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|Mr_Blog's Left Turn||
A Seattle-based journal of Left-wing musings on local, national and world affairs, as well as baseball, pop culture and technology.
Posted May 29, 2008
Exclusive Video - McClellan Tells His Version of 'What Happened'
Posted May 28, 2008
Don't judge Iraq until you've been there, says McCain
Wins support of travel industry
The American travel industry today gave its support to presumptive Republican nominee for president John McCain.
The industry was buoyed Wednesday when McCain told a campaign rally that Barack Obama is unprepared to deal with Iraq.
"Senator Obama has been to Iraq once a little over two years ago," McCain told a Mommy and Me group at a Reno, Nevada, Boys and Girls Club.
"We have got to show him the facts on the ground so he can listen and learn. Can you say 'listen and learn,' boys and girls?"
"You can't pass judgment on our Iraq policy until you've been there," McCain went on to say, and then passed out cookies and juice boxes.
McCain's remarks were music to the ears of Yasser Frandle, president of the Federation of Agents for Travel and Hotels (FATAH).
"Over 70% of Americans oppose the war, but to have their opinion count for anything they're going to have to go to Iraq more than once," said Frandle. He said the result would be a travel surge, amounting to millions of Americans booking package vacations to Iraq before the November election.
Such a surge would be a real shot in the arm for a U.S. travel industry hard-pressed by rising airline ticket prices, airport delays, the falling dollar, and hotel honor bar costs rising at five times the rate of inflation. Based on expectation of a surge, FATAH's executive committee voted Wednesday afternoon to endorse McCain.
A rise in election-related travel could also be a boon for Iraq reconstruction, Frandle added, as hotels, resorts and an expansion of the Baghdad airport would be required. He urged the Bush administration to issue construction contracts at the earliest possible opportunity.
In other campaign news, another McCain campaign official has resigned amid questions about his lobbying activities. A forthcoming investigative report by Conde Nast Traveler will reveal that campaign aide Hilton Hyatt has clients in the travel and leisure industry.
May 27, 2008
Star weighs in to save Hillary from cancellation
Hillary Rodham Clinton has tapped into a grassroots network she hopes is even bigger than frontrunner Barack Obama's internet-based outreach. Clinton's new secret weapon? The legion of fans of the Star Trek science fiction franchise -- also known as Trekkers.
"We all remember what happened in 1968," Clinton told a standing room throng of supporters at TrekaMaCon 2008. The sci-fi fan gathering was held Sunday at the El Dorado Motel, Casino and Conference Center in Henderson, Nevada.
"In 1968, tens of thousands of fans organized to write letters to NBC protesting the cancellation of the original Star Trek," Clinton said.
The fan group, 'Trekkers,' is a powerful fan federation that first came into being to gain a final season for that first incarnation of the classic science fiction TV series.
She went on to urge the audience: "Now in 2008 I call on you to set course on a new mission: stop the cancellation of my presidential campaign. Make millions of calls to radio talk shows, write millions of letters to editors, post millions of videos on YouTube!"
She then brought the already boisterous crowd to a boiling point by introducing William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the series. "I'm not waiting for the convention, I've made my choice -- Bill Shatner is my running mate," Clinton said.
In brief remarks, Shatner called the Democratic Party's delegate rules highly illogical, saying that it is Hillary Clinton who has proven her overwhelming popularity. "Everyone knows Obama can't win the big star systems. Warp speed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!" Shatner declared.
The fact that Shatner is Canadian should not disqualify him from being a heartbeat away from the Presidency, says Clinton campaign official Terry McAuliffe, pointing out, "Captain Kirk is from Iowa."
McAuliffe said Clinton's strategy would be to seat Trekker delegates to the Democratic Convention -- which would be renamed "DemoCon."
The Shatner era of the Clinton campaign appears to be already locking on target. On Sunday a photo of Obama wearing a Space:1999 costume surfaced on the internet. Pro-Clinton Trekkers also dogged Obama's Memorial Day appearances in New Mexico, making their presence known by wearing prosthetic pointed ears and making the Vulcan split-fingered hand salute.
