Friday, December 29, 2006

Gammons:Zito never misses a beat

Zito never misses a beat

posted: Friday, December 29, 2006 | Print Entry
filed under: San Francisco Giants

The first time I saw Barry Zito was in Bourne, Mass., in 1997. He was going into his junior year, transferring from junior college to USC, but he'd been drafted by the Texas Rangers in the third round and was asking for $300,000 to sign.

He was brilliant, but a scout from the Rangers kept telling those around him that Zito's gun readings didn't merit $300,000. "But hitters are swinging and missing at all three of his pitches," I offered, and was told that Zito didn't throw hard enough to get $300,000.

So much for gun readings, and the old argument that eyes tell more than what hitters do and don't do against a pitcher. Zito went to USC, and in June 1999 was taken with the ninth pick in the nation because Billy Beane had the guts and brains to choose players based on performance. Some 16 months later, Zito beat the Yankees in the ALDS. The following October, Derek Jeter's unforgettable relay nailed Jeremy Giambi at the plate to cost Zito a 1-0, eight-inning, two-hit loss to Mike Mussina, and the next year he was the Cy Young Award winner.

Understand that while Zito surfs, plays guitar with John Mayer, does yoga and has the mussed hair of a rock star, former teammate Scott Hatteberg called him "the biggest nerd in America." Look, it takes Zito an hour or two to make that hair look uncombed.

He's a baseball freak. He went to every baseball camp and school he could find as a kid, and his father even tried to hire Rick Peterson as a private coach when he was 17. For his six full years in the major leagues, he leads all pitchers in games started because he loves the game. In those six full years, he is third in innings and fourth in wins because he is the model of responsibility and accountability. He prepares diligently each winter for the next season and takes the four days between starts as if he were cramming for a physics final.

That is why Scott Boras was able to get him seven years and $126 million. "He's only 28," says Giants owner Peter Magowan, "and he doesn't miss a start. That stands for something."

As we should all celebrate the elections of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn to the Hall of Fame for their reliability, so Zito should have folks tipping their caps to him. Are there concerns? Of course. Seven years, $126M? Zito's hits per nine innings have increased from 6.2 to 8.6 since he was a rookie, and where his 2000-2002 ERA was 3.04, it was up to 4.05 the last three years.

But now Zito is out of the American League, and will be on a team that plays more than 100 games in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, all great pitchers' parks. Where from 1993 through 2003 the Giants had the third-best record in the game after the Yankees and Braves, they have had two straight losing seasons and had to reconstruct; Magowan knows that Zito will be the face of the franchise this winter -- and that face is familiar to everyone in the Bay Area.

Zito's work and personal relationships with other young pitchers in Oakland make the Giants believe that he will be immensely helpful to the new generation of San Francisco arms: Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Jonathan Sanchez. "We believe," says Magowan, "that with Barry, we can compete in the National League West. He makes that much of a difference."

The Giants also need Barry Bonds, reportedly on a very tough workout regimen, to be as healthy as he appears. While the government tries to nail Bonds on perjury charges, the feeling throughout baseball is that lawyers will tie up the 2003 test results in court long enough that Bonds or anyone else would not be indicted before the season, and once the season opens that no indictment would keep someone from playing out the season.

Is Zito worth $126M to the Giants? Who knows. Every time a Daisuke Matsuzaka, Gil Meche, Vicente Padilla or anyone else signs, we hear the gnashing of teeth.

The easy thing is to criticize someone else's decision. Ten years ago, Barry Zito wasn't worth $300,000.

This is from Peter Gammons. Say what you want about this contract but given the money that has been dished out the last 2 offseasons....Zito's money is well worth it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time Magazine "Person" of the Year


Congratulations, You Won

Posted on Dec 17, 2006

Previous Winners:

Time (1-year auto-renewal)Time (Back Issue Magazine) December 25, 2006 / January 1, 2007 (Volume 168 Number 26)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knicks vs Nuggets Brawl

Everyone knows Carmelo is gonna come out of this but who the hell doe Mardy Collins think he is? What a cowardly foul that was. The Knicks are the biggest joke in sports right now. They're losing by however many points and about 30 seconds before the brawl starts Isiah is seen laughing on the sidelines. If Isiah gets to finish the year as coach....I'd be shocked. One has to wonder what Dolan was thinking watching that image. Should the Nuggets have taken their starters out a few minutes earlier? Maybe. But as the play was developing you could see 3 Nuggets get up off the bench on their way to the scorers table when the foul happened. Apparently Karl and Larry Brown are very close and some people believe that's the reason Karl left the starters in.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Football Hurdle

I think I saw on CNN that this was somewhere in Texas and this was one of 8 TDs for the kid.

