Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Sunday, April 30, 2006

The great NYC cell phone ban

Not in a New York City school you don't

Bloomberg tone-deaf to cell phones

"They're not bringing them into school!" he was quoted saying.

He suggested that parents could call the school if there was an emergency, which they would generally do anyway when classes are in session. He did not address those times when city kids are taking public transportation between home and school. A London-style subway bombing during the morning rush could strand tens of thousands of schoolkids, panicked and unable to reach parents who were also in transit.

The attack on the World Trade Center began shortly after classes began, but the schools nearest the twin towers were evacuated. These included the High School for Economics and Finance, where the phones were ringing off the hook with calls from terrified parents. Two secretaries, Kathleen Gilson and Joan Trutneff, courageously volunteered to stay.

"No way," the principal, Patrick Burke, told them.

The secretaries left with the principal and the phones rang unanswered in an empty building as the students and staff fled. A 15-year-old sophomore from Brooklyn named Simone Press took out a cell phone she had brought to school even though it had been confiscated once as contraband. She managed to get through to her mother, Rise Press.

"I could hear her running and screaming down the block," the mother later told Daily News reporter Alison Gendar. "She said, 'Mom, people are jumping out of windows. Mom, there are body parts everywhere.'"

In the immediate aftermath, what was still called the Board of Education considered scrapping the ban on cell phones and simply requiring they be turned off. The matter was referred to a committee for study and the result was that the ban remained in force.

As a result, the renamed Department of Education begins each school day telling itself that it operates with less sway over its students than your basic movie theater exercises over its patrons. No metal detectors are positioned at cinema entrances and most patrons do not even need a prompting to turn off their cell phones.

During the afternoon showing of "United 93" at the Battery Park Stadium 11, nary a cell phone was heard to ring among the audience. The only cell phones in evidence were those being used up on the screen by the ill-fated passengers.

As true as anything else in that movie is the desperate need to connect with your loved ones in the face of terror. A reminder of the very real threat we continue to face came to the patrons departing the Battery Park cinema who gazed across West St. to the pit known as Ground Zero.

The man who ordered that attack is still at large and is no doubt plotting at this very moment to perpetrate a new horror upon us. Our schoolkids need to be able to communicate with their families as they travel through this bull's-eye called the City of New York.


But, when he adds cell phones to the list, he mars his moral authority with authoritarianism. He should chat with the kids who ride the subway with him each weekday and ask why our school system cannot impress upon them a lesson of simple courtesy taught in every movie theater

This is going to result in tragedy one day. All you need is a school shooting, forget terrorism, even a fire, and you could create panic which could be avoided if kids could use their phones to call home.

The city is headed for litigation over this, when common sense would suffice. Kisd should have access to cells for emergencies.If they answer them in class, then unless someone died, they should lose the right to use them in school.

But without the ability to communicate, and Mike Daly is not exagurating, you could really create needless tension.

Today is a perfect day, cloudless sky, 67 and sunny. You know what we call those days
in New York. 9/11 days.

The kids need access to phones, for peace of mind if nothing else.

posted by Steve @ 2:08:00 PM

2:08:00 PM

The News Blog home page

There's a reason

Matt Leinart

Should've been welcome Matt

Gang Green's snub is way off Lein-art

The Jets were now on the clock after their weak bid to move up for Reggie Bush failed to tempt the Saints. Matt Leinart waited in the green room for his cell phone to ring, wanted his cell phone to ring, but it was D'Brickashaw Ferguson who was soon posing for pictures with Paul Tagliabue.

Leinart didn't have to wait as long as Dan Marino in 1983 or Brett Favre in 1991 or Aaron Rodgers last year, but one call from the Jets to Leinart would have taken care of both their needs: The Jets don't have a franchise quarterback and Leinart craved the big stage of New York.

Leinart's fall to the Cardinals at No. 10 after a career that included one Heisman Trophy, two national championships and nearly a third was humbling. But at least he has a team. The Jets still don't have a quarterback.

"We spent a lot of time with Matt. He's a good person, he's going to be a good player. He's very successful," Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said. "We just felt as an organization that the best thing to do in the four spot was to take D'Brickashaw."

Ferguson will start at left tackle right away and probably stay there for the next 10 years. But the stubbornness of the Tannenbaum-Eric Mangini regime in sticking to the New England way of doing things - is Bill Belichick running their draft room by remote control? - by refusing to use a high pick on a quarterback made this an uneventful and forgettable day for the Jets.

Chad Pennington is trying to resurrect his career after his second shoulder surgery in eight months. Patrick Ramsey was twice benched by Joe Gibbs for Mark Brunell. Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, doesn't make many mistakes at quarterback. And he gave up on Ramsey. The Jets also had Brooks Bollinger, but hardly made up for skipping Leinart when they took Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens in the second round.

But the good thing is the Jets can now protect them from the blind side with Ferguson. And they made this a draft with a lot of star power by drafting another offensive lineman, center Nick Mangold, with their second first-round pick. They turned the John Abraham trade into a center.

So why did Leinart fall?

Arm strength. Too Hollywood. Accomplishments tainted because he played with so many great players. Not a great athlete. This, of course, overlooks the fact that he was 37-2 starting for Pete Carroll at Southern Cal. The Jets needed a face for the franchise and Leinart has the charisma.

Neither Bush nor Leinart went as high as they should. Bush has real issues with an agent and extortion and it's a mess Houston wanted no part of.

The Jets pass on a QB when they have the uber-shakey Pennington for a reason. He must have rubbed them the wrong way. Because it's not just the Jets. Green Bay, with Favre near retirement and always QB short Oakland also passed. Why? Leinart went 10th and the question is why. Why didn't Oakland take him? Why wasn't he taken over Vince Young. More than one team saw him and didn't like what they saw.

It may be another Dan Marino, but usually when teams shy away from a known player, there's something going on. There is usually an outside factor. With Bush, it's in the open. But when Oakland passes on a QB, you have to wonder why.

His agent and a GM say it was just football, but who knows. The guy won the Heisman and he goes 10th? Even if it was a red flag, it might be the kind of issue you don't discuss. It just seems off.

posted by Steve @ 1:33:00 PM

1:33:00 PM

The News Blog home page

You might have a problem

I wonder how many 62 year old fans he has

Woman, 62, Fights $1,431 Cable Porn Bill

Sat Apr 29, 6:29 AM ET

YONKERS, N.Y. - A 62-year-old retired schoolteacher is fighting with a cable company over a hefty bill for porn and gangsta rap programming she says she never ordered.

The charges of more than $1,000 appeared on Claudia Lee's February Cablevision bill, shortly after she bundled her cable TV, computer and phone services.

"They are harassing me and trying to make me pay for something I didn't do," said Lee, who lives alone.

She said she has been forced to pay $779 to the company and was told to pay $652 more or face having her services cut off.

"Every time I call, somebody tells me something different. They're not on the same page," she said Thursday.

Lee said the only regular visitor to her house is her 81-year-old mother, "and I don't think she wants to watch porn."

They suspended this once it was all over local TV. The lady didn't look like a Jenna Jameson fan to me. Obviously this is either a billing mistake, internal fraud or someone stole her cable. But I didn't think you could order pay per view with a stolen line and no remote.

Besides, PPV porn is 9.95 here in NY, at $10 a pop, that's 100 pornos. That's a LOT of porn to watch. Maybe they have an installer selling boxes and hooking people up on the side. Because this doesn't make sense otherwise.

posted by Steve @ 8:14:00 AM

8:14:00 AM

The News Blog home page

That refugee crisis? Well, ge finally got one

TENT CITY The number of Shiite families in
refugee camps is growing. About 14,000 families
have been displaced.

Votes Counted. Deals Made. Chaos Wins.

Published: April 30, 2006

THE country's new leaders were only five days into their jobs Thursday morning, when a BMW filled with armed men pulled alongside a van carrying the sister of Iraq's new Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi. The men opened fire, killing Maysoon al-Hashemi, a 61-year-old grandmother.

Just two weeks before, Mr. Hashemi's brother Mahmoud, a father of six, was shot to death in a similar way. At his sister's funeral service Thursday, Mr. Hashemi walked behind her coffin and looked on as his men lifted it into an S.U.V. that then carried her to Martyrs' Cemetery in northern Baghdad. The silver-haired Mr. Hashemi turned and walked away, his head hung low. "Let's go back, guys," he said to his men. Ms. Hashemi's murder offered not just another reminder of the horrible sacrifices made by so many Iraqis who have signed on to the American-backed democratic project here. It also highlighted what has become the single most confounding paradox of Iraq's and America's three-year-old war: that the democratic process, seen as the main hope for ending the violence, has been unable to stop it. Two constitutions, two elections and a referendum later, Iraq is reeling toward more chaos, not less.

The Iraqis who gathered last week around the newly chosen prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, said they saw a fresh chance to bind the communities back together and put the country on a path toward normalcy. Indeed, a sense of relief pervaded the offices of Iraqi officials, who had finally broken a deadlock over results of popular elections that took place more than four months ago.

But the question hanging over the parliamentary votes last weekend was whether the elected leaders, most of them now barricaded inside the protected Green Zone, could do anything to stop the slide toward anarchy and civil war. Two years' worth of dealmaking by Iraq's elites has proved largely irrelevant to the realities unfolding on the ground.

In northern Baghdad, Shiite families arrive regularly at the Muamal Sadr refugee camp, fleeing the ethnic cleansing that is transforming the mixed cities around Baghdad. Four months ago, the camp was a vacant lot; today, about 150 families live there, many of them in tents provided by the government.