One Clinton supporter, Derek Frandle, a freshman at Eastern New Mexico University, said the New York senator is ready on day one to handle a 3 a.m. red alert. "Obama is just a cadet, his policies are just Kobayashi Maru exercises," Frandle said.
Obama responded on the Trek front today, mentioning in a speech the campaign donation he has received from Leonard Nimoy. In an intergenerational appeal, Obama also told Trekker voters to "Make it so!"
He closed by urging "all Americans -- live long and prosper."
Today Hillary Clinton is leading an away team to Puerto Rico, where a primary will be held June 1.
Posted May 21, 2008
Ann Coulter Reported Missing
Concern after Kennedy tumor brings no outrageous remarks from pundit
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter was reported missing today, more than 24 hours after she failed to make any disgusting, crude or hateful comments following news that Senator Edward M. Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant glioma, a type of brain tumor.
Friends went to check on Coulter early Wednesday at her home in Palm Beach, Florida. They went to local police when they found no one at home, the mailbox stuffed full of royalty checks and no malt liquor bottles in the recycling.
Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC program Hardball on which Coulter makes frequent appearances, said he was concerned that the quality of American political discourse might rise too high in her absence. "A Kennedy brain tumor is perfect fodder for her brand of sensationalistic smear. The sooner she's back on the air, the better for the newsfotainment networks and the 2008 election coverage," Matthews said.
The media has not quoted any hateful comments by Coulter in over 10 days.
"I knew something was wrong when she didn't make a repulsive quip about Kennedy's condition," commented Michael Savage, a conservative radio host and close friend.
"She never goes longer than 24 minutes without firing off a caustic insult, let alone 24 hours," he said.
"On Tuesday I opened my show with a Dead Kennedys song," Savage went on to say. "But that nowhere near equals the kind of vituperative, over the line attack she's capable of."
Colleagues and admirers are expressing optimism that Coulter will turn up safe. Spiro T. Frandle, author of the fan website Little Black Cocktail Dress In The Morning, said he's trying to fill the gap by thinking up things his idol might say about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor.
"Maybe something like, 'Brain tumor? At least it won't affect his politics.' But I can't hold a candle to Ann," Frandle said.
May 20, 2008
U.S. to aid new insurgent fight
Bush warns against appeasing Prince Caspian
President Bush has raised the specter of a new enemy in the global war on terror.
Speaking to Israel's national legislative body, Bush said that it would be a mistake to change U.S. war on terror policy because it could give hope to insurgents such as Prince Caspian, the so-called 'Butcher of Aslan's How.'
"Prince Caspian is leading an insurgency against King Miraz and the lawful Telmarine government," said Bush.
"Worse, his insurgent fighters possess magical and probably Satanic powers, and he desires to acquire WMD, weapons of magical destruction," he said.
"We have reports that Caspian met with Iranian intelligence in the airport in Prague. And according to British intelligence, Caspian has tried to acquire quantities of magic from Africa. What if Caspian should acquire magic from North Korea?" Bush asked.
"We cannot wait for the evidence, a smoking wand that could come in the form of a magic mushroom," warned Bush.
In an aside apparently directed at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the president went on to say that changing U.S policy "would send a message of appeasement, giving hope to the Caspians of the world."
Said Bush: "We cannot be seen to be appeasing the insurgents. Because appeasement means, you're appeasing. That you're giving, doing things to appease an, an entity that wants to be appeased. And that means being an appeaser, someone who engages in appeasement," Bush said. He pledged to do all within his power to fight the Caspian threat.
Bush issued the stern warning during last Thursday's address to the Knesset, which he called the Nesset.
To honor Bush for his steadfast support of Israel, the Knesset immediately passed an act renaming itself the Nesset.
Responding for the Obama campaign on the question of appeasement, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) on Sunday invited the President to kiss his hiney.
The Pentagon announced today it plans to send military assistance to Telmarine, in the form of "bunker-buster" boulders used in catapult weapon systems.
Posted May 19, 2008
Clinton declares Staples door prize win
Leads Obama in in-store credit
Talking like she can still win the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today claimed a convincing win of a Staples door prize.
