Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Re-Running With Hillary

During my period of inattention, voters in the near primary states have been paying more attention. And, while Hillary still leads on national polls -- in places where serious attention is finally being paid, She Who Must Be Nominated is having a bit of a stumble.

One reason for this, I humbly posit, is not Hillary trying to beat up on a 5-year old Obama, or planting interrogators, or any of the other stuff and nonsense. But a real reason for her slide may have something to do with her being insufficiently the anti-Bush. A topic we suggested back in March, when NO one was paying attention, and which we respectfully serve up again below the fold.

From March 19, 2007: Some thoughts which have been rattling around in my aged head for several weeks and probably not ready for prime time . . . .

If History is any indication, 2008 should be a banner year for the Democrats on the National level. Granting that History may be as irrelevant to the outcome of Presidential elections as to Baseball's All-Star game, the same History which bodes well for the Democrats might have an asterisk named Hillary.

When public opinion of a sitting President falls to the miserable failure level, one often sees a switch of the political Party in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. Some examples include when FDR (D) wasted Hoover (R), in the early 30s; twenty years later when Ike (R) spanked Stevenson following Truman's second term (when, as the Dubya gang likes to point out, Truman's job-approval were Bushian low-20s); in the 70s it happened twice, first when Carter (D) took over from Ford/Nixon and then four years later, when Reagan sent Carter to early retirement.

But, looking at the men who occupied the White House on Election Day and the men who replaced them on Inauguration Day suggests that the electorate might have been looking for more than a change of Party.

By '32, Hoover was seen as weak-minded and incompetent, FDR as strong, capable, dependable. Truman was perceived as stubborn and irascible, hard to get along with -- taking over the steel mills, recalling MacArthur. Ike, well, EVERYone Liked Ike. Carter was the nuclear-engineer-smart, calm, trustworthy gentleman from the South, taking over from the decidedly untrustworthy, ungentlemanly, Nixon regime, with his unelected Veep, Ford, viewed as less than smart and perhaps a little untrustworthy himself. And, finally, the in-control, clear-eyed Reagan taking over for a Carter Administration adept at fumbling domestic policy and international relations.

These caricatures of the day suggest that, in response to what is largely perceived as a "failure presidency", the voters may have been looking as much for someone perceived as offering an opposite set of characteristics, as for an opposite party.

There need be little breath spent on arguing that the Bush Administration is widely-perceived as a decidedly failed Presidency. While the ultimate historical judgment might, as it did with Truman, change given time and distance (yeah, right), today Bush struggles to avoid setting new lows in approval and performance.

So, looking to 2008, what are the popular-perceptions about why Bush is such a miserable failure?

Seems too easy, but a list of some of the problems that most would probably say contribute to the failure of this Administration would have to include the Iraq Invasion, Bush's seemingly endless ability to create divisions and generate impassioned detractors, and his, if not dishonesty, then at least the lack of candor, or political posturing, informing all he does or says.

Recognizing that the deck becomes stacked by which elements one lists, but the Hillary Problem, and the problem WITH Hillary, is that she might not be stacking up very well on the electorate's unconscious lists of the "problems with George" -- she might not offer the great unwashed enough of a change in character to lead to a change in Party in the White House. She was a supporter of the war then, and is insufficiently repentant. Is she divisive? If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention. Is she perceived to lack candor, as being political and calculating? Did you see her in Selma? Does she root for the Mets or the Yankees?

Just looking at it this way, if it is even close to something real, doesn't it help explain Obama's popularity? Hillary may not be enough the un-Bush to give the Democrats what History suggests may be theirs in 2008 as long as they don't screw it up.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stumble Out

Some recent links from my Stumble folder for your amusement and distraction, after the break.

News N Shit .com / News the Magazine: Hybrid Car Hackers Get 230 mpg - The supreme leader of all campaign sites!
15 Amazing little known body tricks -
Poke your eyes out, break bricks, stop your pulse and more!
Death and Taxes 2008 Poster - $24.95 : ..., The Entire Federal Government... in 6 Square Feet
... Death and Taxes 2008 Poster - “Death and Taxes” is a representational poster of the federal discretionary budget; the amount of money that is spent at the discretion of your elected representatives in Congress. Basically, your federal income taxes. The data is from the President's budget request for 2008. It will be debated, amended, and approved
YouTube - Big Brother is watching you!!
Your email and conversation is monitored.
EFF: Class-Action Lawsuit Against AT&T

Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit group working to protect your digital rights.
Mariah Power - Wind & Siting
Mariah Power Wind Power generators for home or business
Santa Billboard Glasgow
Activist silenced for fear of surveillance --
Jennifer Flynn is not a rabble-rouser. She's not an
aspiring suicide bomber. She doesn't advocate the overthrow of the government. Instead, she pushes for funding and better treatment for people with HIV and AIDS.
US Newspapers - US Newspaper List
Links to newspapers and TV stations in the United States. Looking for a newspaper? Start here!
NOVA | The Elegant Universe | Watch the Program | PBS

