Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pentagon appointees dismissed....

From The Hill via

Obama Dismisses Bush Pentagon Appointees

Sam Youngman, The Hill: "Despite keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the Pentagon, President-elect Obama's transition team informed 90 Bush appointees their services will not be needed after Inauguration Day.

Scott Gration, a senior official on Obama's transition team, called and emailed several of President Bush's Pentagon appointees about 10 days ago to inform them they were being dismissed."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jeb Bush for Sen? Read the comments!


Politico is reporting that former Florida Governor and brother to President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, is poised to run for the United States Senate seat in Florida. The Florida seat is help by Sen. Mel Martinez, but Martinez recently announced he will not seek reelection.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – the son of one president and the brother of another – has been working the phones since Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) announced earlier this month that he won’t seek reelection in 2010. Sources say Bush hasn’t made up his mind yet about running for Martinez’ seat yet, but that he’s getting green lights from would-be contributors and blessings from Republican Party leaders.

Strategists and political observers take it as a sign that Bush will run.

[Use link above to continue reading]


AZ Sheriff will be "the star"....

From Levine Breaking News:

***Reality television featuring law enforcement officers on the beat is nothing new. A show featuring a lawman who makes jailed inmates wear pink underwear and uses actors to trick suspects, however, is a new twist.

Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- whose showy brand of justice has raised charges of discrimination and civil-rights abuses while making him a hero among fans of his tough-on-crime attitudes -- will star in "Smile: You're Under Arrest."


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Big Selection of Up-coming Films & Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


A.D. Scott's FAULTLINES, about a young Scottish boy who is found dead in a canal lock, the 1950s Highlands newspaper staff -- including the female typist embroiled in an abusive marriage and her boss, a seasoned journalist determined to revamp the paper -- who uncover the crime, and their small town, which harbors deep and troubling secrets underneath a polished veneer, to Sarah Durand at Atria, in a two-book deal, by Peter McGuigan at Foundry Literary + Media, on behalf of Sheila Drummond of The Drummond Agency (NA).Foreign:

Immigrants' rights attorney and first-generation American Ghita Schwarz's DISPLACED PERSONS, exploring the definition of family, its malleability, in an exquisitely crafted story about two Jewish couples amid a community of survivors settled in the US just after WWII, to Jennifer Brehl at William Morrow, by Lisa Bankoff at ICM (NA).

Kirk Farber's POSTCARDS FROM A DEAD GIRL, a surreal love story about a lost soul who is getting postcards from his missing girlfriend; it reads like a Wes Anderson movie, to Carl Lennertz at Harper Perennial, for publication in Winter 2010, by Sandra Bond at Bond Literary Agency (NA).

Founder of the literary journal Murdaland and energy trader Cortright McMeel's SHORT, a tour through the down-and-dirty, scandal-ridden world of bigtime energy traders, pitched as Wall Street meets Glengarry Glen Ross, to John Schoenfelder at Thomas Dunne Books, by Alex Glass at Trident Media Group (NA).


Nora McFarland's SHOOTER, a debut mystery series featuring a young Central California localTV news photographer, to Trish Lande Grader for Touchstone Fireside, for publication in spring 2010, in a three-book deal, by Molly Friedrich at Friedrich Agency (NA).


David Wroblewski's prequel to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the next in what will become a trilogy, focused on the life of John Sawtelle, the patriarch of the Sawtelle clan, the origins of his extraordinary fictional breed of dog, and the fraught, ultimately fatal relationship between his sons, Gar and Claude, Edgar Sawtelle's father and uncle, again to Lee Boudreaux and Daniel Halpern at Ecco, by Eleanor Jackson at the Elaine Markson Agency (US).

2008 Goncourt Prize winner Atiq Rahimi's SYNGUE SABOUR, the story of a woman whose husband suffers brain damage from a bullet wound; she cares for him and talks to him, but is angry about his sacrifices, to Judith Gurewich of Other Press, in a nice deal, by Alice Tassel on behalf of the French Publishers' Agency (NA).


Ursula Le Guin's THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, a classic from 1969 takes us to the world of Winter, introducing us to its inhabitants, the Gethenians-whose society is not based on gender roles, optioned for feature film to screenwriter/director Will Phillips, by Bill Contardi, on behalf of the Virginia Kidd Agency.


