Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last Call

OK, I understand that Qaddafi is a bit eccentric, but this is just uncomfortably weird here.

Libyan rebels successfully raided the compound of Muammar Gadhafi and found amongst his possessions guns, cars and valuable artwork.

According to Newser, Gadhafi's compound also holds unusual objects such as his daughter's gold mermaid couch, a statue of a giant hand crumpling a U.S. fighter jet, and golf carts that rebels seem to enjoy riding in as they celebrate their success.

However, the object that seems to raise the most eyebrows is a photo album filled with pictures of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In his 2007 interview with Al-Jazeera television, Gadhafi boasted, "I support my darling black African woman," he said. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders...Leezza, Leezza, Leezza...I love her very much. I admire her and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

Yeah, in addition to everything else, dude had his stalker scrapbook of Condi Rice.  I'm not sure what's creepier, a septuagenarian dictator hitting on a woman 25 years younger than him, or a world leader obsessed with Condi Rice to have a scrapbook of her.

Eeeeeugh.  *shudder*

Only In Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say a family escaped injury when a sport utility vehicle flew off a street and landed on the roof of their house.

Police say the accident Wednesday night occurred when the driver of the SUV blew through an intersection and went into the home's yard, which acted like a ramp and launched the vehicle 10 to 15 feet off the ground.

It landed in the attic area and started to sink but the eight people in the house were able to escape without injury.

Police found the driver sitting on the roof. Firefighters had to cut a man and a woman out of the vehicle but none of the three were seriously injured.

Police doubt the house will ever be inhabitable again.

I'm amused and worried. Was he drunk or fresh from a Duke's of Hazzard marathon? I just don't know.  Seriously, can you imagine trying to file that insurance claim?

It's All Fun And Games Until A Hurricane Hits Your State, Eric

Remember Eric Cantor's "you're on your own" response to the deadly Joplin, Missouri tornado in May?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.”

That's right, Cantor, in an act of absurd callousness, wanted spending cuts to offset the hundreds of millions, if not billions, in tornado damage to the town.  Natural disasters are a zero sum game, and I said this at the time:

Would Cantor be saying the same thing if a tornado or massive storm swept through VA-7 and the suburbs north of Richmond, causing billions of dollars of damage?  Which would be a worse answer, that he wouldn't expect spending cuts before helping his own district out...or that he would insist upon them?

Well gosh, with the earthquake this week and Hurricane Irene barreling towards Virginia, we're about to find out.  And the preliminary answer is that yes, Eric Cantor would screw over his own constituents.

Looks like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will extend his requirement that federal disaster relief be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget to Hurricane Irene.

"We aren't going to speculate on damage before it happens, period," his spokesperson Laena Fallon emails. "But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."

This isn't just to lay a honeytrap for Cantor. Human toll aside, hurricane damage can be very expensive, and if against all hope Irene hits hard, this sort of parameter could put a severe dent in federal programs that are already stretched quite thin. 

Boy, if I lived in Cantor's district, I'd be thrilled to know that if Irene went through my hometown and wrecked power, traffic, water and city streets, that Eric Cantor's office was more interested in scoring political talking points than helping people in need.  And if I were one of Cantor's Virginia delegation colleagues, I'd be ringing up his office and saying "Look, pal, my constituents are going to need this money.  Don't be pulling this nonsense."

The guy has the heart of charcoal and barbed wire, I swear.

Third And Fourth Party Crashers

The worst "Democratic strategist" team in the universe is back, apparently.  Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell have been screaming for years that the Democratic Party is infested by extremist hippies, that Democrats had to tack hard right in order to win the Tea Party in 2010,  and then suggested that President Obama shouldn't run at all in 2012 in order to bring the country together.

Now the pair are warning that because nobody listened to them, that the Democrats will suffer complete defeat in 2012 at the hands of a third party or even fourth party movement that Schoen and Caddell just happen to have an advertising spiel for.

We already see evidence on the ground that from the discontent coursing through the electorate there may emerge a third or even fourth political party that would be competitive in next year's presidential election. Look no further than the recent launch of the centrist, bipartisan, Americans Elect. This is a nonprofit political organization that plans to break the stranglehold of the two-party duopoly by selecting a third presidential ticket, via an Internet convention, that will be on the ballot in 2012.

Meanwhile the tea party movement is functioning as a quasi-third party already, having already demonstrated an unprecedented level of activism, enthusiasm and influence over the primary and general-election outcomes during the 2010 midterms—and, most recently, driving the debate over the debt ceiling. Polling done by Douglas E. Schoen LLC last year shows that a tea party presidential candidate could get between 15%-25% of the vote running on that line, depending on the precise alignment of the candidates.

