Divided We Stand

Grand Old Party RepublicansIf you’re a regular follower of df.com you know that for some time I’ve been talking about the growing divide within the Republican Grand Old Party political organization. Specifically I’ve been talking for some time about the Conservative minority leadership within the GOP that seeks to push out all moderate Republican leadership. The Conservatives have never more so been on the move to take over the GOP and squash any differentiation in opinion that may exist among Republicans as a whole. The sad part is the Conservatives have their own party with which they could adamantly rule, but because the Conservative name is so marred in its own inability to be successful they have instead opted to focus on keeping their enrollment within the Republican party and have the Conservative party “endorse” specific Republican candidates they approve of.

In the past those endorsements came pretty carte’ blanche. In effect, whomever was the Republican candidate on the ballot was also the Conservative. The Conservative party itself has a small membership by registered affiliation (again—they’ve always pushed to have Conservatives register within the GOP so they can push up candidates on the ballot and then endorse them).

Worldwide the Conservative Party name is used by many organizations, but within the US there are really three organizations (two of which are National in nature and one that is state):

The NY Conservative Party is of particular interest and is one of the strongest ultra Conservative organizations within the US. The party was founded in 1962 by frustrated Republicans who at the time felt the mainstream GOP had become too liberal. The party does support National candidates, but can only put their candidates on the NY State (or lower) ballots. Again, this makes it mandatory for National Conservative candidates to come out of the much larger US wide ballot pool by supporting the GOP candidates. As a result there has been both a sense of frustration and need for cooperation between the more conservative GOP party members and the NY Conservative party members who both hope to get extreme right wing candidates on the GOP ballot. New York states itself has a particularly weird rule that allows a candidate to run under multiple party lines. The result is a candidate can appear on the Conservative and Republican party voting rows with votes in either row counting towards their victory as one consolidated vote in the final tally of votes. This rule is known as accumulative voting and is reason the NY Conservative party could even conceptually exist as their membership is so small compared to the larger National Conservative parties aforementioned.

The benefit for the GOP candidate is if you can get yourself in with the NY Conservative party you’re guaranteed a voting block of decent percentage of core voters who will blindly vote for you in one block. Even more so, the ability to dump your name into the Conservative row gives you almost a blind seal of approval amongst the larger conservative voter base as a whole allowing you to pick up Republicans, Independence, Libertarian, Right to Life, and other right wing voters who vote on affiliation alone. The two add up to leveling the playing field in heavily Democratic New York State whose metro-NY City voting block almost always seems to lean left and help give the GOP candidate a chance to get pull from the more right wing leaning greater upstate New York State area.

Rush LimbaughMeanwhile the Conservative Party USA is more a Libertarian like movement. Their main focus is on stripping down the Federal government and to empower the States individually. The primary reasoning being that the Constitution of the USA does not in clear writing give the full breath of power and responsibility to the Federal Government that it undertakes today. The US Conservatives do not normally put their own home grown candidates on the ballot and instead usually leverage GOP candidates as their own. The main difference is while Libertarians endorse a smaller central government they do so with more liberal values in mind such as open borders, laissez-faire Capitalism, and lose drug control. In contrast, the US Conservatives still want to make sure that gay marriage, loss of gun rights, and liberalism as a whole are not the end result of electing a given candidate. In such, they become counter opposites of the other in some ways as Republican are to Democrats. The US Conservative Party’s ultimate goal is to break from the GOP eventually and to establish a “back to basics” party who idolizes itself as the true successors to the US’s founding fathers. Membership wise though they are even smaller than the NYS Conservatives right now.

The arguably largest group of right wing voters are the American Conservative Party. Again, most of their candidates are from the GOP party line and much like the NYS Conservatives have in recent months come to be the seal of Conservative approval. Most of their “members” are not actual party members. Members actually usually belong to another major party legally as far as voter registration goes. Member affiliation is therefore not legal required and more fluid in membership than a formal party. They draw a large crowd of Conservatives, Republicans, and Libertarians who endorse the party’s back to basics style of government. They are seen as less radical than the American Conservative party and that helps maintain their legitimacy. They also tend not to talk about splitting the GOP party (though clearly by pushing candidates on other party lines than the GOP itself that’s what could end up happening). The American Conservative Party is the youngest organization (about a year or so old) and are very loosely affiliated across the Internet and local chapters countrywide. They are not a true “party” yet as they don’t appear on any particular state ballots as a party line, but are working towards an official organization as a long term goal. Think of the group as more of a Facebook networking club for Conservatives and less of a formal party.

