Sunday, April 29, 2007

F-troop wakes up to ... poisoned roosters?

The Food and Drug Administration finally has picked up on the poisoned pet food problem and is taking decisive (?) action.

But it's not just for pets anymore. Reuters is reporting the poisoned meal has been fed to chickens in Indiana. Could it be in the very General Tsao's you just ordered?

'Round and 'round it goes, where it stops now, nobody knows.

More developing on this post. Stay tuned.

The picture was submitted by dushkin at I Can Has Cheezeburger.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

As goes Dunkin', so goes the nation?

This is what capitalism looks like.

BlueJersey says El Diario reports Dunkin' Donuts pulled ads from 101.5 FM radio in objection to the obnoxious Jersey Guys.

The latest from these local Don Imus wannabes? La Cucha Gotcha, a hilarious (cough cough) running skit asking listeners to call and report anyone they think is an illegal immigrant, which likely is anyone with a Latino surname. Perhaps they should have asked listeners to report businesses that illegally hire undocumented foreign workers, so the companies can be prosecuted.

Assemblyman Fred Caraballo reacted to the offensive "joke" by starting a campaign to urge show advertisers to take their business elsewhere.

Munchkins are calling to me now.

Update from Blue Jersey: A history of the Jersey Guys' hatefest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cheney's delusions

The Los Angeles Times yesterday had a good editorial, George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me, wrong about war.

Former presidential candidate and longtime Sen. George McGovern, among other astute observations, asks about Vice President Dick Cheney:

Does he remember that the Democratic Party, with me in the lead, reformed the presidential nomination process to ensure that women, young people and minorities would be represented fairly?
Sure, "Dead-eye" Dick remembers. That's exactly why he's on the attack. He doesn't count any of us nonaristocrat, nonwhite, nonmales as being part of the American constituency, except as servitude, and he doesn't want anyone else to count us, either, especially come election time.

Impeach Cheney, then Bush, in short order. They've committed more than enough crimes for too many years. Besides, I like the sound of a President Pelosi.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hersch on the failure of media

Rolling Stone interviewed reknowned journalist Sy Hersch this month.

The last part caught my eye. I wonder what readers think of it.

... they learned a great deal about how to run things and how to hide stuff over those years.

From the press?
Oh, come on, how hard is it to hide things from the press? They don't care that much about the straight press. What these guys have figured out is that as long as they have Fox and talk radio, they're OK in the public opinion. They control that hard. It kept the ball in Iraq in the air for a couple of years longer than it should have, and it cost Kerry the presidency. But now it's over -- Iraq's done. A lot of the conservatives who promoted the war are now very much against it. Some of the columnists in this town who were beating the drums for that war really owe an apology. It's a sad time for the American press.

What can be done to fix the situation?
[Long pause] You'd have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives. You'd actually have to start promoting people from the newsrooms to be editors who you didn't think you could control. And they're not going to do that.

What's the main lesson you take, looking back at America's history the last forty years?
There's nothing to look back to. We're dealing with the same problems now that we did then. We know from the Pentagon Papers -- and to me they were the most important documents ever written -- that from 1963 on, Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon lied to us systematically about the war. I remember how shocked I was when I read them. So ... duh! Nothing's changed. They've just gotten better at dealing with the press. Nothing's changed at all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is Christie on this "short leash"?

ABC News revealed the content of one of the newly released Department of Justice e-mails written by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, himself. The June 2006 communique describes his plot to create a chain of events to fire California's U.S. attorney Carol Lam after she prosecuted Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and was continuing to follow leads on related crooked pols.

The story says:

Gonzales supported the idea of first having "a heart to heart with Lam about the urgent need to improve immigration enforcement" and of working with her "to develop a plan for addressing the problem." Sampson said another alternative would be to "put her on a very short leash."
So, now we know the DoJ has a leash for prosecutors who pursue Republican crooks instead of putting all their attention on matters orchestrated by the White House's political whims.

New Jersey's U.S. attorney, Chris Christie, used to pursue both Republican and Democratic crooks in New Jersey. Is it a stretch to wonder if that "short leash" is why Christie has investigated almost exclusively Democrats and dropped proofs gathered against Republicans since January 2006, when election strategists were gearing up for the important 2006 elections that ended in historic GOP defeat, losing control of both the House and the Senate?

