Saturday, August 11, 2007


It was nearly dark outside now, and the rain was still coming down, pattering against the windows and blurring the lights of the cars in the street outside.

Coraline's father stopped working, and made them all dinner.

Coraline was disgusted. "Daddy," she said, "you've made a recipe again."

"It's leek and potato stew, with a tarragon garnish, and melted Gruyere cheese," he admitted.

Coraline sighed. Then she went to the freezer, and got out some microwave chips, and a microwave mini pizza.

"You know I don't like recipes," she told her father, while her dinner went around and around, and the little red numbers on the microwave oven counted down to zero.

"If you tried it, maybe you'd like it," said Coraline's father, but she shook her head.

That night, Coraline lay awake in her bed. The rain had stopped, and she was almost asleep when something went tatatatatat. She sat up in bed.

Something went Kreeee ...


Coraline got out of bed and looked down the hall, but saw nothing strange. She walked down the hall. From her parents' bedroom came a low snoring – that was her father – and an occasional sleeping mutter – that was her mother.

Coraline wondered if she'd dreamed it, whatever it was.

Something moved.

It was little more than a shadow, and it scuttled down the darkened hall fast, like a little patch of night.

She hoped it wasn't a spider. Spiders made Coraline intensely uncomfortable.

The black shape went into the drawing room, and Coraline followed it in, a little nervously.

The room was dark: the only light came from the hall, and Coraline, who was standing in the doorway, cast a huge and distorted shadow onto the drawing room carpet: she looked like a thin giant woman.

Coraline was just wondering whether or not she ought to turn on the lights when she saw the black shape edge slowly out from beneath the sofa. It paused, and then dashed silently across the carpet toward the farthest corner of the room.

There was no furniture in that corner of the room.

Coraline turned on the light.

There was nothing in the corner. Nothing but the old door that opened onto the brick wall.

She was sure that her mother had shut the door, but now it was ever so slightly open. Just a crack. Coraline went over to it, and looked in. There was nothing there – just a wall, built of red bricks.

Coraline closed the old wooden door, turned out the light, and went to bed.

She dreamed of black shapes that slid from place to place, avoiding the light, until they were all gathered together under the moon. Little black shapes with little red eyes and sharp yellow teeth.

They started to sing,

We are small but we are many

We are many we are small

We were here before you rose

We will be here when you fall.

Their voices were high and whispering and slightly whiney. They made Coraline feel uncomfortable.

Then Coraline dreamed a few commercials, and after that she dreamed of nothing at all

Friday, August 10, 2007

THIS is what I hate about politics

Apparently (according to a front page post on Booman Tribune) Harold Ford is going to face off against Markos "The Great and Powerful Kos" Moulitsas on Meet the Press this Sunday. I'm guessing the idear for this match-up came about as a result of this statement made by Harold Ford on Fox News.

I would have gone to Daily Kos and told them, I think they’re wrong the way you go about practicing your politics. If you’re serious about winning the war and bringing the country together, get another message and another set of tactics…
Which tactics would those be, Harold? The ones where you cozy up to and make kissy faces with the people who will never be on your side no matter how "moderate" and reasonable you try to come across? The tactics where you buy, hook, line, and sinker, Bill O'Reilly's "spin" that Daily Kos is/are the "bad Democrats", because you think you can play that to your advantage? And that perceived advantage is so valuable to you that you can't possibly do the minimal, cursory research it would take to learn that "Daily Kos" is not as monolithic as you suggest.

Harold, do you seriously think that the way to "bring the country together" is to paint a Snidely Whiplash mustache on a segment of the Democratic party, and then celebrate that you and the Republicans now have a common foe? That's just freakin' sad.

I won't be rooting for Markos either. As far as I've been able to discern, his only core value is winning. Period. That, and I think he's an arrogant ass.

This is, of course, not the only thing I hate about politics, but it's a pretty good example of the petty pointlessness of it. And all this energy and air time is being directed toward something other than making things better for people. (Pssst! Millennium Development Goals, people!)

So I won't be watching Meet the Press. I'll be in church listening to my daughter sing with the choir. And I should probably spend some time in quiet contemplation, because I really don't know what's next. Part of me would like to tune out all of politics as Somebody Else's Problem. But I don't know that I could ever do that. A few years ago, I promised Someone that I would work to help "heal the world", and I meant it. I guess I need to connect with some other people who feel the same way, and start working together on one little part of the world that needs fixing.

I no longer fear the Kucinich Revolution.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Most folks I know have a preferred candidate - Hillary, Obama, Edwards or Gore. But the crazy thing is, they will turn right around and say, “you know who I really want to vote for? Kucninch.”

I have those same feelings - I love Kucinich and think he would make the best President. His values most closely resemble my own. Why not vote for him?

Irrational fear. Total fear that the Republicans will lie about Kucinich and Fred Thompson will win the election. Wait, the GOP is gonna lie anyway, no matter what, so why the fear?