One of the newly arrived is Kharmut Hanoon, a 40-year-old farmer from Abu Ghraib, who said he abandoned his home and a pair of wheat fields a month ago after gunmen driving Opel sedans started killing Shiites in his neighborhood. "They just drive by and shoot you," he said.

Now, Mr. Hanoon and 14 relatives share a pair of tents at the camp. "Can you imagine that anyone would ever leave his home, for any reason?" sighed Mr. Hanoon, waving a cigarette. "Only bad people and gypsies live in tents."

Mr. Hanoon said the ugliness that forced him to flee was not a passing phenomenon, but the final measure of Iraq's Sunnis. When he packed his belongings and prepared to leave, he said, not a single one of his Sunni neighbors stopped by to say goodbye.

"It's in their genes," he said. "It's a disease. They hate the Shiites. I don't think things will ever go back to normal between Shiites and Sunnis."

According to the Iraqi government, about 14,000 families — probably close to 100,000 people — have been displaced by the violence. More than 80 percent, the government said, are Shiites. About 2,000 Iraqis have been killed since the Askariya Shrine, a holy Shiite mosque in Samarra, was destroyed in a bombing two months ago.

Iraqis are urban people. They live in cities and towns. For them to live in tents is like you living in a tent instead of a house. Something very bad has happened. We can bullshit and pretend and create all kind of fake good news from Iraq, but if this isn't a civil war, what the fuck happened in the Congo when people fled for their lives? An election?

Filkins is way too kind. Elites? Try exiles who now want to play at government while people die in the process. This is about a puppet government in the Green Zone and no government outside it.

Voting only works if the government works. Elections don't mean shit if you can't walk the street without a gun

This is going to come undone really soon. How long can Sadr and SCIRI watch their people live in tents like "bad people".

posted by Steve @ 8:02:00 AM

8:02:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Deadbeat soldiers refuse debts

The deadbeat inn

GAO Says Government Pesters Wounded Soldiers Over Debts

By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 27, 2006; Page A18

Nearly 900 soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have been saddled with government debts as they have recovered from war, according to a report that describes collection notices going out to veterans with brain damage, paralysis, lost limbs and shrapnel wounds.

The report from the Government Accountability Office, to be released at a hearing today, details how long-recognized problems with military computer systems led to the soldiers being dunned for an array of debts related to everything from errors in paychecks to equipment left behind on the battlefield.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Kelly, who lost a leg in a roadside bombing, received a letter in 2004 saying he was in debt to the government and was in jeopardy of being referred to a collection agency.

The problem came to light last year, as soldiers' complaints began to surface and several lawmakers became involved. The GAO had been investigating other pay problems caused by the defense accounting system and was asked by Congress to investigate debts among the battle-wounded.

The new report shows a problem more widespread than previously known.

"We found that hundreds of separated battle-injured soldiers were pursued for collection of military debts incurred through no fault of their own," the report said.

Last fall, the Army said 331 soldiers had been hit with military debt after being wounded at war. The latest figures show that a larger group of 900 battle-wounded troops has been tagged with debts.

"It's unconscionable," said Ryan Kelly, 25, a retired staff sergeant who lost a leg to a roadside bomb and then spent more than a year trying to fend off a debt of $2,231. "It's sad that we'd let that happen."

Kelly recalled the day in 2004 when, months after learning to walk on a prosthesis, he opened his mailbox to find a letter saying he was in debt to the government -- and in jeopardy of referral to a collection agency. "It hits you in the gut," he said. "It's like, 'Thanks for your service, and now you owe us.' "

But, but we support the troops.

OH, fuck you. A decent coutry wouldn't let this happen. Unless you can grow back an arm, looking for cash from wounded GI's beggars description. It is the kind of casual cruelty one has learned to expect from the Bush Administation.

If we really supported the troops in this country,after the first few cases, this would have been solved. They don't even investigate these cases, they just send bills and dock pay.

posted by Steve @ 7:46:00 AM

7:46:00 AM

The News Blog home page

150=20 in Iraq

U.S. Pays for 150 Iraqi Clinics, and Manages to Build 20

Published: April 30, 2006

A $243 million program led by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build 150 health care clinics in Iraq has in some cases produced little more than empty shells of crumbling concrete and shattered bricks cemented together into uneven walls, two reports by a federal oversight office have found.

The reports, released yesterday, detail a close inspection of five of the clinics in the northern city of Kirkuk as well as a sweeping audit of the entire program, which began in March 2004 as a heavily promoted effort to improve health care for ordinary Iraqis. The reports say that none of the five clinics in Kirkuk and only 20 of the original 150 across the country will be completed without new financing.

Written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office, the reports cite a wide range of factors, including disputes among Iraqi construction companies and problems with local materials, that have contributed to the program's failures. The American company Parsons, the prime contractor for the work, also comes in for stiff criticism.

But the reports' main finding is that lax oversight by the Army corps is responsible for the failure of the overall program. Cowed by security fears that the reports suggest may have been overblown, the corps sometimes inspected the work only through what it called "windshield surveys" — hasty drive-bys.

Poor cost accounting and a rapid turnover of United States government personnel in Iraq also contributed to the problems, the reports say

You cannot build where you will be killed. Uh, they kill french fry suppliers, running around checking on sites is asking to get killed.

posted by Steve @ 2:51:00 AM

2:51:00 AM

The News Blog home page

An uncomfortable silence

Kickin' ass and takin' names

Stephen Colbert smacks Bush down hard (WITH SPOILER QUOTES and POLL)
by TrueBlueMajority [Subscribe]
Sat Apr 29, 2006 at 08:48:46 PM PDT

Stephen Colbert just mercilessly slapped down George Bush from ten feet away. Bush had to sit there and smile and pretend he liked it and could do nothing to stop him. Delicious!

Colbert worked in everything--everything! He smacked down the Republicans on:

NSA wiretapping
Global warming
capitalist kissing up to China
the Republican aversion to facts
secret prisons in Eastern Europe
bad reporting on WMD intelligence
the complicity of the mainstream media
retired generals attacking Rumsfeld
the 32% approval rating
Jeff Gannon
the relentlessness of Helen Thomas askig tough questions
the culture of corruption

selected killer quotes (rough transcription):

I give people the truth unfiltered by factual argument. I call it the No Fact Zone. Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.

The government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

reality has a well known liberal bias

I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, like aircraft carriers, rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong mesasge that no matter what happens to America she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world!

The greatest thing about this President is you know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday!

Fox News gives you both sides of every story, the President's side and the Vice President's side.

Write that novel you've got kicking around in your head--you know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the Administration--you know, fiction!

[Jesse Jackson] is a very challenging interview... It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor by the way because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the Chocolate City... Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington D.C., the Chocolate City with a marshmallow center... and a graham cracker crust of corruption.

It may appear that he was bombing because the sheltered Fox News watching conservative crowd is unaccustomed to satire and have never heard themselves so throughly skewered before. Republicans don't know how to laugh at themselves and the scattered Democrats are afraid to laugh heartily under the circumstances, but when they get home and watch it on Tivo they'll have tears in their eyes just like me watching it from the safety of home.

I think Stephen the brilliant, the magnificent, the unparalleled, accomplished what he set out to do:

He threw barbs at Bush and Cheney and selected other targets like McCain, Rove, McClellan, and Rumsfeld. He made rude gestures at Antonin Scalia. He showered rhetorical kisses on Helen Thomas.

Most important, he told them his name and they will never forget who he is. He didn't do what liberals usually do and agree to make fun of liberals too in order to appease the crowd. He was so good that they will never ask him back. At least until the liberals are in control of Washington again.

I just figured out why I'm so happy about this performance.

He said everything I would want to say if I could force George Bush to listen to me as a captive audience for 20 minutes.

You have to see this, Crooks and Liars

Video-WMP (low res) Video QT (it's a big file)

posted by Steve @ 2:48:00 AM

2:48:00 AM

The News Blog home page

A last desperate gasp

Shut up, shut up

In Leak Cases, New Pressure on Journalists

Published: April 30, 2006

Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the press. They have also tried to force reporters to identify their sources.

But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.

Such an approach would signal a thorough revision of the informal rules of engagement that have governed the relationship between the press and the government for many decades. Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the possibility of subpoenas to journalists seeking the identities of sources.

But the Bush administration is putting pressure on the press as never before, and it is operating in a judicial climate that seems increasingly receptive to constraints on journalists.

In the last year alone, a reporter for The New York Times was jailed for refusing to testify about a confidential source; her source, a White House aide, was prosecuted on charges that he lied about his contacts with reporters; a C.I.A. analyst was dismissed for unauthorized contacts with reporters; and a raft of subpoenas to reporters were largely upheld by the courts.

It is not easy to gauge whether the administration will move beyond these efforts to criminal prosecutions of reporters. In public statements and court papers, administration officials have said the law allows such prosecutions and that they will use their prosecutorial discretion in this area judiciously. But there is no indication that a decision to begin such a prosecution has been made. A Justice Department spokeswoman, Tasia Scolinos, declined to comment on Friday.

Because such prosecutions of reporters are unknown, they are widely thought inconceivable. But legal experts say that existing laws may well allow holding the press to account criminally. Should the administration pursue the matter, these experts say, it could gain a tool that would thoroughly alter the balance of power between the government and the press.

The administration and its allies say that all avenues must be explored to ensure that vital national security information does not fall into the hands of the nation's enemies.

In February, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, asked Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales whether the government's investigation into The Times's disclosure of a National Security Agency eavesdropping program included "any potential violation for publishing that information."