Lynne Cheney's FOUNDING GENIUS: A Biography of James Madison, moving to Wendy Wolf at Viking, at auction, for publication in 2011, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Herman Obermayer's REHNQUIST: The Man Behind the Robe, the historical portrait of Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist through personal observations and recollections of one of the bench's most remarkable men; as the leader of the court that decided the presidential election in 2000, and as the presiding officer of a senate that decided not to impeach an elected president (Clinton), he led a fascinating life, to Anthony Ziccardi at Pocket, for publication in November 2009, by Sam Fleishman of Literary Artists Representatives (world).


Reporter for the NYT business section and Portfolio magazine Paul Sullivan's CLUTCH, an examination of who is clutch in sports and business and what we can learn from them, to Adrienne Schultz at Portfolio, for publication in 2010, by Erika Storella at The Gernert Company (World).

Investigative journalist Andrew Kirtzman's book about Bernard Madoff, piecing together the story of Madoff's extraordinary alleged $50 billion fraud and tracing, the steps which led to his downfall, to Claire Wachtel at Harper, for publication in 2010, by Flip Brophy at Sterling Lord Literistic (world).

Veteran investigative reporter Richard Behar's book on Bernard Madoff's rise and fall, Susan Mercandetti at Random House, for publication in 2010, Richard Abate at Endeavor (world English).


Garrett Graff's THE BUREAU'S WAR, examining the evolution of the FBI from an interstate crime-fighting organization to an international counter-terrorism power deeply engaged in the war against terrorists, as well as its own battles with the CIA and the White House -- told through the lives of its agents and Director Robert Mueller, to Geoff Shandler at Little, Brown, for publication in Spring 2011, by Tim Seldes at Russell & Volkening.

New Yorker editor David Remnick's book on Barack Obama, race and politics in America, an extension of his lengthy magazine that ran after the election, The Joshua Generation, to Sonny Mehta at Knopf, with no planned pub date yet according to Politico, by Kathy Robbins at The Robbins Office .

CBS News reporter Scott Conroy and Fox News reporter Shushannah Walshe's SARAH FROM ALASKA, embedded reporters in Sarah Palin's vice presidential campaign draw upon interviews with the Alaska governor, campaign staff, Republican politicos, and others to explore the impact of her candidacy and the issues it has raised both for the country and for the Republican Party, to Clive Priddle and Lisa Kaufman at Public Affairs, by Alice Martell at Alice Martell Agency (World).


Alysia Sofios's INTO THE SUN, memoir of the author's investigation of the 2004 Wesson Murders in Fresno, California in which she risked her reporting career and safety to help free the remaining members of the Wesson family from the psychological clutches of their murderous father and husband, to Abby Zidle at Pocket, for publication in September 2009, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management (world).


Bringing Down the House author Ben Mezrich's book about entrepreneurship at Harvard, the school's Final Clubs, and student Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook, to Doubleday, for publication in fall 2009.
Aaron Sorkin is adapting the book for film, with Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions producing.

Pulitzer Prize winner and NYT bestselling author of After the Fire Robin Gaby Fisher's narrative exploration by of the alleged beatings, sexual abuse, and unmarked mass graves at a Florida boys' reform school, addressing the larger 360-degree story of the victims, the accused, and the Nuremberg-style community that has allegedly lived with this open secret for more than 50 years, pitched as Erin Brockovich meets Sleepers, to Yaniv Soha at St. Martin's, by Yfat Reiss Gendell at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).


Friday, December 19, 2008

Jerry Brown goes to bat for gay marriage...

From The Sacramento Bee:

AG Brown asks court to void gay marriage ban

SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Jerry Brown is asking the state Supreme Court to void gay marriage ban, according to the Associated Press. Return to for more on this story as it develops.

Read More


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the matter of Rick Warren...

Okay... remember this: Obama is not stupid. Having that individual give the invocation at his inaugural should verify that when he said he would be president of ALL the people, he damned well meant it...and that includes the fundys.

More, they cannot now claim that they have been ignored by him. So cool off. It's not as though Warren has been given a governing post. And it most assuredly is not a slam against the gay and lesbian communities or anyone else.


Photo memories...even a whale hunt...

From The International Herald Tribune:

The Year in Pictures

The Year in Pictures: War, grief, joy, achievement, and, in May, a devastating cyclone in Myanmar.

