all of his committee assignments and disgraced.

From betraying the Katrina victims by shutting the investigation down, though he promised to push forward to the Lieberman "let us bomb Iran amendment" to supporting every Iraq war resolution and distorting every vote and crisis in Iraq, to now supporting John McCain for President, this guy is the truest assclown. Though, George Bush and Karl Rove are the standard, Lieberman is not far behind. Let's hope Connecticut voters smarten up in four years.

Happy Hanukkah

I am a little late on this one, but I look forward to the holiday season for this song and this song alone. Happy Chanukah. As we all know Sandler grew up in Northern New England where there are almost no Jews. I feel his pain around Christmas as well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Jersey: Pioneer in Justice.

I just got done reading in yesterday's New York Times that New Jersey, upon Governor Corzine's signing into law, will become the first state in the Union to abolish the death penalty. It's about time. For various reasons, which the Times relates much more eloquently than I could ever attempt to, this barbaric law needed to be struck from the books. As the Times noted, NJ has had a moratorium on the penalty for six years, but this goes far beyond that, putting the Garden State on the map by leaping into modernity. Congratulations to my home state.

Here is a little of the NYT piece:

It took 31 years, but the moral bankruptcy, social imbalance, legal impracticality and ultimate futility of the death penalty has finally penetrated the consciences of lawmakers in one of the 37 states that arrogates to itself the right to execute human beings.

This week, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a law abolishing the death penalty, and Gov. Jon Corzine, a staunch opponent of execution, promised to sign the measure very soon. That will make New Jersey the first state to strike the death penalty from its books since the Supreme Court set guidelines for the nation’s system of capital punishment three decades ago.

Some lawmakers voted out of principled opposition to the death penalty. Others felt that having the law on the books without enforcing it (New Jersey has had a moratorium on executions since 2006) made a mockery of their argument that it has deterrent value. Whatever the motivation of individual legislators, by forsaking a barbaric practice that grievously hurts the global reputation of the United States without advancing public safety, New Jersey has set a worthy example for the federal government, and for other states that have yet to abandon the creaky, error-prone machinery of death.

New Jersey’s decision to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole seems all the wiser coming in the middle of a month that has already seen the convictions of two people formerly on death row in other states repudiated. In one case, the defendant was found not guilty following a new trial.

New KBR Employee Tells of Rampant Sexual Harrassment: Is This What Our Tax Dollars Are Paying for?

From Think Progress:

Earlier this week, former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that in 2005 she had been “raped by multiple men at a KBR camp” in Baghdad. This past Friday on Houston’s CBS affiliate KHOU, former KBR employee Linda Lindsey said that, while she didn’t know Jones, the allegations of sexual harassment aren’t surprising:

“If you wanted to get a promotion you didn’t necessarily have to have the qualifications,” remembered Lindsey, a former KBR contractor. “You just needed to be sleeping with the person who was doing the hiring.” […]

In a sworn affidavit for the Jones case, Lindsey said: “I saw rampant sexual harassment and discrimination.” […]

Her affidavit also said: “When anyone would report an incident of abuse or harassment, they would be threatened with a transfer to a more dangerous location.”

Notes from Underground...aka Brazil

Immigration. For thousands of Brazilians every year, this is their dream: to leave Brazil, for at least a while, and find a way to save up, live their lives, and adapt to, another country. The most popular choice, is, unsurprisingly, the US. The story, unfortunately, is not exactly paved with gold, and Folha de S. Paulo, ran a number of pieces last Sunday about the experiences, history, and reality of Brazil-US immigration. I have translated a short example of the great work done by Brazil's best daily.

'The Sacrifice of Immigration isn't Worth It'

''Nobody believes us when we tell them that the situation in the US isn't that good. They insist in going despite our warnings, and our acquaintance in Brazil say, 'But, you're there!' Sure, they see the photos we send them of happy times. The think we've found a goldmine and have an easy life."