Mr. Gonzales responded: "Obviously, our prosecutors are going to look to see all the laws that have been violated. And if the evidence is there, they're going to prosecute those violations."

Recent articles in conservative opinion magazines have been even more forceful.

"The press can and should be held to account for publishing military secrets in wartime," Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote in Commentary magazine last month.

That means the right to a full and vigorous defense, including if there were criminal acts committed by the government. The defense would have the right to prove these prisons existed, people were maltreated in them, and any claim of secrecy was really designed to hide violations of federal and international law.

The government would have to prove harm as well.

If the government wants to debate kidnapping and torturing people as neccessary to national security, they can do so. But to expect sympathy for this is a bit much.

The government would be forced to disclose the scale, scope and nature of the NSA program as well. If they want to go to court and lose the press like they lost Hispanics, fine. But even Fox News knows that they could be at risk as well.

Judy Miller was compromised years ago. James Risen is a very different story. They try to indict him on espionage charges, the reaction will be extremely different.

When CBS sued Howard Stern, nearly every broadcaster sided with him quickly.Why? Because they realized that they could be next. This ups the ante 100 fold

But I think this is really about pre-Rove jockeying. Once he's indicted, such a move would be seen as wagging the dog.

posted by Steve @ 2:27:00 AM

2:27:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Jesse James was no hero

Tom Watson posted this up and I'm going to expand on this in a following post:

April 29, 2006
Trouble in the Heartland

Like many men of my age and geography, I will purchase just about anything Bruce Springsteen sells, and that includes his strange and raucous new release, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, nominally a tribute to octogenerian folksinger Pete Seeger, but more broadly another small piece in Springsteen's ongoing reinterpretation of American culture. The record covers traditional folk material - no originals. It sounds entirely live, recorded with a wide-ranging group of musicians, the errant tuba occasionally reminiscent of Springsteen's whirling, precocious early sound.

Being both a careful producer and a careful liberal, Springsteen is always controlling about both his musical releases and his statements. But this record is sloppy, haphazard. So is the message, but the results are less joyful. Because there in lineup is that old folk warhorse, the Ballad of Jesse James - and because of it, the calliope crashes to the ground.

Everybody knows the song, and perhaps in its inherent long-standing myth, there's an innocence that calls for forgiveness to actual history, at least for aging rock musicians:

Jesse James was a man
And he killed many men
He robbed the Glendale train
And he took from the rich
And he gave that to the poorer
He'd a hand and a heart and a brain

History tells a different tale. Skip the heart - in history, Jesse James had a hand, and a gun, and a brain - that brain belonged to the lost cause of the Confederacy, to race hatred, and to revenge. And the gun belonged to American terrorism.

Jesse James was terrorist who killed without compassion. The record on that is clear. Oh, he wasn't the mastermind of a movement like Osama bin Laden (that honor in the Border Wars belonged to the hate killers Bill Anderson and William Quantrill), but he certainly was of the ilk of killers like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdelkarim Hussein Mohammed al-Nasser, and others on the U.S. most wanted list of international terrorists. And the U.S. government, on behalf of its terrorized civilian population in Kansas and Missouri and the midwest, hunted Jesse and his brother Frank and the rest of their gang with at least the relentless passion we now employ against killer hiding in Pakistani provinces.

Author T.J. Stiles wrote a brilliant revisionist book a few years back that tore the cover off the James myth (created largely in the 20th century, long after his death at the hands of bounty hunter Robert Ford). Jesse James : Last Rebel of the Civil War is a terrific page-turner, but it's also terrifying to those who believe in the ancient values of the American heartland, who go for the Disney view of the Civil War's aftermath, western expansion, and the deadly growth pains of our nation. It's surprising that Springsteen hasn't read it, and that musicians like Seeger and Van Morrison (who also prominently covered the ballad) don't have a clue as to the real story.

Under a greater "lost cause" movement led by Quantrill after the Confederacy to punish pro-Union supporters in Missouri, James and his ilk engaged in ritual torture, murder, scalping, dismemberment, attacks on unarmed civilians, destruction of property, and general violent mayhem. They also lined their own pockets. But James is remembered primarily because of his canny use of the media of the day, mainly pro-Southern newspaper publishers who created in him a Robin Hood figure for the lost cause of the South. "In his political consciousness and close alliance with a propagandist and power broker, in his efforts to win media attention with his crimes," wrote Stiles. "Jesse James was a forerunner of the modern terrorist."

There is nothing but religion and modern munitions technology to seperate the Quantrill/James movement of the midwest from the al-Qaeda of today. Yet, when Stiles' book reached the Amazon best-seller list a few years ago, some reviewers attacked it as "anti-southern." In an instant, you could see the distant, historic connection between the defeat of the Confederacy and its violent aftermath and the successful "Southern Strategy" of Ronald Reagan's Republican Party, which leveraged the chip on the South's historic shoulder to provide stunning electoral success - and reward the very political party that Southerners once believed had ravaged their culture forever. Steve Gillard writes about this quite often, under the banner of not letting the GOP off the hook (and I think, under the hope that the strategy is on its last legs in 2006). He has another good post on the traditional Reagan-based Stars and Bars strategem; here's a piece:

There are two Confederacys, one of history and one of imagination.

The one we deal with today is of imagination.

The one of rebel flags and the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the cult of the dead rebels.

It has little to do with reality.

The real Confederacy was closer to Biafra than Nazi Germany. A poor, break away Republic destined to be crushed by the larger neighbor.

The reason you get people like Jim Webb playing cute and George Allen praising the Confederacy has to do with how the Confederacy was resurrected in the postwar period. It was about race and integration, not history.

He is exactly correct. And it's really not such a Southern Strategy any more - as Steve has said, it's a dissatisfied, disenfranchised whites strategy nowadays, going far beyond the borders of the Southern states. But it's showing its age and fraying at the edges as well, mainly because the economic reality for so many middle class white people is so starkly disadvantaged when compared to the wealth of those who actually run the Republican Party. These days, the civil rights battles of the old South make for good tourism in the new South. I've been the Birmingham and Montgomery recently - civil rights history is bringing the tourists in.

Still, this love of Confederate myth - the glorious lost cause - persists. A few years back, I was in Charleston on business and a friend and I took a walking tour of the old part of the city. Fascinating and beautiful. But in the old church downtown, there's a memorial to the martyred sons of "the nation" - and it's ain't the United States they're talking about. My friend was horrified, and vilified the local guide - who calmly described the pre-Civil War Charleston as a city in a golden age when African-American slaves had it pretty good. We passed on the Bobby Lee statues in the gift shop and decided on a self-guided tour from that point on.

Bruce Springsteen should know better. This pining away for the Confederate past and its post-war terrorist followers shouldn't make his latest record - no matter how traditional the tune is. The hero myth should die.

In Kearney, Missouri they still hold their Jesse James Festival every year - paid for partly with municipal funds - and the official history of the town on the Web still rails against the cruelty of "the Federals." A group of citizens gives tours at the nonprofit Jesse James Farm Museum, and raises money to preserve the hallowed ground.

Tourism, I guess - maybe someday there'll be a similar set-up in the mountains of Afghanistan.

posted by Steve @ 12:02:00 AM

12:02:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Saturday, April 29, 2006

First barbecue of the year

Jen and I are going to our first barbecue of the year.

Any suggestions as to what to bring. Any wines especially good with grilled foods?

Let's hear some ideas

Jen here. Looks like Gilly and I are Forming a Plan.

Please keep the suggestions coming! :)

posted by Steve @ 2:57:00 PM

2:57:00 PM

The News Blog home page

A radical step

Monday is a no work day......maybe

National Boycott Plans Creating a New Divide
By Teresa Watanabe, Anna Gorman and Nancy Cleeland, Times Staff Writers
April 29, 2006

Los Angeles restaurant worker Jose Mendez says he will risk his job.

The 45-year-old illegal immigrant plans to skip work and march for immigrant rights on Monday for one reason: He hopes someday to become a legal resident of the United States. After six years here, he wants to visit the family he left behind in Mexico — without fear of arrest on his way back.

Lupe Moreno, 48, a Santa Ana social worker, American citizen and advocate for immigration control, will not join in the national boycott of work, school and consumer spending. After she finishes work, she said, she will engage in her own form of activism: purchasing a $1,000 big-screen TV to "support the U.S. economy as a proud Latino American."

And Luis Magana, a worker at the Sara Lee Bakery Group factory in Vernon, is still torn about what to do. "We want to show that our work counts. We pay taxes and help the economy," Magana said, referring to himself and his fellow workers. "But we need our jobs too."

What began as a call for action by a small group of Los Angeles activists three months ago has gained dramatic momentum in recent days — with the boycott even drawing support from the California Senate. Some now see it as a measure of whether the newly energized immigrant rights movement will crest to new heights, stumble or provoke anger that hurts the cause.

The outcome is difficult to predict.

As of Friday, marches, rallies and other events were scheduled in at least 68 cities across 23 states, with hundreds of thousands expected to turn out in Chicago and 50,000 in Seattle. While turnout in Eastern cities such as Washington was expected to be light, demonstrations are expected in at least 25 California cities.

In Los Angeles, police are preparing for two major marches, estimating the combined turnout at about 500,000. One, sponsored by the March 25 Coalition of mostly Latino grass-roots organizations, is scheduled to begin at noon and move from Olympic Boulevard and Broadway to City Hall.

The other, sponsored by the We Are America coalition of labor, religious and community groups, is set to begin at 4 p.m. in MacArthur Park and proceed along Wilshire Boulevard to La Brea Avenue.

