Friday, November 30, 2007

Breaking: Staffers Taken Hostage in Clinton NH Office



ARMED MAN HOLDING HOSTAGES
INSIDE CLINTON NH OFFICE


WMUR Live Video streaming coverage of hostage situation at Hillary Clinton Campaign Office in Rochester, NH.

WMUR Chanel 9

Officials with the campaign confirmed that there were two workers taken hostage in the office on 28 North Main St., and NBC News reported that the man demanded to speak to Clinton.

Clinton, who is not in New Hampshire, canceled a National Democratic Committee meeting in Virginia.

A woman and her baby told workers at a neighboring business that she was released by the hostage-taker.

"A young woman with a 6-month or 8-month-old infant came rushing into the store just in tears, and she said, 'You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape,'" witness Lettie Tzizik said.

"There are sharp shooters on the roof, and police are negotiating with someone in the building," said another witness, who did not want to be identified. "The police are notifying all the business owners on the street to evacuate. There are fire trucks behind the Hillary Clinton office."

There's more...
I won't link to the freepers, but it took less than two minutes before someone wondered if Hillary was staging this herself.
There's more...

WGA Update -- Producers Demand Pay Cut


speechless: Episode 12 - Nov 26
The song is "Upon A Time" by Mother Tongue off the new unreleased album.

The Writers Strike Continues -- Big Time

United Hollywood brings us the latest on the scum-bag producers:

Turns out their exciting, groundbreaking proposal is... a residual rollback. And not just any rollback, one of the biggest in the history of the Guild. Then, stunningly, the companies have the balls to say their plan gives us more compensation. Well, I'm sorry, but If you take away a dollar and give me a nickel, the nickel ain't a raise. Somewhere, Nick Counter's first-grade math teacher is embarrassed.

So we decided to do some math of our own: We broke out the cost of the WGA's current proposal to the conglomerates into yearly figures. We found that the TOTAL payment yearly -- the total that ALL the companies would make under our proposals -- is $50.54 million. And that, we realized, is about one-third the budget of TRANSFORMERS. We are asking IN TOTAL, for the equivalent of the cost overrun on a summer event movie.

Instead of agreeing that that is a fair and just offer, they've proposed this:

When an hourlong episode of television is streamed on the Internet, writers would get a flat $250 payment for one year of reuse. That's $250 as opposed to, for example, $20,000 per episode when it's reused on network television. They proposed nothing new on downloads, it's still the DVD formula for those (ie. two-thirds of a penny for an iTunes download). For theatrical movies, they're offering exactly $0.00 on streaming. Oh, and they want to be able to define any content they like as "promotional" -- for which they would pay zero dollars. Even if they stream an entire film or tv episode, and even if they sell ads on it, they can call that promotional and pay us nothing.

THE AMPTP claims their deal is worth $130 million over three years. But what they don't mention is how much we'd lose under their proposal. As all media distribution transitions to the Internet before our eyes, their proposal takes away far, far more revenue than it provides.

A bold, new relationship? Sure, an abusive one.

Patric Verrone sent this letter to membership a few minutes ago:
To My Fellow Members,

After four days of bargaining with the AMPTP, I am writing to let you know that, though we are still at the table, the press blackout has been lifted.

Our inability to communicate with our members has left a vacuum of information that has been filled with rumors, both well intentioned and deceptive.

Among the rumors was the assertion that the AMPTP had a groundbreaking proposal that would make this negotiation a "done deal." In fact, for the first three days of this week, the companies presented in essence their November 4 package with not an iota of movement on any of the issues that matter to writers.

Thursday morning, the first new proposal was finally presented to us. It dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback.

From streaming television episodes, the companies proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). For theatrical product they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming.

For made-for-Internet material, they offered minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15 minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1300. They continued to refuse to grant jurisdiction over original content for the Internet.

In their new proposal, they made absolutely no move on the download formula (which they propose to pay at the DVD rate), and continue to assert that they can deem any reuse "promotional," and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money).

The AMPTP says it will have additional proposals to make but, as of Thursday evening, they have not been presented to us. We are scheduled to meet with them again on Tuesday.

In the meantime, I felt it was essential to update you accurately on where negotiations stood. On Wednesday we presented a comprehensive economic justification for our proposals. Our entire package would cost this industry $151 million over three years. That's a little over a 3% increase in writer earnings each year, while company revenues are projected to grow at a rate of 10%. We are falling behind.

For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year. For Disney $6.25 million. Paramount and CBS would each pay about $4.66 million, Warner about $11.2 million, Fox $6.04 million, and NBC/Universal $7.44 million. MGM would pay $320,000 and the entire universe of remaining companies would assume the remainder of about $8.3 million per year. As we've stated repeatedly, our proposals are more than reasonable and the companies have no excuse for denying it.

The AMPTP's intractability is dispiriting news but it must also be motivating. Any movement on the part of these multinational conglomerates has been the result of the collective action of our membership, with the support of SAG, other unions, supportive politicians, and the general public. We must fight on, returning to the lines on Monday in force to make it clear that we will not back down, that we will not accept a bad deal, and that we are all in this together.

Best,
Patric M. Verrone
President, WGAW

Michael Winship
President, WGAE
If anyone out there didn't get it before, is it starting to get clear now?

The total cost of the entire package the writers, the people who invent from nothing, story, comes to $50 million a year, spread out a little over $40 million for the seven major studios, and the rest for the many minor ones.

What did the studios come back with? A massive pay CUT.

Instead of $20 large for airing ONE network rerun of an hour long television show, they propose $250 bucks for unlimited yearly internet streaming. Unless of course, the studio designates it "promotional," in which case it doesn't have to pay a goddamn thing. It can still sell ads, still make money. Just doesn't have to pay that huge, enormous princely sum of... $250 dollars. Per year. For unlimited use.

Compared to the current going rate of, $20,000.00 for one single network rerun. (That's a residual check which pays Sally's first year at Berkeley, or Terrel's braces, health insurance and summer camp.) $20 grand. Or $250 dollars.

How much you want to bet if the writers did take the "deal," the studios would designate at least half of all internet usage as "promotional" and screw the writer out of that last $250 bucks. Just 'cause.

Problem is, the studios don't air network reruns anymore. They're shoving everything to the internet. That internet they're two-facing: claiming out of one side of their mouth (to the writers) doesn't pay anything and is risky and untested, and out of the other side of their mouth (to the stockholders) is shitting golden eggs.

If the writers take this, they're history. They won't have enough money left to pay for health insurance, braces for their kids, or college.

With 48% of the guild unemployed at any given time, the producers are asking the writers to commit professional suicide, all so the studios can save a grand total of $50 million between them yearly off the backs of the people who invent the very stories which make EVERYONES' job possible.

I learned a long time ago, not to expect gratitude from the people whose jobs you make possible, whom you train, whose lives you save. Resentment is often more the story.

Sometimes, one has to take a stand. This is such a time.

The studios are being actively stupid. They -- the executives -- are resentful of writers. Always have been, probably always will be. Eventually, this strike will be settled on the Writers' terms. Why? The writers aren't going back to work till the strike is settled on their terms. Their entire future is at stake; they simply won't settle.

One of the options long talked about is the DGA (Director's Guild of America) or SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) contracts are going to expire. DAG & SAG could either settle with the producers, or in turn, go out on strike over the same basic issues. SAG is more likely to strike; DGA -- whose contract comes due first -- is more likely to settle.

The conversation has been, if the producers can't get a deal with the writers, well, screw it, they'll wait for DGA or bring DGA (who doesn't actually get along that great much of the time with the WGA) to negotiate early, and screw over the writers with a mostly unfavorable contract. Doesn't look as if that's going to happen -- DGA is staying on the sidelines at the moment, and seems to have more solidarity with us than I thought they had at the start of all this.

I think the writers might just say "FUCK IT" and stay out on strike anyway, no matter what the DGA does, till we get the contract they want. Only a hunch, we shall see, time will tell and all that. But. Were it me I'd stay out on strike till hell froze over before I'd accept unfavorable terms. And yeah, I've got four kids, a home, insurance, the works. There are always temp jobs, and writers know all about temp jobs. So do I, for that matter.

