R. I. P. Alfred Peet

“I came to the richest country in the world, so why are they drinking the lousiest coffee?”
Alfred Peet, founder of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, died Wednesday at 87. I have posted a roundup of stories at Smelling the Coffee.

Anti-Gay Republicans Crash Worship Services

The Columbus Dispatch : Anti-gay activists crash worship services,

A conservative Christian values group has been interrupting services at two central Ohio churches to protest their support for homosexuality.
Minutemen United vowed to attend services every Sunday.
The group started its crusade when First Baptist Church in Granville hosted “Love Makes a Family,” a traveling exhibit by the Family Diversity Project showing photos of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families.
[. . .] “They rebuked me as a pastor for preaching that God’s love is for everyone,” Keeny said.

The Bilerico Project writes,

…this comes down to respect for people’s religions, and the Religious Right always declares themselves on the side of religious freedom promulgating paranoid fantasies of police rounding up pastors after hate crimes legislations gets passed or school teachers locking away students with Bibles or whatever. But then when it comes to anyone who disagrees with them, suddenly the word “freedom” gets exposed for the window dressing that it is.

YearlyKos Ask The Leaders Forum – Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, Emanuel

I was looking around the YearlyKos Convention website and came across this: YearlyKos Netroots Convention Welcomes Pelosi, Reid, Emanuel, Schumer To Ask The Leaders Forum | YearlyKos Convention: Building a Netroots Nation
Wow! This is a big deal. Democracy! From the description:

YearlyKos Convention organizers announced today that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer will participate in a unique Ask the Leaders Forum to be held August 4 in Chicago.
The event—much like the YearlyKos Presidential Leadership Forum that will be held later that afternoon—empowers citizens to engage America’s current Senate and House leadership in substantive discussion about hot topics such as Iraq.

I will have some exciting panel announcements very soon.

DC Madam’s Phone Reords Out – One Republican Senator Down Already

The phone records of the “DC Madam” were posted on the web a few hours ago. The first casualty is, of course, a Republican Senator from Louisiana.
U.S. Sen. apologizes after phone number appears on escort records,

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized Monday night for “a very serious sin in my past” after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called “D.C. Madam.”

Etc. Etc.
Republicans…
OK, for fun, better go check it before they take it down:
Vitter Statement on Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage,

“This is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history, and our two U.S. Senators won’t do anything about it.
We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values. I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage. I am the only candidate proposing changes to the senate rules to stop liberal obstructionists from preventing an up or down vote on issues like this, judges, energy, and on and on.” stated David Vitter.

More to come…

A Chat With Speaker Pelosi – Updated

I was on a conference call with Speaker Pelosi that just ended. I’ll cover the major points here and go into detail later.
She is introducing a major energy package, talked about the “Greening of the Chairmen” of the committees, this bill has CAFE standards, the beginnings of an energy tax… More coming in September.
John Aravosis asked about the anti-gay amendment in the DC funding bill, Speaker Pelosi pointed out that the Democratic Congress just got LGBT language added to the Hate Crimes act, that they will take this amendment out in conference.
She said she is determined to end the war, it is her top priority, no one would have believed that she could have gotten all the Dems in such unity to pass the timelines that Bush vetoed and that they are going to announce legislation in the next day or two putting hard timelines, not goals, back into the funding.
She says September is everything. “The President can not kick the can down the road again.”

Continue reading

Another Top DOJ Official Resigns

It is Friday evening, so it’s time for Republicans to release news…
Jeralyn at TalkLeft: Another Top DOJ Official Resigns,

William Mercer, the U.S. Attorney for Montana, who also has been serving as the Number Three top official at DOJ has withdrawn his nomination for permanent appointment.
Mercer’s confirmation hearing was set for next week. His resignation letter says he has become convinced he would not be confirmed.

BREAKING – Has Turkey Invaded Northern Iraq?

Turkish Officials: Troops Enter Iraq,

Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

Turkey denies major incursion into N.Iraq,

Turkey denied a report on Wednesday it had launched a major incursion into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels there, but a military source said troops had conducted a limited raid across the mountainous border.
Rumours of an invasion have rattled financial markets amid growing Turkish anger over the activity of Turkish Kurdish rebels using the mountains of northern Iraq as a refuge. Washington has urged caution on Ankara, fearing conflict in what has been one of the most stable areas of Iraq.

More here as more is known.
Update – This follows Monday’s report: US urges Turkey not to attack northern Iraq.
Ignore assurances – those are words, trees. See the forest: if Turkish troops have crossed the border this is very serious.
Al Jazeera,

Continue reading

Notes From A Call With Al Gore

I participated in a call between a few bloggers and Al Gore today, talking about his new book, The Assault On Reason“.. Following are a few of my notes.
The rule of reason is the balancing wheel at the center of self government.
Without reason at the center of public discussion we fall back on repetition and propagandistic messaging techniques.

Asked if maybe he is saying that reason was used in the past more than it really was, he responded that there was never a golden age of reason but for all the faults in the past we did have a larger role for reason and the truth. The relative role of reason has been diminished.
Today, a determined well-funded special interest can be so successful in distorting the public’s understanding.

Bloggers are in the vanguard. What you are doing represents the new wave. How many times have you written about a mistake in the media, until a brush fire starts and the media is forced to correct their story?

On torture: George Washington prohibited torture during the revolutionary war. He said no to this because part of the “new way” represented by the United States included a new respect for the individual. This has been America’s policy since. It has never been condoned much less promoted by the executive branch before now. It violates these ideas at the core of the new idea called America.
Torture is one symptom of decay of the core values that led to the creation of America.

On the Internet. When information is more than a one-way flow, when individuals can join the conversation and challenge conventional wisdoms and present facts as they see them from their unique situation in life, and share their point of view, this changes the conversation. If what they are saying resonates with others who have reached the same conclusions but have not been able to articulate or frame their insight, this is what inspires changes.
We must protect the freedom of the the Internet from those who would control the flow of information.
Update – Taylor Marsh was on the call and writes about it here and includes a recording of the entire call.

Gore Responds to White House

I am on a call with Al Gore. Gore just responded to White House press secretary Tony Snow, who said, “I don’t know if they’re going to do a reprinting of the book to try to get the facts straight. The fact-checkers may have to take a look at it.”
Gore said,

“This book, unlike the President’s State of the Union Address, has been fact-checked.”

Back to the call now…
My call notes are here and a comment here.
Taylor Marsh was on the call and writes about it here and includes a recording of the entire call.
Jerome Armstrong writes here.

Contaminated Food Supply?

News stories are starting to make it look like the contamination that has been killing dogs and cats might also be in the human food supply. Where is the FDA? The public needs to know what to do! (Or has everyone at that agency been replaced with Pat Robertson infiltrators like at the Justice Department and FEMA?)

American regulators admit that six weeks after one of the biggest pet food recalls in U.S. history, they still do not know who in China manufactured the contaminated pet food ingredients or where in China the contamination took place.
Though the agency has named two Chinese companies as the suppliers of the tainted vegetable protein, regulators suspect the companies may not have been making the feed but buying it from other feed manufacturers in China. Those producers, regulators believe, may have intentionally mixed melamine into the feed to artificially inflate the level of protein in the bags to meet pet food requirements.
… Worried that the contaminant could continue to enter the United States and also seep into the human food supply through additives, regulators have blocked all Chinese imports of wheat gluten and warned importers to screen nearly every other kind of food and feed additive entering the country from China, including corn gluten and soy protein.

There is NOTHING that says this stuff stayed in animal food. We already know that pork and chickens were contaminated and then eaten by people…
More coming on this.