One thing I finally noticed about Kucinich during the AFL-CIO debate was how Kucinich always made more points during his alloted time than other candidates. I have been thinking about this and found the answer when I was reading the transcript. Kucinich doesn’t equivocate. He doesn’t dance around an issue - he goes straight for the explanation and since his past is not littered with idiotic support of bad bills, HE has nothing to fear, so why do I?

Yes, why do I fear? Do I think Hillary can win? No. I think she loses the election, the second she is nominated. Isn’t THAT something to fear? Do we think Fred Thompson, Gingrich or whatever other ass-wipe the GOP nominates will give a shit about universal healthcare, the environment or peace? Nope, it will be a straight continuation of 8 years of BushCo. Isn’t my fear displaced?

Who is the strongest Democrat in Congress? Kucinich.

What Congressman never LOST their spine in the politically crushing days after 9-11? Kucinich.

Who knows how to answer a direct question asked by We The People? Kucinich.

I think something changed for Kucinich during the AFL-CIO debate - I can’t put my finger on it, but something changed. Maybe it was his eagerness to address We The People with truth, honesty and integrity? Maybe it was just the other candidates equivocating on whatever nonsense answer their staff prepared for them months ago?

Maybe it was because the other candidates showed fear and Kucinich didn’t. He never flinched.

That is leadership as I see it. And from this point forward I will NOT fear to support Kucinich.

He is just like me. My values are the same as his. If I was in Congress, I would vote like he does. I no longer fear. I refuse to allow the GOP to manipulate me into supporting lesser candidates.

That just might be called courage.

Never let it be said liberals don't support the troops.

During the first Gulf War, I began collecting books to send to my college friends serving in Saudi Arabia. I must have sent hundreds of books. When US troops got deployed to Iraq, I started doing it again but I knew the job was too big for one person to do it, so I set up Books For Soldiers, a 501 (c)(3) charity to send free books, dvds and video games to deployed US soldiers.

But I wasn't that smart since I only thought the war would last 6 weeks tops in Iraq. What was I thinking? Now, FOUR years later, we are still shipping books.

But today I need your help. There is a contest sponsored by, they will contribute $2,000 to charitable military organizations next month in its Charity for Charities event. You can vote on your favorite charitable military organizations. The top four charitable organizations and a randomly selected organization will share $2,000 in donations from VAJoe. Books for Soldiers has been included in the event.

The Alexa Traffic Rank for is 242,975 and you would not believe our bandwidth bills!

So these next few days, I am asking (begging actually) for your vote for Books For Soldiers. It won't take you 30 seconds to help a liberal out!


A short, fast and easy site registration is required.

P.S. Thank-you Michael Moore for supporting BFS.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Al Gore: Poll Teaser

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Being an Al Gore supporter is tough The high's, the low's, the empty liquor cabinet, it all starts to take its toll.

Then yesterday Gore drops this bombshell:

"I may re-enter politics at some point in the future because I'm only 59 years old," Gore told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Singapore.

Gore said he has "no plan" to run in the 2008 presidential election but aims to make the environment a focus of public discussion during the campaign.

"There is no single candidate that is putting forward a comprehensive argument about the environment or making climate change a priority," Gore said.

Heart be still!

Who is the environmental candidate in this race? Mitt Romney has probably said more about the environment than anyone else and that is a sad state of affairs. We all know Gore has that as an issue and it is a vitally important one. But do we think he will sit on the sidelines for this? Will he let Hillary win the nomination knowing the Presidency will then probably go to a Republican? If that happens, it is another 4 years of the climate getting the shaft. As many scientists claim, 2013 may be too late to change course.

If Gore is so passionate about the environment, will he allow his inaction lead to catastrophe? There is only ONE place for him to reenter politics and that is as President.

A friend of mine yesterday had an interesting observation. If Gore gets in, he will be the target of three strong candidates: Hillary, Edwards and Obama. He doesn't believe Gore can win the nomination after getting beat down by three other contenders. Echoes of Howard Dean here I believe.

Either way, I want Al Gore to run and by my calendar, he has about 60 days to do it.

Never let it be said liberals don't support the troops.

During the first Gulf War, I began collecting books to send to my college friends serving in Saudi Arabia. I must have sent hundreds of books. When US troops got deployed to Iraq, I started doing it again but I knew the job was too big for one person to do it, so I set up Books For Soldiers, a 501 (c)(3) charity to send free books, dvds and video games to deployed US soldiers.

But I wasn't that smart since I only thought the war would last 6 weeks tops in Iraq. What was I thinking? Now, FOUR years later, we are still shipping books.

But today I need your help. There is a contest sponsored by, they will contribute $2,000 to charitable military organizations next month in its Charity for Charities event. You can vote on your favorite charitable military organizations. The top four charitable organizations and a randomly selected organization will share $2,000 in donations from VAJoe. Books for Soldiers has been included in the event.

The Alexa Traffic Rank for is 242,975 and you would not believe our bandwidth bills!

So these next few days, I am asking (begging actually) for your vote for Books For Soldiers. It won't take you 30 seconds to help a liberal out!


A short, fast and easy site registration is required.

P.S. Thank-you Michael Moore.