This strike is for the whole shooting match and with public opinion so strongly on their side and the SAG contract coming due this coming summer, I say, let the whole thing burn to the fucking ground.

Let Hollywood grind to a full stop and... Fade to fucking black.

The address is: United Hollywood. Check it out.

PS. You may have heard the saying, "She's such a great actress. I'd watch her read the phone book?"

Well, here you go.... NO WRITERS = No Script. GNB is proud to present speechless: Episode 16 - Nov 29. Two great actresses. And phone books. (It's um, much worse than even I would have believed. But yeah, the point is made. Quickly.)

Reading The Phonebook
There's more...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The New York City Treasury = Rudy Giuliani's Wingman—UPDATE #2:

Where to, Miz Rudeeeeeh?

(So as to not over-lengthen the previous main post, I'm posting this tasty addition here)

It would appear that they're starting to wear the handles off all of those heavy, old Transfile boxes in the city's musty back offices. The digging has begun in earnest—and lo and behold...truffles!

Via Atrios:

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.


I'm working on a long-form post about the culture that spawned Rudy and his slimy New York compatriots Kerik and Regan, but this tidbit breaking today ties in nicely with what I'm putting together. Rudy was part of the outcast class, with nary a drop of cool or slickness. And when he ascended to power in the faux-competency crazed 80's, his social ineptitude left him ill-able to deal with simple deceits like this one. “To the man with only a hammer, everything is a nail” Giuliani's way has always been to swing the hammer of power, with little subtlety.

He wanted to impress his new goumada, but instead of considering something that down the road a piece wouldn't draw bean-counter scrutiny, he went sloppy and obvious.

“I'll getcha a city car and a cop! The city's your oyster, baby! Speaking of oysters...”

What makes this revelation hurt is the exposé of more abuse of the NYPD as his personal ass-coverers/chickie impressers.

And that abuse of police and government cars really sets New Yorkers off.

The state's comptroller was forced to resign over a near exact scandal a year ago:

Chauffeurgate/Driving Mrs. Hevesi Scandal

On September 21, 2006, Alan Hevesi admitted that he used Nicholas Acquafredda as a state employee to drive around his wife. In 2003, Hevesi claims that the State Ethics Commission decided that he would pay back the entire cost of driving around his wife unless it is for specific safety purposes. A spokesperson from the State Ethics Commission denies such a decision was made.

On September 26, 2006, Hevesi said he will pay the state more than $82,000 for having a public employee chauffeur his wife, after his Republican challenger, Christopher Callaghan, asked the Albany County District Attorney's office to investigate. Callaghan first phoned in the complaint to the State Comptroller's own State funds-abuse/fraud hotline. Hevesi had admitted the previous week that he had not reimbursed the state. Callaghan and the Republican gubernatorial nominee ,John Faso, also called for Hevesi's resignation. The Attorney General (and at that time Democratic gubernatorial nominee), Eliot Spitzer, withdrew his endorsement of Hevesi.

-----------------------------

On December 12, 2006, Hevesi agreed to a deal that calls for the $90,000 in escrow money to be turned over to the state and for him to pay an additional $33,605 within 10 days, making his payback total $206,000. It was revealed that Hevesi had actually hired four, not the two employees initially thought for his wife's 'security detail' and said employees were running personal errands according to the report from the Attorney General Office.

-----------------------------

On December 14, 2006, the Albany County District Attorney acknowledged that he had a strong enough case to indict Hevesi (see beginning of page for judicial resolution).

-----------------------------

On December 22, 2006, CNN reported that "[N]ew York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi entered into a plea agreement which included his immediate resignation Friday to avoid a felony indictment by a New York State grand jury charging him with defrauding the government by having staffers drive his wife and assist her in with personal matters from 2003-2006. Hevesi pleaded guilty to Superior Court Filing of defrauding the government, a Class E felony, and will pay a $5,000 fine. Hevesi admitted the wrongdoing when allegations surfaced in November, and has repaid the state more than $200,000."


See, we just got through that stuff with a statewide official—elected in November, resigned in December. The difference is that Hevesi had sympathy from the citizens because of his wife's condition. She was a survivor of three suicide attempts as well a sufferer of debilitating mental illness. It was generally admitted that Hevesi did what he did to have someone keep a constaant eye on her. (He arrived home one day and had to break down a bathroom door to save her after sh'ed slit her wrists)

Judith Nathan is in no such shape. And Rudy's assigning her not just a city driver—BUT A POLICE DRIVER, well...what was it the ABC article's former city official sources said?

“She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.”

While she flitted to Bendel's for fittings and Nobu for a light sup? While you were married, Rudy? On the city's dime?

Oh, my.

Someone really oughtta get those fellas in those dusty downtown backrooms some trusses. There's a ton of records boxes being dug through down there these days, and I'd really, really hate to see anyone get hurt.

Well...almost anyone, that is. :)
There's more...

WGA Strike Rap


(Slightly NSFW: Language)

There's more...

The New York City Treasury = Rudy Giuliani's Wingman

Hand Caught In The Till...You Cheap, Tacky, Sloppy Bastard?



At the height of my clubbing,/hang-out years—a span that I'll just say ran waaaaaaay longer that it really should have, I rolled with a pretty cool pack of fellas. We were friends outside of the clubbing and night-prowling. Went to school together, worked together sometimes—some of us went back as far as elementary school through various Kevin Bacon-y levels of connection.

We were friends.

And when we hung tough...when we were out and on the prowl, with lust in our hearts, and blood rushing much further below that—we were also each other's wingman.

What's a wingman?

A wingman's your right hand when you wanna make a move.

A wingman'll cock-block another dude so you can make said move unimpeded.

A wingman will occupy her friend who's being a little too clingy.

A wingman'll break the ice for you with a potential paramour—but not shatter it so you can't stand on it at your entrance moment.

A wingman'll go get you drinks if you're at a pivotal point in the “pitch” and you don't want to break the moment.

A wingman will surreptitiously slip you cash of you're short for drinks, dinner...a cab ride home...or even—God, I hate to admit this, dough for a hotel room.

I once made a call for a friend who was on the verge. She lived in Jersey, he lived waaay out in Queens and sparks were hittin' for 'em—big time. My buddy knew I had a friend who worked nights at the Hilton in MIdtown.

“Think he can do something?”

“I'll make the call.”

Buttonholed my coat-check girl friend and used the club's phone. Piece of cake. Secured the room. Breezed by my partner and whispered, “It's done. When you get to the desk, don't give your name—just say 'Room for Charles Xavier'. You'll get a key. 14th floor. Just tip housekeeping.”

“Word.”

That's what a wingman does. It's not pretty. It's grimy, black-ops, black-bag work . But it's what you do for a friend. You grease, you finance, you schmooze, you finagle and cover.

All for the love life of a friend. This you do willingly.

When somebody you aren't tight with personally, filches money out of your pocket to finance his ass-chasing...you are NOT A WINGMAN. YOU ARE A PATSY. A STOOGE. A SUCKA. A “VIC” (as in victim).

It turns out that New York City's taxpayers are that unwilling “Wingman”. We got “vic-ced”. So that Rudolph Giuliani could get some ass...

Via Kos:

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani’s New York Police Department security detail.

Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."

It’s also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week


You know...I didn't mind doing a buddy a solid back in the day, because I knew that some place down the road, I could look forward to him having my back—unconditionally. You give, you get. You have each other's back. That's what friends are for.

But a dude who steals from people to finance his ass-grabbery, and then lies about it, well there's only one word for that fella.

THIEF.

THIEF.

THIEF.


While Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani used/stole city money to pay for his extramarital trysts with his doggy-torturing then mistress, and then, like some piker-ass Dunder-Mifflin-ish middle-manager who's shtupping some chickie on the side and doesn't want wifey or anybody to find out, clumsily expensed it to city agencies who could ill-afford it.

City agencies “aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.”

That is some pretty low-down shit—even for a dude on the make.