Now I usually like these pieces Jeff Greenfield does for CNN bit I'd hardly call this "reporting." You can see the GOP Ad machine at work already with the name thing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Olbermann's Hot News

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Olbermann's Hot News


[from the December 18, 2006 issue]

If you picked up the New York Times on October 18, you'd have had little reason to think it was a particularly significant day in American history. While the front page featured a photo of George W. Bush signing a new law at the White House the previous day, the story about the Military Commissions Act--which the Times never named--was buried in a 750-word piece on page A20. "It is a rare occasion when a President can sign a bill he knows will save American lives" was the first of several quotes of praise from the President that were high up in the article. Further down, a few Democrats objected to the bill, but from the article's limited explanation of the law it was hard to understand why.

But if you happened to catch MSNBC the evening before, you'd have heard a different story. It, too, began with a laudatory statement from the President: "These military commissions are lawful. They are fair. And they are necessary." Cut to MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann: "And they also permit the detention of any American in jail without trial if the President does not like him."

What? Did the Times, and most other outlets, just miss that?

Indeed, they did. Olbermann, who decried the new law as a shameful moment in American history, went on to proclaim that the Military Commissions Act--which he did name--will be the American embarrassment of our time, akin to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 or the 1942 executive order interning Japanese-Americans.

It was a perfect story for the bold and eccentric host of Countdown With Keith Olbermann, which airs weeknights on MSNBC. A former anchor for ESPN's SportsCenter, Olbermann likes to call the news as he sees it--especially when almost everyone else in the media seems to be ignoring a critical play. As it turns out, that tack on the news is increasingly popular these days, upending the conventional wisdom that incisive analysis and intelligent critiques don't win viewers on mainstream television.

Olbermann first cast off the traditional reporter's role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, delivering a powerful indictment of the government's handling of the rescue effort. "These are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping this country safe," he said bitterly. The government "has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water."

At the time, other newscasters, most famously CNN's Anderson Cooper, also unleashed their outrage, spawning speculation that the natural disaster might also become a watershed event for broadcast news. But most anchors quickly returned to business as usual, censoring their own criticisms no matter how bad the news continued to be. Not Olbermann. Encouraged by rising ratings, he's since turned his distinctive take on the government's incompetence into a regular part of his show.

Last August he took the tone up a notch when he aired the first of his hard-hitting Special Comments. Regularly invoking some of the most shameful examples of American history to frame the Bush Administration in historical perspective, he's likened the President's recent acts to John Adams's jailing of American newspaper editors, Woodrow Wilson's use of the Espionage Act to prosecute "hyphenated Americans" for "advocating peace in a time of war" and FDR's internment of 110,000 Americans because of their Japanese descent. Ours is "a government more dangerous to our liberty than is the enemy it claims to protect us from," declared Olbermann the day after the President signed the Military Commissions Act.

Since his first Special Comment ripped into Donald Rumsfeld for attacking Americans who question their government, video clips and transcripts of Olberman's commentaries have been zipping around the Internet, a favorite on sites like Crooks and Liars, Truthout and YouTube. (The Rumsfeld commentary was watched more than 100,000 times in the month after it appeared on Countdown.) But it's not just a niche following: Since late August Olbermann's ratings have shot up 55 percent. In November he was named a GQ Man of the Year. When MSNBC teamed him with Chris Matthews to cover the midterms, the network's ratings were up 111 percent from the 2002 election in the coveted 25-to-54 demographic. And certain fifteen-minute segments on Olbermann's show have edged out his nemesis, Bill O'Reilly. (Olbermann deems O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World" on his popular nightly contest for the newsmaker who's committed the most despicable act of the day.) Unlike O'Reilly, Olbermann doesn't shout over his guests, condescend to his opponents or deliver empty diatribes. Instead, his show--which attracts guests ranging from Frank Rich to John Ashcroft--features in-depth interviews with prominent academics, public officials and journalists on serious, often overlooked events of the day.

"Keith is a refreshing change from most of the coverage of civil liberties since 9/11," says Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and frequent guest on Olbermann's show. "Reporters tend to view these fights in purely political terms, so the public gets virtually no substantive analysis. As long as two people disagree, reporters treat it as an even debate. They won't say that the overwhelming number of constitutional and national security experts say this is an unlawful program--they'll just say experts disagree. It's extremely misleading."

Olbermann, who denies any partisan leanings and whose background doesn't suggest any, insists his job is to report on what's really going on--even if the public is loath to believe it. "We are still fundamentally raised in this country to be very confident in the preservation of our freedoms," he said in a recent interview. "It's very tough to get yourself around the idea that there could be a mechanism being used or abused to restrict and alter the society in which we live." Olbermann credits sportscasting for his candid and historical-minded approach. "In sports, if a center-fielder drops the fly ball, you can't pretend he didn't," he says. "There's also an awareness of patterns, a relationship between what has gone before and what is to come that is so strong in sports coverage that doesn't seem to be there in news reporting."

