Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Arnold slams Republican hypocrisy, tea party "going nowhere"

Appearing on ABC's "This Week" this past Sunday with Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called out his own party for being the party of "no" and for their blatant hypocrisy on the Stimulus Package. Schwarzenegger made an example of former Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney for outright lying at last week's CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), that the stimulus bill hadn't produced a single "net" job gain:

I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around, and pushing back on the stimulus money and saying, 'This doesn't create any new job,' And then they go out and do the photo ops, posing with the big cheque and they say: 'Isn't this great, look at the kind of money I've provided for the state and this is money to create jobs, and this has created 10,000 new jobs, this has created 20,000 news jobs, and all those kinds of things.' It doesn't match up.

I don't want to beat up on my Republican colleagues but I think it is kind of politics rather than thinking about one thing, and this is: 'How do we support the president? How do we support him and everything we can in order to go and stimulate the economy back and think about the people and not the politics?'

Anyone that says this hasn't created a job, they should talk to the 150,000 people getting jobs in California, from the private sector and also from the public sector.

Governor Schwarzenegger also appeared on Greta Van Susteren's FOX News show last night, and said he believes the tea party will "twinkle and disappear" as the economy improves. Van Susteren attempted to get Schwarzenegger to take back his earlier criticisms of the tea party, intimating that he was misquoted. But Schwarzenegger called the tea party "an expression of anger and disappointment" and derided its lack of momentum or solutions:

People meet. They talk about it. What can we change? How? And it's all healthy and it's all good. But I'm just saying they're not going anywhere with it because nobody is coming up and saying, Here's our candidate, here's our solution, here's what we're going to do, and have a whole policy debate over the various different issues. So this is why I think, in the end, when the economy comes back, I think that the tea party will disappear again. It will, you know, twinkle and disappear, and that will be it. So that's exactly what I feel about it.

Van Susteren then attempted to get Schwarzenegger to bash the President Obama's Stimulus Package, "What about people who are slow to benefit from the results of America's first steps toward an uneven recovery?"

The Governor however didn't fall for it:

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, to give you an example, in 2008, we passed redistricting reform. Do you see any effect of it today in California? Absolutely not. It's two years later and we still see no effect because the district lines will be drawn in 2010 now and they would have an effect maybe in 2012, a little effect. In 2014, then you will see more effect. You don't go and have changes like that and have an effect from one day to the next.

VAN SUSTEREN: So give me an idea -- so...

: It doesn't happen. Sometimes those things take a long time. There's people that have treatments for an illness over a period of a year, of two years and three years. So you can't expect (ph) and just say, Those doctors are all no good. Forget about it. Go to a different team because they haven't helped, and so on. There's certain things that take a long time. To move government, to move this big thing, it's like the Titanic. You know, you see the iceberg there, so sometimes you cannot move fast enough. In better times, you have, you know, some movement and people change their minds and then something else becomes very important. I think that the most important thing, no matter what state you're in, or if you're in charge of the federal government, you got to concentrate on one thing and it is creating jobs and bringing the economy back. That's the most important thing right now. All the other stuff, people don't even want to focus on it. We can talk about it and I think it's important to talk about. But I think people want to see action. And I think what we have to do is -- and that's why I say every governor in a state, if you're a Democrat or a Republican, every Senator, every congressman, everyone out there in politics has to work together to get the economy back. What is unhealthy is to fight each other continuously because it does not make the country move forward. If you have all the debates, you have all the arguments, maybe it's good for politics, but it is definitely not good to get people back to work and to get the economy going.

Good for Arnold, as he isn't your typical meathead Republican and doesn't walk in lockstep with Rush Limbaugh. Arnold is a liberal Republican who keeps displaying more pragmatism and practicality.

Tom Brokaw explains Canada To Americans

Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and the United States, in a pre-recorded short film that aired on NBC, prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Feb. 12th, 2010.

Man bulldozes own home to "make banks think twice about foreclosure"

A Claremount County homeowner in Moscow, Ohio, bulldozed his $350,000 foreclosed home to send a message to American banks that "they should think twice before they try to take someone's home, and if they're going to take it wrongly, that's maybe what will finally end up...the result being them tearing your house down, like I did mine."