Soon, Alexandre Ferreira, Paranaense from Curitiba, will be able to present his neighbors with his most powerful argument: at the beginning of 2008, he'll return to Brazil with his wife Scheila, 30, and daughter Alissa, a month old.

There arrives a moment when everyone realizes that the sacrifice of entering the country illegally through the Mexican border, unrelenting sun beating down, and then living with the fear of being deported, far from home, from relatives, isn't worth it anymore," says Francisco 'Sampa,' president of the Brazilian American United Association.

"It takes two or three years for a person to pay back the coyote's price--the crossing costs between $7,000 and 15,000. Before this, he or she doesn't go back, but already realizes that there is no way to save anything in a short period of time," relates Alexandre, whose family shared a three-bedroom apartment in Newark with their friends Jose Leandro ferreira, 33, Thaigo Borges, 21, and Claudiomir Perotto, 33, all from Parana.

Perotto' intention was always to get a green card. He gave up after repeated failures, in Congress, of the immigration reform that George Bush proposed, shelved in June.

Jets Fans Make it into Brazilian Newspaper

Before I start, I should make it clear that I have always loved the Jets, since the days of Al Toon. I had a poster of him on my wall, and I will always follow the team. But, I am not a fan of some of their fans, and last week, those sad examples of humanity made the international news, and New Jersey did, along with them. Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil's most-read newspaper, ran a piece entitled, "Hit in Stadium, 'Show Your Tits' causes controversy in American Football."

Here is part of the article.

With beer and pretzels in hand, the New York Jets fans, start gathering on the Gate D spiral ramp, as soon as halftime begins. The strategy is to lean over the edge and to provoke girls that appear below.

The first target: a young blond, twenty-something, starts to climb the ramp. The crowd roars: "Show your tits! show your tits!" She passes with her head down, ignoring the pleas. And has rolled-up used napkins thrown at her.

The game is usually worse: half-full cups of beer fly in the direction of the girls that don't agree to lift up their shirt. Those that agree are applauded, but, after, have their photos published on Internet sites.

The abuse is a tradition at Jets home games, and always on the same gate D ramp. This season, the number of followers has reached the hundreds, and has attracted the attention of the local media and the authorities.

The stadium has had to reinforce security. During the game against the Cleveland Browns, in which the Jets, who are having a terrible season and were beaten again, there were at least 10 men, including police and stadium workers, surrounding the crowd, but they were only able to keep the fans with beer away. "We can't forbid people from yelling," said a security guard when interviewed by Folha.

According to fans, the ritual, for the time being, has not scared away the female public, who can be described as expressive.

Various girls have played along and voluntarily go over to the ramp. "These guys are idiots. I love to go to the game, but this mess is ridiculous. I've already seen a girl leave here soaked with beer, after someone hit her," said Meaghan Smith, 22.

The New York Post photographer at the game last Sunday complained that: "I need a shot of a girl, but only if she's showing her tits," showing a shot on his camera of an obese guy that raised his shirt for the crowd.


i thought i'd share some comments of interest this week from subversive garden readers, in response to our posts. we hope you will join the discussion...

immigration arrests:

"I am an illegal immigrant. I arrived here when I was only 2 years old. My brother when he was 12. My family applied for citizenship and went to court but due to what my mom says a 'stupid lawyer', we were mailed orders of deportation. I have experienced these 'raids' firsthand. 4 officers came into my dad's house and arrested him while I was sleeping. They proceeded upstairs into my 23 year old brother's bedroom where I was sleeping. He was placed in handcuffs because he was a threat as someone who does martial arts. I am 17 and am waiting to see my family again. --Anonymous

clintons are what's wrong with politics:

"What is most Rovian about this line of attacks is the subtle racism in it. I have not heard this said elsewhere. But it seems to me that in the United States, if you suggest that a black candidate was a drug dealer you are sending a coded message. 'Can we REALLY trust a black man to be president? You know what they're like.'

