Important Admin Note

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Commentary By: Richard Blair

Sitemeter, which is the service that we use to track traffic on ASZ, is having a nervous breakdown today. Anyone visiting ASZ using Internet Explorer over the past several hours has been receiving an error due to a broken Sitemeter script on their server. This problem does not occur in Firefox. We’ve removed the offending code from ASZ, and will reinstall when the folks at Sitemeter get the problem fixed.

Note to Blogmasters: If you use Sitemeter, you’re having the same problem. Simply remove the Sitemeter code from your blog, and the issue will go away.

Note to Zonebots: If you’re still using IE, do you need another reason to switch to Firefox? Why not download and install it today? Browse happy…

Update, 8/3: The problem at Sitemeter has been resolved. All is well in blogtopia (and yes, Skippy coined that phrase).

h/t to Case Wagenvoord for the head’s up! I would have never noticed the problem, because I use Firefox…

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin

Admin Note: Server Issues

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Commentary By: Richard Blair

We’ve had some site performance issues over the past week, and have been working with our host provider to resolve. If you receive a “CPU Exceeded” error page, wait a few minutes and try again. The problem has been isolated to an issue with the CPU usage monitoring software on our server. A patch is being installed to resolve the issue, and hopefully the updates will be completed sometime this evening.

Apologies for any inconvenience!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin

Stampeded by Fear, Scammed by Lies: The Bailout and the Bush Credibility

Republicans defeated the bailout measure in the House yesterday, and not satsfied with throwing the nation into turmoil, they lied about it, whining about being insulting and then placing the blame on those who voted for the bill, the Democrats.


Commentary By: Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

The Republican leaders of the House of Representatives grabbed a half dozen bags of sincerity, looked directly into every TV camera they could find, and lied.

The House had just defeated, 228–205, a bupartisan $700 billion bailout bill. But it was the Democrats who were the subject of vicious rhetoric.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “poisoned our conference,” screeched Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Republican minority leader. He said the House would have voted for the bill “had it not been for the partisan speech the Speaker gave on the floor of the House.” Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) specifically said that Pelosi’s speech changed the minds of about a dozen Republicans who voted against the bill. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), waving a copy of Pelosi’s speech, screamed out, “Here is the reason I believe why this vote failed!” The speech, he said, “frankly struck the tone of partisanship that frankly was inappropriate in this discussion.” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior advisor to Sen. John McCain, was equally blunt–and equally wrong. The bailout failed, he said, because “Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.”

But it wasn’t the Democrats who brought about the bill’s defeat. The Democrats voted 140–95 for the bill; the Republicans voted 133–65 against the bill. Sen. Barack Obama supported the bill; Sen. John McCain didn’t seem to take a strong position either way. Nevertheless, the viciously partisan Republican leadership, eager to paint anything Democratic as vicious partisanship, couldn’t even get a majority of their own members to agree to the bailout, one that now had added protections for the taxpayer.

What infuriated the Republican leaders was Pelosi’s accurate portrayal of the Bush–Cheney Administration’s economic policies as “built on recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision and no disciple in the system.” While driving America into the deepest deficit in its history, the Administration had usurped its own campaign lies that breathlessly panted the fear that the enemies of American consumers are “tax-and-spend liberals,” as if it was one word.

There are several reasons why this version of the bailout failed. Every member of the House is facing re-election in less than six weeks, and their constituents are angry. They’re angry at the government’s lack of oversight and regulation, supported and encouraged by Bush and McCain, that helped bring about the crisis. They’re angry at the failing mega-mammoth financial institutions that sacrificed the middle class to a horde of unbridled greed and incompetence. They’re angry at corporate executives who make millions while their companies are failing, and then get multi-million dollar “golden parachutes” that let them float into retirement, while the average taxpayer’s 401(k), with only a few thousand dollars may now be worth only half what it once was. They’re angry at “house flippers,” aided by easy-to-get mortgages and some unscrupulous real estate brokers, who made minor fortunes and helped raise housing prices to the point where middle-class families could no longer afford to own a home in an economy that was being held up by toothpicks.

