July 7, 2009

Wizbang Blue - That's a wrap!

After over two years of posts Wizbang Blue is going on permanent hiatus. It was a great experiment, probably ahead of its time, but the time has come for us to focus on other areas.

For fans of Paul Hooson, you can now find him at Wizbang Pop!

Thanks to Lee, Paul, Steve, Larkin and everyone else who posted here over the years!

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Official Chinese News Media Covers Muslim Riots

Unlike Iran, which sought to largely ignore much of the coverage of the unrest over the disputed election, Chinese media is giving coverage to the riots and unrest by Muslim protesters in Western China. However, like Iran, China is limiting Facebook and Twitter activity. claiming that such media is being used by the rioters to orchestrate their violence. And although the Muslim protesters claim that the Chinese police are responsible for the violence and bloodshed, it is clearly the Muslim protesters seen in new footage shown throughout the world setting fires and overturning cars. china riot.jpg

All of this proves that the Chinese media and government are at least far more open than the Iranian government and media. Maybe that's not saying a great deal for a country with serious human rights issues. But it does prove some slow progress towards openness for this society.

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July 6, 2009

Jackson Family Circus Does Jehovah's Witness Faith No Real Favors

The continued absurd circus of outrageous news surrounding the family of Michael Jackson really does little good for the public image of the Jehovah's Witness faith. However, much of the tabloid quality problems of the Jackson family are totally atypical for the honesty and basic decency of most Jehovah's Witness members. And this church makes every effort to encourage wayward church members to improve their behavior or else they are asked to leave the faith. In fact, Michael Jackson voluntarily left the faith after Church members approached him with continued concerns about some of his outrageous conduct. Shunning by other church members can become the most serious punishment for former members who are asked to leave due to bad conduct. watchtower.bmp

The fact of the matter is that there are many other famous members of this faith who exhibited far better behavior than the Jacksons, including former President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Venus and Serena Williams, Lou Whitaker and Chet Lemon, both from the Detroit Tigers baseball team, the late Selena, Patti Smith, Prince, George Benson, Jill Scott, Roy Harper and David Thomas( who is the singer/song writer for Pere Ubu).

Unfortunately, this fine smaller American faith will suffer some bad publicity due to the ongoing Jackson family tabloid news. And more many Americans only think of this church as sometimes unwanted home visits to share their faith with others. However, the above list of celebrities associated with this faith as members represent some very decent persons who behave themselves in a respectful manner, who make good efforts to never bring any disgrace to this faith, and have often enriched culture with constructive entertainment.

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TV Media & Politics: Folksy TV Program Gives Mike Huckabee Unique Political Advantage

The popular, but genuinely folksy, FOX TV Sunday program hosted by former 2008 presidential candidate by Mike Huckabee gives him a unique advantage among other possible 2012 GOP contenders. Huckabee long ago honed his media skills working as a former staffer for televangelist James Robison before becoming a very popular Arkansas governor. Further, with his role as an ordained Southern Baptist sect minister, Huckabee has fostered a smooth and genial style that plays very well for a television audience, where his FOX TV show manages to seamlessly blend Huckabee's take on politics as well country music guest greats. Even some country music rebels such as Willie Nelson have been musical guests on Huckabee's program. Huckabee himself is a pretty fair guitar picker. HuckabeeGuitar_300.jpg

Quietly, Mike Huckabee might be building a reasonably large political base for a 2012 presidential run with this program. And it gives him a unique weekly platform to be critical of President Obama on one hand, but also to outflank his other potential GOP contenders such as Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin on the other hand.

The problem for Sarah Palin with giving up her governorship post, is that while it frees her up to earn money writing books or setting up speaking engagements, is that her governorship post was her best possible platform. And Mitt Romney must rely on making enough news to get invited on Sunday talk shows, while Mike Huckabee has a steady audience because of his weekly TV show.

This TV show advantage might just make a critical difference in favor of Mike Huckabee in 2012 if he decides to attempt another run for president. The role of the skillful use of media for a politician to be elected these days just cannot be understated. Mike Huckabee's weekly show might even look a little like some parts of HEE HAW to some causual viewers. But that's part of the charm and magic of this show that works so well for Huckabee. That simple and laid back style gives Huckabee a chance to be persuasive in his gentlemanly way. And right now, no other potential 2012 GOP contender has this same media advantage.

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July 5, 2009

The Last Days In The Trench?