Personal attacks are part of American politics. But no other Democrat has yet done anything so irresponsible this year. We have a field brimming with history this year. An African-American, a woman, a Latino. This is a great strength of the Democratic Party. I am convinced it will benefit us electorally in 2008, and for many years to come (especially in light of the GOP's suicidal decent into xenophobia and racism).

Hillary is playing a dangerous game here. If African-Americans come out of this primary process convinced that Hillary won it through racism we are in real trouble in November.
She got away with it this time. One more such trick, and we risk shredding the Democratic coalition, and indeed harming the fabric of American society." --Paul Newell

from our brazilian logo creator, renato:

"Recently I saw the movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' by Nobel Prize winner and former future president of the US, Mr. Al Gore. Some jaw dropping facts there, huh? I have also read an article in National Geographic on global warming. It said that we humans are on the verge of going through an actual 'rite of passage', where for the first time we may not succeed.

My wife's brother lives in Rotterdam, Europe's largest port. The city is about 25 feet under sea level and my brother-in-law told me he eventually looks up and see ships passing by on top of a dam. He also told us the Netherlands was under alert a couple of weeks ago due to some serious ice thawing on the North Seas."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Olbermann Discusses Democratic Capitulation with Daily Kos

Congressman Wexler on Impeachment Hearings

From Congressman Wexler's website:

He makes a strong and powerful case. Why is this guy not in the House majority? We need leadership and we need it now.

The Clintons are Exactly What is Wrong with Politics: Update

Bill Shaheen co-chair of the New Hampshire Hillary Clinton campaign resigned today. Shaheen announced he will step down from that position today. His resignation comes in the wake of remarks he made concerning Clinton rival Barack Obama's past drug use, and his insinuation Obama not only used, but also dealt drugs.

This is Rovian style politics right out of his handbook and it stinks of Mark Penn, the Clinton Campaign manger. This is similar to the insinuation that John McCain fathered a black child in the 2000 South Carolina campaign. The Clintons are the entrenched politicians who believe they have a divine right to the Presidency and it matters not how you get there. A means to an end. It doesn't matter who you screw or who you step on as long as you get there.

I have heard voices that we need Clinton as the nominee because she can sling it like the Republicans. But, is that really what we want? Do we really want people who treat others this way? Insinuate drug use and drug dealing and then have someone step down and say I am sorry, knowing full well the rumor sticks and you have provided cover for yourself. Do we really believe this is how campaigns work? That the obviously brilliant Hillary Clinton just didn't know what her campaing was doing. The record of the Bill Clinton campaign is filled with stories of Hillary Clinton as the real brains behind the operation. See George Stephanopolous. Are we to believe she would allow someone to step out and say such a thing without the campaign's knowledge.

I watched Hardball today and they had all the campaign managers from the big three and Mark Penn said the word cocaine three times in a sentence referring to Barack Obama, all the while "apologizing" for the transgression and blaming Obama for negative attack ads. David Axelrod just shook his head, but Joe Trippi stuck it to him saying "there he goes again." Mark Penn has the same shit eating grin that Rove has as well.

This campaign is Bush in democratic clothing and I want no part of it. I hope it backfires on her, but I am not so sure it will. She knows she is in trouble, but if she attacks enough and Obama's numbers go down just enough she can come out of New Hampshire in tact and go on and win the nomination. If Obama continues this meteoric rise there may be no stopping him. So, they hit and they hit low.

Just for the record I have no problem with attacking policies of each candidate. That is politics, Obama's health policy quite frankly leaves a little bit to be desired. It is a middle of the road policy and he deserves scrutiny, but past drug use, which Obama has come clean on to his credit, smells of the politics that turns people off, which may be the exact intended response.
The real beneficiary of this just might be John Edwards.

Here is the video I am talking about regarding the three campaign managers. It is truly informative.

Update: This is a strategy, not a mistake.

Obama's 'surprises'?

