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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 52,237

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Reminder to Politicians: That Microphone May Still Be Live


WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham has witnessed enough congressional hearings to know: If you want to have a side conversation, cover that microphone. Mr. Graham, a top Senate Republican, seemed to forget that lesson on Thursday when he was caught on an open mike offering to help Secretary of State John Kerry cajole Speaker John A. Boehner into supporting an expansion of loans to Ukraine through the International Monetary Fund.

“Hey, John, good job,” he told Mr. Kerry, referring to the secretary’s just-finished testimony on the State Department budget. “Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner.” So, it seems, Democrats and Republicans can work together after all. They just cannot do it publicly.

The episode recalls Michael Kinsley’s famous adage that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. In this age of ubiquitous digital electronics, then, open-mike gaffes are becoming about as common as the iPhone.


Of course, when these same politicians know the microphone is on, they revert to form. Just a few months ago, Mr. Graham was bashing the “failure” of Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry to improve relations with Russia, citing it as evidence of a bankrupt foreign policy. No one called it a gaffe.

Craven Statehouse Behavior

Political cowards grovel before gun lobby ...


Despite all the lethal mayhem caused by the Stand Your Ground laws now on the books in nearly two dozen states, the gun lobby is inviting more trouble. In Georgia, for instance, a pernicious bill approved by the House authorizes an array of dangerous laissez-faire gun provisions. One would allow convicted felons who kill someone with an illegally possessed gun to seek justification under the state’s Stand Your Ground law. A second would allow concealed guns on college campuses, despite the opposition of 78 percent of polled Georgians.


The pro-gun zealots who occupy the statehouses appeared to let up after the schoolhouse gun massacre in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. But as the country enters a new election cycle, the gun lobby is prodding lawmakers for even more advantageous laws, despite growing evidence that Stand Your Ground, far from protecting the public, hobbles prosecutors and gives defense lawyers unwarranted leeway to invoke self-defense in a mockery of law and order.

The number of justifiable-homicide cases in Florida has jumped by 200 percent since enactment of the law, according to a survey of F.B.I. data by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-safety group alarmed by the way the statehouses run roughshod over community gun controls.

Justifiable-homicide cases rose 83 percent in Georgia, where the House’s deplorable gun bill has now moved to the Senate, where the gun lobby is busily at work. Georgians should stand up for sanity and rebuff the latest threat to public safety from lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.

I'm confused about "Common Core". Are we for it or against it?

Serious question.

Stop the assault on Wisconsin's water supplies

From my email ...


Right now, anti-environmental lawmakers are attempting to ram through the state legislature a terrible groundwater bill that would threaten Wisconsin’s water supplies for future generations. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true.

The good news is that our friends at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters are mobilizing to stop this irresponsible legislation.

Will you join the thousands of other Wisconsinites who have already urged state lawmakers to oppose this horrible bill?


Kristin Brown
Online Campaigner, League of Conservation Voters

Fukushima Shows Us Perils of Nuclear Power Three Years On

If nuclear power is so safe then 1) why does the industry and their apologists have to lie to us, and 2) who won't the insurance industry cover the plants, resulting in taxpayers having to provide insurance?


Japan’s inability to fully recover should be of huge concern to us in the United States, especially since many of the same factors are at play here. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was so unnerved by the disaster that it deliberately downplayed its relevance for the United States, an NBC News investigation reveals.

“The e-mails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here,” NBC reports.

For example, officials refused to divulge to reporters that the commission was nervously analyzing whether the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California could withstand a similar-sized tsunami as the one that hit Fukushima.

“The U.S. nuclear industry has claimed that our nuclear power plants are not vulnerable to severe earthquakes and tsunamis,” states Beyond Nuclear’s Paul Gunter in a press release. “In reality, thirty-four U.S. reactors located downstream of fifty major dams could suffer a prolonged and potentially catastrophic loss of power caused by a dam break and the resulting inland tsunami.”

Oil Industry Conjures Illusion of Public Support for KXL Using ALEC Politicians


Millions of U.S. citizens have voiced their opposition to the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline in recent months, with more than 2 million public comments opposing the project hand delivered to the State Department last week. At the same time, hundreds of state legislators have been lining up in favor of KXL, seemingly just as passionate and as heartfelt as those opposed to the project. But many legislators have been tasked with promoting the project by oil industry lobbyists who provide them with model bills, talking points and draft op-eds.

According to documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the American Petroleum Institute (API) and other oil industry groups have been directing state legislators to make public and legislative statements in favor of the pipeline project, and have provided legislators with draft legislation, language for op-eds and testimony to be presented as their own. Central to these efforts is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), through which lobbyists -- such as those from API -- can meet in secret with state legislators from across the country.