See, we're just finding out about this now because of a phenomenon I'm going to go into some depth about in the next two days about Rudy and his NY posse of ne'er do wells. When he was Mayor here, he got away with unclothed emperor farts like this all the time because of a largely compliant press. When that press would cross him, (a.k.a. tell the truth) he'd ban 'em from press conferences and briefings, or feed exclusives to rivals while freezing out “offenders”. After a term of that shit, and all manner of additional evil occurring on his watch, they finally started checking his ass, and it caught up with him. It showed in his plummeting poll numbers and the only thing that saved him was the fall of the twin towers. Point-fucking-blank.

But as you'll note in the above story—being carried on Countdown, The Politico, and everyone's favorite egg-abuser Drudge(!)—Rudy managed to stonewall that embarrassing story's being sniffed out. That can happen with a local press corps who's grown tired of your bullshit and just wants you to go away like they did with him.

But he's dealing with a national press corps now. Folks with the Pulitzer/“I-Took-Down-X-Person” itch raging from head to toe. And Rudy in his hubris during his mayoral tenure was sloppy with his low-downing about town. He could afford to be...then

This...is now.

We know about Mayor Razor-Lips; 7WTC fuckpad. We know about Bernie's ill-gotten Booty-oir overlooking Ground Zero. We're just starting to find out about the nature of Rudy's “Giuliani Partners” client list (yes Rudy, the gift that keeps on giving is spawning another post on that burgeoning scandal as well), there's what Crazy Judith to-the-second-power has got to say...

AND NOW WE COME TO FIND OUT THAT RUDY GIULIANI EMBEZZLED CITY MONEY TO FINANCE HIS EXTRAMARITAL TRYST...AND COVERED IT UP. HE USED THE CITY'S COFFERS AS HIS UNWITTING “WINGMAN” FOR NABBING...well, there's no nice way to say it...ASS

Plain and simple.

You gonna own up to the pilferage Rudy, or are you gonna play the silence game some more? I don't think it's gonna work. I'm watching the 11:00 Eyewitness News here in NY and they just led off with the story “Bad Billing”.

Talkin' bout you, dog.

Your hometown press.

They are tearing you a new asshole and openly talking about the fact that your people hid the records to hide the affair.

They spent the first five minutes on it. The city Comptroller says you've stonewalled on this. They're showing pictures of the hotels you had the NYPD protetction sleeping in. “The Village Latch”? You say the protection was legal and necessary...but all three networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS's local affiliates are all asking the same question...

“Why hide the records of the security billing in the budgets of obscure city agencies?”

Take your time answering, br'uh.

I just wanna get this Jiffy Pop nice and hot first.


UPDATE#1.:

In comments, Wanderer makes this astute observation:

What I want to know is if NYC will decide to prosecute the Rudy. I mean, it's an easy several counts of grand theft and fraud, all of which could scotch his chances of becoming Duce.”

On paper, this makes perfect sense—because that is exactly what happened here. But I doubt charges'll be brought, because it'll give the city's GOP media forces a chance to bounce back and cry “FOUL!”, and have things looking like a vendetta against him. It could happen if a closer look at the ledgers—and baby, EVERYBODY'S puttin' in city FOIA requests now, turns up other instances of “hide the receipts” chicanery. What hurts him very badly is the trickling out of this kind of info (and trickle out it will), and the tight chaining of him back to the indicted Bernard Kerik—who was his right-hand man and NYPD commissioner at the time of this shadiness. It's the reason I depicted Kerik as his true “Wingman” in the graphic. Bernie, his ass-wrangling buddy signed off on that cover-up—no doubt.

Rudy's trying to throw the NYPD under the bus with this, when it all really goes back to the head of his security detail—Kerik. Kerik IS NOT the NYPD. He's a blemish on them. They took his name OFF the jail out of shame, remember?

Someone deep in the bowels of the NYPD bureaucracy unlocked the box of secrets on this. When someone wants something to stay buried in the city's boxes of red tape, it stays buried. The old commissioner Bill Bratton still has loyalists, and there are enough anti-Kerik guys in high places where it is not a stretch to think that they may have sandbagged Rudy with this intentionally, AT A VERRRY SENSITIVE TIME. His numbers are lagging, and Huckabee is ascendant—what better time to release damaging info?

I called this in my first Rudy post when I said:

“You will find an embittered ex-NY police commissioner, now L.A.'s Top Cop Bill Bratton, championed by many as the father of modern policing, and the high avatar of the CompStat crime tracking system used to help drastically drive crime down in NY, who found himself vilified and eventually dissed by Rudy when the credit for the crime drop started going his way instead of the Mayor's. Giuliani turned on him in a flash, deriding him publicly, and leaking shit privately to reliable press flunkies to make Bratton look bad. He effectively drove Bratton out of town along with a slew of hard-core, 25-and-30 year NYPD brass loyal to Bratton and his methods. Bratton's successors in the job were the corrupt yes-men Howard Safir and yes...Bernard Kerik--of the post 9-11 ripoff, and near hook-up-via-Rudy-as-a-crooked-assed-Homeland-Security-Boss. As Bernie's trial nears, one can only wonder what kind of nasty, Rudy-centric stories will find their way into print from that pipeline of cast-off copper chums of Bill Bratton's. It'd be the kind of stuff that would make "Sweet Smell Of Success" bastard cum laude J.J. Hunsecker say, "Mister...that's plenty cold.


This info has been dug around at for five years, AND NOW IT SURFACES?

Are we kids, or what?

He was sloppy because he thought he was God of the Five Boroughs. I'm sure he's making all sorts of calls to people in town who knew him and still have a hand enough in to maybe call off the dogs, but you'll note that even his hand-picked successor Bloomberg couldn't...or wouldn't make this go away for him. Make of that what you will.

The more he tries to say “The NYPD did it...not ME!”, the more the people at One Police Plaza who hate him—the guys with the bad pallor who work the files and know where every body is buried will slowly roll the bus over his gonads.

His feeble spin? “I needed the security. A Mayor's security is understood! What's the big deal?” The question everyone's asking? “Why'ja stick the city with the bill and try to cover it up?”

Today's New York Daily News and Newsday's Front Pages?



The Post is covering it—albeit reluctantly, but is going on the front page with the end of the Broadway stagehands strike. “Faaaaaaaaaabulous!”

And the instant response on the Daily News' site?

fromNYtoDE Nov 29, 2007 8:31:48 AM
Who in the world would want a cheater and a homewrecker as our president and first lady. What moral speeches could she give to our children. The both disrespected his WIFE. He went even further to make it a point to publicly humiliate Donna. Also, I am tired of him getting the credit for his "leadership" during 9/11. The cops, firemen, EMS workers and regular citizens are the true leaders and heroes. We all new what we needed to do, we didn't need to be lead on anything. The human side of people kicked in during that time. It was not his leadership. It was OUR compassion.
---------------------------------------

hjo4 Nov 29, 2007 8:41:59 AM
Some in the media was aware of this, they refused to print the story until they had to.The media also knows but won't tell how the tax payers paid for Judith Nathan and her daughters security detail.The New York media is in Rudy's pocket.There is more to come if the press did their homework.
---------------------------------------

chickie1219 Nov 29, 2007 8:46:12 AM
I agree with from NY to DE, this man does not deserve to get any credit for being a hero during 9/11, he is a cheat and a liar and he should just stop trying to run for President he is not worthy. The way he treated his family was just awful no wonder his own children dislike's him.
---------------------------------------

iralarry Nov 29, 2007 10:18:14 AM
Giuliani gives new meaning to the term safe sex! What really irks me more than the fact that Rudy Giuliani may have misappropriated funds for his extra security while engaging in personal matters, is that he has the arrogance and temerity to suggest that his security is so much more important than yours or mine! Who do these people think they are? Perhaps a president is deserving of full time security but the Mayor of a city? Please. If he felt his security was in jeopardy, then let him spend his money to protect himself, especially in matters of a personal nature. We are ALL expendable and no life is worth more than another on principle. This demonstrates the self-centered and egotistical nature of this man. He leaves me with such a feeling of loathing I could never be convinced he is the person for the job of President of the US. When elected officials serve the entire good of the people who elect them, don’t engage in kowtowing and graft for personal gain, then they can
---------------------------------------

ThatGuy Nov 29, 2007 10:21:31 AM
I myself never liked the man and thought he was a FRAUD, this just proves it. I couldn't agree with you more fromNYtoDE. Who the hell would want this cross dressing clown for President or that whorish skank for First Lady? EXCEPT the die hard Rudy supporters who think he can do no wrong. As I mentioned on another thread, I think they should scrutinize the receipts for the dresses he bought himself..... and the pumps, purses and panties too! I'm sure we paid for those also.
----------------------------------------

zabbal Nov 29, 2007 10:51:38 AM
What sleazebags both of them!! He has proven yet again that not only is he a cheat and liar, but he STEALS from the poor to do it. Almost $1m taken away from budgets targeted to help the poor to pay for his adulterating getaways - the man has no shame!! He and his latest wife are tacky thieves, who care about nothing but money, even if it means stealing from the poor. In all American history, I have not seen something so shocking and disgusting as these 2 people and their complete lack of ethics.