Bonds becomes new home run king
The controversial slugger hit his 756th career homer No. 756 breaking the 33 year old record held by Hank Aaron.

Bonds connected with a fastball from Washington's Mike Bacsik, sending the ball high into the San Francisco night, 435 feet into the right-center field seats.

Later, Bonds refused to admit that the record was tainted by the rumours of steroid abuse.

"This record is not tainted at all. At all. You guys can say whatever you want," Bonds said.
I don't like Barry Bonds.

In my opinion, he's just another selfish African-American athlete who speaks his mind about racial injustice only when he's fucked up in a big way (infidelity, tax evasion, being a major league asshole) and needs camouflage. Otherwise, throughout his brilliant but turbulent career, his single response to political questions has always been the same: "I'm here to play the game, man."

Still, when it comes to these allegations about steroids, I think Bonds is being unfairly maligned, and it needs to stop. And no, it's not for the reasons you suspect.

Yeah, Bonds is rude, arrogant, and nasty, but he'll certainly have plenty of company in the Hall of Fame (Oh, Mr. Cobb? When you're finished pulling your cleats out of that guy's face, can you step over here?). More to the point, what really gets me angry is the idea that Bonds has poisoned the spotless purity of Baseball is revisionist bullshit. It's like the guy who thinks he's not cheating on his wife because he took off his wedding ring.

Let's be honest, O.K.? Cheating has always been a part of the game, it's just that the owners, the commissioner, the writers, the players, and the fans have chosen to ignore it. Guys have taken "greenies", thrown spitballs, and corked their bats for decades. Whatever works, right? When Jose Cancesco, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire became these lumbering, muscle-swollen behemoths slamming balls out of stadiums, how did people think they got that way? As Richard Pryor said when his wife caught him in bed with another woman, "Who are you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?"

Although the official rules in baseball say, "Don't Take Steroids", what the fine print says is, "Don't Get Caught". The last I heard, Bonds hasn't been convicted of anything yet, so if they decide to keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame sometime in the future, they better kick out Gaylord ("I don't where that Vaseline came from") Perry out first.

Oh, by the way, I believe those holy numbers that baseball is so proud of are fraudulent anyway. Before Jackie Robinson knocked down the "White Only" sign in 1946, great African-American baseball players like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, "Cool Papa" Bell, Judy Johnson and Oscar Charleston, were exiled to the Negro Leagues because they weren't allowed to compete with the white guys. If you ask me, that policy of blantant discrimination is a a bigger outrage than a syringe full of HGH. They can't scotch-tape an asterisk on Barry Bonds without giving themselves one first.

Sadly, the eclipsing of Hank Aaron's record has turned into a hollow triumph, and Major League Baseball has nobody else to blame but itself. If Barry Bonds is an embarrassing circus act, then it was the guys running the sport who set up the tent and sold the tickets.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What's Next?

And Now, Here's Not The News

With more than twenty years in the business, actor John Cusak was asked if he saw any difference in the way celebrities were covered by the news media. "It's gotten more and more insane," he replied. "Invasive and insane. Now there's not even the pretext that anyone has had to have done anything to get famous. It used to be that at least that someone had an infamous moment. Or they had done something good at some point, or something interesting or successful. Now you can just get into the circuit." Apparently, Cusak isn't the only guy that feels that way:

According to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 87 percent of those surveyed said celebrity scandals receive too much coverage. Only 2 percent responded there wasn't enough coverage. The public put most of the blame for the coverage squarely on the new media, with 54 percent responding that news organizations are at fault; nearly one third (32 percent) blamed the public for paying so much attention to celebrity coverage; 12 percent said the blame should be equally shared between the public and the media."

Look, I can understand the need to unplug the brain once in a while. It's the same insane compulsion that drives health-conscious people tired of tofu and asparagus pizza to suddenly attack Fritos, Twinkies, Big Macs, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Of course, just as too much junk food will rot your teeth, too much junk news will turn your brain into pink jello. Britney and Nicole and Lindsay, oh my.

But it's important to be able to tell the difference between news and celebrity puff pieces, and what separates, let's say, Fox News from "Entertainment Tonight" is that Fox News is nastier. ET interviews TV and movie stars, Fox News showcases bad actors who pretend they're journalists. ET pushes gossip, Fox News catapults the propaganda from the White House. ET overpraises untalented celebrities enjoying their fifteen minutes, Fox deifies dirtbag politicians and pundits who lie to us.

Fox News is a bad sitcom with a loud soundtrack of canned laughter snickering at ugly jokes that weren't funny twenty years ago, and it needs to be canceled.

(click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Should you support the troops?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Never let it be said liberals don't support the troops.

During the first Gulf War, I began collecting books to send to my college friends serving in Saudi Arabia. I must have sent hundreds of books. When US troops got deployed to Iraq, I started doing it again but I knew the job was too big for one person to do it, so I set up Books For Soldiers, a 501 (c)(3) charity to send free books, dvds and video games to deployed US soldiers.

But I wasn't that smart since I only thought the war would last 6 weeks tops in Iraq. What was I thinking? Now, FOUR years later, we are still shipping books.