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Duke rape case

There are a few nagging questions about the coverage of three Duke University students accused of rape, which last week veered considerably from traditional journalistic standards. The latest flawed New York Times story may be the most factual.

I haven't, and still don't, presume to judge guilt or innocence of anyone in this case, but:

1) The rape charges were dropped in December. Why did N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper invite a big media frenzy right after now-fallen radio giant Don Imus' racist and sexist statements and the first call from the National Association of Black Journalists to fire Imus? It served a purpose for media manipulators to create and use a false parallel.

2) Why didn't reporters ask whether the accuser now says the men are innocent? She's the only one besides the accused who could witness the alleged rape. NYT's Duff Wilson saves for the last paragraph (huh?) the accuser is standing by her rape claim. Some media have published her name, and some even have shown pictures and video of her, to punish her in their own judgments, yet I've seen none report they tried to reach her.

3) A prosecutor can speak only about evidences. Granted, district attorney Michael Nifong now admits he operated badly and we should doubt one or all of the accusations. But it's only the politically partisan-appointed attorney general, who wasn't involved in the investigation, who now says the charges were false.

It's a political appointee who declared the men "innocent," not a judge or any jury.

Cooper doesn't know the men are innocent. Unless every person who could have been witness all agree, all we or the attorney general possibly could know is that prosecutors can't prove a crime.

I question the credibility of an AG who would say such a thing. A good reporter would have questioned that, too, and asked Cooper to explain why he makes that remarkable claim and why on that day. Is anyone asking how often any prosecutorial official makes such a presumptuous declaration of innocence in the absence of recanted testimony?

I just hope the woman told Nifong under client confidentiality that she lied, because if not, there's a much bigger scandal here, I'm afraid. In today's political atmosphere, I will not assume the best of partisan politicians.

4) The best ammunition now for attacking Nifong is that he withheld some DNA evidences from the defense for 6 months, which, they say, was damaging because they might have urged their clients to take a plea deal because of it. That's just crazy: They had to have known the DNA evidence they did have didn't include their clients'. Why would there be a chance they'd take a plea deal? Didn't they ask in all that time for the results of those important tests they knew were taken?

I don't see reporters asking critical questions, even in the best reporting.

Let's not forget these young men's families -- all wealthy and white -- have committed great sums of money and have applied vast political pressure, while the disadvantaged young black woman had no one but Nifong, really, on her side from the start.

No pun intended, but I'm dubious this is as black and white as it appears.

Hey, you, get out of my bed

Impeachment Day: April 28

America seems to be running out of patience with Bush administration crimes.

It's mind-boggling that the recently resigned No. 3 Justice Department official, Monica Goodling, can tell Congress she won't answer their questions about her boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, because doing so would implicate herself in a crime -- and, even this very day, Gonzales says he won't resign and George Bush supports that.

Talking turkey, that's America's top lawman, whose emails prove him to be a liar and whose confidante says his office has something to do with committing at least one crime. And then there's still the old problems of the White House violating an American treaty and being the source of treason.

April 28 is the public's judgment day.

Nonpartisan activists are organizing demonstrations in state capitals all over the country. Wearing blue, they'll form a human mural of the word "impeach" to urge states to pass resolutions demanding Congress impeach and convict George Bush and Dick Cheney.

South Jersey planners are communicating in this Google group.

North Jersey planners have a Web site here.

(File photo courtesy of via Flickr)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So much "voter fraud," so little time

In blogs nationally, I'm seeing lots of talk about Karl Rove's obsession with getting U.S. attorneys to make "voter fraud" claims against Dems at election time. This Atlantic story is just one source.

Does anyone remember stories written hot off the fax machines from press releases from now-Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck and failed candidate Declan O'Scanlon in September 2005 asking New Jersey's U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to investigate Monmouth County "voter fraud"? It was right about the time Christie's office dutifully "leaked" subpoenas on records Menendez held as landlord to a subject of a later-turned-out-fruitless (surprise) investigation. The GOP had that twisted into campaign ads "Menendez under federal investigation" faster than the little birdies whispered that scoop into reporters' telephones.

Here's one version of the story on that Beck/O'Scanlon press release, plucked from the memory hole.

"The Attorney General has been handed clear evidence of voter fraud and has done nothing. It’s time for US Attorney Christie to take over (or start) the investigation. We hope our opponents will join us in trying to root out voter fraud in Monmouth County.”
What's interesting, given the latest in Gonzogate, is the press release didn't give details even to a clue of verifiable facts, and I haven't seen anything more about it since.

