Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pig Trough

GOP proponents of a California ballot initiative to end the state's winner-take-all method of apportioning electoral votes have raised roughly $539,000 in the past two weeks, according to a campaign finance report filed Tuesday afternoon.

The half-million-dollar haul represents approximately one-quarter of the $2 million that supporters of the proposal said last week they would need to qualify the politically-charged initiative for the California ballot in 2008.

Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist coordinating opposition to the proposal, said the new donations reflect "just how desperate Republicans are when it comes to 2008 and just how far they are willing to go to try to keep their death grip on power."

The Republican proposal would upend the method of apportioning California's 55 electoral votes, moving from a winner-take-all system based on the popular vote to one that awards one vote for each congressional district a candidate wins.

Such a plan would alter the political geography of the current presidential contest, shifting as many as 20 consistently Democratic electoral votes that come from safe Republican districts into the GOP column.

In late September, political observers declared the proposal virtually dead after the original consultants running the campaign resigned amid allegations that it was a front for the presidential campaign of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

According to disclosure forms filed Tuesday with the California Secretary of State by the group California Counts, which is now pushing the initiative, the state's Republican Party provided the single biggest donation to revive the proposal.

A spokesman for the state party said the $80,000 donation on the group's disclosure forms represents an in-kind contribution, but that the party would be evaluating whether to give more in the coming weeks.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a wealthy San Diego County Republican, was one of several individuals who contributed $50,000 to the revived proposal. Issa's campaign committee also donated $9,700 to California Counts.

Issa has a history of supporting contentious electoral measures in the Golden State. In 2003 he helped bankroll the recall election that saw former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis turned out of office and replaced with current GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Other prominent donors who have donated $50,000 include former Univision CEO Jerrold Perenchio and Orange County Businessman Duane Roberts.


Probably not an issue for most of you non-Cali folks but this clearly shows how desperate the repugs are getting and no less than the king of dirty tricks and manipulation, Darrell Issa is right in the middle. Itsa is a total nazi prick that has no business being anywhere in government with his BS games. "For the people", idiot not the rich repugs only. Always taking, never giving. At least the dummies will be pissing their money down the drain cause the people here are not as stoopid as he is and will never approve the measure. HA!

(Oh yea, Issa is the one on the right in the pic)



micki said...

Qatar contract offers glimpse into Guiliani firm

In state elections, the Virginia lege went over to the Dems.

In our state R-67 wins. Yippee!

micki said...

Den sez: Probably not an issue for most of you non-Cali folks...

Den -- That is an issue for all of us! Apportioning the electoral votes in California by district has the potential of deciding who's the next president.

With Rudy Mussolini behind it, you know it's not good.

micki said...

Man, that apportioning thingie scares me.

The backers are paying the signature gatherers $3.75 a signature.

Money talks. Some young people who are working to gather the signatures have said they are doing it only for the dough.

micki said...

Den -- What's the scuttlebutt on what Gov Arnie thinks of this?

If he decides to publicly back it, I bet it passes. (Assuming it gets on the ballot.)

If Arnie backs it, he can get his puss on TV FREE and talk it up.

Maybe the answer is to abolish the Electoral College!

micki said...

In the Texas Panhandle, just two people were eligible to vote to confirm the creation of a freshwater supply district in Roberts County that would help billionaire Boone Pickens deliver water to growing North Texas communities.

The two voters? Pickens' ranch manager and his wife.

micki said...

An example of why he California ballot initiative scares me...of course, people in California aren't as easily duped as some are in Texas. (No offense to Texans, Alan!!!!)

In Dallas, the grassroots effort to remove the high-speed multilane highway from a huge urban planning project was the highlight of the special-election ballot, sparking a knock-down, drag-out campaign fight, complete with flashy TV and radio ads, bitter debates and a catchy rap song.

The nature of the referendum makes for a confusing ballot. Voting yes was a vote to get rid of the toll road. Voting no was to keep it.

Both sides reached out to voters through mailers, yard signs, radio and TV ads, billboards and public events.

Proponents of the Trinity River Corridor plan, toll road and all, included Leppert, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and 13 of the Dallas City Council's 14 members. The one holdout on the council was Hunt, who emerged as the face of the opposition.

DEN said...

The nature of the referendum makes for a confusing ballot. Voting yes was a vote to get rid of the toll road. Voting no was to keep it.

This practice needs to be outlawed!