From Len:

This is a website that is very long. It is a bunch of pictures of a whale hunt by Eskimos taken by a journalist. About 3000 pictures on a slide show. Only open this if you have a lot of time to watch it.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Palin on Gov Blago... :)))))

From :

Sarah Palin: Blagojevich's nerve?
Jeff Finkelman on -->December 15, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she has wondered how long Gov. Rod Blagojevich thought he might "get away with'' an alleged scheme to sell the Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.

Read more in the Tribune's Swamp blog.


Restore the Rule of Law...

From Secrecy News:


In a December 10 letter to President-elect Obama, Sen. Russ Feingold urged the next Administration to take a series of specific measures to strengthen the rule of law. Distilled from the record (pdf) of a September 16 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject, the recommendations addressed four topics in particular: separation of powers, excessive government secrecy, detention and interrogation policy, and domestic surveillance.

The letter's recommendations on combating excessive government secrecy included brief reference to a proposal stressed by the Federation of American Scientists for a fundamental review of agency classification guides to eliminate obsolete or unnecessary classification instructions.

Establishing such a review may be even more important than revising the executive order on classification or rescinding of the Ashcroft policy on FOIA, both desirable steps but which are only loosely coupled to daily secrecy decisions.

By comparison, revising agency classification guides -- which specify what information shall be classified at what level -- and updating them to eliminate spurious secrecy requirements would have immediate favorable consequences for agency practice, particularly since many classification guides have not been reviewed for years.

(See "Overcoming Overclassification," Secrecy News, September 16, 2008.)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Words...and the shoes thrown...

My favorite word is "commence". My most hated word is "partake".

On the other matter:

Too many people are yelling about where were the Secret Svc guys when the Iraqi flung the shoes? They were close by and were moving in when W signaled them to stop, but nobody mentions that. He wants them out of camera range when he speaks. Of course, else he wouldn't be the complete center of attention. Nobody mentions that either.

What I want to know is why none of the reporters the guy was in the midst of, noticed him taking off his shoes. Pretty hard to miss, I'd think.Of course they were all watching W, but still, as we know, movement catches the eye. Didn't catch theirs, apparently. Or else they just ignored it.


Video: Brave Iraqi throws his shoes at Bush...

From BBC:

US President George Bush arrives in Iraq on a surprise visit to the country that has defined his presidency since the 2003 invasion.

For more details:

NOTE: To throw or hit someone with a shoe, in Iraq, is the gravest insult of all. W had it coming.


Friday, December 12, 2008

US calm before storm...thank your deity of choice...

From Jerry in Colorado via email:

I find my self interested in how our world was at first crumbling, then progressed to collapsing and now [Dec 12] we're in that state of mild disbelief that occurs in the calm before total devestation.

The car industry going bankrupt!?!? And we are still talking to their CEOs as if they knew something??? Or could do something?? Did we ever believe the GOP would do anything??? My god, they're the ones who want to see big government fail, not succeed, and ironically they're willing to sacrifice some of the big businesses they usually worship, to show the government as a failure. But, down deep, the right wing GOP loves the idea of hundreds of thousands of workers connected to the auto industry, out of work. The GOP will show those prole bastards who runs the country. That senator from Tennessee summed the GOP position up quite well: If we have a government big enough to give us what we want, it's also big enough to take away everything too. Do you think he rushed out to buy an automatic weapon when Obama got elected??? Probably.

I would like to know how these car executives could come up with a viable, detailed plan for recovery in less that a week?? They didn't have one when they first arrived in Washington, so they were sent home to create one, and they did. In less than a week. Second question: if they could see this economic disaster coming, why didn't they come up with that plan months, if not years ago? And if they didn't know it was coming, what in hell are they doing as top executives?? How did this massive mess come about so quickly and unexpectedly? A kind of stealth downturn??? They can't blame the general economy for the mess they've created in Detroit.

Let me give you a personal example of why the 'Big Three' are failing. Two years ago we needed a new vehicle to survive up here at 7400 feet, in the middle of the San Juan Mountains, living on a dirt road. We needed one with four wheel drive or all wheel drive, one that could get at least 23 miles per gallon [then gas was upwards of $4.00 per gal] and a vehicle that could take the rough driving we have up here. We explained all this in great detail to the Ford agency in Albuquerque. We were shown an all wheel drive Ford something or other and we drove it in Albuquerque, with a noticiable lack of snow in the summer, on paved roads, and the car seemed to be what we wanted. This test drive I blame on myself, i.e., I should have taken the damned thing out into the back country, but you can't do that. Anyway, we bought it and took it home.

