August 25, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Politico reports Jackson compares Obama to Jackie Robinson.

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) told convention-goers Monday that Barack Obama is like baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson – enduring jeers without the ability to hit back.

    “Barack Obama has the capacity to hit,” Jackson said a breakfast panel just before the opening of the Democratic National Convention. “But he is in the situation where he can’t hit back, which Jackie Robinson could not do. … He had to be able to run the bases, even though the crowd was jeering the first African-American on the field.”

    Jackson, son of the civil rights leader, said Obama is in the same situation: “He has to keep smiling, because no one wants an angry African-American man in the White House.”

  2. The NY Times reports Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the military is a fixture. “Three years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still needs the military to help keep some semblance of order in certain neighborhoods… This year alone, New Orleans has had at least 127 murders, a stunning statistic given that roughly a third of the city’s population – 454,000 before the hurricane – has so far not returned.”

    In June of 2006, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin asked the governor to deploy the national guard. “More than two years later, 300 soldiers remain, with the Louisiana National Guard still operating its command post from the Dixieland conference room in a downtown Holiday Inn. The plan, officers say, is to end the mission by the new year, giving the police department more time to replenish its ranks.”

    “These soldiers do not make arrests, but they can cuff and detain suspects until the police arrive”.

Four at Four continues with propaganda job at the Pentagon and a human-powered gym.

Live 2008 Convention Streaming

Speakers schedule here

Walk against war nearing end in God’s country

Witness Against War, a walk from Chicago to St. Paul to promote non-violence and an end to the war is Iraq, is in its final week.  

Dan  Pearson,  the one who dreamed it up, scouted and planned the route, and coordinates much of the logistics, calls it “a totally worthwhile endeavor.”  He and Kathy Kelly are co-coordinators of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, the Chicago-based group that organized and sponsors the walk.  

The drive from Milwaukee, where I had last walked with them, to Pepin, WI, on the Mississippi River, to rejoin them, took five hours.  It had taken the walkers five weeks.

As they started Saturday’s trek from Pepin to Maiden Rock, along one of the most spectacularly scenic stretches of river in the country, they had covered 420 miles.   When they reach St. Paul this weekend, in time for the Republican national convention, they will have walked nearly 500 miles.

There are 10 walkers on Saturday, including Marie Kovecsi, who joined the group in Winona, MN to spend a week walking with them before returning to start another school year as a teacher of deaf and blind students, and me.  The rest are part of the core group who left Chicago in mid-July and have walked most or all of the way.   Most days they are joined by local activists who walk with them for a day or two, but there are none on Saturday in this sparsely-populated area.

Meanwhile, Back in Crazytown….

Conventions, Olympics, shiny new politics of contrast ads from Obama, lots and lots of shiny stuff to distract us while our current Republican cartoon villians continue their disastrous and destructive dastardly deeds.

The Iraqis have finally stood up, it appears. In the only real way they could, in the way that they were always going to have to do to finally bring some semblance of peace to their illegally invaded, oppressively occupied and decidedly decimated country. Yes that’s right, they are finally standing up to the force that has created so much chaos, death and despair in the cradle of civilization. No, no! Not against the previously (before they were invaded) unseen forces of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is kicking ass in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Iraqis are standing up and booting out the REAL problem children in Iraq, the occupiers from the Bushwinked United States of Halliburton.  

So as it turns out….the Surge HAS worked! The point of the Surge was to give the Iraqi government time to get its shit together and become a functional entity. Apparently it has become enough of one to do the one thing that needs to be done to get Iraq back on its feet after George “the torturer” Bush launched his illegal invasion…kick the US the fuck out.

In other news a new oxymoron was discovered today! In the nonsesical juxtapositional tradition of such amusing word play as ‘jumbo shrimp’ and ‘military intelligence’ comes the latest example of two words that just do not go together logically. Introducing: Cheney Diplomacy!


THAT should calm things down and keep us out of WW3! Unless of course Dick can figure out how to turn a profit….. On the bright side, US warships are steaming towards Georgia as we speak, who doesn’t want  a return to the good old days of gunboat diplomacy?

The Sanctuarysphere Invades the Democratic National Convention

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

Nativists beware! At this moment, migrant bloggers from across the nation are invading the Democrat National Convention in Denver, Colorado. 