There are now rumblings from Donald Trump, a former contender for the Republican nomination, that he may run as an independent. There are certain to be others.

We have seen in the past where economic distress and political alienation can lead. In both the 1980 and 1992 presidential campaigns, third-party candidates emerged—John Anderson and then Ross Perot—and each garnered high levels of public support. Mr. Perot actually led in the polls for several months during the 1992 campaign. And the conditions in those years were nowhere near as severe as they are today.

The political order as we know it is deteriorating and disintegrating, and politics abhors a vacuum. So there is very good reason to believe that a credible third party, or even fourth political party, may be on the ballot in 2012. The American people clearly are looking for alternatives. Now.

Yes, and Schoen and Caddell will be there to offer their services to Americans Elect candidates who run to save America because the Democrats are just as broken and extremist as the Tea Party Republicans.  Firebaggers and Tea Partiers unite to bring down the evil President Darkie McBlackerthanyou!  Americans Elect will show us the way!  Centrism uber alles!

This would crack me up if it wasn't so obviously a Hamwaldian grift job.

Arrrr, Here There Be Pirates (Linux Style)

Poseidon Linux is developed and maintained by scientists from the Rio Grande Federal University Foundation in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil and other supporters all over the globe. It was named Poseidon because its development was driven by a school of oceanologists.

Poseidon was originally a derivative of Kurumin Linux. Kurumin is no more as it has been discontinued since 2008, but in its time it was a big deal that generated a lot of excitement and interest in Linux. Kurumin was a stripped-down Knoppix that fit on a mini-CD, with excellent hardware detection, a hard drive installation option (which the early Knoppix releases did not have), a beautiful appearance, and comprehensive documentation written in Brazilian Portuguese. Linux and FOSS are very popular in Brazil thanks to projects like Kurumin.

First, let's just cover the spiffiness of this. We have Linux getting mainstream and then specializing. This is the fruition of years of hard work... Linux has finally arrived. The Ubuntu connection is awesome as well. It had to overcome harsh criticism for being too pretty and has now struck the perfect balance between pretty and functional. Even hardcore Slackware users have to give it the nod for its progress. I have stayed with Mint, and enjoyed the Ubuntu base.  We also have a global success as Linux and Ubuntu in particular become more popular overseas.

Click here to see the English site.

Also welcome our new friend the Linux tag.  I wasn't sure how much I would discuss it here, but I think it deserves a place.

Here's The Story... Of A Lovely Lady

... who is being divorced by a Brady.  Christopher Knight (Peter Brady to you old farts) has filed for divorce from his third wife, model Adrianne Curry.  I hated to hear it, I am a huge CK fan.  However, it was pretty clear this was coming from the beginning.  Still, I hoped it would work out just because it was so much fun to watch them fall in love on VH1's The Surreal Life.  It was painful to watch it come apart on My Fair Brady.

Now he's single and I'm married.  O cruel irony.  I was thisclose.

A Pregnant Pause To Consider The GOP War On Women

Want to know why Republicans are really going after Planned Parenthood?  Maybe this will shed some light on the situation.

Unintended pregnancies, which make up nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States, are increasingly concentrated among low-income women, a study showed on Wednesday.

Unplanned pregnancies have skyrocketed among poor women in recent years even as such pregnancies among their affluent peers have dropped, according to the study, to be published in the online edition of the journal Contraception.

Researchers from the Guttmacher Institute found the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the federal poverty line jumped by 50 percent between 1994 and 2006, the latest date available, from 88 per 1,000 to 132.

Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancy rate among women with incomes at least 200 percent above the poverty line fell 29 percent from 34 per 1,000 to 24, the researchers found, using data from the federal National Survey of Family Growth.

Of the 6.7 million pregnancies tracked in 2006, some 49 percent were unintended, up from 47 percent in 1994, according to the women themselves.

So, wealthier women are choosing to use contraception.  Meanwhile, poor women are needing it more.  This isn't a public health problem to conservatives, poor women should just stop having sex.  The larger issue is of course Planned Parenthood is being targeted for abortions, but conservatives want all women's health funding stripped from the organization regardless of the whole contraception angle...which of course would prevent unintended pregnancies and abortions as a result.  The only logical conclusion is that it's contraception for poor women that conservatives are really after.  They want poor women to remain poor and pregnant, where it's difficult to improve your economic situation.