It snowed like you wouldn't believe that year. We couldn't see out our front windows because the snow was piled up to the roof line. The Ford couldn't handle the snow. Later it couldn't handle the mud. I got stuck in my driveway once. I was highly pissed and cursed the idea of all wheel drive as being a viable alternative to 4wd. We decided to buy a Toyota, which we had years ago, in the 60s and 70s, and drove our 4wd Land Cruiser literally all over the Southwest on nothing but dirt roads and trails, and never, ever had a problem. In the process of buyinig a 2008 FJ Cruiser, we were trading in the wimpy Ford, and the guy who was doing the deal called us over and said, "This isn't an all wheel drive. It's a standard two wheel drive." We were stunned. We had been sold and paid for an all wheel drive, and they gave us this piece of shit. Naturally we contacted the Ford agency and got nothing but a runaround for about a month. Unfortunately for them, we had the paper work showing where 2wd had been crossed out and all wheel substituted. Then they tried to tell us, the 4wd meant four wheels and 4 doors. We were entring the twilight zone of logic when we both exploded. Eventually we got $3000 dollars from them, but that wasn't enough as far as we're concerned. That agency should be put out of business for fraud.

In anycase, that's why when the Ford executives plead for help, I say fuckem. They've been greedy from the beginning and they're greedy now, and greed defines their entire organization. To give them anything would be an exercise in stupidity. I would let them fail simply because they're incompetent and listen only to themselves.

The politicians feel bad about the number of workers put out of jobs but when your culture is going through a massive change, people are going to get hurt. The GOP would cite that ancient cliche, "You have to break some eggs if you're going to have an omelet." Why is it they are never the eggs getting broken?

And I can't even think about Wall Street and the Bankers. Giving them billions with no strings attatched??? Of course Bush knew they would use it wisely to help the people out of this economic slump. So did Congresss. Anyone hear the GOP screaming about big business then? Not a peep. The money simply disappeared. What can we learn here? Let's see. American Big Business cannot be trusted? Ummmm. That sounds right.

So, here we are at the beginning of the 21st century, the world is basically in flames or dying of disease and starvation, which has yet to come to America, but is in South America, Central America and Mexico, and our insightful GOP leaders, who loved deregulation, want smaller government to handle the bigger problems. That's similar to using a volkswagen bug to pull a semi trailer full of truck axles. We're going to have unemployment on a legendary scale, health care problems that go beyound the 30% bankruptcy rate due to health costs we now have, and the GOP wants smaller government. The Republicans have this wonderful little political belief that big government is dangerous, but what they don't add, is only when you put Republicans in charge of a big government is it dangerous. Look at that last eight years. Look at Bush 1.

And what, we have to ask, has the GOP accomplished? Well, they've destroyed the CIA and the FBI, they've compromised the military to the point that if anything serious happened anywhere, that required an American military presence, we couldn't do it, and they're made the USA an international pariah. The American infrastructure, from bridges and highways to local roads, is rapidly crumbling. The national parks are being opened up to oil interests and the capper of it some parks you can now carried a concealed weapon. For protection from what??? From whom are you concealing the weapon? Let's see...bears don't care, neither to mountain lions, chipmunks, skunks, wildlife in general. So, it must be that criminal element that loves to go to parks for camping and fishing and hiking. Yeah, they're dangerous. Pack that 357 baby, and let them know, " Who da man?"

Thank [your diety of choice here] for existentialism.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Short List of Coming Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


THE GIRLS author Lori Lansens's HER BODY ELECTRIC, about an obese woman whose husband wins the lottery and disappears on their 25th anniversary, sending her across the country in search of him, again to Judy Clain at Little, Brown, for publication in September 2009, by Denise Bukowski of The Bukowski Agency (US).Canadian rights previously to Knopf.

Sarah Waters's THE LITTLE STRANGER, a ghost story set in 1940s Great Britain, in Hundreds Hall, a centuries-old house of declining health and fortune, to Geoff Kloske at Riverhead, for publication in Spring 2009, by Jean Naggar at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (NA).