The Republican Party itself is who stands the most chance to suffer from these aforementioned Conservative movements. The GOP is a National Organization with state chapters in all 50 US States. As one of the two big political parties in the USA, the GOP has been around since 1854 and garners right wing leaning voters of all kinds. Arguably this diversity has been one of its strengths allowing it to survive a century of change mostly intact, but those days may be coming to an end.

With the election of George W. Bush as President of the USA in 2001, the GOP was at the height of its success. Republicans had turned back eight plus years of Democrat control and taken both the Executive branch, as well as, gaining majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives (Congressional branch). The sitting Supreme Court branch was every day leaning more right as well as its members grew older. From there though it’s been all downhill. When Bush was reelected in 2004 to President with an overwhelming majority of votes in his favor (in contrast to the near 50/50 voting he got against Al Gore in 2001) he was quick to label the win as a “mandate by America” for Conservative politics. Within weeks of his new term Bush sought with renewed urgency to put into law a slew of Conservative items that he pushed through (with or without Congressional approval). Bush moved from his previous term’s centrist politics and focused on pushing out all of but the most Conservative members of his staff. This included losing Colin Powell as his Secretary of State. Powell had long been seen as both a key African American in the GOP and a moderate in nature who garnered support from both sides. The problem was Powell’s views were not liked on the GOP fringe and particularly this peeved off the hidden Conservatives within Bush’s staff including Dick Cheney (the Vice President of the US at the time) who long had been seen as the de facto leader of the Conservative movement in the US since 2001. Cheney encouraged Bush to move forward with the “mandate” and any number of political SNAFUs we are currently stuck with took root including two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) being escalated, a new Star Wars military program called the “Missile Shield” culling a new cold war with Russia, and continued outsourcing of jobs to South America courtesy of the NAFTA trade agreements.

By the end of Bush’s term in 2008 the GOP was under scrutiny by the American people as a whole. With the election of Barrack Obama in 2009 as President, the “mandate” was seemingly over turned. Congress shifted left again as well with a 55% Democrat majority. The Democrats saw renewed vigor thanks to a new majority of American voters signing on with the Democrats. The Democrats were in 2004 able to name 72 million registered party members to the Republicans’ 55 million party members. Even more concerning were the some 44 million Independent voters with no particular affiliation with either the Democrat or Republican parties. Obama managed to draw the vast majority (some 90%) of Independents to support the Democrats and in wake of 100 million to 55 million potential votes the GOP was toast.

FNew_York_District_23_109th_US_Congressast forward to the late 2009 elections that just took place in November and the next round of GOP “mandates”. Conservatives were growing tired with the majority of the GOP and with members such as myself in the moderate position voting for Democrats as well they called for blood in the form of “Tea Party” movement. The Tea Party movement was another loosely knit group of Conservative voters similar in nature to the US Conservative party (if not the same) calling themselves the Tea Party Patriots. Much like the US Conservative party they preached limited government, fiscal responsibility, and back to basic right wing values mandates. The Tea Party kicked off a bus tour where they would call on local Conservative and GOP members to speak against any number of things Democrat. All was well in good at this point and it looked like Ronald Reagan’s core GOP values of the 1980s were back on the rise. The problem is while the movement gained traction throughout the greater Midwest and Southern States; it had little to no effect on the majority of voters within the West and East coast. The voters on the coast were still choosing more moderate politics in wake of the extreme right wing underlying tenants preached by the Tea Party and Conservatives as a whole.

This enraged the Tea Party who somewhere late in the year decided the minority was the majority and put moderates under the scrutiny of the GOP party leadership. The witch hunt began with Rush Limbaugh (just out of drug rehab and sporting his new Slimfast waist line) calling for all moderate GOP members to quit the party immediately so Conservatives can take back politics. How splitting off 80% of the party and expelling some 40 million out of 55 million members would help the GOP is beyond any one to understand including myself. Even more confusing is as mentioned above there are already two national Conservative parties that Rush could help build into a legitimate third party (who would have some 20 million votes and be one of the largest minor political National Parties in the US). They could even pull some members from the Libertarians and Green Party believe it or not. No, that is not Rush’s way to do things. Instead he calls for Moderate Republicans to “leave the tent”. Within hours Glen Beck and Sarah Palin jump on the bandwagon calling for a new Conservative movement. They quickly call out the national and NY Conservatives, as well as, Tea Party members for support. Next thing you know Palin is on the Tea Party Express bus tour making stops to tout these views in person.

