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The Tally Ho

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tuning Out

Reading the onlines Times this morning, I ran across and article titled Tuning Out: What We Missed in Boston by Alessandra Stanley. Alessandra wrote:
That is one reason why the comedian Jon Stewart was so popular a compass to convention coverage. "The Daily Show," his program on Comedy Central, did not just mock the politicians - easy targets well flayed by Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, et al. Mr. Stewart also zeroed in on the television journalists who chose to snub the convention as they covered it. Mr. Stewart lampooned those who deplored the slick, synthetic packaging of events, then grew indignant when Al Sharpton diverged from the script. ("I think it is an insult to African-American voters that they are giving this guy as much time as they have," groused Howard Fineman, a Newsweek columnist who as a panelist on MSNBC, alongside Chris Matthews, was on the air more than most speakers.)

And "The Daily Show" exposed the inexperience of NBC's next evening news anchor, Brian Williams, who crashed his way through the crowd to buttonhole Mr. Sharpton right after his electrifying speech and then could not think of a question. Mr. Stewart showed a tape of a slightly disheveled Mr. Williams telling Mr. Sharpton that he had been watching the teleprompter "while you did a riff on whatever you did a riff on."

Some of the most memorable moments on television had almost nothing to do with the convention itself, notably Michael Moore on Fox News badgering Bill O'Reilly into submissive silence by asking if he would send his own child to Iraq. Yet there were interesting speeches by nonfamous politicians. Even the cable news networks studiously avoided showing them, preferring to interview politicians and other journalists in the pristine sanctity of sky boxes and makeshift outdoor sets -as if trying to demarcate a cordon sanitaire between the convention and those who cover it.

I didn't watch as much of the convention as I would have liked. I enjoy hearing the non keynote addresses, but besides CSPAN, it seemed as if every network interrupted within a commentary or talked right over an address. I realize that for many these conventions are not interesting and that the networks cover certain things - but to networks don't have to pay for the airwaves, no? If we are going to have a total of 8 days of conventions every four years - why can't they show more than 3 hours!? I want to see what is happening off the stage. I would like to see and hear from some of the protestors, factions within the parties - whatever is happening. I have never been inside of a convention, but I am convinced that what was shown on the tube doesn't even begin to address what it was like. For those that are cynical and that it does not matter who is in office - not covering real news isn't going to convince those otherwise.

Addition: Brought to you by Rimjob from Kos, Partial NEWSWEEK Poll

Just saw this on MSNBC after Bush stopped talking, take it for what it's worth....

THURSDAY SAMPLE
BUSH/CHENEY 47
KERRY/EDWARDS 49

FRIDAY SAMPLE
BUSH/CHENEY 41
KERRY/EDWARDS 54

Also, tied on handling of Iraq.

Of course this isn't going to last after the GOP convention, but as the polling has stated, the US population is willing to have a change at the top.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Don't Like Your Job?

Find Another or Take Prozac

I just read this article from Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A campaign worker for President Bush (news - web sites) said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones -- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

Sure, the worker said "Oh, I was kidding", but still...

Articles From Sam

Here are the two New York Times articles that Sam gave us yesterday. The first, I.R.S. Says American's Income Shrank for 2 Consecutive Years. David Cay Johnston writes:
The overall income Americans reported to the government shrank for two consecutive years after the Internet stock market bubble burst in 2000, the first time that has effectively happened since the modern tax system was introduced during World War II, newly disclosed information from the Internal Revenue Service shows.

The total adjusted gross income on tax returns fell 5.1 percent, to just over $6 trillion in 2002, the most recent year for which data is available, from $6.35 trillion in 2000. Because of population growth, average incomes declined even more, by 5.7 percent.

Adjusted for inflation, the income of all Americans fell 9.2 percent from 2000 to 2002, according to the new I.R.S. data.

Read the whole article. In the second article, As Cities Struggle, Police Get By With Less, Fox Butterfield writes in his article:
"We are having to discontinue many of the proactive strategies like community policing, which we developed in the 90's, and just go back to basics like sitting in patrol cars waiting for calls for service after a crime has been committed," he said.

Some police officials worry that the situation will worsen, if Mr. Bush succeeds in making further reductions in federal aid to the police, as proposed, in favor of contributions for domestic security.

"I think the cuts proposed by the White House for federal aid to police could be devastating to us," said Joe Polisar, the police chief in Garden Grove, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles in Orange County, who is also the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. "This is funding that helped us lower the crime rate and money we have come to rely on, and now the White House is proposing to cut it on top of our municipal budget cuts," Chief Polisar said.

Another issue about crime and society is that many of these reserves serving in Iraq are police and fire officers. So when Kerry has mentioned time and again about closing firehouses in New York and opening them in Iraq, it isn't just money. If Sam is who I think he is, he should just register and contribute to this blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

request for quotes

One of my infamous associates is constructing an article for a “national women’s magazine” and needs some quotes from Bush and Kerry about women - the women in their lives, their stances on women's issues, etc.  In addition to the quote she needs source. 

Please reply if you got ‘em.

Review: "Echoes of the War"

As I posted below, I saw two plays by J.M. Barrie at the Mint Theater. This is the NY Times review that appeared Tuesday, J.M. Barrie Fairy Tales for Adults in a Time of War.
It's easy to put on a decent production when you have seasoned actors like Frances Sternhagen and Richard Easton working for you. But to show them at their best, as the director Eleanor Reissa does in two one-acts under the title "Echoes of the War" at the Mint Theater, requires a certain touch with the accouterments of theater. A scrim, for instance...

Today the two plays, running through Aug. 29 at 311 West 43rd Street, seem like lovely but slight character studies. In their time, though, they had much more resonance, and Ms. Reissa and her set designer, Vicki R. Davis, put the tiny dimensions of the Mint to good use in helping you feel it. Each play begins behind a scrim, the characters looking hazy as a turn-of-the century photograph; it's as if you're looking into the past, into a diorama of that bittersweet moment when war still seemed glorious even though the death toll was staggering. By the time the scrim comes up a few seconds later, you can feel the desperate jingoism bubbling beneath Barrie's pleasant stories.

