Monday, June 30, 2008

Being Gay In This Day And Age

And I am not talking about "gay".

Does the American Family Association have an homophobic slant? Just ask Tyson Gay, he got more than he probably bargained for when an AP story documenting his semi-final track and field win got caught up in the AFA's "homo-filter". The AFA apparently changes the more politically correct word "gay" with "homosexual" before posting the AP feed on their onenewsnow subsidiary and Tyson Gay became Tyson Homosexual. They have since unfiltered their AP story but you can see a screenshot of the orginal filtered story here.

Moving Day

You might have noticed if you have gotten here via my RSS feed that things are a bit different. I am in the process of moving over to my new domain with a slightly different focus. Actually it is the same focus but with a more suitable domain and look and feel.

When I first started blogging back in early 2006, I honestly thought I was moderate in my political outlook but after getting involved and seeing just where my views fit within modern day "labels", what was once moderate is now far from it so here I am. Also since my focus is somewhat broader than just South Dakota, branding myself with South Dakota doesn't really fit any more. The old site A South Dakota Moderate will stay up until the hosting account expires but from now on I will be focusing my limited talents on this site.

With that in mind Politics and Hypocrisy was born and will consist mainly of the same type of posts that you saw at the other place but with a more intense focus on what I perceive to be the hypocrisy evident in politics, frankly from both sides. I will still put our local elected officials to task when needed and will also touch on my other passions of Cleveland sports and gadgets from time too time as well.

In the short term you might notice changes here from time to time as I add features and get the bugs worked out so if you come across any issues please let me know and if you happened to be one of my blogging friends that had me on their blogroll, I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to update your links to reflect my new home. Anyway welcome to the new home and enjoy.

He Was Against It Before He Was For It.

Now that the Jim Webb sponsored GI Bill passed the Senate by a whopping 92-6, Mr. pro military, John McCain, has changed his tune and is claiming credit for the bill that drastically increases the educational benefits for those that serve.

McCain's comments on the bill passing the Senate.
With the addition of the transferability provisions sought by Senators Graham, Burr, myself and others to give service members the right to transfer earned G.I. Bill benefits to spouses and children, we will have achieved in offering vastly improved educational benefit while also offering incentives for continued service by the most capable, experienced NCO’s and officers.

Now besides being totally hypocritical by praising the bill considering he was one of the most vocal critics of it while it was being debated, his taking any credit for it's passage despite the fact that the vote happened to be one of the 367 votes he has missed since his campaign hit full stride in April is almost comical.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

He Is The Governor of What State?

Possible GOP Vice Presidential candidate and current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal must have a short memory. He recently spoke in favor of John McCain's plan to allow more offshore drilling and when asked about possible problems with gulf platforms during hurricanes he regurgitated the John McCain spin:
JINDAL: You know, that’s one of the great unwritten success stories, after Katrina and Rita, these awful storms, no major spills.

So I guess he forgot about the 113 totally destroyed oil platforms and 124 offshore spills during those 2 storms or maybe he has his nose so far up John McCain's but he has to repeat the same mis-statements. Wouldn't they make a great team in November...

T. Boone Pickens To Swift Boat Detractors: Just Kidding

T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire Texas oilman, was so sure that the 2004 campaign to discredit John Kerry’s war record run by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was accurate that last November he offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove any of the accusations. Now that a second group, the first of which was Kerry himself, has taken him up on his offer and provided proof, he is changing his story.

The latest challenge was brought forward by a group of veterans sympathetic to Kerry and consisted of a 60 page report that contradicted 10 different issues used by the Swift Boater’s to smear Kerry. Once confronted with the evidence, Pickens refused to honor his challenge.
“In reviewing your material, none of the information you provide speaks specifically to the issues contained in the ads,” he wrote, “and, as a result, does not qualify for the $1 million.”

Apparently what he really meant was that if someone could disprove issues discussed in the smear ads and not the book and the interviews that followed the books release. In other words they may have proven that the book was nothing but lies but so far no one has discredited the ads based on the book so too bad for them.

You may be asking yourself, what’s the big deal now, 4 years after the Swift Boaters all but destroyed Kerry’s chances at the White House? Well it looks like someone is trying to do the same type of thing again with Barack Obama and it is being published by the same group that did the Kerry book.
Regnery, which describes itself as “the nation’s leading conservative publisher” and “central to the conservative movement today,” has also published books by Dinesh D’Souza, David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, G. Gordon Liddy, Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, and Newt Gingrich.

The book’s title is to be “The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate” (no hidden agenda there) which should be out later this summer and will most certainly be filled with either real or imagined dirt on the presumptive Democratic nominee.

So now we have several unanswered questions. Will the American public be as willing to accept the derogatory claims that will surely be littered throughout this book like they did with the now proven false ones 4 years ago? And will T. Boone Pickens first finance the negative campaign against Obama that will result after it gets published like he did 4 years ago and then re-neg on his offer of cash to anyone that can disprove it?

After all, how much credibility do oilmen from Texas have anymore?

T. Boone Pickens To Swift Boat Detractors: Just Kidding

T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire Texas oilman, was so sure that the 2004 campaign to discredit John Kerry's war record run by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was accurate that last November he offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove any of the accusations. Now that a second group, the first of which was Kerry himself, has taken him up on his offer and provided proof, he is changing his story.

The latest challenge....Read the rest over at my new blog Politics and Hypocrisy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Good To Be The Queen

Is politics really this easy? For Stephanie Herseth Sandlin it appears so if what Badlands Blue is reporting is true.

Following on the heels of the train wreck that was Bruce Whalen's run for the House 2 years ago, Herseth Sandlin's current challenger's campaign doesn't seem to much of a well oiled machine either.
In short, all of this raises some pretty serious questions about the state of the Lien campaign. For starters, does Lien currently have a campaign manager? If Weber is still there, why did he change his LinkedIn Profile? Did Lien fire Hugh Weber over the false press release he sent out attacking Stephanie Herseth Sandlin? Did he fire him for another reason? Is Chris Lien talking to Lee Breard, the political hack who falsely accused Herseth Sandlin of being impregnated by her Chief of Staff? Is this a sign of the kind of campaign we can expect from Lien? Sounds like the Lien campaign might be in a bit of a mess. Stay tuned...

What makes this even more funny is the rumor that Lowell is floating that Lee Breard might actually be considered to replace Hugh Weber as Lien's campaign manager. Besides his current affiliation with the secretive open government campaign that PP over at the War College is harping on, Breard's forwarding the rumor of the mystical Ajay Bruno/Wikipedia Herseth Sandlin secret pregnancy non-story back in 2006 was a traffic generating boon for this site to which I am still seeing the benefits of 2 years later.

It appears, at least to this point, that for the second straight House campaign, it will be good to be "Queen" Stephanie.

A Bit Late For Pandering?

It's baaack! After a short break, Republican's in Congress, anxious to put some life back in their disillusioned base, have re-introduced the "let's f*** over the gays act" otherwise known as the Federal Marriage Amendment. While seeing this piece of discriminatory legislation put back in play just in time for the election is predictable, after all the Religious Right has no where to focus their energy with McCain winning the nomination, some of the sponsors really put a capital "H" on the term hypocrisy even in right wing circles.