Clinton didn't mention specifics in the taping of an interview on "Iowa Press" this morning, but drew a contrast with unnamed rivals that echoes Bill Shaheen's now-notorious claim that unexplored elements of Obama's candidacy will make him an easy Republican target.

"I’ve been tested, I’ve been vetted," she said. "There are no surprises. There’s not going to be anybody saying, 'I didn’t think of that, my goodness, what’s that going to mean?'"

This appears to be the emerging core of the electability case against Obama: that elements of his public record and -- unspoken -- his private past, could scuttle what should be a Democratic sure thing, and that he is untested by real partisan combat.

"Whoever we nominate will be subjected to the full force of the Republican attack machine, and I know that they know I know that and I have no illusions about what this race will entail," she said.

UPDATE: Asked to elaborate on what she's suggesting about Obama, Clinton has an answer ready: "I’m only talking about myself."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Barack and Hillary

This was good.

Oh really?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


ok, i can't translate this for our SG readers, but i wanted to share barista boy's international fame. barista boy created a series of photographs entitled it's only a game using a chess board and chess pieces. each photo illustrates a theme with a clever layout to evoke the idea. then he published a glossy book of all the installation photos. stop by emack and bolio's aka mola to see him, get a drink special and peruse the book.

i hope barista boy will explain to our readers what the review says and how he was discovered!! check out more of his creative installations here and at his "lame space."


in memory of our crazy 9 days in france with the strikes, here's a funny little song for the train drivers (cheminots)!

New Jersey Presidential Caucus

Last weekend New Jersey held their very own Presidential caucus. It was very interesting as it was only a mock caucus, but people took it very seriously. All of the major candidates sent representatives. Though, admittedly it was a progressive gathering. The results?

1. Edwards 43% (76 votes)
2. Obama 38% (68 votes)
3. Kucinich 19% (34 votes)

Go to Blue Jersey for more pictures, results and a diary.

Clemens to Be Named in the Mitchell Steroids Report

Roger Clemens will be among many named in the Mitchell Report on performance enhancing drugs. The report also specifies many "prominent" yankees. This should not surprise anyone about Clemens, he changed dramatically after leaving the Red Sox, not to mention being named in the affidavits released last year. Though, I hope this report focuses on Major League Baseball as much as the players. They let it happened and even encouraged it in my opinion.

Brian McNamee, who worked for the Yankees and as a personal trainer for Clemens and Yankee teammates Andy Pettitte, also told investigators that on at least one occasion, Clemens was in possession of steroids from another supplier, the source said.

Also, The Bergen (N.J.) Record, citing a baseball industry official, says "several" prominent Yankees will be named in the Mitchell report. The paper said the source spoke to a third party who had seen the final report. "It's going to be a rough day in the Bronx," the paper quoted the source as saying.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush Vetoes SCHIP Again

Bush vetoed the bill in private. Is there anything more repulsive than a coward?

In a statement notifying Congress of his decision, Bush said the bill was unacceptable because - like the first one - it allows adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes.

It makes you wonder did W start drinking again?
The House voted 211-180 late Wednesday to put off until Jan. 23 a vote on overriding the president's veto. "We are not going to let this veto stand," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans said Democrats were scheduling the veto override vote to coincide with the week Bush comes to Congress for the State of the Union address.

El-P - Smithereens

El-P has always been making very underground hip-hop, with very strong statements, since the days of Company Flow. This video, which first appeared on, is no less polemical. Check it out.

Radiohead: Tips on How to Not Sell Your Soul

I just read an article in the Sunday NYT by Jon Pareles, a great music writer. He interviewed Radiohead about their groundbreaking decision to not only sell their new album, InRainbows, online for any price the buyer wanted, but to remain independent and not sign to any major label.

In a world that lives by the initials C.R.E.A.M. (Wu-Tang's song and mantra: Cash Rules Everything Around Me), the article with one of the best bands on the planet was a breath of fresh air.