Public option comeback, but no thanks to Obama

What a week it's been for American politics and supporters of public health insurance. The Democratic Party's proposed public health insurance option, which previously died in the US Senate (as Obama did not push for it, and instead let the Senate leadership cut backroom deals with corporatists like Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu etc to get them onside with half-assed lacklustre reform) and was to be a key component of health insurance reform legislation, now has new life and has the Democratic base and supporters fired up. This is all thanks due to three rookie Congressman: firebrand progressive Alan Grayson of Florida, Chellie Pingree of Maine, and Jared Polis of Colorado. It was specifically Grayson who began an online petition which called for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to include and pass the public option in health care reform legislation via reconciliation, a parliamentary style Senate process which requires only a simple majority of 51 votes to pass (instead of going for the unrealistic and unnecessary goal of 60 votes, which the Democrats previously pursued by cutting sleazy backroom deals which pissed the American electorate off and resulted in Republican Scott Brown capturing Ted Kennedy's senate seat). Even if the public option can only garner 50 votes in the Senate through reconciliation, Vice-President Joe Biden could provide the tie-breaking vote as the Vice-President also serves as the President of the United States Senate.

To date, over 100 Democratic Representatives of the House of Representatives have signed onto the petition urging Harry Reid to hold a reconciliation vote on the public option, and close to 30 Democratic Senators have as well. And it doesn't even have to be Reid to call for an up and down vote in the Senate on the public option via reconciliation. Under the Senate rules, any Senator can bring forward an amendment calling for such a vote. Meanwhile, progressive political action groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and Credo Action have been organizing the renewed push for a public option outside of the corridors of power.

As it currently stands, approximately 26 Democratic Senators have signed on and are urging Harry Reid to pass the public option via reconciliation. Even corporatist Senator Evan Bayh seems to be on board. Bayh hasn't signed the petition, but he told the Huffington Post that he would support the public option via reconciliation (which is shocking, considering that he was previously a lobbyist and his wife is a board member of WellPoint, a private for-profit health maintenance organization, or private health insurance company.

However, President Obama has had nothing to do with this comeback. Not only did Obama previously not push and fight for a public option, instead leaving the Senate leadership to cut backroom deals with corporatist Democratic Senators, in order to pass the original Senate health insurance reform legislation; but also, President Obama recently unveiled his proposed health insurance reform plan which did not include a public option. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs would give the lame excuse that the Senate does not have the votes to pass the public option via reconciliation. Well, we'll see about that.

Regardless, this is so typical of Obama, another corporatist Democrat who seems to be more inclined to fight for corporations, as opposed fighting for his base of supporters who put him in office. FDR, LBJ and Harry Truman must be rolling in their graves. After all, up until this point, Obama has been way too quick to play nice with and kiss the asses of the Republican Party, instead of currying favour with his base. It's perplexing that Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, the White House and the corporatist Democrats can be so aloof, incompetent and outright so clueless. This is really a no-brainer. Poll after poll has shown that a large majority of Americans support a public option. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee just recently commissioned the non-partisan Research 2000 to conduct a series of polls in key states regarding the public option and recently passed Senate health reform bill which didn't include the public option, and the results are quite telling:

• In Nevada, only 34% support the Senate bill, while 56% support the public option.

• In Illinois, only 37% support the Senate bill, while 68% support the public option.

• In Washington State, only 38% support the Senate bill, while 65% support the public option.

• In Missouri, only 33% support the Senate bill, while 57% support the public option.

• In Virginia, only 36% support the Senate bill, while 61% support the public option.

• In Iowa, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

• In Minnesota, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.

• In Colorado, only 32% support the Senate bill, while 58% support the public option.

You would think that President Obama and the Democrats would be all over this in a heartbeat. Polls from 2009 also showed a large majority of Americans supported the public option. This is an easy ticket for the Democrats to improve their re-election chances in the upcoming 2010 Congressional elections. But oh no: absolutely zero leadership and fight from President Obama.

This is all happening while the greedy, blood-sucking private health insurance providers have jacked up their premium rates across the country:

• California: Average rates are expected to increase 25 percent in 2010, with increases as high as 39 percent for some policyholders.