If history lessons in prime time seem an unlikely sell, it helps that Olbermann's show is also witty, quirky and fast-paced, covering everything from the Iraq War to Madonna's adoption fiasco to pumpkin-smashing elephants--one of his nightly fifteen-second Oddball segments. With a growing number of TV viewers saying they get their news from Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, it's no wonder Olbermann--who's sort of a cross between Edward R. Murrow and Jon Stewart--has a growing audience.

MSNBC seems to be egging him on. "The only issues I've had with my employers is to calm them down and say 'doing this every night won't work,' " says Olbermann, referring to his Special Comments. "I have to do it only when I feel moved to."

"The rise of Keith's skeptical or pointed comments are the mood of the country," says Bill Wolff, MSNBC's vice president for prime-time programming. "He has given voice to a large part of the country that is frustrated with the Administration's policies."

In a pre-election Special Comment about the Republican National Committee's campaign ads featuring menacing images of Osama bin Laden and associated terrorists, for example, Olbermann declared: "You have adopted bin Laden and Zawahiri as spokesmen for the Republican National Committee." Invoking FDR for contrast, he added: "Eleven Presidents ago, a chief executive reassured us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. His distant successor has wasted his Administration insisting that there is nothing we can have but fear itself."

Not surprisingly, Olbermann has his critics. National Review recently lambasted him for his "angry and increasingly bizarre attacks on the Bush administration," claiming that he offers nothing in the way of hard news. But the author didn't cite a single fact that Olbermann had wrong. Meanwhile, as the Review acknowledged, O'Reilly's numbers are trending downward as Olbermann's are shooting up.

While his views may seem radical for mainstream television news, they turn out to be a pretty safe bet for him and his network. Which may prove that the American public does have a taste for serious, even high-minded, news--particularly when peppered with a sharp sense of humor. It's another unexpected Olbermann news flash: Dissent sells.

Must watch TV on most nights....MSNBC 8 PM.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fox Preps Conservative ‘Daily Show’

Fox Preps Conservative ‘Daily Show’

Posted on Nov 21, 2006

Fox News Channel is teaming with Joel Surnow (the creator of “24") to create a right-wing version of “The Daily Show.”

  • With the Dems in power, this might actually be a good thing; it could force the weakest links of the party to acknowledge and deal with their myriad failings.
  • Variety:

    Comedy Central has made a good living out of skewering the political right.

    Now Fox News Channel, a primary source of material for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, is teaming with the exec producer of “24” to try its hand at a news satire show for conservatives to love.

    Joel Surnow, co-creator of “24,” is shooting two half-hour pilots of a skein he described as “ ‘The Daily Show’ for conservatives,” due to air in primetime on Saturdays in January.


    I can't be the only one who thinks this show will flop big time.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    USDA Eliminates ‘Hunger’

    USDA Eliminates ‘Hunger’

    oliver twist

    The USDA has decided to remove the word “hunger” from its annual report assessing Americans’ access to food. Those among us who sometimes go without food, a group that has grown consistently over the last five years, will now suffer from “very low food security.”

    Washington Post:

    Anti-hunger advocates say the new words sugarcoat a national shame. “The proposal to remove the word ‘hunger’ from our official reports is a huge disservice to the millions of Americans who struggle daily to feed themselves and their families,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, an anti-hunger advocacy group. “We . . . cannot hide the reality of hunger among our citizens.”

    In assembling its report, the USDA divides Americans into groups with “food security” and those with “food insecurity,” who cannot always afford to keep food on the table. Under the old lexicon, that group—11 percent of American households last year—was categorized into “food insecurity without hunger,” meaning people who ate, though sometimes not well, and “food insecurity with hunger,” for those who sometimes had no food.

    That last group now forms the category “very low food security,” described as experiencing “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.” Slightly better-off people who aren’t always sure where their next meal is coming from are labeled “low food security.”

    That 35 million people in this wealthy nation feel insecure about their next meal can be hard to believe, even in the highest circles. In 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, then running for president, said he thought the annual USDA report—which consistently finds his home state one of the hungriest in the nation—was fabricated.


    The Daily Show - Trent Lott

    The Daily Show - Trent Lott
    This is from soon after the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court was withdrawn. Air date was 10/26/2005


    Monday, November 13, 2006

    ‘The Simpsons’ Satirizes the Iraq War

    ‘The Simpsons’ Satirizes the Iraq War

    Posted on Nov 9, 2006
    From Fox

    In this clip from the most recent “Simpsons” Halloween special, two outer-space aliens spar over the wisdom of destroying Earth over the dubious claim that its inhabitants were developing weapons of “mass disintegration.”

    Good stuff. Watch it.

    Largest Minority:

    This is a clip from the most recent Simpson’s Halloween special. At the end we see a biting comparison between a destructive alien invasion and the US-led War in Iraq. By making Springfield the victim of the attack, The Simpsons is able to tease sympathy for the Iraqi people while showing that the US is an alien force. I’m amazed that such a blatant jab at the Bush Administration and their liberator-logic was even aired on Fox. The closing scene is particularly eerie. Kudos to them.