Can I get a soda with this? Mmmmmmmm!:
There's more...

“Hey -- Homeland Security... Thanks for risking my life!”


photo Koalie, 2004 (Click for LARGE)

DHS Trains Firefighters/Paramedics to Spy on Everyone

Boing Boing tipped me off. Raw Story has video footage from Fox.

DHS is training firefighters, paramedics and EMTs to -- wait for it -- spy on you. Seriously.

Because I don't need a warrant when I go on a call (or didn't, before I retired), DHS wants me to get in your home on a paramedic run -- and firefighters while on fire & aid calls -- look around, see if I see any flight manuals, blue prints, chemicals or bomb making materials, or if I hear any hate speech, and if I do, call it in to the authorities: DHS, FBI, the police or bomb squad.

Yeah. I'll get right on that.

Let's count all the ways these fucking idiots propose to risk the lives of Americans.

First, let's back up a few months ago to when they were having some dude with a badge flag people down in the line at airports and have them take fake bomb and guns parts through the checkout line. Because we really want fliers to take stuff from strangers and put in their luggage. That's why there are SIGNS IN EVERY AIRPORT SAYING NOT TO DO IT. You know, unless someone with forged credentials says it's okay. Because Sally from Miami knows how to tell real DHS / TSA credentials from fake ones, right?

Now they want to have the person people call for help, fire, medics, rescue, become the po-lice? Do they have ANY clue or should I just buy some and shove them up their ass?

People TRUST us.

People trust us to take care of them, to watch out for their interests. I am sworn not to reveal patient secrets to anyone, including the police. If people thought I might violate their privacy, they'll a) stop calling 911, b) start lying to me (which means some of them will die, or their family will did because they don't tell me what medicines they REALLY took, including the illegal ones.) And c) my partner or I am going to get hurt. Why? Because I'll be seen as the cops, and trust me -- I don't want people thinking of me as the cops. The job is rough enough already.

I lost track long, long time ago how many times I was assaulted. Some dude loses it in the back of the rig at 60 miles an hour, some one upset in their home you're not moving their girl friend or son fast enough, a multi-cal incident that draws a crowd and someone throws a bottle. Or a drunk with a knife you don't see coming on a back staircase in the rain late one night. I have more scars from where I was or didn't bother getting stitched up on my body than I can count.

And that is against a background of general trust and people knowing you're there to help them. Now if people in the neighborhoods I worked, thought I was there to help the po-lice... I might as just shoot myself and save some poor fatherless fuck of a banger the jail time. For real.

From the same government who believes torturing random people named in local vendettas to gain information of absolutely no military value, isn't going to have massive repercussions for our soldiers, the next time they're captured in war, we now have this massive bullshit.

With every stupid idea, the George Bush Republicans demonstrate how little they value the poor, working and middle-class people who put their lives on the line day after day after day.

You know -- Americans.

Just so long as the Republicans have some target population to make demons out of for political and financial gain, that's all they truly care about -- no matter how many real American's lives it costs.

There's more...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We're NOT Rich, Beee-yotch!

I have bumped into Robert Redford. He is not necessarily a friend of mine. I, my friends even if I had “arty” glasses and a “fancy” scarf...am no Robert Redford.

I ask for your forgiveness.

It's a bit cold this norning/afternoon here in NYC—about 38º degrees instead of the unseasonable fifties/near-sixties of the last few days and I've been very busy the last 48 hours—pre-occupied I guess with finding just the right accoutrements for the weather.

You see, I'm going to be outside for awhile. Been outside a bit already, in fact. I've ducked inside a green logo-ed national Coffee mega-giant to post along with a few friends who also want to warm their hands a touch.

One of the assembled just got through bitching of course about the cost of the coffee another member of the group bought.

“We shoulda brought a Thermos.”

“Thermos? Who's got a Thermos? I haven't seen anybody carry a Thermos in 20 years.”

“Funny how that kind of coincides with the spread of this place.”

“Ha. Ha. Think they'd be cool with one person gettin' a large coffee, and a small empty cup with it? Y'know. Just for a little souvenir?”

“Ohhhhhhh...like those old, Grecian urn “We Are Happy To Serve You” cups?

“Yeah. They'd just eat that up. One coffee...two cups, please. What? Uh...it's for an uh...ironic souvenir. Heh-heh-heh—Whaddyamean Get thefuckouttahere?

I tell my fellow warmth seekers that this place was an old Greek coffee shop fifteen years ago. I remembered it well, because the place we're about to go back to after this fuel-up used to be the old Columbus Circle convention center. It was 10 Columbus Circle to be precise. TV shows and films used the building as a production facility. I worked on a show out of there for 2 1/2 seasons and abused that little 24-hour coffee/gyro spot like crazy. Robert Redford was shooting “Quiz Show” two floors down from us. I remember seeing him leaving late one night when I was heading out for a late-night coffee run. We all had to wait on a long line to sign out in the security guard's guest book.

“Man...I'm just goin' across the street for coffees. I'll be right back. I have to sign in and out every time?” I said to the guard. “I'm comin' right back.”

“Every time.” came the robotic reply.

I went back to the end of the queue, nearing Redford about three people in front of my “spot”. I was sighing as I trudged back and saw him looking at me with a “Sorry” look.

I was a little stunned, but I looked back, and for some reason gave him the “high sign” from “The Sting”—the fingertip brush against the nose. He returned it with a little smile. Brush with fame.

Ten minutes later, I'm back in the building with four coffees. A few cents shy of $3.60 total. 80¢ each with tax. Imagine that? Four coffees—medium—for less than four bucks.

That was a long time ago.

The Greek coffee shop is long gone. The “green giant” has its space now.

So is 10 Columbus Circle.

What has replaced it is the new-fangled glass giant that is the Time Warner Center.

And that's where the Writers Guild picket line is today...which is why I'm here.

I's a little cold out here, so I'm wearing a leather jacket today. Picked it up about nine years ago. Nice one, too. Listed for about $250 I recall. I got it for $69 at a place called Daffy's here in NYC. It's decently warming.

But I could use a scarf. A nice, fancy scarf. And maybe, as the late fall sun's angle is blinding at this hour...maybe some arty glasses, too, 'cause you know that's how we do...

About 75 members of Writers Guild East set up a picket line at Rockefeller Center, just above the fabled ice rink. Picketers chanted: “No money? No downloads. No downloads? No peace.”

Many of the writers said that they expected to be out of work for a while. The tourists and office workers who walked by rarely stopped at the curious sight of writers holding signs that read, “On Strike.” For a time, the pickets chants were drowned out by the roar of the crowd that was assembled for the “Today” show across 49th Street.

All of the trappings of a union protest were there — signs, chanting workers, an inflatable rat, and a discarded bag of wrappers and cups from Dunkin Donuts. The rat was borrowed from Local 79, an AFL-CIO laborers’ union, and commuted in from Queens.

But instead of hard hats and work boots, the people on the pickets had arty glasses and fancy scarves.


I couldn't find my “fancy” scarf. But I know where I can get one. You get 'em at the same place most people do in town.