• Colorado: Average rates are expected to increase 19.9 percent in 2010, with increases of up to 24.5 percent for some policyholders.

• Indiana: Rates are expected to increase 21 percent in 2010.

• Maine: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield requested a 23 percent increase for 2010 after five straight years of double-digit increases for individual policyholders. Anthem is suing the Maine Insurance Commissioner for rejecting its request last year for an 18.5 percent rate hike and allowing a 10.9 percent increase.

Incidently, in 2008, 39 WellPoint executives made salaries of $1 million or higher, and spent $27 million for 103 executive retreats at exclusive resorts in Hawaii and Arizona in 2007 and 2008. This of course is coming at a time when private health insurance firms are posting massive profits. But in order to maintain those profits and executive retreats, private health insurers must deny coverage to their customers and raise premium fees. Sickening, absolutely sickening.

So where the hell is Obama? Why isn't he fighting for the public health insurance option? Isn't he supposed to be the "change" guy? Well, as I previously pointed out, Obama isn't the change guy when it comes to public health insurance. In fact, he cut sleazy backroom deals in order to secure campaign contributions while avoiding fighting for the people.

On August 13, The New York Times reported that although Obama had displayed himself as "aloof from the legislative fray," especially when it came to the public option (again, serious weakness and zero leadership from Obama), "Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Obama and advisors have been...negotiating deals with a degree of cold-eyed political realism potentially at odds with the president's rhetoric." The New York Times reported that one of the deals was with the pharmaceutical industry, or big pharm. The other deal was with the for-profit hospital lobby to limit its cost reductions to $155 billion over a ten year period, and in return the White House promised that there would be no public option:

Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying-Medicare rates...or controlled by the secretary of health and human services. 'We have an agreement with the White House that I'm very confident will be seen all the way through conference', one of the industry lobbyists, Chip Kahn, director of the Federation of American Hospitals, told a Capitol Hill newsletter...Industry lobbyists say they are not worried [about a public option.] 'We trust the White House,' Mr. Kahn said.

Then on September 9, President Obama gave his major health care speech to a Joint Session of Congress, and in it he said one of the programs he was considering was a "not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange." Public option supporters and progressives beleived that Obama was on their side. But no so. The New York Times pointed out that:

Mr. Obama's call for a public plan, however, omitted any discussion of what rates it might pay or who might control it...'He worded it really carefully, because he said 'not for profit' and he didn't say it had to be controlled by the government,' Mr. Kahn [the hospital lobbyist] added. 'The way he described it, we could support that!

Controversial liberal muckracker Jane Hamsher has chronicled a timeline of President Obama's unwillingness to support and undermining of the public option.

So yes, Ralph Nader was and is right: the Democratic Party is essentially a corporatist party, and that there are very few differences between the Democrats and the Repbulicans. Obama should be fighting for the public option and for his base. And yes, the liberal base needs to get up off their asses and march on Washington and protrest and fight for the public option. Instead of yelling at their televisions and computers, they need to learn from the crazy Tea Partiers and make their voices heard. Although it appears Democrats and in the House of Representatives and the Senate are finally taking a bold and long overdue stand on the public option, President Obama is not. Unlike previous Democratic Presidents who fought for and achieved landmark legislative reform, such as FDR, LBJ and Harry Truman, President Obama is not fighting for the American people at all. He is instead all too happy to curry favour with the Republican Party and appear in the media nearly everyday, which he seems to believe is accomplishing something.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

But I'm Not Wrong

The HBO comedy special from February 10, 2010.

Real Time is back

The eigth season of Real Time with Bill Maher debuted last night on HBO, with a panel including former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, MSNBC Washington Correspondent Norah O'Donnell, and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane. The panel discussed everything from Obama's inability to communicate to financial reform, to waterboarding, and Sarah Palin's son who has down syndrome. Spitzer meanwhile strongly criticized President Obama's obsession with bipartisanship:

Fundamental reform doesn't come from bipartisanship. And it seems to me bipartisanship has become appeasement. Barack Obama won an election based on a set of principles. Fight for them.

McFarlane agreed with Spitzer's bipartisanship criticism and believes that Obama needs to get tough and adopt Bush's attitude.

