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Homemade Political Ads – They’re Virtually Everywhere January 30, 2007

Posted by Dan in News, Politics, Video.

In quite a “sign of the times,” homemade political ads have begun cropping up on Internet Video Sites. I wanted to illustrate the potential for this, good, bad, whatever, so I focused on Barack Obama (simply because there is so much online video about him) and provided a wide cross section of videos below. However, I’m sure every candidate has a similar following online. Below is a sampling of what you can find online, just by doing a simple search at a site like Youtube or Google Video. Personally, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The citizens of this country are finally taking a genuine interest in Politics! Perhaps our election turn-out numbers will continue to rise. It seems as if, thanks to the internet video revolution, Democracy is on the path to reaching its full potential. Whereby, every citizen is politically active, and a majority through voting will be the same as the majority through census.

The Good, the Bad and the Rest of US:

Bill Richardson’s 2006 Western Ad for Gov. of New Mexico (template for Barack’s):

Obama ’08: Vote Hope!

Barack Obama Hit Piece:

Obama: Hope for our Country:

Obama Bio Video:

There’s even crap like this:

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Power of the Troops v Power of the Purse January 30, 2007

Posted by Dan in Politics, War.
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President Bush has the authority, as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, to deploy troops throughout the world (particularly in Iraq). However, it is Congress that has the “Power of the Purse,” and the ability to simply cut funding for the President’s military efforts. Yet that is something many in Congress are reluctant to do. Why?

Well, once again, the reality of the situation in Iraq goes far deeper than the politicking we see on the nightly news. Even those members of Congress most against the War admit, at least in private, that completely pulling out would be a disaster. We’re in this mess, for better or worse.

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Ancient City Unearthed Beneath Stonehenge January 30, 2007

Posted by Dan in News, Science, Video.
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Today, the discovery of the largest ever found neolithic village underneath the monument of Stonehenge may yield invaluable clues as to who built the rock structure and for what purpose. It is believed that the structure may be an astronomical clock, capable of identifying the summer and winter solstices (the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively).

Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield describes the find:

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Iraq: A Different Country January 28, 2007

Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, War.
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Sabrina Tavernise from the NY Times reflects on how Iraq has changed in the past 2 years. This is a very enlightening look at the interior of the country and its gradual decline into civil war.

Its been very moving and sad… its like watching a slow motion train wreck.

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Najaf Fighting Cell Phone Video January 28, 2007

Posted by Dan in Middle East, News, Video, War.
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Since I love posting cell phone video from the middle east, here’s the recent fighting in Najaf, Iraq:

U.S., Irqi forces have killed about 250 Najaf gunmen, according to one official. The military has also confirmed that one U.S. helicopter has been downed, killing 2 U.S. soldiers. Fighting in the city, located 100 miles south of Baghdad, is still going on, as of 7:00 PM EST, 28 JAN 2007.

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Iran’s Space Program Built on North Korean Tech January 28, 2007

Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, Space, Technology, Video, War.
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The Iranians have recently stepped up their space program, with the aim of launching their first satellite into orbit atop a modified ballistic missile. While the exact launch vehicle is unknown, it is believed to be a derivation of the liquid-fueled 800-1,000 mi range Shahab-3 called the IRSL-X-2 or the IRIS. The missile version, equipped with a nuclear warhead, could reach Israel, Saudi Arabia, the entire Persian Gulf and as far west as Turkey. However, the “space aimed” upgraded model could represent the beginnings of an Iranian Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of approximately 2,500 mi. Such a weapon could place a nuclear warhead as far as Central Europe, or well into Russia, China or India.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has told Congress that Iran may be capable of developing a 3,000 mi range ICBM by 2015 making it able to hit as far away as London. What’s worse is that there is evidence to suggest that the recent Iranian launch vehicle is a copy of North Korea’s Taepodong-2C/3 ICBM that failed in a launch attempt last July 4th. In fact, cooperation between the two governments has been going on for quite some time now, [GlobalSecurity.org] which would shed some light on how Iran could’ve released this tech so quickly. The implication of this conglomerate is devastation on a global scale. While North Korea maintains its weapons serve a deterrent purpose, their blind hatred towards the west leaves that to be seen.

With the recent test of a Chinese anti-satellite weapon, the White House must be in a frenzy. Bush has made space a priority of his, but actual funding has been scant. We can not afford to loose our hold on space exploration and technology. And yet, all of this has the stale scent of Cold War about it. Once again, the Communist world, partnering with Islamic factions in the middle east, is building up nuclear weapons and ICBMs with their sights set firmly on Western Democracy.

Someone needs to defuse this situation, and quickly. I don’t see any of this ending well.

Because I know this is pretty heavy stuff: Jay Leno on Iran’s space program…

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Blitzer v Cheney – Video Interview January 25, 2007

Posted by Dan in News, Politics, Video.

If you haven’t seen the recent interview Wolf Blitzer conducted with Dick Cheney, I highly recommend watching clips of it below [this video was not edited by me]. Despite the fact that Wolf and I are frat brothers, I have to wonder about some of his questions. Probing Cheney about his lesbian daughter and her recent pregnancy does cross the line…. unless you’re specifically asking him about the Administration’s anti-gay policies. Like Blitzer, I want to know what he says when his daughter asks him why she can’t marry the woman she loves, but you can’t expect Cheney to actually answer. He just responds with Idiospeech (a phrase I coined from another Blitzer interview).

