May 9, 2008 archive

Gordon Smith Afraid to Face OR-Sen Candidate Merkley

During the primary race in Oregon there have been a number of signs that Republican Gordon Smith fears his possible Democratic opponent House Speaker Jeff Merkley. Whether it was his campaign’s decision to release their fundraising numbers early to counter the positive fundraising press the Merkley Campaign was receiving or his ridiculous email blast I wrote about yesterday. Now, Smith’s campaign is on the attack like never before and they’ve got their sights set on Oregon Senate candidate Merkley. Could this be another indication that the Smith Campaign does not want to face Jeff Merkley in November?

Four at Four

  1. From The Guardian comes news of Another record as oil passes $126. OPEC is going to try to increase production… to take advantage of the high prices. “The price of crude was up by around $2 a barrel in trading, reaching a new peak of $126.20, amid concerns about shortages of diesel in the United States, the weakness of the dollar and the possibility of geopolitical tensions in oil producing countries.”

    Of course, Bush has done what he could to increase “geopolitical tensions in oil producing countries”. Jerome a Paris predicts $200 a barrel oil will happen on January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day. A day when “a new president that has not prepared the ground for serious action will be blamed for everything that transpires”.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Big Oil launches advertising campaign.

    Faced with a national outcry over the high price of gasoline and soaring profits for energy companies, the oil and gas industry is waging an unusually pricey campaign to burnish its image.

    The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main lobby, has embarked on a multiyear, multimedia, multimillion-dollar campaign, which includes advertising in the nation’s largest newspapers, news conferences in many state capitals and trips for bloggers out to drilling platforms at sea.

    The intended audience is elected officials and the public, with an emphasis on the latter. The industry is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.

    Just what we need is oil-industry astroturfing in blogs.

    The lobby has started courting online journalists as well. In November, the institute said it invited bloggers to Shell’s facilities in New Orleans and then took them to visit the offshore platform Brutus. The same month, the institute also brought bloggers to Chevron’s offices in Houston and its Blind Faith platform under construction in Corpus Christi, Tex. There are more tours in the works.

    Blind Faith: big oil is our friend.

Four at Four continues with 2 corrupt senators, Army “stop loss”, and Pelosi’s war funding bill.

Media War Is Over! ……heh

Subtitle: Thoughts on effectively changing the media.

Thought One: Calling a campaign to change/reform the media a ‘media war’ is not the way to effectively change the media! Frontal attacks on massive egos are rarely effective… themselves. Of course we desperately need voices such as the inestimable Monsieur hornbeck telling it like it is…

What these Beltway Butt Kissing Access Whore Media MORANS don’t get is that people don’t buy their bullshit anymore.

……to keep up the bad cop pressure. But the blogosphere has bee railing against the antics of Pumpkinhead and Tweety for years now.


Without much effect. The punditroids expect and are used to the blogosphere attacking them, they have vaccinated themselves with rationalization and denial and are very good at ignoring all but the most strident attacks. But! When the blogosphere united on the specific issue of Matthews’ sexism it did have an effect, and elicited a near apology! But it didn’t really change the Uber-narrative.

So…maybe more good cop? Maybe it is time to try massage them….massaging their narrative?

John Edwards leads Half in Ten Effort on Poverty

John Edwards has joined with several organizations to try to cut poverty in America in half in the next 10 years.

Watch the video with John Edwards and join the movement here:

One in eight Americans now lives in poverty.  A family of four is considered poor if the family’s income is below $19,971-a bar far below what most people believe a family needs to get by. Still, using this measure, 12.6 percent of all Americans were poor in 2005, and more than 90 million people (31 percent of all Americans) had incomes below 200 percent of federal poverty thresholds.

Millions of Americans will spend at least one year in poverty at some point in their lives.  One third of all Americans will experience poverty within a 13-year period. In that period, one in 10 Americans are poor for most of the time, and one in 20 are poor for 10 or more years.  

Poverty in the United States is far higher than in many other developed nations. At the turn of the 21st century, the United States ranked 24th among 25 countries when measuring the share of the population below 50 percent of median income.

Inequality has reached record highs. The richest 1 percent of Americans in 2005 held the largest share of the nation’s income (19 percent) since 1929. At the same time, the poorest 20 percent of Americans held only 3.4 percent of the nation’s income.

It does not have to be this way.  Our nation need not tolerate persistent poverty alongside great wealth.


Do you care?  Do something and join this effort.

Half in Ten: From Poverty to Prosperity

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is committed to cutting poverty in half in 10 years. Under the leadership of Senator John Edwards, CAPAF has joined with ACORN, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to create the Half in Ten campaign.