The Missing Speaker

New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. If Spitzer doesn't have his mind set on the Governorship, I think Kerry needs to pick him as his AG. There still is rumor around here that Schumer is going to run for Governor '06. Anyway, seeing what he has done the last several years, he would have been a very good speaker on corporate responsibility and law enforcement...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Tonights Reaction

I watched CSPAN for the Edwards speech and flipped between Matthews and Lehrer afterwards. A couple quick observations:

1) Zell Miller scares me. But what I thought was interesting is when asked out of cultural issues, military issues, or economic issues, what will Georgia vote on? Miller said that military and cultural issues were number 1 and 2. Economic issues came in last. I would like to hear a Georgian reaction. But according to Miller, it isn't the economy, stupid.

2) John Edwards made no reference to a God in his speech. Talking about cultural wars, while Edwards talked about families and values and responsibility, the religious talk was absent. Are Democrats now running as the secular party?

3) The anti-war left, get ready to be disappointed. Military spending will not drastrically decrease in the next few years under Kerry/Edwards. More troops may be sent to Iraq, and certainly more peace keeping missions.

4) Edwards was good. He will be very good against Cheney, and on talking to families. But as good as he was, I still think Obama and Big Dog were the two highlights thus far.

Junior on Fire

Ron Reagan, Jr. is on fire with Chris Matthews. Not only did he knock Faux, err Fox News, for trashing Mrs. Kerry (which he commented that if they talked about his wife like that they would have a problem), he complained about the anti-intellectual attacks, which made Matthews comment about xenophobia towards even Western Europe as part of our foreign policy.

Now as I calm down and get ready for bed, before I read a chapter in the The traveler's Wife, I will watch the episode Objects in Space from Joss Whedon's Firefly series. This episode is about existentialism. I can't believe frick'in Fox canceled it for a reality TV show (maybe putting it on Friday night and aiming it for the 18-40 year old crowd isn't a good idea!). While it is coming back in film form, a two hour film is not the same as over 16 hours on the tube...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Text of Barack Obama's Speech

I usually try not to post a whole article or speech, but what the heck, here it is... Oh, I also posted about two plays of J.M Barrie below...
On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention.

Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place; America which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before. While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas.

Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor he signed up for duty, joined Patton's army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west in search of opportunity.

And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.

They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential. They are both passed away now. Yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.

I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.

Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-or at least, most of the time.

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations.

And fellow Americans—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.

Don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon.

Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems.

But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. That man is John Kerry. John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and sacrifice, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he'll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves.

John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us. And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option, but it should never be the first option.

A while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, six-two or six-three, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week.

As I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us? I thought of more than 900 service men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns.

I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or with nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief-I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper-that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America-there's the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

Tonight, if you feel the same energy I do, the same urgency I do, the same passion I do, the same hopefulness I do-if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president, and John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. Thank you and God bless you.

Thank you Illinois. Between Durbin and now Obama, you represent me well - even if I am a New Yorker now. I have a feeling I will eventually move back West to Chicago - and I have a feeling that both Durbin and Obama will be there. Who will rival the Illinois Senate delegation?

On War

This past weekend I was privileged enough to see two wonderful plays at the Mint Theater by J.M. Barrie. Barrie is mostly known for writing Peter Pan. Being and icon for that work does not encompass other great works by Barrie. I saw two great plays: Echoes of the War and The Old Lady Shows Her Medals. Echoes is about a middle class British family dealing with their only son, and only brother signing up for World War I as a second lieutenant. Broadly, the play was about the family. Narrowly, it was about the father, Mr. Torrance, and his son Roger, discussing their relationship – specifically about how to verbally express their love and appreciation of each other, knowing that Roger was going to go to war. This was a war that wiped out an entire generation of young British men, and over 8 million world wide.

The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, staring Frances Sternhagen, was about how working poor Scottish families dealt with the war. Mrs. Dowey (Sternhagen), who was never married, had no children, thus felt as if she was not part of the war effort. So the play is mainly about the relationship between her made up son, Private Dowey, who is an orphan, and how they need each other for comfort and connection during a dark time in history. It is a wonderful story, and if you aren’t in the New York City area, go to your local library and check out a book of plays by J.M. Barrie. It is worth the read. If you want to see it, the $45 is well worth it. The Mint Theater specializes in plays by famous writers that have really never been produced numerous times. Last winter I saw The Daughter In Law by D.H. Lawrence.

To quote from the Director's notes:
What J.M Barrie has done is brought the war home. Literally. He brings us into the home--the middle class and working poor home--and lets us meet some rather average people affected by the war. As in an ocean, Barrie takes us to the furthest, smalled wake that is left by the steamship War. Usually evoked by the enormous number of dead or wounded, windowed, childless, fatherless or brotherless, these plays take us down a simpler road. Barrie chooses to pain a more personal picture of war for us. How to achieve intimacy in the few moments one has with someone about to depart for the front and how two lost souls affected by the war ind love are the ways Barrie attacks the emotional cruelties of war. Little has changed in the nature of war or humankind in the ninety years since Barrie wrote these works. They ring as true today as when they were written. The strength of these plays is reflected in how his characters reach deep within themselves to be the opposite of war--human."
- Eleanor Reissa


If you are in New York, or visiting, and you don't want to pay $85 for a revival, check out the Mint Theater. If you are not interested, at least check out the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) as an alternative, especially the Next Wave Festival.

Update: If you didn't know this, Finding Neverland stars Johnny Depp and Kate Winslit is supposedly about what brought J.M. Barrie to write Peter Pan. I wonder if they discuss his plays about World War I.

I Can't Help Myself

From the CBS News. Nader says:
"I would like to see the bazaar. I'd like to see the alcoholic-musical-political payoff bazaar of accounts receivable," Nader said. "I would like to be there at the convention to watch. I will try to get credentials… I may try as a syndicated columnist, which I've been for 35 years. Let's see if they are against reporters."

Interesting, but according to the NY Times reporters outnumber delegates 6 to 1. How many more delegates until Ralph is convinced the DNC isn't against reporters? But why would you show up in Boston, Ralph? You are running against Kerry, same as Bush. Then again...nevermind, why is he running again? Right, progress. Too bad the perfect or absolute ideal is the enemy of progress. Losing with Nader or winning with Kerry... what brings more progress, (sarcasm)since Kerry and Bush are the same, right(/sarcasm)? I respect not wanting to vote Democrat or Kerry. But vote Green then, not for Ralph Nader's ego. 5% was a pipe dream in 2000, and will be in '04. But if you are a committed Green, that is great. Work the local and state elections. Make a difference in the zoning laws, school boards, etc. After all, isn't it the state and local government that effect our lives the most?