    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    GOP says Rumsfeld is stepping dow

    GOP says Rumsfeld is stepping down

    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon, Republican officials said Wednesday.

    Word came a day after the Democratic gains in the election, in which Rumsfeld was a focus of much of the criticism of the Iraq war. Officials said Robert Gates, former head of the CIA, would replace Rumsfeld.

    Earlier today, a spokesman for Rumsfeld said he'd given no indication that he would step down in the wake of Democratic election gains. The spokesman said Rumsfeld would work with Congress on Iraq but added that the focus on stabilizing the country will remain the same.

    In the days leading up to the election, President Bush said he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as defense chief until the end of Bush's second term.

    Let's just say that today I am a happy man.


    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    First Muslim elected to Congress

    First Muslim elected to Congress
    Minn. Democrat converted in college, was once with Nation of Islam
    Updated: 10:25 p.m. ET Nov 7, 2006
    MINNEAPOLIS - Voters elected a black Democrat as the first Muslim in Congress on Tuesday after a race in which he advocated quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and made little mention of his faith.
    Keith Ellison, a 43-year-old lawyer and state representative, was projected to defeat two rivals to succeed retiring Democrat Martin Sabo in a seat that has been held by Democrats since 1963.
    Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student in his native Detroit, won with the help of Muslims among a coalition of liberal, anti-war voters.
    He advocates an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq along with strongly liberal views. While Ellison did not often speak of his faith during the campaign, awareness of his candidacy drew interest from Muslims well beyond the district centered in Minneapolis.
    A significant community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis cast their first votes for him in the crowded September primary. Ellison also was the surprise choice of party regulars.
    While Muslim Americans make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population and have largely been a non-factor in terms of political power, get-out-the-vote efforts in several Muslim communities could indicate they may become an emerging force.
    Roughly 2 million Muslims are registered U.S. voters, and their ranks increased by tens of thousands in the weeks prior to Tuesday’s mid-term elections, Muslim groups have said.
    Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Islamic militants, Muslim Americans have become sensitized to what many feel is an erosion of their civil rights. U.S. foreign policy that targets Muslim countries also has generated a sense of urgency, experts said.
    “(Americans) treat us differently after Sept. 11. My own father was attacked,” said Ellison supporter Khadra Darsame, a 1995 immigrant from Somalia. “Ellison said everybody matters equally and he told us what he would do ... he will do the right thing.”
    Born into a Roman Catholic family in Detroit, Ellison said his values were shaped by both faiths, along with his grandfather’s civil rights work in the Deep South.
    Opponents focused on Ellison’s sloppy handling of his taxes and a slew of unpaid parking tickets, along with his one-time affiliation with the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, has been criticized for making anti-Semitic remarks. Ellison subsequently said he worked with the group largely to promote the 1995 Million Man March.

    60 Minutes - Two Heartbeats (October 22, 2006)

    Students Camp Out in “Schianoville”

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers student section ticket allotment of 10,500 seats were distributed in just four hours Tuesday morning at the Student Ticket Gate at Rutgers Stadium. More than 1,000 Rutgers students camped out overnight outside Rutgers Stadium in anticipation of Tuesday morning's student ticket distribution for Thursday night's BIG EAST showdown between No. 14 Rutgers and No. 3 Louisville.
    When ticket distribution commenced at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the line had grown to over 5,000 students, stretching halfway around the stadium's perimeter.
    Head coach Greg Schiano greeted the students in line late Monday evening, handing out 50 pizzas to the enthusiastic supporters, igniting several Rutgers chants.
    Students in possession of a student ticket to the game must also present a valid student identification card along with their student ticket to gain entry to the Thursday's game. There will be no exceptions.

    Rutgers Football: A Gridiron Tradition in ScarletNike Rutgers Scarlet Knights Scarlet Classic Logo T-shirt (Medium)

    Olbermann's "Special Commentary" on Bush and the election aired on 11/6/06

    OLBERMANN: “This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.”


    Keith delivers another powerful special comment. This time it is about tomorrow's elections.

    Video - WMV Video - QT (Both should be working now)

    "And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase 'October, or November, Surprise' now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing. "

    Transcript below the fold

    And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow's elections.

    We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.

    Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.

    But even accounting for our myopia, it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in Non-Presidential years.

    And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase "October, or November, Surprise" now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.

    But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt — let's say it's just "happened" that way — and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.

    Let's perceive instead the bigger picture:

    Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.

    Who can argue against that?

    He is officially, what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.

    Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur, worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?

    Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there — while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because you felt the need to wreak vengeance against somebody — anybody?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to contain a rogue state which, months earlier, your own administration had declared had been fully contained by sanctions?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq… to keep gas prices down?

    How startling it was, Sir, to hear you introduce oil to your stump speeches over the weekend.

    Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this "nonsense"…

    There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas — suddenly turning this 'unpatriotic idea'… into a platform plank.

    "You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," you told us. "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following."

    Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and re-written the constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about "timelines" but instead extolled "benchmarks"…

    You've now resorted, Sir, to this?

    We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?

    Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

    Sir… you have been making this up as you went along.

    This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.

    Those vaunted founding fathers of ours have been so quoted-up, that they appear as marble statues: like the chiseled guards of China, or the faces on Mount Rushmore.

    But in fact they were practical people and the thing they obviously feared most, was a government of men and not laws.

    They provided the checks and balances for a reason.

    No one man could run the government the way he saw fit — unless he, at the least, took into consideration what those he governed saw.

    A House of Representatives would be the people's eyes.

    A Senate would be the corrective force on that House.

    An Executive would do the work… and hold the Constitution to his chest like his child.

    A Supreme Court would oversee it all.

    Checks and balances.

    Where did that go, Mr. Bush?

    And what price did we pay because we have let it go?

    Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have, and thousands more.

    He'll get out faster than we will.

    And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, Sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say… we are out of Iraq.

    And whose fault is this?

    Not truly yours. You took advantage of those of us who were afraid, and those of us who believed unity and nation took precedence over all else.

    But we let you take that advantage.

    And so we let you go to war in Iraq. To… oust Saddam. Or find non-existant Weapons. Or avenge 9/11. Or fight terrorists who only got there after we did. Or as cover to change the fabric of our Constitution. Or for lower prices at The Texaco. Or… ?

    There are still a few hours left, before the polls open, sir, there are many rationalizations still untried.

    And whatever your motives of the moment, we the people have, in true good faith and with the genuine patriotism of self-sacrifice (of which you have shown you know nothing)… we have let you go on…

    Making it up.

    As you went along.

    Un-checked… and un-balanced.


    Another fine piece from Olbermann.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Bush campaigns for absent Florida candidate

    Bush campaigns for absent Florida candidate

    By Steve Holland and Tabassum ZakariaMon Nov 6, 4:36 PM ET
    President Bush stumped for the Republican candidate for Florida governor on Monday but the candidate himself didn't show, irritating the White House.
    Charlie Crist said on Sunday he would not attend the rally in the party stronghold of northwest Florida after the White House had already announced Crist would be introducing the president.
    The no-show a day before Tuesday's election raised the question of whether Crist was trying to avoid being seen with Bush, whose popularity is below 40 percent as Republicans struggle to retain control of the U.S. Congress amid American unease about the Iraq war.
    While Bush didn't refer to the absence at the rally, White House political adviser Karl Rove was clearly irritated.
    "All I know is that yesterday morning they apparently made a decision that, rather than being with the governor and the president and 10,000 people in Pensacola, they made it a last-minute decision to go to Palm Beach," Rove told reporters.
    "Let's see how many people show up in Palm Beach on 24 hours notice versus eight or nine thousand people in Pensacola," Rove said.
    Crist's staff said he was spending the day before the election campaigning in more competitive regions of the state in his tight race against Democrat Jim Davis for the governor's seat being vacated by Bush's brother, Jeb Bush.
    Bush praised Crist at the rally as he tried to encourage a big Republican turnout.
    "Tomorrow you get to vote for a new governor, and I strongly suggest you vote for Charlie Crist to be governor of the state of Florida," Bush said. "He's experienced, he's compassionate, he'll work hard on behalf of all of the citizens of this important state."
    The no-show came at the end of Bush's five-day, 10-state swing through Republican strongholds at a time when his party saw glimmers of hope in polls suggesting some races have tightened.
    Bush, accusing Democrats of wanting to raise taxes and pull U.S. troops out of Iraq too soon, was later appearing in Bentonville, Arkansas, for Asa Hutchison's campaign for governor and in Dallas for Gov. Rick Perry's re-election bid.
    A Republican candidate who did make the rally was U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris (news, bio, voting record), the state official who led the ballot recount in the 2000 presidential election in Florida that ultimately put Bush in the White House.
    She spoke before Bush arrived but was not on stage with him.
    Harris has stumbled badly in her campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record) after a series of verbal gaffes.
    Florida Democrats tried to turn Crist's absence to their advantage, with Davis scheduling a news conference later in Pensacola.
    "Charlie Crist sent someone else to ask for your vote today, but I showed up here today to ask for your vote so that we can change Florida for the better," Davis said in a statement.
    (Additional reporting by Michael Christie in Miami)

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Army Recruiters Scam Students

    Posted on Nov 5, 2006

    ABC News caught Army recruiters on tape misleading undercover students. While some of the recruiters were straightforward and honest, others suggested the Iraq war was over and dropping out of the military was a simple matter.

    ABC News via AOL:

    ABC News and New York affiliate WABC equipped students with hidden video cameras before they visited 10 Army recruitment offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

    “Nobody is going over to Iraq anymore?” one student asks a recruiter.