Here's great Packard rarity that was called "Black Bess" as the last concept car that the company ever built. This concept car appeared around 1957, but sadly this Edsel-like concept car was cutup by a welder's torch in the final days of Packard as the final year of Packard autos in 1958 were simply dressed up Studebaker models.Packardblack bess.jpg

In many ways, this last days in the trench for Packard is much like the current situation going on for us at Wizbang Blue. The owner of the website network would like to shut down all of the Wizbang websites except for just Wizbang and Wizbang Pop. However, I believe that Wizbang Blue deserves to live on, at at least be included in a larger site with the Wizbang Pop celebrity content. I understand the recent server crash has a lot to do with this possible decision, rather than any issues related to content.

Wizbang Blue is much more than just progressive politics. It's progressive culture as well, such as Cd and DVD reviews, motorbike and auto news and features, business news, law, Internet news, etc. It's a little like ROLLING STIONE Magazine meets EASYRIDERS, MOTOR TREND and BUSINESS WEEK.

It was sad time over at Packard in what was called "the last days in the trenches". I don't want this to be the last days in the trenches for Wizbang Blue either because I'd like to continue. What do the readers out there think? Should Wizbang Blue continue? I think we fill a real market for information and commentary, myself.---------Paul Hooson

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Palin Alaskan Criminal Investigation to Break Soon?

It makes sense. They're only rumors... but it makes sense.

Shannon Moore, a radio talk show host from Alaska, provides some interesting information on rumors that have been circulating in Alaska for the last 6 weeks regarding a possible criminal investigation into Sarah Palin.

Update: On the heels of reports like the one above, Palin is attempting to control the media by threatening legal action.

The abruptness of her announcement and the mystery surrounding her plans have fed widespread speculation. But Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein on Saturday warned legal action may be taken against bloggers and publications that reprint what he calls fraudulent claims.

"To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation," Van Flein said in a statement. "This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."

He also told the Anchorage Daily News that Palin wasn't in any criminal legal jeopardy.

"I can say definitively I am aware of no criminal investigation whatsoever involving Sarah Palin. Zero," he said.

Meanwhile the FBI has confirmed that they are not investigating Palin at this time. Whether some other law enforcement agency is investigating Palin remains to be seen.

The FBI reiterated that claim Saturday, telling the Los Angeles Times for a story Sunday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not investigating Palin's activities as governor, a former mayor or in any other capacity.

"There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we're investigating her or getting ready to indict her," Special Agent Eric Gonzalez, the bureau's Alaska spokesman, said.

It's apparent that Palin has a plan. She quit her job as Alaska's governor to "answer a higher calling." And she appears determined, this week at least, to re-enter the national limelight with some degree of spin control over her national presence.

It's also apparent that Palin hasn't learned much from her experience in the national limelight. Her continued bumbling through one crisis after another, and her failure to rise above dust-ups like her recent tussle with comic talk show host David Letterman, exemplifies Palin's failure to break out of the pattern she found herself in last fall leading into the 2008 election.

Sarah Palin played in the mud, portraying her opponent Barack Obama as someone who 'pals with terrorists." With that she reduced herself to the role of the mud-slinging attack dog on the GOP ticket.

Sling a little mud back in her direction, and she threatens to sue.

What we're seeing now isn't Sarah Palin elevated to a new level - it's the same Sarah Palin of the past all over again, just more determined -- and angrier. It's a tactic that is bound for failure. She's just not smart enough to figure that out yet.

Pit Bulls are not known for their IQ, lipstick notwithstanding...

Update II: Wizbang Publisher Kevn Aylward had informed me he's shutting down Wizbang Blue, citing incompatible missions. He's already severed html links from the conservative sister site "Wizbang."

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July 4, 2009

Vice President Biden Spends 4th Of July With American Troops In Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden spent the 4th Of July holiday with American troops in Iraq, mocking Saddam Hussein's influence in the land, and attending a citizenship ceremony for immigrant soldiers who serve in the American military. 237 immigrant soldiers were sworn in as American citizens in a ceremony held in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. The ceremony was the largest one ever held in Iraq to swear in new American citizens who were military members. And Biden was quick to praise the contributions of immigrants who volunteer for dangerous service such as combat duty in Iraq. It was a wonderful celebration of the contribution of so many immigrants to the rich history of the United States. biden.jpg

Yesterday, Vice president Biden was able to meet with his son, Army Captain Joeseph R. "Beau" Biden III, who serves in Iraq. Biden also received updates about the military and diplomatic issues involved in Iraq from the top military commander, General Ray Odeimo and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill.