And Norah O'Donnell discussed how the Obama administration has continued and even strengthened many of Bush's policies regarding the so-called War on Terror, although Republicans have mocked the White House for being a "miranda-reading, soft on terror, professor-like administration".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

British Ministry of Defence releases more Top Secret UFO files

Download the files here.

Great Britain's Ministry of Defence has released more previously top secret UFO files.

Some of the incidents include an object flying over Stamford Bridge, a football stadium in London, and a peculiar object witnessed over the home of politician Michael Howard. Other reports apparently include Winston Churchill.

Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator for the Ministry of Defence, said that 95% of the reports are ordinary or mundane occurrences which witnesses have misidentified or mistaken. However, Pope added that "a small percentage of cases, perhaps 2 to 3%are very interesting, are genuinely unexplained, and even those of us at the MoD who worked on this issue were puzzled genuinely saying, 'Well, we dont know what it is.'"

For instance, a man who claimed he witnessed a UFO became sick and developed a skin condition on the same day of his sighting.

But some UFO-related documents will never see the light of day. Pope explained that the British Freedom of Information Act does not permit the release of files which may jeopardize defence, national security and intelligence information. Some however believe that these restrictions keep the truth of UFOs from ever being known by the general public.

But the files do expose how frequent UFO sightings are, and how enthusiastic some people are about UFOs. Pope mentioned that the file title "Persistent Correspondent," is "MoD code for 'This person is becoming a nuisance.'"

Here is another recent and excellent Nick Pope media appearance on CNN with Campbell Brown, when the last batch of British UFO files were released last summer. My hat's off to Campbell Brown for actually doing her job as a professional by maintaining objectivity and playing the story straight down the line. There's no smirking, no snide remarks, nor ridicule of the topic. She treats is seriously as any professional journalist should:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Obama: enough with "bipartisanship" and welcome their hatred

This is an extract from Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign address at Madison Square Garden, New York, on October 31, 1936. If only today's Democrats, and in particular Barack Obama could sound like this, genuine HOPE would be provided to millions of people:

For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing government. The nation looked to government but the government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that government is best which is most indifferent.

For nearly four years you have had an administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.

Bill Maher on Larry King telling it as it is

Everything is covered from the left's anger and disappointment with Obama (Republican ass-kisser), the cowardly and incompetent Democratic Party, what's wrong with America's electoral system and the U.S. Senate, corporate power, the pro-corporate Supreme Court, corporate whores like Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, the idiocy and insanity of Sarah Palin and her followers, the hypocrisy and ignorance of the Tea Party movement, fear of the masses, you pretty much name it. Thank you Bill.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A must see regarding those hacked emails

Now that the conspiracy theorists have blown off steam, it's time for a more sober analysis of those e-mails and what they mean. I can't go through all of them, there are far too many, and . So I've taken the two that seem to be getting conspiracy theorists most worked up -- Phil Jones's e-mail about "Mike's Nature trick" and Kevin Trenberth's e-mail about a "travesty." I'm glad to see that skeptic websites that cover the science understand what these e-mails actually mean. As you'll see, very few commentators who jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon even before reading the e-mails managed to get it right.

Why is no one in the mainstream media asking why these hacks took place? Nor are they attempting to determine who committed these crimes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jeremy Scahill calls out Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the American Enterprise Institute

This is from a few years back, but it shows just how much independent journalist Jeremy Scahill is spot on and never misses a beat. In this clip from Overtime from Real Time with Bill Maher, from April 18 2008, (if the above embedded video is too slow, try this link), Maher and Cornel West heap praise upon secular feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Before Maher's and West's praise, Ali pays tribute to the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute. However Scahill provides some reality on the AEI for its championing and lobbying of the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ali then pathetically attempts defending the AEI, professing that it stands up for and champions noble causes. Sorry Ali, but the American Enterprise Institute not only championed the Iraq War, but also attempted to bribe climate scientists in 2007, and has received millions from Exxon-Mobil. Ali of course was previously elected to the Dutch House of Representatives as a member of the centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, which embraces conservative policies on economic, criminal, foreign affairs and immigration, ie poo-pooing the welfare state, deregulation, you know, those policies which have been so successful in America, except for that little inconvenience known as the great finanical collapse of 2008. Anyways, it was disappointing that Maher didn't call her out, as he usually does his homework, however Scahill picks up where Maher should have been leading the panel.