They bring crime and disease with them.  Thinking freely is their crime, and they are spreading the infectious diseases of truth and justice.  These migrants are taking jobs and traffic away from other bloggers.  They are parasites taking advantage of free services like wireless internet connections.  They should all be locked up in Denver’s, “Gitmo on the Platte” and deported back to their home states.

Oh man, I could keep this parody of nativist speak going, but it wouldn’t do justice to what my esteemed blogmigos are in the midst of accomplishing. 

Liza Sabater, of Culture Kitchen, has been able to put a remarkable team of bloggers together to cover the DNC through her connections with Kenneth Cole’s Awearness Blog.  Kai Chang of Zuky and Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican are part of the team.  Maegan La Mala of Vivir Latino, and Kety Esquivel of Cross Left, will also be making apperances.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mentioned that my esteemeed and respected friend, XP of Para Justicia Y Libertad, was able to find his way to Denver through his connections with Scholars and Rogues

If these names seem familiar to you, look no further than The Sanctuary’s Who We Are page to refresh your memory.  The Sanctuarysphere has invaded the Democrat National Convention.

Manufacturing Monday: The so-called Big Three, and the taxpayers’ money

Greetings folks, the start of new week and thus we kick off another episode of Manufacturing Monday!  Never a dull moment when it comes to covering stuff that either goes into the products you buy, or the impact that that consumption leads to. Now originally, I had these other items on bio-fuels, hydrogen cars, China and oil, and a few other things.  But I see now that my section on the bailout of the US automakers is so big, that the whole thing is too long.  So, if it is OK with you, I will post those items tomorrow.  

SeaWorld: killer whales

We arose not so early on our last day in San Diego and I stole a few minutes online while Deb and Laurie still slept.  Alas, the laptop’s battery became too discharged and it was time to give up on that.  Returning to the room, I discovered everyone was almost ready for breakfast.  After a hearty meal at the Waffle Spot, it was off to Mission Bay Park and a very long line of cars trying to enter.  When we reached the booth, we discovered it was two or three lines coming from different directions.

Our first adventure was a ride up the Skytower, which is a rotating elevator car which rises 265 feet.  I got several photos from it.  Sorry about the occasional light bulb in the middle of a photo.

On the left is a shot of the Shamu stadium complex.  Shows are in the amphitheater at the back.  The “green rooms” for the stars are this side of the huge fake fluke.  At the lower left is the restaurant arena, where one can dine with a whale show.  We declined that notion.

But we did choose to start our day by taking in the Shamu show, which is entitled Believe.

A Rumor Defies My Comprehension

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

On Sunday morning I went into town to gas up my car.  While I was pondering the blue sky and the ridiculous price of gasoline, a man I know, a one-time client of mine, approached me and asked me if I had heard the bad news.  I hadn’t.  He told me that on Saturday, a friend of mine, another lawyer, a colleague in the public defender’s office, had died of a brain aneurism.  I was shocked.  My friend is about 25 years younger than I.  I told my former client that I hadn’t read about this in the paper or heard about it.  He said he was sure it was true, that he was sorry, and he called his sister on his cell phone.  Yes, she said, it was true.  Four people had called her to tell her the news.

I went home and called our mutual, public defender boss.  I think I woke her up.  She said my friend was as alive as alive could be, that nothing was the matter, but that she, too, had received several calls about his having died.  To put it mildly, reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated.  They were, in fact, false. I called him up.  He answered the phone.

It seems that on Friday he was playing in a golf tournament.  Through a bureaucratic error, no lawyer showed up to cover his cases in City Court, where he was supposed to be.  The judge said in words or substance that my friend wouldn’t be representing his clients, and he sent various people back to the jail or to home.  Apparently, the rumor started after that.

This morning I spoke again to the dead man on the phone.  He was fine.  He’d received phone calls for two days about what had happened to him.  He had visits from the police, the troopers and the deputies. His office had received numerous calls from his clients and friends.  The funeral home next door to his office had received more than a dozen inquiries about what the arrangements were.  A few people pulled into his driveway, some with tears streaming down their faces, to express their condolences.  A few friends of his had called the house from as far away as Florida.  A neighbor spoke to his father– his father was leaving a child’s birthday party at his home on Saturday– to express his condolences.

Today is Monday.  The rumor goes on, undeterred by the fact that the supposed dead guy is at his office, doing what he always does, and that the story is completely false.