The circus escalates when Limbaugh and Palin decide the Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives in New York State’s 23 Congressional District is not Conservative enough to be on the GOP ballot. They weren’t alone. Flashback a bit first though to September 29, 2009 when NY Governor David Patterson calls for a special election in the district. The previous Representative for the District (John M. McHugh) had accepted President Obama’s offer to become the new US Secretary of the Army on 9/21/09. McHugh was a Republican and the concession was seen as centrist move by Obama. McHugh was moderate in nature and had a great record of civil service behind him. NY’s 23 District had had a Republican representative in its House seat since the 1850s. The GOP was founded in 1854 to recap—it’s therefore fair to say since there’s been a GOP there has been a GOP representative sitting in the House seat for that District. The 23rd District is in upstate New York and includes Watertown. The area is moderate to conservative in nature (some 70% Republican) and has a mostly agriculture based economy. It’s an area that epitomizes atypical upstate NY. Simple agriculture small town life. Good hard working people.

In NY special elections for US House a primary is not required by law. Instead candidates are nominated within a given party by standing county leaders of that party by popular vote. In this case the State GOP committee leaders would selected by popular vote one GOP candidate to go up against the other parties’ candidates. The Democrats and other various parties would do the same with their final picks appearing on the November 4, 2009 Election day ballot. The GOP ended up nominating State Assembly Woman Dierdre “Dede” Scozzafava. Scozzafava was a moderate GOP member and again had a very similar voting record to her predecessor McHugh. Republicans eyed here as a shoe in win. Scozzafava would also win the Independence Party candidacy as well.

NY Democrats nominated local attorney Bill Owens. Owens would also get the Working Family candidacy nod as is par normal for a liberal Democrat candidate in NY.

800px-BlackriverwatertownnyWhat was not normal was what the Conservative Party decided. The NY Conservative Party had already decided that Scozzafava was not Conservative enough to get their nod despite being on the GOP Republican ticket. No, they were upset that Scozzafava supported abortion rights and gay marriage. As such, they opted to nominate accountant Doug Hoffman. Hoffman had been one of the alternative candidates under consideration by the GOP for their candidacy who had been overlooked for Scozzafava. Hoffman was far more right wing than Scozzafava and an easy Conservative pick.

This is where things got strange. Mid-October Palin and Limbaugh start talking about this election as if it was Armageddon. They cited Scozzafava not being a true Republican for not keeping ALL values considered default for a GOP nod. In Limbaugh and Palin’s mind (and words) no Republican candidate should ever support abortion or gay marriage even remotely. Palin and Limbaugh said you either towed the entire party line or you shouldn’t even be considered for the nomination. They accused the NY GOP of completely messing up with Scozzafava’s pick and short of claiming heresy said NY chapter was not doing the GOP justice. Within days the Tea Party Express was in Watertown, NY touting the need to support the Conservative candidate Hoffman.

When the mainstream Republicans continued to support Scozzafava (including GOP National Party Chairman Michael Steele, US House Minority GOP Leader John Boehner,  and GOP leader alumni Newt Gingrich) this only enraged the far right Republicans/Conservatives. That’s when aforementioned the “leave the tent” speech came out by Limbaugh. By October 31, 2009 Scozzafava had quit the race after being faced with Conservative mud slinging and decided it was not worth running under such scrutiny. Her fear was even if she did win (and she probably would have) the Conservatives would hound her at every turn. Scozzafava felt the GOP extreme right had made her a pariah for Conservatives and with that huge amount of pressure she gracefully bowed out of the election race citing “personal reasons”. It seemed like the Conservatives had won after driving the moderate GOP candidate out of town. Their Conservative minority was indeed able to be majority if it just made enough trouble for the GOP as a whole. Who needs majority votes anyhow? That’s un-American! Fear tactics is where it’s at!

Just before election night something strange happened though in the form of a Republican backlash against the Conservatives. It started when Scozzafava quickly announced her support for Democrat Owens and noted her supporters should not vote for the Conservative Hoffman. It was literally a last minute announcement on Election Day, but the effects were resounding. 62,662 voters picked Owens. Votes for Owen crushed Hoffman who only received 57,572 votes. Scozzafava (though officially not a candidate, but still on the ballot) garnered 7,041 protest votes to boot.  Yes, voters for the first time since the Republican party existed voted in a Democrat in NYS’s 23 District. Worse yet, in the wake of the all this talk about Conservatives only being allowed in the GOP, the Democrats decided the win wasn’t enough. They fired the final political shot at the Conservatives.