Nothing says let's protect the sanctity of marriage than being sponsored by 2 of the right wing's most infamous married guys, "let's get me some hookers" David Vitter (R-La) and toe tappin bathroom gay soliciting Larry Craig (R-Idaho). Sounds like a who's who of disfunction to me and probably not someone the Religious Reich would want as a face of their latest crusade but then again I would imagine that the Dobson crew is happy just to be back in play again.

As an aside, I did notice one sponsor that ought to make the South Dakota Reich Wingers happy, our own John Thune has attached his name to this fine piece of discrimination along side his above mentioned Senate colleagues Vitter and Craig.

<sarcasm>Way to go John, I am so proud to be one of your constituents. </sarcasm>

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Like Father Like Son?

Dad gets an aircraft carrier named after him and sonny gets, well, Mr 23% gets...
From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the
regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San
Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a
prize-winning water-treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W.
Bush Sewage Plant.
Well at least it is a prize winner.

James Dobson Doesn't Speak For Me

Of course anyone that knows me knows that is the understatement of the year but in this case those words aren't mine. Instead they are the tagline for a new website started by a coalition of pastors and Christians that are dedicated to refuting the attacks by the Focus on the Family leader towards Barack Obama.

You can read their statement which isn't very flattering towards the child psychologist turned religious zealot, and even sign it if you so desire here.

Somehow I don't think that this site will be making it onto the blogroll of some of the more vocal far right websites that I can think of...

UPDATE: This gets even better. It seems that pastor that started this site, Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell, is the same pastor that married President Bush's daughter Jenna a few months back.

Senate FISA Vote Delayed

It appears the Senate will wait a few more weeks before capitulating completely to Mr 23%.
Objections by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) will push back an overhaul of
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until after lawmakers
return in July, Democratic leaders said Thursday. Feingold is strongly
opposed to language that would likely give telephone companies that
participated in warrantless surveillance retroactive immunity from
lawsuits.

A Tale Of 2 Constitutional Rights

US ConstitutionThe rumor is that the Supreme Court will be releasing their decision on DC v. Heller sometime this morning. You might or might not be aware of the issue under that name but it is the case argued in front of the court in March that seeks to determine the Constitutionality of Washington D.C.'s handgun ban.

What has peaked my interest in this would be seeing the reaction if for whatever reason the Supreme Court overturns the Appellate Court's decision that the D.C. ban was Unconstitutional. What would make it interesting is how close that decision would be in relation to another Constitutional debate currently going on in regards to FISA reform, which could also be decided today. If all those stars align just right, we would then be able to gage what I believe would be the totally night and day difference between losing 2 of our Constitutional rights.

Often lost in the FISA debate is the fact that passage of that bill will result in our losing part of our 4th Amendment rights by allowing the government to perform warrantless surveillance all under the guise of keeping us safe and to date almost no-one seems to care. Now compare that reaction to the reaction anytime someone tries to control how we as a nation are allowed to own firearms and you see what I am talking about.

I have no idea on which side the Supreme Court will come down on though I suspect the current interpretation 2nd Amendment will win out but it would certainly be an excellent case study on us as a nation if it didn't. Either way I am still amazed how we are now much more willing than ever to give up certain rights as a result of the times we now must live in. On at least that front, I think the terrorist's have won.

UPDATE 9:35AM CST - As I thought, the court ruled 5-4 that the ban was unconstitutional so while we won't be able to compare the outrage, the patting on the back going on over upholding our percieved right to bear arms gives us an insight as to what would have been the response if it had gone the other way. Which happens to be the complete opposite of what is happening with FISA where for the most part we can hear a pin drop...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

15

That is the number of Senators that stood up and voted to kill the FISA bill during a Cloture vote this evening that ended up 80-15 in favor of Cloture. Expect the bill to pass the Senate tomorrow afternoon or early evening giving George Bush his desired Carte Blanche to continue spying and letting AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc. off the hook for their complicity in the illegal program.

No word on which way Barack Obama or Tim Johnson voted yet but I doubt Badlands Blue will be releasing one of Johnson's patented press releases praising his position after tomorrow's vote.

UPDATE: 8:35 CST - As expected Tim Johnson voted for Cloture while Obama wimped out as did Hillary Clinton and John McCain. They didn't show up to put their Cloture votes on record. Now comes all the grandstanding and motions to remove immunity and other provisions that will not go anywhere. Finally, we will get to see if Barack Obama breaks his promise or not.

If You Don't Want To Hear The Answer

Don't open the email.
The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week.

I guess that is one way to address the problem, just ignore it or as was the case here, they ignored it until the EPA rewrote it so that it met their criteria.
Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Another Liberal Conspiracy

MTV has announced that they will be doing something they haven't done since their inception in 1981. Starting this summer the music network will accept political advertising for the first time.
"MTV Networks will accept political advertising that is national in scope, sponsored by a legally qualified candidate, a candidate's official campaign committee, a nationally recognized political party, or the official congressional campaign committee(s) of a nationally recognized party."

And as expected it didn't take long to put a partisan spin on the decision.
Shock: MTV Lifts Ban on Political Advertising for First Time in Outlet's History

Coincedentally, um, coinciding with Barack Obama's youth-powered run at the presidency.

Why, one would almost begin to imagine that perhaps the media supports Obama or something.

Um, and other than the fact that no one watching that network has a grandparent as old him, McCain couldn't buy ads why?

Putting that non-issue aside, if you really wanted to look into conspiracies over at MTV, maybe someone could look into why the music network doesn't play music anymore...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Makes You Go Hmmm...

From Maplight.org via The Left Coaster
On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure--rejecting immunity--on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill--approving immunity.

“Why did these ninety-four House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of MAPLight.org, “Their constituents deserve answers.”

MAPLight.org's research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill. (The analysis used data from CRP; contributions were from January 2005 through March 2008). Here are the findings:

Comparing Democrats' Votes (March 14th and June 20th votes):

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging: $8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)

$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

88 percent of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008). See below for list of these 94 Dems.

And in case you were wondering, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who was one of the 94 Democrats changing their mind on immunity, just so happened to recieve $6000 through telecommunication PAC contributions. But of course it is just a co-incidence, right Stephanie?

Where Do I Sign?

I am a huge fan of satellite radio and have had it for almost 5 years with Sirius being my provider of choice. Anyone that must drive any distance in South Dakota will realize that it is a must have to keep your sanity so when someone offers free service for life, I am there! Unfortunately with most freebie's there is fine print and in this case the free radio just happens to be mounted in a 2009 Lamborghini MurciƩlago with a MSRP of $392,400.

Ok, so maybe I'm not there.

Focus On The Family's Fruitcake Interpretation

I will leave it to Bob Ellis to get into the theology behind Focus on the Family's James Dobson's comments on Barack Obama's speech regarding his faith. Not surprisingly Ellis agrees with Dobson but one thing in Dobson's comments stuck out to me (besides the fruitcake reference). Ellis left it out of his post but Cory over at the Madville Times didn't.
The proper theological response is, "Amen, brother!" Instead, James Dobson is saying that Obama is "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology.... He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter." For good measure, Dobson also labels Obama's position on abortion "a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution." (emphasis mine)

Obama is deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the bible to fit his world view? Isn't that true with most Bible based religions already? In fact isn't that true with just about all religion and more importantly, isn't that exactly what Dobson and Focus on the Family is all about?