Following the broadcast of the NOVA mini-series The Elegant Universe, watch all three episodes here, divided into chapters, available in the QuickTime or RealPlayer plug-ins.
news n shit .com - big money chart
Very Short List / Great discoveries + Short, sweet e-mail + 5 Days a Week
Very Short List is the very short, very free daily e-mail that uncovers excellent, under-hyped things to see, read, and hear five days a week.
Video: The Best Compilation of Bush Administration Lies About Iraq I’ve Ever Seen - YouMob
For Anyone Still Confused About Global Politics // Skilluminati Research
Global Dimming
San Francisco After 1906 Earthquake

FWWeekly: Feature: Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The universe as a hologram
The Universe as a hologram - Does Objective Reality Exist, or is the Universe a Phantasm?
MotherEarthSearch - Saving Energy & the Earth One Search at a Time
Must Watch -

The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton Pennsylvania is a HOAX
Google Maps + Google Video + Mashup - Claude Lelouch's Rendezvous
EVO: eco-friendly products, services, and information
EVO - your marketplace for natural, clean & green products. Make greener choices every day.
Death Trivia
Strange, gross, incredible, creepy, weird and hilarious things about death - photos, trivia and even a quiz to see if you'll go postal!
PCRM >> Good Medicine Magazine >> Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill >> Autumn 2007

Dead City Library - The Corridor
Victims Of Government Violence
Cost of Iraq War
Confessions of a College Callgirl
Married In Ohio
Greta Christina's Blog: Atheists and Anger

Sex, atheism, politics, dreams, and whatever. Thinking out loud since 2005.
YouTube - Plato - The Cave
Plato among the Greeks was the first who conceived a method of knowledge, although neither of them always distinguished the bare outline or form from the sub...
Education and Learning Discussion // View topic - John Taylor Gatto's 1990 Speach
The Greatest Posturing of All Time | Featured Articles | The Attorney Store
After over 3 years of telling the world that it did nothing wrong and that it will defend itself case-by-case - every case - ''over whatever period of years'' it will take, Merck did a 180 degree turn when it announced Friday, November 9, 2007, that it had settled the litigation only after a dozen or so jury trials.
Ron Paul doesn't deserve your support - EMPTV

Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman from Texas, is an unconventional contender in...
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche's Complete Writings Online, including his letters from 1865-1889.
philosophy pages
Work : Essays // George Orwell //
This site is dedicated to the life and work of the British author George Orwell who achieved prominence in the late 1940's as the author of two brilliant satires attacking totalitarianism.
Discussion:Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian - wikiHow 05/17/07 - But Who Was Right—Rudy or Ron?

American Journalism Review
NASA World Wind
YouTube - Search for meaning
Conference in Toronto with students for search for meaning. | War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
Your Eyes Don’t Lie - Reading Thoughts By Eye Movements | Mind Control Techniques, Covert Hypnosis, and Persuasion
The eyes have this habit of positioning themselves according to the thoughts that are in your head, and other people can often understand what you are thinking
Court Decisions (by Chapter)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Unsubscribe Me

This is a portion of a film created by Amnesty International for their Unsubscribe Me campaign. It shows a performance artist actually subjected to the "interrogation" techniques which Amnesty says are authorized in the CIA handbook. In this scene, the artist playing the prisoner has been placed in authorized "stress positions" for six hours.

Amnesty is asking people around the world to sign a petition opposing the abuse of human rights in the name of the war on terror. For more information, check out the Amnesty Unsubscribe website. If you are ready to sign the petition, you can Unsubscribe Here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ron Paul, Representing the Lunatic Fringe

Ron Paul has become the latest darling of the pajama media and generated what appears to be a true grassroots following. Accounting for this are some of his atypical-for-a-Republican positions on front-line issues. The popularity of his opposition to the war policies of the Despicable Cretin, his activist support for personal privacy (including opposition to the Patriot Act and the national ID card), his supposedly "principled" defense of Constitutional limits, and his in-your-face attacks on the intellectual inconsistency of his fellow Republican candidates, have given him the 2008 "straight-talk" mantle.

But Ron Paul's attractiveness is only skin-deep. Unfortunately, for a significant portion of voters, skin-deep is as far as they go. A closer look at some of his other positions, especially on social issues, reveals a different and, frankly, disturbing picture of the candidate.

Ron Paul not only opposes the right to choose, but he opposes any federal support for family planning, including counseling, sex education, and contraceptive advice or support.

