Wednesday, April 9, 2008


A few of our favorites thoughts of Louisiana Governor Earl Long

Don't write anything you can phone. Don't phone anything you can talk. Don't talk anything you can whisper. Don't whisper anything you can smile. Don't smile anything you can nod. Don't nod anything you can wink.

I'm for the po' folk, I'm for the middlin' folk, and I'm for the rich folk, if they behave themselves.

I'm not against anybody for reasons of race, creed, or any ism he might believe in except nuttism, skingameism or communism.

If you ever want to hide something from (Louisiana attorney general) Jack Gremillion, put it in a law book.

Hell yes, I think you should use ideals or any other goddamn thing you can get your hands on - When asked by a young state legislator whether ideals had any role in politics


WASH TIMES Religious, minority and civil rights activists are asking Homeland Security officials to screen their own airport screeners using video cameras to check whether passengers are being subjected to bias or profiling. "We believe such controls are critical to ensuring that our nation's [screeners] are focused squarely on security threats and not distracted by any personal bias," the organizations said in a letter this week to Kip Hawley, director of the Transportation Security Administration. The letter was signed by representatives of several groups including the Sikh Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Asian American Justice Center, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The groups said policy changes give transportation security officers more discretion to pull aside passengers for additional screening, resulting in "an unchecked ability to engage in racial, religious, ethnic, or national origin profiling of air travelers." One of the policies they targeted was the "screening passengers by observation techniques," a program using behavior to identify high-risk passengers. They also cited the discretionary ban on lighters and more extensive screening of passengers wearing bulky clothing. The groups proposed a quarterly video audit of 10 airports chosen at random. An auditor would collect data "on the perceived race, religion, ethnicity and national origin of each passenger who is asked to submit to additional screening beyond the metal detector."

JAMES WRIGHT, WASHINGTON AFRO AMERICAN Crime has steadily declined over the past three decades but there are more people in jail for reasons that have nothing to do with the severity of their crimes, according to a new report. The study, "Jailing Communities: The Impact of Jail Expansion and Effective Public Safety Strategies" was released by the Washington, D.C.-based Justice Policy Institute. . .

Because of the rising costs of bail, people arrested today are much more likely to serve jail time before trial than they would have been two decades ago, even though crime rates are nearly at their lowest levels in 30 years. Additionally, the report said that the jails are filled with people with mental health issues, immigration violations and those who are homeless. It states that six out of 10 people in jail are struggling with their mental health. Petteruti, one of the co-authors, observed: "Twenty percent of the people in this country's jails are not legally guilty. They have not been convicted of anything and yet they are sitting in jail. That's not right and it doesn't make sense.". . . Blacks are nearly five times as likely to be incarcerated in jail as Whites and three times as Latinos. Immigration violations are being jailed at an increasing rate, up 500 percent in the last decade, the report said.

A STUDY by the Center for Community Alternatives and the National HIRE Network reveals that the use of criminal history background checks in the college admission practice to be on the rise and that crime on campuses is more likely to be committed by students without criminal records. "In recent years, colleges and universities in the United States have increasingly included criminal history background checks in their admissions processes and have started to create exclusionary policies," said Marsha Weissman, executive director of CCA. "These polices are being implemented despite the fact that there is virtually no evidence to suggest that the past criminal histories of students are risk factors that affect the rate of crime on college campuses. Although there is no indication that these policies will make campuses any safer, such policies do carry with them some very significant and dangerous consequences. In their haste to make campuses safer, college admissions officers are adopting policies that threaten to make the community at large less safe and more racially divided."


WASH POST EDITORIAL We know that legislation can involve a certain amount of moral and intellectual corner-cutting. But is it too much to ask that a bill called the "Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008" not contain a provision that might, at the margin, encourage home foreclosures? Apparently so, because the bipartisan Senate housing relief package includes just such a measure. We refer to a $7,000 tax credit (payable over two years) to anyone who purchases a foreclosed home within a year of the proposal's enactment. Supposedly, this would help clear the nation's swollen inventory of repossessed properties, thus propping up home prices more generally. Here's the catch. For lenders as well as borrowers, foreclosure is an expensive hassle. If at all possible, most banks would rather avoid repossessing a house, which they must then try to resell. But, by making it cheaper to buy a foreclosed house than a comparable unforeclosed property, the tax credit makes it more feasible to sell one. The cost and hassle - for the lender - of foreclosure go down, and the benefits go up. Other things being equal, lenders would be that much more likely to foreclose - rather than to help homeowners stay in their houses on modified terms.


CHANNEL 9, CO Adams School District 50 is defending its decision to punish a third grader for sniffing a Sharpie marker. Eight-year-old Eathan Harris was originally suspended from Harris Park Elementary School for three days. Principal Chris Benisch reduced the suspension to one day after complaints from Harris' parents. Harris used a black Sharpie marker to color a small area on the sleeve of his sweatshirt. A teacher sent him to the principal when she noticed him smelling the marker and his clothing. "It smelled good," Harris said. "They told me that's wrong." Eathan's father, John Harris, says the school overreacted for treating Eathan as if he was huffing, or inhaling, marker fumes. . . "I think it's outlandish," John Harris said. "It's ridiculous.". . . Benisch stands by his decision to suspend Harris, saying it sends a clear message about substance abuse. In his letter suspending the child, Benisch wrote that smelling the marker fumes could cause the boy to "become intoxicated." A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible.