So there's a growing epidemic of unintended pregnancies among poor woemn, and the GOP wants to actively make it worse.

Ask yourself why that is.

Lights, Cameras, Fascism!

And right here in Cincy, too.  Turns out west side Cincy's Congressman, Republican Steve Chabot, isn't a real big fan of having constituents bring cameras to town hall meetings if those constituents are Democrats, that is.

Monday night, at a “town hall” meeting in North Avondale featuring U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, video cameras owned by two Democratic activists were seized by a Cincinnati police officer at the direction of Chabot’s staff.

A Chabot spokesman said the had the cameras seized “to protect the privacy of constituents” at the event, although there were at least two media outlets at the North Avondale Recreation Center filming the meeting.

Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, has written a letter to Cincinnati City Solicitor John Curp asking for an explanation of “the legal basis for the seizure and the enforcement by Cincinnati police of rules created by the Congressman.”

Signs were taped to the doors to the hall where the Monday night meeting was held saying that no video cameras were allowed inside.

Which again is odd, because two local TV stations were at the town hall meeting, filming it.  In fact, they filmed the police officer confiscating the devices.

Oh, it gets better. Chabot spokesman Jamie Schwartz had this steaming load to deliver:

Schwartz said that sometimes at the town hall meetings, citizens ask questions about their own personal situations and the Chabot staff did not want them videotaped. The media cameras were allowed to continue to roll, Schwartz said, “because they can be expected to respect people’s privacy.”

Right. Because the media wouldn't have, you know, broadcast any of the questions being asked or any of the footage they were filming. Jesus wept. Best part?
But, at this meeting, as at other recent Chabot town hall events, participants were required to sign in as they entered and write out questions for the congressman. Members of the staff chose which questions he answered at Monday’s meeting.

Only approved questions will be answered, citizen. Remain seated and no cameras or you will be dealt with. Liberty and freedom and stuff!

But it turns out Chabot isn't a complete moron, either.

By the time Chabot holds his next town hall meeting at Westwood Town Hall Monday, Schwartz said, the rules will have changed. People will be allowed to ask questions of the congressman directly and cameras will not be seized.

Should be much more lively of a meeting...and I hope Cincinnati has plenty to say to Mr. Chabot, right to his face.  Hey, but Tea Party folks are still allowed to say whatever they want to Democrats, right?

Johnny Volcano And Qaddafi Duck In "The Producers"

Remember that McCain tweet about meeting Qaddafi two years ago?  Seems after getting hosed in 2008, Sen. John McCain and his buddy Sen. Joe Lieberman were making friends around the globe in the Warren Terrah, and now we know exactly what that meeting was all about:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware as one of the United States' partners in the war on terror, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The meeting, which took place just over a year ago on Aug. 14, 2009, included other influential Americans, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Susan Collins (R-SC) and Senate Armed Services Committee staffer Richard Fontaine, the document explains.

McCain opened the meeting by characterizing Libya's relationship with the U.S. as "excellent," to which Liebermann added: "We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi."

"Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends," the cable continues. "The Senators recognized Libya's cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger."

Part and parcel to that relationship: military hardware, including helicopters and non-lethal weaponry, meant to ensure the security of Tripoli. In exchange for this and assisting the nation in rehabilitating its image with other lawmakers, Gaddafi pledged to send Libya's highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for proper disposal.

The cable does not mention anything about the senators pressing Gaddafi for democratic reforms.

The truth gets even wilder:  Qaddafi pulled out of the deal in November 2010 because Donald Trump screwed him over on a land deal...and in protest, Qaddafi apparently left a badly-shielded container of uranium just venting radioactivity into the air by the side of a runway.  For months.

Here's my question, did President Obama or Hillary Clinton know about McCain's meeting with Qaddafi?  I mean hey, McCain had to get the hardware from somewhere, right?   On the other hand, wouldn't that mean John McCain was working on behalf of President Obama?  Not ready to buy that the first person POTUS would send to negotiate with Qaddafi would be the guy Obama beat in the Presidential election...especially less than a year after McCain's brutal attacks on candidate Obama in 2008.  I mean, totally ready to accept us trying to buy off Qaddafi with shiny guns and Bucket O' Discount Tanks, but would anybody really want a loose cannon like McCain leading the negotiations?

WikiLeaks or not, none of this really makes sense when you follow it all the way through.  Several large bags of salt being taken here.  Also, yes, uranium in Libya, kind of a bad idea.  (We disposed of it.  Still a weird story.)


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