Clinton chalked up the win for being the 1 millionth customer of the Staples office products store on N. Reserve Street in Missoula, Montana. She will receive a $100 gift certificate to TGI Fridays, her photo on a commemorative plaque in the employee break room, and $250 in-store credit.
"Barack Obama should not declare victory too soon," Clinton told the office products store's second shift workers yesterday during a campaign swing through Big Sky country.
"I lead the race if you count pledged delegates in Michigan, Florida, and non-caucus states where I have store credit," said Clinton.
"The race isn't over until all the business cards in the big glass fish bowl have been counted," she said.
Posted May 14, 2008
Clinton "will obliterate Canadian border"
Annexation to bring more primaries, delegates
Refusing to give up her quest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination and bolstered by her wide margin of victory in yesterday's West Virginia primary, Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday announced a plan to annex Canada into the United States.
The resulting United States of North America would consist of 50 states, 10 provinces, three northern territories, and most important to Clinton's struggling campaign approximately 1,500 additional Democratic Party convention delegates.
"Everyone knows Barack Obama can't win the big provinces," Clinton surrogate Howard Wolfson said on a Canadian news program. "The hard-working Great White North will put Senator Clinton over the top."
Wolfson detailed the North American strategy last night on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's The National. "Clinton will obliterate the Canadian border, reuniting sister nations that went separate ways in 1776," he told anchor Peter Mainsbridge. A schedule of Democratic primaries would quickly be organized and held during June and July, in a joint venture with Canada's Liberal Party, added Wolfson.
"Make no mistake about it, all the votes must be counted, and the votes of all North Americans will be counted," he said.
Wolfson went on to say that the reunification would be negotiated by a special State Department team. Senator Clinton will seek to have the team led by Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, said Wolfson.
"Ballmer will propose a corporate-like takeover of Canada even if it means a hostile takeover. Extremely hostile, if you get my meaning," Wolfson said.
Mainsbridge questioned how either kind of takeover could be considered feasible, since the U.S. dollar is weaker than Canada's dollar, and Clinton would need President Bush to initiate the effort.
Wolfson replied that these were minor details, and quickly ended the interview.
"Damn Penn did it to us again," he concluded, off-camera.
In related news, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean warned Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island not to move their primaries ahead of U.S. Memorial Day.
Posted May 13, 2008
Clinton won't change name to Barack Obama
May signal surrender in Democratic race
In a sign she may be about to end her run for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided not to change her name to Barack Obama.
Clinton was to file court papers this week to legally change her name to Barack Rodham Obama.
The last-ditch tactic, devised by Clinton campaign genius Mark Penn, would have relied on name confusion to get Democratic Party superdelegates to commit to her.
An anonymous source close to the Clinton campaign said the tactic was born out of desperation.
"The hope was that statistically half the remaining superdelegates would be confused enough to pledge for Obama instead of Obama, but frankly there aren't that many philosophy majors left in play. It was another idiotic Penn scheme," Ickes said.
In a related story, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain today denied he has plans to solidify support among the party faithful by changing his name to George X. Bush.
Posted May 12, 2008
Nickels Opposes Parks Levy
Ballot measure doesn't address surveillance camera needs
The Seattle City Council wants to put the expiring Pro-Parks Levy on the ballot this year for renewal, but the proposed measure has run into a surprising source of opposition -- Greg Nickels, Seattle's Green Mayor.
If voters authorize the Council's version of the levy, $140 million will be made available over the next six years to build new parks, athletic fields and fund Woodland Park Zoo.
Nickels, Seattle's Green Mayor, believes the levy as proposed has the wrong priorities. "The Council's version has funding for new projects, but nothing for surveillance of the parks we already have," Seattle's Green Mayor said yesterday.
Seattle's Green Mayor is considering proposing an alternative $120 million ballot measure that would put surveillance cameras in every city park, playground and recreation center.
"This would make our parks world-class, by providing the same level of surveillance enjoyed by many park-goers in Europe," said Nickels.
Seattle's Green Mayor went on to say the cameras could easily be connected to the World Wide Web. "Imagine a Frenchman or German logging into Seattle.gov and being able to see the beauty of our city's green spaces. Now THAT'S world-class. They shall marvel at our parks!"