Here is some of the piece:

On why they didn't re-sign with EMI records:

“It was tough to do anything else,” Mr. Yorke said during Radiohead’s first extensive interviews since the release of the album. “The worst-case scenario would have been: Sign another deal, take a load of money, and then have the machinery waiting semi-patiently for you to deliver your product, which they can add to the list of products that make up the myth, la-la-la-la.”

A great quote from another music revolutionary:

“Money makes you numb, as M.I.A. wrote. I mean, it’s tempting to have someone say to you, ‘You will never have to worry about money ever again,’ but no matter how much money someone gives you — what, you’re not going to spend it? You’re not going to find stupid ways to get rid of it? Of course you are. It’s like building roads and expecting there to be less traffic.”

On the success of their decision:

And Radiohead was able to draw worldwide attention to “In Rainbows” with no more promotion than a modest 24-word announcement on its Web site on Oct. 1. To the band’s glee, it could release its music almost immediately, without the months of lead time necessary to manufacture discs. Mr. Hufford said “In Rainbows” has been downloaded in places as far-flung — and largely unwired — as North Korea and Afghanistan.

Hoboken and Abbott Funding

An interesting article in the New York Times today discusses the proposed change in the so-called "Abbott" districts. The article and many opponents of Abbott funded districts site Hoboken as the prime example we need a new formula for children and schools.

“Hoboken is exactly why we need a new school funding formula,” said Assemblyman Bill Baroni, a Republican from Mercer County. “Hoboken has been blessed by an economic renaissance that a lot of other towns have not seen. That’s why we need to make a new formula that talks about kids and not ZIP codes.”

Corzine is proposing a new funded system that will send $400 million to schools outside of Abbott districts. If this will be for poor kids that is fine, but if also takes from these Abbott districts that still need the money that a problem exists.

For instance the article sites why Hoboken is still listed as an Abbott district. It is what I have been saying about Hoboken for years. It is a "tale of two cities," not quite Paris and London, but the reference fits. The article sites statistics that are difficult to ignore. In Hoboken, for example, school officials said that a majority of their students come from housing projects, not the upscale condos whose owners often send their children to private or parochial schools. Seventy-five percent of the district’s students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced lunch, the seventh-highest level among all Abbott districts, according to state statistics. Union City is first, with 92.7 percent, followed by Passaic (84.7 percent) and Asbury Park (81.9 percent).

What is more is that Hoboken does not receive the same amount of state aid as other Abbott districts. Jack Raslowsky, the Hoboken schools superintendent, said that another point lost in the political rhetoric is that Hoboken receives far less state aid than the other Abbott districts. In the district’s $54 million budget, state aid accounted for just $12.4 million, of which only $4.2 million for preschool programs was tied to its Abbott status. The local share of contributions was $35 million.

That being said the state has paid for a number of construction projects in Hoboken to bring schools up to safety standards and renovating schools. This year, an $8.5 million renovation was completed on the Calabro elementary school.

Regardless, the point remains, though Hoboken's renaissance is indisputable, the renaissance reaches only so far. It does not reach those living in poverty and seventy-five percent of the schools district qualifies for free lunch. That is also indisputable. Removing Hoboken from the Abbott funding sounds nice in the papers and at the legislature, but when you really look deep into what is happening in our urban schools, specifically the Hoboken schools it doesn't make sense. An advocate for children summed it up best:

David Sciarra, an advocate for the children of the Abbott districts, called the criticisms of Hoboken a “red herring” because the district receives so little Abbott aid. More important, he said, were the educational reforms introduced under Abbott to address decades of neglect and concentrated poverty in urban schools. One such reform is the focus on preschool programs in Abbott districts. “The Legislature could remove Hoboken from Abbott, but it must have a plan in place to continue those educational reforms,” he said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Family Leave in New Jersey in Jeopardy?

Thanks to Blue Jersey for an update on this. If you care about Family Leave watch the video and call your elected officials.