The two events represent somewhat of a split in opinion, with the Olympic march organizers supporting the worker and consumer boycott, and the MacArthur park activists taking a neutral stance. Some behind this march — including Cardinal Roger M. Mahony — oppose the boycott as counterproductive.

Locally and nationally, organizers expect to draw more diverse crowds into the streets.

In Chicago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and members of his Rainbow Coalition have pledged to participate. And in Los Angeles, some African American community leaders, Korean American churches and businesses, Filipino workers, South Asian immigrants, Jews and Muslims have all announced their intent to march.

Organizers are urging peaceful rallies, but reports of possible walkouts by students and strikes by truckers and cab drivers, meatpackers and hotel workers, grocers and gardeners have raised concerns of havoc.

"It is going to be devastating to us because we are going to be 30,000 containers behind" if truckers don't show up to transport cargo at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, said Stephanie Williams, senior vice president of the California Trucking Assn.


A recent survey by Garcia Research, a Burbank firm specializing in Latino market research, found overwhelming support in Los Angeles for a boycott of work and consumer spending.

"After so many years of working so hard, people feel they don't have voice," said Carlos Rojas, the firm's political analyst. "They see it as a way of showing the rest of society the power and dignity of the Latinos."

Feelings are running so high in some heavily Latino areas that many employers don't feel comfortable not closing for the day.

In Maywood, where 78% of the city's 30,000 residents are Latino, "they don't want to deal with the headache of showing up for work and having fingers pointed at them," said City Councilman Sam Peña.

For some workers, the decision of what to do — to boycott or not, even to march or not — fills them with fear. But many also are excited, infused with a sense of historical destiny.

"This is so we can all walk free," said food vendor Maria Aguilar, "those of us who have papers and those who don't."

The atmosphere in other U.S. cities, such as Atlanta and Houston, appeared to be different. Organizers of boycotts and demonstrations there said recent immigration raids probably would intimidate many workers into staying on the job.

Enrique Lopez, 39, owner of Carniceria Durango in the Atlanta area, said he and his five employees would take the day off. But a large rally, he said, was out of the question.

Like many workers, small businesses owned and heavily patronized by immigrants faced tough decisions.

In the bustling produce district south of downtown Los Angeles, John Rusconi wrestled with whether to close down his Santa Maura Spice and Garlic Co. on Central Avenue. He had announced earlier that the fragrant warehouse would operate as usual on Monday but was having second thoughts.

"The customers are asking if we're sure we want to be open when no one else will be," he said.
Black activists have wanted to do this for decades and never found a single cause to rally around. Civil rights has always been about local conditions with a national cause. The civil rights bills of the 60's required national attention for local action. And local boycotts have failed miserably. There was Black Solidarity Day in the 70's, but it was unfocused towards any single goal.

I mean, they weren't going to ship us back to Africa. So progress has always been more individualized.

But talk about waking a sleeping giant, jesus. Of course, Bush tossed more logs on the fire by complaining about the National Anthem being sung in Spanish. So what? Sing it in Portuguese, Russian, German, I could care less. There is no official langauge in the US and never has been. English is merely the lingua franca, not mandated by law. You need to speak English to get ahead, but we don't have scenes like a Canadian judge speaking in French to a room full of Anglophones because it's the law.

I mean, all this blather about Mexican flags and the National Anthem is thinly disguised race baiting anyway. I mean no one complains when Dixie is played and the Stars and Bars waved. No one calls that unamerican.

Which has driven the national boycott to an amazing level. I think a lot of people are in for a shock when shit can't get done on Monday.

This is an absolutely radical step, and if even half the number of people they predict pull it off, the GOP is fucked. Josh Bolten can talk about the Border Patrol and Bush riding an ATV all he wants, he won't be getting back the Hispanic vote any time soon. Why? Because this is the kind of thing which has driven working people, people who don't take days off unless a kid is puking all night, to skip work and take to the streets.

This has gotten personal Every two-bit peckerwood who hates anyone with brown skin has been insulting these people since this mess started. Hispanics take personal dignity seriously, and Lou Dobbs and friends have been trampling on it like a rug.

I wonder when Ms. Moreno gets hard looks from her neighbors, she'll feel comfortable about buying that TV. These folks seem to be heart attack serious about this, the only debate being can they afford not to show to work. And with people willing to risk their jobs and school over this, especially in SoCal and the Southwest, this feels like something big.

I haven't seen polling on this, but of all the mistakes the GOP made, of all the dumb things they did, this could be the undoing of the party's national ambitions.


Because this sends a horrible signal to minorities, that their interests are fungiable, that they can toss them aside to appease the base, even if that could cost them support. They have worked on hispanic voters for over a decade. Bush was popular with them.

Not any more.

The base isn't large enough to counter the anger here. And the naked racism on display has been amazing, Pure hatred contenanced as political opinion. The problem for people like Ms. Moreno is that ALL hispanics have been deemed unworthy, not just illegals. And we are far away from a rational discussion on immigration and border control. We like secure borders just fine, but we can't secure them by alienating Mexico and Canada.

This could have been handled so much better, with compassion for people, especially those who turned 18 while appplying for legal status. Instead, it's time to sing the Johnny Rebel and whip out the sheets for the "base". Which means nothing will change until people stop the race baiting and name calling and look at this as a law enforcement and social issue. Not a plan to ship all the brown people back.

posted by Steve @ 9:08:00 AM

9:08:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Cut a deal

rom Yahoo News:

In response to media and other inquiries, Roy Black, Rush Limbaugh’s attorney, released the following statement today concerning a settlement agreement with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office to end the investigation of Mr. Limbaugh:

"I am pleased to announce that the State Attorney’s Office and Mr. Limbaugh have reached an agreement whereby a single count charge of doctor shopping filed today by the State Attorney will be dismissed in 18 months. As a primary condition of the dismissal, Mr. Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past two and one half years. This is the same doctor under whose care Mr. Limbaugh has remained free of his addiction without relapse.

"Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position. Accordingly, we filed today with the Court a plea of ‘Not Guilty’ to the charge filed by the State.

"As part of this agreement, Mr. Limbaugh also has agreed to make a $30,000 payment to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation. The agreement also provides that he must refrain from violating the law during this 18 months, must pay $30 per month for the cost of "supervision" and comply with other similar provisions of the agreement.

"Mr. Limbaugh had intended to remain in treatment. Thus, we believe the outcome for him personally will be much as if he had fought the charge and won."

The actions taken today are as follows:

— The State Attorney has filed a single charge of doctor shopping with
the Court. The charge is being held in abeyance under the terms of an
agreement between the State and Mr. Limbaugh.

— Mr. Limbaugh has filed a plea of "Not Guilty" with the Court.

The formal agreement between Mr. Limbaugh and the State Attorney will be filed with the Court on Monday. The terms of the agreement are substantively as follows:

— Mr. Limbaugh will continue in treatment with the doctor he has seen for
the past two and one half years.

— After Mr. Limbaugh completes an additional 18 months of treatment, the
State Attorney has agreed to drop the charge.

— Mr. Limbaugh has agreed to make a $30,000 payment to the State of
Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation.


posted by Steve @ 2:55:00 AM

2:55:00 AM

The News Blog home page

The love of the Confederacy

Marse' Robert

There are two Confederacys, one of history and one of imagination.

The one we deal with today is of imagination.

The one of rebel flags and the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the cult of the dead rebels.

It has little to do with reality.

The real Confederacy was closer to Biafra than Nazi Germany. A poor, break away Republic destined to be crushed by the larger neighbor.

The reason you get people like Jim Webb playing cute and George Allen praising the Confederacy has to do with how the Confederacy was ressurected in the postwar period.It was about race and integration, not history.

But then, like the Wehrmacht, way too much has been made of the Confederacy's military prowess, and far too little of the Union's.

For now, we're gonna talk about the historical Confederacy.

Jesse James got his start in crime as a member of Bloody Bill Anderson's guerrilla band. They murdered people and called it war. Anderson and Quantrill were war criminals by any modern standard.

The confederacy had tremendous desertion rates in the last two years of the war

The Conferderate government often hindered the war effort.

The myth of the Confederacy came about because of the generals who led their larger units, Lee, Jackson, Longstreet. Like the Wehrmacht, there is a cult of competency which is hardly deserved.

It took Bruce Catton, on the Civil War's centenial, and James McPherson 20 years later, to explain what an incredible instrument of war it was. The cult of the "lost cause" was used to cover up tragic mistakes.

Few people describe Pickett's Charge as a tragic mistake of arrogance, which it was. Grant is criticized for Cold Harbor, but Pickett's Charge was pure arrogance. But George Pickett never forgave Lee.

The Union Army adapted to their circumstances and created a modern Army from scratch. It promoted on merit and even chose to break the color bar, coming up with 179,000 black troops which the South could never reach. It's commanders changed the rules of war and were tactically superior after Gettysburg.

The cult of the Confederacy serves to deny some brutal realities. Such as the large and active guerrilla movement in the Appalachians. The hoarding of supplies, the increasing desertion rate as the war went on.

When people talk about Lee or Longstreet, they never tell you how the Union eventually out thought and outfought them. The "bravery" of Confederate troops is always highlighted, despite the desperate battles the union fought.

No one wants to discuss how the South invented the war criminal. Henry Wirtz, the commander of Andersonville was executed. He should have been joined by Nathan Bedford Forrest and Bloody Bill Anderson and Quantrill.

