Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thought Process Flowchart: Rod Blagojevich


How Barack Obama is giving Tickle Me Elmo a run for its money this Christmas

By Mail Foreign Service

An action figure we can believe in: This Barack Obama toy has become the unlikely Christmas hit among kids, say American retailersThis Barack Obama action figure has become the unlikely Christmas toy hit among kids, say American retailers. 

The cartoon-like toy, which stands six-inches tall, is giving the likes of the popular Tickle Me Elmo doll a run for its money.

And some New York stores report selling out of the likeness of the President-elect in the run up to Xmas.

An action figure we can believe in: This Barack Obama toy has become the unlikely Christmas hit among kids, say American retailers

Tickle Me Elmo was a runaway hit among children - until the launch of the Obama doll

"They are literally flying off the shelves," said one worker at the Scholastic Store in Manhattan's SoHo area.

"The kids see Obama, and they just want to grab him."

Store manager Denys Ramos said they have sold more than 200 of the $12.95 figurines, which features the future White House resident with oversized ears and fingers, since the beginning of the month.

Tickle Me Elmo was a runaway hit among childrenAnd it has proved significantly more popular than a doll of Obama's defeated Presidential rival, Senator John McCain.

"This holiday season Barack Obama has been our Tickle Me Elmo," Ramos told the New York Daily News. 

"We did have the John McCain figure but we had to discount it."



If Gov. Rod Blagojevich deserves impeachment, so did Pres. Bush

by MaryMacElveen

Yes, I am blistered like many concerning the corruption that surrounds the Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich as I suspect many Americans are since they despise their elected officials acting badly. Not to support the governor in any way shape or form, one would think he committed acts of treason with the wall-to-wall coverage of this corruption case.

In listening to the coverage of this "Sad and sobering" event as expressed by President-elect Barack Obama, I did hear that the Illinois state legislature may begin impeachment proceedings against him. They are allegedly doing so to wrest the power from Blagojevich so he cannot appoint someone to the senate seat recently vacated by President-elect Obama.

As the media covered this event and where impeachment was brought up, I did not hear any laughs or negative comments made of those state officials, as was done when others brought up any impeachment process directed at President Bush. Both Cynthia McKinney and Congressman Dennis Kucinich have been marginalized in calling for Bush's impeachment. I guess everyone is on board when it comes to impeaching Blagojevich instead of Bush.

As I listened to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and others express their outrage directed at this governor, you would have thought his acts of corruption caused the deaths of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi victims.

As Fitzgerald bleeped out the precise words coming from Blagojevich because it would offend a sensitive listener, one must ask: Why isn't the media showing images of our dead soldiers and innocent Iraqis? They act as if foul language coming from an elected official is an assault upon us all instead of a war of lies that cost the lives of human beings.


Flying Shoes Create a Hero In Arab World

BAGHDAD, Dec. 15 -- In hurling footwear and insults at President Bush, Muntadar al-Zaidi expressed what relatives said were his own frustrations with American policy in Iraq and made himself into an overnight celebrity in the Arab world.

After the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Zaidi was distraught over the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. He interviewed widows and orphans in his work as a journalist, once telling an editor that he hoped to meet Bush "and hit him with my shoes." Earlier this year, Zaidi was arrested during an American raid in his neighborhood and released a day later. And in March he covered a U.S. airstrike in which children were trapped under the rubble.

"This incident made him very angry against the American forces," recalled Maithan al-Zaidi, 28, his brother.

On Monday, people across the Middle East applauded Zaidi for expressing their anger at the Bush administration. In cafes and online chat rooms, people joked about the incident with glee, releasing years of frustration with U.S. policies. Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in the streets demanding his release from Iraqi custody.

Iraqi authorities have not charged Zaidi, but they have arrested him for "his aggressive actions against an official and a visitor of the Iraqi government," Yaseen Majeed, a top media adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said in a statement. Majeed called Zaidi "a disgrace to journalism" and said he would be handed over to the Iraqi justice system for punishment.

Munqeth al-Faroon, an Iraqi court official, said Zaidi could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison for insulting the nation's leader. On Sunday, at a news conference held by Maliki and Bush, Zaidi threw his shoes, one after the other, at the U.S. president, shouting, "This is a farewell kiss!" As Iraqi security guards converged on Zaidi, he yelled: "Dog! Dog!"