Democratic leaders immediately stepped up the fight another notch with VP Joe Biden saying, “They may not have any room for moderate views in the Republican Party upstate anymore, but let me assure you: We have room.” Yes, Democrats were putting out an open call to accept Mr. Limbaugh’s “get out of the tent offer” and to take in en masse any moderate Republican who wanted a warm welcome, as well as, the ability to voice their opinion to the party even if it wasn’t 100% in line with the Democratic party banner. Unexpectedly, his words would make the already bigger Democrat tent potentially even bigger and spread the very thing Limbaugh and Palin sought to squash: Liberalism.

Sarah PalinThere is the irony. Through all this talk Conservatives have not fixed issues within the Republican party by pushing anyone out. It’s seemingly just the opposite. With two big Gubernatorial wins this year in Virginia and New Jersey the GOP does have a chance to take back America. What will save the GOP is not two more states with Republican Governors though. No, what will save the Republican party is voters not deterred by fringe politics and extremist views. Here’s the insight into how Republicans won Virginia and NJ: The races where won by garnering the Independent vote for GOP; not the Democratic vote for the GOP. Those same Independents (some 44 million) who a year ago elected Obama are the same voters who gave the GOP the win in both NJ and Virginia. Exit polls by multiple sources confirmed that trend in both last year and this year’s races.

It’s the only way for 55 million GOP voters to overcome 72 million Democratic votes. Yes, the GOP can win an election—but only when those candidates are able to pull in the moderate majority of America. After all, we are a political system based on majority rule and even name calling cannot change that. The key to victory for a candidate in America these last two years in a row has been the ability for that candidate to garner the centrist moderate vote whether it be Democrat, Independent, or Republican (or whatever) in flavor. If you can pull in the majority of America (who is moderate) than you can win the election. Extreme right or left wing candidates thus don’t have a chance on a National or even statewide stage. Extremists (thankfully) don’t appeal to the majority of mainstream America.

With that, Mr. Limbaugh and Mrs. Palin I will not leave the tent. I am staying. You can go if you wish. There’s many options for you, but being a Moderate Republican is very different than being a Democrat. I don’t support abortion, but I do support its legal right to exist since it’s protected by our Constitution. I do believe in smaller government, but don’t support pure uncontained Capitalism. Small government shouldn’t be weak government. I want social health care in the form of a public option and it doesn’t bother me that the rich will foot the bill for the poor who were put there by the outsourcing of American’s blue collar jobs by very CEOs who will get hit hardest by the taxes. That is only fair in my opinion. I will not leave the tent, but it appears as the tent may leave you. And yes, Reagan was a Democrat in the beginning of his career (look it up). Trickle down economics failed miserably (look it up). And his administration was mired in scandal (Iran-Contra anyone?). So please keep your Reagan GOP views—I’ll gladly keep my moderate Lincoln GOP views as well. It makes the tent all that more exciting.

And as far as history goes with Tea Party Conservatives misreading it– What do you expect from a group of politicians who cannot tell the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution? You can keep your Tea Parties—I like coffee better any how. I know the Constitution preamble verses the Declaration of Independence preamble. I don’t need to keep it in my pocket and wave flag to talk up my patriotism.

I ask again—for the fourth time. Are you listening Conservative leaders? Do you get this yet? Probably not, but at least I feel better after venting.


The Nobel To Pieces Prize

Nobel Peace PrizeYesterday we all awoke to the news that US President Barrack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Many media outlets noted this was a shock because President Obama was never considered a reasonable front runner for the prize. Further there was the fact that President Obama was still relatively new to world level politics having only been the President of the United States of America for some nine months. Still, the vast majority of people around the world understood why he was chosen and what the choice meant: There is still hope in dreaming of a better tomorrow.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Nobel Foundation. The Peace Prize is just one of several awards the foundation gives out annually to recognize world changing positive efforts in the realms of science, medicine, chemistry, economics, peace, and literature. There is no prize for math (and that really makes the number crunchers angry– no joke). The Foundation describes itself on its web site as follows:

The Nobel Foundation is a private institution established in 1900 based on the will of Alfred Nobel. The Foundation manages the assets made available through the will for the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. It represents the Nobel Institutions externally and administers informational activities and arrangements surrounding the presentation of the Nobel Prize. The Foundation also administers the Nobel Symposium Program.

Alfred Nobel was a chemist of Swedish citizenship. He was the owner and CEO of Bofors during the 1800s, which is  a rather large corporation who manufactures arms. Today Bofors is owned partially by Saab (its their missile division not the born from Jets car division we know Saab as in the US) and the US corporation BAE (heavy weapons). Nobel made a great deal of money and after his death his will established the Nobel Foundation with a large sum of money (some $250 million USD in today’s currency). Nobel was most noted as the inventor of dynamite and despite being scorned in his day as the man who “became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before” in a prematurely published obituary; he went on to fund the world’s most noted prize for those who seek to make peace in the world.

