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.

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