There are how many different Bible based religions on this planet with just about everyone having a different "interpretation" of the same book. Priest can marry, or they can't. Gays can marry, or they can't. Old Testament, New Testament, and on and on. You could spend a lifetime learning the various differences.

And that is Dobson's problem. He just can't deal with the fact that his distorted Bible based world view isn't as prevalent as he would like and for the first time in a while there isn't a candidate running for the White House that he can support. In fact this fits right in with an new survey that shows while we are still a spiritual people, we are more understanding and tolerant of the beliefs of others. But unfortunately for Dobson and the shrinking number of his supporters, tolerance isn't in their vocabulary.

It's going to be a long 4 years for Dobson, no matter who wins this November...

Senate FISA Debate To Begin. Where Will Tim Johnson Side This Time?

The outrage in South Dakota over the ongoing FISA re-write happening in Washington has been non-existent (except for me and Cory that is). It seems that our country's blind faith in our elected officials exists here as well so when President Bush says that he needs this legislation passed to keep us safe, most will say "how soon!" Tim Johnson showed that blind faith last February when he crossed party lines and voted to pass a previous version of this spying bill and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin did likewise on the latest version last week.

Now as the Senate gets ready to debate the House version this week I again will ask Senator Johnson to do the right thing and not give in to the right-wing pressure and treat this like what it is, an assault on the 4th Amendment. Don't take my word for it, read this article from David Kris, a former high ranking DOJ lawyer in the Bush Administration. The full article is a must read and can be found here but one of his points really stood out.
Second, more importantly, the pending legislation focuses only on the target’s location (or the government’s reasonable belief about his location) not his status or conduct as a terrorist or  gent of a foreign power. In other words, there is no requirement that anyone – the FISA Court or the NSA – find probable cause that the target is a terrorist or a spy before (or after) commencing surveillance.

Someone please tell me, what part of giving our government the the ability to begin surveillance on US citizens without any probable cause is a good thing? But who needs the 4th Amendment...

And you will notice that not once up until now did I mention the telecommunication company immunity issues contained in this same bill. You see, allegedly the Bush administration has been engaged in the above currently illegal surveillance aided by several telcom's and to date there are 40 or so lawsuits pending that seek to hold these companies accountable for their complicity. This bill would make most of these lawsuits vanish along with any exposure of possible illegal activity by the Bush Administration, sort of like Watergate on civilians with "Deep Throat" being legislated out of existence.

There is little doubt in my mind that Senator Johnson will again vote to approve this bill and unless Barack Obama keeps his promise to filibuster, it will again pass the Senate making it a lock to be signed by the President (after all it is actually more than he asked for). But if for some reason you feel the need to let him know that giving up our rights is a lot easier than getting them back, you can call his office at (202)224-5842 or fax him at (202)228-5765.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Page Out Of George Bush's Book

In the past whenever George Bush would want an increase in power to supposedly "keep us safe" or if a mid-term election was in doubt, he would bring out the terrorism card. Either an attack was imminent or if "so and so" were elected we'd be in trouble. John McCain's camp must have been paying attention and is now admitting that the such an attack would be beneficial, for McCain that is
On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy - this according to McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an unfortunate event," says Black. "But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us." As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him," says Black. (emphasis mine)

As you would expect, McCain has since distanced himself from his Charlie Black's comments but it shows what we have to look forward to for the next few month's. The terrorism card is about all McCain has to play and he and his advisor's will surely put it to use as often as Rudy Giuliani played the 9/11 card if not more often. Though I would suspect the next time they will use a slightly different tact...

Supporters To Obama: We Are Watching

Barack Obama surprised and angered many of his supporters last week when he threw his support behind the House FISA reform bill despite vows in the past that he would filibuster any bill containing retroactive immunity for the telecommunication companies that aided in Bush's illegal spying campaign. That promise plus comments he made when he announced his support for the current legislation this week are now being hung over his head and a lot of the support he gained from liberal bloggers and their millions of readers is now hanging in the balance.

MoveOn.org is organizing these masses in an attempt ensure Obama keeps his filibuster promise.
On Friday, House Democrats caved to the Bush administration and passed a bill giving a get-out-of-jail-free card to phone companies that helped Bush illegally spy on innocent Americans.1

This Monday, the fight moves to the Senate. Senator Russ Feingold says the “deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation.”2 Barack Obama announced his partial support for the bill, but said, “It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.”3

Last year, after phone calls from MoveOn members and others, Obama went so far as to vow to “support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”4 We need him to honor that promise.

Can you call Senator Obama today and tell him you’re counting on him to keep his word? Ask him to block any compromise that includes immunity for phone companies that helped Bush break the law.

Obama’s presidential campaign: (866) 675-2008

Then, help us track our progress by clicking here:

Sign the petition here.

I have to admit, while I am only lukewarm on Obama as a candidate to this point, he along with our lone Congress person Stephanie Herseth Sandlin really disappointed me when they supported the get out of jail free card for the telcom's. The boat has long since sailed when it comes to any support I might have given to Herseth Sandlin whom has shown herself to be nothing more than a closet Republican for the most part anyway, but Obama's actions on his promise in this case will go far in determining whether I can at least feel comfortable supporting him in November.

With that said, I am sure Obama isn't shaking in his boots worrying about whether he has my support, but I doubt he wants to get on the bad side of other prominent Liberal bloggers or bloggers on his own campaign site for that matter as that can have a negative impact on his massive internet fundraising machine if he isn't careful. So as the debate begins in the Senate this week, Obama might want to consider whether this is another promise he wants to break.

George Carlin Dead At 71

I woke up this morning to discover that another of my all time favorites has died. George Carlin, anti-establishment comedian extrodinaire, died last night of heart failure at 71.

George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” died in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71.

Work warning, video contains language not for all audiences, it is George Carlin after all


7 words you can say on television:
"Goodbye George, you will be truly missed!"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Details On Fired Ohio Science Teacher

A quick follow up from yesterday's post

Apparently the Ohio science teacher fired for burning crosses into his student's arm was more of a Sunday school teacher than a science teacher. The Mount Vernon News has the results from the independent firm tasked with investigating middle school science teacher John Freshwater.

Besides burning the crosses into a students arm which is the offense that ultimately got him fired, the report documented an environment dripping in religion, anti-gay, and anti-science teachings that would make most people (but not all) cringe and ask why it wasn't stopped long ago.

Some of the highlights from the report:
•Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose. While there did not appear to be any intent by Mr. Freshwater to cause injury to any student, he was not using the device for its intended purpose. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement he simply made an “X” not a “cross,” all of the students described the marking as a “cross” and the pictures provided depict a “cross.”

•The Ten Commandments together with other posters of a religious nature were posted in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom. Most were removed after Mr. White’s letter of April 14, 2008, but at least one poster remained which Mr. Freshwater was again instructed to remove on April 16, 2008, but did not do so.

•Several Bibles were kept in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom including his personal Bible on his desk and one he checked out of the library placed on the lab table near the desk. Other Bibles that had been maintained in the room were removed by the time the investigators viewed Mr. Freshwater’s room.

•Mr. Freshwater engaged in teaching of a religious nature, teaching creationism and related theories and calling evolution into question. He had other materials in his classroom that could be used for that purpose.

•Mr. Freshwater engaged in prayer during FCA meetings in violation of the district’s legal obligations for monitoring such organizations.

•Mr. Freshwater participated and possibly led a prayer during an FCA meeting that concerned a guest speaker’s health. There is no conclusion as to whether such prayer was a “healing” prayer.