But today I need your help. There is a contest sponsored by, they will contribute $2,000 to charitable military organizations next month in its Charity for Charities event. You can vote on your favorite charitable military organizations. The top four charitable organizations and a randomly selected organization will share $2,000 in donations from VAJoe. Books for Soldiers has been included in the event.

The Alexa Traffic Rank for is 242,975 and you would not believe our bandwidth bills!

So today, I am asking (begging actually) for your vote for Books For Soldiers. It won't take you 30 seconds to help a liberal out!


A short, fast and easy site registration is required.

P.S. Thank-you Michael Moore.


East Bay:

Journalist Chauncey Bailey Gunned Down In Oakland
Journalist Chauncey Bailey was shot to death in downtown Oakland on August 2nd. Bailey was killed around 7:30AM on 14th Street near Alice Street, in what police described as "an assassination". Witnesses said a single gunman wearing dark clothing and a ski mask approached Bailey, shot twice and ran away.

On August 4th, Devaughndre Broussard, 19, was booked at North County Jail in Oakland in connection with the shooting. Broussard was a handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery and has reportedly "confessed to having shot and killed Bailey with a shotgun because he was upset with the journalist's coverage of the group." In 2002, the East Bay Express wrote a two-part series about the Yusuf Bey "family", which runs the bakery. The articles included past allegations of murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, and other crimes (see The Sinister Side of Yusuf Bey's Empire and How Official Oakland Kept the Bey Empire Going). In November 2005, Yusef Bey IV and several others were recorded smashing alcohol in several Oakland liquor stores (reports 1 | 2).

Chauncey Bailey was an editor for the Oakland Post from June 2007 until his death. Bailey had previously worked as a reporter for The Oakland Tribune, and before that The Detroit News for ten years. Bailey had been known for his assertive style of questioning city officials. Oakland Police spokesman Ronald Holmgren said: "I know him as being a somewhat outspoken type individual, assertive in his journalistic approach when trying to get at matters at hand."

New America Media Executive Director Sandy Close said of Bailey, "Chauncey was a co-founder of New America Media and one of the best investigative journalists working bar none. He was brave in the face of whatever challenges he had to confront, especially any institution, public or private, that was not living up to the communities expectations and standards. He loved focusing on the local and global, he was adept at connecting the Bay Area Black community to the international African diaspora. He once said, 'All of the ethnic media are like fingers on a hand. Only together will we be strong like a fist.' Chauncey Bailey was distinguished by his work in the Oakland Tribune, Oakland Post, San Francisco Sun Reporter, San Francisco Bayview, Soul Beat TV and Our TV among others. He will be sorely missed."

This is a tragedy, not just for his friends and family, but for his profession and for the community he worked to serve. In an era where the news is either compromised or dumbed-down, Chauncey Bailey was a tough, hard-boiled journalist from the old school. Unlike other reporters who eagerly turn themselves into compliant stenographers, Bailey was a writer that wasn't afraid to ask the hard questions or go to the ugly places in the shadows where bad things were happening. This is a terrible loss.

Although I hate using the word, Devaughndre Broussard--if he's guilty--is a stupid nigger who killed a proud black man that the African-American community couldn't afford to lose. Because of Broussard's violent act, Chauncey Bailey has been added to the long list of martyrs who were assassinated because they refused to stay silent. Damn it.

Meanwhile, Somewhere In A Parallel Universe...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Big Brother, Inc.

This Dark Age Must End

Kollwitz, The Propeller

Having shown over the last seven months, since taking control of the legislative branch that they are at least equal to the Republicans when it comes to avarice, the Democrats set out this past weekend to demonstrate that, when it comes to cowardice, to blatant, unmitigated, ass covering politics they are every bit a match for Republicans.

Who impeaches the Congress? What in our Constitution protects the citizens of this country from a completely rogue government? When all three branches have abrogated their constitutional obligations, who will stand up for, who will represent the people of the United States?

Where must we search, to whom do we go for protection from the power of the wealthy corporate classes who are stealing our wealth, our livelihoods, and our future, who are spitting on our laws and our history as they sacrifice our Children and Grandchildren on the profane altar of their greed, in their eternal wars for profit and power?

Where is the opposition? Where do we go for redress of grievances when every institution of government is in the hands of the enemies of the people?

After suffering through five long years of watching a rogue executive blow it's nose on the American Constitution and wipe it's feet on our laws and bill of rights, it was with some relief and a glimmer of hope that I watched the election results last November as the Democratic party was returned to control of the legislative branch of the federal government. The pendulum is returning to the center I told myself, surely it will soon move to the left and show benefits to the working people of this country again.

I was somewhat apprehensive of course, I wrote several pieces warning my fellow Democrats to clean their own house and to do so loudly and publicly, to show the electorate that they were worthy of the public trust and to be on guard against the toxic infections of the corporate lobbyists and special interests that had so corrupted the Republicans they were replacing.

My voice and the more powerful and eloquent voices of others with the same message might have been crickets chirping in the wilderness, they could not be heard above the howl of the bitter wind driven by the building stampede.