In short,the myth of the Confederacy allowed people to explain away how the North crushed them using far fewer of it's resources than it had. The raging incompetence of the Southern high command and the pettiness of Jefferson Davis was glossed over for years. Because the myth of a noble South was valuable for many reasons.

Even today, the numbers of Southerners who fought for the Union is still downplayed.

They myth of nobility plays into how the Confederacy is seen today

posted by Steve @ 2:01:00 AM

2:01:00 AM

The News Blog home page

But it really isn't about race

Just a friendly outing

I got a lovely, threatening hate mail today
by Duke1676
Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 06:35:16 PM PDT

As some of you might be aware, I have a blog dedicated to the immigration issue and progressive immigration reform. It was started a little over six months ago as a place where a few others and I could write and discuss the issue and hopefully supply others with some information and insight. Since then it's been growing nicely and apparently we have now appeared on the radar of some of our more racists neighbors.

I thought I would pass on an e-mail message I received today from someone who would only call himself "John Doe" (although he was stupid enough to use a real e-mail address). I figured you would enjoy seeing what some of are fellow countrymen think about immigration reform and immigrants. Perhaps those of you who were thinking about going to a rally or march this coming Monday, but weren't quite sure if you wanted to ... reading this e-mail might help you make up your mind.


I just wanted to say what the majority of our Rightful American Legal Citizenry thinks about your asinine, offensive, and illegal movement.

As all of your traitors and seditionists march in our streets waving your toilet papier-mache Mexican, oh pardon me: American flags, keep this in your pea-brained minds-

You must cease to exist.

You have no civil or legal rights in my country; no business to suck our social services, schools and hospitals dry, no honor in your methods,no courage in your cause, no intelligence in your leadership, and no more reasons to be here. We want you gone, and we want you to keep marching on May 1st right back to the sewage littered border you crawled out from, back to the open arms of your El Presidente, Mr. Fox.

If you can Habla Ingles, which I doubt; maybe you and all of yours can Strap those inner-tubes back together that you and your swine ancestors floated across the Rio Grande on and get out of here before we really get angry.

Hey, what's ten miles long and has an IQ of 70? The immigration rally protestor parade.

Get out of our nation you traitors, anarchists, seditionists, and lowlife scum.

Viva La USA! Wetbacks.


Your Independent American Party Activist.

nice Huh?

( I won't put up a link to that Independent American Party as I have no way of knowing if the author of this e-mail is actually a member or speaks for them .... but from the looks of the site, I bet he is )

Oh, but if you want to die in Iraq, go right ahead

posted by Steve @ 1:53:00 AM

1:53:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Pimpin' e-mail

The Player's Ipod

Given the recent link to Prostitution between lobbyists and GOP Congressman, outreach to a new community is probably going to be essential

Dear Steve, txt

You have a powerful new tool to grow our Party from the bottom up. It's a website built around you - with your personal massage, your photos, links to your "friends" online, and the ability to set your personalized pimpin' goals. The new MyPimp activist network will revolutionize online prostution - and we're launching it with a bang on May 22, with a National Pimps Up, Hoes Down Day.

And when it's all over, the most successful player parties in America will receive a special thank you.

Here's how you can be a part of this exciting launch. First - set up your May 22 Pimps Up Hoes Down party today. When you create your party, you'll also be able to set up your MyPimp site with grassroots goals tied to the party - whether it's gettin' hoes for a victory parties in November, recruiting fresh meat, or bribing cops.

Get a head start on syour fellow player by organizing your May 22 Player Party now.

Make your party a trick - raiser simply by bringing tricks and hoes together. If you recruit at least one new ho, trick, or donor through your MyPimp - powered house party, you and your tricks will be eligible to participate in a special orgy on the evening of May 22.

As a special thank you, the hosts of the five MyPimp player parties that raise the most money from the hoes through MyPimp from 10 or more friends will receive a special player's edition iPod Video*. To see what it looks like,look above

The dollars you raise, the volunteers you recruit, and the voters you register will determine the outcome of this fall's elections - and the direction of our country for years to come. Your action on May 22 will make the difference, because victory comes down to three P's: Playin'. Pimpin'. Pushin' Hoes. And through your personal MyPimp site, you have the power to do all three - for everyone in the online community to see.

May 22 is your chance to bring friends together, put us on the road to victory, and maybe even earn a very special thank you. Start your party now.


Big Daddy Pimp
Chairman, Players Committee

posted by Steve @ 12:02:00 AM

12:02:00 AM

The News Blog home page

Friday, April 28, 2006

Yeah, who doesn't

Well, I like mine sans penis, but opinions
may vary

Co-conspirator's possible links to prostitutes eyed

By Dean Calbreath

April 28, 2006

Federal prosecutors are reviewing records of two Washington, D.C., hotels where Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes rented suites as part of their investigation into whether prostitutes were involved as he tried to curry favor with lawmakers and CIA officials.

Wilkes, whom federal prosecutors have identified as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, rented hospitality suites in the capital on behalf of his flagship company, ADCS Inc.

As The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in December, the suites – first at the Watergate Hotel and then at the Westin Grand Hotel – had several bedrooms where lawmakers and other guests could relax.

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether Cunningham and other legislators brought prostitutes to the hotels or prostitutes were provided for them there, according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal and confirmed by the Union-Tribune.

A source close to the bribery case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, told the Union-Tribune that Mitchell Wade, who pleaded guilty in February to bribing Cunningham, told federal prosecutors that he periodically helped arrange for a prostitute for the then-congressman.
Hey, that's not legal?

by jgkojak
Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 12:22:45 PM PDT

I want whores. I want money. I want power. And I want it now.

I want to be entrusted with making people's lives better. Then I want to use that power to make things better for myself.

I want to call my wife, tell her I have a meeting with some lobbyists, and then go fuck my brains out with some hooker.

When I come home at night I want to lie to my wife, tell her I had a boring evening, roll over and go to sleep.

More in extended...

* jgkojak's diary :: ::

I want to take money, any money anyone can give me for a campaign contribution. I'll vote how they want me to on this issue or that. Because that means I don't have to raise money from from or be accountable to oridinary people.

Even better, if I can scare away my competition, I can remain in office, and keep fucking the whores in the hotel room.

And the trips. Screw my family. Instead of "going home" to spend time with them, or God forbid my constituents, I'll be going to Aruba to play some golf. Maybe fuck some whores.

All the while I will living a daily lie to my wife and kids. But I'm a man. I can take it. Heck. I'm a REAL MAN. I can fuck whores whenever I want.

I can spend valuable time with staffer covering my tracks, both professional and personal, to make sure I'm not caught trading money for votes, or trading votes for sex. Or having sex with whores. What would my family say?

I want money. I want to live like almost no one in the world lives.

I want power. I want to know I hold the key to people's dreams in my hand, and I can use that key to extort money and favors from whoever I want.

I want whores. I want to have sex. All the time. Its relaxing and gets my mind off all the stress.

posted by Steve @ 4:08:00 PM

4:08:00 PM

The News Blog home page

We love to see a beating

Yes, I love to see the
neocons humiliated

Colbert beats Kristol like a rented mule. Hotlist
by 8ackgr0und N015e [Subscribe]
Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 09:36:23 AM PDT

You gotta love the cosmopolitan parochialism of New Yorkers, so smug in their Steinbergian view of the world.

Preaching the inevitability of the New American Century, the neo-cons forgot the warning of Yogi Berra, the great Yankees philosopher, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

The last time Bill Kristol was on Comedy Central, he was doing victory laps. He even went slumming and appeared on The Daily Show. Taunting Jon Stewart, he smirked, "It's not too late to join us."

Then the wheels came off...

The war went into extra innings and the peripatetic cheerleader of the triumphalist march to the Tigris hunkered down on FOX. As time passed, he gamely tried to explain with increasing discomfort to an ever-shrinking audience of true believers how the best laid plans of mice and men oft gangly go awry. You could tell his heart wasn't in it.

Things went from bad to worse. The magic number of 3 dollars hit people in the face with more force than 300 Billion dollars. The mood of the crowd started to get ugly. Knowing a good offense was the best defense, Kristol decided to take the fight to the opposition's lair. One thing was certain; Kristol really should have had a few warm up fights before getting into the ring with Colbert.

The Fight:
Colbert entered the ring pumped with the enthusiasm he gleans from his audience. Kristol grinned gamely, but his eyes betrayed the glint of a deer searching for the source of that manly fragrance called "Scorn." He hugged the table like a girl who needed to go potty and wrapping himself in a defensive ball that screamed, "Don't hurt me!"

Colbert settled in and sized him up. Kristol came out strong trying to deflect any attack by preemptively taking credit for what will likely be a great performance by Stephen this Saturday night. Stephen stopped him dead in his tracks with a straight to the face.

Kristol rocked back on his heels a bit dazed at how badly his joke had backfired. Colbert laid into him..."How's that New American Century," he asked with all the sadistic glee of Edward G. Robinson asking, "Where's your God now, Moses?"

Unprepared for the frontal assault, Kristol stumbled, fumbled, and clutched the table to keep from sliding into oblivion. You could hear the little voice in his head screaming, "Help meeeeeee!" He took a standing eight count and wobbled back to the fray, realizing that he had sadly misread the situation, confusing his opponent for a friend.

In his confusion he blurted out "We can't let dictators kill their own people." The crowd waited for Colbert's response. Would he go nuts and suggest we demand dictators only kill people outside their country? Instead he hit him with a vicious flurry of probing questions ending with a hefty jab, "Where do we invade next?" He leaned back out of range and watched Kristol swing at air and lose his balance. Colbert put him in a head lock and made Kristol inhale the musky scent of Scorn, simply saying "I'm going to hold you to that," before letting him go.