Republican Senator from Hee-Haw does bidding of oil industry

This isn't exactly hot off the press, but I wanted to pass on some information regarding James Inhofe, corporate jackass extraordinaire.

Jim Inhofe gets cool reception in Denmark

By Louis Roug | 12/19/09 7:33 AM EST

COPENHAGEN — Sen. Jim Inhofe flew across the Atlantic and — on little sleep — braved the snow, the cold and the dark to deliver his skeptical message at the international climate conference.

What he found when he got here: a few aides and a single reporter.

“I think he’s going to be a little disappointed,” one of his aides remarked.

Inhofe was at least impatient.

The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hoped to spread two messages in Copenhagen: Global warming is a hoax, and there’s no way the Senate is going to pass a cap-and-trade bill.

But it was early morning when he arrived at the Bella Center, and the halls were still half-deserted. He walked quickly, brushing off an aide who suggested that he slow down and take a breath.

“I don’t want to breathe — I want to get something done,” he said.

The senator didn’t have any meetings scheduled in Copenhagen, and he did not see chief U.S. negotiator Todd Stern or the members of the House delegation, who were not scheduled to fly in until later in the afternoon.

But Inhofe’s aides eventually rustled up a group of reporters, and the Oklahoman — wearing black snakeskin cowboy boots — held forth from the top of a flight of stairs in the conference media center.

“We in the United States owe it to the 191 countries to be well-informed and know what the intentions of the United States are. The United States is not going to pass a cap and trade,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”

“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”

One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”

Inhofe ignored the jab, fielded a few more questions, then raced to the airport for the nine-hour flight back to Washington.

After Inhofe left, some reporters were still a bit confused about what had happened and who he was.

“His name is Inhofe,” a German journalist told a Japanese reporter, “but I don’t know if it’s one or two f’s.”

Senator (R - OK) James M. Inhofe: Top 5 Contributors, 2005-2010, Campaign Cmte

Koch Industries - Total: $39,500; Individuals: $30,500; PACs: $9,000
Murray Energy - Total: $30,600; Individuals: $25,600; PACs: $5,000
Contran Corp - Total: $21,500; Individuals: $13,200; PACs: $8,300
Devon Energy - Total: $19,500; Individuals: $9,500; PACs: $10,000
OGE Energy - Total: $17,800; Individuals: $11,800; PACs: $6,000

Senator (R - OK) James M. Inhofe: Top 5 Industries, 2005-2010, Campaign Cmte

Oil & Gas - Total: $429,950; Individuals: $250,350; PACs: $179,600
Retired - Total: $287,968; Individuals: $287,968; PACs: $0
Electric - Total: $206,654; Individuals: $31,454; PACs: $175,200
Lobbyists - Total: $176,983; Individuals: $169,654; PACs: $7,329
Republican/Conservative - Total: $161,725; Individuals: $139,925; PACs: $21,800

And that's just from 2005-2010. Here are the totals throughout his career.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Democrats are the new Republicans

The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into the nuthouse. Shouldn't there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting the military budget, a party that is straight up in favour of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal healthcare, legalizing marijuana, and steep, direct taxing of polluters? These aren't radical ideas. A majority of Americans are either already for them, or would be, if they were properly argued and defended. And what we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats.

Max Blumenthal gets schooled by Ralph Nader

Muckracking, gadfly journalist (as well as Democratic Party mouthpiece and tool) Max Blumenthal attempts to "challenge" Ralph Nader on his "progressive credentials", but ends up getting his ass handed to him. You see Max, this is what happens when you kowtow to the useless, cowardly Democratic Party. They are not the end-all, be-all of progressive politics.

For the Obama lovers

And just like Lindsay, we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're going to actually do something.

Keep telling it like it is Bill.

The Home Project

When you've got some time to kill, watch this. Breathtaking imagery accompanies an hour and a half long documentary about the most important issue facing our civilization: the climate crisis.