No means yes and vice-versa is a sucker bet to deceive and as such should be illegal.

More than likely there was a repug behind that trying to game the system as usual.

Cannot win fair and square?

Alan said...

I haven't been keeping up that much today, but I'm betting y'all have heard about THIS!

ACLU Learns of Third Secret Torture Memo by Gonzales Justice Department

Group Presses for Release of Memos in Pending Lawsuit; Hearing Scheduled for November 13

NEW YORK – Legal papers filed in federal court Monday in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations disclose that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for the Department of Justice issued three secret memos in May 2005 relating to the interrogation of detainees in CIA custody. Until now, the existence of only two of those memos had been reported and it was not known precisely when the memos had been written. The memos are believed to have authorized the CIA to use extremely harsh interrogation methods including waterboarding.

"These torture memos should never have been written, and it is utterly unacceptable that the administration continues to suppress them while at the same time declaring publicly that it abhors torture," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. "It is now obvious that senior administration officials worked in concert over a period of several years to evade and violate the laws that prohibit cruelty and torture. Some degree of accountability is long overdue."

DEN said...

Dow down 360, dollar hits record low against the Euro, oil @98/barrel, gold at 833/oz.

Yup we are steaming right into economic oblivion at warp speed.

Alan said...

That oil price going up is directly related to all the talk of attacking Iran. It's common knowledge here in the oil patch. It's another pat on the back to dumbya from the oil execs. Anybody remember what the oil price was when Clinton left office? The shyt has more than TRIPLED since our idiot got selected preznit.

David B. Benson said...

Whaat, another letter?

Yes, another one. Here is the UCS sample, but I urge you to re-write as best expresses your (pissed-off) mood:

Dear Senators and Representative,

I urge you to support an energy bill that increases renewable
energy and fuel economy.

With natural gas prices expected to rise again this winter, and
the price of gasoline at record highs, we need an energy bill
that includes the House-passed 15 percent by 2020 renewable
energy standard and the Senate-passed 35 mile per gallon by 2020
fuel economy standard.

Increasing renewable energy and fuel economy standards would
save consumers like me money on our utility bills and at the
pump. New analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists
indicates that the 15 percent renewable standard would save U.S.
consumers between $13 billion and $18 billion in energy costs.
Increasing fuel economy standards would also save consumers $24
billion nationally, according to UCS.

Please support an energy bill that protects consumers and the


David B. Benson said...

Here is the cover letter part that Ben Larsen wrote:

Dear David,

This is it--after thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls
from UCS supporters like you, Congress is now finalizing the
energy bill. Urge your legislators to support a clean energy
bill that increases renewable energy and fuel economy standards.

According to new UCS analysis, if utilities are required to
produce 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources--like
the wind and sun--U.S. consumers would save between $13 billion
and $18 billion a year in energy costs. Combined with the $24
billion consumers would save nationally if Congress increased
fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon--this energy bill
could have a direct effect on your pocketbook!

Yet automakers, coal companies, and utilities are lobbying hard
to keep these consumer- and climate-friendly provisions out of
the energy bill. Please email your senators and tell them to
support an energy bill that saves consumers money and reduces
the risk of global warming.


Ben Larson
National Field Organizer
Clean Energy Program

DEN said...


Better get locking gas caps for your cars.

DEN said...

A 902-foot container vessel that hit a support tower on the center span of the Bay Bridge between Treasure Island and San Francisco Wednesday morning did not cause any apparent damage to the bridge, U.S. Coast Guard Officer Anya Hunter said.

The cargo ship from the Hanjin Shipping company hit part of the tower at about 8:30 a.m. and leaked oil into the water for about 30 minutes before ship operators transferred the oil to another part of the vessel, Hunter said.

@ NBC 11

Rookie driver????On a boatload of China crap.

David B. Benson said...

More important is to always lock your bike!

David B. Benson said...

Yourgrau doesn't pull any punches:

That Putin Feeling

Also, he'll get to vote against Charles Schumer next time...

micki said...

Alan -- from that link you provided about the 3rd torture memo:

The OLC memos – and the possibility of others that might remain unknown – take on particular meaning as the confirmation process continues today in Congress regarding the nomination of Michael Mukasey for attorney general. Mukasey has been the subject of intense criticism over his refusal to identify waterboarding as torture.