Nobel Prize winners have varied and President Obama is not the first sitting US President to get the award (that would be Teddy Roosevelt) and arguably not the most lauded (that would be Jimmy Carter who got it in 2002 well after his late 70s run as US President). There has been one given out every year since 1900 so the list of Peace Prize winners is well over a hundred making him part of a small, but yet not too small list of winners.

So why Obama? Why now when he’s only nine months into his presidency? The Nobel Committee noted “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” Further they lauded his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” It is true, President Obama has done a large amount of diplomacy in his first 200 some odd days in office. He steered Iraq away from a total meltdown and complete civil war. President Obama worked with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to coordinate efforts with US Central command boosting troop coverage where it was needed to suppress insurgent uprising in not only Iraq, but Afghanistan as well. He pushed for nuclear disarmament between the US and Russia including canceling the missile shield that Russia threatened to use as grounds to escalate its own armament. He restored talks with Iran and broke the ice opening future talks to improve relations. He reached out across party lines and garnered support on social bills including working towards a public health care bill that right now is under consideration by Congress. He signed into law numerous bills protecting human rights and improving citizens’ welfare including the Minimum Wage hike, expanding social services, and providing economic relief to America’s middle class in the form of a tax withholding amount decrease. He spearheaded the reorganization of GM and Chrysler saving the US’s industrial industry from total self destruction. He changed the view of America for many citizens of other countries where previous administrations had eroded our reputation to the point where abroad we were treated with skepticism. Ultimately this not only restored faith in Americans, but faith between the world as a whole. In short, there has not been such a well received world leader from the US in some four decades plus. Arguably that span goes back as far as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Indeed it has been a  long time.

I am a Republican by political affiliation and yet I can still both admit these successes, as well as, applaud these efforts. That is why yesterday afternoon when the GOP newsletter rolled into my email inbox my stomach rolled as well. The newsletter mocked the Peace Prize announcement and insisted President Obama as its choice was proof the award itself was nothing short of a farce. They weren’t alone though. The attacks were everywhere. This NY Times Editorial also mirrors the GOP’s official reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize announcement and sums up the major criticisms of having President Obama as the recipient.  Complete with the tag line that “Now the Prize – which once meant something important – is officially a late-night joke. And like it or not, Obama is part of the punchline.”  The aforementioned GOP newsletter was so shocking to recipients  it caused immediate push back from party members. There was so much negative feedback from party members that Michael Huckabee himself chimed in on his blog to try to quell criticism of the newsletter and restore order to the party. It’s hard though not to take any of this as simply sour grapes on the GOP’s part. Let’s face it, President Obama has a some 60% plus approval rating in the US. George W. Bush spent the last two years in the mid-thirties percentile (on a good day) and I personally think that is what is really eating the GOP. They cannot admit success for a Democrat President especially after a four year debacle of failure after  failure by Republicans to move America forward. And so this is where the Grand Old Party of Republicans is left. Wandering around trying to find out how to tarnish movement forward by somebody in another party.

Instead of reinventing the wheel I will instead turn to the global view of British journalist Mark Mardell of the BBC:

I think it is pretty obvious. As so often, the mystery clears up if you bother to read the text, in this case the citation. The committee praises him for intentions that were key to his whole campaign. It singles out working through the United Nations, for putting the emphasis on negotiations, international diplomacy and co-operation, for creating a new climate in international politics. In other words, because he’s not President George W Bush and has steered American foreign policy, or at least its strategy if not its aims, in an opposite direction.

Not surprisingly, Republicans are furious. John Bolton, Bush’s ambassador to the UN, has just told the BBC that it is no coincidence that Jimmy Carter and Al Gore also got the prize, but, not say, Ronald Reagan. He says the committee is “preaching at America, saying ‘do you Americans get the point yet?'”.

And so I have to ask you my fellow Americans– do we get it? Do we understand what the broader world wants in a peaceful leader or do we just want to continue to lie to ourselves so it’s easier to sleep at night? The right decisions are never easy and always mocked, but in the end they are also always recognized because you can resist change for only so long. Then you realize everyone else has moved on and you’ve been left behind. It’s at that time you realize you aren’t that important any more and there are others in this world. Welcome to the Earth. Population me and you.

Peace is about change. It is about following a much harder path than that of war and violence. It’s easy to act out and destroy, but it so much harder to create. Even harder than it was for Miley to quit Twitter. The reward though is finding a way to coexist and share the world like God intended. Together as one people. It has nothing to do with politics, but has everything to do with believing we’re better than who we are as a people today. That there is a better tomorrow for you and me. One where we can all live. Because together as a team we can accomplish anything. We truly are more than the sum of our parts. I repeat– together we can accomplish anything.