During the most recent annual ALEC meeting in August 2013, held in downtown Chicago, oil-industry lobbyist Michael Whatley provided legislators at the group's International Relations Task Force meeting with a briefing on the KXL pipeline, urging legislators for their help in getting the project approved. Whatley -- a lobbyist for the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) -- has regularly attended ALEC meetings in recent years, and has presented to the organization on KXL in the past. CEA receives funding from the two leading U.S. oil lobby groups -- the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) -- and lists among its members leading oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell and BP amongst many others. Whatley's lobbying firm HBW Resources also has a somewhat unexplained relationship with the Alberta Government – see Salon.

According to the internal minutes from the ALEC meeting provided to CMD, Whatley called on legislators to help push the pipeline project to approval. Much as environmental groups view KXL as being a line in the sand, as symbolic of how serious the Obama administration is about tackling climate change, the oil industry considers the project to be a possible harbinger of things to come. "We're very concerned about the precedential impact of this refusal," Whatley told the group.

And it's working ....

As The Progressive reports, Kansas, Missouri, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota have all introduced legislative resolutions supporting the pipeline

Milwaukee Magazine's gay marriage cover must be hidden. Or not.


I get that Sendik's Fine Foods wants to keep its customers happy and sell lots of groceries, but did it really need to block a tame Milwaukee Magazine cover showing two brides getting married? One shopper thinks so. And it took just that one complaint to cause the Brookfield store owners to put a black board over the magazine in racks near its checkout lanes. Only part of the magazine name was left showing.

Call it censorship or call it customer service, but the word got out in the news and on social media this week and pretty soon the store's phones and email lit up. And it was not people wanting to know if corned beef brisket is on sale. "It exploded," said store manager Rick. "I prefer not to give you my last name because I don't want all that hate mail coming to me."


In TV news interviews I've seen, Milwaukee Magazine staff look like they're enjoying this free advertising, and I realize I'm giving them more here today. If they're smart, editors will be putting a large marijuana leaf on next month's cover.


The store told the magazine that several customers complained, though manager Rick told me it was just one. Chandler said he, too, has received phone calls for and against the cover.

As always with the Urinal/Sentinel website, it's the reader comments where the real fun, er, hate, begins.

I don't care if gays get married or conduct their lives like straight people do, behind closed doors. Do we need to promote the lifestyle as "normal"? Maybe not. Should Gays be allowed to adopt children? I don't think so. The Bible is pretty clear about Homosexuality. But with all the atheist's out there now, this is OK. The new flavor of the week cause. Another example of the breakdown of morality in this country being embraced by the liberal left. We are going down fast!

I (and many others) totally agree with the convictions of the original customer complaint. And if I were the manager of Sendik's, I would have dropped carrying Milwaukee Magazine altogether!

The perverts are taking over the world. oops...I meant the liberals!

But that last one did have a great reply posted ...

Google "wide stance."

Gagging Black Athletes


Unless it’s commodified, laid out over a beat, and marketed to suburban white teens getting their ghetto fix, there is no freedom to be angry in black America. From Jim Crow to the New Jim Crow to Fox News fulminations about the New Black Panthers, there lurks an existential fear to, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “hold back the jungle.” Nowhere on the cultural landscape is black anger policed more vigorously than in the world of sports. Ask Roddy White and Victor Cruz.

After George Zimmerman was found innocent of profiling, stalking, and gunning down seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, the two responses that garnered the most attention were from Cruz, a New York Giants wide receiver, and Atlanta Falcons wideout Roddy White. Cruz tweeted, “Zimmerman doesn’t last a year til the hood catches up to him.” White’s response was, “All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid.”

Both were pilloried by the press, piled-on by their twitter “followers,” and hectored into apologizing. Cruz had to go on The Dan Patrick Show, where he said, “In the moment, when it happened—I’m not going to lie, I was a little angry. As a father, you think about if that was your son, if that was your kid.” It’s tempting to make this a story about social media and impulse control, but the roots of this run far deeper.


This story of controlling the black voice in sports is as old as sports itself. In the 1930s, Joe Louis wasn’t told to “be loud and larger than life like Babe Ruth.” He was told, “Don’t open your mouth like Jack Johnson.” Jackie Robinson was told by management to turn the other cheek. The white media told every boxer from Sonny Liston to Joe Frazier that their “job” was to shut up “the Louisville Lip.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, despite his All-Time Status and Doogie Howser IQ, never got a coaching job. Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf were drummed out of the NBA for expressing quiet, dignified disdain for nationalism and war.

Exploding cannisters rocketing out of a ball of fire in the middle of a busy highway.

Can't believe. Cannot believe. Gotta wonder if we have stuff like that being transported on our highways with so little protection.


St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland

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