A hearing regarding the ACLU’s request for the release of OLC torture memos is scheduled for November 13, 2007 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in federal court in New York.


I wonder if the vote in the full Senate on Mukasey's nomination will be rammed through before the ACLU gets its hearing on November 13th!!!!!!!!!!

micki said...

Michael Mukasey's son (or is it step-son), Marc Mukasey is currently representing Giuliani Partners in the federal probe of Bernard Kerik, a onetime member of Mr. 9/11's firm.

Oh good, now we can rest assured that justice will prevail!

{ò,ó}arol said...

Our society is going crazy everywhere all at once. I saw this in the paper today. This kind of crap makes me see red. What's the matter with everyone!?!?!

People in this state are always screaming about taxes. We have the most people in prison of all the states, and we don't have enough kids finishing school or going on to college. Over something that is none of the school's business, they expelled kids that might not go back to school! That is exactly the opposite of what anyone wants.

They'll have to prove it to me that those kids were some kind of gang. *eye roll*

Gun photos get 5 expelled from Belleville High
Morning update

Associated Press

BELLEVILLE, Mich. - Five Belleville High School students have been expelled after photos of them with what appeared to be guns, drugs and piles of cash appeared on

The Ann Arbor News says two other students got eight- to 10-day suspensions.

Van Buren Public Schools Superintendent Pete Lazaroff says the photos shown on the social networking Web site were taken after a limo picked the students up from a school dance. He says he thinks the students had weapons at the homecoming dance.

Lazaroff says the students bragged they were members of a gang. He says there are grounds for discipline whether the guns were real or fake.

micki said...

One Small Step, No Giant Leap

Dr. B -- The above link is from Senator Bernie Sanders' website. Maybe I'm not remembering correctly, but I thought I read a day or so ago that he's pretty disappointed in the current version of the energy bill and will vote against it unless it's vastly improved.

Do you know how the bill stands as of today -- how far it goes, in essence?

I will write to my elected reps as you suggested. They just love hearing from me!

Gerald said...

I will be posting some articles for your reading if you want to read them.

Where peace is a matter of imagination

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

We are all living in an insane asylum

Gerald said...

The Warrior is the War

Gerald said...

Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- It is somewhat weaker than it should be, but it is already too strong for The Shrub.

Amendments may be added from the floor during the so-called debate.

If somehow this version is either not vetoed or enough Repugs can be convinced to override the veto, then it is better than nothing. A stronger bill can be passed once the Demogogs, er, Demorats, er, whatever are in power at the beginning of 2009.

Assuming the creek don't rise, that is...

Gerald said...

The Defining Moment of a Foolish Generation

Gerald said...

War Criminal

Gerald said...

More on War Criminality

Gerald said...

"In the man humiliated and defeated by torture we discover the Servant of Yahweh, Jesus who is crucified today, the prophet who denounces the personal and social sin of his time and ours, the Son of God dead and resurrected, present in every action which transforms History...

"Jesus is as present in the tortured today as He was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, and that presence effects the transformation of mere historical time into the Kingdom...And if to some extent we share the sufferings of the tortured, He who was tortured by Roman justice and nailed on the Cross accompanies us and we for our part accompany Him, because He identifies Himself with the tortured." - Torture and Eucharist.

In every Iraqi or other Muslim now being tortured to keep the rulers of this world safe, each Christian is being tortured because our Lord feels the pain of each of them as His own pain. May we have the faith to take some of His burden and love our brothers and sisters as He loves them.

DEN said...

Carol, I have to disagree with your thoughts on the Belleville bad boys.

What if they showed up with REAL guns at school and started shooting?

The side of caution is not a bad thing especially with so many bad boys in the streets that don't give a shit about anyone or anything.

They were right to suspend them, just hope they don't come back.

DEN said...

Angry youth and guns don't mix, somebody always dies.

micki said...

Den -- I think many parents would agree with you, too. There was a kid who was suspended from a high school recently that's in the same district as Columbine High School -- this kid was on MySpace with photos of him holding a handgun and one with him lying on the floor surrounded by nine rifles, with a caption about death and angels or something.

Parents called the school voicing concerns. Apparently the school poohbahs thought it was appropriate to take some disciplinary action.

I guess they remembered that one of the Columbine shooters had posted a threat on the Internet before he and his killing buddy gunned down and murdered 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide.

Those nice kids in Michigan probably won't mention their *boys will be boys* antics on their college applications! HA!

