Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank you Miss Rice


Britney is tired of being compared to influential black leaders

News Groper: These Blogs Are Not Real

July 31st, 2008

First time bloggers popped up all over the place this week. Christian Bale explained that he keeps to himself because deep down he's really Patrick Bateman, Justin Timberlake claimed to have invented the trucker hat and Rihanna finally fessed up to writing 'Umbrella' while it was raining outside. Check out these stories and more ...

Christian Bale
Justin Timberlake

I invented the trucker hat by Justin Timberlake



The News Groper Editors


Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

A refinery of the Libyan/Swiss-owned Tamoil company is pictured ...


HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest profit from operations ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares slumped 3 percent.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company said net income for the April-June period came to $2.22 a share, up from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $138.1 billion from $98.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding an after-tax charge of $290 million related to an Exxon Valdez court settlement, earnings amounted to $11.97 billion, or $2.27 per share.

Analysts on average expected Exxon Mobil to earn $2.52 a share on revenue of $144 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

The record-setting results were largely expected, given that crude prices in the second quarter were nearly double what they were a year ago.;_ylt=Al._CWNWVSYwY4dg5nXt0uas0NUE

‘Safe’ Pesticides Now First in Poisonings

By M.B. Pell and Jim Morris

Two-and-a-half-year-old Amber Nickol McKeown had head lice. Her mother, Eileen, put the child in a warm bath and massaged Osco Lice Treatment Shampoo into her scalp. Problem solved.

But when Eileen lifted Amber from the tub, she noticed her daughter's chest had turned red. She called her husband, James, upstairs, and the couple tried bathing Amber in cool water. The little girl's condition deteriorated quickly. She labored to breathe. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and her skin peeled off in clumps, according to a lawsuit filed by the family.

Amber was rushed from her home in Lester, Pennsylvania, to Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital, where the staff found burns over 60 percent of her body. She was in respiratory distress, and her heart and lungs couldn't supply her body with oxygen. Read more




Keeping Track

I note with interest today, John McCain's new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women. (See today's new ad and this from yesterday.) Presumably, a la Harold Ford 2006, this will be one of those strategies that will be a matter of deep dispute during the campaign and later treated as transparent and obvious once the campaign is concluded.

But what I'm most interested in today is the new meme the McCain campaign has been pushing for the last few weeks that Obama is presumptuous, arrogant and well ... just a bit uppity. Ron Fournier picked the ball up early in his reporting for the AP. And John King was pushing it over the weekend on CNN. Is it arrogant or above Obama's station for him to meet with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve? If I'm not mistaken he is a sitting United States senator and also the presidential candidate of the Democratic party. Such meetings are actually the norm.

Now, I note that the Post, which has generally been in McCain's camp, has a front page story today that comes about as close as they feel able to confirming that McCain campaign and McCain personally have spent most of the last week peddling what they knew was a lie about Obama's called-off trip to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. And there's also this piece in today's Times noting 'concern' among some Republicans over McCain's increasing use of personal attacks on Obama with what are often demonstrably false claims. How many demonstrable lies does the McCain campaign have to push before it colors the portrayal of his campaign?

Rep. Barney Frank Proposes HR 5843 to Eliminate Penalties for Marijuana Use

News Release Service 

Frank says that the current laws target marijuana users, place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said on Capitol Hill. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

House Resolution 5843 is sponsored by Frank and co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul R-TX), as well as six others.

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965 and 11 million since 1990. Marijuana users are arrested "every 38 seconds," according to Brian St. Pierre, the spokesman of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

NORML contends that marijuana can be used to treat a range of illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and seizures.

House Resolution (HR) 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams, which is about 3½ ounces, of cannabis without being arrested.

HR 5843 would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.

Little League Baseball - the Republican Party's new terrorist organization!

Alfredo gives us a heads-up on Republican plans. 
     The country is mired in two separate wars.

     The economy looks like it slept in the dishwasher.

     The Bush Administration has announced a budget deficit for this year of nearly $500 billion ($600 billion if you count the money to pay for the two wars).
     But to Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the most important issue facing the U.S. Government is the fact that a
Little League All-Star team somehow got permission to go to Cuba to play baseball.

What's the trouble? "This meeting was scheduled at the request of Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart," the invite said, "to discuss the very troubling granting of a Treasury/OFAC license to a little league team to travel to Cuba in August. I have included links to two newspaper articles that provide details on the issue."

The press reports were about a planned trip by an all-star team of 11- and 12-year-olds from eastern Vermont and western New Hampshire to Havana next week to play several games with Cuban counterparts. Unclear what happened at the meeting, but, as of yesterday, representatives of the 14 kids and their coaches said they had their license.

     Mark this as one more reason why the Republican are going to get beat so badly that their grandchildren will be born unelectable.
     Little League Baseball - the Republican Party's new terrorist organization!

Cheech & Chong "light up" for new comedy tour


By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two of the most famous pot smokers of the 1970s, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, unveiled plans on Wednesday for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years following their acrimonious split.

"Cheech & Chong: Light Up America ..." will hit 22 cities in the United States starting with Philadelphia on September 12 and ending in Denver, Colorado, on December 20. In between they will play Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and other places.

"This is a moment that I've been looking forward to for many, many years because we have such a legacy and history together that we couldn't escape it, even if we tried," Chong told reporters at a news conference to announce the tour.

The Story of Stuff

'I couldn't have handled success' logo

He's hot property in Hollywood. So why does singer-songwriter Randy Newman think the biggest joke is on him?