From a street vendor. For about five dollars. The same amount it costs for a pair of “arty” glasses. Fake Ray-Bans, fake Pradas, and Armanis—all five dollars. Leather gloves? Seven dollars. Right next to the coarse leather cell -phone holders and fall-apart, candy-colored iPod headphones. But first...I'm chipping in for coffee. The scam's goin' like this—we're gonna ask for the extra cup instead of the corrugated sleeve.

“It always slips...I'll pay extra for the empty cup.”

And you know what? Fuck the scarf. No, really—fuck the scarf, and the asshole Times writer who brought it up.

Better yet? Let Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity) have at 'em:

Reporters are funny people. At least, some of the New York Times reporters are. Their story on the strike was the most dispiriting and inaccurate that I read. But it also contained one of my favorite phrases of the month.

“All the trappings of a union protest were there… …But instead of hard hats and work boots, those at the barricades wore arty glasses and fancy scarves.”

Oh my God. Arty glasses and fancy scarves. That is so cute! My head is aflame with images of writers in ruffled collars, silk pantaloons and ribbons upon their buckled shoes. A towering powdered wig upon David Fury’s head, and Drew Goddard in his yellow stockings (cross-gartered, needless to say). Such popinjays, we! The entire writers’ guild as Leslie Howard in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Delicious.

Except this is exactly the problem. The easiest tactic is for people to paint writers as namby pamby arty scarfy posers, because it’s what most people think even when we’re not striking. Writing is largely not considered work. Art in general is not considered work. Work is a thing you physically labor at, or at the very least, hate. Art is fun. (And Hollywood writers are overpaid, scarf-wearing dainties.) It’s an easy argument to make. And a hard one to dispute.

My son is almost five. He is just beginning to understand what I do as a concept. If I drove a construction crane he’d have understood it at birth. And he’d probably think I was King of all the Lands in my fine yellow crane. But writing – especially writing a movie or show, where people other than the writer are all saying things that they’re clearly (to an unschooled mind) making up right then – is something to get your head around.

--------------------------

“The trappings of a union protest…” You see how that works? Since we aren’t real workers, this isn’t a real union issue. (We’re just a guild!) And that’s where all my ‘what is a writer’ rambling becomes important. Because this IS a union issue, one that will affect not just artists but every member of a community that could find itself at the mercy of a machine that absolutely and unhesitatingly would dismantle every union, remove every benefit, turn every worker into a cowed wage-slave in the singular pursuit of profit. (There is a machine. Its program is ‘profit’. This is not a myth.) This is about a fair wage for our work. No different than any other union. The teamsters have recognized the importance of this strike, for which I’m deeply grateful. Hopefully the Times will too.


Thank you, Joss Whedon.

I won't front. Whedon notes that the “poncey” writer's manque is a tough one to defend. We write. We don't tar streets, or heft swollen trash bags into ooze-dripping trucks. We write. We wrack our brains looking for the right sequence of words and situations so that a show, or a movie, or whatever we're writing kind of works. We don't always succeed. The same way a tarred street will sometimes go soft and gooey a month after being laid, or how you'll come outside to see a trail of embarrassing trash from your curb to the street. We do fuck up. But for the most part, we sweat the details, and pour our hearts and souls into this stuff because in the end, if we're lucky—our names go on it—for ever and ever. When you think of a particularly bad episode of a show you've seen—especially a famously bad episode, it takes all of twenty seconds to Google the culprit's name. The pitiful beast's author.

That's forever, baby. And that author knows it. Imagine your worst work fuck-up being findable and attributable to you by anyone with a 2600 baud modem.

So you work hard to not have that happen to you. There are hacks among us, but the vast majority bust our asses...big time.

And believe it or not, not just as writers. A large majority of the writers I know can't make ends meet on what they make just as a writer. They have a nine-to-five doing something else. Some work as copywriters in publishing. Some work in retail. Others bartend, Two others I know work as a cable TV repair technician and IT troubleshooter respectively.

Another one works for the Parks Department, pruning and mulching trees damaged by storms.

Only one of 'em swings all the bills alone. The rest are either married or significantly-othered up, so expenses are shared. Nobody I know is rich.

So we split coffee. The arty glasses are counterfeits. The fancy scarves, a little pilled, like the ones I bought at the corner of 32nd and Broadway two years ago. A gray one and a camel one. They're somewhere in the house...I'm sorry—the apartment. I'll make sure to dig 'em out so as to not disappoint our little proletariat scribe friend from The New York Times. Once I do, shall I sport the Snoopy/Baron Von Richtofen Look?



Or maybe...I dunno, kick that ironic filmmaker dude from “Rent” style?



I'll figure somethng out, I guess. Till then, I'l just have to be myself.



(“Arty” glasses bought on the street near Broadway and Canal three years ago. Five dollars, of course.)
There's more...

Army Meets Recruiting Goal!


54,000
Army recruits now expected for the year 2007!



79,500
were recruited for the year 2002



Good news comrade, tractor sales are up!


ht to tbogg commentator: owlbear1
There's more...

A True Should-Be Ought-to-be American


photo Frank Siteman/Allposters

Christopher Buchleitner, 9, Orphan, Reunited With His Dogs
Border Crosser Who Saved His Life -- Sent Back To Mexico

Thanksgiving night, nine-year old Christopher Buchleitner and his mother were driving home from a camping trip at Peña Blanca Lake near the Mexican border, 60 miles from Tucson.

And then everything went wrong...

Young Chris' father, Jack, had committed suicide several months previously on Labor Day. His mother, Dawn Alice Tomoko, lost control of their car, and went over a cliff. They landed 300 feet from the road. While mom was alive, she was trapped and dying. Christopher wiggled out of the car and started walking away -- in the cold desert night, all alone, down at the base of a cliff. Age nine.

Enter, stage left, a border crosser, Jesus Manual Cordova, 26. He was wandering through the desert. He came upon the boy. Together they returned to the car, comforted the dying mother whom they could not free, built a fire for warmth, and in the morning when hunters came upon them, the young boy and the young border crosser were both alive, as were the boy's dogs -- a golden retriever and a Queensland heeler.

The boy was dusted off to University Hospital in Tucson. The young man was taken by the Border Patrol to Nogales and let go -- on the Mexican side of the border.

If being a citizen is fundamentally the willingness to sacrifice yourself for the good of your community, Jesus Manual Cordova has met the test. Instead of continuing through the desert to freedom, he stopped and rendered aid, knowing the cost.

Any sane society would welcome this young man with open arms, the keys to the city, a full-ride to the University of Arizona, and a passport. The Republican-run Border Patrol shoved his brown-skinned ass right back over the border without even getting an address for the boy's family to write a thank-you card.

The boy is out of the hospital and has his beloved dogs back. He is currently with his uncle's family; whatever happens, he'll be with family we're told, and his dogs will stay with him.

Of Jesus Manual Cordova, there is no sign.

He has vanished into Mexico.

Or hopefully, walked back through the desert again, to a better life.

One final note... the young boy and the young man: they have the same birthday. Make of it what you will. Certainly, the border crosser made it possible that night for the boy to someday, many birthdays from now, become a man.

A man hopefully, as much a man as Jesus Manual Cordova.

There's more...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trent Lott & The Goat Rumor


photo mashed-up by Jesse Wendel & Maggie Jochild

What We Know...

There is no proof Larry Flint has photos of Trent Lott blowing goats behind a Klan rally as a young man.

That is wild speculation.

I also have absolutely no evidence they were black goats.

We do have Big Head DC carrying a denial from gay escort Benjamin Nicholas that Sen. Trent Lott is on the down-low -- which I'm oh so certain we all believe:

Big Head DC

UPDATE, 5:30: “Here’s my public comment, on-the-record: Sen. Lott and I have no current affiliation with one another. I’m sure he would appreciate no further scrutiny,” Benjamin Nicholas tells Big Head DC.