David B. Benson said...

Careful what you key:

Mark Klein to Senate: "Thet're doing a hugh, massive domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States

Think he is wrong?

David B. Benson said...

In case you are still stoked up:

Yesterday is a day that will live in infamy

I suppose if enough people complain to their senators often enough he might not be confirmed by the full senate?

DEN said...

Doc, Mark Klein was on KO tonite and said ATT had a splitter(that he hooked up) diverting data to the 'secret NSA room'that captured EVERY communication going through the entire United States, no provisions for just overseas traffic.

How bad do these thugs have to get before something is done?

If only we had a REAL Attorney General.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Much worse.

It's coming...

DEN said...

Micki, Columbine can and probably will happen again, too many poorly raised kids with bad ideas and guns.

DEN said...

Doc, what is 'it'?

Nazi death cult goon squads rounding up the intellectuals for extermination?

micki said...

I suppose if enough people complain to their senators often enough he might not be confirmed by the full senate?

I'd like to believe that's a possibility. But, we need to get some Repugs on board the no on confirmation wagon.

Is that even possible these days?

micki said...

Gerald's link referencing The Foolish Generation is worthy of a read -- but a very sad reminder of our decline.

micki said...

Well...his other links, too, but that one caught my attention.

Alan said...

Micki, I was at Fry's, an electronics store today. Checked out the new iMacs while I was there. The 20" looked cool, but I walked right past it to the 24". WOW! Awesome-looking machine. Little bitty thin keyboard though, that prolly takes some getting used to. I picked around on the machine, not really knowing much about OS 10. Clicked on iPhoto and was alla sudden looking at myself on the screen. The only hint of the built-in camera was a green dot at the top/middle of the screen. Opened "Garage Band" and probed around. haha
Although this picture doesn't do it justice, check it out here. With a 2.8 ghz core 2 duo chip, I bet it screams. If I had a spare $1800 lying around, I'd consider getting one... and of course use Boot Camp to load Windows XP on it as well.

micki said...

Alan, I know Fry's -- we don't have one in Bellingham, but there is one in Seattle, close to the Museum of Flight (but that's not the point.)

Anyway, it's funny you'd mention the iMac and its COST, because I happened to read this article @ this morning -- so here it is, for what it's worth (I'm the comptroller in the family, but I don't know shit from shinola as to the best prices for computers):

Once and for all, proof that Macs are cheaper than PCs

Let's put to rest the myth that an Apple computer will set you back more than a Windows PC. In fact, it'll cost you less.

By Farhad Manjoo

Nov. 07, 2007 |

It's time to buy an Apple computer. Indeed, it's been that time for the past five years, at least, but only now, slowly, are people waking up to this fact. Thanks to Apple's relentless flash -- the John Hodgman ads, the iPods, the iPhones -- its Macintosh business is now in league with that of the biggest PC companies in the world. Everyone who's used it agrees that Leopard, the operating system that Apple released late last month, is to its chief rival, Microsoft's Windows Vista, roughly as Richard Wagner is to Richard Marx. This simple truth is dawning: If we forget about computer-industry network effects and monopolistic business practices, if we forget Apple's various ancient missteps -- if we're going just by what's better -- the ages-old Mac-vs.-PC debate is over. Long over. Yell it from the rooftops: The Mac has won.

And yet, you're not buying an Apple computer. Most of the world isn't. There is probably a single overwhelming reason you're clinging to Windows. Macs are expensive. This is what you've been told, and in your research, it's seemed to check out. If they acknowledge it at all, Mac fans will rationalize the higher prices by noting that you're paying for quality. Buying a Mac, folks say, is like buying a BMW (Apple CEO Steve Jobs regularly compares the Mac's market share with that of German luxury cars). But what if you don't want the BMW of PCs? What if you can only afford a Chevrolet?

The present article is an attempt to prove to you that, on price alone, the Mac is not the BMW of computers. It is the Ford of computers. I am not arguing that the Mac is cheaper only if you consider the psychic benefits conferred by its quality. Rather I'm going to illustrate something more straightforward: Even though you may pay a slight premium at the cash register for a Mac over a comparable Windows PC (a premium that gets slighter all the time), it will cost you less money -- real, honest-to-goodness American dollars -- to own that Mac than to own that PC.