By Dorian Lynskey

Randy Newman

Nearly man ... Randy Newman

'It's very hard to get rich and famous at a young age and handle it well," says Randy Newman, sitting by his hotel window, high above the sunlit bustle of the Strand in London. "I can't think of anyone who did."

On the close-knit, overheated circuit of singer-songwriters in Los Angeles during the late 60s and early 70s, Newman was the outsider, the man who watched several of his peers - Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Young - reap millions, while his own career followed a more quixotic, cultish path. Four decades on, he thinks he got the better deal. "Some of them got through it and now they're fine," he continues, "and some of them died, and some of them are assholes, and some of them don't have money any more. But no one was the same person."

So was he ... "Saved?" he suggests. "Yeah, maybe. The numbers say that I wouldn't have handled it particularly well. Y'know, if I took pills, I would take more. Thank God I didn't like cocaine. I think I'd have been pretty bad as a person. And maybe I was anyway, but I don't think I could have handled [success]. Fortunately I wrote stuff that people didn't like." A chuckle gurgles up. "I dodged a bullet there."

Where Do You Fall on the Economic Barometer?

From the Cartoonist Group


Bickering Over Terminology Delays Real Action

by Ted Rall

There's a debate in the media about the recession. On the right are those who say that the economy has never been better. Not so fast, says the official left: we've (just) started a recession.

Phil Gramm, McCain's former economic advisor, leads the School of Sunny Optimism. "This is a mental recession," said Gramm. "We may have a recession, we haven't had one yet. We have sort of become a nation of whiners." Given his day job, you have to admire his attitude. UBS Investment Bank, which employs Gramm as its vice chairman, was recently forced to write off $38 billion in bad debts because of its exposure to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. All its profits since 2004 have been wiped out.

Economists are mildly pessimistic. In April, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke conceded that a recession was possible. Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, believes that unemployment and other data for the first quarter of 2008 marks the official start of a recession. "It is now very clear that the fat lady has sung for the economic expansion. The country has slipped into a recession," he said, articulating the mainstream view that we're about to embark on a bumpy ride.

Recession? We've been in one since 2000.

Forget the experts. They think telling the grisly truth about the state of the U.S. economy could make things even worse--and they're probably right. But Americans know the truth.

Free College for Poorest Students Puts Ivy League to Shame

Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace

By Leonard Doyle

Berea University in rural Kentucky is one of the wealthiest colleges, but it accepts the poorest applicants and gives them a free education.

Berea University in rural Kentucky is one of the wealthiest colleges in America but it only accepts the poorest applicants. The dropout rate is negligible and its students go out into the world debt-free, unlike the majority of those who emerge every year from America's universities, proudly clutching a degree but burdened by massive debts.

Berea is lucky. It has a $1bn endowment which, wisely invested, produces enough income, topped up by fundraising, to teach 1,500 students. Some of Berea's students even leave with money in their pockets.

Alex Gibson graduated in philosophy this year with $17,000 to his name. Now he is off on a year-long world study tour, funded by a generous travel grant.

Although it ranks among the wealthiest colleges in the nation because of its trust fund, Berea is not one of America's elite colleges. Those are the crown jewels of the US education system and they are far wealthier than Berea.

Harvard's endowment is worth $35bn for example; Yale's $23bn; Stanford's $17bn and Princeton's $16bn -- amounts that make them among the world's richest universities. But there is a drumbeat of criticism about whether they are doing enough for the public good to deserve their tax-free status or just hoarding money for the benefit of an intellectual elite.

Inventing a Country-Club Muslim Marxist

Joe Conason  

by Joe Conoson

Precisely on schedule, the usual assortment of right-wing operatives is preparing its expected assault on the Democratic presidential nominee. While this unwholesome phase of the election cycle is known universally as "Swift-boating" — named after the defamatory media blitz against John Kerry four years ago — the style and some of the personnel date back at least two decades. So does the winking charade of separation between the official Republican presidential campaign and the dirty business conducted on its behalf.

The only notable difference this year is that neither the money nor the message has crystallized yet behind any "independent" effort to destroy the candidacy of Barack Obama. Whether such a campaign against him can be mounted effectively remains to be seen, but it will not fail for lack of trying.

Back in 2004, the Swift Boat group's attack on Kerry commenced in earnest with the August publication of "Unfit for Command," a book purporting to prove that the Democratic nominee's decorations for courage as a Navy officer in Vietnam were undeserved and that he had fabricated his sterling military record. Those sensational charges won immense publicity for the authors and were soon augmented by a wave of national advertising, with millions in seed money provided by a group of wealthy Bush supporters based in Texas. Of course the fingerprints of Karl Rove, then the president's top political strategist, were all over that ugly episode.

This August will mark the publication of the first book-length screed against Mr. Obama, courtesy of Regnery Publishing, the house responsible for the scurrilous smearing of Kerry between hard covers. At work on the Obama tome is David Freddoso, a young writer from the stable of the National Review, whose byline has also appeared in the ultra-right-wing magazine Human Events and who was reportedly trained by Robert Novak, the conservative "prince of darkness." His straightforward title is "The Case Against Barack Obama."

Competing with Freddoso's book for talk radio promotion and cable airtime will be a similar product by Jerome Corsi, one of the authors of "Unfit for Command," who has migrated from Regnery to a Simon & Schuster imprint.

With somewhat labored cleverness, his book will be titled "The Obama Nation," and is likely to posit, among many other implausible claims, that the Illinois senator is under the influence of the defunct Communist Party USA.

Aside from such far-fetched theorizing, which excites only the hard-core fringe, what canards will the anti-Obama campaign exploit? Several themes have undergone pretesting in recent days, with mixed results.