And, of course, Paul wants Roe v Wade overturned. While Paul likes to promote himself as a defender of personal privacy and liberty, he ignores the privacy and liberty issues at the heart of the abortion issue and the Roe v. Wade decision -- his support for personal liberty and privacy only extends to liberty and privacy invoked in favor of those portions of the christian mythology he has adopted. In other words -- In Ron Paul's America, your personal privacy and liberty choices are protectible to the extent that they happen to coincide with Paul's personal choices.

As with a women's right to control her own body, Paul's concept of personal liberty also requires that your civil liberties stop at his personal gag factor. Ron Paul opposes equal rights for gays. And, of course, if Ron Paul is personally opposed to queers getting married, his so-called "principled" defense of the Constitution becomes irrelevant. Thus, despite his precious Constitution clearly requiring all States to honor give "full faith and credit" to the laws of their sister States, Paul favors abandoning that provision when he and his personal mythology doesn't like what they have done.

The full faith and credit clause is what allows you to drive in New Jersey with your Pennsylvania license; it is what permits you to live as husband and wife in New York, although you got married in Florida; it is what allows you to collect a judgment against a company in Iowa issued by a Delaware court. But that same clause, Paul insists, can't be used to "force" bigots like him to recognize gay marriages because, well, because he doesn't want to. Paul supports the Defense of Marriage Act and wants to strip the federal courts of their power to apply the federal Constitution to state laws on such matters. Indeed, Paul wants to deny the federal courts the power to decide all First Amendment controversies.

Paul opposes stem-cell research because, he says, that taxpayers shouldn't have to fund projects that they find "ethically abhorrent". I haven't found "ethically abhorrent" in my copy of the Constitution. But, if that were the test, well, then, I find faith-based government programs "ethically abhorrent", I find prayer "ethically abhorrent", as well as tax-relief for churches. I know, I am in the minority. But, so are the people that find stem-cell research "ethically abhorrent". Paul's argument is just cover for his desire to impose his personal set of values, his christian mythology, on the rest of us.

Paul wants to drill for oil in ANWR and everywhere else he can. His excuse -- to reduce our dependence on Middle-Eastern oil. But, that important "principle" stops at the economic interests of corporate America, as Paul opposes strict fuel economy standards.

Ron Paul wants a christian nation, and he is willing to lie about the Constitution to convince you. Among the false statements in his little tome on christianity is that the United States Constitution is "replete with references to God". Umm, no it isn't. In fact, the word "god" appears no where in the text. Either Ron Paul doesn't know that -- which puts the lie to his pretense of advocacy for the Constitution -- or he does -- which puts the lie to him. Either way . . . .

But what would you expect from someone who says that "a separation of church and state has no historical or constitutional basis", or a guy who wants to teach creationism in public schools?

Ron Paul comes from the lunatic fringe of American society. When he speaks of his "principles", he means his dogma. When he advocates for freedom and personal liberty -- he means just as long as it is consistent with his brand of christian mythology.

Paul also has a questionable history on race issues (and much has been made of the level of support which he enjoys from the white supremacy crowd). In 1996, the Houston Chronicle questioned him and his staff about comments Paul made in his newsletters in 1988 and 1992. At the time, neither Paul nor his staff disowned the comments. Instead, according to the article, Paul tried to explain some of them away, "saying his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of 'current events and statistical reports of the time.'"

Here, according to the Chronicle, are some of Paul's written statements based on those "current events and statistical reports":

“[O]nly about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions"

"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

"If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

[W]e are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

And they called Mike Gravel loony?

Fortunately, ideologues like this guy don't go away and he'll be around to siphon scarce Republican money, likely through the convention. Hopefully, he'll then run third-party and continue to help the Democrats.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lessons From The Past

With nothing better to do, I spent some time yesterday re-reading the convention acceptance speeches of some Presidential nominees. I'll match the snippets to the candidates below the fold . . . .

Candidate One:

"To Americans of every party I pledge that on Jan. 20 next year our government will again have a cabinet of the ablest men and women to be found in America. The members of that Cabinet will expect and will receive full delegation of the powers of their office. They will be capable of administering those powers. They will each be experienced in the task to be done and young enough to do it. This election will bring an end to one-man government in America. . . .

"The present administration in Washington . . . is at war with Congress, and at war with itself. Squabbles between Cabinet members, feuds between rival bureaucrats and bitterness between the President and his own party members, in and out of Congress, have become the order of the day. In ... vital matters ..., we have become familiar with the spectacle of wrangling, bungling and confusion.

"Does anyone suggest that the present national administration is giving either efficient or competent government? We have not heard that claim made, even by its most fanatical supporters. No, all they tell us is that in its young days it did some good things. That we freely grant. But now it has grown old in office. It has become tired and quarrelsome."