The great headlong rush was on. The Democrats looked like the riotous crowds of Pamplona in their frenzied dash for campaign funds, for their rightful share of the political plunder that had, for so long, been denied to them. Like the mobs of Pamplona except they were chasing after the bulls, racing madly down the streets of our capitol, through the storied halls of our public monuments, their larcenous rotting hearts exposed, their shameless, greedy, grasping palms outstretched, drooling mouths at the ready, eager to suck at the poisonous teats of public corruption and corporate largess, it was a sight from hell.

The relief of last November is now long forgotten amid in the fear and loathing of July, the wars continue unabated, the so called opposition party has joined in dividing the spoils and trampling the law, the hope is gone and, I belive, it is time for every American who cares for this country, for humankind to face up to the sickening and unavoidable reality of our times.

The government of the United States is thoroughly and completely corrupt. From top to bottom, from one side of the aisle to the other, at all levels, whether we look at the federal system or in our statehouses, our government, our institutions, our military, our courts and schools and regulatory bodies, each and every one, has fallen under the control of criminals. And they are being aided and abetted by the treacherous and treasonous majorities of both of our so called political parties.

We need not travel 12,000 miles and comb the dusty caverns of remote mountain ranges, or the empty blazing deserts of Arabia in a search for terror and evil. All the terror, all the fear, all the evil we could ever desire to discover is centered in the chambers of our government and commerce and the evil hearts and minds of those who control them.

The government of the United States now operates under the careful tutelage, direction and control of enormously powerful international corporate interests which have no respect for the people of this or any other nation, not their laws, not their values nor their common histories and least, their humanity, their very lives.

The only interest of these piratical, plutocratic vermin is to take the labor from our backs, to strip the fruit from our trees and the crops from our fields, to mine the ore and pump the oil from our earth, to discover a way to steal the water from our seas and the very light from our sky and make it their own, to control it all, to control it all in their thirst for profit, in their worship of Mammon, of Moloch.

Look not to the media, the self exalted press, those journalistic guardians of the past, have become the corporate stooges of the present, the once independent protectors of the people no longer exist, they were bought, bought and sold in the same trades as the judges, as the preachers, the pastors, bishops, and the healers, bought as cheaply as the public servants, their souls are owned by the houses of wealth and power. All the saviors have sold us out, there is no one to save us but ourselves.

I find no further hope in the ballot box, another election of the darlings of the captains of industry, be they the favorite of the energy or drug companies, of the hedge funds or the arms merchants, I see no prospect for change from them and feel no desire to entrust the future to those so beholden to the slave masters of the past and the prison guards of the present.

I see no alternative, to wait further is to wait in vain, to continue on the path of non involvement, to ignore the evil that confronts us is to accept the shackles of our slavery willingly. We have only one strength, the strength of numbers and of the rightness of action against tyranny, for it is tyranny that we face.

If the law does not restrain the tyrant, it need not restrain the oppressed.

Some may call this the ravings of a paranoid mind, so be it. If my reaction to the reality of the world being created in our name, the reality of the sights and sounds of the miserable poverty, the continuous promotion of death and destruction, to the cries of the displaced and the maimed, the weeping of the mourners amidst the laughter of those who manipulate events to their own private ends is deemed paranoid then I accept the diagnosis. I welcome it. I am afraid, for myself, for my family, for my country, for my fellow man.

This government has stirred the fears of the populace for years, they toiled mightily to create a state of paranoia and keep it in the forefront, fear has been their currency. They have succeeded mightily, the populace is afraid and although I fear, in some measure, the danger they point to, I fear much more, much more, those who bear the pointing finger.

It is time I think, for massive nonviolent protest, for marches, acts of civil disobedience, general strikes, slow downs, sit ins, park ins on major thoroughfares, mass boycotts. It is time for people to resort to any nonviolent means of bringing this bloodsucking system to a standstill, to force the criminals into the prisons in which they belong and to transfer control of our government, our institutions and our resources to the people.

Paranoid? Perhaps. Over the top? Maybe.

Is any one else afraid of those who rule over this dark age?

Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

Related Stories:

The strong and tough Democrats by Glen Greenwald

House Approves Foreign Wiretap Bill

24 Goes Green

It may sound like a publicity stunt, but Fox spokesman Chris Anderson says the network isn't after bigger ratings. "We are publicizing '24's' commitment to climate change for two reasons and two reasons only: to inspire the public to take global warming seriously and hopefully to motivate other studios to make changes to their production practices as well," he says.

The show's electricity bills will go toward renewable-energy credits that will bring a share of wind, solar and water power to Los Angeles's grid. A diesel-powered soundstage will be converted to electricity, thus lessening the show's contribution to the local air pollution problem, and the show's five location scouts will be given Priuses to drive. Scripts, schedules and memos -- which used to be hand-delivered by car -- will be sent via e-mail.

The "24" page at now features energy conservation tips and a public service announcement about global warming featuring Kiefer Sutherland; more information will be posted when the show airs in January. Plus, climate change will be incorporated into the series' plot (which just might scare some viewers into taking action).

Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised Kiefer himself gently nudged 24 in this direction. After all, his dad was a long-haired, rabble-rousing hippie from the old school (M*A*S*H, FTA).

And from the few interviews I've read, Kiefer has always appeared uncomfortable with the program's fascist inclinations, especially in the later episodes. Still, as a struggling actor who was one step away from either obscurity or a reality TV series before 24, I'm sure he's even more uncomfortable nibbling the hand that signs his big paychecks.

But hey, whatever works. I'm not a purist. Anything that gets the mainstream audience thinking seriously about global warming is good. Sure, maybe Jack Bauer beats up dirtbag Muslims, but at least his recycles his trash, right?

A tip of the Kangol to The Blogging Curmudgeon.

Bend Over, Congress

So, what do I think about the Democrats getting butt-fucked by Bush?

That's easy. They're goddamned cowards.

And please don't talk to me about "pragmatism". That's a stale alibi I don't want to hear anymore. As the wise old truism goes, "Don't piss in my face and call it rain."

JB knows what's really going on:

Do not be mistaken: We are not hurtling toward the Gulag or anything that we have seen before. It will be nothing so dramatic as that. Rather, we are slowly inching, through each act of fear mongering and fecklessness, pandering and political compromise, toward a world in which Americans have increasingly little say over how they are actually governed, and increasingly little control over how the government collects information on them to regulate and control them. Slowly, secretly and imperceptibly, the mechanisms of government surveillance are being freed from methods of political control and accountability; and the liberties of ordinary citizens are being surgically removed under a potent anesthesia concocted from propaganda, fear, ignorance and apathy.

Years ago I saw a sneaker commercial where a team of angry, pumped-up, ready-to-take-on-the-whole-damned-world football team was in the locker room before the big game. Just before charging out onto the field, they bellowed, "This is our house! Don't let nobody disrespect it!"

But Bush did exactly that this weekend. He disrespected the White House. What's worse, the Democrats stood by like a herd of mute cretins and let him do it. Their gold-plated jockstraps were full of hollow words and empty promises. Don't forget, the White House belongs to us, and the politicians who work there are supposed to take care of the American people because its the job we elected them to do. Spying on our dirty laundry for political leverage isn't going to make us safer.

The White House was disrespected, and more of our precious civil liberties were taken away because a bunch of lying, chickenshit millionaires couldn't wait to go on vacation. Shameful.

Thanks to Alternative Brain for the head's up.

Jake Brown: The Man Who Fell To Earth

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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If baseball is still as American as "apple pie" it is because baseball is just as corrupt as our government. Fake records, lying players, out-of-control coaches and steroids by the gallon - sounds just like the Bush Administration to me.

Then I was watching the X Games this past weekend and was treated to unvarnished competition. The X Games is my generation's answer to the Olympics featuring BMX bicycles, skateboards, motorcross, surfing, skiing and even off-road car rallies. But these X Gamers were different from other "athletes." They never have $20 million contracts, most barely make enough to buy health insurance. You never hear of performance enhancing drugs, but performance DEhancers are common - you know, pot! Also, you never see the temper tantrums that "professional" athletes tend to throw either because they are spoiled or because they are suffering from roid rage.

But this weekend showed a classic example of the mettle and fortitude of X Gamer endurance and courage. Jake Brown, a skateboarder from Carlsbad, California went splat and by "splat" I mean he lost control on a high vertical jump and fell 50 feet onto the ground below. (must-see YouTube link) He hit so hard, both shoes flew off his feet! But Jake Brown stood up and walked off the platform, unlike some "athletes" that need to be carried off the field for a minor wrist sprain.

From the LA Times:

Brown, 32, is fortunate to be alive after crash landing from more than 45 feet during Thursday night's skateboarding big air competition.

He also sustained bruises to his liver and lung, and a mild concussion. The liver injury is what's keeping him under watch at California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles.

"I'm going to check out today," said the Carlsbad athlete, whose wrist injury is a small bone fracture. "I'm just waiting on an X-ray, and they want to make sure my liver's not still bleeding. I just want to get out of here, dude."

When baseball becomes gnarly once again, I might watch and one day I might even respect it again. But as along as baseball is as American as BushCo, expect me to continue to ignore it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Black Bloggers and NPR

There is a "hot" conversation over at Mirror on America regarding NPR and the program "Black Bloggers Roundtable." African American Blogger Angry Independent believes NPR's Black Bloggers Roundtable show has blown it again.

Here is just a bit of what he had to say, along with a link to his full post and comments.

By The Angry Independent

I have been ill and really did not want to blog today at all.... but this silliness bugs me... mainly because I know there are more astute African American bloggers available for this show. Yet News and Notes brings on the same crew over and over again. This is the same crew (except for one) that trashed Michael Moore's film "Sicko" a few weeks ago.

First Farai Chideya refers to Jasmyne Cannick as a Political blogger.... yet she rarely offers any substantive political commentary on the show. Let's be truthful here.... Cannick is an entertainment & pop culture blogger....not a serious political blogger. In fact, she constantly expresses her disinterest in political issues, and instead focuses on the latest events in the entertainment world.... Black entertainment in particular.