•There is no evidence Mr. Freshwater violated the district’s permission slip policy.

•There is no evidence Mr. Freshwater made statements about FCA members “being the saved ones” nor was there any corroboration to the allegation Mr. Freshwater gave FCA members Bibles for them to distribute. He did have two boxes of Bibles in the back of his room.

•Mr. Freshwater gave an extra credit assignment for students to view the movie “Expelled” which does involve intelligent design.

A pillar of the profession, if his profession was a pastor that is.

Good Neighbor?

The city of Sioux Falls and the airport board certainly won't qualify for State Farm's good neighbor award with their latest easement requirement.
The new regulation, pushed by the board that runs the airport and approved by the City Council last spring, requires residents to sign a special easement to get a building permit. That's causing headaches for homeowners planning even small tasks such as putting in a new fence. Worse than that, critics say, the agreement also takes away a person's right to sue the airport over noise or pollution.

Airport managers say the easements are a "pre-emptive strike" meant to protect the site from the kind of lawsuits filed in other parts of the country. City officials note they are scaling back some of the more strict elements, including requiring easements for small improvements.

If you know the airport director you are probably not surprised over his warped idea of being neighborly but putting pre-emptive strike and good neighbor in the same paragraph is a bit much even for him. And if you think having to get special easements just to build a fence is a bit overboard, you'll love this:
Jim Daniels, president of Daniels Construction, said the easement includes so-called "hold-harmless" language that absolves the airport from liability. That's unusual for such agreements, he said.

When Daniels signs an easement allowing a gas line under one of his properties, he doesn't give away his right to sue if it explodes. But the avigation easement precludes a property owner from suing, even if the airport or an airline is negligent.

First you have to shell out extra for the ridiculous easement for performing even the most minor of projects and then they make you sign away your right to sue? Nice...

Maybe the city and the airport board should spend more time working to improve one of the shabbiest airports in the area instead of working to cover their butts. The first place many visitors see when coming to the city is one of it's biggest eyesores even after the current terminal renovations are completed. If you don't believe me, just travel to Rapid City, Bismarck, or even Fargo to see just how bad our airport really is. But at least they won't have to worry about lawsuits when they screw up.

Another Setback For The Religious Right

While not quite on the same level as California's allowing gay marriage or New York's recognizing of gay marriages performed elsewhere, news from the Northeast does provide some justification for some minor wingnut head exploding just the same.

Residents of Maine have shown the National Homophobic Party, otherwise known as the Religious Right that they don't have the pull they thought they did when they tried to repeal legislation passed that outlaws discrimination against gays and lesbians.
"We're pulling the plug," Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, said Thursday. The group failed to attract the voter, volunteer, and financial support it needed to continue its campaign to put a repeal measure to a vote, he said.

The group collected only a third of the 15,000 voter signatures it had set as a goal for primary election day June 10, Heath said. Citing tags opponents had applied to initiative backers, he said potential volunteers "don't want to be aligned with bigotry and homophobia and hatred." (emphasis mine)

I realize stories like these are not yet a trend, but it does appear that more and more people are realizing just how hateful some of these so-called "evangelical groups" really are.

Liberal Conspiracy: I Guess They Didn't Get The Memo

Panel of government scientists
There is strong evidence the increasing frequency of extreme rain, heat, drought and tropical storms is caused by global climate change, according to the report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

"Changes in some weather and climate extremes are attributable to human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases," the study authors concluded.



And how about that, Al Gore was nowhere to be found when this was released...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quote Of The Week

CNN's Jack Cafferty discussing the numerous flip flops of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

It’s a “delicate dance, and if McCain’s not careful, he’s liable to break a hip.”

Ohio Science Teacher Fired

Updates Below

A science teacher who taught that carbon dating was unreliable as an excuse to argue against evolution was recently fired in Ohio. On the surface the guy seems to be well respected, at least according to a friend that was interviewed:
I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district," he told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published Friday.

Well ok, a great guy except for that one minor issue:
Freshwater used a science tool known as a high-frequency generator to burn images of a cross on students' arms in December

Despite that, the school district outside of Columbus actually tried to keep this guy employed despite numerous staff complaints over his preaching his Christian beliefs but couldn't because he was only certified in science. So what would have been the last straw if he had other certifications, performing a crucifiction?

UPDATE: The actual Columbus Dispatch story has more on this including a photo of what Freshwater's attorney called an "x" and not a cross (is he looking at the same photo?) and more on the friend whom was interviewed and defended Freshwater
Daubenmire is a former London High School football coach whose district was sued in 1999 by the American Civil Liberties Union because he led his players in prayer at games, practices and meetings.

The Columbus Dispatch article also lets us in on a few more of Freshwater's ideas of classroom procedures

- Discrediting evolution in his classroom and focusing on creationism and intelligent design
- Preaching his Christian beliefs in class and slamming scientific theories
- Telling his class that homosexuality is a sin
- Keeping a bible and other religious material in his classroom

Sounds like this guy would be the perfect teacher if some of our local bloggers had their way...

UPDATE 2: That didn't take long, the blog in question is already coming to the teacher's defense and even suggesting that what he did was just fine.
One student complained about “branding with a cross” out of how many? Slight reddening of the skin hardly amounts to “branding.” I’d be interested to know how many tattoos and/or piercings this poor child has endured.

So there you have it, just because a kid may or may not have a piercing or tattoo, having a teacher burn a cross in their arm is no big deal. I wonder if the teacher had burned "666" or some anti-religious symbol on the childs arm if they would have been so forgiving. Nothing if not predictable.

It's Official: The Democrats, Including Obama And Herseth Sandlin Have No Backbone

As the excuses and self-serving explanations fly from Congressional Democrats as to why they caved, the fact remains that they did cave and actually gave Mr. 25% more than he asked for when they passed the Telecom Immunity Act FISA reform bill yesterday.
The proposal — particularly the immunity provision — represents a major victory for the White House after months of dispute. “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican who led the negotiations.

So the next time you see our illustrious Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin you can thank her for being one of 105 Republicans Democrats that sided against protecting our civil liberties when she voted to effectivey legalized warrantless wiretaps on US citizens and to give Telcoms retroactive immunity for spying on us before they had the power to do so. She joins our other national Republican Democrat Tim Johnson, who was one of 18 democratic Senators to voted similarly back in February and made it a complete South Dakota sellout.

And while we are thanking folks, be sure and thank presumptive nominee Barack Obama, he decided that he could live with being the benefactor of such far reaching legislation and still pander to those outraged over the telcom immunity by pledging to work to remove that part of the legislation.
Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people.

I guess we deserve whatever we get come January, more of the same McCain, or no change Obama. Is there a lesser of 2 evils?

Friday, June 20, 2008

The AP And The MPAA: Separated At Birth?

The AP has been making news this week with their new policy that would charge bloggers up to $2.50 a word to quote from their articles. Apparently not wanting to be outdone, the MPAA wants to be able to collect damages from those that they think have lifted their property without having to provide an ounce of proof.
The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement.
Sounds like the same lawyers that thought up taking away Habeas Corpus from the prisoners at Abu Ghraib are now working for the MPAA...and the AP.