GREG PIERCE, WASH TIMES "What were the odds that a top Obama adviser, and then the top Clinton adviser, would find themselves in trouble with their respective campaigns over the issue of trade?" Byron York writes at National Review Online. "Pretty good, actually. Next to race, trade has become the most explosive issue in the Democratic presidential contest. And especially at a time when Hillary Clinton is trying to build on her win in Ohio with a last-chance victory in Pennsylvania," Mr. York said. "It's no accident that Austan Goolsbee, the top Obama adviser who told Canadian officials not to worry about Obama's anti-NAFTA posturing, became an issue during the campaign in economically troubled Ohio. And it's no accident that Mark Penn, the top Clinton strategist who has been demoted over his private-business promotion of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has found himself in hot water in the midst of campaigning in Pennsylvania. The two controversies point up one central fact: Many staffers and surrogates, in both campaigns, simply don't believe what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are saying about NAFTA, and free trade in general, on the campaign trail. But they can't say so. 'A lot of them are free traders, but during the Democratic primaries they stay in the closet,' one Democratic strategist who is not affiliated with either campaign told me Monday. 'More the Clinton campaign than the Obama campaign, but probably both.' "

RAW STORY The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. . . Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days. The man who was known as "McNasty" in high school has erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury has surfaced. As Schecter notes, McCain's rage is not limited to the political spectrum, and even his family cannot be spared the brute force of his anger.

AP Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist apologized Friday for meeting with Colombian officials pushing a free trade agreement that the presidential candidate opposes. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the strategist, Mark Penn, met Monday with Colombia's ambassador to the United States. Clinton advisers said Penn's meetings were not connected to the campaign, but part of his job as chief executive of the lobbying and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller Worldwide. But a Clinton adviser said the candidate was not happy to learn about the meeting, and Penn issued a statement expressing regrets. "The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it," Penn said in a written statement. "The senator's well-known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed."

POLITICO Howell Raines said tonight that Bill Clinton has engaged in a subtle race-baiting campaign against Barack Obama. "He has sought to, in a low key way, remind people, 'Hey, this guy is black,'" Raines said of Clinton during a panel discussion at a journalism awards banquet sponsored by The Week magazine. As editorial page editor of the New York Times in the 90s, Raines frequently penned scathing attacks on the former president. . . "Absolute fatigue with Bill Clinton is [Hillary's] biggest liability right now," he declared.

MUZZLE WATCH Ynet reports: as part of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s efforts to bring over prominent US writers, US-based group Solomon Project is providing prominent left wing bloggers and progressive leaders like Tom Matzzie (formerly of MoveOn) and Daily Kos editor David Waldman all-expenses paid trips to Israel.

BOSTON GLOBE - [Vermont] Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed the Legislature's latest effort to limit the influence of big money in politics, as well as an instant-runoff voting bill. Douglas said his veto of the campaign finance bill was mainly due to his opposition to a provision limiting the amounts political parties can donate to campaigns. The legislation set a limit of $30,000 per election cycle on party contributions to gubernatorial candidates, lower limits for lesser offices.

ACCORDING TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL a 1995 Chicago Tribune article reported that Obama had "bluntly noted" that if he were white, "he would simply be one of nine freshman senators almost certainly without a multi-million-dollar book deal and a shred of celebrity. Nor would he have been elected at all." Obama added: "I was not a child of the civil rights movement. I was a beneficiary of the civil rights movement.". . . Guess they better fire that guy from the Clinton campaign for saying such outrageous things about her opponent.





BALLOT ACCESS The Illinois Green Party will have candidates for the U.S. House in 14 of the 19 districts this year. Some were nominated in the party’s primary in February, and others were nominated by party meetings. There are normally few minor party and independent candidates for the U.S. House in Illinois. Illinois requires petitions for independent candidates, and for the nominees of unqualified parties, equal to 5% of the last vote cast. Comparing the states on how minor and new parties get on the ballot for U.S. House, Illinois has the second most difficult law in the U.S., after Georgia. For independents, The Green slate of 14 U.S. House candidates is the largest number any party (other than the Democratic and Republican Parties) has run in Illinois since 1924. In 1924, when Illinois had 25 districts plus two at-large U.S. House members, there were 24 Socialist candidates.

THE ILLINOIS GREEN PARTY also expects to have some 60 candidates for offices across the state.


WIRED - So, what do you do with the manager of the presidential helicopter program, which has been plagued by an out-of-control budget and ever-changing design? Why, you promote him, of course navy capt. Donald e. Gaddis has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Gaddis is currently serving as the program manager for presidential helicopters, program executive office for aviation, Patuxent River, Md.


DAILY GREEN Experts are saying global warming may cause failed barley crops - one of the main ingredients in beer. Jim Salinger, a climate scientist, is quoted in the Daily Star: "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up." He warned that the whole world's beer supply was at risk, and that it could hit within 30 years. . . Mark Hastings from British Beer and Pub Association said land that was used for barley is being given over to biofuels pushing barley prices up. He said: "It’s already happening and will get worse."



RULES OF THUMB If you think something is making you feel better, it probably is.


At April 9, 2008 8:50 PM, Anonymous robbie said...

Oh my god. Start threatening the world's beer supply and there will be a revolution.

At April 10, 2008 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re airport screening: who is going to watch the watchers who watch the screeners?


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