From the Onion:

Summoning FDR

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Monday, July 26, 2004

Big Dog Returns

And Carter Throwing Punches

How about Clinton's speech tonight? Give that man first class tickets to Florida, Ohio, Philly, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Tennessee... I thought he was excellent in explaining the key differences between the Bush Rightwing Ideology and the Pragmatic Idealistic common sense approach of Kerry.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.

Clinton later continues:
We Americans must choose for President one of two strong men who both love our country, but who have very different worldviews: Democrats favor shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and more global cooperation. Republicans favor concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for themselves and more unilateral action. I think we’re right for two reasons: First, America works better when all people have a chance to live their dreams. Second, we live in an interdependent world in which we can’t kill, jail, or occupy all our potential adversaries, so we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. We tried it their way for twelve years, our way for eight, and then their way for four more.

A good Clinton quote:
"Wisdom and Strength are not opposing values"

- William Jefferson Clinton

While Clinton was highlighted, Carter's speech probably had the most hard hitting criticisms of BushCo. Carter said:
Today, our dominant international challenge is to restore the greatness of America—based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace, and respect for civil liberties at home and basic human rights around the world. Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world. Without truth—without trust—America cannot flourish. Trust is at the very heart of our democracy, the sacred covenant between the president and the people.

When that trust is violated, the bonds that hold our republic together begin to weaken. After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent civilians brought us an unprecedented level of cooperation and understanding around the world. But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.

You can read Carter's whole speech here, and Clinton's here. Tomorrow I am looking forward to hearing Mrs. Kerry and Barack Obama, the future Illinois Senator. If you don't know about him, he is a very interesting guy. Illinois' other great Senator is Richard Durbin.

Thought: The Dems seemed to keep on message tonight. Now hopefully this continues the rest of the week and through November. I will be very disappointed if the center-left and left self destruct now.

this party needs a better dj

its convention time!  i prefer the live feed off of the convention website myself.  i just saw some old women with patriotic boas swinging to "dancing in the streets" as performed by the official convention band [the soundbites -- record out early November 2004]. 

Terry McAuliffe just said something like "weapons of mass deception" refering to republican political ads...  then the band starts up again with a version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" 

I hope the republicans booked Nugent.  That would rule. 

Because I like it

So I am stealing this image from Good Intentions

Sunday, July 25, 2004

NY Times Sunday Op-Ed Page

Two Opinion pieces today of interest. First, Richard A. Clarke's comments on the 9/11 Commissions recommendations title, Honorable Commission, Toothless Report. Clarke writes (and I will post much of the article):
So what now? News coverage of the commission's recommendations has focused on the organizational improvements: a new cabinet-level national intelligence director and a new National Counterterrorism Center to ensure that our 15 or so intelligence agencies play well together. Both are good ideas, but they are purely incremental. Had these changes been made six years ago, they would not have significantly altered the way we dealt with Al Qaeda; they certainly would not have prevented 9/11. Putting these recommendations in place will marginally improve our ability to crush the new, decentralized Al Qaeda, but there are other changes that would help more.

First, we need not only a more powerful person at the top of the intelligence community, but also more capable people throughout the agencies - especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In other branches of the government, employees can and do join on as mid- and senior-level managers after beginning their careers and gaining experience elsewhere. But at the F.B.I. and C.I.A., the key posts are held almost exclusively by those who joined young and worked their way up. This has created uniformity, insularity, risk-aversion, torpidity and often mediocrity.

The only way to infuse these key agencies with creative new blood is to overhaul their hiring and promotion practices to attract workers who don't suffer the "failures of imagination" that the 9/11 commissioners repeatedly blame for past failures.

Second, in addition to separating the job of C.I.A. director from the overall head of American intelligence, we must also place the C.I.A.'s analysts in an agency that is independent from the one that collects the intelligence. This is the only way to avoid the "groupthink" that hampered the agency's ability to report accurately on Iraq. It is no accident that the only intelligence agency that got it right on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department - a small, elite group of analysts encouraged to be independent thinkers rather than spies or policy makers.

Analysts aren't the only ones who should be reconstituted in small, elite groups. Either the C.I.A. or the military must create a larger and more capable commando force for covert antiterrorism work, along with a network of agents and front companies working under "nonofficial cover'' - that is, without diplomatic protection - to support the commandos.

Even more important than any bureaucratic suggestions is the report's cogent discussion of who the enemy is and what strategies we need in the fight. The commission properly identified the threat not as terrorism (which is a tactic, not an enemy), but as Islamic jihadism, which must be defeated in a battle of ideas as well as in armed conflict.

We need to expose the Islamic world to values that are more attractive than those of the jihadists. This means aiding economic development and political openness in Muslim countries, and efforts to stabilize places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Restarting the Israel-Palestinian peace process is also vital.

Also, we can't do this alone. In addition to "hearts and minds" television and radio programming by the American government, we would be greatly helped by a pan-Islamic council of respected spiritual and secular leaders to coordinate (without United States involvement) the Islamic world's own ideological effort against the new Al Qaeda.

Unfortunately, because of America's low standing in the Islamic world, we are now at a great disadvantage in the battle of ideas. This is primarily because of the unnecessary and counterproductive invasion of Iraq. In pulling its bipartisan punches, the commission failed to admit the obvious: we are less capable of defeating the jihadists because of the Iraq war.

There are several other paragraphs, but read the whole Op-Ed. Also in today's time is Maureen Dowd's Spinning Our Safety, and Barbara Ehrenreich's Wal-Mars Invades Earth. In her piece, she writes:
In my own brief stint at the company in 2000, I worked with a woman for whom a $7 Wal-Mart polo shirt, of the kind we had been ordered to wear, was an impossible dream: It took us an hour to earn that much. Some stores encourage their employees to apply for food stamps and welfare; many take second jobs. Critics point out that Wal-Mart has consumed $1 billion in public subsidies, but that doesn't count the government expenditures required to keep its associates alive. Apparently the Wal-Martians, before landing, failed to check on the biological requirements for human life.