Doubling US Oil Output

There is a big push to allow big oil to drill in ANWAR and the Gulf of Mexico now that gas has hit $4/gal and of course it is the tree hugging Democrat's fault that it hasn't happened yet. With that in mind, why exactly haven't the big oil companies started producing on the 68 million acres of federal lands that they already own leases on?
The 68 million acres of leased but inactive federal land have the potential to produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. This would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75 percent. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than one-third, reducing America's dependency on foreign oil.
And why are some in Congress drafting legislation to force the oil companies to use existing leases or lose them while at the same time others are arguing that we need to open up the Nation Wildlife Refuge to drilling?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Of Course It Was Never About Oil

We all know the Iraq war was never about oil and was actually waged to save us from weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.


Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.



But of course no-bid contracts are the norm for oil contracts.


The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.



I'm glad that war for oil rumour has finally been quashed...wink, wink.


(h/t - Think Progress)

Not In My Backyard, In Spades

If you thought the fight going on in regards to a possible oil refinery in Elk Point was something, just wait if John McCain gets his way (and Barack Obama as well?). McCain unveiled another portion of his energy plan for his possible Presidency and it includes building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030.


Now I am no fortune teller but I have a strange feeling that the folks faced with having a nuclear power plant in their back yard would welcome a plain old oil refinery or coal fired power plant in their towns instead if they had a choice. And lets not even consider what will happen with the tons of new waste that would be generated, but I guess that's ok as it seems that no one else is either as the one and only site designated for that purpose might never open...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Does This Mean They Won't Lose Your Luggage Anymore?

Sitting here in the parking lot of Pierre Regional Airport catching up on the news and came across an article on how the major airlines are beginning to start charging passengers for even their first checked bag. While I was aware of this policy, talking to some of my TSA contacts brought up some interesting side effects that travelers might not have been aware of.


If you thought getting through checkpoints was bad before, imagine what it will be like when more and more passengers try stuffing everything into their carry-on's to save the $15 or more that they would have to pay to check a bag.


The liquids policy will seem tame...

More AP Fun

Yesterday I wrote on how the AP wants you to pay to quote as little as 5 words from one of their articles. As bad as that is, it gets worse. Even if you pay them for a quote, you cannot use that quote in any manner that might be derogatory to the AP.


You shall not use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to the author, the publication from which the Content came, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or depicted in the Content. You agree not to use the Content in any manner or context that will be in any way derogatory to or damaging to the reputation of Publisher, its licensors, or any person connected with the creation of the Content or referenced in the Content.


So even after paying them, no matter how ridiculous a particular story is, you cannot use the AP's own words against them. Quite a racket.


Do I owe them for quoting their Terms of Use?


UPDATE: It appears the AP has issues practicing what they preach. Bloggers are now calculating their bills to the AP for lifting their content, without linking by the way.

Hey, Associated Press: You owe me at least $132,125!

Irony Alert: AP Attacks Blogs for Quoting Their Stories, Then Quotes Even More Extensively from Blogs

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big Tent Party?

Racism definitely doesn't know a political party but it is interesting, or should I say sad, when it makes an appearance at a sanctioned political event.

The pin pictured was being sold by at a booth hosted at the Texas Republican state convention. Gotta love that big tent that the GOP is building...

UPDATE: The marketing company responsible for the pictured button also has a nice one for you Hillary supporters as well, "Life's a Bitch, Don't Vote for One". Sounds like a real classy company the Texas GOP allowed to peddle their wares doesn't it.

In Case You Missed It

Yesterday evening marked the point when same sex couple's in California could marry and unlike the Massachusetts law, couples that are not California residents can also take advantage.

While this policy might only last until a Constitutional ban is voted on in November, the next few month's will at least have many on the intolerant right fuming. So no matter what the outcome this fall, it will be enjoyable to watch.

And in case you were wondering, that loud boom you heard last night around dinner time was just another Reich Wingnut's head exploding in protest.

The Candidate's Wives

Michelle Obama has been in the middle of most of the hubbub involving the candidate's other halves so far. From the non-existent "Whitey" tape to "terrorist" fist pumping with her husband to questions about her patriotism, she has been keeping the media and blogs busy. While all this has been going on, the other wife, Cindy McCain, has been somewhat out of the spotlight (other than providing her hubby with deeply discounted plane use, secret tax returns, and being the other woman when McCain dumped his first wife). Not anymore.

In just now breaking news, it looks like Mrs. McCain has been outed in a very serious scandal that could wreck her husband's campaign. According to the blog Meaningful Distraction, she lifted someone's recipe and had it published as her own in a Family Circle Magazine recipe contest against Michelle Obama. Oh the humanity...

Yes my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek.

Be Careful Who You Quote

UPDATES BELOW

This really only applies to the few that have blogs but it appears that the AP is trying to re-write current fair use policies in regards to their content. Using tactics that are being compared to the RIAA's going after grandma for downloading a Neil Diamond MP3, the AP sent DCMA take down notices to several blogs for what they termed copyright violations.
I'm currently engaged in a legal disagreement with the Associated Press, which claims that Drudge Retort users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing "'hot news' misappropriation under New York state law." An AP attorney filed six Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown requests this week demanding the removal of blog entries and another for a user comment.

The AP got their panties in a bunch over the very common and currently legal practice in the blogosphere of providing an excerpt to some other content along with providing a link to the site in which the whole article from where the quote was taken originally appeared. This practice is normally considered good for both parties, the blogger provides a quote from another source to which he can expand upon and the original author gets an increase in exposure as well as a bump in traffic from the link provided. The AP disagrees and is now embroiled in a blogger backlash that they probably didn't expect.

F U AP

A Proposal to the Associated Press: A Link Ethic

Here's Our New Policy On A.P. stories: They're Banned

Does the old adage that "all press is good press" hold true when you are a part of the old dying media and the "press" aimed at you is all bad and coming from the new and growing media?

UPDATE: And if this does in fact change they way blogs do things, will not being able to quote other sources without prior (re: paid) permission doom one of our local bloggers whose endless quotes from WorldNetDaily and Rush Limbaugh make up a majority of his posts? Just wondering...

UPDATE 2: We all know that greed is behind this new AP policy, I briefly touched on it in the update above, but now it is official. The AP showed it's hand and is now requiring that bloggers quoting their articles must pay $2.50 a word. I have a feeling I know where this is headed and judges and lawyers will likely be involved and Kos already has his wallet ready.

UPDATE 3: Here is the AP form that they want those citing AP content to fill out.

Pricing:























5-25$ 12.50
26-50$ 17.50
51-100$ 25.00
101-250$ 50.00
251 and up$ 100.0


Ok so I just quoted 10 items from the AP, I suppose I will be getting a bill for $12.50

Monday, June 16, 2008

Novel Idea

The blogosphere is all abuzz today over the Obama campaign's latest hire of the former head of Hillary Clinton's campaign Patti Solis Doyle as the Chief of Staff for the as of yet named Vice Presidential choice. Everyone is now speculating as to what the hidden meaning of that hire is. Is it an indication that Hillary is no longer in the running for VP? Is it a slap aimed at Hillary as Doyle and Clinton are supposedly not on speaking terms anymore?

Of course one option that those of us in the blogosphere probably never thought of, maybe Obama''s camp actually thinks she is the best person for the job! But I guess that wouldn't generate much buzz would it?

Unbelievable Stat Of The Day

According to a University of Hertfordshire study, the average 14 to 24 year old has over 800 illegally obtained songs on their iPod.
Teenagers and students have an average of more than 800 illegally copied songs each on their digital music players, the largest academic survey of young people's music ownership has found.

