July 25, 2008 archive

Four at Four, at Five

Special guest host?  Nah, It’s just me.

Special edition?  You bet.  We’re in Central time now, folks.

Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).

  • Foreclosures in the second quarter this year were up 121% from the second quarter last year, and up 14% from the first quarter this year.

    Foreclosures were filed against 739,714 properties in the second quarter. One in every 171 U.S. homes was filed against, the report said.

    The states posting the highest foreclosure filing rates were Nevada, California and Arizona. Nevada had the highest per-household foreclosure rate, with 24,657, or one in every 43 households, nearly four times the national average.

    California posted 202,599 filings, or one in every 65 households. That is a 19 percent increase from the previous quarter and nearly three times the level reported in the second quarter of 2007.

    Foreclosure activity in Arizona, which had the third-highest number of filings, increased 36 percent from the previous quarter and almost four times the level reported in the second quarter of 2007. Arizona reported 37,230 filings, or one in every 70 households.

    The states with the lowest foreclosure activity were Vermont, North Dakota and West Virginia.

  • Seven synchronized small bombs were detonated in India, killing two and wounding at least five in Bangalore.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    The government condemned the blasts and vowed to catch those behind them.

    “Such incidents will not deter the government from pursuing its policy of dealing with terrorists in a resolute manner,” Patil said.

  • California Terminator Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a ban on trans fats in restaurants.

    “California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats,” Schwarzenegger said. “Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.”

    The law, AB 97 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), will ban cooking with artificial trans fats in restaurants by Jan. 1, 2010, and bar their presence in baked goods by Jan. 1, 2011.

  • Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, whose diagnosis with terminal cancer turned him into a widely popular inspirational speaker, has passed away at the age of 47.

    The lanky, energetic Pausch talked about goals he had accomplished, like experiencing zero gravity and creating Disney attractions, and those he had not, including becoming a professional football player.

    He used rejections he was handed when he applied for jobs at Disney to comment on the importance of persistence.

    “The brick walls are there for a reason … to show us how badly we want something,” he said. “Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Live-blogging House hearing on Executive Power II

Continued from First essay here

Hearing can be watched at CSPAN

House Judiciary Committee members have made their opening statements, and witnesses have made their opening statements.  House members are now questioning the witnesses.  Here is the witness list:

Panel One

The Honorable Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio

The Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Representative from New York

The Honorable Walter Jones, Representative from North Carolina

The Honorable Brad Miller, Representative from North Carolina

Panel Two

The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Representative from New York

The Honorable Bob Barr, Former Representative from Georgia, 2008 Libertarian Nominee for President

The Honorable Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, Founder and President, High Roads for Human Rights

Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law

Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82, Chairman, American Freedom Agenda

Vincent Bugliosi, Author and former Los Angeles County Prosecutor

Jeremy A. Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

Elliott Adams, President of the Board, Veterans for Peace

Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

UPDATE:  I overlooked jimstarro’s excellent essay this morning, “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations”

Please, go give this some ponies  : )

Klavan, via WaPo: “George W. Bush is like Batman.”

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

I swear I’m not making that up, and I urge you to go and see if you don’t believe me:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

I cannot tell you how sad this op-ed makes me.

Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament XXIX

Every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  Through the Darkest of Nights is a story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption.  It is a testament to the progressive values we all believe in, have always defended, and always will defend no matter how long this darkness lasts.  But most of all, it is a search for identity and meaning in an empty world.

Naked and alone we came into exile.  In her dark womb, we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother?  Which of us has looked into his father’s heart?  Which of us has not remained prison-pent?  Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?      ~Thomas Wolfe

All installments are available for reading here on Docudharma’s Series page, and also here on Docudharma’s Fiction Page, where refuge from politicians, blogging overload, and one BushCo outrage after another can always be found.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

I have a nicely aged six foot cedar fence that runs across the back of my house. The backyard extends around 25 feet from the back of the house to the fence; the fence’s length along the back of the lot is close to 100 feet. The back fence, it keeps things out and keeps my dogs in. The north side connector fence is a cyclone fence, see-through and lacking in privacy.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.

Pony Party

Words of Advice

(W.S. Burroughs and Material)

Build up a kindly, avuncular, benevolent image.