    “No, we’re bringing people back,” he replies.

    “We’re not at war. War ended a long time ago,” another recruiter says.

    Last year, the Army suspended recruiting nationwide to retrain recruiters following hundreds of allegations of improprieties.

    One Colorado student taped a recruiting session posing as a drug-addicted dropout.

    “You mean I’m not going to get in trouble?” the student asked.

    The recruiters told him no, and helped him cheat to sign up.

    During the ABC News sessions, some recruiters told our students if they enlisted, there would be little chance they’d to go Iraq.

    But Col. Robert Manning, who is in charge of U.S. Army recruiting for the entire Northeast, said that new recruits were likely to go to Iraq.

    “I would not disagree with that,” Manning said. “We are a nation and Army at war still.”

    Video & Transcript

    Army Times: "Time for Rumsfeld to go"

    An editorial scheduled to appear on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    The papers are sold to American servicemen and women. They are published by the Military Times Media Group, which is a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc.

    Here is the text of the editorial, an advance copy of which we received this afternoon.


    Time for Rumsfeld to go

    "So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."

    That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

    But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.

    Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

    Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

    Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war."

    Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on "critical" and has been sliding toward "chaos" for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

    But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

    For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

    Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

    And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

    Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

    This is a mistake.

    It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

    These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

    And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

    Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

    This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

    Donald Rumsfeld must go.


    Iraqi Tribunal Sentences Saddam to Hang


    BAGHDAD, Iraq Nov 5, 2006 (AP)— Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town, as the ousted leader, trembling and defiant, shouted "God is great!"

    As he, his half brother and another senior official in his regime were convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, Saddam yelled out, "Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!" Later, his lawyer said the former dictator had called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and refrain from revenge against U.S. forces.

    The trial brought Saddam and his co-defendants before their accusers in what was one of the most highly publicized and heavily reported trials of its kind since the Nuremberg tribunals for members of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime and its slaughter of 6 million Jews in the World War II Holocaust

    How convenient is it that the verdict comes two days before midterm elections? What a sham.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Military Chart: Iraq Moving Toward ‘Chaos’

    Military Chart: Iraq Moving Toward ‘Chaos’

    Posted on Nov 1, 2006
    military chart
    Click for a larger (pop-up) version
    From the N.Y. Times

    The N.Y. Times has surfaced a classified U.S. military briefing that concludes, in chart form, that Iraq is veering toward “chaos.”

  • This is yet more proof that Bush & Co.’s public statements about Iraq are at odds with the conclusions of our own military. Some people call that lying.
  • New York Times:

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 30—A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.

    A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.

    The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.


    But remember kids......a vote for the Democrats is a vote for the terrorists.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    Olbermann: ‘Why Does Habeas Corpus Hate America?’

    Posted on Oct 11, 2006
    Keith Olbermann

    Keith Olbermann responded to the passage of the torture bill with this tongue-in-cheek investigative report on habeas corpus.

    Video & Transcript

    Transcript (from Crooks and Liars):

    This story has been buried by Foleygate, which is a crime in itself. I had the honor of hearing Daniel Ellsberg and John Siegenthaler Sr. speak last night and the key subject was journalism in today’s political environment. We are one of the only countries in the world without an official secrets act, due in a large part to the uniqueness of our first amendment. Sadly this very bill puts us even closer to enacting such legislation and putting a muzzle on the media that would have prevented the extraordinary act of patriotism that Ellsberg exhibited, as well as those that followed in the entire Watergate scandal.

    Transcript available below the fold.

    Because the Mark Foley story began to break the night of September 28th, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed a bill passed by the Senate that night.

    Our third story on the Countdown tonight, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and what it does to something called “habeas corpus.”

    And before we reduce the very term “habeas corpus” to something vaguely recalled as sounding kinda like the cornerstone of freedom, or maybe kinda like a character from “Harry Potter,” we thought a Countdown Special Investigation was in order.

    Congress passed The Military Commissions Act to give Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America’s enemies—those who seek to harm this country.

    And he has been very clear about who that is:

    “...for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.”

    So the president said it was urgent that Congress send him this bill as quickly as possible, not for the politics of next month’s elections, but for America.

    “The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy.”

    Because time was of the essence-and to ensure that the 9/11 families would wait no longer-as soon as he got the bill, President Bush whipped out his pen and immediately signed a statement saying he looks forward to signing the actual law...eventually.

    He hasn’t signed it yet, almost two weeks later, because he has been swamped by a series of campaign swings at which he has made up quotes from unnamed Democratic leaders, and because when he is actually at work, he’s been signing so many other important bills, such as:

    The Credit Rating Agency Reform Act;

    the Third Higher Education Extension Act;

    ratification requests for extradition treaties with Malta, Estonia and Latvia;

    his proclamation of German-American Day;

    the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act;

    and his proclamation of Leif Erikson Day.