"Why, just the other day I told one of my fans at the U.S. Conference of Mayors about this idea, and he marveled. I actually caught him marveling."
Nickels said the ballot title for his proposal will be Parks Are Worth Watching.
Parks Are Worth Watching is already garnering popular support among the tech-savvy. "We need more online parks and recreation opportunities, especially for the thousands of new residents who will be moving into the million-dollar downtown condos now under construction," said Breg Brickels of Sodo.
Freg Frickels of Fremont agrees, saying that watching parks online is more sustainable. "Using the elevator in a new million-dollar downtown condo will use a lot of electricity. I'd rather they stay upstairs and look at the parks on the Web," Frickels said.
But doubters like Sherman Frandle cite law enforcement concerns.
"Look at what these cameras have done to British detective shows on PBS," said Frandle, a Lake City resident. He says the quality of the plots on BBC mysteries and police procedurals has suffered since "CCTV" surveillance cameras became pervasive in Great Britain.
"In the first 'Prime Suspect,' Inspector Tennison relied on traditional detection methods -- like car tails, dragnets and interviewing witnesses," said Frandle.
"By the final series all she had to do was sit in an office and watch surveillance tapes. If you ask me, Seattle deserves a higher quality of dramatic tension in its parks," Frandle said.
May 9, 2008
Bush awards Medal of Freedom
Tornado made town's reconstruction possible, president says
President Bush made a surprise appearance Sunday in Greensburg, Kansas. Bush was on hand to help the south-central Kansas town celebrate its rebuilding in the wake of a tornado one year ago that flattened 95 percent of the town.
He also used his visit to award a presidential Medal of Freedom to a very special player in the town's rebuilding.
"The people of Greensburg should be proud to see this medal going to the one most responsible for this reconstruction--the tornado," said Bush.
"The rebuilt homes, businesses and city services you see today were possible because of that act of god. So I guess you should thank the tornado and god too," Bush told the perplexed Greensburgians.
"And don't forget my close personal friend Congressman Jerry Moran, who is up for reëlection this year. Thank the tornado, god, and Jerry Moran," he said.
Typical of the common touch he has employed to endear him to hard-working, non-bitter Americans all across the heartland, Bush wowed the crowd with his knowledge of pop culture, observing, "I was excited to learn Greensburg was named after Moe Greensburg from The Godfather."
"Thanks to the tornado, the federal government and Jerry Moran -- did I mention Jerry's up for reëlection this year? -- this Greensburg won't be sleeping with the fishes any time soon."
"Especially if Dick Cheney cuts off all the fishes' water," he said.
"This means it's the tornado, god, Jerry Moran and Dick Cheney who need to get your thank-you notes," concluded Bush.
Posted May 7, 2008
India launches anti-hunger campaign
"American cars are being parked with empty tanks"
Prime minister Pratibha Patil of India has called on his people to do their part in fighting world hunger.
Patil's announcement was in response to President Bush's alarm over the size of India's middle class, and how its rising standard of living is contributing to higher prices around the world.
"When you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food," Bush said last Friday. "Demand is high, and that causes the price to go up," the president said.
"Corn is yummy," said Bush gravely. "But demand for corn to eat competes with corn for ethanol. Again, prices go up."
"That's economics, I'm the economister," Bush said.
Patil appealed to Indians to do their part to help America.
In a nationwide TV address, Patil depicted an America in dire straits. "Too many American cars are being parked at night with empty fuel tanks," Patil said. "Warm up the tandoor and cook something other than corn. Something basic, like rice. Or something more nouvelle -- a mushroom ragout, for example."
E85 ethanol prices responded to the act of goodwill by falling 5 cents to $2.94 a gallon. Fewer American cars are expected to go to the garage hungry tonight.
McCain misspeaks on reason for war - Iran a danger to olive oil supplies
John McCain said today that he misspoke in recent campaign remarks, in which when he appeared to link the Iraq war with America's dependence on Mideast crude.
"My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East," McCain said Friday in Denver.
Today the presumptive Republican nominee to succeed President Bush clarified that he meant to refer to olive oil, not petroleum.