Biden noted that he is "optimistic" about Iraq resolving important issues such as the friction between rival Sunni and Shiite sects. In previous years, Biden once advocated dividing Iraq up into separate Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish states as a possible solution to the sectarian problems in Iraq.

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Submitted For Your Viewing Pleasure....An All American Fourth Of July Fat Boy Chopper

american_flag_fat_boy.jpg

HAPPY 4th OF JULY EVERY READER OF WIZBANG BLUE

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North Korea Celebrates American 4th Of July With Missile Launches

As expected, North Korea attempted to steal a little attention for their impoverished nation by firing seven ballistic missiles. However, even the news coverage from China wasn't very supportive of this action at all. The Chinese News agency Xinhua noted that these missile launches only raised "international concerns over regional security". Even a South Korean military official noted that these missile tests seemed to intended to send a message to the United States on their Independence Day celebration. So far, on the official North Korean government news service, KOREAN NEWS, there was no news about the launches and simply the usual nonsense claiming that the Communist founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung somehow brought "prosperity" to the impoverished and famine ridden nation, and other outright political propaganda nonsense. northkorea scud.jpg

KOREAN NEWS is actually a pretty sad national news website. It makes outrageous charges and claims, yet does not post any photos to prove any of the claims. It is propaganda journalism of the very worst variety.

North Korea's best hope is to use these latest total of 11 missile tests, which only included short range Scud class type missiles of about a 400-500km range or about 310 miles, to hope to wring some new concessions from the United States such as fuel oil or food. However, the Obama Administration has decided to part from the previous Bush administration's policy of rewarding North Korean missile launches with more fuel or food aid, by instead is digging in it's heels and denouncing North Korea. The ongoing trial of two American journalists continue to be a sore point for the United States and North Korea as well, where it is likely that this trial is being used as another blackmail bargaining chip by the Communist state .

The corrupt government of Kim Jong Il hopes to stay in power and to avoid calls for reforms by using missile threats to get concessions from the United States and other regional nations such as South Korea, Japan, China and Russia. However, this time around, this group of nations all seem to be heeding the call from the Obama Administration to not reward North Korea's arrogance and missile launch blackmail schemes. Likely Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton might have much to do with this new tough line against North Korea compared to the Bush Administration. Mr. Bush might have been concerned about famine in the nation, leading to the softer stand on the missile tests.

There had been fears that North Korea may launch a longer range missile such as an intercontinental type missile that might be able to fly as far as Hawaii. However, so far today such a launch has not taken place. And further, North Korea longer range missiles have proven themselves to be unsuccessful, unreliable and largely near complete technology failures. However, these missile tests tend to be attractive to nations like Iran who hope to purchase North Korean missiles and work to extend their range or improve their reliability and guidance systems. Missile exports to rogue nations such as Iran present one of the biggest dangers of the North Korean missile program. It is feared that Iran could improve such missiles and develop a functional nuclear warhead at some point. However, both Iran and North Korea seem to be having some difficulties and slow progress towards developing weapons, with North Korean having particular problems developing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on missile, as well as missile reliability. Iran, on the other hand, seems to be better at developing longer range missiles that are reliable, which makes their nuclear program a great concern for regional security issues.

North Korea's claimed past underground nuclear tests have sent messages to international observers suggesting that their nuclear devices are large in size, but function poorly. One test, even suggested at first that it might have been faked by using a conventional TNT blast.

However, international observers tend to believe that North Korea actually has nuclear weapons technology, however it is way too primitive and large to fit compactly on a missile as of yet.
Yet it is these small steps towards both North Korea and Iran that create fear in the international community. Certainly it would not be good for either North Korea or Iran to be able to have real functioning nuclear weapons. Both nations lack the political judgment to own such dangerous weapons.

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Palin Resignation Speech (Full Text and Video)

I think she needs medication.

She seems absolutely manic.

And here's my Question of the Day... Some point to Palin's recent effort to portray herself and her family as 'victims' during the phony uproar over a joke told by David Letterman as being a cause and precursor of this resignation... and my question is this.

If Sarah Palin eventually folds her tent and runs away over a line uttered by a 62 year-old talk show host who tells fart jokes, how on earth was she ever going to protect our country from our real enemies?