    Still, getting the Military Commissions Act to the President so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress didn’t even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, has some of its minutiae, escaped scrutiny.

    One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus. which apparently used to be the right of anyone who’s tossed in prison, to appear in court and say, “Hey, why am I in prison?”

    Why does habeas corpus hate America...and how is it so bad for us?

    Mr. Bush says it gets in the way of him doing his job.

    [video clip]Bush: “...we cannot be able to tell the American people we’re doing our full job unless we have the tools necessary to do so. And this legislation passed in the House yesterday is a part of making sure that we do have the capacity to protect you. Our most solemn job is the security of this country.”

    It may be solemn…

    [video clip] Bush: “I do solemnly swear...”

    But is that really his job? In this rarely seen footage, Mr. Bush is clearly heard describing a different job.

    [video clip] the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States..

    Countdown has obtained a copy of this “Constitution of the United States.”

    And sources tell us it was originally snuck through the Constitutional Convention and state ratification in order to establish America’s fundamental legal principles.

    But this so-called Constitution is frustratingly vague about the right to trial. In fact, there’s only one reference to habeas corpus at all. Quote: “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

    But even Democrats who voted against the Military Commissions Act concede that it doesn’t actually suspend habeas corpus.

    [video clip] Leahy: The bill before the Senate would not merely suspend the great writ, the great writ of habeas corpus, it would eliminate it permanently.

    And there is considerable debate whether the conditions for suspending habeas corpus, rebellion or invasion, have been met.

    [video clip] Leahy: conditions for suspending habeas corpus have not been met.

    [video clip] Kerry: We’re not in a rebellion, nor are we being invaded.

    [video clip] Specter: We do not have a rebellion or an invasion.

    [video clip] Biden: The United States is neither in a state of rebellion nor invasion.

    [video clip] Byrd: We are not in the midst of a rebellion, and there is no invasion.

    Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the “Constitution,” meaning it’s not just pre-September 11th thinking, it’s also pre-July 4th thinking.

    In those days, no one imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil.

    In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial “declaration” indicating that back then, “depriving us of Trial by Jury” was actually considered sufficient cause to start a War of Independence, based on the then-fashionable idea that “liberty” was an unalienable right.

    Today, thanks to modern, post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable.

    The reality is, without habeas corpus, a lot of other rights lose their meaning.

    But if you look at the actual Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to that pesky Constitution—you’ll see just how many remain.

    Well, ok, Number One’s gone.

    If you’re detained without trial, you lose your freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly. And you can’t petition the government for anything.

    Number Two? While you’re in prison, your right to keep and bear arms just may be infringed upon.

    Even if you’re in the NRA.


    No forced sleepovers by soldiers at your house. OK. Three is unchanged.


    You’re definitely not secure against searches and seizures, with or without probable cause - and this isn’t even limited to the guards.

    Five… Grand juries and due process are obviously out.

    Six. So are trials, let alone the right to counsel. Speedy trials? You want it when?

    Seven. Hmmmm. I thought we covered “trials” and “juries” earlier.

    Eight—So bail’s kind of a moot point…

    Nine: “Other” rights retained by the people. Well, if you can name them during your water-boarding, we’ll consider them.

    And Ten—powers not delegated to the United States federal government seem to have ended up there, anyway.

    So as you can see, even without habeas corpus, at least one tenth of the Bill of Rights, I guess that’s the Bill of “Right” now… remains virtually intact.

    And we can rest easy knowing we will never, ever have to quarter soldiers in our homes… as long as the Third Amendment still stands strong.

    The President can take care of that with a Signing Statement.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    My Playoff Predictions

    Tigers over Yanks in 5
    Twins over A's in 4

    Mets over Dodgers in 5
    Padres over Cardinals in 3

    Tigers over Twins in 5
    Mets over Padres in 6

    Mets over Tigers in 7

    Sunday, October 01, 2006



    "How Come No One Fights in Big Famous Nations Anymore?" They Ask

    Washington, D.C. ( — A delegation of American high school students today demanded the United States stop waging war in obscure nations such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and instead attack places they've actually heard of, such as France, Australia, and Austria, unless, they said, those last two are the same country.

    student testifies
    "Shouldn't we, as Americans, get to decide where wars are?" asked sophomore Kate Shermansky.

    "People claim we don't know as much geography as our parents and grandparents, but it's so not our fault," Josh Beldoni, a senior at Fischer High School in Los Angeles, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Back then they only had wars in, like, Germany and England, but we're supposed to know about places like Somalia and Massachusetts."

    "Macedonia," corrected committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan.

    "See?" said Beldoni.

    Beldoni's frustration was shared by nearly three dozen students at the hearing, who blamed the U.S. military for making them look bad.