Pulitzer-Prize winner and former WSJ Detroit bureau chief Paul Ingrassia's tale of Detroit's fall from glory to the brink of disaster, drawing on sources from the executive suite to the factory floors to recount the inside story of the crash of Detroit's car companies and their potential road to redemption, to Susan Mercandetti at Random House, by Scott Moyers at The Wylie Agency (NA).

Peterson Foundation CEO and former US Comptroller General David Walker's WAKE UP CALL, an action plan for digging America out of its $55 trillion deficit and stabilizing its financial future, to Tim Bartlett at Random House, at auction, for publication in January 2010, by Gail Ross and Howard Yoon of Gail Ross Literary Agency.


Author of THE LOST CITY and THE UNITED STATES OF AMBITION Alan Ehrenhalt's THE ONCE AND FUTURE CITY, looking at the way American cities are changing as they are increasingly perceived as desirable places to live, and positing a future of thriving inner cities and lower-class exurbs that falls somewhere between the class-stratification of 19th century European metropolises and the multi-use urban vision of Jane Jacobs, for publication in 2011, to Andrew Miller at Knopf, at auction, by Chris Parris-Lamb at The Gernert Company (NA).

This American Life contributor Jon Jeter and Washington Post reporter Robert Pierre's book on what Barack Obama means to black America, following African-Americans from of all walks of life as they face the new issues, conversations, crises and triumphs brought on by having a black president, to be published in January 2010 as Obama makes his first State of the Union address, to Eric Nelson at Wiley, in a very nice deal, by David Fugate at LaunchBooks Literary Agency (World).

STEEL DRIVIN' MAN author and historian Scott Nelson's CRASH: AN UNCOMMON HISTORY OF AMERICA'S FINANCIAL PANICS, which looks at how major economic downturns have shaped our nation's political and social history, to Andrew Miller at Knopf, at auction, by Deirdre Mullane of Mullane Literary (world).


Former Hollywood executive, Gesine Bullock-Prado's CONFECTIONS OF A CLOSET MASTER BAKER -- an humorous and edgy memoir (with recipes) of the author's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider (she ran her sister, Sandra's production company) and how she left it all behind to follow her love of baking and open Gesine's bakery in Montpelier, Vermont, to Stacy Creamer at Broadway, at auction, by Laura Nolan at The Creative Culture.

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (U.S. Army, retired) with Ron Martz's SURVIVAL: HOW A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS CAN SAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FROM DISASTERS, offering lessons learned through decades of service, including as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, on how government, communities and individuals can prepare for and mitigate disasters rather than simply respond to them, to Malaika Adero at Atria, by David Vigliano and Michael Harriot at Vigliano Associates (World).


On the financial's the book to read...

From author Janet Tavakoli:

Dear Mr. Buffett: What An Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street (publication date January 12, 2009—available for pre-order on Amazon).
Janet Tavakoli, president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, explains the events leading up to the worst financial meltdown in world history through her correspondence and discussion with Warren Buffett over 3 years. Tavakoli shows how they predicted the meltdown well in advance, warned investors, and propose how to fix it. Tavakoli also explains how to prevent it from happening again. Dear Mr. Buffett is a witty well-told account of how principle triumphs over greed and panic, and is a must-read for all those seeking the timeless wisdom that has beaten, and continues to beat, the market.

“Janet Tavakoli warned that the biggest credit bubble in world history was coming well in advance. Now she explains how the world could have avoided this disaster and how we can prevent it from happening the next time.”
author of A Bull in China, Hot Commodities, Adventure Capitalist, and Investment Biker

“Janet Tavakoli writes about the exotic, abstract financial instruments that helped implode the U.S. financial markets, and she writes in a clear, sprightly way. She knows a lot, and translates it well. Contrasting the shenanigans of recent years against the good analysis and common sense of Warren Buffett is appropriate, and helps to illustrate the levels of irrational behavior.”
author of The Money Game and Supermoney

“If you are an investor, either or through mutual funds or managed accounts, you must read this compelling book. You should understand how name-brand institutions like Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Wachovia, and UBS collectively lost hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-conceived products they invented and sold to investors who lost much more. Janet Tavakoli saw this coming and explains what happened clearly, logically, and persuasively. The juxtaposition of Buffett’s investment philosophies provides sharp contrast with those of the major institutional participants who are responsible for the current debacle. Knowing how this disastrous phenomenon evolved will forever change the way you evaluate you investments and/or those intermediaries who make them on your behalf.”
Chairman, Gleacher Partners LLC