Kristol fell to the mat. As he got up, Stephen pummeled him with a blurry flurry of jabs. What about boots on the ground? Who do we invade next? What about Iran? What about nuking someone?

Kristol went to one knee and cried "No mas!" Stephen clocked him with a right hook, "The best possible way to show them nuclear weapons are not what they want is to give them one." Kristol tried to absorb the double entendre but fell over. Stephen smirked and went to a neutral corner.

Realizing he had this fight won, Colbert started to toy with Kristol. He leaned against the ropes and let Kristol throw all the standard punches, "Iraq will be better", "poor execution but right strategy", "we will prevail", whoosh...Kristol was hitting nothing but thought he was scoring. Stephen peeked out from behind his gloves and taunted him like Ali taunted Frazier with "You're preaching to the choir." Kristol thought it was an opening and took the bait. He replied, "That's the best kind of audience." BOOM...Colbert unleashed a vicious inside uppercut. "Don't turn your back on them, they're likely to put a shiv in ya," he chortled.

A few more jabs and then Colbert hit Kristol with a combo that first confused him into treating Rumsfeld like senators treat Abramoff. Colbert answered with a stinging jab "That's like ratting out a frat brother!" Stephen circled to the right and caught Kristol stunned and flat-footed with a right hook to the body. "Why is everyone turning on the president?" he asked. Pressing the advantage, he got Kristol to open up and admit he had called Bush incompetent. Stephen finished the combo with a strong right cross to the head, hitting him full in the face with "Do you support the president?"

Kristol blindly responded in the affirmative and Stephen hit him with a straight right to the midsection. "That's like saying, `Honey I hit you cause I love you...'" The crowd went wild!!! Dazed and confused, Kristol reached for the ropes and threw a low blow, "Sometimes that's true..." The crowd boooed... Kristol sheepishly admitted he doesn't really beat his wife. But the red in his face betrayed his thoughts. Hope you picked up some flowers on the way home, pal.

Stephen danced around a bit and started working the body. "Where are you going to get the troops?" "Do you favor a draft?" Kristol slipped the first few punches and says he doesn't. Stephen slipped Kristol to admit he was draft age in 1972,was in the lottery for a year, but after Nixon got rid of the draft he didn't volunteer. Stephen does a quick head fake, and tags Kristol while he is backing up! "Great Man." Kristol doesn't even realize what hit him , but the crowd sees it and loves it.

Having shown complete mastery over his opponent, Stephen settled back and just kept putting a glove out ...testing his range but not really swinging. "How do we turn public perceptions around?" Kristol replied with a bunch of half-hearted lines, but didn't even try to defend himself when Stephen said, "Winning in Iraq is easy...what else?"

Realizing that Kristol was about to fall over, he tossed an obvious setup, "How many seats will the Republicans win in 2006?" Kristol said Democrats will take the House and the crowd went wild! He stumbled forward trying to tie Stephen up with the notion that Democrats in control of the House in 2007 will be great for Republicans in 2008, but Stephen decided to run out the clock and invite him back for another round.

Stephen's no fool. Everyone knows the real money is in the re-match.

Think I made this up? Don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

I admit I can't watch this show much.


Because his parody of Bill O'Reilly is just too damn good.

posted by Steve @ 4:03:00 PM

4:03:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Dear Mr. Beinart

Peter Beinart in Rock Creek Park

NY Times' Sunday Preview: Democrats Need a Shot of 'Cold War Liberalism'

By E&P Staff

Published: April 28, 2006 1:10 PM ET

NEW YORK Democrats may feel they are riding high, heading into the midterm elections with President Bush’s approval rating at an all-time low, but Peter Beinart offers a warning, and a new direction, for the party in a feature piece upcoming this Sunday in The New York Times Magazine. It’s titled provocatively, “The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal.”

The article is adapted from his forthcoming book, “The Good Fight.” Beinart is currently editor-at-large for The New Republic.

Beinart warns that it is not enough for the Democrats to simply run on “competence” this year, rather than telling Americans “what their vision is.” For better or worse, the Republicans have such a vision, which voters understand: “America represents good in an epic struggle against evil.”

Democrats have some good foreign-policy minds and even some worthy foreign-policy proposals but no “coherent story about the post-9/11 world....Before Democrats can conquer their ideological weakness, they must first conquer their ideological amnesia,” he declares.

Dear Mr. Beinart.

You sir, are a coward, recommending the deaths of others while you spout nonsense about national toughness. You have no idea that if you believe that Iraq is a righteous cause, that you should serve in Iraq, and not sit in some Washington apartment telling 19 year olds to die for your fantasy of empire.

The Liberals you talk about served their country in time of war, they weren't loud talking fops, spouting couch side courage.

I think will help you develop the character you so sadly lack.

posted by Steve @ 3:43:00 PM

3:43:00 PM

The News Blog home page

A crime against nature

A sign on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City done
up in Monopoly-game style. Hasbro is planning
a new version of the game that does not use the
city's streets, but local officials are campaigning
against the idea.

Atlantic City May Lose Out in a New Version of Monopoly

Published: April 28, 2006

ATLANTIC CITY, April 27 — It has been a long time since anyone could try to buy a hotel on Ventnor Avenue for $400.

But news that the toy maker Hasbro is planning to drop Atlantic City from its flagship version of Monopoly has left people on the streets of this gambling resort startled and local officials protesting.

Since the game made its debut in 1930, it has sold 250 million copies, making famous the names of Atlantic City's byways, like Baltic Avenue, Park Place and the Boardwalk. And while the game has spawned 200 spinoffs — including Hawaii-opoly, Star Wars Monopoly and even a SpongeBob SquarePants edition, set in the fictional town of Bikini Bottom — Atlantic City has remained the locale for the standard edition, which is by far the most popular.

Now, however, Hasbro has announced plans to update the game to a "here and now" version, raising rents and letting the public vote on streets, neighborhoods and national monuments to fill the 22 properties on the board. And Atlantic City is not among the choices.

The company will still produce the Atlantic City-based, "classic" version of the game, but the "here and now" version is projected to be their best sellers.

In Atlantic City, where many residents consider their connection with Monopoly a point of civic pride, Hasbro's decision makes about as much sense as Scrabble without vowels, and has spurred officials to organize a lobbying campaign to pressure Hasbro into reconsidering.

"Sure, put in the Statue of Liberty and Disney World and other places," said Jeffrey Vassar, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has a "Help Keep Atlantic City on the Board" petition on the city's Web site, "But it's a slight to not have the Atlantic City Boardwalk as one of the stops," he added.

It's the latest bad news for a struggling city still trying to cope with the loss of the Miss America pageant, a smoking ban in bars and restaurants, and gambling competition from Delaware and, soon, Pennsylvania. But there have been bright spots, too. During the past year, the city's 12 casinos have been buoyed by development along the waterfront and posted record revenues.

Some residents fear, however, that the town is fading into irrelevance. Carmine Covino, a waiter at a restaurant on Pacific Avenue, said that until recently, when he heard people compare Atlantic City unfavorably to Las Vegas, he would defend his hometown by saying: "They don't have a board game, do they? They don't have Miss America."

"Well, I guess we don't have that anymore either," Mr. Covino, 19, said on Thursday.

When Monopoly was devised in the 1930's, Atlantic City was chosen because it epitomized the kind of glittering tourist destination that many Depression-era Americans could only fantasize about visiting.

Charles B. Darrow, an unemployed salesman, sketched the prototype board game on a tablecloth at his home in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, using 21 street names from Atlantic City. (The final space, Marvin Gardens, was a name taken from the neighboring community of Margate City, where it is spelled Marvyn.)

The Parker Brothers game company rejected Mr. Darrow's proposal, so he went to a printer and began selling it himself. It caught on so quickly that Parker Brothers eventually reversed itself. It began mass-marketing Monopoly in 1935, and that year it became the world's best-selling board game. Pat Riso, a Hasbro spokeswoman, said it decided last year to poll fans to see how they might recast the game if it were to be developed today. So the "here and now" version will replace railroads with airlines. Utilities will be updated (Ms. Riso would not say with what, but allowed that Internet providers is a good guess.) Rents will rise, along with the cost of bail and the $200 payment for passing "Go."

In one uncharacteristic bow to the past, free parking will remain free. The company says it would not be swayed by Atlantic City's campaign to be included in the updated version.

"We love their passion, we think that's fabulous," Ms. Riso said. "But at this time, we are not planning on changing the online vote."

This is wrong.

posted by Steve @ 3:39:00 PM

3:39:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Too many hits to the head

Portrait of The Racist As A Young Man

by digby

Ezra points to this fascinating profile of George Allen in the New Republic by Ryan Lizza. You really have to read it to believe it.

I know little about Allen except that he sounds even dumber than George W. Bush every time I see him speak on television. Yesterday he was blathering on about something and I was struck by how his rosy cheeks and strange purplish hair made him look a little like Reagan. So he has Reagan's looks and Bush's brains. Oh Jesus.

What I didn't know was that he was a racist, sadistic prick. I now understand why he is such a Republican favorite. I had heard that he kept a confederate flag around and that he had a cute little "noose" hanging from a ficus tree. I didn't know that he had been a neoconfederate since he went to Palos Verdes High, right here in LA. (He didn't live in the south until he was a sophomore in college.)