So I applaud the Nobel Committee for their bold statement. I applaud President Obama for his success. And I applaud the GOP hard liners for reminding me why I voted for Obama in the last election instead of “their” candidate. Are you getting this GOP committee? I guess not. Maybe if you give up your Twitter account you too can get your life on track or at least stop posting pictures of yourselves in bikinis. It’s win-win for us all.


Classic DF – 4/9/03

April 09, 2003: [•] Check out BrokenReality’s site for a really cool piece of artwork by some chick named Cat. Good stuff. [•] I woke up this morning to pictures on my TV courtesy of CNN of the Iraqi civilian population amassing in the streets of their respective cities rioting. The crowd was not the expected riot of civilians repelling the “invaders” though, but instead cheering as thanks for US intervention. It was strange to watch all this unfold live. To watch these people place such great hope in my Nation just made me feel happy for them, but concerned. I hope that the US does help the Iraqis like we have helped the Afghanis recently. I hope these people find peace too. The war is far from over, but there is that glimmer of what could be and it’s one that I hope the world doesn’t ignore. These people want to be free and we must stand by them in their quest. [•] No longer do they want to be tortured unjustly and without reason. [•] Even France is backing UN action now. I don’t think it’s fair though that the detractors who didn’t see fit to place stock in these people in the first place should have guidance in their restructuring. No offense to France, Russia, or Germany; but I don’t think that a country who didn’t help to free the Iraqis should take credit for something they didn’t help to achieve. [•] A US F-15 fighter jet was shot down. [•] 120 people are now dead from an Ebola outbreak in the Republic of Congo. [•] An Israeli air strike has left 6 people dead in the Gaza Strip. [•] Rebels in the Ivory Coast killed 15 people. [•] 11 Afghan civilian are dead after a malfunctioning laser guided bomb missed its intended target, a rebel fighting force, and instead hit a house. [•] Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was admitted to a hospital for brain surgery in preparation for a heart operation. [•] The US House has passed a bill that will allow US Postal Stamps to stay at their current rates until 2006. [•] Obese children rate their quality of life the same as young cancer patients. I don’t know why though. I was fat as a teen and I had a hilarious time. Then again, I don’t think obesity ever stopped me from having a good time despite my various size over the years. LOL [•] An ex-police officer has been found guilty of making women he pulled over during his career strip down to their underwear. [•] California is considering adopting strict bottled water content disclosure labeling. [•] Just to validate the point that American Greetings makes a greeting card for every occasion they are now producing a line of war in Iraq cards for troops and their families. [•] Biotech is big bucks right now and several cities are fighting to become the leader in it as a result of it being so. [•] Another town for sale on eBay fails to meet the reserve. [•] Dolly the Cloned Sheep has been stuffed and put on display in a Scotland museum. [•] Speaking of clones, a clone of a near extinct wild cattle species brings hope that animals can be brought back from the verge of disappearing thanks to science. [•] Eddie Griffin takes his dysfunctional family to the big screen. [•] Beethoven’s 9th Symphony handwritten manuscript could fetch $4.6 million in an upcoming auction. I doubt I could sell the scrawled piece of paper I wrote Anything But Me on for more than a penny and a punch in the face. LOL [•] Howard Schmidt is more l337 than you’ll EVER be. He ownZ ur m0mm@… and stuff. [•] The funny part about experimental media is you don’t ever know how things will turn out, but you know that no matter the outcome you’re screwed. Living la vida Net-o. [•] The RIAA and MPAA have both cornered the lobbying market for copyright control, but now software makers are feeling left out. Well… except for Microsoft because they ownz ur m0mm@’s m0mm@. 😉 [•] The FCC is continuing its overhaul of obsolete rules that were created during TV’s infancy. [•] An anonymous backer is giving an open source advocate money to fight the system. Must be nice. [•] Here’s the age old journalism issue: When is a press release more of PR than actual news? [•] America’s most gifted athletes are about to get a major set back to their sport of choice: Smoke free bowling alleys. [•] The Village of Warwick has no grocer. Big deal! We have a clock tower and that just plain rules. 🙂 [•] The expected median gas price per gallon this summer in NY State should be about $1.56 and that’s a downright sexy price if you ask little old me. [•] I’m not a big fan of Evanescence. They are too annoyingly Glam Goth Rock for my taste, but from what I understand those crazy kids of today dig their groovy tunes. Whatever. [•] Okay, forget stadium concerts and selling CDs. Instead, you make fans pay a flat fee for one year of unlimited music downloads, chat time with the band, and a real live personal in house concert. Somehow that sounds like a lot of work and very Renaissance-era patron artist to me. Double whatever. [•] Godsmack gets on my “Nice” list by refusing to join the Summer Sanitarium tour. Not only because I loathe Metallica, but also because they are against the insane ticket price the venue is charging. [•] FYI: Who be the Kurds. [•] The Michigan Technological University is pretty peeved that the RIAA is suing one of its students. Especially since the University agreed to comply with the RIAA to avoid lawsuits against the faculty or students in prior discussions. [•] A man has been sentenced to prison for selling so-called mod chips that allow Xbox video game consoles to play pirated games. [•] Accusations are flying that China is covering up the cause of the SARS outbreak. [•] Ibuprofen and aspirin seem to moderately reduce the risk of breast cancer. [•] US bureaucrats are arriving in Iraq to start the setup of a new Iraqi government and more importantly return every day necessities such as running water to the people. Just a small observation here: Is it me or is Iraq quickly becoming slated as a very large Puerto Rico? LOL [•] Rollingstone plays 20 Questions with Rob Zombie. Fun, indeed. [•] The upcoming single from Peter Gabriel called Growing Up will be released on April 14th. The interesting factor here is that one of the songs on it will be remixed by Trent Reznor (NIN). Well, I guess it’s interesting if you like NIN. Otherwise, just move along. 😉 [•] Even Saab is making an SUV. Saab? [•] Sure minivans have been marked as 1990’s soccer mom passé, but Toyota’s new Sienna makes a commendable effort to give clout back to original economical family taxi. [•] Win an AMC Pacer! Yes, I said a Pacer. Don’t laugh. Okay, I did too. Let’s laugh together– ROFL. [•] A look at the Subaru WRX one year later. Hey, it still looks good. SCORE! Okay, that’s enough for today. 😉