Candidate Two:

"Now, we Americans understand freedom. We have earned it, we have lived for it, and we have died for it. This Nation and its people are freedom's model in a searching world. We can be freedom's missionaries in a doubting world. But, ladies and gentlemen, first we must renew freedom's mission in our own hearts and in our own homes.

"[T]he administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that faith. It has talked and talked and talked and talked the words of freedom. Now, failures . . . . haunt the houses of our once great alliances and undermine the greatest bulwark ever erected by free nations - the NATO community. Failures proclaim lost leadership, obscure purpose, weakening wills, and the risk of inciting our sworn enemies to new aggressions and to new excesses. Because of this administration we are tonight a world divided - we are a Nation becalmed. We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. We are plodding at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse....

"Rather than moral leadership, [we] have been given bread and circuses, spectacles, and, yes, they have even been given scandals. Tonight there is . . . corruption in our highest offices, aimlessness among our youth, anxiety among our elders and there is a virtual despair among the many who look beyond material success for the inner meaning of their lives. Where examples of morality should be set, the opposite is seen. Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity.

"Now, certainly, simple honesty is not too much to demand of men in government."

Candidate Three:

"America cries out for the unity that this Administration has destroyed. . . . America is in trouble today not because her people have failed but because her leaders have failed. And what America needs are leaders to match the greatness of her people. . . .

"When the strongest nation in the world can be tied down for four years in a war . . . with no end in sight; When the richest nation in the world can't manage its own economy; When the nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of law is plagued by unprecedented lawlessness; . . .

"And when the President of the United States cannot travel abroad or to any major city at home without fear of a hostile demonstration -- then it's time for new leadership for the United States of America."

As you might have surmised, they are all Republicans.

Candidate One: Thomas Dewey, railing against Roosevelt and his three terms in office, at the Republican Convention in Chicago, on June 28, 1944.

Candidate Two: Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican Convention in San Fransisco (of all places).

Candidate Three: Richard Nixon, accepting the 1968 nomination in Miami.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hillary, meet Hillary

Continuing our lazy-ass ways, here's another video.

(A bite 'o the hoagie to Media Lizzy)

How Lucky Do You Feel?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Barletta's Victory in Hazleton

Barletta essentially ran unopposed and picked up sizable percentages in an extremely low turnout. With well-over 18,000 voting-aged residents, about 2,900 bothered to stumble into the polls and vote in the Mayoral "contest".

The best report we've seen on this is in John Micek's Capital Ideas (scroll down -- it is the very last item in the column). A perfect tribute to Hazleton's "source of all truth".

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Election Day, and I am Pissed

Voters are staying away from the polls in droves.

In my little hamlet, control of the local supervisor board, the tax collector, and school board is up for grabs, not to mention the county commissioners -- you know, all the folk who set your property taxes, regulate your zoning, hire the police (or not), and basically affect your lives practically every day.

We've got about 1800 eligible voters in our 10 square. I was the fifteenth voter about ten minutes after the polls opened and my son, about ten minutes before they closed, was number 164.

Less than one out of ten eligible voters bothered to make it to the polls here. This gave about 83 people -- out of 1800 -- the power to decide the makeup of the board of supervisors for the next six years.

Hey neighbor, thanks for nothing.

Top Voter Issue for 2008

Poll: Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Plea for Humanity

Speaking of Hitler,which some would say that the Bush family is well-equipped to do, . . .

"Greed has poisoned men’s souls - has barricaded the world with hate - has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed." -- Charlie Chaplain, "The Great Dictator" (1940)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Evolution as Fact and Theory

Appropriate that today we offer a guest blogger returned from the great beyond.

There were few scientists as capable as Stephen Gould at conveying subtle, complicated ideas in clear prose accessible to the lay reader. In 1981, he took on the nascent "creationist" cabal, then boosted by the imbecile Reagan. Before shredding their pseudo science, he demolished their strawman -- that evolution is "only" a theory:
In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"—part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is "only" a theory, and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science—that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Evolutionists have been clear about this distinction between fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory—natural selection—to explain the mechanism of evolution. He wrote in The Descent of Man: "I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to show that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change. . . . Hence if I have erred in . . . having exaggerated its [natural selection's] power . . . I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations."
-- Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory (1981)

(A tip 'o the hoagie to Talk Origins Archive)

Monday, October 29, 2007

68% of Republicans

68% of Republicans APPROVE of the job President Bush is doing.

68% of Republicans DO NOT BELIEVE in evolution.

68% of Republicans are _____________________ (use your crayon).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scran'en Hacks Eyeing Pocono Record

Hey, both reliable readers of this space know that I am loathe to criticize the newspapers ham-handedly run by a certain Scran'en family of non-journalist hacks. Now, with the Murdoch deal looming, there's a little local problem on the old horizon that needs some attention.