And
The average digital music player carries 1,770 songs, meaning that 48 per cent of the collection is copied illegally. The proportion of illegally downloaded tracks rises to 61 per cent among 14 to 17-year-olds. In addition, 14 per cent of CDs (one in seven) in a young person's collection are copied.

2 items from this story stick out. First I am surprised at the apparent lack of concern from today's youth over the obvious theft that they are perpetrating and much more amazing to me, how can anyone find 1700 songs that they would want to put on their iPod? I have just under 400 (all legal by the way) and a majority of those I never listen to...

Smoke And Mirrors Or Just Reality

Dakota Voice (Smoke and Mirrors on Stem Cell Research in South Dakota) takes a break this morning from preaching the ills of homosexuality to call out an Argus Leader story on stem cell research in South Dakota. The Argus article in question details South Dakota philanthropist extraordinaire T. Denny Sanford's efforts to help fund the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine's stem cell research center.

Bob Ellis of course takes offense with the Argus reporting reality, South Dakota's ban on embryonic stem cell research, and how that ban could affect our state's ability to attract top researchers in the stem cell research field. He attempts to read between the lines to figure out the Argus' ulterior motive because if he doesn't agree, it must be some liberal media conspiracy.
Ah, there's the pitch from the "objective" people at the Argus Leader.

Hey, South Dakota! These ignorant Bible-thumping rubes are going to scare off all the smart people! You know, the ones with all the MONEY!"

So now the ultimate purpose of the article starts to come together. Though there's no direct connection between this Sanford money and the embryonic stem cell research and South Dakota, maybe with Sanford himself as the "bridge" we can create an article to leverage support for getting rid of this "primitive, ignorant" ban on embryonic stem cell research here in South Dakota.

The elitists at the Argus Leader want to stir the ignorant masses to cry out to their legislators to get rid of this "superstition-based" law so that the light of human ingenuity can shine across our state and land...at the cost of innocent human life created in the image of God.

Exactly where is the smoke and mirrors? South Dakota wants to be a leader in medical research in large part because of T. Denny to the point where our re-named Sanford medical system has pledged to cure Type 1 diabetes of which a key to a possible cure is stem cells. Sanford then goes to where he can get that research performed and looks to fund it.

There is your direct connection to Sanford and South Dakota's Stem cell ban that Mr. Ellis doesn't see. Is the Argus therefore also wrong in mentioning in support of the end around that:

A. In California embryonic stem cell research is legal, In South Dakota it is not.
B. Right or wrong many top stem cell researchers believe that the most promise in the field is with embryonic stem cells and therefore would prefer to at least be able work with those cells if they want.

Using my Ohio math, A + B = researchers would go where they have access to all the tools they feel they need. In other words top scientists will bypass South Dakota's ban to work in other states. Not rocket science nor is it bias on the part of the Argus, it's reality.

Ellis then goes on to take exception with the research in general pointing out that adult stem cell research, has produced many more successes than their embryonic cousins but only presents part of the story.
There are already dozens of cures and therapies from adult stem cell research, including treatments for meningitis-related limb damage, retina regeneration, heart tissue regeneration, angina, diabetes, bone cancer, nerve regeneration, liver cancer, and leukemia.

Embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human embryos, has yet to produce a SINGLE success.

While everything he writes is true, it must be because it is almost word for word taken from Family Research Counsel's talking points, he fails to put those results into context. Ever since the Bush Administration banned using federal dollars to fund research using embryonic stem cells, much of the research being federally funded, has moved away from embryonic cells out of necessity meaning that the vast majority of research is done on adult cells.

Has that slowed or even prevented cures from being found? Maybe, we might never know, but when privately funded research is available that allows research using embryonic cells, you would expect scientists to flock to it.

All decisions have consequences, so when South Dakotan's decided they do not want embryonic stem cell research being performed in our state why do some of us still act surprised when faced with the possible loss of jobs because of it? Are we "Bible thumping rubes"? I guess that depends on your perspective.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Re-Enforcing The Separation Between Politics And Religion

Despite what some would want to admit, this year's election might have one important side effect. It is re-enforcing the need to keep religion out of politics.
The 2008 primary election campaign began with candidates scrambling to embrace religious leaders, and it's ending with candidates rushing to repudiate them. An election cycle that was supposed to usher in the marriage of religion and politics may be hastening its divorce.

From the evangelical ministers who questioned the fitness of a Mormon to be president, to the religious-right activists who denounced John McCain as godless, to the McCain-backing radio preacher who said Hitler was fulfilling God's will, to Barack Obama's longtime minister who blamed the United States for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to Obama's Catholic adviser who last week mocked Hillary Clinton, the clergy haven't just made a bad show of it: They've behaved like small-minded bigots.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Funnies

Make sure you don't have a mouthful while viewing and I wouldn't watch if you have Victorian sensibilities but otherwise enjoy.

(h/t - Americablog)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

I am sure by now that most of you have heard about the passing of Tim Russert and one comment that I just heard while watching the coverage really stands out in regards to his hard hitting but fair interviews.

"I haven't had so much fun since my last interrogation in prison camp" - John McCain to Tim Russert after one such interview.

You will be missed.

McCain Likes The Town Halls, No Wonder When He Controls The Attendees

A couple of stories caught my eye this morning. First in the wake of John McCain's invitation to have up to 10 town hall events with his Democratic opponent Barack Obama, the Washington Post details how the town hall format is right up McCain's alley while formal debates have a tendency to throw him off his game.
This is McCain's arena of choice -- the town hall -- where mixing serious answers with flip comments and the occasional sarcastic insult has become his trademark as much as the smartly crafted speech in front of thousands defines his rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Now, the McCain campaign sees town halls as a necessity, hoping the old-style format will serve as a video-age counterweight to the rhetorical chasm between his stilted and sometimes awkward speechmaking and Obama's often rousing delivery.

The Wapo story then goes on to tell why he prefers to take on Obama in town halls forums instead of a debate.
"This isn't a gimmick or some type of a hidden ruse," said McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, calling it a way to elevate the presidential debate and a chance to "change the trajectory of this campaign."

That is where the second story from this morning takes over. Why is McCain so comfortable with his town halls?
Tonight was the first in a much-hyped series of 'town hall' forums scheduled by John McCain's campaign, in which Barack Obama had been challenged to show up to discuss the issues directly with the GOP nominee.

Except, as Fox News reported, McCain's campaign misled the public about the nature of the event. The forum was "billed by the McCain campaign as a town hall with independent and Democratic voters," but Fox News noted at the end that the audience was actually "made up of invited guests and supporters," the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. (emphasis mine)

Gee, why wouldn't Barack Obama agree to this? Pretty easy to be comfortable when you stack the deck in your favor isn't it...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Bad

This is kind of ironic. A big time Conservative blog that is spending much of its time lately "outing" the supposedly anti-semitic community blogs on Barack Obama's official site gets duped into linking to a porn site in the process.

First Little Green Footballs rips the Obama internet crew for allowing their new "Fight the Smears" website to get hacked.
Amateurish beyond belief.

On its very first day online, the Barack Obama “Fight the Smears” web site has been pwned.