Continue reading "Palin Resignation Speech (Full Text and Video)" »

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Sarah Palin is Unfit for Public Office

This is so pathetic, to see a "leader" -- someone who aspired to the office of the Vice-President of the United States and would have been one 72 year-old's heartbeat away from the Presidency -- acting like a wounded little child.

In her "I quit" speech yesterday, Sarah Palin shows just how weak-kneed she is.

And this from someone who asked for our votes and pretended that she could lead this country through difficult times. She can't even manage her own family affairs, and now acknowledges that she's inadequate in the job as Alaska's governor.

After listing a number of things she's accomplished (and I should note that she failed to list "Protecting America from Russian invasion" - so that's the good news) Palin goes on to blame others for the choices she makes:

But you don't hear much of the good stuff in the press anymore, do you?

Poor, poor Sarah. Right off the bat Sarah Palin blames the press for forcing her to resign. But it's not just the press, it's also those evil Americans who dared challenge Palin's integrity. In fact, she was found guilty of ethics violations last year.

Some say things changed for me on August 29th last year - the day John McCain tapped me to be his running-mate - I say others changed.

Let me speak to that for a minute.

Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations - such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters' questions.

Every one - all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We've won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to "opposition research" - that's money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers - or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the "politics of personal destruction" ... Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining public resources - spending other peoples' money in their game.

It's pretty insane - my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with THIS instead of progressing our state now. I know I promised no more "politics as usual," but THIS isn't what anyone had in mind for ALASKA.

Does Sarah Palin seriously want us to believe that she spend "most of her day" dealing with these issues?

That's an incredible bit of mis-information. She herself goes on to tell us that she has a staff and a team of lawyers to deal with these issues -- staff and lawyers who are, according to Palin a few paragraphs ago, working "THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time" and being paid "some two million of YOUR dollars."

And she wants us to believe that she personally is spending hundred of hours working on these issues?

It's a flat out lie. But Sarah Palin "the professional victim" wants you to believe how severely crippled she is - how it isn't her fault that she has to quit -- etc.

If I have learned one thing: LIFE is about choices!

And one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down, or build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and productivity. I choose NOT to tear down and waste precious time; but to build UP this state and our country, and her industrious, generous, patriotic, free people!

Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and "go with the flow".

Nah, only dead fish "go with the flow".

No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time... to BUILD UP.

And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE... I'll work for and campaign for those PROUD to be American, and those who are INSPIRED by our ideals and won't deride them.

And she won't work hard for her constituents who have reason to disagree with her?

That's right, Sarah Palin said " I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE..."

As governor of Alaska, her job duties were to work for all Alaskans, even thouse who don't believe in "small government" and those who disagree with Palin's anti-abortion stance.

But in that one paragraph Sarah Palin has declared that she will no longer work for ALL Americans, but only those who share her ideological beliefs.

And THAT's what makes Sarah Palin unfit for the office of Vice-President of the United States or any post in government anywhere.

Leading America isn't about being in power and being in a position to force your personal ideological beliefs down the throats of those in our democracy who disagree with your party's platform or political beliefs.

That's not why this country was founded, and here - on the 4th of July - America's Independence Day - we have Sarah Palin declaring that she is not the kind of leader who will work for all Americans.

She's starting her new path in life by declaring that she will no longer be working for all Alaskans, only those who agree with her political ideology - and so she's therefore quitting the job as their governor.

I wonder if ALL Alaskans realize just how lucky they are.

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Rating: 3.5/5 (6 votes cast)


Veteran Republican Political Strategists Split On Sarah Palin's High Risk Gamble

Two veteran political strategists, Ed Rollins and Mary Matalin are split on their assessment of the high risk political gamble of Sarah Palin to quit her office of governor before even completing a single full term. Ed Rollins' view was expressed on the CBS EARLY SHOW, in which he seems to think that Palin never really established herself as a genuine national figure on her own, but it was John McCain placing her on his ill-fated ticket that gave her national exposure. In Rollins' view, a more genuine political leader needs to really establish themselves on their own with their own platform, policies and issues.ed-rollins.jpg

Rollins also believes that Palin will now get tagged with the label of a "quitter" which will sink her in states such as Texas in which Rollins referred to many still having a fighting "Alamo" never give up, never quit spirit.