In 2006, the Center for American Progress-our partner organization-convened a diverse group of national experts and leaders to examine the causes and consequences of poverty in America and make recommendations for national action. The resulting report from the Task Force on Poverty calls for a national goal of cutting poverty in half in the next 10 years and proposes a strategy to reach that goal, guided by the following four principles:

Promote Decent Work. People should work and work should pay enough to ensure that workers and their families can avoid poverty, meet basic needs, and save for the future.

Provide Opportunity for All. Children should grow up in conditions that maximize their opportunities for success; adults should have opportunities throughout their lives to connect to work, get more education, live in a good neighborhood, and move up in the workforce.

Ensure Economic Security. Americans should not fall into poverty when they cannot work or work is unavailable, unstable, or pays so little that they cannot make ends meet.

Help People Build Wealth. All Americans should have the opportunity to build assets that allow them to weather periods of flux and volatility, and to have the resources that may be essential to advancement and upwardmobility.


The Report (Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half by the Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty) is here:  http://www.americanprogress.or…

Join here:

More after the fold.  

Blogs: Yoanni Sanchez Receives Prize In Absentia

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


La Bloguera Yoani Sanchez

Well, to no one’s surprise, Cuba wouldn’t relent and permit Yoani Sanchez to travel to Spain to receive the Ortega y Gasset prize, despite my post yesterday urging Raul Castro to permit her to go.

AP reports:

A Cuban woman who gained worldwide acclaim for a blog that offers stinging criticism of the Communist regime was honored Wednesday with a Spanish journalism award – in absentia.

Cuban authorities did not approve Yoani Sanchez’s request to travel to Madrid for the award ceremony. But the 32-year-old woman was still able to make some points.

“Nothing of what I have written in these 13 months speaks as loudly as my absence from this ceremony,” Sanchez said in a tape recording.

She said the fact she had to address the group through a recording was “the clearest evidence of the defenselessness of the Cuban people with respect to the state.”

Meanwhile, her blog receives more than 1 million hits a month (my blog receives less than 1 thousand).  And it continues to voice opposition to repression in Cuba.  It’s gotten some attention from Andrew Sullivan, but in general, there hasn’t been much of an uproar, or support in Blogtopia for her right to travel or for her right to express herself without being penalized or calling for her to be allowed to leave Cuba long enough to visit Spain.

Why is that?  What exactly does it take to have bloggers advocate for freedom of expression across the entire Internet?  When are we going to understand the connections between all of us in the typing class?  When are we going to support freedom of speech, even if we don’t agree with the politics or content of what is being written?

I’m asking because I remember Martin Niemoeller.

[UPDATE] Burma, Burma: Aid Refused, What to do? Ethical Questions

We all know that Burma is in a terrible crisis because of the devastation of Cyclone Nargis. Tens of thousands are confirmed dead. It may be hundreds of thousands. Millions are displaced and at risk of death due to lack of clean water and food. The first reports of cholera  are coming.

And now the World Food Programme of the UN has suspended aid, because the junta impounded the first shipments.

Video: John Edwards (nearly) Calls for Hillary to Drop Out of the Race

Just short of calling for Hillary to drop out of the race, Edwards stated that he just doesn’t see how Hillary can win the nomination, based on the numbers.

Appearing on the Today Show, John Edwards also essentially stated that he believes Obama has a better chance of winning the general election:

“I think Barack Obama has a better chance. It looks like he’s going to be the nominee.”

“He brings the capacity to unite the Democratic party, to bring in new voters and to get people excited about change.

…People are looking for a leader and someone they can trust and someone who will fight for them, every day. I think Obama will do that.”

Watch it here:

Updated – Burma’s Military Junta Deports Aid Workers

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar said Friday it was not ready to let in foreign aid workers, rejecting international pressure to allow experts into the isolated nation where disease and starvation are stalking cyclone survivors.

One week after the devastating storm killed tens of thousands, Myanmar’s ruling generals — deeply suspicious of the outside world — said the country needed outside aid for those still alive, but would deliver it themselves.

The foreign ministry announcement came as a top UN official warned time was running out to move in disaster experts and supplies to prevent diseases that could claim even more victims.

Instead, the ministry said some relief workers who arrived on an aid flight from Qatar on Wednesday had been deported.


Al Jazeera has an exemplary in-depth analysis of this tragedy, including an extended round table featuring UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, Bo Hla Tint, spokesperson for the Burmese Government in Exile and Marie Lall of the Asia Programme at Chatham House:

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

Tomorrow I’m chaperoning the band trip to the Music in the Parks exhibition/competition with the Cab Calloway School of the Arts middle school band, where thing 2 is the lone bass clarinetist.