U.S. officials said they would leave it to the Iraqi government to prosecute Zaidi.

The shoe assault turned Bush's trip to Iraq into a public relations fiasco, overshadowing the White House's message of impending victory in a long and unpopular war. The incident served as a bookend to Bush's flamboyant 2003 arrival aboard an aircraft carrier decorated with a banner reading "Mission Accomplished," which was meant as a declaration of victory but soon became a symbol of U.S. hubris as the war continued.

Bush responded to the shoe-throwing by quipping that the shoes were "size 10" and joking to reporters, "I didn't know what the guy said, but I saw his sole."

He rejected suggestions that the incident symbolized wider Iraqi displeasure with his administration and the conduct of the war. "I don't think you can take one guy throwing shoes and say this represents a broad movement in Iraq," Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One after leaving Baghdad. "You can try to do that if you want to. I don't think it would be accurate."

But many people are doing that -- in the blogosphere, on television, in editorials. Users of the Facebook networking Web site created groups in support of Zaidi, including one called "I'm a fan of the great hero who hit Bush with his shoes in Baghdad" that had more than 9,000 members Monday night.


World condemns man for missing Bush's face

Just a few of the shoes that world leaders would like to throw at Bush

International leaders and commentators have called for the "harshest possible punishment" to be used against the man who failed to hit George W Bush in the fucking face with his shoes.

At a press conference with Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki, an Iraqi journalist was wrestled to the floor by security guards after he called Mr Bush "a dog" and threw his footwear, just missing the president.

Politicians around the world have expressed shock and awe that he missed the president's grinning face, and insisted that if they had been there, there would have smashed the bastard's nose right in.

Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain broke off from talks with union leaders to speak of his regret that Bush wasn't twatted in the chops. His Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd released a statement condemning the journalist for missing Bush's eyes and called for him to be tried at the Hague for "pissing away a perfect set up. "


Twelve days of EFF

Military Entangled in 'Extreme Missionary' Christian Reality TV Show

By Jason Leopold
The Pentagon has once again come under fire by a military watchdog organization for its involvement in the production of two cable programs, one that featured two so-called "extreme" missionaries embedded with a U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
The popular reality series, "Travel the Road," aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and featured Will Decker and Tim Scott, two so-called "extreme" missionaries who travel the globe to "preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth and encourage the church to be active in the Great Commission."
The other cable program green-lit by the Pentagon is "God's Soldier," which aired in September on the Military Channel, and was filmed at Forward Operating Base McHenry in Hawijah, Iraq. It features an Army chaplain openly promoting fundamentalist Christianity to active-duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a watchdog organization, first disclosed details about the cable programs in the group's weekly newsletter on Friday. The group plans to amend a federal lawsuit it filed against the Department of Defense earlier this year, currently in federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas to "include these despicable unconstitutional promotions of fundamentalist Christianity in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan," said MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein.

'Killing a Brown'

New Evidence of Extremists in the Military
By David Holthouse

"Sieg Heil, I will do us proud," he wrote. It was a June 3 post to AryanWear Forum 14, a neo-Nazi online forum to which "Sobibor's SS," who identified himself as a skinhead living in Plantersville, Ala., had belonged since early 2004. (Sobibor was a Nazi death camp in Poland during World War II).

About a month after he announced his enlistment, Sobibor's SS bragged in another post to Forum 14 that he'd specifically requested and been assigned to MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty, 98D.

MOS98D soldiers are in high demand right now. That's because they're specially trained in disarming Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the infamous roadside bombs that are killing and maiming so many U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Presumably, part of learning how to disarm an IED is learning how one is made.

"I have my own reasons for wanting this training but in fear of the government tracing me and me loosing [sic] my clearance I can't share them here," Sobibor's SS informed his fellow neo-Nazis.

One of his earlier posts indicated his reasons serve a darker purpose than defending America: "Once all the Jews are gone the world will start fixing itself."