Anyone else know what came of the Monmouth County "voter fraud" claim?

I dare say that no evidence of any voter fraud in Monmouth County -- let alone fraud exclusive to Democrats -- has come foreward in these two years, has it?

Sufficiently weird

But interesting. Artist "Phil in the circle" paints Bruce Lee high speed art

This was Chris Christie's boss?

Monica Goodling resigned last week as U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' No. 2 go-to, specifically charged with overseeing all the U.S. attorneys in the Department of Justice. Congress has told her she won't be able to get out its subpoena to testify simply by claiming her right not to incriminate herself in a crime.

She evaluated New Jersey's U.S. attorney, loyal Bushie Christopher Christie, and deemed him to make the grade in her "esteemed" evaluation. Why shouldn't we trust her opinion, besides the fact she admits she was involved in a crime, herself?

Watch comedian Bill Maher, who hits the nail right on the head. You'll find Maher's monologue chock full of details you can use around the water cooler:

In New Jersey, according to U.S. News and World Report, only Felician College on Main Street in Lodi is a Tier 4 school, the worst rating a college can have. I never had heard of Felician until I looked up "Tier 4 schools." Have you?

Still the best blogging on the subject: Talking Points Memo.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

At a glance ...

Wooo hooo Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who lost his temper on the floor today when told, oops, Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department deleted the emails the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded to find out just what public business they are conducting on our tax time and equipment via emails on Republican National Committee Servers. On my office's networked computer system, the "spools" or "tapes" from the mainframe store everything -- deleted or not -- that goes through it for a matter of years. Our lawyers wouldn't have it any other way.

And, just when you think it's safe to buy pet food, think again. The FDA finds the rat-poisoned pet food remains on a lot of store shelves.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The e-mail controversy heats up

Today's best reading is about the secret White House e-mail address to prevent the public from knowing they operate fundamentally for the Party in violation the Hatch Act -- and maybe many more laws -- as we pay them to serve all the American public.

Mother Jones magazine has the scoop:

The hidden scandal in the administration’s already scandalous purge of eight U.S. Attorneys is the discovery that White House officials have been regularly communicating using nongovernmental email addresses, some of them administered by the Republican National Committee. As we reported a couple weeks ago, this seems a blatant attempt to prevent emails from being archived by the White House computer system and potentially flouts the Presidential Records Act, a law enacted after Watergate to ensure that the papers of presidents and their advisor's are adequately preserved (and eventually made available to the public).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Imus memory hole

I guess I don't have to post a link to radio man Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" debate. And I wish someone would slam his ignorant sidekick's remark, which I won't even repeat.

Imus doesn't shock me because I don't listen to him. He's just another provocateur, in my opinion. What did raise my dander was a call from a friend upset so many TV pundits are sympathetic to Imus.

"What's the matter with their memories? WNBC took him off the air in the '70s during the serial killings of black boys in the South. He told listeners, 'I have one thing to say about that,' and then played the song 'Another One Bites the Dust.' It was a huge controversy then! Are all his listeners too young to remember?"

WNBC fired Imus in 1977, citing problems with his cocaine and vodka habits and unprofessionalism. Why'd they take him back, and why will they keep him now? Ratings.

(Hat tip to Thought Theater for creating the picture. Its post also mentions Eric Deggans of the National Association of Black Journalists and formerly of the Asbury Park Press.)

My friend, now 52, says she was at Freehold High School, experiencing race riots in 1971 and was appalled at how Imus used Queen's lyrics, "another one gone, and another one gone, another once bites the dust; Hey, I'm gonna get you too, Another one bites the dust."

To this day, she says, she still shudders at the hellish depth of human callousness every time she hears that song.

Bigotry has a lifelong effect.

Update 1: I'm figuring my friend's date is 9 or 10 years off, because Queen didn't release "Another One Bites the Dust" until 1980. The description of the serial killings matches the string of Atlanta murders pinned on Wayne Williams that started in 1979.