Once upon a time, there was a twenty something boy-next-door type with reddish blond hair and a brilliantly white smile. Not one to shy away from attention, he wrote a blog called “Fifteen Minutes,” and also became a freelance writer for various publications, including The Stranger in Seattle. He’d often focus on his non-traditional lifestyle as a gay male escort — a topic that often fascinated his readers, which, in turn, helped him to garner a substantial amount of powerful business acquaintances through the years.

Based in San Antonio, he would travel all over the world to meet his clients, which included high profile celebrities, businessmen and even politicians in the United States Congress.

Sometimes within his writings he’d give advice on how other males could become successful escorts. Other times he’d post videos of himself flexing on YouTube. Once, he even scolded gay escort Mike Jones for outing Rev. Ted Haggard as one of his gay escort business participants.

The boy happens to be real, and his “stage name” is Benjamin Nicholas. One of the politicos Big Head DC has learned he’s alleged to have been involved with is the married Sen. Trent Lott, 66, who unexpectedly announced his retirement on Monday. Lott is well-known to have been against a plethora of gay rights issues throughout his terms in Congress. He was also good friends with Sen. Larry Craig throughout his time in Congress.

Nicholas told Big Head DC today via e-mail that he didn’t want to go on the record to talk about his dealings with Lott, because, said Nicholas, “Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now and I don’t want to add to it.” However, e-mail and other records confirm that the two have met on at least two occasions.

“All I can say at this point is no comment,” Nicholas told us. “It’s the professional thing for me to do.”

In a subsequent e-mail message, Nicholas confirmed that another publication is working on a story about a “possible relationship” between Lott and himself, but Nicholas also “politely declined” an interview for that story.

“As I said before, Lott has quite a bit on his plate right now and I don’t really want to add fuel to the embers,” Nicholas told Big Head DC.
I wonder if Nicholas traveled with his own goats, or if he rented?

Where does one rent a goat in D.C.? Turns out it's just a click away, and shipping is always discounted to special customers.

Larry Flint, that old bastard, is rumored to have photos of Lott. Baaaaaaa-d photos. Of Lott getting rammed.

Takes a goat to blow one.

Baaaaa-bye.

Updated 7 am PT: Benjamin Nicholas, the alleged escort, has released a statement on his own blog, explicitly denying any contact with Lott. Keep in mind however, this is the same Nicholas who went on record bashing the escort who outed Haggart, because in Nicholas' world, an escort should never reveal contact with a client.
15 Minutes...

It looks like a Washington DC-based blog called BigHeadDC is making claim that there was (or, is) a working relationship between myself and Senator Trent Lott. There are falsely pieced-together quotes that serve no purpose other than to sensationalize a completely fabricated scoop.

I will continue to offer a great sense of confidentiality to the people I see. I have not, nor have I ever seen or had contact with Senator Trent Lott. It's as simple as that. It never happened.
And as we've said from the beginning, we have zero evidence Larry Flint even has any photographs of Lott going down on a black goat after the Klan rally oh so many years ago.

Hey -- we're liberals here. I don't judge.

Just so long as the goat didn't get hurt...
There's more...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Republicans Talk About Crime

Tapped points out a NYT article where Giuli-anna and Romney are smacking each other around about crime.

Today we saw an article in The New York Times explaining that Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are squabbling about, among other things, Romney's record on fightin' crime in Massachusetts:

“I think that Governor Romney is trying to distract attention from what is clearly a mistake that he made, but the other big mistake that he made was crime went up,” Mr. Giuliani said. “Violent crime and murder went up while he was governor, and I think that that is something that talks about not just an isolated mistake, it talks about a series of mistakes.” The Romney campaign responded that federal crime statistics show that the violent crime rate in Massachusetts, which includes not only murder but also crimes like assault, dropped 7 percent during his tenure.

They pointed out that Giuli-anna was lying out of his ass. It just occurred to me that maybe people don't realize...

When the Republicans talk about crime going up in their opponents state or locality they are talking about the negro problem. They are saying so and so, in this case Romney can't keep the black man down.

Anyway, just a FYI. It's why they use the term dog whistle, it's silent.
There's more...

Trent Lott resigning Mississippi Senate seat


Well the Original Helmet Head himself is resigning his seat before the end of the year. Good riddance to the sorry old racist, I presume he is leaving in order to have more time with his klan family.

UPDATE: It seems there might have to be an election... hmmmmm... I will bet the RSCC is happy about that!

There's more...

Not Everything Is A Republican Conspiracy


poster: The Secret Diagrams by Gerhard Seyfried (Click for LARGE.)

Karl Rove Isn't Behind Everything

I hate circular firing squads.

They serve no one but the enemy. And as Democrats, much more so than Republicans, who'll let Ann Coulter speak for them without saying anything, inviting her back over and over again, we of all people should perhaps learn not to shoot our own people over trivia.

The problem I have today, is I have a profound respect for the law. And a blog I actually like, even with their rhetorical excesses, ran a post last week, which is unmitigated crap. No one else called them out, so, I'm going to do it.

DownWithTyranny suggested that a recent D.C. Court of Appeals decision recently profiled in the Washington Post, was rigged so as to pay off for Republicans:

DownWithTyranny!

Bush's incompetent and overly partisan appointments to the courts have ruined the entire justice system of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is now an outgrowth of the neo-nazi outfit known as the Federalist Society. They are making it impossible to prosecute the overt criminal activities of bribe-taking congressmen by abusing statutes "intended to protect legislators from intimidation under civil or criminal law."

The Federalist Society court has ruled the Justice Department can't use evidence against the crooked Republicans that was obtained through court-approved wiretaps, searches of home offices and voluntary interviews of congressional staffers. Of the 10 current members of the court, seven are rabid right wing fanatics appointed by Reagan, Bush, Sr and, mostly Bush, Jr, who allowed the Federalist Society to dictate each nominee, none of whom faced any serious opposition from a collaborationist Senate.
Wow, just reading this, one could almost believe the Federalist Society has taken over the D.C. Circuit, and this particular case was rigged.

Turns out not to be the case. (Go back and read The Washington Post article to grasp the actual issue.)

First however, let me just suggest we reserve calling anyone a "neo-nazi outfit" be reserved for people whom, like, are? Say the KKK, or the Aryan Brotherhood. Not a group of distinguished attorneys and judges, no matter how much you or I may hold many of their political views in contempt.

Second, learn to tell your judges apart. I went digging, and where I didn't know the answer, I wrote a letter and asked questions, dug around. This is one of those times I wish I could mention whom I spoke with, because I admire her/him a lot, as a distinguished legal scholar. But it was all off the record.

I'm going to paraphrase what my unnamed distinguished legal source told me on Thanksgiving Day:
It's a joke to think for a moment the D.C. Circuit decision was written for the benefit of Republicans. The author of the opinion was Judge Judith Rogers, nominated by Clinton, probably the most liberal member of the court. Judge Henderson who concurred, but refused to agree with the speech and debate clause part which is causing all the trouble for the DOJ, was nominated by Bush (41), and is moderate-conservative. It is almost certain the breakdown of the court's vote not to review the panel decision also did not break ideologically, given who was on the original panel. The very thought of Judge Rogers writing a decision to benefit Republicans is ridiculous, doubly so when a GOP-nominated judge went the opposite way. As is the thought of any judge on the court writing a decision to benefit corrupt politicians. These are judges.
Again; this is my paraphrase of my source, not a precise quote. And while I would have loved to have given credit, my original letter asking for help promised to keep her/his name off the record.

I agree with this assessment. I just didn't know the breakout of the judges, and while I could have looked them up, I didn't know how they might have, um, drifted... over the years. Which is why I had to go ask someone who knows them.

With all respect, the DownWithTyranny post was an idiot thing to write, and an embarrassment to liberalism.

It was stupid to write, because simple fact checking would have revealed the writer of the majority opinion was a Democrat, and the writer of the swing vote concurring with the majority but against the whole speech and debate clause section which is the problem for the Justice Department, was a Republican.

It embarrasses liberalism because it sticks us with goofy conspiracy nuts who see 9/11 in every government degree, voter fraud in every movement of a ballot box, and Karl Rove behind every reverse of every liberal idea everywhere. Sometimes, we just have our facts wrong, and we need to try very hard to not do that.