George W. Bush's Nightmare Before Christmas

Bush Administration created executive pay loophole

by John Byrne

The Bush Administration inserted an eleventh-hour provision into the $750 billion bailout bill to protect executive bonuses, a single sentence that will torpedo efforts to reduce bonuses even as companies slash tens of thousands of jobs and use taxpayer money to gobble up other companies at fire-sale prices.

Pressured by constituents who worried that companies would take government aid and continue to pay their executives eye-popping bonuses, Congress inserted a provision that would penalize companies who took taxpayer money and shelled out outsized bonuses.

But at the last minute, Bush officials insisted on a one-sentence provision that stopped the measure in its tracks, according to congressional aides who spoke to the Washington Post.

The change stipulated that the sanction would only apply to firms that sold mortgage backed securities to the government at auction, which the Bush Treasury Department said would be the method they'd use to infuse troubled companies with bailout cash.

"Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts" who spoke to Post reporter Amit Paley. "In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives."


Repubs waste $50 bn. in Iraq, but stiff Detroit

Informed Comment

Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

by Juan Cole

You know how the Republicans in the Senate refused to spend $30 billion to bring the US auto industry back from the brink?

It turns out that they were prefectly happy to waste $50 billion in taxpayer money on reconstruction boondoggles in Iraq on explicity partisan grounds. A veteran Republican lobbyist, says the NYT, explicitly appealed to the then head of the Office of Management and Budget:

"To delay getting our funds would be a political disaster for the President . . . His election will hang for a large part on show of progress in Iraq and without the funding this year, progress will grind to a halt."

So "a show of progress" in Iraq was just so Bush could get reelected in 2004?



Netanyahu's grand coalition 


The "international community" is eagerly anticipating the incoming Obama administration's policy toward Israel. It is widely assumed that as soon as he comes into office, US President-elect Barack Obama will move quickly to place massive pressure on the next Israeli government to withdraw from Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the interests of advancing a "peace process" with the Palestinians and the Syrians.

Giving voice to these expectations this week was this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Martti Ahtisaari. The former Finnish prime minister used his prize ceremony to call on Obama to make contending with the Palestinian conflict with Israel his chief focus during his first year in office. This is the same Ahtisaari who recently demanded that the West recognize Hamas as a legitimate political movement.

People who have been in close contact with Obama's foreign policy transition team have privately acknowledged that the widespread belief that Obama will move swiftly to put the screws on Israel is fully justified. According to one source who has spent a great deal of time with the transition team since last month's US elections, Obama's people are "scope-locked" on Israel.

The source reports that Gen. Jim Jones, Obama's designated national security adviser, is Israel's most outspoken critic. The source, who held a two and a half hour meeting with Jones, told his associates that Jones is keen to deploy NATO forces, perhaps including US troops, to Judea and Samaria.



Mark Twain, Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter

Mark Twain, Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter by James E. Caron
University of Missouri Press
reviewed by Brian Burnes

cover artEven in 1860s Nevada Territory, newspaper readers had expectations and didn't always appreciate being trifled with.  That's something young Sam Clemens learned the hard way, and it's the principal story told in Mark Twain: Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter, by James E. Caron, an English professor at the University of Hawaii.

The book details just what mischief the young newspaper reporter was up to when, while representing the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise beginning in 1862, he decided to bend or disregard the usual rules of journalism. Unsuspecting readers making their way through long columns of solemn legislature resolutions or mining claims would come upon sudden appearances of drunken dialect, or whoppers so ridiculous that readers found themselves dared to call the author's bluff.

Some did. When Clemens left Virginia City two years later, he was fleeing possible arrest for violating an anti-dueling statute, having challenged a rival editor. Clemens had been accused of "unmanly public journalism", which he considered to be fighting words.

But what might have looked like one more failed mineral prospector leaving the Comstock Lode district was, in fact, a young man who had struck it rich in a very specific way.  He had discovered a literary alter-ego whose articles assumed the straight-faced appearance of traditional newspaper journalism yet somehow detailed highly unlikely frontier curiosities—petrified men, or bloody massacres committed by settlers holding worthless mining stocks.

Such stories were not that far removed from later tales, told by the same author, one of which involved a jumping frog.


A Fifth Grader's Plan To Take Over The World