Call Your Senators on Telecom Immunity

From Crooks and Liars:

Bradley Whitford took time out from a film shoot in Calgary to make this video on the importance of opposing retroactive immunity for telecom companies that wiretapped Americans without a warrant. He is calling on all of us to contact our Senators and ask them to support Sen. Dodd’s promised filibuster.

Telecom immunity is scheduled to be discussed this week and it is crucial that all of our Senators hear from us before they vote. We need 40 votes to sustain Sen. Dodd’s filibuster, if it comes to that.

To reach your Senator you can use the switchboard: 202.224.3121.

Top Ten Editorial Cartoons of the Year

This is #10 which is as good as #1. Here is the full list. This is #1

Monday, December 10, 2007

Anti-poverty Advocates in New Jersey Outline Goals

Poverty Foes Gather to Map Successes, Unreached Goals
Thursday, December 06, 2007
BY SUSAN K. LIVIO Star-Ledger Staff

Poverty remains a stubborn problem in this wealthy state because some government programs are too cash-starved or poorly executed to make a difference, anti-poverty advocates said yesterday.

Gearing up for the annual fight to make low-income people a priority in next year's state budget, members of the Anti-Poverty Network outlined their goals: Expanding FamilyCare, the state's low-cost health care program, and the state's rental assistance program, and raising the monthly welfare grant, which has remained flat since 1987.

As state officials gear up to close an estimated $3 billion budget deficit next year, advocates said they'll be ready to make their case with new statistics demonstrating that poverty is growing, which government-funded programs work and why some don't.

"We hear so much about what cannot be done in the state budget," Melville D. Miller, executive director of Legal Services of New Jersey, and a network member. He said that too often, elected officials make budget decisions by pitting anti-poverty programs against each other or against other social programs.

"We can't permit New Jersey state government to frame the debate that way," Miller said. "Society should not accept cuts which balance the state budget on the backs of low-income people."

One in five New Jersey residents last year lived in "true poverty" -- twice the federal government's meager poverty rate, or an annual income of less than $32,158 for a family of three, according to Serena Rice, managing director of Legal Services' Poverty Research Institute.

The state created a rental assistance program and dedicated $37.5 million this budget year, which shares the cost of rent with about 3,000 families, state Department of Community Affairs spokesman Chris Donnelly said. But advocates have said the need is closer to 90,000 affordable housing units. "We have not even reached the down payment level," Miller said.

Welfare would seem to be the program most directly aimed at people in severe poverty, yet the monthly grants have not risen in 20 years, Miller said. That means a family of three, then and now, received $424 a month, and a childless adult received $140 a month.

Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez, who addressed the conference, said she shares many of the same priorities. She said the state's fiscal health isn't the only obstacle.

Velez said the "not in my backyard" attitude stymies efforts to expand affordable housing and rental assistance programs. "With all the money in the world, we couldn't go into some communities," Velez said.

Expanding the state children's health insurance program -- or FamilyCare, as it's known in New Jersey -- would require a dramatic departure from President Bush's position that the program ought to serve only the poorest of children and none of their parents.

Yesterday's annual "state of the state" anti-poverty conference, held at the War Memorial in Trenton, was also an exercise in energizing the advocates by reminding them of their past accomplishments.

The network, composed of 300 religious, educational and social service organizations, successfully lobbied to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit that allowed 300,000 more families to qualify, said the Rev. Bruce Davidson, director of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry.

Over the last two years, the Corzine administration has added $4 million for food banks, Davidson said. "When you are starting from zero, this is something to celebrate."

For more information see the Anti-poverty network.

Keith Olbermann - Special Comment

This is from last week, but it is bold.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


with all the holiday madness and super overconsuming, it's easy to forget our planet earth, groaning under the weight of all our disposable stuff... i just saw this video on new magazine's website, produced by jersey city's own le arsenal, a video/audio group. a strong, stark reminder of the work we need to do every day to try and lessen our impact on the environment.