Why this should be has to do with an economic truth that has not recently mattered much in the computer industry, but that, in an age of eBay and unyielding obsolescence, is now crucial. It is resale value. Macs fetch far more on the aftermarket than do PCs -- and after years of use, you can offset that cash-register premium by selling your Mac for a better price than you could your PC.

Consider this example: Last Thanksgiving, you could have purchased a fairly well-outfitted Windows desktop -- the HP Pavilion Media Center A1640n -- on sale from some retail outlets for $699. The machine came with 2 gigabytes of memory, a 250 GB hard disk, and it ran on a quick 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Around the same time, you might instead have picked up Apple's top-of-the-line Mac Mini, which came equipped with a processor slightly less powerful than the HP's (a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo), a far smaller hard disk (80 GB), and less memory (512 MB). The Mac Mini would have set you back $799, or $100 more than the HP.

A good way to gauge the current market value of a computer is to check how much buyers have been willing to pay for similar models in auctions recently completed on eBay. Doing so for the HP shows prices ranging from $236 to $257 -- let's say a rough average of $250. Sales of the Mac Mini, meanwhile, go from about $445 to $550. Let's assume you can unload yours for $500.

If you used your HP for a year and then sold it, you would have spent $449 to own it -- that is, your purchase price of $699 minus your sale price of $250. The Mac Mini, for the same year, would have set you back far less: $799 minus $500, or just $299.

I ran such comparisons on many Windows and Mac systems sold during the past four years, and in nearly every one -- whether the machines were laptops or desktops -- the Macs sold by enough of a premium over comparable Windows machines to make up for the greater amount you would have paid when buying them.

In the spring of 2006, for instance, you could have purchased a nice Dell laptop -- the Inspiron E1505, with a 1.66 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of memory, and an 80 GB hard disk -- for $999 directly from Dell. At the time, Apple's roughly comparable entry-level MacBook -- 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 512 MB memory, a 60 GB disk -- went for $100 more, $1,099.

Even if you'd treated your machine very well, you'd be lucky to sell the Dell today for $550, while MacBooks have recently sold for $710, $740, $790, and even $800. It would, in other words, be a cinch to sell the MacBook for $100 more than the Dell Inspiron, thereby making up the purchase-price difference you paid earlier (and likely even beating it).

Apple fans have long understood the amazing resale value of their machines. Windows users, on the other hand, might be scratching their heads at my argument; in the Windows world, selling your computer (rather than recycling it) is almost unheard of. After just a year or two of use, a Windows machine gets so gummed up with spyware, viruses and other nasty stuff that it seems malicious to ask anybody for money for the thing.

When I say that it is time to consider buying an Apple computer, what I really mean is that it's time to consider that computers can live longer than what we in the Windows camp are used to. It's time to realize that a 2-, 3-, or even 4- or 5-year-old machine is still intrinsically useful -- if not to you then to someone else -- and you'd do well to take this value into consideration when choosing what to buy.

Last year, the Web entrepreneur Daniel Nissanoff published an intriguing book called "Future Shop," in which he argued that by making all goods more "liquid," eBay and other auction sites would profoundly revolutionize how we shop. The coming "auction culture," he writes, "will shake up the status quo by reshuffling brand values according to how well a product actually sells in the secondary market." Instead of choosing what to buy based on its price tag, we'll take into account "how much it will fetch on eBay next year, which corresponds to how much it will really cost you to own it up until then."

Tech geeks tend to purchase computers as if brands don't matter. As long as the specs are in order, they argue, you can buy a bargain-basement PC and rest assured that it'll work out for you -- the logo on the case doesn't mean a thing for how it runs.

Nissanoff's thesis -- not to mention the completed sales on eBay -- upturns this argument. Even for computers, brand matters. This week I compared prices of several machines from Dell, Gateway and other PC vendors against Apple's lineup of Macs. In most cases comparable Macs sold for within $100 more than the PCs.

But the Apples had something extra: that logo, the design, the history, the clutch of fans willing to snap up any products the company makes. You'll need another computer in a year or two, and at that time, when you go to sell your current machine, Apple's intangibles will count for a great deal -- much more than $100.

-- By Farhad Manjoo

Alan said...

Micki, I'll have to take his word for all that resale stuff. I can't afford to get a new one every year, or every other year. I have to take care of the one I have and use it for yearsss.
I have added memory and a better graphics card though. Oh, and a DVD burner in the slot the CD burner was in.
That 24" iMac sho' was perty though.