Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ladies, A Little Help Please?

A 59-year-old American has been drinking breast milk for the past four years in a bid to fight cancer.

Howard Cohen hopes it will boost his immune system and help him fight off his prostate cancer.[...]

Mr Cohen, who has a PhD in theoretical physics, read up on his cancer when he was diagnosed in 1999 and came across a piece of literature by scientists who had killed cancer cells in the laboratory using an ingredient of breast milk.
Now, my prostate is a very dear part of me, and I'm thinking that perhaps there's something to Mr. Cohen's theory.

So as a preventative measure, I'm wondering if we should conduct an experiment to see if breast milk actually prevents prostate cancer.

If you are interested, and can lactate-- even if you can't, I always need the practice-- please come to my nightly auditions:

Le Trapeze
17 E. 27th Street
New York, NY
(between Madison and 5th)

"A" cups welcome, I don't discriminate.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Re: The Foley Scandal

I have nothing to add but my contempt. Down With Tyranny has the whole sordid story. Pardon me while I relive my childhood and go throw up...

Friday Music Blogging Two-Fer

I really need to reshoot this video with a concept I have, but have at it: Thompson Twins

And in the spirit of TwoFers....Cocteau Twins

Friday Kitten Blogging

I was too busy this week to shoot Thumb-Per (with a camera, before you PETAns start narcing on me...), so in lieu of my kit, I'm posting some of the cats who inspired me to take a polydactyl in:

Telling Tales Outta School

I'm going to take a look at the Bob Woodward revelations from an angle few in Blogtopia(©Skippy) will.

Most will focus on how neatly the book ties into the NIE leaked last weekend, and the testimony of the generals in front of the Senate committee earlier this week, as well they should. It all smells pretty coordinated, and it's nice to see the Dems play hardball as hard and perhaps even better (more subtly, to be sure) than the Republicans.

Let's get to it, shall we?
Woodward: Bush concealing level of Iraq violence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is concealing the level of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq and the situation there is growing worse despite White House and Pentagon claims of progress, journalist Bob Woodward said in advance of a new book.

Insurgent attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq occurred, on average, every 15 minutes, Woodward said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview taped for broadcast on Sunday.

"It's getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," Woodward said in excerpts of the interview released on Thursday before the release of his book on the administration, called "State of Denial."

"The assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon (saying) 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" Woodward added.
Not surprisingly, the Bushies have been lying to us about Iraq. Dog bites man stuff. It's a non-story, except of course for the fact that Bob Woodward has been in the administration pocket for a few years now, and appears to have wiggled out a little.

But drop down a few grafs:
A senior administration official saw little new in Woodward's charges "except that Bob believes he has a lot of making up to do since the Washington establishment criticized him for being too soft in his first two books (on the Bush administration)."

"We've seen this movie before, and we shouldn't be surprised of another critical book about the Bush administration 40 days before an election," said the official.
Uh huh.

Ask yourself this question: just WHO is this "Washington establishment" that the senior administration official (SAO) (clearly, either Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld, but more likely Cheney, given the wording of the metaphor)? Is it the same "Washington establishment" that was so hypercritical of President Clinton? The same "Washington establishment" that has hammered the Democrats from pillar to post and has made up pipe-dream stuff to keep the masses undereducated? The same "Washington establishment" that supported the war in Iraq in the first place?

Let's face facts: the only "Washington establishment" (other than Morton's which serves a delicious filet mignon) that exists is the large cadre of lobbyists, almost all Republican, who do business on a daily basis with Congress and the White House.

Like Jack Abramoff, to name names.

And somehow, I doubt Abramoff gives a rat's ass about this book or Bob Woodward right now...

Which leaves the White House and its supporters as, well, the "Washington establishment." But note the way the "SAO" paints the White House as outside the Beltway? The same trope that Bush ran in 2000?