“Janet Tavakoli has a gift for using personal anecdotes and clear language to explain the complex instruments of structured finance. Dear Mr. Buffett is an insightful look at the current global credit crisis in language that the layman can grasp. This book is a must-read for every trustee allocating to alternative investments.”
Chairman, CEO and Co-CIO, Calamos Investments

Best Regards,


Janet Tavakoli is the president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a Chicago-based firm that provides consulting to financial institutions and institutional investors. Ms. Tavakoli has more than 20 years of experience in senior investment banking positions, trading, structuring and marketing structured financial products. She is a former adjunct associate professor of derivatives at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. Author of: Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures (John Wiley & Sons, 1998, 2001) and Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (John Wiley & Sons, 2003, September 2008).
Dear Mr. Buffett: What An Investor Learns 1,269 Miles From Wall Street will be released January 9, 2009.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Airmen are due all honors....

From The New York Times:

Tuskegee Airmen land coveted Inauguration Day tickets

In a nod to the inspiration Obama says the World War II unit gave him, its surviving members will have seats for his swearing-in ceremony.
Note: I think this is a truly wonderful thing for Obama to do, considering how badly these brave pilots were treated during WWII.


Feds after food industry!!!

From Sacramento Bee:

Feds probing manipulation of food prices

Federal prosecutors in Sacramento announced today major breakthrough in a probe of food industry corruption with the agreement of a key figure to cooperate and plead guilty to conspiracies involving racketeering, money laundering and antitrust violations.

Read More


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Football News not out yet...

From informant at Seau's Restaurant:

Former Charger, Jr Seau, was called and has left to play with the Patriots football team against the Oakland Raiders.

No idea if this is a permanent or temporary situation. Gonna be fun watching Jr in action again.


Straight from Chicago...FITZMAS lays it out....

From ABC7Chicago:

Gov. Blagojevich taken into custody - 12/09/08 - Chicago News -

And, straight from Bill, who lives not far from Chicago:

Guess what? We have another gov on the way to jail. That makes 8 out of 12. We can't seem to get an honest one. Maybe we should try to pick one that was born overseas like California did. Ha ha!

NOTE: 8 out of 12???!!! Is that right? Sheesh!


Monday, December 08, 2008

F-18 jet from Miramar MAS crashes in San Diego...

From CBS...San Diego:

December 8, 2008 (12:22 PM) --

An F-18 aircraft has crashed in a residential area near Interstate 805 and Genesee in University City, according to a News 8 report. The pilot was reportedly able to eject before the crash. At least one home may be on fire; fire crews are at the scene. The cause of the crash was unknown. Further details on this story as they become available.
F-18 was flying FROM the aircraft carrier, the Abe Lincoln, T0 Miramar. Two people on ground killed. Pilot taken to Balbao Naval Hosp to be checked.

Three people on ground dead, one missing. Note: the booms people heard are the end result of fuel being dumped, as required before landing. When the tanks are empty, the booms occur.


Can't know you broke the law if the law is secret....

From Secrecy News:


"The notion of secret law has been described in court opinions and law treatises as 'repugnant' and 'an abomination'," observed Sen. Russ Feingold. "It is a basic tenet of democracy that the people have a right to know the law."

"But the law that applies in this country is determined not only by statutes and regulations, but also by the controlling interpretations of courts and, in some cases, the executive branch. More and more, this body of executive and judicial law is being kept secret from Congress as well," he said.

To probe that subject, Sen. Feingold's subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last April 30, the full record of which has just been published.

See "Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government."

The hearing volume includes newly published responses (pdf) to questions for the record from John P. Elwood of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, Prof. Dawn E. Johnsen, who is now working with the Obama transition team, former ISOO director J. William Leonard, myself, and others.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Get rid of 'em!!

I want to know just one thing: How is a Speaker of the House like Nancy PeLOUSY removed?

Make that two things: Same question for Harry Reid.


Male Gender in Danger....

From Levine Breaking News...

The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals. The research to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published shows that a host of common chemicals is feminizing males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Having my say...

