2008 Dem Contenders – The ASZ Straw Poll

 

The Democratic Party presidential hopefuls are cranking up the rhetoric, and getting ready to shred each other in the first debates of the 2008 primary season. Yes, it’™s early, but even today on the last day of fundraising reporting for the first quarter of 2007, things are hot and heavy. According to the [...]

Commentary By: Richard Blair

The Democratic Party presidential hopefuls are cranking up the rhetoric, and getting ready to shred each other in the first debates of the 2008 primary season. Yes, it’™s early, but even today on the last day of fundraising reporting for the first quarter of 2007, things are hot and heavy. According to the pundits, dollar figures for the first quarter will impart a sense of the credibility of specific candidates and platforms.

Starting with the poll below, ASZ will be taking the temperature of our readership at the end of each calendar quarter. In addition to clicking on the candidate of your choice, it would be great if you’™d provide some commentary on why you voted for your choice.

[poll=5]

Saturday, March 31st, 2007 by Richard Blair |

Republican Culture of Corruption: Guiliani Set to Carry on Proud Tradition

And he’™s getting a head start. Seems Bush’™s failed nominee in 2004 for Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, is going to be indicted. Kerik came to Bush’™s attention through the recommendation of Guiliani. It isn’™t a casual friendship, or anything. Guiliani and Kerik were partners in the big security firm they started [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

And he’™s getting a head start. Seems Bush’™s failed nominee in 2004 for Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, is going to be indicted. Kerik came to Bush’™s attention through the recommendation of Guiliani. It isn’™t a casual friendship, or anything. Guiliani and Kerik were partners in the big security firm they started after Guiliani left office.

During a recent meeting, federal prosecutors told Kerik’™s attorneys that they are preparing to charge Kerik with filing false information to the government when Bush nominated him to the Cabinet, according to the legal sources.

Prosecutors are also prepared to charge Kerik with violating federal tax laws, alleging that he did not declare on his tax returns gifts he received while serving as New York’™s corrections commissioner, including costly renovations to an apartment he had bought, the sources said. The FBI is investigating loans Kerik received while he was in private business with Giuliani, the sources said, as well as information Kerik had omitted from a mortgage application.

Kerik turned down last month an offer to plead guilty to federal charges that would have required him to serve prison time. His attorney, Kenneth Breen, said in an interview that his client had done nothing wrong.

‘œHe’™s not going to plead to something that he didn’™t do,’ Breen said.

The case against Kerik that federal prosecutors are preparing could generate uncomfortable political attention for Giuliani because it focuses on Kerik’™s activities while the two men were in government together and were jointly running Giuliani-Kerik, which was paid millions of dollars for advising upstart companies, doing federal work and consulting with clients overseas.

Here’™s one more instance when Mr. Guiliani didn’™t get that divorce soon enough. I guess Mr. Kerik won’™t be taking a cabinet appointment in any future Guilinai Administration. Neither will his latest wife.

Saturday, March 31st, 2007 by Richard Blair |

Impersonate Cheney, Get Tasered

I was borderline with this one – post it on the front page, or put it in the ASZ community forums ‘œTin Foil Hat’ zone. But it’™s a bit of a strange story, and even with the obvious snicker factor, there’™s a darker side’

STAMFORD, CT – Police said officers were patrolling Long Beach after [...]

Commentary By: Richard Blair

I was borderline with this one – post it on the front page, or put it in the ASZ community forums ‘œTin Foil Hat’ zone. But it’™s a bit of a strange story, and even with the obvious snicker factor, there’™s a darker side’

STAMFORD, CT – Police said officers were patrolling Long Beach after 10 p.m. when they spotted John Spernak parked in a 1994 Cadillac Eldorado. Officers approached the car when it suddenly took off at high speed, police said. The car traveled along Main Street, exceeding 90 mph. At Blakeman Place, the Cadillac crashed into the driver’™s side of a patrol car, and then kept going, police said.

Police said Spernak eventually pulled into his own driveway on Meadow Street. But even then, they said, he refused to get out of the car, forcing an officer to shock him with a stun gun so that he could be placed in handcuffs.

Spernak, 42, of Meadow Street, claimed during his arrest to be Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as the husband of Nicky Hilton, sister of pop celebrity Paris Hilton, police said. He was charged with attempted first-degree assault, engaging police in a pursuit, reckless driving, criminal mischief, interfering with police and being in a town park after dark.

While in custody, police said, Spernak admitted he wasn’™t Cheney, but rather Jaclyn Smith, former star of the television show ‘œCharlie’™s Angels.’ He was taken to Bridgeport Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation’

Ok, that’™s enough snark. The guy is obviously a nutcase, but I still have a real problem with the incident behind this story.