But a creature afflicted with the appetite of a starved hyena doesn't have time for niceties. Wal-Mart is facing class-action suits for sex discrimination and nonpayment for overtime work (meaning no payment at all), as well as accusations that employees have been locked into stores overnight, unable to get help even in medical emergencies. These are the kinds of conditions we associate with third world sweatshops, and in fact Wal-Mart fails at least five out of 10 criteria set by the Worker Rights Consortium, which monitors universities' sources of logoed apparel - making it the world's largest sweatshop.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

UK, UN To Sudan?

This Guardian article states that there is a draft resolution circulating at the UN to intervene in the 15 month conflict that has left 30,000 dead and more then 1 million displaced.
Britain and the US are taking a cautious line, partly because their armed forces are already heavily committed in Iraq and other trouble spots, but also because they recognise that Sudan could become another long-term commitment.

"Once you're in, you can't leave till it's sorted out," said Ellie Goldsworthy, a defence analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.

Britain's most effective role could be in supplying "brain power", especially in the fields of planning, logistics and support, she said, adding that even this could turn into a major commitment.

"While we can aim to simply provide logistic support, we've got to be prepared to provide as much as is required."

New David Brooks Op-Ed

My brother once said, "I don't read David Brooks anymore." I still do. His latest Op-Ed, War of Ideology is a very interesting read. I will try not to post the whole piece, but Brooks writes:
We're not in the middle of a war on terror, they note. We're not facing an axis of evil. Instead, we are in the midst of an ideological conflict.

We are facing, the report notes, a loose confederation of people who believe in a perverted stream of Islam that stretches from Ibn Taimaya to Sayyid Qutb. Terrorism is just the means they use to win converts to their cause.

It seems like a small distinction - emphasizing ideology instead of terror - but it makes all the difference, because if you don't define your problem correctly, you can't contemplate a strategy for victory.

When you see that our enemies are primarily an intellectual movement, not a terrorist army, you see why they are in no hurry. With their extensive indoctrination infrastructure of madrassas and mosques, they're still building strength, laying the groundwork for decades of struggle. Their time horizon can be totally different from our own.

As an ideological movement rather than a national or military one, they can play by different rules. There is no territory they must protect. They never have to win a battle but can instead profit in the realm of public opinion from the glorious martyrdom entailed in their defeats. We think the struggle is fought on the ground, but they know the struggle is really fought on satellite TV, and they are far more sophisticated than we are in using it.

Brooks continues:
Most of all, we need to see that the landscape of reality is altered. In the past, we've fought ideological movements that took control of states. Our foreign policy apparatus is geared toward relations with states: negotiating with states, confronting states. Now we are faced with a belief system that is inimical to the state system, and aims at theological rule and the restoration of the caliphate. We'll need a new set of institutions to grapple with this reality, and a new training method to understand people who are uninterested in national self-interest, traditionally defined.

I appreciate Brooks. First, a lot has been debated about "The War on Terror." Second, I am not sure that there has been enough debated about the future role and relevance of the nation state.

At Happy Hour

A person I really think is neat made the comment that they were voting for Nader. I then commented that Nader is now only an advocate for Ralph Nader and that if this person was not to vote Kerry, vote Green (or Bush if you really believe in it - just vote!). I am all for high voter turnout. I like the Greens. However, if I hadn't had two Makers Marks and a Brooklyn Weiss I know I would have spouted off some babble about how the ideal and perfect is the enemy of progress. We can win and fight the good fight for small steps, or we can lose and have nothing but be right...

Off to bed... that is all...
This thought brought to you by

Singed Eyebrows

So, while I was cooking cajun shrimp for the Rooster tonight in honor of her leaving me for California - I lost some hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. How you ask? Well my oven sucks and refused to light. So naturally since I am a dumb ass - I had it set for 400 degrees... i opened the bottom to see if it actually lit and a flame shot out and burned my head! My apartment smelled like, well, burning hair! That fire trap is gone first thing Monday morning! Anyway, since I need humor other than Sparkey I give you these (Jen loves her mom)

1) This Land
2) Right Wing Squares

Both Silly... but after happy hour and a bottle of wine, burning hair, and a promise of breakfast tomorrow if I help lug boxes to the post office, I will deal...

By the way, I am reading a great book:

The Time Travelors Wife by Audrey Niffeneggger. So far I have enjoyed every minute.

From Tom Tomorrow


Yeah, yeah, its partisan (who will write a column about how mean Democrats are while totally ignoring the treatment of our last president?), but its Tom Tomorrow and its Sparkey T. Penguin - and damn it, I lit my head on fire tonight! Considering that the DNC convention is upon us, its fitting.

Friday, July 23, 2004

GOP: Supress the Detroit Vote

Read this article, via Truthout:
DETROIT (AP) -- Democrats on Wednesday denounced a Republican lawmaker quoted in a newspaper as saying the GOP would fare poorly in this year's elections if it failed to "suppress the Detroit vote."

Rep. Alexander Lipsey, D-Kalamazoo comments:
"This is the endgame strategy the Republican Party has decided to utilize, rather than positive strategies," he said. "They are strategizing, "How can we get those folks we don't care about from going to the polls?"'

By the way, 83 percent of Detroit's population is African American.

This is also found on David Sirota's blog, where he also links to other GOP efforts to prevent eligible voters from bunching a ballot.

Blumenthal Op-Ed in Guardian

I don't know if who else reads the Guardian, but yesterday Sidney Blumenthal had a good piece on Sen. Kerry, Kerry's war didn't end in the Mekong. I remember reading an article on Boston.com about when Kerry first came to the Senate. He was offered a seat on the much sought after appropriations committee, but chose Foreign Relations. Blumenthal writes:
In his first month as a senator, in January 1985, he discovered the thread that would unravel the Iran-contra scandal - the creation of an illegal foreign policy apparatus run out of the national security council by Reagan's military aide, Oliver North, and the CIA director, William Casey. Kerry had the training and instincts of a prosecutor. As a district attorney in Massachusetts, he smashed the local mafia. Now, as senator, he has surrounded himself with tough investigators. In south Florida, they found men accused of drug-running who were shipping guns to the Nicaraguan contras and claiming to be instructed by the NSC. They tracked down a contra adviser in Costa Rica known as "Colonel Flaco", who had evidence that North was involved in financing the contras with Colombian drug money. The path led further, to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and to Saudi funding sources. Kerry won support from Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee to launch an official investigation, in large part because of the drug aspect. (Concerned about heroin addiction among Vietnam veterans, Kerry had followed the geopolitics of drugs.)