Will this ruling make things harder for the DOJ? Yes, most likely. That is why they are strongly considering appealing. But that is how rulings go sometimes.

The facts are, a Judge (nominated Democratic), expanded a privilege which may or may not be upheld at the Supreme Court level, if it gets that far. It was a close vote, and a Judge (nominated Republican) voted against expanding the critical part of expanding the privilege. Both of which are the precise opposite of how they would have voted if they were voting ideologically. The remainder of the Court split on non-partisan grounds as well.

There are enough actual attacks on our liberties, that we serve no one when we insist on inventing conspiracy theories everywhere.

Or as I was taught as a young paramedic student learning how to diagnose patients: "When you hear hoof beats outside your window, think of horses, not zebras."
There's more...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Paid In Full

Awww Rudy, You Know Better! No Checks, Baby! CASH On The Dresser Tells No Tales!


The pundit backers of the Rudy Giuliani candidacy—backers who like to pride themselves on their plugged-inned-ness, and boast the same zeal in sniffing out trends as dogs have for sniffing at poop, are among the dumbest things going with opposable thumbs.

These knee-bruised pom-pom shakers would have you believe the spin they live by—that Rudolph W. Giuliani is some sort of worldly, ready for the big stage übermesch, prepared for any and all challenges a leader of the free world would ever have to face.

The flaming towers and collapsed fuckpad of 9-11 has forged this otherwise pasty, hate-able little martinet into a mighty leader of the West—with portfolio!

Slobber! Slobber! Slob—Gag-ghhhhhhk!

Wrong.

What Rudy Giuliani is is exactly what the great Jimmy Breslin called him out to be years ago—“A small man in search of a balcony.”

If you really look at Giuliani and the way he's conducted his “campaign” thus far, it should be evident that he's little more than a puffed-up, local politi-thug—used to bigfooting and bogarting his way around a much smaller pond than one that commands the national spotlight every day.

You can see it in his wan and cavalier campaign style. He acts as if he's still working NY's five boroughs—or rather, in his case—one city (Manhattan) and four wooden spokes on a glittering, golden hub. New York—cocooned, self-centered place that it is, in many ways deferred to Rudy's snarling and back-handing about. He cowed much of the press corps with denial of access, black-balling, and played a local version of the Bush “yer a traitor” game, where anyone who questioned his tactics was deemed anti-city, and down with the dusky hordes he was tossing into jail like so many grapes into his hungry mouth.

He grew used to the kid-glove treatment...until his second term, when his brand of Queegish crazy wore thin on even those who once deferred to him, and they actually started in on him for his ham-fisted brazenness.

It kicked him in the ass with his ugly handling of the “end” of his marriage, and his feeble, grasping linkage of that to his cancer diagnosis—thinking it would garner him sympathy from the press. It didn't. Pile that atop the rest of the second-term troubles that stripped his teflon veneer—his callousness after various acts of brutality by the storm-trooper wing of his NYPD, the mounting casualty list of commissioners he personally drove out thanks to his egocentric arrogance...even something as simple as a crazed, over-the-top, and unintentionally telling outburst at a ferret owner during a radio show, (via Oliver Willis and This American Life) and he was no longer “Fuck what you think...'I-can-get-away-with-anything' Rudy”.

Until September 11th that is. Still, what I call the luckiest day in his misbegotten life.

A pariah up until that point, the tragedy gave him a chance at that balcony Breslin spoke of—and Rudy stepped out onto it, practically jodhpured and high-booted, and played to the crowd beautifully. It pretty much worked. The local press quickly tired of his antics again, but it wasn't that “peanut gallery” he was playing to. Rudy was preening for the masses in back, and in the balconies. They ate it up for quite a while...enough that he thought that 9-11 and his “rehabilitation” had reset his relationship with the press back to its old, comfortable zero point where few would would check on his blustery pronouncements and daily dribble of white lies—small, medium, and some quite large.

He still has those braying pundit pals hype-manning for him. But the national press is too big and scattered to all fall in line. And because of that, you get an ugly, little exposé like this one from last week:

Rudy Giuliani has a firefighter problem. Following up on earlier criticism, a group of 9/11 family members and firefighters met on Monday at Dartmouth College to launch a campaign against the former New York City mayor and current Republican presidential candidate for what they deem to be massive failures before, during and after the attacks of 9/11.

But at least one member of the FDNY continues to offer his support to the former mayor -- and may be getting paid for it.

John R. Orlando, who serves with Engine 216 in Brooklyn, New York, has been cited prominently as a Giuliani supporter. Last June, in a New York Times article detailing the mixed reviews Giuliani has among the city's 11,000-membered firefighting force, Orlando said he regularly saw Giuliani at fires despite suggestions otherwise.

Orlando was also quoted as saying the “bottom line is, I think he's been more of a friend to firefighters than I've seen in the news. I don't think all the criticism is warranted.”

Did those comments come with a reward? Three months after he praised Giuliani, Orlando found himself on the former mayor's payroll. On September 28, 2007, the Giuliani campaign paid one John R. Orlando more than $1,580 for what they deemed on a campaign filing as “political strategy consulting.”


When asked about the arrangement -- after repeated attempts for comment -- Giuliani spokesperson Matt McKeon questioned the question.

“Are you suggesting that firefighters aren't capable of political strategy?”

Pressed to describe what strategy, exactly, Orlando provided, McKeon replied: “I'll get back to you.”

He never did. (emphasis from LM)

Orlando, who is still with the FDNY, was also reached via phone. He was asked for comment about both his consulting for Giuliani and his thoughts on why the former mayor has been poorly received among his fellow firefighters. Like McKeon, he too said he would reply at a later time and never did. (LM emphasis, again)


Mister 9-11 is such a friend of the firefighters that groups of them ally against him along with other 9-11 survivor families, swear vengeance against him, and the one firefighter who speaks the loudest for him, come to find out has been cashing a fucking check for his “support”.

Ohhhhhhh....that is rich!

This is the Rudy we know all too well in New York. The one who just did whatever-the-fuck and figured all was mellow-“d” and no one would check back on it. But checking back they are, and just like he's been entangled in the Regan shit-vortex, (again, more brazenness) he's snagged his sack in the ol' zipper-teeth again with this “bust”.

One that simply says...RUDOLPH GIULIANI IS REDUCED TO HAVING TO PAY FIREFIGHTERS TO SAY POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT HIM.

No dodge. Just feeble spin. Another stumble from a man revealing himself to the country as a political rank amateur.

And stagnating in the polls, and dropping in enough of them to shake him up, he's resorted to open, off-the-talking-points-reservation pleas for support based solely on his 9-11 “record”.

His base paper—The New York Post threw him under the snow-chained bus with that sarcastic “Mr. 9-11” headline story.

Distance first...then the long-distance knife toss in the back.

Ohhhhh, yes! Doin' great there, “R”. Life's just a bowl of tiny-tiara-ed cherries for you these days, huh?

And what are these days all about, my fine, razor-lipped friend?

Surprising, mocking “MR. 9-11” headlines from your usual propaganda mill, and the lovely exposé that you, RUDOLPH GIULIANI, IS REDUCED TO HAVING TO PAY FIREFIGHTERS TO SAY POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT YOU.

Damn.

Hope he's worth it, Rudy. All fifteen-hundred blood-soaked “Washingtons” you spent.

Cha-ching! Enjoy the video. :)

There's more...

Real Soldiers Shouldn't Have PTSD


photo Associated Press

Arrested for PTSD

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky soldier 22 year-old Specialist Justin Faulkner was arrested at the VA Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was being treated for PTSD. He was officially AWOL from Ft. Campbell, but insists his unit knew where he was.

After being held in jail, Faulkner was sent back to Ft. Campbell to rejoin his unit, scheduled to be deployed to Iraq. This will be Faulkner's second tour in Iraq.

PTSD is medically interesting. It triggers in so many ways. In my experience, those who don't live in it or around it, don't get it. And now we have Traumatic Brain Injury, just to make life even more fun. (Here's how it all begins.)