Granted, he hit a cop car in his getaway attempt. Still, the suspect is surrounded, trapped in his car, parked in his driveway, and there ain’™t no way out. And then the cops decide to taser him??

167 people have been killed while being tasered by police since 1999, according to this 2006 report. Recommended police protocol dictates that tasers are only supposed to be used when either a police officer or someone else is in potential danger, and all other methods of physically subduing a suspect (short of deadly force) have been exhausted.

Still, some people would say that getting tasered is better than meeting up with the real Cheney while he’™s toting a shotgun’

Friday, March 30th, 2007 by Richard Blair |
Category: Weird

White House Easter Egg Hunt

My Goodness!

Thanks Phil!

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

My Goodness!

Thanks Phil!

Friday, March 30th, 2007 by Richard Blair |
Category: Humor

War on Easter Has Started

The Catholic League is up in arms about a work of art set to go on display this Monday in New York, a statue of Jesus at the crucifixion. So what’™s to object to? Well, artist Cosimo Cavallaro has used milk chocolate as his medium for the life-sized sculpture, and he’™s not given [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The Catholic League is up in arms about a work of art set to go on display this Monday in New York, a statue of Jesus at the crucifixion. So what’™s to object to? Well, artist Cosimo Cavallaro has used milk chocolate as his medium for the life-sized sculpture, and he’™s not given Jesus any clothes. There’™s a picture on Cosimo’™s web site ‘” yes, a frontal view. The story is by the AP, via the Daily News, and here’™s the squawking by the Catholic League:

‘œThis is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever,’ said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group. ‘œIt’™s not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing’”to choose Holy Week is astounding.’

. . .

He called for an economic boycott of the hotel, which he described as ‘œalready morally bankrupt.’

The gallery where the six foot tall anatomically correct chocolate Jesus is being shown is located in a hotel. So the Catholic League is going after the hotel, not the gallery.

What the heck. I’™m thinking the whole time I’™m writing this that ‘œJesus’™ Chocolate Penis’ would make a great name for a band.

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

Underdog wins the day

It’™s sounds like something straight out of a Grisham novel. A poor, down-on-his-luck schmuck gets busted by the feds. With the help of only an assistant public defender, the poor guy goes up against the enire U.S. government and walks away scot free. Except the poor schmuck in question is Walter Anderson, a multimillionaire many [...]

Commentary By: Gloria

It’™s sounds like something straight out of a Grisham novel. A poor, down-on-his-luck schmuck gets busted by the feds. With the help of only an assistant public defender, the poor guy goes up against the enire U.S. government and walks away scot free. Except the poor schmuck in question is Walter Anderson, a multimillionaire many times over, who plead guilty to hiding $450 million offshore.

H/T to Buzzflash.

Telecommunications entrepreneur Walter Anderson pled guilty to tax evasion, but U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said the binding plea agreement listed the wrong statute. This problem could have been overcome had prosecutors not failed to include any discussion of probation as is routine in such deals.

Because of the technicality, Judge Friedman said, ‘œI’™ve come to the conclusion, very reluctantly, that I have no authority to order restitution. . . . This is a very poorly drafted agreement.’

The case was prosecuted by the office of the interim U.S. Attorney for D.C., Jeffrey A. Taylor. Taylor was appointed directly by Attorney General Gonzales without Senate confirmation in November 2006 under a provision of the Patriot Act that Congress has recently voted to reverse.

That’™s right, the taxpayers ponied up for this guy’™s defense and due to an *ahem* epic blunder, cannot recoup at least $100 million bucks in restitution. It’™s a good thing Gonzo’™s Purgegate put someone in place who could do such a heckuva job on a slam dunk case. This one really stands out amongst the countless reverse Robin Hoods the Bush administration has pulled off.

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

MC Rove and the Media Elites

(The title of this post is from a forthcoming seminal hip-hop album’¦)

/wp/

Today is one of those days when I wish I could just follow the trails where they lead (there’™s so damn many of them’¦anyway, I’™ll be trying to cover a few in the coming days). Alas, time is short. As such, here’™s a few quick hits:

  • Anyone want to pay me $300,000 to blog? Fer cripes sake, maybe I can get a reference in a speech that Bush makes. (Much more coming on this topic shortly – but you might have to wait a day or two. Trust me – this has the potential for being the next AttorneyGate.)
  • Speaking of AttorneyGate, Kyle Sampson is spilling his guts today in congressional testimony. I’™ll let the big boy bloggers cover this one as it happens – but will have some commentary later.
  • And here’™s the real reason I even wrote this post. This time last year, Stephen Colbert was getting roasted for roasting Gee Dub at the annual gathering of the Washington press corpse. The 2007 annual dinner was held last night, and of course, McFlightsuit had some pithy words of wisdom and humor:

    .

    ‘œA year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone,’

    President Bush said Wednesday night during the annual gathering.

    ‘œAh,’ he said, ‘œthose were the good ol’™ days.’

    But wait – there’™s more. You want to know why the elite Washington press corpse just can’™t seem to remove their suction cups from the Bush regime? It’™s events like the correspondent’™s dinner. Where else are you going to see something like this from Karl Rove? (Surgeon General’™s Warning: please – before viewing, have eyewash and brain bleach available.)

Must. Wash. Brain.

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |
Category: General

He’s a Lousy Leader

That’™s good enough reason for Alberto Gonzales to resign. He evidently had a closed door meeting in Chicago with Federal prosecutors. The meeting was hosted by Patrick Fitzgerald, and was attended by US Attorneys from the region. The NYTimes article indicates that the prosecutors at the meeting did not make it comfortable [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

That’™s good enough reason for Alberto Gonzales to resign. He evidently had a closed door meeting in Chicago with Federal prosecutors. The meeting was hosted by Patrick Fitzgerald, and was attended by US Attorneys from the region. The NYTimes article indicates that the prosecutors at the meeting did not make it comfortable for Mr. Gonzales. They are evidently miffed about some personnel issues. . . but also about some decisions where they weren’™t even consulted. I love the way in which Mr. Gonzales reportedly responded, that he wasn’™t even aware of the policy decision. That’™s become a standard for the Bush White House, to deny knowledge of anything, even if it is an important part of their duties.

Yes, he is a lousy leader.

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

Religious Oppression?

A student, Bryan Killian, in North Buncombe, NC, has been suspended from his school for wearing the costume required by his religion. No, he was not wearing a yamulke, nor the plain clothes of the Amish. He was wearing a pirate costume. He claims to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Since [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

A student, Bryan Killian, in North Buncombe, NC, has been suspended from his school for wearing the costume required by his religion. No, he was not wearing a yamulke, nor the plain clothes of the Amish. He was wearing a pirate costume. He claims to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Since this is not a dedicated link, I’™m going to heavily quote the article:

A North Buncombe student is suspended for wearing pirate attire to class. The school says he created a disturbance. But Bryan Killian says costume is part of his religion, Pastafarianism, and that the suspension is the school’™s way of violating his first amendment rights.

. . .

Officials at North Buncombe say their decision to suspend Killian for one day had nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs. In a statement, Buncombe County Schools say, ‘œ’¦clothes and items that are deemed to be inappropriate or disruptive to classroom instruction are prohibited.’ School administrators also say he ignored repeated warnings about his attire, and they had no choice but suspend him.

First they come for the Bong Hits 4 Jesus guy, then they come for the kid who believes in the FSM. Almost brings me to tears. . . or perhaps it is time to break out in song?!?!?!

Yo Ho

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’™s life for me.

We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

We kidnap and ravage and don’™t give a hoot,

Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’™s life for me.

We extort, we pilfer, we filch, and sack,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

Maraud and embezzle, and even high-jack,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’™s life for me.

We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

We burn up the city, we’™re really a fright,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

We’™re rascals, scoundrels, villans, and knaves,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

We’™re devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,

Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.

You can vote on whether you agree with Bryan’™s suspension. The latest polling shows 88% of respondents think the North Buncombe school did NOT take the appropriate action in Bryan’™s case. On a side note, the SpinDentist is NOT convinced that this is the same Bryan Killian who is Justice Scalia’™s clerk. The ages of the Bryans certainly don’™t match. But that sure would be ironic. . .

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

King Abdullah Vs. Pres. Bush!

This sounds like a Big Time Wrestling match! King Abdullah, wearing his white robes and dyed black goatee, and George Bush in his suit with baby blue tie! Bring it ON!

Abdullah announced today that Bush’™s actions in Iraq were ILLEGAL!

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the [...]

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

This sounds like a Big Time Wrestling match! King Abdullah, wearing his white robes and dyed black goatee, and George Bush in his suit with baby blue tie! Bring it ON!

Abdullah announced today that Bush’™s actions in Iraq were ILLEGAL!

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq is ‘œillegal,’ and he warned that unless Arab governments settle their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’™s politics.

The king’™s speech, at the opening of the Arab League summit meeting here, underscored growing differences between Saudi Arabia and the Bush administration as the Saudis take on a greater regional leadership role, partly at American urging. The Saudis seem to be emphasizing that they will not be beholden to the policies of their longtime ally.

Remember, he’™s a supposed ally. With allies like that, Bush might want to start talking to Nancy Pelosi.

Edit 4:30 am: It seems that King Abdullah has also canceled out on a state dinner Bush was hosting for him. It was to have been held two weeks from now. Read about it in Jim Hoagland’™s column.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 by Richard Blair |
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