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108 posts from September 2006

September 28, 2006

Hivemind, what's up at 5th Avenue and 16th St.?

Does anyone know what's going on at 5th Avenue and 16th St. in Manhattan this afternoon. When I came out of work there were cops and fire trucks everywhere. The whole intersection was blocked and cops were fanning out on the side streets talking to people in parked cars and on the street.

The rumor was that there was a suspicious package of some sort delivered to a building on that block. The Vidal Sasoon salon appears to have been evacuated. I know this because there were a lot of people on the street with their hair still in foils.

I wish I'd brought my camera.

Trent Lott: ‘Why Do Sunnis Kill Shiites? … They All Look The Same To Me’

Trent Lott is confused about the violence in Iraq:

“It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people,” he said. “Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli’s and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.“[CNN]

Not that it matters, according to Lott, because real people don't care about Iraq, anyway. The war is just a media thing:

“No, none of that,” Lott told reporters after the session when asked if the Iraq war was discussed. “You’re [the media] the only ones who obsess on that. We don’t and the real people out in the real world don’t for the most part.“

No word on whether Lott thinks our troops, Iraqis, and the taxpayers are "real people."

[Hat tip to Think Progress.]

Russ Feingold blasts president on torture bill

Senator Russ Feingold denounced the torture bill on the Senate floor today. His statement is available in in print and on mp3. This is how real Democrats talk:

One of the most disturbing provisions of this bill eliminates the right of habeas corpus for those detained as enemy combatants. I support an amendment by Senator Specter to strike that provision from the bill. I ask unanimous consent that my separate statement on that amendment be put in the record at the appropriate point.

Habeas corpus is a fundamental recognition that in America, the government does not have the power to detain people indefinitely and arbitrarily. And that in America, the courts must have the power to review the legality of executive detention decisions.

Habeas corpus is a longstanding vital part of our American tradition, and is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

As a group of retired judges wrote to Congress, habeas corpus “safeguards the most hallowed judicial role in our constitutional democracy – ensuring that no man is imprisoned unlawfully.”

Mr. President, this bill would fundamentally alter that historical equation. Faced with an executive branch that has detained hundreds of people without trial for years now, it would eliminate the right of habeas corpus.

You want tough on national security? Russ is tough. He just told the president of the United States that he's on the verge of destroying our constitutional democracy! The weak Democrats are the ones who are too timid to uphold the Constitution.

Macaque in repose

Lonely, originally uploaded by hermeti.

Today's FlickrFind.

Pirro may have spied on own husband as DA of Westchester

The Republican candidate for Attorney General in New York is under federal investigation for illegally spying on her husband. Jeanine Pirro was caught on tape asking former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik to bug her husband's boat:

At a hastily arranged news conference yesterday, called because of an imminent television report on the inquiry, Ms. Pirro conceded that she had her husband, Albert, followed in the summer of 2005. She said she had discussed bugging the family’s boat with Mr. Kerik, an old friend who was then running his own security business. But Ms. Pirro, who was the district attorney of Westchester County at the time, said she never went through with the plan, and she insisted that she broke no laws.

Seething with anger, and choking up as she laid bare her marital problems, Ms. Pirro said that two federal agents approached her at her home late one recent night and revealed that the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York was investigating her surveillance discussions. They had been caught on tape by Bronx authorities who were conducting a separate investigation of Mr. Kerik. [NYT]

Yes, that's the same Bernie Kerik who might have become the Director of Homeland Security if he hadn't gotten caught banging his mistresses in an apartment reserved for 9/11 first responders and doing business with the mob.

September 27, 2006

Letter Carriers for Truth

A postal worker responds to further accusations of mail crime against Senator George Allen:

I love the New Republican and can hardly wait for it to arrive in my mailbox each month. Today, somebody alerted me to their online blog. In general I don't approve of the concept, anything worth writing is worth mailing if you ask me, but they have uncovered more shocking evidence of Sen. George Allen's hateful crimes against the United States Postal System. [...]

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall stop this letter carrier from dispensing the unvarnished truth.

George Allen, I'm looking at you

, originally uploaded by rougerouge.

It's really time for George Allen to drop out of the Virginia senate race.

Pillars of the community are accusing him of using unprintable racial slurs in the 1970s, and he keeps denying it.

Now, his former teammate says that Allen put a deer's head in a black family's mailbox:

Sabato's assertion came on the heels of accusations by Dr. Ken Shelton, a radiologist who was a tight end and wide receiver for the University of Virginia in the early 1970s when Allen was quarterback. He said Allen not only used the n-word frequently but also once stuffed a severed deer head into a black family's mailbox.

George Allen's racism was shocking white Virigians in the seventies:

Mr. Allen, a Virginia Republican whose re-election campaign has been knocked off balance by the accusations, said Monday that he did not remember ever using the term and that “it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary.”

Mrs. Hawkins, who described herself as a rural Virginia housewife and an active Democrat, said in an interview Tuesday that she heard Mr. Allen use the slur repeatedly at a party on election night in 1976. She said Mr. Allen used the term while deprecating the intelligence of the black players on the Washington Redskins football team, which Mr. Allen’s father coached. Recalling remarks about its star running back, Larry Brown, Mrs. Hawkins said that Mr. Allen “started in effect bad-mouthing him, saying what a shiftless you-know-what” he was.

She said she remembered the conversation because she was a big fan of the team and was shocked. She said Mr. Allen’s statement on Monday was “just plain a lie.” [NYT]

Baby chipmunk

Baby Chipmunk, originally uploaded by Kikiroki.

By special request.

NIE cites Internet-based leftists as threat

Glenn Greenwald spots a very disconcerting passage in the National Intelligence Estimate:

The now-declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate (PDF) on "Trends on Global Terrorism" focuses almost exclusively on Islamic extremists. But inserted at the very end is this one overlooked, though seemingly quite important, passage that identifies other terrorist threats:

"Anti-U.S. and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint." It continues: "We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train and obtain logistical and financial support."

Prior to 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil was in Oklahoma City, where Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in pursuit of his right-wing, anti-federal-government agenda. But there is nothing in the NIE findings about right-wing or anti-government groups. Instead, there is a rather stark warning about the danger of "leftist" groups using the Internet to engage in terrorist attacks against the United States. Is there any basis at all for that warning?

Something for us lefty bloggers to think about.

NY Post mocks Olbermann death threat

Paula Froelich blames Keith Olbermann for being concerned about suspicious powders people send him in the mail: Powder Puff Spooks Keith:

Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out. A note inside warned Olbermann, who’s a frequent critic of President Bush’s policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post’s Philip Messing. An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann’s pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn’t enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn’t known. Olbermann had no comment. [NY Post]

John Amato writes:

You can be sure that it would be front page news for The Post with pictures of Limbaugh going to the hospital–including interviews with the police and anyone one else they could find to make a statement. Then there would be a tidal wave on FOX News–you know the drill.

This is a new low for the right wing media of this country. Since Keith didn’t go public with the story, obviously he was doing what the police wanted and made sure not to cause a scene. He took the correct measures to ensure his safety as anyone of us would.  It’s an outrage that in these times, a public figure would get a threatening letter and take it seriously, and then the right wing media would make a joke of it.

Come on, sending fake anthrax to journalists is just a harmless prank. You know, like stuffing a deer head into a black family's mailbox--just ask George Allen.