Update 2: At least one other person remembers:

Un-uh. His game needs to be over. He's been saying crap like this for a good twenty years and has been skating for far too long. He was the guy who thought it was funny to play "Another One Bites the Dust" as victims of the Atlanta Child murderer were turning up. He thought it was a laff riot at his first broadcast gig to host an "Eldridge Cleaver lookalike" contest--first prize being a week in jail. (That little stunt got him canned, too.) Black folks are angry because this guy has gotten away with racism on a grand scale without consequence--and he's been able to do so because he's never paid the price. It's past time he did. --deering

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A happy Mocha Easter

Thanks, Digby, and Happy Easter to you, too!

Taxing perceptions

I feel vindicated.

TaxProf Blog has a list ranking state and local tax burdens by state, and guess what? New Jersey just barely made the top 20 percent and is only slightly above national average.

I've long cringed at the incessant
whining about how the exorbitant New Jersey taxes are driving natives to move out of state. And I wonder, how much do these people travel, because when I do, I go through plenty of states with the same or higher sales tax. Tennessee had 7 percent sales tax I-can't-remember-how-long before New Jersey, and its hotel/motel taxes are astronomical. Many states charge sales tax on groceries and toilet paper, too, unlike New Jersey.

Complain as you will about gasoline taxes, but our gas is cheaper than in most states I've been through, too, and I don't have to get out and pump it!

And I've lived in several states, and each has its pros and cons. New Jersey's income tax at my income level isn't meaningfully more than most other states in my own experience, except for Texas, which had no state income tax but also provided relatively little in services and turned a do-nothing Gov. George Bush into a ... well, I'll leave it at that.

Two heartbeats away

I have to admit I was a little wary when Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., became Speaker of the House. But she has wowwed me more with each decisive and graceful move of true statesmanship she makes.

Try as they might, the wingnuts don't seem to be getting any factual traction on attempts to villify her trip to Israel and then Syria. If their accusations are true, I'm very pleased with Speaker Pelosi for making this peace-seeking trip.

Best read on it this week is posted on Truthdig.

Note from Jilly: Check out the AP picture with the Truthdig article. Doesn't Saudi Arabia’s Sheik Saleh bin Humaid look a lot like the Guy Fawkes mask in the movie, V for Vendetta? Remember, remember the 5th of November!

Welcome back, Kevin Smith

Steve Hart writing at the Opinion Mill blog notes filmmaker Kevin Smith's newest work is a horror movie about our blue state turning red.

Rotten Tomatoes blog has the whole skinny on it.

BTW, the Buddy Christ picture we used a few days ago is from Dogma, our personal favorite Kevin Smith film, so far, and we hope he doesn't mind we borrowed it to illustrate the naked chocolate Jesus story.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Get paid to protest war

If you haven't sent in your tax returns yet, don't pass by line 71 in the Payments section of the regular 1040, and other forms: Credit for Federal telephone excise tax paid. The payoff is not just the $30 to $60 or more we get back, but taking it back is a protest of war. Dig it!
Amy Goodman's history of the whole deal is a must read.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Quick hits

A new Brick blog called Shore Shotz is declaring war on grafitti in Brick. The site is devoted to boycotting businesses that, in fairness, were victims yet fail to clean up the eyesore on their property.

The 5th Estate community at Live Journal I just discovered seems like a cheeky male version -- kinda -- of your On Our Radar gals.

Speaking of us, On Our Radar signed up to try GoogleAds. At the time, the ad was Hurricane Katrina aid. We don't have a say about the ad Google puts up, which has changed to promoting a book, "Why Mommy is a Democrat." For what it's worth -- and I may be violating the ad agreement a little, but s'est la vie -- I think I speak for all of us at On Our Radar that we disdain partisanship as a game. I haven't seen the book, but our radar is on facts and smart ideas, not political segregation.

Earth Day gift ideas

Just got an email from Ironweed Films, a wonderful monthly club that sends us all sorts of social justice documentaries.

In honor of Earth Day, the one in the mail to my home as I type is "Blue Vinyl":

When director Judith Helfand’s parents install vinyl siding on their home, she sets out to find the truth about toxic manufacturers and corporate corruption behind a seemingly innocuous plastic product.

From vinyl sided houses in suburban Long Island to hushed cancer outbreaks in Louisiana and Venice, Italy, this vibrant narrative tracks vinyl’s shocking history with willful irony and a healthy dose of humor.

Accolades: Sundance Film Festival - Winner, Cinematography
Hot Docs Film Festival - Opening Night Feature

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

'Nuf said