George saw himself as disconnected from the culture in which he lived. He hated California and, while there, became obsessed with the supposed authenticity of rural life--or at least what he imagined it to be from episodes of "Hee Haw," his favorite TV show, or family vacations in Mexico, where he rode horses. Perhaps because of his peripatetic childhood, the South's deeply rooted culture attracted him. Or perhaps it was a romance with the masculinity and violence of that culture; his father, who was not one to spare the rod, once broke his son Gregory's nose in a fight. Whatever it was, Allen got his first pair of those now-iconic cowboy boots from one of his father's players on the Rams who received them as a promotional freebie. He also learned to dip from his dad's players. At school, he started to wear an Australian bush hat, complete with a dangling chin strap and the left brim snapped up. He wore the hat for a yearbook photo of the falconry club. His favorite record was Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison. Writing of her brother's love for the "big, slow-witted Junior" on "Hee Haw," Jennifer reports, "[t]here was also something mildly country-thuggish about Junior that I think George felt akin to."

In high school, Allen's "Hee Haw" persona made him a polarizing figure. "He rode a little red Mustang around with a Confederate flag plate on the front," says Patrick Campbell, an old classmate, who now works for the Public Works Department in Manhattan Beach, California. "I mean, it was absurd-looking in our neighborhood." Hurt Germany, who now lives in Paso Robles, California, explodes with anger at the mention of Allen's name. "The guy is horrible," she complains. "He drove around with a Confederate flag on his Mustang. I can't believe he's going to run for president." Another classmate, who asks that I not use her name, also remembers Allen's obsession with Dixie: "My impression is that he was a rebel. He plastered the school with Confederate flags."

Politically, Allen's years in Palos Verdes were dominated by the lingering racial tensions from the riots in nearby Watts in 1965--when that neighborhood was practically burned to the ground--and the nationwide riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, which left other parts of Southern California in flames. It is with that context in mind that four former classmates and one former administrator at Allen's high school described to me an event for which Allen is most remembered--and the first glimpse that the château-raised Californian might grow up to become a defender of the South's heritage.

It was the night before a major basketball game with Morningside High. The mostly black inner-city school adjacent to Watts was coming to the almost entirely white Palos Verdes High to play. When students arrived at school on game day, they found graffiti spray-painted on the school library and other places. All five people who described the incident say the graffiti was racially tinged and meant to look like the handiwork of the black Morningside students. But it was actually put there by Allen and some of his friends. "It was something like die whitey," says Campbell. The school administrator, who says he is a Republican and would "seriously consider" voting for Allen for president, says the graffiti said, "burn, baby, burn," a reference to the race riots.
Karl Rove and Lee Atwater would no doubt high five such smart thinking. What a fine preparation for southern GOP politics. But then, Allen always played hardball:

...when his father was on the road, young George often acted as a surrogate dad to his siblings. According to his sister Jennifer, he was particularly strict about bedtimes. One night, his brother Bruce stayed up past his bedtime. George threw him through a sliding glass door. For the same offense, on a different occasion, George tackled his brother Gregory and broke his collarbone. When Jennifer broke her bedtime curfew, George dragged her upstairs by her hair.

George tormented Jennifer enough that, when she grew up, she wrote a memoir of what it was like living in the Allen family. In one sense, the book, Fifth Quarter, from which these details are culled, is unprecedented. No modern presidential candidate has ever had such a harsh and personal account of his life delivered to the public by a close family member. The book paints Allen as a cartoonishly sadistic older brother who holds Jennifer by her feet over Niagara Falls on a family trip (instilling in her a lifelong fear of heights) and slams a pool cue into her new boyfriend's head. "George hoped someday to become a dentist," she writes. "George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession--getting paid to make people suffer."
According to Lizza, Allen explains "It's the perspective of the youngest child, who is a girl."

I am tempted to make a big deal out of Allen's phoniness, as Lizza does. After all, from the non-Virginian cowboy boots to the tobacco spitting, he has self-consciously adopted these neo-confederate affectations. He's not a real son of the south. But as a good friend explained to me some time ago, it would do no good to attack him on that basis. Despite Joe Klein's fantasy about "authenticity" being the lodestar of winning politics, George W. Bush has proven that being a phony southerner is better than not being a southerner at all. Indeed, a phony southerner can be better than a real one as long as they put their whole heart and soul into it as George W. Bush and George Allen do. It shows respect.

In Mudcat Saunders' new book about how the Democrats can win the south, he and his co-author go to great lengths to explain that politicians must have southern cultural tastes in order to win the presidency. Presumably a guy like Allen (who during his teen-age years in Southern California had a confederate flag on his mustang and wore a rebel flag pin in his graduation picture) is a man who has lived his bona fides even better than the the Yale fratboy, Junior Bush. Nobody can assail his good ole boy pretentions. Allen truly loves southern culture even if he has no blood ties to the south and his mother is (gasp!) French.

If winning the presidency in the country really rests on relative good ole boy-ness, then it's hard to see how anyone can beat Allen. Aside from his total immersion in southern culture, the article is full of examples of his youthful (and not so youthful) racism and I can only assume that this will help him when he goes up against John McCain in the south. The racist voters of the GOP will catch all his winks and nods with no problem.

The only question is whether the big money boys will get behind him. He is, after all, even dumber than George W. Bush and they may be having some second thoughts about running another empty suit:

...although Allen is undoubtedly the hot new thing within the Beltway's conservative establishment, some denizens of K Street and right-wing newsrooms have begun doubting whether he represents their best hope to snuff out the burgeoning campaign of their enemy, McCain. "If my choice is, 'Who do I want to go out with to a fun dinner to drink our brains out,'" says one of the party's top fund-raisers who has met with Allen many times, "there's no question, it'd be Allen. He's a guy's guy, but he didn't blow me away in terms of substance."

It's hard to believe that they can't find a southern Republican who isn't a sadistic idiot to run for president, but I'm beginning to think that's the real problem. Guys like Bush and Allen are the best they can do. Clearly, all the smart southerners are Democrats.

Yes, the smart Southerns are Dems for a reason: no one gave them shit. Edwards, Clinton, all these guys came from middle class backgrounds and worked their way through college and law school.

I think that people are sick of stupid. Stupid has consequences. Down home is fine, but you ever hear Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks interviewed? Do they sound like idiots? No? Because they're not. Toby Keith ain't too bright, but there's always an exception. Ever listen to a NASCAR driver talk, he may have an accent, but he's no idiot. Those guys reek of competence.

Southern cultural tastes? Ok, to a degree, but Bush isn't a fake Southerner. He's a fake Texan. Big difference once you leave East Texas. His fakeness is all Western. The pig farm, the fear of horses, cowboy boots, the crudeness in speech.

Real Southerners mock that crudeness, a southern gentleman is supposed to be cultured and erudite, not crude. Bush's drunken antics would have drawn great scorn in the South. Trailer trash is an insult there for a reason. Bush's nicknaming and claims like he's the "decider" aren't Southern.

Think about Ted Turner. Nuts, right? Can be vulgar? But he's also smart and lets you know it. He doesn't fuck up his words. And he's turned out in bespoke suits. He can be crude, but the man has a certain sort of elegance about him.

Bush? He's always trying to show he doesn't have a yellow streak even when it's evident to everyone. He's internalized the worst machismo of Texas with the prissy snobbiness of Conneticut. A mean, crude, drunk who belies his education. If he was a Southerner, he wouldn't be so cavalier about that.

posted by Steve @ 8:32:00 AM

8:32:00 AM

The News Blog home page

You can win, but you gotta run the place

Cory Booker

The Black Commentator has a nice piece on Booker, but it seems to miss the special way they do things in North Jersey

Cory Booker is back – like a recurring disease. The former one-term city councilman whose wholly unproductive career has been artificially sustained by Black America’s worst enemies has amassed bundles of rightwing cash for his second assault on Newark city hall. Booker’s stealth mission on behalf of the far-right Bradley and Walton Family (Wal-Mart) Foundations, under the tutelage of the hyper-racist Manhattan Institute, once again threatens to provide the Right with a long-coveted showcase for privatization and capitalism in-the-raw in urban America.

Booker is a unique danger to African American interests, well beyond the boundaries of New Jersey’s largest city. As in the Verizon television commercial in which a vast “network” is arrayed behind the actor playing the cell phone service subscriber, Booker is tightly wired into the interlocking political networks of the Right. He is the darling and point man for the corporate campaign to create a cadre of “New Black Leaders” who will provide “authenticity” to reactionary social policies hatched by the think tank servants of the super-rich.

May 9 is no ordinary Election Day – and it is anything but a local affair.

Indeed, the upscale suburb-bred, Yale and Stanford educated lawyer may be the purest specimen of the Black Trojan Horse Democrat yet foisted on the African American public by the likes of the Manhattan Institute – the outfit that nurtured Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, the infamous blood-libel book that attempted to prove Blacks are intellectually inferior to whites – and at whose “power luncheon” Booker made his national debut, in 2000.

The 36-year-old Booker is the Right’s Young Black Frankenstein, powered, as in his first mayoral run in 2002, by constant infusions of corporate cash and free media. Or, as his current opponent State Senator and Newark Deputy Mayor Ron Rice puts it, Booker is the “Six Million Dollar Man” – a reference to his campaign war chest, a fantastic sum for a mayor’s race in a city of just 275,000, and far exceeding the corporate largess showered on the upstart candidate four years ago. The $6 million figure is also by now out of date

Sen. Rice’s underfunded organization finds it difficult to even keep track of Booker’s capital accumulation. Rice’s last campaign ad put Booker’s contributions at $4.1 million – still far exceeding declared contributions in the 2002 race, when Booker significantly outspent but still lost to incumbent Sharpe James. In both campaigns, Booker’s large contributors’ hailed from across the nation, and their names looked nothing like a Newark telephone book. That’s the rightwing network’s fine-tuned money machine in motion.