North learned of Kerry's work and told the Secret Service and the FBI that Kerry was protecting a possible presidential assassin. The FBI harassed "Flaco" and determined he was no threat, but he was intimidated into silence. Republican staffers leaked information about Kerry's investigation to the Reagan White House and justice department. An assistant US attorney in Florida, prosecuting a case based on Kerry's leads, was ordered by the justice department to drop the matter. Virtually the entire Washington press corps dismissed Kerry's effort as a fantastic delusion and ignored it.

In October 1986, Kerry questioned the neoconservative assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Elliot Abrams, who brazenly lied about foreign funding for the contras. This testimony led, in time, to Abrams pleading guilty to a felony. (He was pardoned by Bush Snr and is now NSC chief for Middle East policy.)

A month later, the Iran-contra story broke in a Lebanese newspaper. However, Kerry was excluded from the congressional investigating committee for the sin of having been prematurely right. As consolation, he was given chairmanship of the subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations. After three years, he reported that "individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking; the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organisations; and elements of the contras received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the US government had information regarding the involvement, either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter."

There are a few more paragraphs in that piece, but one gets the point. Over the years everything that I have read about Kerry is that he asks questions and digs for answers. Contrasted that to what we seemingly have now which is choosing what we want to do, then justify it...

Cubs Board Game

Stolen from this ESPN2 article by Kurt Snibbe & Jim Caple.

Man, this year hurt. Wood and Prior have both went down, as with Sosa. I still think the Cubs can get that Wild Card slot, but only if they stay healthy and consistent. There were high hopes this year, and not just from the would be outstanding starting pitching staff. In the off season they brought in Derek Lee, Todd Walker, Corey Patterson is back - Todd Hollandsworth has been a great addition.

Same goes for the Red Sox, which crushes my BoSox-Cubs world series dream. They lose Nomar and Nixon for more than a month. Bill Mueller goes down. Pedro Martinez has around a 4 ERA. Manny, Ortiz, and Schilling have been nothing short of super, but I fear they are too far behind - and haven't regained the look they had last year. My brother tells me of a rumor in Chicago of a three way trade. Cubs prospects to Arizona. Johnson to Boston. Nomar to Cubs. I hasn't seen that anywhere else.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Martha vs. Nelson

My godbrother just sent me this article, and I couldn't resist the temptation to post it. Fred McKissack from the Wisconsin State Journal wrote this article, titled Martha Puts Herself in Good Company.
On contemplating five months in a minimum security prison, fallen diva Martha Stewart told ABC media maven Barbara Walters last week: "I'm a really good camper. I can sleep on the ground. There are many, many good people who have gone to prison. Look at Nelson Mandela."

McKissack discusses some comparisions:
Words of action

Mandela: "Unite! Mobilise! Fight on! Between the anvil of united mass action and the hammer of armed struggle we shall crush apartheid!"

Stewart: "It's a good thing."

Criminal justice

Nelson Mandela

He was arrested in 1962, when the CIA tipped off South African police that Mandela was fund raising abroad. He was sentenced to five years.

In 1964, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in planning an armed action, which he admitted to, and for conspiracy to help other countries invade South Africa, which he denied.

Upon his arrival at Robben Prison, "the warden in charge warned him bluntly that unless he started obeying, he might quite simply be killed and that no one on the mainland would ever be the wiser," according to Time magazine. "Whereupon Mandela quietly retorted, 'If you so much as lay a hand on me, I will take you to the highest court in the land, and when I finish with you, you will be as poor as a church mouse.'" The warden backed off.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison, and was released, due to international pressure, in February 1990. Apartheid crumbled, Mandela moved from the presidency of the ANC to become the first black president of South Africa. He's now an outspoken leader in the fight against AIDS and for universal human rights.

Martha Stewart

In 2002, Stewart was under investigation for alleged insider trading for selling shares of ImClone Systems based on insider knowledge that the FDA would not be reviewing ImClone's cancer drug Erbitux.

On March 5, 2004, Stewart, the most serious charges having been dropped in February, was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and two counts of making a false statement.

Last week she was sentenced to five months in prison in a federal minimum-security prison and five months home detention, presumably on her estate in Connecticut. Stewart has said in recent interviews that she will survive her ordeal and will return.

There is more, but it made me laugh - even if it doesn't make you laugh.

Classic: DOL Website for the Homeless

Surfing by David Sirota's blog a minute ago... check this post out!

The Department of Labor setting up a website to help the homeless?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Third Party?

How about the Northeast Republicans breaking away from the Texas, err, National GOP? Here is a good article about the freshman Senator from New Hampshire not being in lock step with the Bush Admin.
''I was stunned, to say the least. He's always had a 100 percent voting record on our score card. Maybe he was putting his finger up in the air, looking to see what the polls said," said Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America. Gary Bauer, president of the group American Values, which opposes abortion and gay marriage, called Sununu's vote ''clearly the most disappointing vote today in the US Senate." Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said Sununu and others caved to ''intimidation by the homosexual community."

Sununu shrugged off the criticism, saying his vote on gay marriage -- like other positions he has taken against the Republican leadership -- was about affirming genuine conservative values.

''I try to make decisions based on the principles in which I believe, the principles I campaigned on, spoke about in office," Sununu said in an interview. The gay marriage ban, Sununu said, was a clear issue of states rights. While he said he opposes gay marriage, the federal government has no business dictating rules on an issue that has traditionally been left to the states, he explained.

The bookish, bespectacled Sununu, who has been in the Senate for less than two years, is fast developing a reputation as a quiet but determined conservative, unafraid to deprive his party and his president of his vote if legislation does not meet his goals of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

Last year, the 39-year-old New Hampshire lawmaker voted against an energy bill favored by the White House as well as the Medicare prescription drug bill. The Medicare bill ultimately passed, but Sununu's key opposition to the energy legislation is one reason the measure is foundering on Capitol Hill.

The Medicare bill was opposed by many Democrats who thought it provided less-than-generous benefits and undermined the universal nature of the Great Society program; Sununu did not like it because it did not have the cost controls he thinks are needed to keep spending in line.