Classic DF – 8/1/02

August 01, 2002: [•] Fired ex-Worldcom CFO Scott Sullivan has turned himself in. [•] The FBI has raided an apartment of an ex-military microbiologist. [•] LA police are trying to find the whereabouts of two teenage girls kidnapped in LA. [•] US leaders are concerned about regrouping al Qaeda cells that are now merging with other terrorist groups. [•] I normally don’t print gossip news, but considering what a scum ball ex-Sen. James A. Traficant Jr. is I will make an exception: He wears a toupee! HAAHAHAHHA! [•] The US is concerned with Russia’s nuclear ties to Iran. [•] A UN report says there is no evidence to support the claims that Israeli soldiers massacred Palestinians at the Jenin refugee camp. [•] US troops faced with potentially deadly situations in Afghanistan have turned to robot scouts called Packbots. [•] Ugandan rebels are threatening journalists. [•] 62 people in Madagascar have died from an unknown sickness. [•] Rebels kidnapped an entire town in Colombia and the army isn’t sure where they went. [•] The US has signed a pact with Southeastern Asian nations to fight terrorism. [•] 13 people were found dead on a Spanish beach. [•] Police are searching for a white pickup truck in relation to a kidnapping in Louisiana. [•] The wife of a US Army Special Operations officer who shot dead has been charged with murdering her husband. [•] 2002 has become the second warmest year ever recorded by humankind. Great… [•] US President Bush’s computer and network security advisor, Richard Clarke, spoke at the Black Hat hackers conference (sometimes called Defcon) where he encouraged hackers to act in good faith when discovering vulnerabilities. [•] A robot named Pearl is helping elderly people keep tabs on their eating habits. [•] Even a few extra pounds is bad for your heart. [•] Scientists are going to send mice into space to subject them to Martian-type gravity. [•] Barnes & Noble’s web site has some pretty big holes in security and they know about them. Even worse yet, they don’t care they exist. Nice. [•] Two hackers at Black Hat showed off a Dreamcast converted into a port sniffer tool. [•] Wal-mart will build a distribution center in Wallkill, NY. [•] The Consolidated Iron and Metal scrap yard in Newburgh, NY has been listed as a superfund site. [•] Ex-NYC police officer Matthew Leuck has been sentenced to three years in prison for sodomizing a 16-year old girl. [•] Port Jervis is trying to clean up an unsightly junkyard. [•] Matt Sullivan, one of my associates, speaks out against communism interfering with the free market in Warwick, NY. Go Matt! [•] Radiohead is allowing fans to chose the songs for their next album. [•] Secondhand smoke has been linked to causing cancer in cats. [•] Linkin Park is hoping to complete their new album by this year’s end. [•] Jessica Simpson will join the cast of That 70’s Show for three episodes as Kelso’s new girlfriend. Even better news is she’ll be in a bathing suit. Go FOX! LOL [•] Compaq and HP are having lots of problems getting along. [•] Intel is blaming Microsoft for the death of its AnyPoint wireless line. [•] I love you Klez. Oh no, wait… I meant to say I want you to die in a deep water filled ditch on some back road in Canada, Klez. [•] With the trend of more people buying online maybe I can finally get my mail order e-dead skunk service up and running! Maybe not. [•] I love you wife and daughter! [•] Yes, I updated The CVS & Warwick, NY site again. I rule.