But that's not what really annoyed me.... what annoyed me was the nonsense spouted by blogger Michael David Cobb Bowen. On the show he stated that Iraq was being turned around because of the surge. WHAT? I guess he missed the report of the 142 people killed yesterday and the new problems within the Iraqi Government. Bowen must be tapping into the Bush propaganda machine, which has created a completely different reality for those who want to avoid the facts about Iraq. More from the Angry Independent HERE

PS, I regularly blog with The Angry Independent and have been invited to be a guest bloggers with him recently on the Rude Pundit Blog. I have also been invited to participate in NPR's Black Bloggers Roundtable on Wednesday August 15th. I'm not sure if my invite is due to the Angry Independents' continued post regarding NPR's need to bring more African American "political" bloggers to the program, but I'm sure it did not hurt. I hope NPR scheduled the Angry Independent. He needs to be on the program.

NPR has posted a link saying:

-- The blog, "Mirror on America," ripped our weekly Bloggers' Roundtable segment, saying, "I know there are more astute African American bloggers available for this show."

It's great that African American bloggers are stepping it up. It's also great that corporations and media are listening and responding.

Howard Dean on young people and the future

The last part of Howard Dean's keynote address.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I want to close by talking about young people. I was in Dallas about two, three months ago, and there's a gentleman down there by the name of Reverend Freddie Haines who runs a big megachurch down in Dallas. And I went down to see him because he does a lot of social good works. And we're actually now in the business of reaching out to all kinds of people, and we reach out to Evangelical Christians. Why do we reach out to Evangelical Christians? Because there is a generational change going on.

There's an Evangelical preacher in Los Angeles by the name of Rick Warren. He wrote a book called The Purpose-Driven Life, some of you may have read it. He doesn't have his Sunday services conducted by preaching hate and beating up on gay people and women. They talk about Darfur. They talk about the environment, they talk about poverty--things that are actually in the Bible. And that is our commonality with the Evangelical movement, particularly young people. That sounds like a Democratic message. I know that there are going to be things that we disagree with, with our Evangelical brothers and sisters. But there are going to be some things that we agree with, and the younger generation, Evangelical, not Evangelical, whatever they are, the younger generation expects us to set aside our differences on things we don't agree with, and get to work on the things that we do agree with, so that we can make America a better place.

So, I went down to see Reverend Haines, and we had a good talk about all the things he was doing, and some politics and so forth, and he gave me a poll at the end of the meeting, which I read on the plane to wherever my next stop was. And, I want to tell you about it, because it is enormously hopeful for our country. In 2004, the turnout of young people went up dramatically. And young people across the board voted for John Kerry 56% and George Bush 44%. It was the only age group that John Kerry won. In 2006, off-year election, the number of young people (18-29) went up 20% from the off-year election in 2002. And they voted 61% Democrat and 39% Republican.

There's some lessons here. The first is, we know that if you vote three times in a row, you're likely to vote for the rest of your life. And the direction you vote in those three times in a row is likely to be the direction you vote for the rest of your life. So every single election has to be about young people. We are paying the price today for not reaching out to young people in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was running for president. That's how John Roberts ended up as the head of the Supreme Court. Every single election has to be about young people, whether you think they're important today in your particular election or not. Whether they're the swing vote or not. Because if you don't reach out to young people in every single election, you pay the price for that for 60 years, because their pattern is set, and it's very hard to get them back.

So that's the first lesson. The second is something that is really extraordinary. It turns out that in 2004, the turnout went up a lot for young people, as I said. And they voted heavily Democratic, even more so in 2006, when they voted even more Democratic. But here's the most interesting thing that I thought--because it gives me such hope for this next generation. People in my generation, we're kind of confrontational, and young people today aren't so big on confrontation. You know, we were out in the streets, marching with signs, trying to get the extablishment to change America. And they're on the internet getting their congressman to vote for the darn H811, to get the voting machines done, and all kinds of things like that. So they're changing America in a different way--not just confrontationally as we were.

Here's what happened, though, which I thought was really extraordinary. We did reach out, and there was a good campaign aimed at young folks in 2004. White voters under 30 went up 8%. African American voters under 30 went up 15%. Hispanic voters under 30 went up 23%. (Applause.) Now, it gets better. The interesting thing about those number is, the increase in voting turnout is inversely proportional to the registrations of the groups as a whole. Which means that, among young people, something is going on that's very very different than the patterns that you see in our generation. Here's the most interesting part of this statistic. It turns out that the turnout of the young folks across the board for everybody was 53%. That's a very good number for young folks, it's not what 60 year olds turn out--it can get better, but it's a good good number for young people. The most interesting thing is, the number was 53% for everybody--it didn't matter if you were black, white, or brown, the number was 53% in your community.