Yet, while watching the interview myself, I can’t help but sympathize with Cheney. He gets asked all sorts of “crap” questions all the time. Wolf Blitzer should be different. The questions should’ve been intelligent, probing, insightful. They weren’t.

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Obama’s Office Replies to Fox News January 25, 2007

Posted by Dan in Must Read, News, Politics.

Recently, Obama’s office released the following letter in response to the ridiculous reporting of Fox News:

In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.

Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”

All of the claims about Senator Obama raised in the Insight Magazine piece were thoroughly debunked by CNN, which, instead of relying on unnamed sources, sent a reporter to Obama’s former school in Jakarta to check the facts.

If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken [time] to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.

Later in the day, Fox News host John Gibson again discussed the Insight Magazine story without any attempt to independently confirm the charges.

All of the claims about Senator Obama’s faith and education raised in the Insight Magazine story and repeated on Fox News are false. Senator Obama was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother. Obama’s stepfather worked for a U.S. oil company, and sent his stepson to two years of Catholic school, as well as two years of public school. As Obama described it, “Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.” [The Audacity of Hope, p. 274]

To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa.

These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems.

Webmerica’s State of the Union January 24, 2007

Posted by Dan in Main, Must Read, News, Politics, War.
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My fellow Americans… It would be remiss to say America hasn’t made more than her fair share of mistakes this year. The situation in Iraq has regressed beyond all reasonable predication. Instead of peace and democracy, we see war and ceaseless revolt. Instead of a shining beacon in the Middle East, we have a dark breeding ground for hatred and terrorism. This was no one’s intent, and yet the situation remains largely blameless. Perhaps this is because we all share a portion of responsibility for the current mess. One thing is for certain, we will continue to move forward, unrelenting, because our future depends on it.

To leave behind a leaderless Iraq with a lame shell of a government would not only represent our greatest foreign policy failure of the last 100 years, but it would provide anyone with the intention of doing great harm a platform from which to strike. It is this second possibility that keeps us in fear and in Iraq, because it waits upon our doorstep. No one will deny that we have lost control of civil authority, and as a result, the President has ordered an additional 20,000 troops to the region. While elusive, the answer to the crisis in Iraq lies in more security, not less.

America’s debt situation is more complicated than “in or out.” While we have a great deficit, the economy is strong. In a global community, our financial debt represents investment in foreign markets. The more money we lend out, the more possibility we bring to the world. Yet, not every penny is spent on just cause or the right thing. Bureaucracy is just too complicated to expect it to function flawlessly; there is waste. But while some of our money is lost on the expense of government, it is our job to ensure that the rest goes where needed. This debt represents more of the latter, than the former.

The World is fast approaching a global energy crisis. Our dependency on non-renewable fuel sources has not diminished, and moreover, has continued to cause irreparable harm to the planet around us. Yet it must be understood that, just as this damage has taken centuries to accumulate, it will take centuries to fully correct. By seeking advancements in wind, solar, nuclear and other clean, alternative fuels, we take the first steps on the long path towards correcting the ecosystem.

America’s recent mistakes have made her particularly susceptible to positive change, and in that respect, they have been welcome. Those in stubborn isolation, now forced to hang their heads in quintessential shame, have finally opened to compromise, and our politics have once again shifted towards the middle. It is here that we find greatest consensus, and for the first time in a long time, our future looks bright. We have begun to dig ourselves out of this hole within which we jumped. I know that the next five years will be better than the last five years, and that with all our battles, the United States will prevail because we must.

God bless America.

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Bush State of the Union – More Democrat Than Republican January 23, 2007

Posted by Dan in Must Read, News, Politics, War.

Bush’s State of the Union this year boiled down to three main topics…. energy, healthcare and Iraq. Here’s a list of quotes from his speech. All are things I agree with. Actually, I agree with most of the things Bush said, and I think I know the reason for it…. for the first time in his career, he’s willing to compromise. And that, is the key point of the night.

“We must balance the federal budget.” ….. “We can do so without raising taxes.”

“Eliminate the federal deficit within the next five years.”

Cutting earmarks on government spending legislature is a great idea.

Medicare, Medicade and Social Security do need to be fixed.

“All of our citizens need affordable and available health-care.” But reinforced private health insurance.

2 Initiatives to help Americans afford insurance. Providing substantial tax savings for those of us with our own health insurance…. not company provided.

Medical Liability reform? Right, because too many doctors are being sued!

Comprehensive immigration reform = Good.

Diversify America’s energy supply. We do need more wind, solar, and nuclear power plants.

“Reduce gasoline usage by 20% in the next 10 years.”

Still making references to September 11th…..

Again with the: “take the fight to the enemy.”

Are we winning the war on terror? The President is right when he says “we measure our successes by what doesn’t happen.” When nothing happens, they’re doing their job.

I can’t believe they showed John McCain sleeping! Well, yes I can. That’s just what you get for “resting your eyes” during the President’s most important speech of the year.

There were no claps when Bush spoke of his recent deployment of more than 20,000 troops to Iraq.

But the 4,000 Marines, “to find the terrorists and clear them out” got applause.

Bottom line, Iraq would fall apart if we simply pulled out, and our troops are necessary there. No matter how you spin it, thats the way it comes out.

“I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on the way.”

“Increase Army and Marine corps by 92,000 in the next 5 years.”

I am glad he called attention to Darfur and the Sudan, but what about Ethiopia’s recent invasion of Somalia?

“We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, particularly in the continent of Africa.”

“We have got to show each other some love.” (This is my favorite Bush quote of the night)

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