The energy bill, too, he said, is overloaded with corporate tax incentives and subsidies the senator says are unaffordable and unnecessary to encourage energy production. Sununu was also unhappy with provisions that protected companies from liability for manufacturing methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, a gasoline additive that has polluted ground water in New Hampshire and other states.

Such votes have been a source of frustration for the Republican leadership and the White House, which are accustomed to losing votes to Republican moderates and mavericks such as Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Arizona's John McCain. But rare is the rebellion from a conservative like Sununu, especially since the senator's father was chief of staff to the president's father, George H. W. Bush.

The younger Sununu said he is being faithful to both the party and to his state. ''The core values I see in the Republican Party are a commitment to limited government, lower taxes, local control, personal freedom, property rights, and a limited regulatory environment," Sununu said.

While I seriously doubt that Sununu, Chafee, Snow, Collins, or any others would leave the GOP, there seems to be enough independent New England Republicans to make a huge impact if they desired.

Joe Hoeffel Arrested

Last week, as blogged below, Rep. Charles Rangel was arrested outside of the Sudanese embassey. Today Representative and Senatorial hopefull Joe Hoeffel was arrested outside the Sudanese embassey. He was fingerprinted and given a $50 fine.
Hoeffel, a Democrat from suburban Philadelphia, was joined by his wife, Francesca, and comedian-turned-activist Dick Gregory in the highly choreographed midday arrest amid a crowd of about 30 protesters singing, "We Shall Not be Moved."

"What is happening in the Sudan is genocide," said Hoeffel, a member of the House International Relations Committee who is running for the U.S. Senate this year against Republican Arlen Specter.

"It's government-sponsored genocide, and ethnic cleansing - partially based on race, partially based on religion," Hoeffel said. "It is wrong and it is time to call it for what it is: hateful genocide."

Tens of thousands of civilians have been slaughtered in the Sudan's western Darfur province in the past year and a half, and an estimated 1 million driven from their homes.

Human rights groups claim to have proof that the Sudanese government has armed, supported and given political cover to the Arab militiamen responsible. Sudan's government has denied any involvement in the attacks against blacks in the region.

An embassy spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.

 
Sen. Clinton, Rep. Hoeffel, Gov. Rendell 
Joe Hoeffel for Senate page, US Representative page.

Great catch by dkossack xlation
Update: This article from CNN.com:
The United Nations says fighting between Arab Janjaweed militias and African rebels in Darfur, western Sudan, has killed some 30,000 people and created the world's worst humanitarian crisis with 1 million people forced to flee their homes.

The United States accuses Sudan's government of backing the Janjaweed in a campaign of ethnic cleansing marked by burning and looting of villages, murder and rape.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he told Sudanese leaders on Sunday of U.S. concerns over Darfur.

"I, the (U.S.) president (George W. Bush) and the international community remain completely dissatisfied with the security situation," Powell told reporters.

"Rapes are still occurring. People do not feel safe leaving the camps to go out and forage for food. The situation remains very, very serious, and first and foremost the security has to be dealt with," he added.

Powell's blunt comments suggest Washington may be closer to pushing for a vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution that would place an immediate travel and arms ban on the militias and threatens to extend the sanctions to the Khartoum government.

Is Blair Finished as PM?

Tony Blair's future is of interest to me. The Guardian just published this poll that tries to assess British voters. Here is a chunk of the article
Mr Blair may feel that it is his personal political reputation rather than that of the Labour party which has suffered most from the continuing row over the Iraq war. This month's poll provides further fuel for that analysis, as it shows that Gordon Brown would more than double Labour's lead to 11 points over the Tories if he were Labour leader.

The detailed ICM poll find ings show that Mr Blair's personal rating remains firmly in the doldrums at minus-22 points. Only 36% of voters are satisfied with his performance as prime minister, while 58% are unhappy. Among Labour voters 77% give him their approval, but his overall rating has now been bouncing along the bottom of the graph since the Iraq war.

Despite "four inquiries and no funeral", a clear majority of voters, 55% now believe that Mr Blair did lie over the war. Those who believe it was not justified rose from 43% in May to 56% this month. Support for the invasion has fallen over the same period from 44% to 38%. Among Labour voters 58% say they still support the war and 38% are opposed. Those opposed are mainly Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

The decline in Mr Blair's personal standing is clearly shown. In 1997 only 21% regarded him as arrogant; 65% felt he was in tune with them; 80% felt he had "lots of personality"; and 57% felt he was tough. Now 52% regard him as arrogant; only 37% believe he is in tune with them; and 54% say he is full of personality.

Only a year ago, 49% believed he was honest - a rating that has fallen to only 37% today. The voters are not all unkind to him. More than 70% now regard him as "experienced" and more interestingly 57% say that he is "competent" - up from 52% a year ago.

I keep waiting for the polling to show Mr. Bush in freefall, but it doesn't seem to happen. I just have a feeling that if US voters reject Bush, Blair will be right behind him and replaced by Gordon Brown.

Vacationing/Airlines

First I check into my work email and there is a totally new, swanky looking format. Now I log into Blogger and the interface is new and improved. I was only in Chicago for a few, very long days - mostly sleepless days.

On either end of vacation partying were two flights. The first was worst flight I have ever been on. It was set to depart 4:30ish, we didn't actually board until about 11pm. While waiting we were treated with the greatest cancellation announcement ever! "For those of you flying to Indianapolis and then to Los Angeles, you aren't going to Los Angeles. Please go to the ticket counter and reschedule." My plane was said to have been sent to Baltimore, but somehow when it arrived it came from Pittsburgh. Anyhow, after the long delay and several interesting conversations we boarded the plane. Twenty minutes into the flight a passenger trying to get around a flight attendant decided to lower his shoulder than push him onto two passengers an exit row. The attendant went flying, then popped up and was ready to knock this guy out. The passenger was chased to the bathroom and didn't come out for an hour. Next the attendant was considering having the plane turned around to have him arrested in New York! Everyone in our section freaked out and was willing to bribe him to be arrested in Chicago, not New York. After 7 hours of delays, no one was in a mood to return to New York. About a half hour later, after being stuck in that terminal for 8 hours with no food, no AC, nothing... a monster headache set in.... the rest of a blur.

In honor of returning a normal, uneventful life, I think I would like to see a some of that informative and great artwork on ready.gov. This one is for today:

New Cartoon

I got home from my holiday in Chicago early Monday morning... tired, I am. Tom Tomorrow made me laugh once again...