Then shortly thereafter they realize that the site they at first thought was a hacked Obama site was in fact a parody site and that they fallen hook line and sinker for the switch, but of course they still managed to blame Obama.
I didn’t notice that the address of this site is FightTheSmears.ORG, not .COM ... this is a parody site. But it’s no less amateurish — because what happened is that the Obama campaign’s web people forgot to register the .org domain. Another beginner’s mistake.

Oops, but once they realized that they took down the link right? Oops again and this time the parody webmaster did a quick change and for over an hour one of the most popular Conservative hate sites was linking to a crafty pornographer
You've all Been RickRolled by XCLUSIVE this is just a small example of how the mainstream media is slacking. It's a shame the lack of research that goes on these days. You would think every link being a RickRoll would be a clue that it wasn't genuine. Start to think for yourselves and remember knowledge is power so stop being SHEEP.

Yeah i'm a dirty pornographer and proud of it. You will be seeing more of Xclusive in the future I can promise you that.

Of course I didn't link directly to the site but I am sure with the quotes above you can figure out the URL and if you want to check out the real Obama "Fight the Smears" site, you can click here.

So who's the amateur again?

Bush Slapped Again

From the AP
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

In its third rebuke of the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court's liberal justices were in the majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

What is surprising is that 4 justices actually thought otherwise. I guess it is too bad for Bush that he didn't have the opportunity to stack the court before getting his hand slapped for the 3rd straight time and hopefully he won't have the chance before the Democrats take over in January.

Michelle Obama

Is Michelle Obama a liability for her husband or is she a liability for faux Fox News? As we wait, and wait, and wait for the most anticipated non-existent video so far this election, the network is having a hard time figuring out how to cover the wife of Barack Obama. First they had to pull anchor E.D. Hill for her controversial comments calling Barack and Michelle Obama's fist-pound a "terrorist fist jab and now this:
An alert reader wrote in just a little while ago to let us know about something he'd spotted on Fox News Wednesday afternoon. During a segment discussing conservative attacks against Michelle Obama, the wife of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, the network described the former as "Obama's baby mama."

I checked, and sure enough, as you can see below, our e-mailer was right. In fact, that description was displayed on screen several times during the segment, which featured anchor Megyn Kelly and conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, an FNC contributor.


Maybe they should just stick to the news and stay away from trying to be hip with the commentary. That once insurmountable lead they liked to brag about in the cable news ratings isn't so insurmountable anymore.

Third Term?

I am sure we will be arguing until November whether putting John McCain in the White House would represent a George Bush third term. McCain says no but his comments, policies, and possible personnel choices say yes. His latest:
Asked whether he’d be interested in Cheney had the vice president not
already have served under Bush for two terms, McCain said: “I don’t
know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same
strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah.”
What would be worse, 4 more years of Bush or 4 more years of Cheney pulling the strings in the White House?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Head Exploding News For The Religious Right

The California Supreme Court Decision that opened up the door for gays to marry had heads on the Religious Right's exploding everywhere. Then New York's Governor opened the backdoor (sorry couldn't resist) for Gay marriage in New York by changing state policy to recognize gay marriages performed in other states which had even more heads exploding. Now a new study should finish off the head exploding, allowing gay marriages could actually boost the economy.
SAN FRANCISCO – Same-sex weddings could create hundreds of new jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into California's economy, according to a new study released Monday.

Gay couples are projected to spend $684 million on flowers, cakes, hotels, photographers and other wedding services over the next three years – so long as voters don't put a halt to the same-sex marriage spree, according to a study by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

During the three-year period, the researchers project that about half of the state's more than 100,000 same-sex couples will get married and another 68,000 out-of-state couples will travel to California to exchange vows. The nuptial rush is expected to create some 2,200 jobs.

There goes the neighborhood, now Liberal policies can actually help America by creating jobs. What's next allowing dogs and cats to marry?

Metallica At It Again

If you are a heavy metal music fan, or just someone familiar with the beginning of the online music revolution, you are familiar with the band Metallica. They have earned the reputation as an internet bully because of the tactics they used to keep their music out of the hands of those that wanted to download it. It came to a head in 2000 when they led the fight against the music sharing site Napster which eventually shut down (though it has returned in several different unsuccessful forms since). They were so anti-internet, other than their small piece of the tubes, that they waited until mid-2006 before joining the legal online download community and allowing iTunes to sell their music.

It seems that even now, as Metallica's popularity is a mere shadow of what it was, the band is still playing the bully and unlike their past fights in which they had a legal leg to stand on, they are now bordering on the outrageous.

To set they story, Metallica has a new album coming out and to begin the promotion machine they invited a group of journalists to come listen to a few tracks. As journalists do, several then wrote reviews of the new album based on the tracks they heard and that is where the Metallica bullying machine takes over.

Almost as quickly as the reviews started appearing online, they suddenly disappeared. The rock site The Quietus explains why
The story behind the removal of the article runs as follows: Metallica held an album listening party for selected music journalists in London this Wednesday past. One of the writers was kind enough to write a piece about the album which, if you were lucky enough to read it before
it was taken down, was full of praise about a return to form. At no point was the writer ask[ed] to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Quietus and other websites ran pieces on the album, but were quickly contacted by Metallica’s management via a third party and told to remove the articles. The Quietus kept our article up the longest and, as no non-disclosure agreement had been signed, [was] not prepared to remove it merely due to the demands of Metallica’s management. We only eventually removed the article earlier today to protect the professional interests of the writer concerned (the piece was written anonymously). Seems Metallica’s fear of the internet shows no sign of abating.

I know that entertainers for the most part have big egos but these guys must need to build an extra wing wherever they go just to hold theirs!

Though the sites in question complied with the group's ridiculous requests, has this latest debacle caused them to lose whatever credibility they had left in as far as they haven't had an album worth buying since the Black Album some 17 years ago? Either way it will be interesting to see what kind of sales this new album generates considering the impact of the internet on album sales and the bands outright disdain for the technology that they continue to exhibit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More On The Hillary Supporter Issue

Yesterday I documented one case of a Hillary Clinton supporter that is going to great lengths to express his anger over Barack Obama winning the nomination. The site now claims 35,000 supporters and according to the counter, has received over 1.3 million hits.

Yesterday CNN took that movement a bit further when they announced the result of a new poll they performed that shows that Ed Hale (the webmaster of the site mentioned above) is not alone.
A newly released CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that if Obama does not select Clinton as his running mate, 22 percent of her supporters would stay home this fall -- and another 17 percent would vote for McCain.

So what does that mean? If you remember, Clinton liked to refer to her 18 million voters when trying to justify staying in the race and if CNN's polling is even somewhat accurate, that would mean that there could be as many as 3 million Democrats willing to change ranks to vote for John McCain.

I have an idea as to what is behind these numbers, one only needs to look at the exit polling in Kentucky and West Virginia. Considering that Obama's platform is almost a carbon copy of Clinton's, could their be other reasons? I hope so.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Big Flippin' Deal!

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the coming of the iPhone take 2 otherwise know as the 3G iPhone today at WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference).
Coming July 11th

Apple Introduces the New iPhone 3G

Twice as Fast at Half the Price

SAN FRANCISCO, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple(R) today introduced the new iPhone(TM) 3G, combining all the revolutionary features of iPhone with 3G networking that is twice as fast* as the first generation iPhone, built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs the hundreds of third party applications already built with the recently released iPhone SDK. In the US the new iPhone 3G is priced at a stunning $199 for the 8GB model, and just $299 for the 16GB model.** iPhone 3G will be available in more than 70 countries later this year, beginning with customer availability in 22 countries — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US — on July 11.

