Saturday, August 8, 2009

Swearing In Today

Madame Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

With Liberty and Justice for All.

Although I'd expect the cussing out to continue for some time...

Blackwater, Deeper Still

Phony Protests, Real Anger

Marc Cohn - Walking In Memphis

From: Austin City Limits (January 23, 1993). He's bald now, but glad people still want to hear it.

Willie's Week

Kent's Weak

Friday, August 7, 2009

Black(water) Marks On The Record

Follow The Money

Rachel explored some connections Wednesday...

Thursday one of the people named surfaced...

Night Owl U

This fall, Bunker Hill Community College in Boston will offer two classes between 11:45 pm and 2:30 in the morning... an hour and a half after public transit closes each night.

College President Mary Fifield says the school, already operating seven days a week, is bursting at the seams with students partly because of the down economy. She says these night owl classes will provide an opportunity for people who work and can’t go to school during normal hours.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, August 3. Host: Robin Young.

Bueller, Bueller, Bueller?

Nobody captured being an 80s teen any better:

A full list of John Hughes credits at IMDB.


David Crosby later wrote a song about Jim.

From: Later with Bob Costas on NBC

Morrison County

Craig D'Andrea's "Morrison County" isn't about the lizard king.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Black(water) Tactics

Political Paranoia

From CBS New Political Hot Sheet

"Sen. Accuses White House of Creating "Enemies List"
by Stephanie Condon

The White House in recent days has taken pro-active steps to combat the misinformation spreading about the president's health care plans -- but one Republican senator thinks they are going too far.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday to express his concern about "a new White House program to monitor American citizens' speech opposing your health care policies."

Cornyn's letter was prompted by a White House blog post written by White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips.

"Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to 'uncover' the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions," Phillips wrote. "Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"
Political Motives? Senator Cornyn of Texas is also currently the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

More from CBS



This undated photo was linked on the final page of George Sodini's blog.It used to be the FBI would find a diary or some other written evidence to explain the acts of a person the press would label as "one lone nut."

George Sodini is a name we didn't know until a heinous lashing out at a health club... Yet evidence of his mental state was hiding in plain sight on the internet, in a blog posted on his own domain:

"Probably 99% of the people who know me well don't even think I was this crazy. Told by at least 100 girls/women over the years I was a 'nice guy'. Not kidding." -- George Sodini, on the edge of murder, August 4, 2009.

Aerobics Class Massacre

Watch CBS Videos Online

Home, Home Again

I like to be here
when I can

When I come home
cold and tired

Its good to warm
my bones
beside the fire

Far away
across the field

The tolling
of the iron bell

Calls the faithful
to their knees

To hear the
softly spoken
magic spells

AP/Reuters photos via China Daily & Pink Floyd - Breathe (reprise)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Black(water) Ops

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder, Jeremy Scahill's article on The Nation's site.


Astroturf: a manufactured, as opposed to an organic "grass roots movement."

I saw an anti health care ad by a group calling itself "The Better Government Association."

Turns out they have more than health care on their mind. To quote from their website:
The mission of the BGA will be:

1. To inform the public on the fallacies of the information being spread by liberal socialist organizations and the facts on capitalism versus socialism;
2. To promote conservative capitalist candidates for public office at all levels;
3. To file lawsuits against unconstitutional laws and actions by government and counter-lawsuits to those lawsuits filed by the liberal socialist organizations; and
4. To form grassroots organizations to compete with ACORN.

Who are they?

Hard to say. Their website and press release contain no clue about who they are beyond a press contact quoted in a February 15, 2007 posting by "The Non Profit Times":
“We have to be very aggressive in our scripting,” said Lance Davis, director of marketing – political for InfoCision, based in Akron, Ohio. “You’ve got to hit them with a sledgehammer in the first five seconds of the call.”

Mr. Davis (a donor to Fred Thompson's lackadaisical 2008 Republican Presidential Campaign) is referring to political telemarketing, a specialty of InfoCision Management, exempt from "do not call" regulations, or any obligation to the truth. Succesful enough to have purchased naming rights for the football stadium at the University of Akron, InfoCision, which operates 32 call centers, is a "message mercenary." They'll provide workers who in turn will say anything for a price.

Political opposition isn't the only challege for the new highly partisan BGA of Akron. They're being sued for stealing the name of a much older non-partisan group of the same name based in Chicago.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bears & Balls - How to Pay for Health Care
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTasers

Washington Post Staff Writer Ben Pershing reports today (August 5): $52 Million Has Been Spent So Far on Ads in What Could Be Record-Shattering Battle.

Ensign Email Evidence

"Family values" takes another kick in the nuts:

Jon Ralston's blog and columns appear on the Las Vegas Sun website.

Birthday Debunking

President Obama turned 48 on Tuesday.

Are You Doing It Wrong?

Colgate's Evangeline Lilly clone will also teach you to floss.

Shawn Mullins - All In My Head

A good place to keep your teeth:

Live at KFOG - San Francisco: February 1, 2008.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Healthcare Holdup

After 2 weeks on vacation, he's back...

Loaded for bear, er elephant & blue dog:

Also see Keith Olbermann's December 14, 2007 appearance on Bill Moyers Journal for a great conversation, including the story of how his controversial "Special Comment" segements began.

Return On Investment

In a story completely unrelated to the current health care debate, NPR reported a college had conducted an effectiveness study on its own lobbying efforts.