Gotta say that I am totally torqued with this spineless Congress...especially Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. A more worthless pair would be hard to find.

I would really like to see Russ Feingold as House Majority Speaker. And, yes, John Kerry in Reid's place.

I'm thinking they, at least, would have sense enough to institute some serious regulations on both Wall Street and those blasted greedy corporations. And to cease those damned mergers and acquisitions that lead to "too big to fail."

And yes, dammit, the big 3 auto makers have been grilled enough. Get them the cash they need and do it now. Maybe Congress doesn't give a damn about the companies and the jobs that would disappear as a result of the automakers' failures, but I certainly do.

More, the military-industrial complex needs to be dealt with in the worst kind of way. We need some of those futuristic weapons systems like a hole in the head. Which we may get if some readjustments aren't made in how we fight the insurgent types... to say nothing of terrorists.

The "clean coal" bit is pure bullshit. There's nothing clean about coal, I don't care how you slice it.
Same goes for oil.

Might could be that Congress's wages need to be cut to $1.00 a year until they get their act together.

Further, the states must fix the voting systems damned quick. They have two years before the next national elections and those electronic voting machines should be immediately dismantled and sold for scrap. That's all they're good for. Paper ballots and nothing but paper ballots.

Cannot imagine why election officials allow them to be so screwed up that voters are unable to vote properly. And voters need to be educated about how to mark them. What's going on in Minnesota in their recount right now is a perfect example of why that's necessary.

Finally, newspapers. We truly do need newspapers. But not newspapers merged with a whole bunch of other newspapers. Independently owned newspapers. The LA Times, for instance, has gone rapidly downhill since Zell bought it. The more one owner owns multiple papers, the less informed the public is going to be. Don't kid yourself about that. And the less informed we are, the more we'll be royally screwed.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

FBI sting shocks US Atty Patrick Fitzgerald...

From AP:

FBI agents stage sting to snare corrupt Ill. cops
By MIKE ROBINSON, The Associated Press
1:18 a.m. December 3, 2008

CHICAGO — Duffel bags stuffed with cocaine were delivered by plane to an out-of-the-way suburban airport while two sheriff's officers provided security. A police officer stood by to guard the cash and keep out the riffraff at a poker game where $100,000 changed hands. And a drug dealer was told squad cars marked "sheriff" and "sheriff's police" might be available on a "freelance" basis to provide protection for his deliveries.

Such tales of law enforcement gone awry emerged in court papers Tuesday as federal prosecutors unveiled a series of elaborate sting operations aimed at officers who hired out to ride shotgun for drug deals and other criminal activities.

Fifteen officers and two other men who had pretended to be law enforcement officers were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine or heroin or both.

But the most spectacular pretending was done by the federal agents themselves.

The pilots of the airplane were not drug runners but undercover agents. So were the gamblers who busily played hand after hand of high-stakes poker – all for show.

The drug broker who squired the officers to the airport to pick up the duffel bags was an agent. So was the drug dealer who stuffed the bags into his Mercedes-Benz.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said he was dismayed to find that so many law enforcement officers had "sold out their badge."

"When drug dealers deal drugs, they ought to be afraid of the police – not turn to them for help," Fitzgerald said at a news conference.

Officials paid homage to an unnamed FBI agent who moved into a business in Harvey more than a year ago and set up shop as a drug broker. He soon attracted the attention of police and the corruption grew, authorities said.

They said the agent was sent in undercover because there had been reports of police corruption over the last several years in southern Cook County, including the Harvey police department. An investigation into allegations of robbery, extortion, narcotics offenses and weapons distribution is ongoing, officials said.

Those charged include 10 Cook County sheriff's correctional officers, four Harvey police officers and one Chicago police officer.

Of the 17 defendants, 14 were arrested or surrendered Tuesday and were being immediately brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason. Two sheriff's officers are on active duty with Army National Guard units in Afghanistan, and warrants were issued for their arrest.

If convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine or one kilogram of heroin, the defendants would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life. The maximum fine would be $4 million.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart called the alleged behavior "absolutely reprehensible."

"The responsibility of watching over jail inmates is an important one and it's a shame these men didn't take that responsibility more seriously," he said in a statement.

Each of those charged has been suspended with pay pending a hearing next week, Dart said. "That step will then lead to a request for termination," he said.