You see what I'm getting at? How things have changed so much that it doesn't matter any more--you do, of course, African American targeting, and Caucasian and Latino and al that, but, they're one generation. And the marketing that you do is different. There is actually a bunch of white kids running around malls with their pants down to their ankles these days. (Laughter.) The truth of the matter is that the vision that we had for America as we struggled through the civil rights era, uncomfortable with each other but trying to do the right thing, is the vision that our kids have accepted and are moving forward into the next generation with. (Cheers and applause.)

It makes me feel great about the future of America, in those times of agony when we see the corruption and the disrespect for the Constitution of the United States in Washington at the highest level, we can think about those under-30 people. I know that 45 years from now, they'll never elect somebody like that, because they believe in the world that we designed for them, a world where everybody is included, where equality does matter, where equal protection under the law for every single United States citizen matters, where America doesn't torture, and doesn't do extraordinary rendition. Where America will stand up for optimism and hope again. That is the country that we hope to build--it won't be built by us, but it will be built by our children, and we can see it already in their voting patterns. (Applause and cheers.)

So, the only thing I would say to this new generation is something that we all need to understand. I don't want people to become patient--I think impatience is a good thing. But, one of the things about getting to be in the older generation, I remember something my father once told me, which, of course, I resisted mightily when he told it to me, but now I'm about the age he was when he told me, so I'm gonna say it, and I believe it now. (Laughter.) He looked at me one time and he said, "You know, I have one advantage over you: I can look backwards as well as forwards."

When I was a freshman in college in 1968, Martin Luther King was killed, and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. And I remember very much exactly where I was that day, and exactly what that was like. Now, these young folks under 30, they learn about Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and John Lewis and folks like that--they learn about that in history books, but they didn't live it the way people in my generation lived it. They see it as a moment in history--it's history to them.

What I say to young folks is this: you need to remember that Martin Luther King was not just an ideal that we all worked towards in terms of inclusion and treating people properly. That he was a human being. It was 13 years between the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the signing of the Civil Rights Bill. Thirteen years! Not every day was a good day for Dr. King and his folks during those thirteen years. There were a lot of times that he and his folks had to get up and dust themselves off and go out and do something else that was really tough. And not all of them survived that.

And so what I say to all Americans, but particularly young people, is that this is not a one day or one election struggle. This is something we have to do every single day for the rest of our lives. (Cheers and applause.) Every single day for the rest of our lives. And when we get knocked down, we're going to stand up again for the core principles of America. Because America was knocked down by the far right wing of the Republican party in the last 8 years, and by God we're going to get up, and we're going to recover, and stand up for what we used to stand up for. We are going to regain the moral leadership that made America a great country, and we are going to live again in America, and stand up, and lead the world to the Promised Land. Thank you very much.

Meanwhile, in Blogtopia...

Lance Mannion artfully dissects Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows. Lance is the "hip, slick, and cool" English teacher that dorky nerds like me had wet dreams about.

Go to The Grey Matter for The Angry Liberal's thoughts about Hillary and her promising chances of her capturing the White House. I don't entirely agree with him, but it's tasty food for thought. Please sir, may I have some more?

Over at Hullabaloo, Dover Bitch righteously kicks the shit out of Rudy Giuliani. Like his buddy Bush, Rudy was another useless, limp-dick ghoul of a politician who used the smoking ruins of 9/11 as a photo-op.

Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars informs us that the Iraq power grid is on the verge of collapse. It's amazing. Because the United States has fucked up the war so royally, the Iraqis are looking back on Saddam's reign of terror as "The Good Old Days".

Dennis Miller sucks Bill O'Reilly's cock. I see dead comedians...

On a special episode of "CSI: Chicago", Driftglass does an autopsy on the Mainstream News Media. Viewer discretion advised.

Cannablog uses a time machine to go back to the days when MTV was good.

Finally, here's Meteor Blades:

I know what a lot of you 57 Democratic Representatives and Senators are going to be saying over the next month while you’re speaking on the home turf. You did it to protect Americans. You didn’t want to take a chance. You had to stand up to the terrorists. You really had no choice.

If anybody asks why in hell you chose to legalize what the Cheney-Bush team has been doing illegally since 2001, you’re going to tell us you did it for our own good. You amended the 29-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – originally passed to put some modest restrictions on agencies whose outrageous and frequently illegal behavior had been exposed by journalists and the Church Committee – to make us safe. You’re going to tell us you’ve got our backs.

You’re going to claim we can depend on you to be tough against terrorists even though you just put your foreheads to the floor at the feet of the most loathsome duo ever to sink their talons into the office of the Presidency. You’re going to tell us you couldn’t stand up to the blackmail, although that's not what you'll call it. You’re going to say Democrats can’t afford to appear weak.

At which point, if I happen to be in the back of the room, your bodyguards will probably have to drag me off. Because I cannot imagine how I will be able to quiet my laughter long enough for you to get on to the next question.

Frankly, you epitomize weak. Your every pore exudes feebleness. You are surrender monkeys. And you’ve just casually tossed away a basic protection as if it were a banana peel.

Go read the rest. You'll be cheering even as the tears start running down your face. And then go punch the wall, drink a shot of Jack, call up your friends and scream incoherently (but politely) for several minutes, and get ready to do it all over again. Just don't give up.