One hand clapping …

The latest news suggests that the Lieberman-Warner Coal Subsidy Act (the Climate InSecurity Act, CISA) has moved from critical condition to the morgue.  As it will require 60 votes to get past any threatened filibuster (not that the Senate Democratic Party leadership could force a filibuster on anyone other than their own Senators fighting for Americans’ privacy rights),  corraling enough Senators to vote for even the CISA’s inadequate measures looks to be an impossible task.  

Docudharma Times Friday May 9

Growing up it all seems so one-sided

Opinions all provided

The future pre-decided

Detached and subdivided

In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone

Friday’s Headlines: McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer: Bush set to veto $300 billion farm bill: An Arab veteran of 1948 recalls Palestinian ‘catastrophe’: Lebanon on the brink as violence erupts: Berlusconi imposes his authority with cabinet of cronies and beautiful women: Spain launches legal war on US ‘pirates’: Effort to control HIV in Africa ‘badly targeted’: Zimbabwe army denies attacks, Mbeki to hold talks: North Korea Gives U.S. Files on Plutonium Efforts: Japan to allow military use of space: lawmakers: President Morales agrees to Bolivian recall vote  

U.N. Pressures Myanmar to Allow Aid

With up to 1.5 million people in Myanmar now believed to be facing the threat of starvation and disease and with relief efforts still largely stymied by the country’s isolationist military rulers, frustrated United Nations officials all but demanded Thursday that the government open its doors to supplies and aid workers.

“The situation is profoundly worrying,” said the United Nations official in charge of the relief effort, John Holmes, speaking in unusually candid language for a diplomat. “They have simply not facilitated access in the way we have a right to expect.”

Support disaster relief in Myanmar (Burma)

From the BBC: Burma impounds UN aid deliveries

The World Food Programme has halted aid shipments to Burma after the contents of its first delivery were impounded on arrival in the military-ruled country.

The UN body says the Burmese government seized aid material flown in to help victims of Cyclone Nargis, which has killed tens of thousands.

The WFP said it had no choice but to halt aid until the matter was resolved.

Burma’s ruling generals have faced mounting criticism over their handling of the crisis.

The UN fears more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the cyclone, with tens of thousands made homeless and vulnerable to disease.

Burmese state media say 22,980 people were killed, but there are fears the figure could rise to 100,000.

Seven Days in May

I’ve been trying to get around to posting a follow-up on the May One at Faneuil Hall thing. I’ve got lots of great pix but my battery went semi-dead the last week. Not the camera battery, my posting battery. Maybe it’s my digestion – of life in Bush’s America circa 2008. Turning over the compost piles and planting things has been taking up my mind. So I was thinking earlier that it’s been seven full days since then and rising up from memory comes the book of the title name. Synchronicity sends me wandering down the rabbit hole.

Seven Days in May was both a book and a movie, both of them pretty good. It’s a political thriller about a plot by the Pentagon to pull off a bloodless (more or less) coup to overthrow the president. The problem with the president is he’s not sufficiently anti-Communist for the right-wing plotters. He’s actually about to sign a treaty with the Soviets to mutually nuclearly disarm.

The plot itself, called ECOMCON (for “Emergency Communications Control”), entails the seizure of the nation’s telephone, radio and television network infrastructure by a secret United States Army combat unit created and controlled by Scott’s conspiracy and based near Fort Bliss, Texas. Once this is done, General Scott and his conspirators will control the nation’s communications assets; then, from their headquarters within a vast underground nuclear shelter called “Mount Thunder” (based on the actual continuity of government facility maintained by the U.S. at Mount Weather in Berryville, Virginia), they will use the power of the media and the military to prevent the implementation of the treaty.

The book came out in ’62 and the movie in ’64. The movie was shot in ’63 while Kennedy was still alive. He encouraged the filmmakers by heading home to the Cape when they needed to get shots done around the White House; the Pentagon was none too pleased. If written today the authors would have to add in cell phones, cable and the internet to complete the communications media needed to be controlled. Take a jump to the link above for some solid background and I’ll give you a tour of the rabbit warren. We’re going to visit Granddaddy Bush and Dick Cheney’s Undisclosed LocationRaven Rock. We’ll see an actual coup d’etat plot against FDR, Lee Harvey Oswald will jump up in a plot line you’ve probably never even heard of and you may even get a whiff of a hint of a sense of the presence behind the curtain. Who knows?

Feel free to break out the Reynolds Wrap.

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