"Just one year after launching the iPhone, we're launching the new iPhone 3G that is twice as fast at half the price," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iPhone 3G supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync right out of the box, runs the incredible third party apps created with the iPhone SDK, and will be available in more than 70 countries around the world this year."

iPhone 3G gives users ever faster access to the Internet and email over their cellular network with quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA for voice and data connectivity around the world. iPhone 3G supports Wi-Fi, 3G and EDGE
networks and automatically switches between them to ensure the fastest possible download speeds. The new iPhone 3G also makes it easier to multi-task with simultaneous voice and data communications, so with iPhone 3G you can browse the web, get map directions, or check your email while you are on a call.

iPhone 3G includes the new iPhone 2.0 software with both the iPhone SDK and key enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide over-the-air push email, contact and calendar syncing as well as remote wipe and Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to corporate networks. The iPhone SDK allows developers to create amazing applications that leverage the iPhone's groundbreaking Multi-Touch(TM) user interface, animation technology, accelerometer and GPS technology on the world's most advanced mobile platform.

iPhone 3G includes the new App Store, providing iPhone users with native applications in a variety of categories including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The App Store on iPhone works over cellular networks and Wi-Fi, which means it is accessible from just about anywhere, so you can purchase and download applications wirelessly and start using them instantly. Some applications are even free and the App Store notifies you when application updates are available. The App Store will be available in 62 countries at launch.

Additional features available with the iPhone 2.0 software include the ability to do real-time mapping and track your progress with GPS technology, mass move and delete multiple email messages, search for contacts, access a new scientific calculator, turn on parental control restrictions for specified content, save images directly from a web page or email them to your iPhone and easily transfer them back to your photo library on your Mac(R) or PC. iPhone 3G delivers an amazing 10 hours of talk time on 2G networks and 5 hours using 3G, with up to 5 to 6 hours of web browsing, up to 7 hours for video playback and up to 24 hours for audio playback.

iPhone 3G takes advantage of MobileMe(TM), a new Internet service that pushes email, contacts, and calendars from an online "cloud" to native applications on iPhone, iPod(R) touch, Macs and PCs. With MobileMe email, messages are pushed instantly to iPhone, removing the need to manually check email and wait for downloads, and push keeps contacts and calendars continuously up-to-date so changes made on one device are automatically updated on other devices. With iPhone, you can even snap a photo and post it directly to a MobileMe Gallery to share with friends and family.

iPhone 3G will be available in the US on July 11 for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 8GB model and $299 (US) for the 16GB model in both Apple and AT&T's retail stores and requires a new two year contract with AT&T for qualifying customers. iPhone 2.0 software will be available on July 11 as a free software update via iTunes(R) 7.7 or later for all iPhone customers. For further information about iPhone 3G pricing and availability in the US and internationally, visit http://www.apple.com/iphone.

* Based on 3G and EDGE testing. Actual speeds vary by site conditions.

** Based on iPhone 3G (8GB) and first generation iPhone (8GB) purchases. Requires new two year AT&T rate plan, sold separately.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.
Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its
award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit Apple's PR website (http://www.apple.com/pr/), or call Apple's Media Helpline at (408) 974-2042.

(C) 2008 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iPhone, Multi-Touch, MobileMe, iPod and iTunes are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

And as usual, because of Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T, those of us in South Dakota will again miss out on this new toy.

Hey Steve, do you really want to impress me? How about making it available to those of us that AT&T has deemed unworthy?

Hillary Supporters On The Loose

The Democrats just concluded a long and hard fought contest for their nomination for President this fall. Along the way it appears some had their feelings hurt and one Hillary Clinton supporter in particular has taken it to new heights.

Self proclaimed "life long" Democrat Ed Hale is angry and he isn't going to take it anymore in regards to the process that gave Barack Obama the nomination and he has started a grassroots organization that seeks to make the DNC and Barack Obama pay for cheating his beloved Hillary.
They have treated Hillary Clinton worst than I would treat a mad dog. This site is up to get like minded people to join so if they do go ahead and nominate Obama, we will be ready to make sure that he never goes to the White House. If Hillary get the nomination, then I will be leading the charge for her.

Bad spelling and just downright unprofessional website aside (hey Ed, Wordpress is free and comes with lots of template choices), how does Hale seek to punish us for our transgressions? He wants all Hillary supporters to put their support behind the candidate that represents the complete opposite of what Clinton stands for, Republican nominee John McCain.

That will teach us, instead of supporting the candidate with virtually the same platform as your gal, you instead will work to put us in the same boat that we have been in for the last 8 years.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Minot Fallout

Last week I wondered out loud about who was running the circus that is the nuclear weapons handling for the Air Force after an announced nuclear inspection at Minot Air Force Base failed miserably less than a year after the same base allowed nuclear tipped cruise missiles to fly across the country unnoticed.

Today we found out .
The Air Force’s senior civilian official and its highest-ranking general were ousted by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday following an official inquiry into the mishandling of nuclear weapons and components, an episode that Mr. Gates called an indication of systemic problems in the Air Force.

The Air Force secretary, Michael W. Wynne, and the service’s chief of staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, were forced to resign after the inquiry found that the latest incident reflected “a pattern of poor performance” in securing sensitive military components, Mr. Gates said at a Pentagon briefing.

Daschle Interested In HHS Secretary?

Tom Daschle has been a Barack Obama supporter from the beginning and he helped lead the unsuccessful campaign here in the South Dakota primary so what if any position would he like in an Obama White House?

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota has no interest in the vice presidency or in serving as chief of staff if Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is elected president, but sources say he is interested in universal health care and might relish serving as HHS secretary.

Daschle, an early and ardent backer of Obama's bid for the White House and a key player in President Clinton's push for universal health care in 1993, told CongressDaily he hopes he "can be helpful, perhaps in a prospective Obama administration, on healthcare reform" and added that he would be "interested in finding ways to do that."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Joel Dykstra Getting Some National Pub

Our newly crowned GOP US Senate sacrificial lamb candidate hit the pages of a well know national blog today. Well at least his most popular quote did.
"I think 'rape and incest' is a buzzword. It's a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?" --South Dakota state Rep. Joel Dykstra (R-Lincoln County) on why the state legislature didn't include those exceptions in its abortion ban, April 20, 2006.

The McCain Speech

I just wanted to post a quick hit in regards to John McCain's speech last night. One thing he said stuck in my mind and had to do with his denial of the Obama claim that voting for McCain would result in 4 more years of President Bush. Here's the speech:

McCain speech highlight -"He (Bush) and I have not seen eye to eye on many issues"

Really?

"While John McCain has a record of occasional independence from his party in the past, last year he chose to embrace 95% of George Bush's agenda, including his failed economic policies and his failed policy in Iraq."

And something else that he didn't mention last night. What does McCain think of Bush's suspension of our Constitutional rights and his attempt to let the Telcoms of the hook for spying on us illegally?
[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. [...]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

Lets tally things up. McCain routinely votes for Bush's policies, wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and agrees with his unconstitutional warrant less wiretapping of US citizens.

So what part of a 3rd Bush term does McCain not understand?

UPDATE - Crooks and Liars continues the McSame theme even further.