Murdoch is quoted as saying he'd like to kill off the New York Times. After his Wall Street Journal deal closes, the betting is that Murdoch will start slicing off some of the lesser-known properties in the Dow Jones stable. That includes the Pocono Record, which, it is widely anticipated, will go up on the block.

Those hacks in Scran'en have already set their sights on the Record.
Not too long ago, they hosted a "future of the Poconos" round table of sorts, which was a thinly-disguised attempt at market research. They Scran'en folk were too clumsy to hide their real intentions (even from some of the equally obtuse political types they brought into the discussions).

So the problem, kids, the real sadness here, is the dismantling of the Pocono Record as a real newspaper. That process was begun in-house when Dow Jones began cutting financial support for the paper to the bone, then it brought in a non-journalist advertising salesman as a neophyte publisher a couple of years ago, and finally they lost one the best editors that little paper has seen late last year. Now, it appears, if the non-journalist family of incompetents in Scran'en have their way, they will buy the paper and bury all hopes of news-hungry folk in Eastern and NEPA.

Then, the good people in the Poconos region will join the hapless saps in Scran'en, Wilkes Berry, and Hazleton (where the hacks at the pretend newspaper also own the papers) and be left without a reliable, professional, or ethical newspaper.

Louis "Alleged" DeNaples is Shocked!

Immediately before opening the doors to his new slots parlor in the Poconos, Louis "Alleged" DeNaples held a press conference. In the midst of his crowing, and of taking the congratulations from his "family", he was Shocked! that a reporter would ask him about the grand jury investigation into the possibility (vehemently denied) that he is a friend of theirs.

As reported in the Pocono Record, "Alleged" DeNaples angrily cut short a press conference when a journalist had the bad taste to ask about something more newsworthy than the $20,000 an hour in after-tax gross profit that "Alleged" was about to rake in on his first day:

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave the $412 million casino permission to open after two successful dry runs over the weekend, even as its owner, Louis DeNaples, remains a focus of a grand jury investigation.

A Dauphin County grand jury has been investigating whether DeNaples misled the gaming board when he said he had no connections to organized crime.

If the board learns that it was misled by a licensee, it can revoke the license.

A press conference with DeNaples ended abruptly Monday when a reporter asked him if he has ties to organized crime.

"I'm not interested in that type of question," DeNaples said, and walked away.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

That's the Way it Works Here, Kids

Hey, thanks for checking in.

After an extended absence from the keyboard, we're hopeful that, with a little more fiber in the old diet, we'll be much more regular again.

First on the radar screen is an old story, an old story line, and just a little bit 'o irony.

For the old story, Louis "I am not a crook" DeNaples' handed out over a million bucks to Rendel and Mellow and their friends and PACs, and those purchases, err, donations, seem to have paid off. His Mount Airy Casino opens to the public on Monday and, for the time-being at least, he'll not have a grand jury probe whispering behind his back -- thanks to the peculiar brand of political justice seemingly available to every well-connected bag 'o bucks in the good old Commonwealth.

No sooner had the intrepid gambling board given Denaples the green light, notwithstanding his felony fraud conviction and "oft-denied" mob-connections, two independent probes were launched. The federal probe cost the job of a US Attorney who's office was involved into the probe of DeNaples' mob-ties, despite the fact the the US Attorney had given a secret letter of recommendation attesting to his old pal Louis' integrity.

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Supreme Court "Justice", Ron Castille, secretly granted DeNaples' request that the grand jury be put on ice. Predictably, the secret got out and, omigosh, it was a snafu, never meant it to be a secret . . . yeah, well.

And here's the old story line . . . . The Denaples petition is an unusual one. Under the rules of the Pa Supreme Court, it is referred to a single "Justice" for decision. The "Justice" responsible for receiving those petitions rotates periodically. The DeNaples petition got to Castille's desk just as he rotated into the assignment.

Coincidence? Well, kids, this is Pennsylvania, remember? This story can't be just one slight, ru n of the mill coincidence; nope, here it has got to be a stunning, credulity-stretching, mudda of a coincidence.

The DeNaples petition was drafted and signed by his lawyer, Richard Sprague. And here comes your mudda of a coincidence -- turns out that Dick Sprague's law school roommate was (alleged) "Justice" Ron Castille. (Seems that the only one in the state who noticed that little bit of coincidence was John Baer. Thankfully, there still are a few good journalists around the state.)

Welcome to Pennsylvania.

Oh, the irony I promised?

Guess who got an invite the other day to the Mount Airy private run-through opening tonight?