But, most of all, consumers and members of Congress are furious at President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and their Neocon gaggle who no longer have credibility. For seven years, the Bush–Cheney Administration has used fear as a bargaining weapon.

Six weeks after 9/11, the U.S. had the PATRIOT Act, a 342-page law, which few members of Congress read before voting for it, that pretending to stop terrorists essentially stripped much of our constitutional protections. And the people and their elected leaders agreed to it.

Using the tactics of fear, the Bush–Cheney Administration lied to the people, almost abandoned the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and invaded Iraq, which had no connection to 9/11. And the people and their elected leaders agreed to it.

For the morally bankrupt Bush Corp., dissent is unpatriotic, un-American, and maybe even treasonous. “You’re either with us or against us,” President Bush told Americans. Because the people didn’t want to be seen as opposed to America, they and their leaders agreed to being bullied. “Support the troops,” Bush told Americans, but meant “Support me and my policies.” And Americans didn’t want to be seen as not supporting America’s soldiers, even if the Bush–Cheney Administration, didn’t give the troops pay raises, adequate body armor or medical care.

We are, said the Bush–Cheney Administration, “compassionate conservatives.” But, Katrina put an end to that lie.

This is an Administration that believes the environment is important only if it doesn’t interfere with private business. For years, Bush said he believed global warming doesn’t exist, and if it does it wasn’t caused by mankind. Only under the crushing weight of scientific evidence did Bush reluctantly have to modify his beliefs.

Almost eight years of incompetence and lies, with the President’s credibility lower than that of Three-Card Monty dealers in New York City, led Americans to finally realize they have been scammed. Bush had cried out “fear” once too often.

But, it wasn’t the PATRIOT Act, the Iraq War, or the destruction of the environment that brought about the people’s anger. It was their self-interest. In Bush’s Wild West economy, Americans have seen inflation, increased unemployment, foreclosures, and bankruptcies; they have seen their retirement plans dwindle in the vapors of economic chaos. The vote against the bailout was simply political reality by members of Congress who no longer were about to be stampeded by fear, scammed by lies, and whose own self-interest is to be re-elected.

[Walter Brasch's latest book is the second edition of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (November 2007), available through amazon.com, bn.com, and other bookstores. You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com]

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 by Walter Brasch |

ASZ: Live at the Democratic National Convention

ASZ’s Daniel DiRito will be reporting next week from the Democratic National Convention. We have some exciting plans in the works, including live interactive blogging and video/audio streams of floor interviews and convention activities. We’re stoked…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

This is a pretty exciting announcement, on several levels.

Starting Monday, 8/25, All Spin Zone’s Daniel DiRito (who is also the blogmaster at Thought Theater) will be covering the Democratic National Convention live from Denver as a credentialed blogger.

“So what?”, you might ask. “You won’t be able to swing a dead cat and not hit a blogger at the convention.”

Here’s what. We’ve been testing some bleeding edge technology that promises to push the boundaries of live web coverage capabilities, including an interactive live blogging interface (yes, ASZ readers get to participate also) and a live, streaming audio / video feed of Daniel as he works the convention floor, conducts interviews, and gives us his impressions of the proceedings. We’ve been blown away by the capabilities of the technology, and think that you will be, as well.

Complete details will be rolled out in the next couple of days, but suffice it to say that it will be difficult to find a more personal (and non-corporate media controlled) source of independent convention coverage on the web than you’ll get next week on ASZ.

In between Daniel’s live coverage stints, Steven and I will be offering our own commentary on convention developments and other news of the day. It looks to be an exciting week, so we hope you’ll bookmark ASZ and join us as the festivities unfold!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Associated Press and ASZ Linking Policy

Due to the Associated Press harassment of bloggers, ASZ will no longer link to or cite Associated Press stories, nor link to their media partners.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

It seems that the Associated Press has started targeting bloggers for linking to or excerpting stories published under an AP byline. Fine and dandy. I guess it keeps their lawyers busy, no matter how specious the DMCA filings against an individual blogger might be. Fair use is fair use, and what the AP did in their heavy-handed demand for removal of references to seven AP stories on Drudge Retort was just flat out wrong, ill advised, and little more than general cyber harassment.