Interdependence is the key word.

Enlightened interdependence.

Life in all its rich variety, “take a little, leave a little”

United Farm Workers Calls for Manslaughter Charges Against Company in Death of 17 Year Old

I’ve written in the past about the preventable death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez and her unborn child.  California’s Occupational Safety and Health Agency recently issued a $262,700 fine against the Central Valley farm labor contracting company that employed Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, the 17-year old farm worker who died of heat stroke because of the company’s negligence in following the law.  That’s not enough. United Farm Workers President, Arturo S. Rodriguez, thinks criminal prosecution is the only way to deter companies so that no more will die:

This is a case of manslaughter – there is no difference between a driver killing someone while breaking our traffic laws and a labor contractor breaking the law and killing this beautiful young woman. Anything less than criminal prosecution is a desecration of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez’ death.”

UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez

More, after the fold.  

(also in orange)

Live-blogging House hearing on Executive Power I

It’s starting – hope you can join me in discussions here and at ConyersBlog

The hearing can be watched on the House Judiciary Committee website or at CSPAN

For some background, check out afterdowningstreet

Live-blogging continues at Live-blogging House hearing on Executive Power II

Sorry, I’m having trouble with formatting for some reason…

Teen Breakthroughs Around Gender and Sexuality

What follows is a pair of articles recently posted by an NYC public school social worker over at Fire on the Mountain, articles I hope will be of interest of interest to educators and parents and perhaps more broadly.

Teen Breakthrough, Part 1: “I’m Not Racist Against Gays”


In my workaday world in the NYC public school system, this year’s big news was the growing acceptance of and sympathy for gay guys. And because male homosexuality has been, in my experience, so deeply stigmatized among youth, I think this is a tremendous breakthrough. I still don’t hear many guys in high school saying flat out, “I am gay,” but there’s definitely less attempt to deny or repudiate or hide attributes that might brand a young man as gay.

Little things like young men casually mentioning, “My uncle is gay,” or an African-American senior who is into fashion design, tends toward the flaming in his manner and shows no romantic interest in girls being elected a class officer. Or a young man saying to a female classmate who called him “fa–ot”in an argument: “Well, I don’t appreciate that because you must not think too much of gay people, and my brother is gay.” In the past, the likely response would have been to hurl back an insult, and the main concern would have been to assert his own straightness in front of the peer audience. But now, he takes the offensive and critiques heterosexism!

Another example that impressed me occurred in the context of a school art project for which students chose the theme of taboos. There was a fair amount of art about gay/lesbian relationships, but one of the most intriguing paintings showed what looked like a man in his twenties and a man in his sixties embracing, The young Latino artist, who as far as I know is straight, definitely wanted to provoke reactions and sought out feedback. It really blew me away that he was challenging two stigmas by portraying, in a compassionate way, both gay male sexuality, and the need of older people to express their sexuality (which is often is often a big yuck factor for teens!).

NN08 – Part II – Where’s our goddam impeachment Nancy?

Note to my good friends at Docudharma:  This diary and the criticism it contains is not aimed at you but at the GOS.  I post it here for your amusement and out of respect for my brother buhdydharma and for all of you here at DD.  Peace.

The fact that we welcomed Nancy Pelosi to Netroots Nation, purportedly a gathering of leftists and progressives, has to make you wonder.  For the most part we sat there with our thumbs up our asses, drooling like idiots and lapping up the ‘respect’ we were shown by the mere presence of this illustrious traitor to everything I thought we stood for.


Real News: Obama’s Excellent Adventure

4 min 30 sec: For the Pentagon, it’s all about long term bases

Senator Barack Obama’s Middle East/Central Asia leg of his whirlwind world tour was as smooth as the three-pointer he shot in front of US troops. Military historian Gareth Porter explains what’s left unsaid behind the triumphal profusion of meetings and photo opportunities.

Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.

“Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations”

The House Judiciary Committee today, Friday, July 25th, will put Impeachment squarely back “on the table” and restored to its prominent place in our Constitution.

Wednesday 07/25/2008 – 10:00 AM

2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Full Committee

By Direction of the Chairman

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