That's an interesting position for a Presidency to take in the midterm election of their second term, don't you think? It shows a lot of desperation and fear draping over the White House like syrup on a stack of pancakes.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yes! The Meaning Of Liff!

Blind Item

What long-time moderate Republican from Connecticut, active in political circles and a strong backer of Joe Lieberman in past campaigns (to the aggregate tune of six figures), just hedged his bets with a sizable contribution to Ned Lamont's campaign?

The Tears Of A Clown

I think we can officially write-off Republican candidate for attorney general Jeannine Pirro as an up-and-coming national political figure.
Republican state attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro says she is under federal investigation for allegedly plotting to secretly record her husband, Albert.
Oh, there's a lot more to this story, hang's going to be a bumpy night...
At a packed news conference in Manhattan, a furious and at times tearful Pirro insisted she would not quit the race and blasted the investigation as politically motivated and sexist.
Said investigation stems from a separate investigation of her good friend, convicted swindler and bribe-taker, Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former head of the NYPD, and ersatz-Homeland Security Secretary under George W. Bush. Speaks a lot about how carefully Bush picks his Cabinet (a subject of a later "Marx Brothers" clip...)

Said investigation, involving no less than six Federal and state law enforcement agencies. Said investigation being run by Republican U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Michael J. Garcia. But wait, there's more!
Pirro said FBI agents had confronted her outside her home late one night to inform her she was under investigation. She said she had hired an attorney to represent her in the case.

But she insisted that prosecutors had no business delving into her troubled union with lobbyist Albert Pirro, who spent 11 months in prison on tax fraud charges and fathered an illegitimate daughter after their wedding.

"Sometime last year, I came to believe that my husband was seeing another woman," Pirro said. "In the midst of matrimonial discord, I was angry and had him followed to see if what I suspected was true. Although I spoke about taping him, there was no taping by me of anyone. There was anger, and frustration, and disappointment."
Fair enough. A woman's home life ought to be private, just like, say, Bill Clinton's should have been kept out of the papers while he was President. But wait, there's more! How do you think her name came up in the Kerik investigation?

On a wire-tap!
Pirro spoke with Bernard Kerik, the disgraced ex-New York police commissioner, about possibly placing a recorder in a room to listen in on her husband, said two people familiar with the situation, who spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity.

Pirro said Kerik was a friend and confirmed that they had spoken about her marital concerns. And while she said she had ultimately decided against recording her husband, she said none of the actions she'd contemplated taking was illegal.
Now....she's the county prosecutor for Westchester. She's running for Attorney General on the basis of her very solid record as a prosecutor, contrasted with Andrew Cuomo's skimpy record in court.

Pardon me for venting here, but...WHAT THE FUCK WAS SHE THINKING? The law is very specific and very clear: you can only bug or wiretap IF one party to the conversation has knowledge of the tap or you have a warrant. Since she was trying to determine if her husband was cheating on her, it's clear that neither party would know. Further, it's unlikely that a court would issue a warrant.

The taped evidence in damning. She speaks to Kerik about having someone install a video camera and microphone on her husband's yacht. It's clearly not the first time they've discussed it, as Kerik whines that he cannot find anyone who would agree to do this (whether he actually tried is open to discussion: he seems to have gotten how illegal this route was). At the very least, based on this bit of tape, Pirro is guilty of conspiracy to violate of a part of the U.S. Code relating to interception and disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications.

At the very worst, she took further steps on her own accord to actually install the bug, something she threatens to do in the tape.

Her excuse for all this?
"Placing a recording device on one's property to intercept a conversation involving one's spouse is not a crime," Pirro said in the statement provided to The Associated Press. "That is what is so stunning about this federal investigation. I am being investigated for speaking in anger about doing something that it is lawful to do, and which I didn't do."
And her counterattack?
"There is no way, when I have the opportunity to be the first woman attorney general in the history of this state, that I'm going to be pushed out of a race because somebody wants to delve into the personal lives of my husband and myself," Pirro said. "I'm standing up for myself and standing up for women."
Ah, the gender card! If I was a woman, I'd be highly offended that she'd play the pity card over her own actions, and dragging me into her sordid personal life.