On the other hand, Mary Matalin takes the opposite view, that Palin's move was somehow "brilliant". Matalin believes that since Mitt Romney is no longer the governor of Massachusetts, he has the luxury to spend all of his time building an organization for a very serious 2012 run. Palin can now compete. Yet, Matalin didn't address how Palin can possiby avoid being labeled a "quitter" which may hurt her among many voters.

However, neither Rollins or Matalin offered opinions on some questions that a number of ongoing ethics issues, her continued publicity antics, family problems, and her major book deal were all creating enough friction in her own home state, forcing Palin to quit her office before an issue could possiby blow up. The fact of the matter is that Palin might have been on the political decline in Alaska ever since losing her bid to become vice president. Much the same thing happened to the once popular South Dakota Senator George McGovern or even New York Congressman woman Geraldine Ferraro. Both of their of their political lives only began to spiral downward after their election losses. The presidential campaigns of both failed candidates only opened up too many personal shortcoming for their voters in both states.

Palin is also very prone to gross exaggerations when she speaks. During the 2008 campaign, Palin started the absurd claim that presidential candidate Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists" which was a far cry from the truth that Obama merely served on a school board with a number of persons, including a former 1960's political radical , William Ayers, who mellowed out and now works within the system as an educator. Palin also recently exaggerated that late night comic David Letterman somehow told a "rape" joke about their 14 daughter, when a writer for the program simply mistook the younger daughter for the older one when the Palins attended a NY Yankees baseball game. The fact of the matter is that both Palin girls, the 18 and the 14 year old both have long dark hair, look a little similar, and the younger one wore dark sunglasses that day, only adding to the identity confusion. However, because Palin is a constant publicity seeker, she exaggerated the botched joke into a major incident and a political stunt, and likely part of the reason that Palin quit her job, and not Letterman, was partially because of some problems at home in Alaska only stirred up by this and other silly Sarah Palin antics.

Maybe with so many swirling ethics questions and public fatigue with Palin only growing at home, Palin decided to quit her Alaska job before she might be formally challenged with some ethics charge, or even face possible political defeat at home in 2010. Either way, Sarah Palin is likely a rapidly declining force in GOP politics. I think veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins best states that view as well. Probably, Sarah Palin fatigue is starting to set in with too many voters for her to ever have a decent chance at any office, nationally or in Alaska. Palin is likely a declining political entity. And further, Palin's move is yet another blow to the GOP national image in the wake of the Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford bad publicity scandals. Palin only giives voters one more good reason to doubt the GOP, which does that party no favors at all.

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July 3, 2009

Caribou Barbie Sarah Palin is a Quitter

She can't stand the heat, so she's getting out of the kitchen:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) announced this afternoon she will resign from office on July 26 and return to private life, a stunning decision by last year's Republican vice presidential candidate to leave office before the end of her first term.

Sounds to me like another skeleton is about to surface, and Palin is bailing before the crap hits the fan - but Palin attempts a positive spin:

"We know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities," Palin said in a news conference alongside a lake in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

Using a basketball analogy, Palin said, "I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory."

She knows when it's time to quit and walk off the court in defeat. Her nuttiness is not going unnoticed by some in the GOP:

"We've seen a lot of nutty behavior from governors and Republican leaders in the last three months, but this one is at the top of that," said John Weaver, a longtime friend and confidant of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party's presidential nominee in 2008 whose of selection of Palin catapulted the first-term Alaska governor to national prominence.

She'll be back -- like a plague.. she'll be back.

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Erratic Sarah Palin Quits Her Job

If anything, Sarah Palin is full of strange surprises if anything. And her latest bombshell that she's quitting her job as governor of Alaska before even completing one full term should just about completely write her off as one of the most non-serious politicians of all time. Her silly rambling public address in which she announced her resignation from office, was so confused that it would even be hard for an Egyptian hieroglyphics expert to decipher why exactly she was really quiting her job. It was a nearly incomprehensible mess. Part a shopping list of her claimed achievements, part a silly claim that she really achieved all that she really wanted serving only a portion of her single term in office. Her claims that can achieve more working outside of the role of a governor of a state are highly suspect to say the least.PalinCalendar_400.jpg

Sarah Palin may have more time to raise money for a presidential run in 2012. But who wants to put money behind someone as erratic as Ross Perot, who was also known for quitting himself, and then changed his mind and ran again.