Also, have you visited Media Matters recently? Check out Right Wing Squares.

It will take me a few more days to recover from my vacation, as it should be!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Want Jobs?

Ripped from the Headlines of Kos...

Also, if you have not heard of Out Foxed: Rupert Mudoch's War on Journalism, check it out.

Rangel Arrested


I just go this email from Truthout:
Congressman Rangel, along with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), are calling for an end to the genocide in Sudan. The CBC is demanding sanctions against the government of Sudan. Many of the protesters are planning to get arrested. In addition to being arrested, radio talk show host and civil rights leader, Joe Madison, will launch a hunger strike. Madison demands an immediate end to the Sudanese government's obstruction of humanitarian aid to victims of the Sudanese genocide. Madison says if trucks filled with food and medicines are not allowed through to the victims before rainy season begins hundreds of thousands of people could die needlessly.

Sudan Campaign organizers pledge to continue demonstrations until the Sudanese government stops the genocide and returns over one million displaced civilians to their homes. Demonstrations are also planned in Boston, New York City, San Antonio, San Diego, and Toronto. On Wednesday, July 14 the Hon. Robert Edgar, former Member of Congress and current President of the National Council of Churches will be arrested in front of the Sudanese Embassy at noon.

The whole article is here

Citigroup Leaving Manhattan

Did you catch NY Times writer Charles V. Bagli's article today titled "Citigroup to Move Employees"?
Citigroup is moving more than 1,000 employees to New Jersey from Lower Manhattan, according to government officials and real estate executives, in a major realignment that raises new doubts about the pace of economic rejuvenation downtown.

The bank also is expected to announce today that it is moving more than 700 employees from Midtown to Long Island City, Queens, where it plans to build a 14-story office building across the street from its 48-story tower at Court Square.

That move could solidify a 15-year effort to create a less costly office district in Long Island City that can compete with Jersey City and stem the flow of jobs leaving New York. But at least in the short term, the bank's realignment hurts Lower Manhattan, where, nearly three years after the Sept. 11 terror attack, there is plenty of vacant space and corporations are still skittish about making commitments.

While this is good news for Jersey and Queens, if this trend continues the future of lower Manhattan and the tax base of the city will be negatively affected. Midtown and Lower Manhattan are transportation hubs whereas there are limited transportation options to Jersey City and Queens. Remember a few years ago when the NYSE was considering moving out of the city? Lowering property taxes to pre-Bloomberg levels is one thing that should be done (how about abolish it altogther?), but it wouldn't change what seems to be a trend. Why they are planning on building oversized buildings at the WTC site is a good question. If a higher vacancy rate exists, why are we adding more offices instead of attracting new businesses into those spaces? One could make the argument that spreading the wealth is good for the boroughs, but it seems like much of the Northeast around NYC is this "post-suburban" living. How much cheaper is Long Island, West Chester County, North Jersey, and Southern Connecticut than much of Brooklyn and Queens? In any case, the article ends with this:
Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, declined to discuss details of Citigroup's plans. But, he added, "I was assured that the space in Lower Manhattan would be backfilled by high-paying jobs over the next several years."

City & Union Reach Deal

...but everyone isn't happy (NY1 Article).

City Reaches Deal With Unions Representing 10,000 Workers

JULY 13TH, 2004

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an agreement Monday night to give raises to municipal unions representing nearly 10,000 workers.

The deal still hasn't silenced three of the city's most vocal and powerful unions, those for police, firefighters and teachers.

Those unions have vowed to rally outside Madison Square Garden at next month's Republican National Convention, as well as before it.

The groups plan to begin an around-the-clock demonstration next Monday to coincide with the start of Convention preparations.

The municipal agreements reached Monday night contain raises based on productivity similar to the ones agreed to by DC-37, the city's largest union.

The mayor also ordered raises for $15,000 managers and non-represented employees.

The agreement calls for a reduction in starting salaries and modifications to the time and leave provisions for anyone hired after July 1st of this year.

Because It Made Me Laugh

From Al Frankin's blog...

WHY THE NEW NAME?

As of July 12, “The O’Franken Factor” is changing its name. No matter how hard we tried, Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t sue us. Since that was the whole point of the name “The O’Franken Factor” – to get sued by O’Reilly – we have decided the time has come to change it.

O’Reilly made Fox sue me to stop publication of my book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. And, of course, Fox was laughed out of court. I guess O’Reilly knows that old Texas saying: “Fool me once, shame on…shame on you…fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” I think it’s an old Texas saying. I heard George W. Bush say it once. Once. I don’t think he could ever say that again.

Other than the absence of a lawsuit, the name “The O’Franken Factor” has served its purpose. It has annoyed O’Reilly to such an extent that he has broken his self-imposed rule never to dignify my almost daily indictments against him with a response (other than that lawsuit), and now spews crazy-ass nonsense about me pretty much constantly.

And yet, the OFranken Factor has, as a title, had its limitations; its own natural life span. It has not, by itself, infuriated Rush Limbaugh nor has it aggravated President Bush. We have been forced to rely on the internal program content to do that. And while we considered adopting the new name “The O’Limbaugh Factor” or “The O’President Bush Factor,” somehow they didn’t have quite the same ring to them.

So, today, we will mark the program’s continuing evolution by taking the nom de guerre, “The Al Franken Show.” We have no longer linked our fate with the declining fortunes of Bill O’Reilly. We will not be dragged down with him.

Does this mean we have given up making fun of Bill O’Reilly? No, it most certainly does not. In fact, we reserve the right to change the name back to “The O’Franken Factor,” at any point for any amount of time. So, behave yourself, Bill, if you know what’s good for you.

And the rest of you, the bullies, the loudmouths, the America-haters who betray our values in your own self-interest, watch. Al Franken knows where you live. How do I know that? Because I’m Al Franken.

Al Franken

I don't catch his show too often, but I do really appreciate him.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Shameful Vote Wednesday



My cynical side tells me that the FMA (aka Hate Amendment) is nothing more than a shameful ploy to shift attention away from things that most affect us. “Vote for Bush because he stands up for Americans who don't think that gay couples should have equal rights for hospitalization, property...!” Meanwhile the prices for housing, health care, education, and basic living rise faster than Americans income. We were mislead about WMD in Iraq and their poor post war planning; Valerie Plame; Halliburton and no bid contracts; Massive deficit spending; 1/7 Americans without health coverage… but hey, Bush being anti-choice and anti-gay more important, right?