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

HOME official website

PPR is proud to support HOME

HOME is a carbon offset movie

More information about the Planet

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Puritanical hysteria

Disappointing, frustrating and exacerbated are words that come to mind to describe the last few days. First, the "news" broke about Toronto City Councillor Adam Giambrone had an affair (even though he's not even married), and now today he held a press conference announcing that he is no longer a candidate for Mayor of Toronto. With all of this news came an incredible nasty backlash from the always morally superior general public, condemning Giambrone for committing some dastardly act. Granted, cheating on your wife, girlfriend or common law spouse isn't exactly upstanding behaviour, and Giambrone showed extremely poor judgment and certainly acted incredibly stupid, but then again this is a personal matter. Europeans seem to be much mature on these matters, as adults should be, sweeping such trivial nonsense under the rug and focussing on who is the most qualified for positions of leadership, who has the best policies, who has the vision, and who can ensure a strong, healthy government, society and prosperity. Such as the case in the last French national election, when the French electorate did not scold or condemn Nicolas Sarkozy for not being legally divorced from his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, but rather being separated for years before divorcing. Nor was Sarkozy judged for becoming heavily involved with Carla Bruni less than a month after being legally divorced from his second wife. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has had a multitude of affairs and mistresses, yet continues to be re-elected. Now, just imagine if Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, or Gilles Duceppe were involved with anything remotely close to Sarkozy's and Berlusconi's experiences.

We should stay out of other people's bedrooms. Giambrone isn't even married, and I think his ability to stay faithful to a girlfriend or not does not show whether he would have been a good mayor or not. After all, he was running for Mayor of Toronto, not the head of a church. If we waited around for men that could be faithful to their girlfriends, we'd be waiting a long time. Oh and about Adam lying to the Toronto Star about his affair? Instead of lying, he should've told the Toronto Star that it was none of their business. So, Adam lied about his personal life. That's what all the hoopla is about. I think that is insane. And I'd defend any centrist or conservative as well. If this was happening to John Tory, Michael Walker or even Rob Ford, I would also defend them as it's their personal lives. Cheating on a spouse obviously isn't upstanding behaviour but it's not a crime. This puritanical hysteria is sickening.

Finally, regarding all of those who are judging Giambrone and insulting him with great rage and vitriol, it would be interesting to ask them how they feel about other political figures throughout contemporary history who had affairs, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John and Robert Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr., George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, Nikolas Sarkozy and the countless others. Would they be so quick to cast stones or would they flounder, become flustered, or avoid the topic? I'd say they'd avoid it altogether, as miserable knee-jerk blowhards just react and don't really think.

I think Toronto Councillor Howard Moscoe put it best by saying:

I don’t think there are many single males in this city who could have their hormones so closely examined and come out all right.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hunter S. Thompson with Coco

As we await the return of Conan O'Brien this fall, here's a classic interview of his with the late legendary writer, journalist, social and political commentator Hunter S. Thompson from February 6, 2003. I saw this when it aired and am thrilled it's now available on the web. And if you want more Conan and Hunter, here's their first meeting back in 2001.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Marijuana superstore

With the California electorate set to vote on an upcoming referendum regarding the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, the first marijuana superstore in the state has just opened. CNN's Dan Simon reports on this fascinating development.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spitzer running for Senate?

Since admitting to his liasons with a professional prostitution service and subsequent resignation as Governor of New York State, Eliot Spitzer has done a remarkable job of improving his image in the last year. He is now a media star, lending his expertise and knowledge of economic and political matters to various cable news outlets, detailing with exact precision the unscrupulous and nefarious practices of Wall Street and the financial sector, while simultaneously criticizing those in the Obama Administration for not doing what's necessary.

But could a political comeback be in the making? Since his resignation and the swearing in of David Paterson as New York Governor, polls have shown that New York residents would prefer to have Spitzer as governor than Paterson.

There is now word that Spitzer has been discussing with close friends about a possible return to the political arena, according to The Daily Beast. Lloyd Grove has spoken to three Spitzer confidantes, with one telling Spitzer that a return to politics is out of the question, while the other two did not discourage him. Spitzer of late has been asked repeatedly if he would run against New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to which he has denied.