Henceforth, ASZ will join other major left (and right) wing blogs in not linking to any story from the Associated Press, either directly or at one of their media partner sites. Additionally, unless absolutely necessary (because no other source is available), ASZ will not excerpt nor cite from any AP article.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause our readers.

Monday, June 16th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin,Blogging

I Will be Absent, But McCain is a Putz

I will be taking my weekends at the Jersey shore, but John McCain is still a putz, and he’s going to prove that over and over again while I’m out. Please be sure to enjoy McCain shooting himself in the foot in the meanitme.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Yes, I will not be posting on the weekends most of this summer, due to enjoying the sunshine on the New Jersey coast.

Alas, that means I will not comment on John McCain’s lack of follow through on his promise to refrain from ugly campaigning. I suspect you folks can do without my snark.

But if you can’t do without my snark, then I suggest you take a look at the folks who are hesitant, to say the least, at supporting John McCain. That would be the Christian conservatives who are worried about a McCain candidacy. That might be a fun read for you all.

I’ll see you all on Monday.

Friday, June 13th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

When the Heart Stops Beating…

I got nuthin’ right now.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

It’s been a long and winding road for me here on All Spin Zone. There have been times in the past five years when I’ve been energized beyond all belief. This is not one of them.

I’m going to be taking a break from blogging on ASZ. That doesn’t mean I’m disappearing completely, as I’ll still be reading every day, maintaining the behind-the-scenes infrastructure and might even chime in on an occasion or two with a post, if something really moves me.

At this present time, I’m having a hard time revving up the passion for politics. It’s not that I don’t care. Gawd, I hope longtime readers of ASZ know better. I’m just tired , bone weary tired right now, of fighting against a rising tide of general public indifference as our government continues the drift toward authoritarianism. It’s also clear that the infrastructure supporting this drift toward authoritarianism has become so firmly entrenched over the past several years that no presidential candidate, Dem or GOP, is going to be able to successfully dismantle the neocon wet dream that Dick Cheney’s crew has created.

As many of our readers are no doubt aware, I’m also quite put off by the ridiculous level of acrimony that has developed in the progressive blogosphere this year. I have an operating theory on what has actually happened to cause the acrimony – call it GOP COINTELPRO, if you’d like – but whatever the root cause, there is no joy for me at the moment in political blogging. Like I said in the slug for this post : I got nothin’ to bring to the table right now.

So until someone (or some event) can bring in a virtual defibrillator, and jump start my political heart again, I’ll be taking time off from front page blogging. Over to you, Steven and Daniel!

Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin

PSSD, an Internet Curmudgeon, Died May 10

This is about a man I only knew on a message board over the internet, yet I know him to be far more than his curmudgeonly demeanor. Andrew contributed to causes and complained about his ex-wives, but the reaction to his passing, emotion from those in his real life and in his online life, tells us something about the future of politics.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

A friend of mine died in the last week. His name was Andrew Seltzer. But I never knew Andrew/Andy in real life. I only knew him online. Andy and I met at the Philadelphia Eagles Message Board, where he went by “Pssd” and I go by “Stingo.” Andy’s passing is not political, not in any direct sense, but it connects to the history of this blog. You see, the Philadelphia Eagles Message Board is in some ways the birthplace of this Blog, lo those many years ago. If the closing of Whiskey Bar was the mother of All Spin Zone, then the Philadelphia Eagles Message Board, where Richard Blair and I met, is certainly ASZ’s father. And there was no better and kinder, yet curmudgeonly cuss, on the Philadelphia Eagles Message Board than Andrew Seltzer, “Pssd.”

Andrew died on May 10th here in PA. One of the people on the Eagles Message Board (she goes by “wegotfive”) noticed Andy hadn’t posted in a while, and she tried everything she knew to find out about Andrew. She finally checked the Inquirer obits. (The online guest book updates slowly, but you’ll find many of those from the EMB signed in in the next couple days.)