I was as shocked as anyone. I've never used a slot machine before, but knowing that it is all going to charity and none to Louis "alleged" DeNaples, well, that's just sweet coincidence.


A tip 'o the hoagie to John Micek for the lead on this one:

"This is Pennsylvania. Things of this nature don't happen in Pennsylvania except because of deals and corruption . . . . This is like putting out a sign to legitimate business people at the borders of Pennsylvania saying better pay up before you come to do business in pennsylvania. That's not the kind of reputation we need." -- PA State Senator --Jeff Piccola(10/21/07) on how Louis “Alleged” DeNaples got his slots parlor.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

God is Great

and who are we to question -- even if it amounts to pedophilia and infanticide in His service.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the meantime . . . .

I shall be getting back to work on a regular basis. But, in the meantime, improve your vocabulary (or show off to co-workers) and simultaneously do some good here:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Apologies . . . . .

For being AWOL, but I've been crushed with real-life work lately and trying to clear the decks to jaunt off to wine country this weekend. I'll be back on about October 10 . . . . .

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Public Hearings on Expansion of PA Civil Rights Bill

The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee has set two public hearings on HB1400.

That bill extends the right to freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

The following public hearings are set on this important bill:

Date: Thursday, October 4
Time: Noon
Location: Cathedral of Learning (on the University of Pittsburgh campus)
Room CL 2017
5th Ave & Bigelow

Date: Friday, October 5, 2007
Time: 1 pm
Location: Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library
160 East Front St.

You can use this link to get the email addresses of your State Representative. HB 1400 has decent support, but it would be helpful for you to contact your representative and urge them to support the bill.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ding Dome Gossip

Faithful drinkers of this swill will recall that earlier this year we talked about hearing about talks about settlement talks in the Judicial ethics complaint against Luzerne County's only female jurist, Ann Lokuta.

We had heard from more than one source that Judge Lokuta was offered the option of retiring -- with full benes in place -- and that the Judge was seriously considering the offer. That story was shot down by the Judge's then-new attorneys. Now comes confirmation of the report, of a sort. The pretend newspaper in Scran'en last week "reported" confirmation that a deal was offered to Lokuta late last year, but that the Judge didn't grab it.

Yep, just like a broken clock . . . . .

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dance Monkey, Dance

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wannabe Journalist on Pretend Paper Ignores Ethics AND Inquiry

It was over a week ago that we ran a piece on how that piece of crap newspaper in Scran'en was ignoring the DeNaples stories.

In one of the pretend newspaper's articles, the paper mentioned a defamation award against the Citizen's Voice "and its parent company", which is that Scran'en paper.

We noted that, in keeping with the parent company's apparent policy of deception, the article failed to advise the readers of the Scran'en rag that they were reading the "parent company".

Being an inquiring sort, we penned a quick note to the reporter, so-called, and asked why he chose not to tell the readers that the CV parent was none other than the Scran'en Times. Dave Janoski's response after the jump.

Janoski's revealing reply, in full:

" "

Repugs, Week by Week

Senate 2008 Guru recaps, week by week, the 2007 exploits of them wacky Republicans.

MoJo: Jesus, Hillary

For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill. Is she triangulating—or living her faith? -- "Hillary's Prayer: Hillary Clinton's Religion and Politics", Mother Jones

"Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection."

The rest is here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pretend Newspaper Distracts and Misinforms Readers on DeNaples

As if on cue, today's version of the Scran'en fairy tales for adults finally includes some local reporting on the DeNaples probe.

As per usual for the hacks on that paper, the droning report contains no news. It is little more than a list of people seen going in and out of the courthouse (most of whom they don't even bother to talk to after their appearance) where the grand jury is examining the local felon's reputed ties to organized crime, alleged lies on his slots application, and purported illegal donations.

But that information is apparently too sensitive for the readers of this pretend newspaper, as the article fails to even detail what the grand jury is investigating.

But, we are accustomed to the wannabe newspaper's inability to master the most basic of journalism skills. It is what they sneak in at the very end of the piece that sums up what talentless imbeciles are running and writing for that piece of tripe.

Typically for this rag, the piece is salted with apologies for DeNaples -- not surprising since this lousy paper has already declared DeNaples clean and they aren't about to let something like a dual Federal/State investigation call their "news reporting" into question.

So, for example, they rush to point out that one of the people testifying before the grand jury won a defamation case against the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice newspaper last year over an article that suggested the witness was linked to the Federal investigation of NEPA's mob. Of course, that was an unrelated investigation, but the mention serves the purpose of watering down the current investigation. What is stunning is what these no-talent rejects from the Weekly World News elected to leave out of their reporting.