In late 2009, a friend of Spitzer's commented to the Daily Beast:

He wants to be relevant. I think he keeps toying with it—running against Kirsten Gillibrand or running for comptroller. He doesn't have to raise the money. He already has the money, if he decides to do it. I told him he had to consider if this was something he wanted to drag his family back through again, especially if there is anything else [that is, a fresh scandal] out there…I hear that Silda [Spitzer's wife] doesn't want him to do it.

Not only has Spitzer become a darling of cable news networks and public speaking engagements, but he also recently addressed his discretions directly in an interview with, in which he provided humility by admitting his personal failings, and on appeared on The Colbert Report, in which he rolled with Stephen Colbert's jokes:

Ben Bernanke, who oversaw the collapse of not only the United States but pretty much the entire world financial system and brought our economy to its knees, has been reappointed as head of the Fed. Does this give you hope for being reelected governor of New York? Because, may I remind you, he screwed everybody!

I just became a big fan of Ben Bernanke

And the Sheriff of Wall Street has his many fans, as he's needed now more than ever before. Here's a recent Spitzer appearance on Democracy Now!, in which he discussed the banks, the bailouts, the Obama Administration's handling of the banks and regulation, Tim Geitner, Ben Bernanke, and all things relating to current economic and political matters:

Jack Layton has prostate cancer

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton announced at a press conference this afternoon in Toronto that in late 2009 he was diagnosed with treatable prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a treatable and relatively lesser fatal form of the disease. Layton's father, Robert Layton, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in Brian Mulroney's government, was also diagnosed with prostate cancer, and in May 2002 died due to complications from prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Layton would emphasize at the press conference that "Like my dad, I am a fighter and I am going to beat this". Layton's wife, fellow NDP MP Olivia Chow, was also previously diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but succesfully battled the disease in 2005 and has been healthy since.

Layton will not be stepping down temporarily as the federal NDP Leader. He will continue to serve as both leader and MP for his riding, Toronto-Danforth. Layton will also undergo cancer treatment in Toronto, which has already begun.

Since being elected leader in 2003, Layton has significantly raised both the profile and the electoral successes of the NDP. The NDP currently holds 37 seats in the House of Commons (57 under a proportional representation electoral system). Under Layton's reign, not only has the party's seat totals dramatically improved, but the party's total voter percentage or share has doubled, as has its public funding.

My thoughts are with Jack, his family, and supporters, while hoping for a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shocking: Many Republican voters believe Obama is a racist, socialist foreigner

The DailyKos website commissioned the non-partisan Research 2000 research firm to conduct a poll measuring the beliefs, perceptions and attitudes of the Republican base, specifically concerning President Obama. There's really no surprise here, as the base holds the most insane and ludicrious beliefs or perceptions regarding the Commander-in-chief. Congratulations are in order for Fox News and the Republican leadership for their non-stop stream of ludicrious talking-points, lies and smears:

• 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office, 29 percent are not sure.

• 42 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a natural citizen, 36 percent believe he was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure.

• 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama is not racist, 31 percent believe he is a "racist who hates white people" (what Fox News's Glenn Beck has previously stated), and 33 percent were not sure.

• 63 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a socialist, 21 percent believe he is not, 16 percent are not sure.

• 43 percent of Republicans believe Obama does not want the "terrorists to win", 33 percent aren't sure, 24 percent believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win".

• 55 percent of Republicans are not sure if the community organizing group ACORN stole the 2008 presidential election, 24 percent said they did not steal the election, 21 percent of believe ACORN stole the election.

• 58 percent of Republicans believe their home state should not secede from the federal union of the United States, 23 percent believe that their state should secede or seperate from America, 19 percent aren't sure.

• 53 percent of Republicans believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama, 33 percent aren't sure, and 14 percent believe Obama is more qualified to be president than Palin.

There are also some disturbing numbers concerning gay rights and the seperation of church and state in the poll. Now couple all of these poll findings with the right-wing opposition to and skepticism of the science of climate change, and evolution, and well, you'll see why the rest of the world may sometimes have negative views or perceptions of Americans. I just wonder though if an anti-gravity movement is next.