Today I heard the story that his family was forced to pull the plug on him yesterday.

Meanwhile, he’s agreed to call a few reporters he knows to see if he can stop this before somebody on a playground tells his young boys how sorry they are that their dad died.

Reporting from Denver for Docudharma

DENVER, CO-Hey everyone. I told some of you I was going to Denver. As they say here at Docudharma, “Here I am.”

It was a pretty long trip and I had to figure out the whole public transportation thing. After no sleep and an empty stomach (Midwest Airlines charges for lunches on their flights!!!!) trying figure out how to get into Denver got a helluva lot harder. But I made it. The cool thing about the flight was sitting behind Rich, editor of Michigan Liberal. Great guy.

Denver’s definitely clamped down to the max. Police are in riot gear all over the city. Helicopters are flying overhead. When I got into town I went straight over to The Big Tent. It’s interesting. It’s like a Oscar party of some sorts with Entertainment Tonight-esque MTV-like reporters outside the entrance. There’s also lotsa security. Why, I don’t know. Picked up my creds five minutes before they closed and that was that.

I checked out The Tattered Covered Bookstore. It’s a big and beautiful independent bookstore right next door to the Big Tent. I only bring this up because as I was sitting oustide, going through my Big Tent “goodie bag,” I saw George Stephanopolous. We made eye-contact, nodded to each other, and he went in the bookstore. Didn’t get to talk to him (or grill him).

It kinda feels like all the locals have evacuated the city and the only people around are conventioneers, media folks, and cops. There are all these people walking around on cellphones, wearing credentials around around their necks, and all the men are wearing navy blue blazers and the women look all chi-chi’ed up. It’s like being in Boston on Newbury Street… if you know what that means.

Open Thread


Thread du jour.  Bon app├ętit!

Docudharma Times Monday August 25

No Matter What Happens At This

Weeks Democratic Convention

The American Media Will Somehow

Be At A Convention Of Their Own Making

Monday’s Headlines:

Alaska Vote Pits Fisheries Against Mines

Muslim areas of Kashmir under curfew ahead of protest rally

Two army officers sacked as 89 civilians die in ‘irresponsible’ raid

Russia accused of violating ceasefire deal

Nato membership vital to our security, says Ukraine’s President Yushchenko

Israel frees jailed Palestinians  

Iraq football final before sellout crowd

MPs seized in Zimbabwe parliament  

Search goes on for abducted journalists  

Mexico has reason for hope in future Games

Party Unity Tops Agenda For Democrats

Obama Heads to Denver Via Key States

By Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut

Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, August 25, 2008; Page A01  

DENVER, Aug. 24 — Sen. Barack Obama launched a four-day tour of battleground states Sunday to coincide with Monday’s opening of the Democratic convention and its ambitious agenda of selling Obama to a national audience, presenting a forceful case against Republican rival John McCain and unifying a party still recovering from a bruising primary.

The gathering here carries unusually high stakes for a party that believes the White House is within its grasp but understands that victory remains far from certain. Democrats have packed their convention schedule with speakers who will seek to validate Obama and create the image of a leader capable beyond his years and a worthy foe to McCain, a seasoned war hero.

In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals  



Published: August 24, 2008  

The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern last May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.

The files were of particular interest not only to Swiss prosecutors but to international atomic inspectors working to unwind the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani bomb pioneer-turned-nuclear black marketeer. The Swiss engineers, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, were accused of having deep associations with Dr. Khan, acting as middlemen in his dealings with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.


FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis

A top official warned of widening loan fraud in 2004, but the agency focused its resources elsewhere.

By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 25, 2008  

WASHINGTON — Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.

“It has the potential to be an epidemic,” Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. “We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis,” he said.

Today, the damage from the global mortgage meltdown has more than matched that of the savings-and-loan bailouts of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Raimondo: Biden Means Business As Usual

Original article, sub-headed What ‘new politics’?, by Justin Raimondo via

To anyone who really believed Barack Obama’s candidacy represented “hope” and “change,” the selection of Joe Biden as his running mate should put that illusion to rest. Antiwar activists point to Biden’s vote in favor of authorizing Bush to go to war with Iraq, but even worse was his behavior in the run-up to the invasion.

NOTE: Raimondo heavily hyperlinks inside the original article (as he does with all of his articles for

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