Here's what they said:

"In 2006, a Luzerne County judge awarded Mr. Joseph $3.5 million in a defamation suit against The Citizens' Voice and its parent company over stories published in the wake of the federal raids on Mr. Joseph's Mountaintop home and at least one of his businesses."

What they leave out is that the "parent company" of the Voice and the Scran'en pretend newspaper are one in the same. A real reporter would have disclosed that, but, as we have learned before, the Lynett family, which owns the papers, appears to reject journalistic ethics and seem to ensure that the hacks who work for them are either unable to tell the difference or don't care. (An early-morning inquiry to the "reporter" has not been returned.)

How REAL newspapers have covered the story:

Priest, ex-prosecutor go before grand jury, Philly Daily News, 8/30/07
Priest talks to DeNaples grand jury, Allentown Morning Call, 8/30/07
Allies show as grand jury meets, Philly Daily News, 8/30/07
Denaples' priest faces grand jury, Allentown Morning Call, 8/29/07
More connections emerge between grand jury, Pa. casino licensee, Philly Daily News, 8/29/07
5 witnesses testify in DeNaples probe, Allentown Morning Call, 8/29/07
'Independent' panel members remain unknown, Philly Daily News, 8/28/07
Several appear before grand jury over slots, Allentown Morning Call, 8/28/07
Prosecutor in DeNaples probe to resign, sources say, Allentown Morning Call, 8/23/07
DeNaples link prompts Marino to withdraw from mob probe, Allentown Morning Call, 8/21/07
Marino-DeNaples ties led prosecutor to pull out of probe, Allentown Morning Call, 8/20/07
Sources: Mount Airy owner focus of U.S., state investigation, Allentown Morning Call, 8/19/07

UPDATE: Also on the beat:

The DeNaples story blows up while the Scranton Times sleeps, Noertheast PA Media News
The Electric Connection, Truth, Lies & Peace

And a tip 'o the hoagie to GettysBlog for this golden oldie and the apt (especially considering this) Godfather quote:

"The Pope, the Holy Father himself, has this very day blessed Michael Corleone; an' you think you know better than the Pope?"
--Dominic Abbandando
(Michael's PR Advisor, son of Genco) to reporters (Godfather III).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Scran'en Times Ignores DeNaples Probes

The two or tree of you out there who regularly read this space might recall that I've mentioned the apparent lack of ethics and journalistic talent on that pretend newspaper in Scran'en. Like in Trashing the First Amendment, or in A Matter of Integrity, and here, and here, here, too, and, of course, here, among other places.

Having successfully shilled for their bosses' boy in the last Senatorial primary and election, the non-journalists at the Scran'en Times have recently been busy covering up the recurring problems of local felon Louis DeNaples and the joint Federal/State probes into whether he lied on his slots application, has ties to the mob, and illegally contributed money to Rendell and others to grease the slide for his slots application.

Real newspapers have brought us stories on the federal/state probe. Like the Philly paper which recounts grand jury appearances, and the story on the Gaming Board's refusal to identify the "audit committee" which supposedly investigated the allegations of mob ties and found them (surprise) wanting. Readers of the Morning Call were served up intrepid and original coverage of the issues ranging from the revelation of the dual-probe, to the grand jury witnesses, more on the witnesses, the (Scran'en) Federal Prosecutor's close ties with DeNaples, and the US Attorney's subsequent resignation apparently connected to the DeNaples probe.

Readers of the Scran'en paper can be forgiven for their force-fed ignorance. The boys up there at the pretend newspaper couldn't bring themselves to send a reporter out to cover the big local story. Instead, their readers got a little mention in a bland AP wire report touting that the US Attorney had vouched for DeNaples, and a brief mention of the probes in one article focusing on Billy D'Elia, the admitted mob guy who is facing trial on several charges and who is one of several sources in the DeNaples probe.

But the good folk up there in NEPA can be forgiven for thinking that DeNaples is the victim here because they know that their good and honorable journalists at the Scran'en Times have already looked into all of that and pronounced DeNaples clean as the whistle. This because the Scran'en Times served up one of the most blatant of their patented BJ pieces, this one called Denaples: Mob Links Simply Don't Add Up.

(Image Credit: DeNaples, Allentown Morning Call / August 18, 2007)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

DeNaple's US Attorney Pal to Step Down

More smoke . . . .

The Morning Call is reporting tonight that the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Thomas Marino, is resigning.

It was recently revealed that Marino was listed as a reference for convicted felon and reputed mob connected slots applicant Louis DeNaples. Marino then recused himself from a Federal probe into DeNaples' alleged illegal contributions by to Rendell, and into DeNaples purported ties to organized crime.

What is unclear from the reports is how long it took Marino to recuse himself from the investigation of his long-time friend. (But, it's gotta give you a warm and fuzzy to realize that the chief Federal law enforcement official in the Middle District has a long-standing friendship with a convicted felon who has long been reputedly associated with the largest organized crime family in his District.)