The results: $122,000 grant dollars returned for every $1 of lobbying money spent.

Lobbying money is the ultimate leverage.

Keep that in mind as you watch "Americans Against Food Taxes" TV Ad:

Who is "Americans Against Food Taxes?"

Their website is registered to the DC/Sacramento lobbying firm Goddard Claussen, specialists in "issue advocacy," lobbying via mass media, in which a fictitious "grass roots" sounding organization tries to cultivate a few real shoots after fertilizing the populace with mis or disinformation.

Who's paying for "Americans Against Food Taxes?"

Membership includes the American Beverage Association, the National Supermarket Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Corn Refiners Association (manufacturers of "high fructose corn syrup" sweetners), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Snack Food Association and the National Taxpayers Union, among others... All except one are food industry lobbyists, looking to preserve big profit margins as their big return on their investment.

Goddard Claussen co-founders Ben Goddard and Rick Claussen are the same people behind the 1993 & 2008-9 "Harry & Louise" ad campaigns, the first credited or blamed for defeating "Clinton Care."

The Health Insurance Association of America, a predecessor to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) funded the couple’s first appearance speaking out against health care reform in 1993 and 1994. AHIP is not a member of "Health Care First Coalition" (2008's sponsors), but issued a release supporting the current campaign, which launched Aug. 19, 2008 to coincide with presidential nominating conventions... Health insurance mandates are what they're after in the current proposals.

Read Jeff Birnbaum's 2004 profile of the Goddard Clausen firm & their M.O.

AfPak MedEvac

Casualties spiked since the U.S. launched a major offensive into Afghanistan's Helmand province... 39 U.S. troops and 22 British troops killed in July alone. Busy times for U.S. MedEvac (medical evacuation) chopper pilot Jay Hanshaw, who picks up injured Marines on the front line. He joined The Takeaway from "Camp Dwyer."
Deployed Into The Dust
Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway, 7/31/09.

Military Robotics

Taking lives:

Saving lives:

Steely Dan - Kid Charlemagne

From Steely Dan's 1976 album "The Royal Scam." Performed for a "VH1's Storytellers" episode first aired in 2000.

Flip This House

An 82 foot high building was involved in a rollover accident as an attempted demolition went awry in Cankiri, Turkey, August 1:

The BBC reports the building, a flour factory built in 1928, had been idle since the 1980s and was to be demolished to make way for a shopping center.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Smash Open iPhones

iPhone screen illustration from zedomax

Washington Post tech writer Erick Schonfeld of explains why an FCC investigation of how the "Google Voice" app was rejected may be the key to making cell phone networks as wide open as the Internet.

Bike Polo

'Bike Polo' from NY Daily Photo blog

Audio: Tamsin Ford of the BBC's report via PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, July 31. Host: Robin Young.

Cash For Clunkers

CBS Evening News. Saturday August 1:

The following day, Good Morning America Sunday interviewed Boston area car dealer David S. Rosenberg, president of the Prime Motor Group, who said the "cash for clunkers" program application process was so complicated his dealership, Prime Honda of West Roxbury had yet to apply... All the while standing in front of a banner that proclaimed his dealership an "official cash for clunkers" site.

Kind of like "Mission Accomplished" on the carrier deck.

Fast Draw: Lessons Of Sand

"And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually."
-- Jimi Hendrix (1967)

Mitch Butler & Josh Landis from CBS Sunday Morning , August 2.

Texting Your Way To Love (PG-13)

Video from: Current TV

So You Think You Can Dance 2

Everything popular gets parodied:

These guys are pros.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


People who know my background often ask if the news is biased.

I answer: "Yes... Toward controversy."

When real tension subsides, cable TV finds ways to keep it going:

It was well cast. Ann played her part. Al didn't take the bait.
The producers were probably really disappointed.

"Blessed are the peacemakers." -- attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, circa 32 AD

Dogged, Big Time

Sweet Treat

One of the hallmarks of culinary school is learning about edible garnishes & how to mimic the appearance of other foods. These mini melons are the creation of a home-schooling Mormon mom with a vivid imagination, a built-in clatch of future sous chefs as kitchen helpers and a blog called Chocolate On My Cranium.

CPR - Deja Vu

Recorded in 2000, for Dutch TV:

CPR: David Crosby, Jeff Pevar & James Raymond
with Steve Distanislao (drums) & Andrew Ford (bass.)

They Met On The Internet

She won't be changing her name:

Having a name that's not gender specific opens up possibilities, but it's not just couples connecting via social networking.

The BBC found clubs of people who share names within Facebook. For example: the "Our Name is David Nelson" group, or a 52-member group called "We Are Paul Quinn" that won't even accept Paulas or Paulines.

The San Francisco Chronicle consulted the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, who suggested there's a certain "fascination" to finding a person who shares our name but no other component of what makes us who we are.

So, have you ever Googled yourself?

So You Think You Can Dance?

I do.

Usually reserved for the reception, the bride & groom's first dance proved memorable, even newsworthy, with a cast that took the term "wedding party" and kicked it up a notch.

Happy anniversary to Ken & Julie (17) plus Ben & Meg (6)... Celebrating today!

I can neither confirm, nor deny, the existence, or authenticity, of any photo, tape or digital recording purporting to depict someone alleged to be me "dancing" at either wedding.