    "I totally support our soldiers and all that, but I am seriously failing both geography and social studies because I keep getting asked to find Croatia or Yemvrekia, or whatever bizarre-o country we send troops to," said Amelia Nash, a junior at Clark High School in Orlando, Fla. "Can't we fight in, like, Italy? It's boot-shaped."

    Chairman Levin however, explained that Italy was a U.S. ally, and that intervention is usually in response to a specific threat.

    "OK, what about Arulco?" interrupted Tyler Boone, a senior at Bellevue High School in Wisconsin. "That's a country in Jagged Alliance 2 run by the evil Queen Deidranna. I'm totally familiar with that place. She's a major threat."

    "Jagged...?" said Levin.

    "Alliance. It's a computer game."

    "Well, no," Levin answered. "We can't attack a fictional country."

    "Yeah right," Boone mumbled. "Like Grenada was real."

    The students' testimony was supported by a cross-section of high school geography teachers, who urged the committee to help lay a solid foundation for America's young people by curtailing any intervention abroad.

    "Since the anti-terror war began, most of my students can now point to Afghanistan on a map, which is fine, but those same kids still don't know the capitals of Nevada and Ohio," said Richard Gerber, who teaches at Rhymony High School in Atlanta. "I think we need to cut back on our activities overseas and take care of business at home, and if that means invading Tallahassee (Fla.) or Trenton (N.J.) so that students learn where they are, so be it."

    "I've always wanted to stick it to Hartford (Conn.)," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. "Oh shit, is my microphone on?"

    The hearing adjourned after six hours. An estimated 2,000 more students were expected to hold a march in the nation's capital, but forgot which city it was in.

    Copyright © 1999-2002, SatireWire.


    Friday, September 29, 2006

    GM Hires FNC's Sean Hannity For Its Latest Car Giveaway

    hannity and cars.jpg


    General Motors has signed on Fox News host Sean Hannity as the new face of GM's latest car giveaway campaign, called "The Sean Hannity 'You're a Great American' Car Giveaway." It feels somehow wrong that there's not an exclamation point in there. At any rate, Hannity will offer radio listeners "the chance to pick and win one of five GM vehicles," according to ThinkProgress, which notes that the Hannity-hire comes in conjunction with GM's new patriotic-themed ad campaign for the new Chevrolet Silverado, complete with an anthem by John Mellencamp called "Our Country," echoed by the slogan: "Our country. Our truck." Per ThinkProgress: "The first spot features images from American history and recent events, including Rosa Parks and hurricane-damaged homes." Interesting way to sell cars, that.

    Meanwhile, Hannity's contract with ClearChannel radio was just extended to 2010, so GM may be making a long-term investment here. ThinkProgress points out some rather, er, blue-state unfriendly positions, which begs the question of whether GM is writing off liberal buyers of cars (one commenter says "Oh brother who would want to buy a GM car now with Hannity pushing it?"), and also notes notes that Hannity was the "least accepting of dissenting views out of six talk show hosts" (beating out Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh). Apparently he also isn't a fan of the liberal media. ETP doesn't drive in any case, but we do lament the passing of the the classic Bob Seger "Like A Rock" campaign. Those trucks just seemed so dependable.

    Credit to Huffington Post.

    Woodward: Card Urged Bush to Toss Rumsfeld

    More from Woodward’s book: President Bush’s then-chief of staff and Bush’s wife, Laura, pleaded with the president to fire Rumsfeld during 2004 and 2005. But Cheney and Rove convinced Bush that doing so would send the wrong message.

  • Also, there’s more evidence that Bush’s knowledge about the horrible state of affairs in Iraq was at incredible odds with his public statements.
  • Gen. John Abizaid, head of the Central Command, basically agreed with Rep. John Murtha about the hopeless situation in Iraq.
  • Washington Post:

    Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that depicts senior officials of the Bush administration as unable to face the consequences of their policy in Iraq.

    Card made his first attempt after Bush was reelected in November, 2004, arguing that the administration needed a fresh start and recommending that Bush replace Rumsfeld with former secretary of state James A. Baker III. Woodward writes that Bush considered the move, but was persuaded by Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, that it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the course of the war and would expose Bush himself to criticism.

    Card tried again around Thanksgiving, 2005, this time with the support of First Lady Laura Bush, who according to Woodward, felt that Rumsfeld’s overbearing manner was damaging to her husband. Bush refused for a second time, and Card left the administration last March, convinced that Iraq would be compared to Vietnam and that history would record that no senior administration officials had raised their voices in opposition to the conduct of the war.

    Stewart Goes After Bush’s Naivete

    The Daily Show host has the perfect rejoinder to Bush’s assertion, regarding the national intelligence estimate, that war critics are “naive.”

    Watch it.

    Stewart Rips Bush’s Torture Plan

    Stewart Rips Bush’s Torture Plan

    When Bush asserts that the Geneva Convention is vague, because it prohibits “outrages upon human dignity,” the host of “The Daily Show” tees off.

    Link to video.
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