"Olive oil is a vital staple in the Mideast as well as the pantries of cooks the world over."
McCain said if he is elected, he would lead a coalition of haute cuisine nations in preëmptive military action against Iran. "We must prevent disruption of olive oil supplies, we cannot wait for the smoking tandoor which could come in the form of a mushroom ragout," he said.
McCain said the use of olive oil would be demonstrated for reporters traveling with the McCain campaign. Cindy McCain has prepared a generous Mideastern-style buffet with falafel, lamb kebabs, gyros and hummus, he said, so journalists should stop asking questions and head over to the hospitality tent as soon as possible.
Good news on health care
John McCain today hailed recent news that 8 million additional Americans have lost health insurance coverage during the Bush presidency.
He was responding to an announcement by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) that a total of 47 million Americans now lack coverage.
"The way to look it is that 8 million Americans are getting their health care through the free market," McCain said.
May 6, 2008
Clinton says more to gas plan than tax holiday
'Elites drive hybrids,' says Dem underdog
Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday responded to criticisms that her plan to deal with high gas prices rests solely on a summer gas tax holiday, calling the criticism a gross simplification.
Her remarks came on the eve of presidential primaries in Indiana ($4.06/gallon premium) and North Carolina ($3.97). Motorists go to the polls today.
"I never said the tax holiday was the only thing I'm going to do," Clinton told reporters.
"If you media elite types and your egghead economist friends had asked, I would have told you that I plan to bring back a time honored tradition from boomers' childhoods: S&H green stamps.
A forerunner of the patronage card, green stamps were a fixture at gas stations in the 1950s and 1960s. Customers received the stamps with every fill-up, and could redeem them for catalog merchandise such as stainless steel serrated steak knives.
"I'm trying to help Americans shop and save money on gas, and all I get is this incredible pushback from elites who drive hybrids," Clinton said.
Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama criticized the new wrinkle in his rival's plan, pointing out that more and more corn, a feed grain, is being diverted to ethanol production. "Soon no one will be able to afford to buy meat to cut with the steak knives," Obama said.
Posted May 4, 2008
Clinton wins Kentucky Derby
2008 horserace narrows
(Louisville) Hillary Rodham Clinton galloped to a narrow win over Barack Obama in Saturday's 134th Kentucky Derby. With the victory the junior senator from New York continued to stay close to rival Obama in the overall horserace for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.
With Richard Mellon Scaife at the reins, Clinton started strongly out of the gate. She set a smooth, seemingly effortless pace as she led the pack on the backstretch, and looked to be running away to an easy victory.
However, at the half mile mark she faced a challenge from Obama, who came up slightly to her left and passed. Clinton fell back into second position.
Obama gradually built a lead of five lengths. But as they reached the far turn, media favorite Jeremiah Wright emerged from the tightly bunched pack and closed in. This distracted Obama enough to give Clinton a chance.
Scaife applied a very expensive whip, and Clinton pulled even as the field turned toward the finish.
Clinton, who has had success running in mud, pulled ahead in the final furlong, crossing the line a half-length ahead of Obama, who had briefly slowed along the rail to discuss issues with infield spectators. John Edwards was third, and Bill Richardson fourth. Dennis Kucinich, riding his wife Elizabeth, did not finish.
Sadly, Mike Gravel began foaming at the mouth and had to be put down.
Celebrating after the race in the traditional Winner's Circle, Clinton was exultant. "I have won the popular vote of those who have voted -- if you count Florida and Michigan, ignore Iowa, Maine and Washington, and multiply by the square root of pi the votes cast for me in counties with names starting with the letter M," she said.
Despite the victory, Clinton still trails Obama in the overall delegate count.
Asked whether there are any circumstances under which she would consider ending her run, Clinton tossed her head and gave a spirited, braying laugh before responding, "Nay, I say. Naaaaaay!"
There are 2 comments
May 23, 2008 - 03:29
Subject: Ann Coulter Reported Missing
Well, as a cancerous tumor herself, maybe Ann is just showing solidarity. Or something.
May 23, 2008 - 07:21
Subject: Re: Ann Coulter Reported Missing
Are you suggesting she's away on a tumor rescue mission? -Ed.
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