Sarah Palin's own personal ambitions apparently have left the people of her native Alaska high and dry for now, where the Lt. governor will now have to step in. It is only the latest chapter in this goofy Sarah Palin saga, where only a few days ago Palin attempted to gain political mileage out of a silly stunt by deliberately pretending to misunderstand a joke told by late night comic David Letterman, and beat this foolish issue around for days, milking it for every bit of publicity that she could. For his part, Letterman was wrong to even acknowledge Palin or offer an apology for a stupid joke that really amounted to nothing at all. It only played into her warped publicity seeking ways.

Well, publicity hound Sarah Palin will get plenty of publicity out of job quitting stunt today. But once again, neither her nor her small cult of true believers will really understand that this publicity isn't good publicity at all. Palin probably closed shut any doors to any future office opportunities today, whether it's a senate run in 2010 or the presidency in 2012. Few serious people will vote for someone who will quit their office when the whim just hits them to do so.

Maybe the shocking Michael Jackson news was getting too many headlines, and Sarah Palin just needed to do something erratic enough to compete with that news. Or, maybe Palin just wanted to set off a few early 4th of July fireworks. But regardless, good riddance.

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The 2010 AMC Ambassador?

HOT ROD's website recently offered up some wild futuristic artist renderings of what the 2010 AMC Ambassador might have looked like if little carmaker AMC had survived and not been acquired by Chrysler in 1987. The Ambassador became the top of the line full size car for little AMC, something like their own Cadillac, but for the price of a full size Chevrolet. In fact, my first car nearly became a beautiful 1969 white Ambassador, but the guys selling the car were too drunk to complete the sale, so I left in disgust.ambassador.jpg

The Ambassador cars were always a terrific deal, because they were a top quality full size car for a very reasonable price tag with a great array of luxury car options, yet they just were never considered by many to be in the same league with Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials, despite their overall quality by many car buyers.

Ambassadors came standard with a V8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and many other great items that were options on comparable full size cars in the same price range. Compared to the cost of many full size cars like the Chevrolet Impala, Ambassadors seemed like a lot of car for the money. Strangely, the full size AMC cars like the Ambassador and the lower priced Rebel were actually light in weight for their size, while AMCs small cars such as the Gremlin Hornet and especially Pacer were very heavy in weight for their size.

Well, AMC is long gone as a company. However this artist's concept is a pretty decent image of what these underrated full size Ambassador cars might have been like if the company survived. Ambassadors were a great American full size car of very high quality and durability that too few Americans considered back in the 60's to mid 70's when buying a car. 1974 was the last year for the big Ambassador, and the last year that AMC was a full line carmaker as well. Both the Ambassador and Javelin bowed out after the 1974 car year, leaving the controversial styled 1975 Matador as AMC's last remaining large car. Strangely, the 1975 two door coupe Matador and the 1975 four door sedan appeared to be entirely different cars, which is another very strange quirk.

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President Obama's Approval Numbers Rise To 62%

In the latest Gallup tracking poll on the public approval of President Obama's job performance, his approval numbers have ticked up slightly to 62% approval vs. 31% disapproval. These are improved public approval numbers than the low of 57% he had some days ago in the wake of news about the GM auto bailout which was controversial with many Americans.obama.jpg

Despite some serious new national unemployment news, such as the bad news that sent stocks down more than 200 points, yesterday, President Obama is proving himself to be a very popular president who inspires confidence and trust.

While it appears that the economy is struggling, and bad news abounds, despite serious actions by the Obama Administration to stabilize things that seem to be having only a minimal effect so far, the public seems to still have deep trust in the president and feel that he cares about them. Scenes such as the one where he comforts a woman who has a recently discovered tumor and other acts of kindness, prove he is far more than just a stiff intellectual, but a very decent man filled with much compassion for others. All of this translates into broad public appeal and support, despite the fact that many of his policies remain controversial or that the economy remains stalled with very serious problems.

Some areas where the Obama Administration has seen great early success is in military efforts in both Pakistan and Afghanistan where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have suffered serious military losses in past few weeks, and a huge new offensive by 4,000 Marines in Afghanistan is having great success. At home, while the bailout plans to rescue both GM and Chrysler remain very controversial, both companies seem to have survived the recession thanks to the bailout plans, and remain in business, providing many jobs. Stimulus Bill spending is starting a large number of construction and highway projects around the nation.