I have a friend, a serious combat vet, whom you have to introduce changes to, very very carefully. He has his routine, how things work for him, and a good life. But don't fuck with that. New stuff gets rejected (unless he's in charge or comes up with it himself.) He always comes up with a good reason for rejecting x. But really all his rejection of everything new, is because it's a change in his routine, and changes in his routine trigger his threat reflexes.

Ask him to do something, it can take months, or enormous pressure, because he doesn't take to new stuff easily. That's his triggering. The hard part is, he either doesn't know it, or doesn't grant permission to others to point this out to him when it's happening, so everyone dances around the issue, and it makes him hard to work with.

I can't tolerate people coming up behind me. Touching me without my permission is a serious mistake. There are certain sights and sounds which will throw me right back into the middle of a paramedic run, people dying, cops and bangers with guns, cars whizzing by two feet from me, or a Huey's blades winding up right over my head, and I drop fully into command mode. Doesn't happen often. But it happens.

Would make me hard to work with, except everyone who works with me has my full permission to point out to me if they think I'm being triggered, and I always work from the assumption that if anyone I trust says I'm being triggered, I probably am. Makes me easy to work with. Because I'll get off a position quickly.

People who haven't had PTSD, who haven't been mentally ill in some way, who haven't had chronic pain, mostly don't grasp how real these are. How much "Command Value" they have over our biology and actions. How totally they take over, and when we are triggered to them, how little in control we are. Oh, people may mouth the words of believing. But their entire way of being is, "I could so muscle through that if it were me. You must be either lazy or faking."

I even believed that myself, about mental illness, even after having been a paramedic and having treated the mentally ill for over a decade. And having had my own struggles for well over a decade at that point, with the aftermath of having been a paramedic -- waking up night after night with nightmares, flashbacks, and worse.

In spite of all that, I too, thought it was all a bunch of bullshit, till I had a series of incidents in which I ended up a chronic pain patient, suicidal, and forced to deal with all the crap from having been a medic, more or less all at the same time. I was a fool. I was wrong. And so is the Army, in a major way.

The Army still treats PTSD as something to be ashamed of.

Again, the Army still treats PTSD as something to be ashamed of.

If you self-report, you damage your career prospects. No "real-man" or woman, no Soldier, would ever come down with combat fatigue. Only wusses, people who don't have "It", who aren't man enough or woman enough for the mission, want out. It means you're lacking something, some essential fire in your belly that people who don't get PTSD have.

And so we have fuck-up's like this recent one at Ft. Campbell, where Specialist Justin Faulkner went through whatever on-base help he did, and then in desperation, turned himself over to the VA Hospital, who started doing a workup.

That isn't AWOL. Being admitted to a hospital isn't ever AWOL -- it's being admitted to a hospital. Unless of course, you have a mental illness which is service connected, in which case you're just a coward and should be arrested.

PTSD triggers people in different ways. But one thing is for sure...

PTSD keeps triggering the Army the same way: Real soldiers shouldn't have it.

h/t Americablog

There's more...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Carcass Picked Clean, Then Boiled For Broth

No Leftovers...thanks to Bob Herbert, Driftglass and Paul (Soup Man) Krugman

The most vicious ring beating I ever saw was in the Spring of 1977. Ken Norton vs. Duane Bobick. One of the last nationally televised, free TV fights ever shown—with good reason. The bell sounded for the first round and the two fighters felt each other out—oh, for about seven seconds or so when Norton flung a clubbing right from somewhere near his hip and over his shoulder, that blasted Bobick like a wrecking ball hitting a bag of stale fortune cookies. Bobick's back hit the corner and for the next thirty-six seconds Norton's right hand hit Bobick's jaw, ears, temples, nose and forehead. Midway through the fusillade of about twenty-three unanswered punches, (Duane never got a punch off) something flew from the area where Bobick was pinned and wincing in the corner.

It was his mouthpiece flying several rows into the arena darkness. Norton wasn't so much punching as he was using his right hand as a medieval mace—loop, swing, BAM! Loop, swing, BAM! Ref stopped it at 43 seconds in. NBC had built a two-hour package around the fight, and the sudden end ruined it. So they showed the damn thing about 10 times in a row to fill time. And that fight was one of the key reasons why free TV stopped showing fights. When a massacre like that goes down, it wrecks everything. Again, It was the most singularly brutal “fight” I've ever seen.

But the intellectual dismantling of the New York Times' David Brooks over the last ten days gets right up there near it.

Brooks, in a fit of neo-con desperation in the wake of nothing but bad news since the '04 elections, found it necessary to play Dr. Frankenstein with the corpse of Ronald Reagan via dumb-fuck revisionist lightning. He tried to spin Ol' Ronnie Raygun's 1980 election kickoff in Philadelphia, Mississippi—a reknowned dog-whistle call to a new wave of fresh, white-sheeted bigots as something other than what the world knew it to be.

Krugman killed that turkey right there in the middle of the newsroom in a follow-up piece. Bob Herbert then built a fire in the same spot, plucked the dumb flightless pundit boid clean and roasted it alive. After a few squawks and “gobble-gobbles” it quieted down...until Driftglass happened by.

He stuffed it. Basted it. Flash-finished it, and then carved the meat into lots of thick, well-done slices. Damn, it was delicious!

But then...Krugman, ever the economist, decided to get the maximum use out of the well-picked carcass, coming back earlier this week to boil what was left of poor Brooksie down to a savory broth:

There are many other examples of Reagan’s tacit race-baiting in the historical record. My colleague Bob Herbert described some of these examples in a recent column. Here’s one he didn’t mention: During the 1976 campaign Reagan often talked about how upset workers must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps at the grocery store. In the South — but not in the North — the food-stamp user became a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks.

Now, about the Philadelphia story: in December 1979 the Republican national committeeman from Mississippi wrote a letter urging that the party’s nominee speak at the Neshoba Country Fair, just outside the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. It would, he wrote, help win over “George Wallace inclined voters.”

Sure enough, Reagan appeared, and declared his support for states’ rights — which everyone took to be a coded declaration of support for segregationist sentiments.


I can only imagine what fun talk there must be in the stairwells and behind stacks of copy paper at Times HQ over this intramural stomp-out. Shit, I wonder if Brooks is pulling the old “get here before everybody—leave here long after they've left” routine so he doesn't have to show his sugar glider-ish face.

But for those who have any doubt after Krugman's boil-down as to what Reagan was about with that visit...let's go back to a section of what he unearthed:

in December 1979 the Republican national committeeman from Mississippi wrote a letter urging that the party’s nominee speak at the Neshoba Country Fair, just outside the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. It would, he wrote, help win over “George Wallace inclined voters.”


What was a “George Wallace” voter, and why would he be desirable?

In 1958, he was defeated by John Patterson in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial primary election, which at the time was the decisive election, the general election still almost always being a mere formality in Alabama. This was a political crossroads for Wallace. Patterson had run with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization Wallace had spoken against, while Wallace had been endorsed by the NAACP. After the election, aide Seymore Trammell recalled Wallace saying, "Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race?... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."

In the wake of his defeat, Wallace adopted a hard-line segregationist style, and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election. In 1962 he was elected governor on a pro-segregation, pro-states' rights platform in a landslide victory. He took the oath of office standing on the gold star where, 102 years prior, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural speech, he used the line for which he is best known:

“In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”


The lines were written by Wallace's new speechwriter, Asa Carter, a Klansman and longtime anti-semite. Wallace later stated that he had not read this part of the speech prior to delivering it, and that he had regretted it almost immediately. However, he did not hesitate to repeat it.


And Ronnie ran down there like it was the Warners' backlot in 1949, with the studio dick on vacation, and the bungalows full of boy-starved starlets. He answered the call for someone to appeal to “George Wallace” voters, and the grinning, Bryllcreemed jerk went down there and played the hell out of the role offered to him.

Unfortunately for Reagan's legacy, and Brooks' abused psyche. Krugman got his hands on the old “Playbill” for it.

And wrapped that boiled-clean carcass up in it, and tossed it out in the trash...albeit a few days before Thanksgiving.

“Sigh!” The holidays seem to start earlier every damn year. :)
There's more...