Jeannine Pirro has an ALbatross around her neck, no question about it, and he doesn't even have the charm and political adeptness that Bill Clinton has. That she hasn't divorced his sorry ass already speaks volumes about her weakness as a politician, a candidate, and a woman. That she'd hide behind this weakness is despicable.

Is it possible, however, that the timing of this investigation is suspect, despite the fact that Republicans are running the investigation and it stems from another investigation? Sure.

Pirro's television ads have worked overtime trying to link her to the heritage of Eliot Spitzer as a crime-fighting district attorney who will fight just as hard for women's rights and quality of life for New Yorkers than anyone else. Spitzer might have take offense at that, and forced a leak, as he has cut commercials showing his outward support of Andrew Cuomo, Pirro's opponent.

Too, she angered the state GOP, including its nominal head, state senator Joe Bruno, by creating a ruckus when she was asked to drop out of the race against Hillary Clinton for her re-election.

So, here we have a woman who has promised to pick up the fight for women's rights and quality of life issues, when she herself is an emotionally-battered and cowed wife who's own life needs a little more quality in it. She probably ought to quit now, and retire from public service.

Which is a damned shame, because she's actually pretty effective.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All I Know About Life...

...I learned from the Marx Brothers:
Today's episode: The Marx Brothers Explain The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

For Your Dining Pleasure...

BEIJING (UPI) -- When sampling donkey penis at a Beijing restaurant, it may help not to think about what is being eaten and just focus on its benefits.

It's good for the skin, in case you're wondering.

The Guolizhuang restaurant claims to be China's only restaurant specializing in penises, the BBC said Sunday. That's right, penises. Dog, reindeer (a delicacy), snake (they have two) and ox. It serves its unusual bill of fare in a variety of ways, from chilled to fried.

The restaurant's owner came up with the menu after he began looking into traditional Chinese medicine, the BBC said. Apparently appendages such as these are low in cholesterol and can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as sexual dysfunction, the BBC said.

The restaurant's primarily male patrons, mainly wealthy businessmen or government officials, can dine discretely in private rooms, the BBC said. The wait staff, called nutritionists, serves little alcohol, but there is a deer blood and vodka cocktail on the menu.

Plus Ça Change.... çe meme may recall I wrote about the retirement of Captain Brenda Berkman, the pioneer who was among the first female FDNY firefighters?

Among the comments on that thread was a snarky little trolling from a FReeper which said the following:
This is such a typical liberal story...
A victim (woman,black, or mexican) overcomes horrible obsticals (everything) to succeed at doing something (firefighting...)everyone else does without the fanfare.
"Bang," I hope you're reading this...
Female EMS workers file suit

September 27, 2006

Five female Emergency Medical Service employees filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing the Fire Department and city leaders of gender discrimination in promotions.

They and other women in the Fire Department of New York face a "glass ceiling" once they reach the rank of lieutenant, according to their lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
I'm thinking those horrible "obsticals" still exist and are keeping people, not women, Bang, people, from advancing as they should.

The point behind affirmative action programs is to raise everyone who is qualified so that there's a level playing field for them to compete, head-to-head, toe-to-toe, for advancement in a career. That's all.

People like "Bang" concern me, because they behave out of fear of their own shortcomings, and rather than accept the challenge of increased competition. Which is supposed to be a good thing in capitalism.

This isn't about preferences. It's about giving everyone an equal chance, that's all. The right wing, for too long, has extruded the argument that equal opportunity programs should be disbanded because they've either served their purpose or have given an undue leg up to folks who don't qualify under other circumstances. But that's simply not the case. Affirmative action programs are meant to plow the road ahead of hard-working Americans who can make valuable contributions to the economy and to society, if they just have the chances that white males take for granted, like acceptance in a workplace.