It is odd in this day of the communication revolution that we sometimes find ourselves bonding with those we’ve never met and have only read. On this blog I can think of many I’ve conversed with, shared trials and tribulations with. That’s what the comment section is for, if not just for allowing people to express their political opinions. It makes us into a community. And while the passing of my friend brings up little in the way of a political discussion, I wonder.

How are our politics changing through these innertubes we use to get our political opinions out there? My wife and I are house hunting lately, and one of the chief criteria we are after is to move into a community where there’s genuine neighborliness. The passing of Pssd, and the welling of support on the Philadelphia Eagles Message Board, where dozens of people are writing about how deeply Andrew’s life enriched theirs, is an example, profound, of online neighborliness. As an online neighbor, Pssd might have given himself the persona of the old guy who yells at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn, but I know of many instances where he’s sent an unsolicited check to help out. Yes, online neighborliness it is. On a stupid football team message board? Well, I’m thinking the true politics of community depends upon us effecting the lives of others, on our abilities to effect their emotions, more specifically. Sometimes my opinion about my writing on here, and how it effects others, is that I’m farting in a hurricane with my words. From here on out I’ll know that there is a strong effect that comes from words on the internet. We are connected in far more significant ways than we give credit.

Here’s to you, Andrew Seltzer. I prefer to know you as Pssd. Thank you for your words, for your crusty, old man persona, and thanks for your generosity. Know this, Pssd, however and wherever you are. You touched many with stupid little words tapped out on a keyboard, and while they are in sorrow now, they are clearly for the better because of your words.

Monday, May 19th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

Brother (or Sister), Can You Spare A Dime?

ASZ’s Exxon-a-thon continues…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Just a reminder that ASZ’s first fund raiser in a long, long time continues through Friday, 5/9, and there’s a lot of swag and premiums to be had for your contribution.

Writing for and maintaining All Spin Zone is mostly a labor of progressive passion and bad habit, and we hope that both of these attributes are reflected in what you read here every day. Love and addiction, though, don’t pay the dedicated server hosting bills or address the critical need for a new computer (on my part).

The liberal blogosphere simply doesn’t have the infrastructure of financial support that props up a lot of right wing blogs. That’s why some of the absolutely best progressive blogs have had to fold up the tent over the past few years. We don’t plan on going anywhere, but we could still use your help. Please think of your support in those terms: an investment in a small part of a larger liberal continuum.

And we’ll show our appreciation for your assistance! We’ve accumulated a lot of nice, progressive swag over the nearly five years that we’ve been online, and we want to share some of the stuff we’ve collected with our readers. In return for your contribution (however modest or whatever you can afford) we’ll send you a token of our appreciation – and if your gift is over $50, you get to choose from some great, progressive reading out of our vast library.

So, please, consider a one time donation or a recurring subscription to All Spin Zone. In these tough economic times, we understand if you’re tapped out, and wouldn’t ask anyone to extend themselves. However, if you’re able to contribute a few bucks to support the site, we’d really appreciate it.

Thanks!

Monday, May 5th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Category: Admin,Blogging

The Switzerland of the Candidate Wars

There are very few progressive websites where one can escape the candidate wars between the Clinton and Obama camps (and their supporters). The war of words has become stupid, vicious, and destructive on so many levels. ASZ strives to be a neutral site in the Dem candidate wars – simply because all of us have bigger fish to fry (and indict) once a Dem president is sworn in, whoever he or she may be.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Swiss FlagJust as a refresher, I’m the blogmaster at ASZ.

On quite a few occasions, I’ve intimated that All Spin Zone will remain neutral in the candidate wars between the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and avoid the vitriol that’s being passed between supporters of either candidate. In fact, I’m exercising a pretty strong editorial hand in ensuring that we’re able to retain a modicum of neutrality. The bottom line remains that there is a true evil among us, and this evil doesn’t carry the surname of Clinton or Obama.