Classic DF – 7/31/02

July 31, 2002: [•] A terrorist attack on a school in Jerusalem, Israel has left 7 people dead. Hamas has claimed responsibility for it. [•] The Pope is continuing his tour. Today he is in Mexico to grant sainthood to an Indian martyr. [•] US Sen. Joseph Biden, Democratic chairman of the Senate committee, says that Iraq is a threat; but an invasion this year is unlikely. [•] The US Justice Department in investigating AOL Time Warner. [•] A gunman opened fire at the Beirut university campus in Lebanon killing 8 people. [•] The Turkish parliament has voted to hold early elections. [•] A gun battle in Somalia has left 13 people dead. [•] The November 17th terrorist group has issued a statement to Greece that it is alive and well (unfortunately). [•] Zimbabwe is expected to take out its frustrations over EU imposed sanctions by targeting pro-democracy advocates within its country. [•] Rwandan President Paul Kagame says that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held by the end of next year. [•] A 6.2 earthquake rocked Costa Rica. [•] A drug sting operation has busted over 2,000 drug dealers since March near the US-Mexico border. [•] Thousands of illegal Indonesian immigrants are leaving Malaysia before a new labor law can impose strict fines on them. [•] The South Korean National Assembly has rejected the nomination of Chang Sang as Prime Minister. [•] Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, a Russia mob figure, has been arrested and charged with trying to fix the 2002 Winter Olympic Games figure skating competition. [•] A forest fire in Oregon is expected to merge with a forest fire in California. [•] Two men in a van crashed into a house. One problem: The house had mobsters in it. [•] The US Senate has rejected a Medicare prescription plan. [•] The Pentagon has imposed a wireless device standard for its employees. [•] A group of whales that beached themselves for a third time has been euthanized after refusing to return to the sea despite rescuers’ efforts. [•] A serial killer is loose in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. [•] Alanta, Georgia is about to create a wireless access point that covers several blocks. [•] Web master Jon Messner has bought the domain name of Alneda.com (it was owned by the al Qaeda), but the FBI dropped the ball so it’s of no use to anyone. [•] Dogs are a lot brighter than previously thought. In fact, they may even be able to count. [•] Your computer is a great bug repellent. [•] The FBI has busted up several Net scams. [•] Artemis Records has decided to waive all webcasting fees for its catalog for a year. [•] Australia is famous for big things. Well, things used to be a whole lot bigger there! [•] Cosmic rays may help to heat up the Earth’s surface. [•] Senate cracks me up. They should be giving better educational opportunities to kids, working to eliminate poverty, and fixing the recession. So what are they doing? Try to get us to exercise. Okay then. [•] Spin announced its favorite metal albums ever. [•] Now Warwick’s water supply is being threatened by Mayor Newhard’s crazy schemes. Thanks Mr. Mayor… sheesh. [•] Contrary to yesterday’s report Sun says it isn’t developing an OS X version of Star Office. [•] This is it people. I have demanded a Mini Cooper S for 3 months now and none of you have helped me. Thanks for nothing! [•] Nissan has committed itself to selling fuel cell cars by 2003. [•] Ford and Toyota may team up. [•] Loads of car recalls (including Rolls-Royce!). [•] Microsoft has partnered with AT&T wireless and this partnership is expected to propel the next wireless versions of Windows to bigger and better things. [•] Google will provide the search feature in AOL 8. [•] I love you wife and daughter! [•] Immy got a hold of some Pepsi Blue. Was I invited? No! “Sniff” LOL [•] On a brighter note: Maybe I can scam some Pepsi Blue off of Mermaid 🙂 Oh Mermaid! [•] I added a link to a New York Times story covering the CVS and Warwick, NY issue. Very interesting comments from the Village Mayor, Michael Newhard. Looks like he is going after condemnation though he promised he wouldn’t. I think it’s time we call for a referendum ASAP and fix things before these political egomaniacs currently in power ruin the Village.