*Taken from the lovely and amazing Trope

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Historians on Bush

While I was surfing the web, I found this on Kos from Sunzoo
Of 415 historians who expressed a view of President Bush’s administration to this point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (Moreover, it seems likely that at least eight of those who said it is a success were being sarcastic, since seven said Bush’s presidency is only the best since Clinton’s and one named Millard Fillmore.) Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of American history, not too far behind the 19 percent who see it at this point as an overall success.

Among the cautions that must be raised about the survey is just what “success” means. Some of the historians rightly pointed out that it would be hard to argue that the Bush presidency has not so far been a political success—or, for that matter that President Bush has not been remarkably successful in achieving his objectives in Congress. But those meanings of success are by no means incompatible with the assessment that the Bush presidency is a disaster. “His presidency has been remarkably successful,” one historian declared, “in its pursuit of disastrous policies.” “I think the Bush administration has been quite successful in achieving its political objectives,” another commented, “which makes it a disaster for us.”


Here is the whole article, and check out what Sunzoo lists as his homepage.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

adaptive cruise control

The Economist has a small story about this wonderful new technology called adaptive cruse control. Basically, you can sit in traffic and the car will automatically adjust its speed to the car in front to maintain a set distance. However, the article doesn't point out that this is not a new concept at all. I've been using transportation that maintains a constant distance from the car in front of me for years. It’s called a train.

"Disingenuous, Unaccomplished liberal"

is what the RNC said of this man:

According to Dictionary.com:
Disingenuous- 1) Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: “an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who... exemplified... the most disagreeable traits of his time” (David Cannadine). 2) Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf. 3) Usage Problem. Unaware or uninformed; naive.
Unaccomplished- 1) Not completed or done; unfinished. 2) Lacking special skills or abilities; unpolished, as in the social graces.
Liberal- 1) a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. 2) a. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor b. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes. 3) Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation. 4) Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education. 5) a. Archaic. Permissible or appropriate for a person of free birth; befitting a lady or gentleman b. Obsolete. Morally unrestrained; licentious.

Hmm, seeing how the Administration sold us into a war, outed a CIA agent, intentional massive deficit spending, etc., etc... I wonder what vocabulary best describes the attackers of Edwards?... because what has BushCo accomplished these last 3.5 years?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Corporation/Ehrenreich & Krugman

While all the talk has been about Michael Moore's F911, which I think it did its job - it wasn't that great of a flim... however, on Saturday night I saw a great documentary, The Corporation. This documentary didn't dicuss many things that I was not aware of, but it did combine many issues of corporate power and how it effects us. It covers advertising/visual culture, environment issues, labor issues, history of corporate power and governments, and the how corporations are treated as individuals (among other things). As a documentary, it is the best of the year - and I am glad that some good ones have come out in 2004. Obviously I loved Super Size Me also. So, if The Corporation comes to a city near you - see it. If not, I bet the book it is based on is a very good read.

Did anyone else notice that Barbara Ehrenreich will be writing for the NY Times Op-Ed page for the next three months? Well if you didn't, her first Op-Ed was titled Dude, Where's That Elite? She writes:
...the idea of a liberal elite nourishes the right's perpetual delusion that it is a tiny band of patriots bravely battling an evil power structure. Note how richly the E-word embellishes the screeds of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and their co-ideologues, as in books subtitled "Rescuing American from the Media Elite," "How Elites from Hollywood, Politics and the U.N. Are Subverting America," and so on. Republican right-wingers may control the White House, both houses of Congress and a good chunk of the Supreme Court, but they still enjoy portraying themselves as Davids up against a cosmopolitan-swilling, corgi-owning Goliath.

Comments? In her second column, Their George and Ours, she writes:
The signers further indicted their erstwhile monarch for "taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments." The administration has been trying its best to establish a modern equivalent to the divine right of kings, with legal memorandums asserting that George II's "inherent" powers allow him to ignore federal laws prohibiting torture and war crimes.

Then there is the declaration's boldest and most sweeping indictment of all, condemning George III for "transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation." Translate "mercenaries" into contract workers and proxy armies (remember the bloodthirsty, misogynist Northern Alliance?), and translate that last long phrase into Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.

In Krugman's latest piece, Bye-Bye, Bush Boom, he writes:
And economic growth is passing working Americans by. The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the biggest health insurers, recently told investors, "It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years many economists have argued that the most effective job-creating policies would be increased aid to state and local governments, extended unemployment insurance and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families. The Bush administration paid no attention — it never even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after 9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little to create jobs.

I know most people won't comment, but I would like to hear what people think of Ehrenreich, her columns, and Krugman's view of the current economy.

New TMW

This made me laugh... Is there anything to say?

Kerry/Edwards 2004

Your next President and Vice President, John Kerry and John Edwards. This is the first time that two sitting Senators are on the same ticket since John Kennedy and Lydon Johnson.



I couldn't be happier. Many seem to not like Kerry, I do. I think that this is probably the best presidential ticket Dems have had in a while, and I feel a lot better about Kerry/Edwards than I ever did about Gore/Lieberman.

Seeing how Edwards talked about the two America's in his primary, I hope they use this famous quote on the campaign trail:
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Reactions to F911, ABC News

I am actually going to post something on the Drudge Report via ABC News' The Note:
Lesson: Just because Matt Drudge says "jump!," you people don't have to respond by saying "Yes, sir, high how, sir, and may we land, sir?!?"

Applied: Please don't call and e-mail us for confirmation every time Drudge runs something; his 37.8% accuracy rate and quirky sensibilities (that's a euphemism) can have a disproportionate impact on the election, if y'all let that happen.

Here is a review of F911 by Chuck Richardson on Dissident Voice (From Ben).

Paul Rieckhoff was on the O'Frankin Factor this afternoon. When asked about Moore's F911, he said that for the most part it is good, and for many the movie will be a starting point for discussion. However, he was not at all happy with Moore's depiction of the soldiers. According to Rieckhoff, Moore failed to capture what the soldiers are really about and how they act. If you don't know who Paul Rieckhoff is and what he has been doing, you should check him out.