It was reported last year that, between 2000 and 2005, DeNaples and affiliates contributed over a million bucks to Rendell and Bob Mellow, among others, who were instrumental in naming folk to the gaming board that eventually awarded DeNaples his slots license. Earlier this week, citizens groups filed ethics complaints against one of those board members, whose law firm represented DeNaples and another slots applicant.

Marino was reportedly on the chopping block last year. His resignation could be in preparation for a run at Chris Carney. That'll give the voters in PA's 10th an interesting choice -- friend of convicted felon and "alleged" mob figure versus just another lying politician.


A relative just sent me a link to this article on our old neighborhood which appeared in the Times while I was away. (The Times also produced a video companion to the story.)

I scampered on those streets, played in the playgrounds, and never, ever, felt scared or threatened, not for one single solitary minute. I never saw any violence on the streets or in the playgrounds, never saw anyone pull a knife or a gun, never even heard a gunshot in the night.

Everyone around me -- the other poor Irish, the Germans, the Puerto Ricans -- were just part of the neighborhood. The grown-ups looked out for other people's kids and everyone greeted everyone else by name when they passed on the street (and the kids always said "Mr." or "Mrs."). It was more of a neighborhood than most suburban neighborhoods that I've lived in during the five decades since. It didn't need cleaning up. A hand up, maybe. Instead, they cut the guts out of it and killed the spirit of the place to make way for the Starbucks and fern bars and their wealthy patrons.

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Casino Lawyer

A couple of citizen-watchdog organizations have filed a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel, seeking an investigation of former Gaming Control Board Chairman Thomas "Tad" Decker, Stephen A. Cozen, and seven other Cozen O'Connor attorneys. They allege a slew of conflicts of interest and violations of Pennsylvania's Rules of Professional Conduct for licensed attorneys.

Cozen O'Connor represents Louis DeNaples, owner of the Mt. Airy Resort and Casino. DeNaples is the subject of Federal and State probes into potential illegal campaign contributions to Decker's college-friend (Rendell) and Denaples' alleged affiliation with William "Big Billy" D'Elia, the purported head of the Bufalino crime family in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Decker worked for Cozen O'Connor as a managing partner until Rendell made him chair of the newly formed Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in 2004. Decker left the Board earlier this month and took over the reigns at Cozen O'Connor as President/CEO. Cozen O'Connor represents SugarHouse Casino, as well as DeNaples. (The law prohibits former board members from representing applicants before the board for two years.)

The ethics complaint lists a variety of asserted conflicts of interest, including:

* During Decker's tenure, Cozen O'Connor represented SugarHouse in several matters before the Supreme Court and possibly administrative proceedings before the PGCB.
* On the same day as Decker stepped down as Chairman of the PGCB, he returned to a raise and promotion at Cozen O'Connor which continues to represent two casinos with business before the PGCB.
* Decker only recused himself from the final vote on SugarHouse, but presided over the deliberations regarding the site selection of all 12 casino licenses, including SugarHouse Casino.
* Decker neglected to recuse himself from voting and deliberating on the four other Philadelphia casino applicants, and hence he was still able to influence the outcome of the vote.
* Decker continued to direct the defense of the Gaming Control Board's licensing decisions before the state Supreme Court, despite outstanding questions regarding his continuing ties to Cozen O'Connor.
* After hiring Tad Decker, Cozen O'Connor became ineligible to represent SugarHouse and Mount Airy Lodge. By continuing to do so, Cozen O'Connor and Tad Decker are in violation of the Supreme Court's Rules of Professional Conduct for licensed attorneys.

The complainants are awaiting word on whether their complaint will be investigated. (Poisonally, I don't think they ought to hold their breaths.)

E-Voting Nightmare

Another warm and fuzzy moment brought to you by the people who stole the last election while you were watching Florida: Voting machines in Ohio permit officials to match voters to their votes.

Gore Beats the Field in Michigan

Michigan voters prefer Gore, Thompson. Meanwhile, Hillary is preparing to fight the next war.

While You Were Sleeping

Thought that Commodus and his Grey Eminence had shot the wad on no-bids? Think again. No-bid contract awards have tripled since 2000, with an increase of $60 Billion in the last year alone.

Less Income, Again

With but one exception, American income has grown each year since WW II. Commodus, and his band of cronies, criminals, and incompetents, have managed the economy with skill enough to ensure that everyone but the rich suffer. For the fifth year running, American average income has declined over the previous year. The destruction of America's economic engine is seen in some quarters as the lurking true legacy of our era's Commodus. There's a shit storm looming, more powerful than any of your umbrellas.