Early on in the Democratic Party nominating process, the contributors to ASZ agreed to endorse Sen. John Edwards, and I’d like to think that we continue to espouse the ideals that he brought to the table, even though he’s long departed the race.

How many times can it be said that either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama are head and shoulders above what the GOP is offering in John McCain? Over the past few months, I’ve watched as the progressive blogosphere has turned itself upside down – friendships and alliances have been torn apart – and it’s all to air grievances (to the delight of the GOP, I might add) that, in the big scheme of things, are truly minimalist. Here are a few examples of the parity between the candidates on issues that matter:

Both Obama and Clinton see the need for dramatic changes to healthcare provision in the U.S.

Check.

Both Clinton and Obama want to find an honorable (and short term) way out of the quagmire in Iraq.

Check.

Both Obama and Clinton recognize that working class Americans (irrespective of race) are being squeezed by the mortgage and credit crisis that was largely brought on by a corporatist GOP.

Check.

Both Clinton and Obama understand the necessity of increasing education opportunities for all Americans, and have pledged to increase educational funding, government supported grants, and a reduction in debt load for graduating students.

Check.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of agreement between the two candidates. I am personally conflicted that the issues which bring progressives together as a voting block can be absolutely destroyed by what I perceive (and flame me for this if you must) as petty bickering over absolute nonsense.

The GOP has taken an insider’s track this year in trying to blow up the Democratic Party nominating process. A moment’s worth of critical analysis would easily lead just about any clear thinking progressive to the conclusion that much of the discontent that is being fomented within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has Rovian fingerprints all over it.

You say you don’t want politics as usual? Well, that’s exactly what hyperpartisanship plays into. Think about it.

I mean, there was a time in the not too distant past where I was on the fence about supporting Ron Paul. And why? Simply because Dr. Paul represented a total step change in thinking about how the country is being run. This doesn’t mean that I support the vast majority of Ron Paul’s views – to the contrary – it’s just that we can not afford another four years of congressional gridlock, internecine political in-fighting, and stagnation in addressing the core issues that confront this country.

You want real change? Someone like Ron Paul represents real change. You might not agree with him on the issues, but you have to agree that President Ron Paul would turn things upside down inside the I-495 beltway. The three candidates remaining in the major party races will not. So, don’t tell me that if you support Hillary, you support “change”. Or if you support Barack, that he’s the best change agent around. Neither is the case. Both Clinton and Obama would work within the framework of what they know: Washington politics. Both Obama and Clinton would try to bridge an unbridgable chasm between the left and right. And in the end, the proposals that both of them are backing do not ultimately represent a complete paradigm shift in the political status quo.

That being said, I’m willing to concede that either Clinton or Obama would at least get the rock moving in an uphill direction. But “change agents”? Nah. Neither of them. The real change agent would come out and say:

“I’m not thinking in terms of eight years. I’ll be lucky to finish four. There’s simply too much to repair after decades of mismanagement by a corporate sponsored Republican Party. I’m not naive enough to believe that those who oppose me in either the Democratic or Republican parties are going to be happy with my leadership. But lead, I will. And by God, I will stay true to my personal values whether popular or not, and goddamit, things are going to change. Here’s how…”

I’ve seen neither the Obama or Clinton campaign express this level of fire in the belly. Whichever candidate comes out of the nominating process as the Democratic standard bearer, they’d better be ready to adopt this radical approach. Because if they don’t, John McCain will be the next President of the United States. Hell, Dems might not even retain control of congress in such a scenario.

ASZ is not a pro-Obama or pro-Clinton site, and I’ve made that clear privately to all of the contributors to these pages, and now I’m making it publicly crystal clear to our readers. ASZ is a site dedicated to exposure of a criminal, corporatist-owned, war mongering, sexually hypocritical Grand Old Party, and the advancement of a progressive agenda. Quite simply, this means winning: beating any Republican at the ballot box, from local dog catcher all the way up the ticket to President of the United States.

Anyone not behind this single-minded cause, regardless of who the Dem nominee happens to be, deserves whatever they get on the back end.

Cripes, I don’t even want to think about it.

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
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