Sen. Rice – and the city of Newark, itself – is like an Indian surrounded by cowboys summoned from all points of the map, eager to plant their alien flag. Rice is further disadvantaged by the inexplicable behavior of Mayor Sharpe James, who waited until March 27 to announce that he would not seek a sixth term, leaving Rice just a little over six weeks to stop Booker’s Right-financed juggernaut.

A Pact With the Devil

The Black Commentator is proud of the role we played in exposing Cory Booker’s true political and financial backers, in 2002. The Cover Story of our inaugural issue, “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree,” April 5, 2002, was the first published revelation anywhere of Booker's political genesis in the bowels of Milwaukee’s Bradley Foundation – George Bush’s favorite foundation, the outfit that birthed a fully financed Black school voucher “movement” out of thin air and hard cash. As an original board member of the Bradley-created (and now Bush-financed) Black Alliance for Educational Options, and a co-founder of the Newark voucher outfit Excellent Education for Everyone (E-3), Booker worked his way ever deeper into the Right labyrinth of mega-money, media manipulation, and raw corporate power.

So enthused with Booker was the Right in 2002, one of their most esteemed members let the cat out of the bag. Syndicated columnist George F. Will, whose politics would correctly be called fascist in any part of Europe, traveled to Newark to observe the campaign up close and gushed like a schoolgirl at Booker’s rightwing credentials:

"Booker's plans for Newark's renaissance," Will's March 17 [2002] column informs us, "are drawn from thinkers at the Democratic Leadership Council and the Manhattan Institute think tank, and from the experiences of others such as Stephen Goldsmith, former Republican mayor of Indianapolis, a pioneer of privatization and faith-based delivery of some government services, and John Norquist, current Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, which has one of the nation's most successful school-choice programs."

– from BC “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree,” April 5, 2002.

Despite his narrow loss to Mayor James, Booker’s rich rightwing patrons were pleased; they had come within reach of their goal to capture a large, majority Black city in the shadow of New York, the nation’s media and financial capital. Through their sophisticated propaganda network – euphemistically called public relations or public information offices – the Right network kept Booker’s name in the media during the four years in which he held no public office. With eerie uniformity of content and style, articles and personality profiles regularly appeared in various media grouping Booker with luminaries like Barack Obama and Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., the “New Black Leaders.” Yet the totality of Booker’s public life experience amounted to only four years as a city councilman who produced no meaningful legislation.

In November 2004, the out-of-office Booker remained a corporate media star. An article in the influential Washington Monthly spent almost as much time on Booker as its purported subject, Barack Obama. Titled “The Great Black Hope,” the piece began with Cory Booker’s name (“Cory Booker was feeling good… .”) and catalogued the media’s central role in the 2002 campaign:

A fever was building. Time profiled Booker; “CBS Evening News” did, too. Though Booker was still only a councilman in America's 63rd largest city, Democratic fundraisers and operatives were also talking about a future White House bid; The New York Times said he was “regularly referred to as someone who will end up the first black President of the United States.”

Of course, the Washington Monthly was itself contributing to the media “fever” over Booker.

Booker was defeated because, in the last weeks of the race, Mayor James finally found ways to express what BC had been saying all along: that Booker is a wholly-owned property of the Right, a walking, breathing political lie who masquerades as an urban reformer while serving masters in corporate suites; a total cynic who relies on his youth to promise a fresh breeze in African American politics, but is in reality in league with Black folks’ oldest and most implacable foes.

The corporate media were alerted to Booker’s connections. Just two-and-half weeks after BC began operations, the New York Times quoted Co-Publisher Glen Ford’s indictment of the candidate in a front page profile of Booker, April 24, 2002:

[Ford] says Mr. Booker is allied with conservatives seeking to dismantle public education, destroy affirmative action and gain an urban foothold for their views. He points to a speech Mr. Booker gave to the conservative Manhattan Institute two years ago and a recent column by conservative writer George F. Will that ridiculed Mr. James and lionized Mr. Booker. “He’s totally cynical, careerist and mercenary,” Mr. Ford said. “They’re backing him so they can claim a black elected official from a black city.”

It’s the same game, this time around, with only the slightest alterations. Although the New York Times quoted Glen Ford in 2002, the paper never brought its reportorial powers to bear on the specific connections revealed in BC’s investigative work. The rest of the corporate media – print, TV and radio – pretended that BC’s and the Mayor’s charges were silly or, in most instances, ignored them altogether.

But the people of Newark got the word, despite most of the media’s performance as extensions of Booker’s campaign. Sen. Ron Rice is fighting furiously to resist Booker’s anointment, on May 9 – to ward off a tragedy of enormous national as well as local proportions for the Black polity. Rice has smoked Booker out on his support for private school vouchers – the Right’s main wedge issue to woo Black America – finally catching the attention of the New York Times, April 27:

In a recent interview, Mr. Rice called Mr. Booker a proxy for "ultra-white, ultra-conservative" outsiders seeking to privatize the schools in a Democratic city that is more than 80 percent African-American and Hispanic. He charged that Mr. Booker was seeking to turn Newark into another Milwaukee, where a voucher program has been in place since 1990, with mixed results in terms of student achievement… .

Booker tried to wiggle, as usual, but he was caught. “My determination is to reform the public school system, but I will never oppose programs that help children," Mr. Booker said in a recent interview in his 21st-story law office downtown. "And if it doesn't hurt my main goal, my principal goal of empowering public schools, I support that."

Booker’s benefactors, the Walton Family and Bradley Foundations and the rest of the rightwing constellation in which he travels, are unalterably committed to wholesale privatization of education and everything else in the public sector they can lay their hands on. That’s what Booker doesn’t want the Black public to know.

It’s hard to fight the white ruling class, even on ghetto turf – especially when it puts on blackface. But we have entered a new and perilous era. Cory Booker personifies the danger: the Black Trojan Horse, more likely a nominal Democrat than a Republican, to better subvert from within the Historical Black Consensus that has made African Americans the soul and backbone of progressivism in the United States.

It is true that Booker is part of a new breed – a crop of stealthy Black political assassins in the service of rich gangsters. The hit on Black Newark is scheduled for May 9. Everyplace else, is next.

BC Co-Publishers Glen Ford and Peter Gamble are writing a book to be titled, Barack Obama and the Crisis in Black Leadership.

If it were that simple, Richard Parsons would be running for Senate against Hillary Clinton. But Booker's problem is the problem of North Jersey politics. He may have his white backers, but how many are in Trenton? Because if they aren't, he won't be doing much.

We are in the land of North Jersey politics, where Machiavelli could have learned a few lessons. Now it may seem "inexplicable" and "counter-inutative" that James got all goofy in running and then dropping out, unless you know North Jersey politics, intimately.

The reason Booker can win is simple: corruption. People are tired of a government which does nothing for them and makes their leaders rich. It's easy to snipe at Booker until you actually spend time in Newark. The place needs more change than a hockey arena.

People desperately want a change from the corrupt machine politics of North Jersey and he is clean and neat.

But like many things, politics in North Jersey are deceiving. There's a reason that Sharpe James had a seat in Trenton. There's a reason he's keeping that seat. And it's about fucking with Cory Booker.

The thing is that Booker was going to win at some point. But this is the point and why no one is beating the bushes for Rice, who could raise a shitload of money if the machine turned on. In fact, James could have run one more time and then resigned. But he didn't.

Why? Because they're gonna give Booker his chance, and then help him fail. All those right wing think tanks can't do shit in Democratic-controlled Trenton. And Corzine isn't going to piss off his North Jersey backers.

The South Jersey folks hate Newark, and won't do shit to help it. So exactly, who are Cory Booker's friends and how can they help him? With newspaper articles? The Mahattan Institute isn't going to the State House to lobby for vouchers and the teacher's union is almost as powerful there as it is in New York. I can see Booker and his friends marching up to the state house, a nice place, and getting swallowed up whole.

Wisconsin and the GOP who ran it in 1990 and New Jersey in 2006 could not be more different. Booker has enemies afoot in Trenton and not too many friends. But notice the absence of race baiting so far in this election. That's no accident. The machine wants a Booker victory. They want him to win, and then they will unleash hell. And after four years of no cooperation, and open hostility, he will go off to be a lobbyist.

Why now? Because there is no better time to have Booker elected, with virtually no friends in Trenton, the GOP at low ebb in the state, and him on the hook for Newark's problems. Unlike James, who has a machine and friends in Essex and Trenton, Booker has friend with money and no pull and the NJGOP is not going to spend a dime to alienate their suburban voters to help Newark.

When X doesn't happen, you can bet the community will be outside city hall. The voucher plan? George Will has no pull inside the Statehouse. The bet is that the teachers will block it, because they have votes, and Booker will be left impotent.

If Booker had more of a base in the community, he might be able to fight, but the fact that James virtually stepped aside and left Rice to fend for himself is no accident. They're gonna squeeze him between the unions and the black nationalists, who still have a big voice in Newark. Just because he can win, doesn't mean he can run things.

They'll let him sit in the big chair, but if he doesn't go along with James and the rest of the Caucus in the statehouse, nothing much will happen.

His friends have money, but they don't have pull or much of a voice in North Jersey.

posted by Steve @ 7:17:00 AM

7:17:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans