Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 2/17/08 - 2/24/08

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A nice compare/contrast piece on Obama vs. Clinton

From the Huffington Post's Justin Frank:
From her votes on Iraq and then on Iran - essentially giving Bush free rein to wage war yet a second time - Clinton seems to have embraced entirely the Republican saber-rattling posture. This makes her more like Senator McCain than like Senator Obama when it comes to using diplomacy. Her response to the opening question about whether she would talk to Raul Castro made it clear: she wants our adversaries to prove to us that they want to change before talking to them. This is cold-war liberalism morphed into modern day neo-con thinking replete with tough talk preceding genuine dialogue.

Senator Obama is not similarly crippled. He believes that we can talk to people with whom we disagree and that we can change our own diplomatic approach without insisting that our adversaries change first. Obama attracts young people who don't relate to all the posturing and tough talk. Even though they all felt the tragedy of 9/11, they think knee-jerk bombing of Iraq isn't the answer. Others who are older are attracted to Obama because they are sick not only of living in fear but also of living inside a unilateral and ultimately a superior approach to other nations. They think that talking allows space for thinking - on both sides. This is something that is refreshingly appealing about Mr. Obama

I had seen some of the "generation gap" between Obama and Clinton, but had not been able to put my finger on an explanation. Justin Frank explains it quite well.

I really enjoy his articles for HuffPo, probably because he comes from a psychological angle. Figuring out why someone says/does/believes something gives insight into predicting future behavior.

Those of us who approach things from the psych standpoint are the ones who predicted exactly what Bush was going to do to this country 8 years ago. (I miss you, Molly Ivins.)

Another lawyer makes my list...

We're slowly getting more of the story regarding Don Young's legal troubles.

Today's ADN ran an article about John Dowd, the lawyer who is representing Don Young with his hush-hush legal problems. (i.e. FBI Investigation):
A heavy-hitting Washington, D.C., lawyer emerged Friday to publicly defend Alaska Congressman Don Young from criticism that he's not coming clean on his legal bills.

Young is running for re-election and has repeatedly refused to say how he spent $854,045 in campaign funds on legal fees last year. John Dowd, an attorney who specializes in representing high-profile politicians in legal trouble, told the Daily News on Friday that Young is doing what he told him to

AHA!!!! Though probably none of us are really surprised, it piques one's curiosity that Young hired the lawyer equivalent of a nuclear bomb to deal with his pesky legal troubles. This guy clearly has skills:
Dowd's involvement in the investigation wasn't known until he contacted the Daily News on Friday in defense of Alaska's lone congressman.

The "defense" was over a press conference I wrote about in two posts HERE and HERE where Young refused to answer questions about legal fees.(VIDEO HERE)
Among other high-profile cases he's worked on, Dowd represented Sen. John McCain during the Keating Five scandal in the 1980s.

McCain was never charged or sanctioned after being accused of improperly helping savings and loan operator Charles Keating Jr

Folks at that time considered McCain's escape from punishment equal to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

However, for a high-powered lawyer this guy definitely has lapses in judgment:
The Washington Post described Dowd as a major fundraiser for McCain in the current presidential race before throwing his support to Fred Thompson.

It seems that the "Keating Five" scandal launched quite a career in protecting crooked rich and powerful people:
Other clients have included an Arizona governor in a bank and wire fraud case, a Nevada senator in a bribery case and Monica Goodling, who was counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and refused to cooperate with congressional Democrats investigating the U.S. attorney firings.

He's defended clients in scandals ranging from Iran-contra to Enron

In the words of Morticia Adams (Adams Family Values), "All that I could forgive."

What this former Cincinnati girl and avid 1970's World Series Cincinnati Red's fan cannot forgive:
The commissioner of Major League Baseball hired him to investigate Pete Rose's gambling. Rose was banned from baseball as a result.

Pete Rose - one of the greatest players of all time and an absolute gentleman - has also been banned from induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Yet steroid users, drug addicts, alcoholics and wife beaters continue to reoffend and remain in the game. But I digress...)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Congressman Don Young - the Homer Simpson of Alaska...

...without the popularity.

Young Staff Tries to Boot Reporters from Press Conference

The congressman didn't want to talk to us.

Congressman Don Young canceled a press conference in Wasilla this morning after fellow Daily News reporter Richard Mauer and I showed up with everyone else and refused to leave.

The press conference was supposed to be at the Mat-Su Congressional delegation office. KTUU Channel 2 News and a valley radio station were there as well.

Richard and I showed up a few minutes early, before Young arrived, and were told by delegation staff we had to leave. No one else was asked to leave.

Delegation staff said the press conference was only for Mat-Su media. We pointed out that the Daily News is the largest circulation newspaper in the Mat-Su, and that our Mat-Su bureau had been invited to attend.

After a phone call to Young's Washington staff, the press conference was canceled.

I posted ON WEDNESDAY about the reason for this snub - the fact that the Daily News journalists were doing their jobs by asking about Young's expenditure of over $800,000 of campaign money on his legal bills.

I can't see how people can still vote for this guy in November.


Sen. Clinton made a huge mistake tonight during her Texas debate with Obama. She once again brought up Obama's alleged "plagiarism" in a couple of his speeches.

Here are just a couple of the videos that popped up immediately after tonights debate showing that Hillary Clinton better stop with the stone throwing:

"Stealing" from John Edwards:

"Stealing" from President Bill Clinton:

You can read more about it at Huffington Post.

I also found other videos documenting further "plagiarism" by Senator Clinton:

And worst of all - Hillary "plagiarism" from Bush:

She should have kept her mouth shut.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My First "Community Voices" Column

You can read it HERE.

I'm a newspaper columnist! Well...at least I am once every five weeks until the Fall.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In the name of all that is holy...GET DON YOUNG OUT OF OFFICE!

The latest arrogant crap from "Don Young the Congressman for very few Alaskans" hit the Anchorage Daily News today:
Alaska Congressman Don Young said Wednesday he's cooperating with the Justice Department but refused to give details or answer questions about his huge legal bills.

"I have a right to spend my money as I wish to spend it and we are going to continue to do what I think we have to do to get this issue behind us," he said.

Young's re-election campaign spent $854,035 on legal fees over the course of 2007.

Young, 74, has been under investigation for his ties to Veco Corp., for fundraising activities and for his role in specific congressional earmarks, according to various media reports. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing

Here is my favorite part of the article:
Young said his constituents have not asked him about the legal fees. It's just the media, he said.

A television reporter objected that, as an Alaskan and a voter, he was constituent.

"Did you vote for me last time?" Young asked him.

"No sir," the reporter replied

The hysterical part of this is that the comments on the ADN website exploded with people (constituents) saying they have contacted Young before about this very issue.

Of course, I got very crabby and decided that Mr. Young needed an email from this constituent. Here's the good part:

Sir, the way that elections work in this country, you have the privilege and responsibility of representing and being answerable to ALL Alaskans...not just the ones who voted for you.

I understand you are redirecting a great deal of money that people donated to you for your campaign towards your legal fees. As a constituent, I have the right to demand an explanation and an accounting of those expenditures.

The rest of your "constituents" don't have that that type of fund raising as an option...we have to cover our own bills if we find ourselves in a legal jam. So please, don't act so self-righteous about your "right to privacy" when it comes to public money.

I'll be surprised if I get a response but who knows - Lesil McGuire responded to a crabbier email than this one!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Holy Unsafe Meat, Batman!

The amazing coincidence is that I was on the phone with my parents just this morning talking about the fact that we only eat organic ground beef in our house.

143 Million Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday recalled 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse that is being investigated for mistreating cattle.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats..."

And the reason? Yup, they were the subject of that video...

"Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer said his department has evidence that Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became non-ambulatory after passing inspection, violating health regulations.

"Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection, Food Safety and Inspection Service has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall," Schafer said in a statement.

Federal officials suspended operations at Westland/Hallmark after an undercover video surfaced showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts."

As I mentioned in my previous "fur" post, I am the first person to wave the anti-corporate farming banner for this reason and many more. Check out the video that started this uproar:


I spent most of my summers in Iowa until I left for college. All of my relatives in Iowa raised cattle, hogs, sheep and/or chickens. I saw the animals spend their days grazing in the field and their nights in a big barn with a large, attached pen.

I can honestly say I NEVER saw any cattle that were sick or mistreated.

The horrific events in this video would NEVER have happened to any of their animals for many reasons. The simplest of which was that they kept part of the meat for family consumption after the animals were slaughtered at market.

Do you think they would raise unhealthy animals and then consume the meat?
This is the "price we have paid" so to speak for sacrificing family farms in our quest for cheap meat. Corporate farms crowd and mistreat their animals which causes sickness and injury. That requires them to dose the animals with all kinds of antibiotics and other drugs to at least maintain the appearance of health.

As I stated earlier, the best way I know to help support what few family farms that are out there is to buy organic meat. I believe that if enough folks start to reject coporate domination, we could start to bring some of those family farms back.