In the long run, it will certainly be results that dictate whether the Democrats do well in the 2010 midterm elections or whether President Obama is re-elected. And performance on the stubborn economy remains a very difficult issue for the Obama White House to deal with. And likely, performance on the economy may remain as the number issue deciding on the ultimate success or failure of the Democrats and President Obama.

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Judge Rules Blogger Does Not Have Same Equal Protection Free Speech Rights As Journalists

In what might become an important ruling limiting the legal free speech rights of bloggers, a Freehold, NJ Superior Court Judge J.S.C. Loucuascio has ruled that a Washington state blogger, Shellee Hale, who writes for Oprano.com, does not have the same equal free speech protections as a normal journalist to shield sources when writing. The case revolves around claims by blogger Hale, who has also contributed articles to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and BUSINESS WEEK, that claimed a security breach in some Internet business software developed by a New Jersey based software development company, Too Much Media.

Too Much Media claimed in court that no such security breach issues had ever developed, whereby hackers might steal important customer information. Further, Hale even claimed that the company somehow threatened her life, which is another claim that the NJ software developer company also denies. The judge also noted some discrepancies in the testimony of Hale. Hale also claims to hold a private investigator's license in Washington state. However, both Hale and Too Much Media are both somehow actively associated with Internet free speech rights. Hale posts the Electronic Freedom Foundation free speech Blue Ribbon Logo on some of her blogs, while some of the clients of Too Much Media are businesses actively involved in free speech rights or causes.

While this whole case might actually just pit the credibility of a single blogger against the reputation of some software company that prides itself in the quality of the software products they develop, as well as dueling serious claims by both parties, it also brings in fresh new legal issues such as are blogs entitled to the same equal protection free speech rights as other journalists. So far, the judge in this particular case views blogs as merely a message board, and not a true news forum, which offers far less legal protections to bloggers. However, important issues that define the legal limits of what bloggers are allowed to publish in the way of consumer protection or investigative journalism stories might hinge on part of the new legal ground set by this case.

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July 2, 2009

GOP Class of '94: The Family Values Hypocrites

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It's 1994. The GOP promised to dismantle social programs, cut taxes and balance the budget. Newt Gingrich massaged the message, and the "Me Generation" bought it hook, line and sinker. This was the new GOP, and they had made a "Contract with America."

It was a promise built upon "family values" lies...

Instead, the GOP Class of 1994 that were ushered into power with a promised 'family values' core that would be the driving principle behind their legislative actions turned out to be rife with family value hypocrites who sold America a bill of goods:

The sex scandals that have tarnished Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) don't appear to have much in common. Yet there is one thread that binds them together: Both Ensign and Sanford were members of the famed Republican House class of 1994, as well as its latest casualties.

As it turns out, the pressures and demands of political life have inflicted devastating damage not only on the Ensign and Sanford families, but on the families of many of the 71 other freshmen who formed the vanguard of the Republican Revolution.

In the 14 years since that star-crossed class arrived in Washington espousing an agenda that placed family values at its core, no less than a dozen of its members have been caught up in affairs, sex scandals or in messy separations and divorces from their spouses that, in more than a few instances, led to their political downfalls.

This isn't something that took years to develop -- the GOP hypocrites who were voted into office failed from the outset.

The problems started almost as soon as they took office, and by the end of their first year in Congress, the marriages of at least four Republican freshmen had collapsed.

One of the first to see his marriage unravel was Rep. Jim Bunn (R-Ore.) who, not long after taking office in 1995, divorced his wife, married one of his political aides, and later elevated her to chief of staff. Bunn lost his 1996 reelection bid.

Rep. Enid Greene, who became the first female member of Congress from Utah in 1994, spent most of her single term in the House dealing with a scandal of her husband's making. Joe Waldholtz, who married Greene in 1993, embezzled millions of dollars that he used to help finance her campaign. Once authorities finally caught up with Waldholtz, Greene filed for divorce and took custody of the couple's daughter. She did not run for reelection in 1996.

Former Rep. Jon Christensen (R-Neb.) was another high-profile casualty -- he divorced his wife during his first term after she admitted to marital infidelity.

All of this came despite an acknowledgment at the start of the 104th Congress that the grueling pace of work in Washington could tear families apart. Then-newly installed House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who later got divorced for a second time in 2000, even warned as much.

And Gingrich pledged to do something about it, setting up a bipartisan task force, the Family Quality of Life Advisory Committee, to rethink the congressional work-life balance.

"We have established the principle that we are going to set schedules we stick to so families can count on time to be together, built around school schedules so that families can get to know each other, and not just by seeing us on C-SPAN," Gingrich said in a speech at the opening of the 104th Congress on Jan. 4, 1995.

Gingrich, recognizing the hypocrisy that early, still failed to turn the tide. Today, most Republicans refuse to acknowledge or address the hypocrisy, using the time-honored techniques honed by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to deny the existence of the 800 pound gorilla parked on the living room coffee table...

... and the hypocrisy of that -- of the GOP "family values' party that today refuses to even acknowledge the problems posed by their hypocrisy, is the bottom line left behind with the Republican "Contract with America."

It wasn't a contract "with America" -- it was a contract "on America" -- and America lost dearly.

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Breaking News: The Jackson Family Found Alive, But Broke

Unfortunately the family of Michael Jackson really failed to effectively invest or manage their money very well despite huge success, leaving the family mostly in serious financial straits. There were reports that Michael Jackson might have died with up to $400 million in debt. And reportedly, at least one pharmacy business had a difficult time collecting a prescription drug bill owed by Jackson for over $100,000 for some time. Another story claims that Michael Jackson might have used up to $48,000 in prescription drugs some months. Michael Jackson also lost primary ownership of the Neverland Ranch with all of his money troubles. But the financial problems for the Jackson family don't just stop there.jackson.jpg

Janet Jackson is the best at money management and raising income compared to all the other family members, and she bought a home for her parents because the mansion owned by her parents was facing possible foreclosure, and she didn't want her parents to become homeless. And stories exist that claim that workers at the mansion haven't been paid a salary in months by the elder Jacksons. Both of Michael Jackson's parents have declared bankruptcy before, and the father only makes a little money by promoting some girl groups. In fact, the elder Jackson used the death of Michael Jackson as an opportunity to promote his latest smalltime struggling record business to a national audience.

Latoya and Robbie Jackson both have wealthy businessmen in their lives, allowing them to survive financially. However, one brother Marlon merely stocks groceries and lost his home to foreclosure. Tito Jackson has a small time blues band he formed which does shows for as little as just $500 a show, hardly a fortune. Randy Jackson, who is three years younger than Michael makes a few bucks working as a tire changer. However, he unfortunately duped three friends of Michael Jackson to take out home equity loans on their homes to allow Michael Jackson to pay lawyers when he was charged with sexual abuse. Michael Jackson failed to repay these friends, leaving them in a financial mess. Great way to treat good friends, huh?

Jackie, the oldest son of the Jackson family started a largely failed Internet clothing business that went nowhere, and has only struggled financially since. And Jermaine Jackson, is at least $5 million in debt for state and federal tax liens and has declared bankruptcy back in 1995. Reports are that he doesn't work. Unfortunately, his job acting as family spokesman at the passing of his younger brother, Michael, was probably the most work that he's seen in some time.

Despite having so much money at one time, few of the Jackson family members managed or invested it very well. Instead they merely squandered away huge amounts 0f money on Jewelry, mansions, automobiles or other foolishness and are now essentially broke. It is unfortunately a sad portrait of poor money management where no one seemed wise enough to hire an accountant or a financial advisor to preserve their cash assets. Now few of them have much to show for all of the money they once had.

Many Americans believe that the Jackson family story is some sort of Horatio Alger rags to riches success story. That it's another Motown Records success story. However, the real truth is pretty far from that. It's more like rags to riches to rags.

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The "Airhead' Motorbike

At the National Center University of Taiwan, some interesting research has built a prototype motorbike that runs entirely on compressed air as the power source, creating zero pollution. However, this early prototype can only hold enough compressed to travel about 3/4 of a mile currently. The project needs far more research, however is the first baby steps towards building a possible future generation of motorbikes that produce zero pollution, powered by alternative sources.air-motorcycle.jpg

The compressed air notion for alternative power is closely similar to that Midi air powered automobiles built in Europe. And Zero Pollution Motors hopes to be able to market a $18,000 hybrid compressed air/ gasoline car in the U.S. within about a year in the U.S. , that is able to travel up to 35mph on compressed air alone.

Since automobiles or trucks are able to hold much larger air tanks than motorbikes, the experiments in automobiles have proven far more successful so far. However, the Taiwan experiment is a novel use of the technology in motorbikes.

Hey, suddenly being an "Airhead" is a good thing.

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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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