Or consideration by their superiors. This is how we have to start framing this argument.

I dream of the day when EEOC programs can be permanently dismantled.

Perhaps under President Obama.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Big Dog Bit...

...and now his Dogpound is biting:
Hillary backs up husband's bin Laden criticism
Newsday Washington Bureau

September 25, 2006, 9:21 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton's fire-breathing defense of his administration's effort to kill Osama bin Laden is getting a thumbs-up from his wife, who says she's tired of Democrats being pushed around on national security issues.

"I just think that my husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take this," Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday.

The senator [added], "All you have to do is read the 9/11 commission . I thought all he did was state what had been repeatedly found in the various studies that have taken place."
Meanwhile, this morning on Today, James Carville and Paul Begala, who will handle my Senate campaign in 2012 after President Hillary's first term in office, also raised the point that this is how Democrats need to respond to such baseless, shameful ploys of the right wing punditry and politicoes. Begala even went so far as to allude to John Kerry's weakness in 2004 on both homeland security and the Swift Boat veterans.

With less than six weeks to go before the midterm elections, and a staggering National Intelligence Assessment report leaked over the weekend about the state of homeland security vis-a-vis the Iraq war, one might be tempted to think that, well, there's a strategy that's been devised and is in play for an early "October Surprise".

I was heartened to see Bill Clinton taking on Chris Wallace, on Wallace's home turf and that Fox at least had the decency to air it unedited (couple of reasons leap to mind, first that their rating went through the roof after a transcript was leaked, and second, they've tried to spin it as 'Clinton loses his temper and goes mad'). If this was the kickoff to the fall campaign, it's going to be a doozy, and it's the type of campaign that we need: a talk on the issues, but tough talk on the issues.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Just. Bring. It.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is daring President George W. Bush to stump in New York for her Republican opponent - joking that Clinton would even consider paying for Bush's airfare if he stumped in Dubya-phobic Gotham.

In an interview airing this weekend on WNBC-TV, Clinton's Republican challenger John Spencer said he'd welcome the president's presence, arguing that Clinton's "vitriolic attacks" on Bush's Iraq policy have been "helpful to the enemy."

When Spencer was asked if he wanted to stump with Bush, the former Yonkers mayor said, "Absolutely. Absolutely, I would. ... I would welcome President Bush."

That prompted Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson to quip, "We might consider paying for that ourselves."
Aside from being a very funny joke, let's take a look at the "inside baseball" aspect of this.

First off, Bush would sooner campaign for Clinton as for Spencer. Why?

Spencer is running somewhere south of 20% in polling, which means that, given Bush's 20% approval rating in New York State, he would actually be hurt more by campaigning for Spencer than Spencer would gain.

Second, with that disparity in polling, Spencer having comfortably lodged in the high teens against Clinton since he announced he was running (and even that is more an anti-Hillary vote than a pro-Spencer vote...altho it might be that they think Spencer is that nice Leo McGarry from The West Wing...), Bush would really serve no purpose in campaigning for Spencer.

To sum up, Spencer's statement was a falsely brave one. He knows Bush would never bother campaigning in a blue state like New York for a candidate that stands no chance of winning. Incumbents like to be seen with people who are at least competitive, if not winners, and so why would he bother? There's no real ideological difference between Hillary and Spencer, other than Bush could put a leash on Spencer, whereas Hillary is an active critic of Bush.

"Lapdogs" have their place in New York politics (just ask George Pataki about his relationship with Al D'Amato) but this kind of stuff doesn't fly outside the state onto the national scene as it does in other states that have stronger political machines.

Spencer knows this. So does Howard Wolfson. This bluster is entertaining, something that will be in short supply in this political season in New York.

, ,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Robert. F. Kennedy. Joonyaah.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has another article using that question mark tactic.
Will the next election be hacked?
If you missed his article questioning the 2004 election, the link for that is in the intro.

Here is the link to the Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine, done at Princeton University, complete with video: