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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Radio Equalizer Interview with Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Bill Handel 

Radio Equalizer has interviewed Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel, who is engaged in a verbal sparring match with Sabiha Khan of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Here is an excerpt from the Radio Equalizer interview:

RE: What do you see as the difference between your situation and previous CAIR protests, where hosts such as Michael Graham at WMAL have been fired?

Handel: This company has balls to stand behind its hosts. Disney, parent company of Graham's station, has NO business being in talk radio because they don't like controversy at all. Talk radio is all about controversy.

Controversy? KTemoc considers the nature of evil:

This man is the absolute pits in human decency. He is an absolute disgrace in any language, society or environment.

Bill Handel, host of a Los Angeles radio KFI640, has the disgraceful indecency to made fun of the death of Muslim pilgrims during a stampede in Mecca recently.

Yes, MAKE FUN of people being stampeded to death!

Regardless of whether people killed in some unfortunate accident or natural disaster were Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists, not one decent human being would laugh at the tragedy of another human being, let alone hundreds of them.

That's right. Not one decent human being would laugh at such a tragedy. In fact, anyone who would laugh at death would be considered indecent. And someone who would laugh at death and bestiality must be, by definition, downright sick:

On a New Zealand farm out in the country lived a man and a woman and their three sons.

Early one morning, the woman awoke, and while looking out of the window onto to the pasture, she saw that the family's only sheep, an ewe, was lying dead in the field.

The situation looked hopeless to her -- how could she possibly continue to feed her family now?

In a depressed state of mind, she hung herself.

When the man awoke to find his wife dead, as well as the ewe, he too began to see the hopelessness of the situation, and he shot himself in the head.

Now the oldest son woke up to discover his parents dead (and the ewe!), and he decided to go down to the river and drown himself. When he got to the river, he discovered a mermaid sitting on the bank.

She said, "I've seen all and know the reason for your despair. But if you will have sex with me five times in a row, I will restore your parents and the ewe to you." The son agreed to try, but after four times, he was simply unable to satisfy her again.

So the mermaid drowned him in the river.

Next the second oldest son woke up. After discovering what had happened, he too decided to throw himself into the river. The mermaid said to him, "If you will have sex with me ten times in a row, I will make everything right."

And while the son tried his best (seven times!), it was not enough to satisfy the mermaid, so she drowned him in the river.

The youngest son woke up and saw his parents dead, the dead ewe in the field, and his brothers gone. He decided that life was a hopeless prospect, and he went down to the river to throw himself in.

And there he also met the mermaid. "I have seen all that has happened, and I can make everything right if you will only have sex with me fifteen times in a row."

The young son replied, "Is that all? Why not twenty times in a row?"

The mermaid was somewhat taken aback by this request. Then he said, "Hell, why not twenty-five times in a row?"

And even as she was reluctantly agreeing to his request, he said, "Why not thirty times in a row?" Finally, she said, "Enough!! Okay, if you will have sex with me thirty times in a row, then I will bring everybody back to perfect health."

Then the young son asked, "Wait! How do I know that thirty times in a row won't kill you like it did the ewe?"

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

More on Iranian Democracy 

Two additional views on Iran and democracy. See my earlier post for other views.

Hawken Blog makes the following comment while linking to stories about Iran arresting strikers:

The US government and corporate media's newfound desire to invade Iran...would only serve to further repress genuine grassroots movements for democracy in Iran. Democracy in Iran can only come from below, from the people.

Meanwhile, Reality Hammer says the following:

While whining that waging war on terrorism is anti-Democratic the New York Times has also made sure to promote radical theocracies as "democracies"....

Case in point is the counter-factual op-ed by Hossein Derakhshan ironically titled "Democracy's Double Standard". In this opinion article the false premise that Iran is a democracy is put forth, and then President Bush is criticized for not supporting this "democracy". As with all arguments that use false premises the conclusion is invalid.

Iran is not a democracy, it is a theocracy. The country is controlled by a cabal of clerics who pick and choose who can "run" for office. Dissension is not merely outlawed, it is labeled as heresy. Dissenters are labeled as heretics and (if they are lucky) thrown in jail. Does that sound like a democracy to you? Of course not!...

You have to hand it to the Times in one area, though. It knows its audience, and they love to hate President Bush. So a real democracy in Iraq gets downplayed and criticized while a harsh theocracy in Iran gets kid-glove treatment because they are at odds with President Bush. It is both logical and reasonable for people who love democracy to boycott the false elections in Iran as a protest against the theocracy that rules that nation with an iron fist. Yet the Times feels the need to criticize President Bush for doing so, claiming that "any" election is a step towards democracy.

Here's my challenge to the New York Times: go to Tehran and set up a news outlet there where you promote democracy. Let's see how long it takes you to end up in prison (or worse). Go ahead, I'll wait.... Prove me wrong by staying in Tehran and becoming the center of a pro-democracy movement.

I know you won't, however. Because you know that Iran is not a democracy and you would end up dead or in prison. Yet your desire to oppose President Bush drives you to make excuses for a repressive regime. What a sad way to run a newspaper.

Reporters Without Borders has published several items decrying limitations on press freedom in Iran. Here's one on Saba TV:

27 December 2005

National Security Council bans satellite channel Saba TV

Reporters Without Borders today deplored the banning of satellite TV station Saba TV by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council as one more example of the battle by the country’s media for freedom of expression.

The Council has declared the Dubai-based station “illegal” after trying to stop its launch, announced last summer as imminent. The national constitution forbids any independent radio or TV station. Saba TV decided to delay its launch as a result of the ban....

The station was set up by Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karoubi, a pro-reform religious figure and ex-speaker of parliament, as the first satellite TV station founded by a former Iranian politician and aiming to provide “objective and unbiased news” about Iran to Farsi-speaking people everywhere.

The station said on 26 December it would file a complaint against the Council’s secretary-general, Ali Larijani, for banning the station. The Council forbade the Iranian media to give news or publish ads about the station’s impending launch. The authorities, backed by the regime’s hardliners, have attacked Karoubi for being “anti-nationalist” and “favouring Westerners.”

Al Jazeera has also run into trouble, in Iran and in some democracies also:

27 January 2005

Reporters Without Borders condemns harassment of Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera
Summary of attacks on the channel in 2004

Reporters Without Borders has protested at persistent harassment of Arabic-language satellite TV al-Jazeera as the channel said on 26 January Saudi Arabia had refused to allow it to cover the Mecca pilgrimage for a third consecutive year.

Since the start of 2004, al-Jazeera has been harshly criticised by Saudi Arabia and the United States, has been censored in Algeria, Iran, Tunisia and Canada and, from 7 August 2004, had its Baghdad bureau shut down by the Iraqi interim government....

Iran has threatened sanctions against the al-Jazeera bureau there on several occasions. In November 2004, Tehran told the channel to remove a cartoon it considered offensive from its website or face the consequences. The foreign media director at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation, Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght, said, "Unless this animation disappears and if such abuses continue, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation will be forced to take the necessary steps to considered restricting the channel’s work in Iran". The channel was threatened with expulsion a second time soon afterwards for referring to the "Arabic Gulf" and not the "Persian Gulf"....

In April 2004, the United States...accused the channel of stoking up anti-American feelings in its coverage of events in Iraq. Contacted by Reporters Without Borders, Jihad Ballout, spokesman for al-Jazeera, said that the channel’s editorial line would not be influenced by the attacks. "We are simple observers, and not actors. We do not apply any political judgement and we try to present a balanced coverage of the conflict. We give equal airtime to the Iraqi people as to the insurgents and the US forces," he added.

Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj, a Sudanese national, has been held by US forces since the start of 2002 at Guantanamo military base in Cuba. His wife has had no news of him for 18 months and the reasons for his detention remain unknown.

In Canada, several conditions have been slapped on al-Jazeera’s distribution. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that the distributors had to monitor its programmes 24 hours a day. Moreover, the CRTC authorised the operators "to modify or cancel al-Jazeera programmes (...) to avoid distribution of offensive remarks."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

These people really need to get out more 

Recent links to this here Empoblog:

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(4) comments links to this post

Ellie Nesler Searches 

All of a sudden there are more Ellie Nesler searches than there are Christopher Nance and Krystal Fernandez searches. Not sure why...

POSTSCRIPT: I did take the opportunity to look at one of my old posts and found the following comments had been appended:

Ellie Nesler was given a compassionate release from her initial imprisonment due to breast cancer - not because of sympathies for her actions. Instead of thanking her lucky stars, flying low and avoiding the radar, she thought she was above the law, and was caught with 10,000 sudafed tablets believed to be intended for the manufacture of drugs (methamphetamine). Even during her second incarceration, Ms. Nesler still believes she is above the law. I know, I served time with her at Valley State Prison for Women in California. She is still there, continuing to make life miserable for everyone she comes into contact with. I also had to endure working with her in a job assignment. She would push rules to the limit, act as though the regulations did not apply to her and generally create tension with all staff and inmates she interacted with. She is the instigator of many fights, has had to have her housing moved because of the dissension she causes, and is generally not a pleasant human being. It is of no surprise to me that her own son has been arrested for murder. I don't believe for a minute it was the molestation he endured that shaped him into an angry young man, he is merely modeling behavior that was exhibited by his mother, presumably, the entire time she was present in his life.

posted by Anonymous : Monday, October 11, 2004 7:21:08 AM
i agree that the mother played a big part in how this boy acted after finding out about the molestation, but i do not agree that his molestation didnt have a role to play in it. my two daughters were molested and i gave them all the love in the world and they still to this day show signs of anger and hatered over what happend to them, so yes william being molested had a BIG part to do with his viloent tendancies after he grew up.
laurie harris

posted by laurie : Wednesday, April 13, 2005 4:10:14 PM

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Any Possible Hope 

Digging a little more into Coretta Scott King, I can't really find fault in the way she died. I knew a co-worker with a sick wife who ended up going to Mexico for laetrile treatment or some such. The treatment was unsuccessful.

Anyway, if you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the story:

ROSARITO BEACH, Mexico - The Mexican clinic where Coretta Scott King died Tuesday is known for providing alternative treatments to patients with incurable diseases.

King, 78, suffered a serious stroke and heart attack last year. It was not known what kind of treatment she had sought at the Santa Monica Institute in the beach resort of Rosarito, 16 miles south of San Diego.

Family members and clinic employees would not release any information about her treatment....

Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House church in Dallas, who said he helped King get to Mexico, said he did not know what kind of treatment she sought. But he said he was not surprised that the "very health-conscious" King "would explore every possible way."

The Santa Monica Health Institute says on its Web site that it uses an eclectic approach to diseases that are often believed to be incurable. While most of the patients have cancer, the clinic says it also treats cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis C, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

However, none of the testimonials mention the treatment of cardiovascular disease or strokes. So what is the treatment?

Attention to proper food selection, pure water to drink and bathe in, pure air, adequate exercise and a loving, relaxed spirit are all part of the wholistic health experience. An amazing number of our patients had no idea that the food they ate or the air they breathed or the water they drank or even their attitude and stress level could have been a factor in their disease.

Wholistic medicine differs from allopathic medicine in that we look at the "whole patient," not just the disease process. The objective is to eliminate the cause of the disease itself, rather than just the symptoms. Conventional medicine and allopathic physicians are symptom-oriented. Their thinking is - first reverse the symptoms and hopefully the disease will go away.

At Hospital Santa Monica, our wholistic treatment programs are designed to first inhibit the progression of the disease and then to enhance and stimulate the patient's immune system - to mitigate the damage done and return the body to optimum health.

This objective is achieved through detoxification of the body, a rigorous course of immune enhancing and rebuilding therapies and as many as 17 disease-specific treatment protocols to assist the body in fighting back against the disease process.

All the therapies employed at Hospital Santa Monica have been selected and are coordinated by Dr. Donsbach, a 45 year veteran in the wholistic healing professions. His travels as a lecturer, author and consultant have given him the opportunity to investigate many different therapies and evaluate their results and he is constantly adding new exciting protocols.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Bets That Candice Michelle Beckman Will Run for Senate Also 

From gambling911.com:

She was the talk around the water coolers last year after the steamy GoDaddy.com commercial aired, Candice Michelle is now making quite a splash.

Fox killed a repeat airing of the sexy Super Bowl spot, citing pressure from the National Football League to can it.

The privately owned company, which had no previous experience in television advertising, paid $3.1 million for the right to air two spots promoting its Internet services during the 2005 championship game.

Even before the game, the ad was heavily publicized because it was the only spot that dared to poke fun at the previous year’s halftime “wardrobe malfunction,” which sparked a federal crackdown on broadcast indecency....

GoDaddy.com, virtually unheard of by those outside the internet hosting realm prior to last year, has already gotten their monies worth out of this marketing campaign and it was so successful they've been fighting to get the commercials back on during this year's Super Bowl. The company reportedly has received more than an estimated $11 million in “free publicity” as a result of the network’s cancellation of the ad. Already, the latest GoDaddy.com spot, which features a scantily clad Michelle washing windows outside an office skyscraper, has everybody talking....

Joe Mandese, editor of MediaPost, which covers the advertising and industry, said submitting ads that get rejected has generated barrels of free ink for GoDaddy, which will reap the benefits of Super Bowl hype - even if its spot never makes it onto the air....

PinnacleSports.com...an online gambling firm based in the Netherlands Antilles, has even begun offering betting odds on the 2006 Super Bowl commercials. Odds are specific to which 2006 Super Bowl Commercial Will Win USA Today’s 18th Annual Ad Meter Poll....

PinnacleSports.com does not include the GoDaddy.com spot among its odds, however, they do include an option "Field" which would count any commercial not specifically listed with odds set at 6 to 1 (or win $6 for every $1 wagered).

GoDaddy.com continues to expand, announcing this past week it has opened a new Office of Government Relations in Washington. "As the world's largest domain name provider, responsible for more than 11 million domain names, Go Daddy feels an obligation to protect our customers and represent their interests," said Bob Parsons, GoDaddy.com founder and President. "It's an obligation we share with lawmakers and federal officials, so it is important that we be in Washington, as a base of Internet knowledge for Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch and Federal Regulators."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Our Next Senator - The View From Above 

From WCBS:

Cindy Sheehan...was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush's State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.

Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider....

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said....

"I'm proud that Cindy's my guest tonight," Woolsey said in an interview before the speech. "She has made a difference in the debate to bring our troops home from Iraq."

Woolsey offered Sheehan a ticket to the speech — Gallery 5, seat 7, row A — earlier Tuesday while Sheehan was attending an "alternative state of the union" press conference by CODEPINK, a group pushing for an end to the Iraq war.

More about the progressive State of the Union (emphasis mine):

For Information Contact:
Bill Goold, CPC: 202-226-4055
Mike Webb The Nation: 212-209-5426
Joia Jefferson Nuri, IPS: 240-603-7905
Nathan Britton, Rep. Lee 202-225-2661
Susannah Cernojevich, Rep. Woolsey 202-225-5187


Washington, DC - Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will present an alternative, inclusive, and uplifting vision for the United States of America on the morning of the President's State of the Union address. The Members will convene a special forum at the Democratic National Committee headquarters to propose a new direction for the country and articulate concrete plans for achieving change. The meeting will feature Progressive Caucus leaders discussing issues ranging from how to bring our troops home from Iraq to ending the Republican culture of corruption and cronyism to healthcare reform to rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and achieving broad-based economic growth.

"The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a bold vision for America," said Rep. Woolsey. "Our agenda speaks to hard working Americans who play by the rules and want a bright future for themselves and their families."

“We offer a fresh, vigorous alternative for the 21st century, and we’re going to present an unapologetic plan that offers hope and a better quality of life for all Americans--- not just the powerful and privileged,” said U.S Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Co-Chair of the CPC....

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a group of 62 Members of Congress who believe in fair government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Their agenda embodies national priorities that are consistent with the values, needs, and hopes of all Americans....

Lynn Woolsey
Barbara Lee

Neil Abercrombie
Tammy Baldwin
Xavier Becerra
Madeleine Bordallo
Corrine Brown
Sherrod Brown
Michael Capuano
Julia Carson
Donna Christensen
William “Lacy” Clay
Emanuel Cleaver
John Conyers
Elijah Cummings
Danny Davis
Peter DeFazio
Rosa DeLauro
Lane Evans
Sam Farr
Chaska Fattah
Bob Filner
Barney Frank
Raul Grijalva
Luis Gutierrez
Maurice Hinchey
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Marcy Kaptur
Carolyn Kilpatrick
Dennis Kucinich
Tom Lantos
John Lewis
Ed Markey
Jim McDermott
James McGovern
Cynthia McKinney
George Miller
Gwen Moore
Jerrold Nadler
Eleanor Holmes-Norton
John Olver
Major Owens
Ed Pastor
Donald Payne
Charles Rangel
Bobby Rush
Bernie Sanders
Jan Schakowsky
Jose Serrano
Louise Slaughter
Hilda Solis
Pete Stark
Bennie Thompson
John Tierney
Tom Udall
Nydia Velazquez
Maxine Waters
Diane Watson
Mel Watt
Henry Waxman

Actually, I goofed. There was yet another alternative State of the Union event:

On January 31st President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress. He'll defend the mounting death toll in Iraq, claim that spying on peace groups like CODEPINK is lawful and make more excuses for the sorry state of our union. But no matter what he says "we the people" know the truth. In times like these it’s important to keep our spirits up. We suggest you get together with your CODEPINK cohorts and head to your favorite watering hole for a People's State of the Union.

What? Go to a watering hole and support the fascist alcohol lobby? But I digress. Here's more on the Washington event:

For Immediate Release: January 30th, 2006
Contact: Gael Murphy 202-412-6700
Allison Yorra 202- 487-5112

Bush Critics to Offer Their Own Perspective on the State of the Union

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, Congress Members John Conyers and Lynn Woolsey, Hurricane Katrina Survivor Malik Rahim, and Others to Speak at People’s State of the Union Event in DC

WHEN: Tuesday, January 31, 3 PM

WHERE: Stewart R. Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

WHAT: Prominent critics of President Bush’s response to the country’s most severe crises of 2005 – the ongoing Iraq war and the impact of Hurricane Katrina – will offer their perspectives on the real state of the union at a “People’s State of the Union” event on Tuesday, January 31st, 3 PM at the Stewart R. Mott House in Washington, DC. That evening, President Bush will make his official State of the Union address.

The People’s State of the Union event will feature:

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), who recently introduced several resolutions that could lead to the censure of the president and vice president

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), author of legislation asking President Bush to develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq

Gold star mother Cindy Sheehan, who is considering running for CA Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat this November as a progressive anti-war candidate

Malik Rahim, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina who works with the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans

Ann Wright, a former high-ranking Foreign Service officer and Army Reserves colonel who resigned from the State Department in protest over the Iraq war.

John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, which has released several reports on the cost of the Iraq war.

The People’s State of the Union events are being organized by the national women’s peace group CODEPINK (www.codepinkalert.org).

Later in the day, many of the speakers will gather at the restaurant Busboys and Poets for a public viewing of the President’s State of the Union address. That event will take place at 8 PM at Busboys and Poets at 2021 Fourteenth Street, N.W. (corner or 14th and V). The evening event will be simulcast by Pacifica Radio Washington Bureau Chief Verna Avery Brown.

However, Sheehan could not attend the Busboys (remember the album "American Worker"?) event. She was otherwise detained. Incidentally, here's what Sheehan said before the address:

Cindy Sheehan said she will be part of the live audience during the president's State of the Union speech to congress Tuesday.

Bay Area Congresswoman Lynn Woosley gave anti-war activist a gallery pass late Tuesday, just hours before the planned State of the Union speech. Sheehan was in Washington to protest the president during his national address, but then came word she was invited to see the speech live.

A spokesman for Sheehan says she decided to accept the invitation two hours prior to the speech. The spokesman also said that Sheehan will be respectful and listen to the address because she is a guest of a member of congress.

Sheehan is expected to fly back to Berkeley Wednesday. She announced over the weekend that she is considering running for Senate against Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

So what will she do in Berkeley? Talk with her children (at least the living ones).

Sheehan, 48, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., said she would head to Washington on Sunday for protests against Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, and then return to California to discuss her idea of running against Feinstein with her son and two daughters.

"I can't see - if they think it's going to help peace - that they would be opposed to me doing it," she said.

Why is she (possibly) running?

"If I decided to run, I would have no illusions of winning, but it would bring attention to all the peace candidates in the country," she said.

The baby seal clubbers are jumping for joy and hoping she'll run and that Feinstein will get bloodied.

I can not begin to express my pleasure at the prospect of you running against Senator Feinstein for the Senate. Long have I waited for some one like you to push yourself into the spotlight for the Democratic Party. You have shown that the so called progressives and liberals in the Democratic Party aren’t as progressive or as liberal as their constituents.

When was the last time anyone saw Democratic leadership show their support for Hugo Chaves, a true visionary in the Communist and Socialist movement? Where was the Democratic leadership when you were calling for the end of occupation in New Orleans? How come the current Democratic leadership isn’t speaking about the Zionist Jews that have taken over our government? Surely all these things are absent because the Democratic Party has no courage, or because it’s a Zionist/ Neocon conspiracy to stifle their dissent. Either way, I’m sure that you would be allowed to speak out.

I think you should not stop at running for the Senate Mrs. Sheehan. Surely for the sake of all that’s holy in the Democratic Party you would contemplate being Howard Dean’s running mate for the 2008 Presidential election. It would be truly amazing to see you on the news every night expressing the core values of the Democratic Party. If you haven’t seen the overwhelming support by the online vote, then you don’t know just how much people want you to run as a Democrat against that so called liberal Feinstein. Come to think about it, she might be a part of the Zionist conspiracy that you talk about.

In closing, keep up wonderful speeches and your Anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-capitalism views. I know that you will find the monetary support for your campaign from such groups like Code Pink, Socialist Workers Movement, The American Communist Party, Hamas, Socialist Party USA, Hizballah, and Ansar Al-Islam, for I’m sure they share much of your views on peace and economic distribution.

However, anyone that thinks that Feinstein would be damaged by Cindy is smoking something. Remember, California kicked Gray Davis out of office; we're not complete lunatics. I don't think.

So why was Sheehan evicted? Here is the relevant House rule (emphasis mine):

The Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union

Resolving into the Committee of the Whole

1. Whenever the House resolves into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, the Speaker shall leave the chair after appointing a Chairman to preside. In case of disturbance or disorderly conduct in the galleries or lobby, the Chairman may cause the same to be cleared....

I guess wearing a t-shirt is considered a disturbance in the U.S. That's because we're wimpy. Try the legislatures in the United Kingdom or Israel. They make our so-called divided red/blue government look like a lovefest.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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This is what he said. This is what Tim Kaine said. 

I missed the Democratic response to the State of the Union address - I was too busy listening to John Ziegler and blogging about Iran. But here are some excerpts:

No matter what political philosophy you hold, or what state you call home, you have a right to expect that your government can deliver results. When there's a crime or fire, you expect that police and firefighters have the tools to respond. When there's a natural disaster, you expect a well-managed response. When you send your children to school, you expect them to be prepared for success. And you have a right to expect government to be fiscally responsible, pay the bills and live within its means.

Tonight, we heard the president again call to make his tax policies permanent, despite his administration's failure to manage our staggering national debt. Over the past five years, we've gone from huge surpluses to massive deficits. No parent makes their child pay the mortgage. Why should we allow this administration to pass down the bill for its reckless spending to our children and grandchildren?

There's a better way. Two years ago in Virginia, Democrats and Republicans worked together to reform our budget. By focusing on results, we were able to keep the budget balanced, preserve Virginia's strong credit rating and protect the essential services families rely on: education, health care and law enforcement. States all across this country are doing the same thing, as the federal government falls further and further into debt....

The administration's No Child Left Behind Act is wreaking havoc on local school districts across the nation. Despite the insistence of Democrats in Congress that this program should be funded as promised, the administration has opposed that funding and is refusing to let states try innovative alternatives.

And Kaine argues that Bush does not support the troops (see my prior comments):

We now know that the American people were given inaccurate information about the reasons for invading Iraq. We now know that our troops in Iraq were not given the best body armor or the best intelligence. We now know that the administration wants to cut tens of thousands of troops from the Army and National Guard and Reserves at the very time America is facing new and dangerous threats. And we now know the administration wants to further reduce military and veterans' benefits.

There's a better way. Working together, we must give our troops the tools they need to win the war on terror. We can do it without sacrificing the liberty we have sent our troops abroad to defend. Our support has to begin at home. That's why we in Virginia — Democrats working with Republicans — have reformed and enhanced our Department of Veterans Services to help our veterans and their family members access the benefits that they have earned. And we are working to provide state re-enlistment bonuses to honor Virginians who stay in service to commonwealth and country.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Is Iran a Democracy? 

The neo-conservative drive to remake the world was more than evident in Bush's speech. Unlike Kissinger's Realpolitik theories of balance of power, Bush et al believe that parts of the world need to be remade. Bush praised Iraq and Afghanistan for moving toward democracy, and even acknowledged that Palestine conducted a democratic election. But what of Iran? Here are excerpts about Iran from CNN's transcript of the speech:

At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran -- because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well....

Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon -- and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions -- and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

Based upon Bush's words, you'd conclude that the Iranians are not free and have no choice in their government. But is this true? I've already discussed the view that Iran is a "sort" of democracy:

Together they form the largest bloc in the parliament where, with their allies, they command a two-third majority.

So, why are 80 members of the 290-member Islamic Consultative Assembly -- the Iranian parliament -- behaving like an opposition and holding a sit-in amid threats of mass resignation?

The reason is that the next general election, to be held on Feb. 20 [2004], could end the parliamentary career of many of them, not because of rejection by voters but because they won't even be allowed to stand.

A couple of months ago Richard Armitage, the No. 2 at the U.S. State Department, described the Islamic Republic of Iran as "a sort of democracy."

Well, he was sort of right if by democracy we mean the holding of regular elections without bothering about their quality and purpose.

In a normal democracy anyone who does not have a criminal record and meets basic qualifications, such as citizenship, is allowed to stand for elected office. But this is not the "sort of democracy" that Iran has had since the mullahs seized power in 1979.

In Iran all candidates must be pre-approved by a body known as The Council of the Guardians of the Constitution, a 12-man, mullah-dominated organ appointed by the "Supreme Guide" and answerable to him. These "guardian angels," as they are known not without irony, can decide who is a good Muslim and who is not. Good Muslims are allowed to stand for elections, and bad Muslims are pushed aside.

And here's something from the Middle East Policy Council:

Since the presidential elections of 1997, Iranians have been engaged in a vibrant debate about reform and democratization. During this time period the ideal of democracy has emerged as the focal point of political debates, framing central questions regarding relations of state to society, the place of religion in public life and the future of the Islamic Republic. Those currently involved in the democracy debate in Iran can be placed into two principal camps. First are those who would like to reform Islam in order to reconcile it with democracy and to have a pluralistic and more open government. Second are those who would like to reform the constitution in order to separate religion from politics and have a secular democracy. The debate is occurring in the context of mounting social, economic and political problems, on the one hand, and the growing importance of electoral politics, on the other. The democratic debate in Iran and the common conceptions of pluralism and rule of law that it has produced are products of political changes Iran has gone through over the course of the past two decades.

Islamic reformers were more prominent earlier in the debate, during the 1990s. With the end of the Iran-Iraq War and the dissipation of revolutionary zeal following Ayatollah Khomeini's death, Iran embarked upon an ambitious reconstruction effort. That undertaking led to a demand for rationalization of government institutions and the freeing of policymaking from the grip of ideological dogma. That demand was voiced by pragmatists within the regime and Islamic reformers associated with it. The two presented a new interpretation of Islamic ideology that would pave the way for greater pluralism within an Islamic framework.

Pragmatism and Islamic reform did not, however, produce democracy. The prospects for democracy were rather associated with a growing importance of electoral politics that would eventually lead to a resurgence of civil society voices in the elections of 1997. Those elections would make the presidency the main agent of change. The new president, Mohammad Khatami, would promise to restore the rule of law, expand the scope of civil-society activity and push forward with reform. However, the Khatami period failed to deliver on its promises, as its gains were rolled back by the leadership of the Islamic Republic.

The dissatisfaction with Khatami has pushed the democracy debate beyond discussion of Islamic reform to that of constitutional change. These ideas are elaborated by liberal democratic forces, civil-society institutions, activists and secular intellectuals. Their ideas are resonating with the Iranian youth and middle class, who no longer look to reforming Islam in order to produce democracy, but to creating constitutional boundaries that can check the powers of the state, guarantee the rights of the society and the individual, and separate religion from politics. The transformation of the democracy debate in Iran is a unique case in the Muslim world in terms of grass-roots secular, democratic demands that have evolved beyond a concern with the compatibility of Islam with democracy to a demand for liberal democracy.

Here's what other bloggers are saying about Iran during and after the State of the Union address.

From Venezuela News and Views:

Finally, something which I am sure to savor immensely is Joseph Ellis “Founding Fathers”. This is a portrait of some of the men who made the US and set the foundation for the most successful democracy to date, whether people like it or not being irrelevant. For all of its flaws, their work allowed the US to survive Independence, Civil War, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and it will survive Bush and Iraq as it survived Clinton and Monica. By the way, some of these critics are delighted to remain in the US and would not dream for a second to move to Venezuela or Cuba or Zimbabwe or Iran or Iraq pre-Saddam.

From Watson Vagabond:

3) Tonight, it very much sounds like Bush wants the U.S. to embrace a crusade policy. He declared the U.S. should help several countries including Iran gain "freedom." "Liberty" like the one we find in Iraq now? Most of the people there hate us. We march in with no understanding of their culture and become targets for ignited people. "Liberty" like the kind we have in the United States? Bush claims he has the executive power and can do illegal phone tapping on his own people. Politicians that disagree with the war in Iraq are considered "unpatriotic" or are simply doing unproductive complaining.

4) Bush is convinced that democracy is THE only way any government should rule. But can a democratic government become so controlling with trying to protect itself that it eventually becomes a bureautic dictatorship? Can it become so headstrong in defense that it becomes the very thing it thought it was fighting?

From Astrazoic:

He also threatened Iran, which I might agree with in principle, but our military is so stretched and our budget so strained that the threat was empty, and I'm willing to bet Iran will call the bluff. That will be an interesting development for sure. In any event, I suspect Iran will topple of its own accord anyway.

From Frisco Wanderer:

Iranians, beware, W wants to be your friend, like he was to Saddam. Are you reading between the lines, is he getting us ready to attack Iran?

From scifantasy and others:

(21:30:43) jchance: ...now he's talking about Iran. The clerical elite came back to solid power because we were scaring them.

(21:31:56) jchance: Yeah. Except, to the people of Iran, "p[l]ease rebel because we're too overcommitted to go in there."

From Ohio Conservative:

Calls for freedom in the world. Names North Korea, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe as unfree countries. That can make a big difference in those countries. Ask Solzhenitsyn or Sharansky....

Says America will rally the world to oppose Iran, and says that we support the Iranian people. I wish he would have called on them to overthrow their government and pledged American support for the effort.

From stewsday:

Why are we threatening Palestine again all of the sudden? They had a democratic election! There people elected Hamas because they would stand up to the oppression and corruption of the West... So, its only a democracy if we agree with them?

And now we're threatening Iran! Beautiful... they're a sovereign nation.
Don't talk to Iranians, talk to us... this is the state of the Union addres... why are you wasting this time to talk to anyone other than your constituents!

From The Lawson Review:

Iran is isolating its people. they have a higher literacy rate than America.
But Bush is needing something to be bold on.

Bush is speaking to the people of IRAN. He hopes to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

From the Ugly Evangelical:

6:17 - A longer list of troubled countries, including N. Korea, Syria, Iran, and interestingly, Zimbabwe....

6:30 - I thought the regime in Iran was popular. I know that there was a parlimentary vote ordering the leadership to suspend any diplomatic activities if we dared to push them on the nuclear issue.

Cortez Opossum:

Uh oh.. he's eyeballing Iran -- "they got them nuclear ambitions".

From Untying the Gordian Knot:

6:32pm - Iran responds: "Dear American president, go fuck yourself. We overthrew your puppet government 26 years ago"

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Win Joel Stein's Opinions 

The Quietist take on Joel Stein:

People are angry at Joel Stein at the LA Times because he says he doesn't support the troops....

I'm not mad at Joel Stein. I think his opinion is wrong, but at least it's an opinion that is possible to debate and disagree with.

This is exactly the kind of thing I've been wanting to hear from leftists for a long time: a position, a clear, honest, and coherent stand on a difficult moral issue....

Everybody knows that it's complete nonsense to say that you "support the troops" but oppose what they're doing. The only way you can take that position is take the Cindy Sheehan/Michael Moore route -- that is, envision the military as made up of a bunch of poor, impoverished children who don't understand what they're doing and have no other options. But since most people in this country know at least one or two people in the military, most people know this is complete BS and it's a tough idea to sell....

Joel Stein has taken the position that any principled opponent of the war in Iraq necessarily has to take if they're going to be honest about it. The advent of the all-volunteer military makes it so. Remember, these are the people who spat soldiers returning from Vietnam -- soldier's whose only crime was to not be rich or connected enough to avoid the draft like the war protesters. But nowadays, our military consists of people who made their choice and are there voluntarily. And polls repeatedly show that the vast majority of the troops support the mission in Iraq and want to succeed there (and are much more optimistic that it's possible to succeed).

So if you want to admit that the troops are adults with full moral agency and moral responsibility, you have to be open about the fact that you oppose what they have chosen to do. And if that's your position, we can disagree and debate it. It's open and honest. I disagree, but at least there's something to disagree with.

I replied:

We should probably look at the original question. "Do you support the troops?" is a wonderfully vague question, kind of like "Do you support the children?" or "Do you support America?" It can be interpreted all over the place. Heck, prostitutes in war zones "support the troops." And those who don't support a $100,000 annual salary for privates "don't support the troops." Go figure.

Miriam quotes Mark Steyn:

[T]here are "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbons a-plenty. "What's the idea behind that?" I asked the National Guardsman manning the display. "Well," he said, "a lot of people don't support the war and they aren't comfortable with the flag-colored ribbon but they support the troops."

It seemed to me unlikely people uncomfortable with the national flag would be meaningfully supportive of the national army. But a couple of weeks later, driving past a house in Hanover, N.H., I saw an even sillier qualification: "Support Our Troops. Bring Them Home Now" -- so they can sit around the barracks feeling like losers until they're needed for some hurricane-relief operation.

The Los Angeles Times' Joel Stein (no relation) took a lot of heat last week for coming right out and saying he didn't support the troops and that it was a humbug phrase he and his antiwar comrades shouldn't have to use as cover.

Good for him. He's right. It's empty and pusillanimous, the Iraq war's version of "But some of my best friends are Jewish." If you oppose the mission, if you don't want to see it through, if you support a position whose success would only demoralize and negate the sacrifice of those serving in Iraq, in what sense do you "support the troops"? Mr. Stein should be congratulated for acknowledging that he doesn't. We armchair warmongers are routinely derided as "chicken hawks," but Mr. Stein is a hawkish chicken, disdaining the weasel formulation in which too many antiwar folks take refuge.

Meanwhile, I found this old post from March 2005:

Do You support the men and women fighting for your freedom?

Do you support those that has been killed while deployed?

if so there is this braclet five dollars to show your support to those fighting and have died while fighting for America.


Pinko fascist communists will not be interested in this:

GI-Bracelet.org is founded by Dreamissary, Inc. Since launch, we have formed a California non-profit corporation as our philanthropy arm: Dreamissary Foundation. We are currently applying for 501(c)(3) status. However, all military charity foundations that receive the donations from the GI Bracelets are 501(c)(3) organizations. And 100% of the purchase price of the GI Bracelets goes to these organizations.

You know that the entire purchase price of all GI Bracelets is donated to these funds because of our open transparent accounting, which shows every single purchase, how much money has been raised, and when and how much has been donated to each charity fund. This ensures integrity, legitimacy and credibility.

Being surrounded by all the military bases in the San Diego area, the hardship and sacrifices made by the troops and their families really hit home.

Many families fall into financial hardship when the bread winner is injured or killed. Please listen to some of the heartbreaking stories on NPR.org that inspired us to start this project. Just listen to one story, and you'll understand why we want to do this.

We originally set out to raise money to set up a college scholarship fund for the children of the fallen, and to help out the families of the injured and fallen troops. But after doing some research, there are many great organizations dedicated to take care of the children and families of the injured and fallen troops.

So, instead of duplicating the efforts, we would like to focus on raising money, and give 100% of the money to these great organizations.

Please join us by purchasing and wearing a GI Bracelet. And tell everyone you know to join us!

We are an Internet company based in San Diego, California. Our other web sites include USCharms.com, Funny.com, and BearGear.com. We also specialize in developing Web applications for clients such as Pfizer, Inc.

Noonz Wire cites both GI-Bracelet.org and Joel Stein:

By the way, if you buy a GI Bracelet, you can support a number of different funds that help troops and their families....

And Joel Stein would do well to read the FAQ over at GI-Bracelet.org, where he'll see this:

What if I don't support the war in Iraq?

The issue is not about whether you support the war or not. The GI Bracelet is about supporting our troops and their families. The children and the families of the injured and fallen need more financial help than most of us realize. Let's support them in their time of need.

Got it, Joel?

Also, if you decide to donate to American Snipers, the Challenge Coin you can get from them is really cool.

Go donate!

Michelle Malkin lists 25 suggestions on how to support the troops (a pay raise isn't one of them). Here are some excerpts:

5. Crochet hats and blankets for the troops.

15. Donate frequent flyer miles to our troops.

20. Support Operation Baby Love, which helps military moms with newborns.

25. Immunize your children from Joel Stein disease by teaching them to give thanks and say prayers every night for our men and women in uniform who have freely and bravely volunteered to defend America wherever and whenever duty calls.

Meanwhile, some people are being accused of not supporting the troops:

As a side note, what I think is funny is how certain American's will lobby for any military cause other than pay raises for us. For example, some were complaing that soldiers don't have enough body armor, and now you'll see in the news that the government is buying more body armor (the side plates). Now clearly the regular American has never worn an IBA, nor would they choose to. They're heavy as is, and now adding the side plates will probably add another 15 pounds i'd imagine, further slowing down the people that wear these on the regular basis. Anyway, why can't these same lobbyists fight for an increase in pay? I'm WAY under paid for what I do, as is pretty much everyone here wearing a uniform. Some of the civilians I work with here make quite literally 8-10x more a year than I do (with about the same experience as me or less). And most of them have NO military experience. So if you patriotic Americans really want to make a difference, two words for you- salary increase.

Dave Evans sounds the same theme:

There is a profound difference in the compensation of 9/11 victims and those that are in uniform and die serving our country. There is something really disturbing about our mentality in regards to who should get entitlement, and how much they should get. Families who lost someone in the 9/11 attack will get an average $1.18M, (yes, million). Entitlements range between $250K and $4.7M.

If you are a surviving family member of an American serviceman or servicewoman killed in action, you get a check for $6K, 50% taxable. You would also get $1,750 for funeral costs and if you are the spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. Each child under 18 gets $211 per month....

When pay raises come up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing and while they are deployed, their families more than likely are pinching every penny just to put food on the table.

Congress voted themselves a raise and have retirement benifits of $15K per month. They don't receive social security because they don't pay into it. If you stay in the military for 20 years, you might receive around $1K per month....

Xavier thinks in a similar fashion:

Last month Congress approved a doubling of Army sign on bonuses, meaning a new recruit could earn as much as $40,000 just for signing on the dotted line. The amount is $20,000 for new reservists. An active duty soldier with a hard-to-fill job who meets all the right criteria could earn a staggering $90,000 simply for re-enlisting.

Also, the Army will boost the amount of student loans it can repay to $65,000. This amount, when combined with the Montgomery GI Bill, will offer recruits up to $72,424 to pursue a higher education....

How about some damned pay raises for the difficult job these fine men are doing instead of money set aside for bait?

So it's clear that these "do you support the troops" questions are poppycock. Do you support the troops? Do you support your country? Do you support children? Do you support free speech? Do you support society? All such questions are ultimately meaningless, because any time that you argue that you support some abstract good, it's very easy to find an example to prove that you don't.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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I Blew Up The Movie Industry REAL GOOD 

Since I'm ruminating about Undercover, here are some excerpts from a discussion/interview about Steve Taylor:

In 1983, the fledgling Contemporary Christian Music scene was dominated largely by inspirational pop and behind-the-times rock bands. Amy Grant was still a rising star and virtually no one had heard of Michael W. Smith. Suddenly, a young twenty-something emerged with his debut EP, I Want to Be a Clone, armed with a relevant new wave rock sound and lyrical wit that challenged Christians to consider their faith and actions.

That artist was Steve Taylor, who went on to become one of the most important Christian artists in the next two decades—half that time in a solo career, including an all-too-brief stint with the mainstream band Chagall Guevara. Since then, Taylor has made an impact as a producer, record label executive, and music video director. But it's been ten years since his last album, and his Squint record label—once home for Sixpence None the Richer, Burlap to Cashmere, and Chevelle—folded....

Most remember your solo work for your honest, witty, and satirical writing. How naturally did that come to you?

Taylor: (Smiling) Yeah, the satire probably came a little too naturally for me. I think there was an aspect of that which probably garnered attention because it was Christian music—when you're working in a small enough pool, it's easier to make a big splash....

Now you're focused on making movies. What's your current project?

Taylor: The Second Chance. It's probably best described as a "black and white buddy movie"—a white and a black get together and don't like each other, but by the end of the movie they do. It's centered on two churches in the Nashville area—one predominantly white in the suburbs, the other predominantly black in the inner city. The associate pastor from the big suburban church, played by Michael W. Smith, gets "sent down" to the inner city church to rediscover what it's all about, and hijinks ensue.

How did you choose Smith for the role?

Taylor: It was one of the film's writers, my longtime friend Ben Pearson, who thought Smith should try for the lead. We got with him early on, and gave him what amounted to a screen test to see if he could act. When we decided he could pull it off, it's fair to say we wrote the part with him in mind to play it.

And the other lead is played by?

Taylor: Jeff Obafemi Carr, who's a pretty well known actor in town. We were originally hoping for a B+ actor like Don Cheadle or Jeffrey Wright, but both of them were booked. Jeff auditioned and read through a table reading of the script cold, and I'm not exaggerating, every line was exactly how I heard it when we were writing it. I talked to him afterwards, and honestly told him that I'd like to use him as a backup if we couldn't get a better-known star for the film. He was very gracious, and as it turned out, he seemed the best actor for the job.

You're planning to release this in theaters to the mainstream?

Taylor: Right. One of the reasons we've avoided the tag "Christian film" is because it's the kiss of death—it's not an apocalyptic thriller or a conversion story. It's a redemption story, set in the world of these two churches, and we wanted to tell an authentic story deep in those settings.

You ever see Alec Baldwin play Jimmy Swaggart in Great Balls of Fire? It was so awful—a total caricature and an embarrassment. I'm sure he would agree, because he's an awesome actor. It was a great example of why Hollywood doesn't seem to understand the Christian culture. Then Robert Duvall came around, saying for years that nobody ever gets it right, that he was going to do it right. He made The Apostle, and he nailed the Southern Pentecostal scene, using local people and a small budget to do a great job. I wouldn't want to be directly compared with that movie, but that was the gold standard. Our aspirations were to try and approach that kind of realism and authenticity.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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GoDaddy - Is 14th time a charm? 

From Hot Points, Bob Parsons' blog:

Today we had our 13th submission for a Go Daddy advertisement for this year’s Super Bowl rejected by ABC....

Upon learning of the rejection we immediately sent ABC a 14th submission. It is my sincere hope that this just might be the one that gets approved. As we understand it, the deadline for approval is January 31, 2006. So we are going right down to the wire.

And in response to accusations by certain people that rejection would be the best thing, Parsons states (emphasis his):

This is no publicity stunt.
I’ve been accused a number of times of orchestrating a publicity stunt. While I’ve been pleased with the media attention that this has attracted, it has always been my intention to simply get a commercial approved and nothing more. If we are fortunate enough for ABC to approve the current submission, we will indeed have an ad airing during this year’s Super Bowl.

I still hold by my earlier statement, however. Parsons is going into the negotiations with ABC with the knowledge that he doesn't have to air an approved Super Bowl commercial. Over at Megacorp, where Manic Marketer is ordered to get a commercial on the Super Bowl, Manic Marketer knows he/she will be fired if the commercial doesn't get on. In this case, the boss is running the show, and the boss will be sitting pretty if the commercial doesn't air on traditional TV.

Again, Parsons' strategy won't work for everyone. As I noted earlier (emphasis mine):

Look at the worst case, in which GoDaddy doesn't get a commercial on the Super Bowl (whoops, the Big Game) and ends up putting the commercial on its website. Sure, they won't get the Super Bowl audience, but they will get an audience of those people who are most likely to use GoDaddy's domain name registration services. And they don't have to pay $2 million or $5 million or whatever to ABC.

Meanwhile, despite some clunker ads in recent years, the commercials themselves have eclipsed the game for some people:

“When companies are paying about $80,000 per second to advertise during Super Bowl XL, you know they want to leave a lasting impression on the 130 million viewers,” John Antil, associate professor of business administration in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and a Super Bowl advertising expert, said.

“Audiences for Super Bowls have become as interested in the 30 minutes of ads as they are in the NFL championship game,” Antil said, noting that about 58 percent of viewers have indicated they would rather miss part of the game than miss any of the commercials.

“With all the hype these 30-second ads receive, both before and after the game, it is no wonder that viewers expectations have become so high,” Antil said....

After surveying various sources, Antil said he found the cost of ads this year seems to be more varied than in the past. “Initially, sales were brisk, with companies reportedly paying as much as $2.6 million for a 30-second spot,” he said. “But to sell the remaining slots, ABC may be willing to sell a fourth quarter spot for as little as $1.7 million. Since some media buyers are willing to risk waiting to see if the network will sell heavily discounted time, ABC still has plenty of time to sell any remaining spots. One year, a buyer reported that he signed a contract for a 30-second spot in the car on the way to the game.”

Though the actual price for Super Bowl spots is difficult to determine, it appears that the average price this year will be about the same as last year, $2.4 million, Antil said. Though ad prices normally increase every year, this year ABC must compete for advertising dollars with the Turin Winter Olympics, which will begin only five days after the Super Bowl....

Even the NFL has recognized the entertainment value of Super Bowl commercials, Antil said, and the professional football league is assembling a 30-minute show consisting solely of Super Bowl ads and is showing it only hours after the game on the NFL Network.

As well, the league has begun to take a more active role in controlling what airs during the broadcast, Antil said. Las Vegas has been trying to get ads into the Super Bowl broadcast for years but because of the NFL’s anti-gaming rules, the league will not budge. Also, Antil said the NFL does not plan to renew an $18 million sponsorship agreement with Lavitra [sic] as its commercials have become more risqué and have been targets of criticism from the public and politicians.

And, unfortunately, Levitra can't count on Internet advertising, because it wouldn't necessarily reach its target audience. (Note to self: insert geek joke here.)

It turns out that, despite "1984," the Super Bowl isn't a hot target for tech companies any more:

The Super Bowl can be a field of dreams for advertisers, but almost all tech and telecom companies will -- as per their game plans the last five years -- be warming the bench.

Only CareerBuilder.com, a leading job posting service, GoDaddy.com, a Web services company, and telecom firms AT&T (NYSE:T)and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S)will suit up for Sunday's Super Bowl telecast....

With 30-second slots for the latest Super Bowl going for $2.6 million, most Internet companies are priced out of the game, says David Card, an analyst for Jupiter Research. But it's not just the money. Most prefer to advertise online, he says. "The perception is that you don't need the big bang," Card said. "You can do it incrementally on the Web."...

Monster, like many Internet companies, rode the Super Bowl to build a brand name. With an audience of over 100 million, the Super Bowl is America's most-viewed TV event of the year.

This year, Monster is pushing ahead with the same strategy as last year: placing TV and radio ads on local stations in various markets. At this point, most people have heard of Monster, Kelley says. So Monster's focus is getting them to use the service.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Sabiha Khan Responds to Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Bill Handel 

From the Los Angeles Times:

Handel said he would apologize to the group but imposed three conditions: The group must condemn all acts of terror; agree that Israel is a sovereign nation and has a right to defend its borders; and that CAIR has no ties to terror organizations or individuals.

The answer to those demands are "yes, yes and no," said Sabiha Khan, communications director for the CAIR chapter.

"KFI and Hendel continue to fail to take responsibility for Bill Handel's offensive comments that he made, mocking the tragic deaths of innocent pilgrims during religious rituals," she said today in a television interview.

"I'm glad he is starting to acknowledge that an apology needs to be made, but it is unfortunate that he has to put conditions on doing the right thing," said Khan, who added that she had heard Hendel's broadcast.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Handel Transcript 

A transcript is now available.

Bill Handel Apology...Strings Attached

Bill Handel 1/30/2006:

Interesting news that happened actually started January 12th, on the morning show, the day of the Hajj in Mecca. A few hundred people were trampled to death as sometimes happens in Mecca, it’s a problem they’ve had for many many years.

And we did a little skit that morning, about them desperately needing a helicopter in the sky, and a traffic reporter to guide traffic. We did a little skit on that, and Paul did it in his accent, as an Arab helicopter/traffic reporter.

You never know, whenever we do something on a show, when it hits a nerve. Who are we going to offend today, and what is going to reverberate? I have no idea! I mean we start at 5:00 am in the morning offending people. That’s what this show is about, we make fun of everybody! There is no group that is off limits to us. There is no religion that is off limits to us, there is no ethnic group, no nationality. Nothing is off limits! You just never know who we offend, and every once in a while we hit and nerve, and BOOM, off it goes. And with two things happening…number one, the internet and its ability to marshal emails throughout the world and groups out there, the righteous groups that monitor for offensive comments. With these, you’ve got an interesting combination, and there is our story.

It broke last Thursday, that this group CAIR, the Counsel of American Islamic Relations, found what we had done on January 12th offensive, because we made fun of Muslims. Yes, we did, we make fun of everybody. Get in line, because we make fun of everybody. You think we are only making fun of you? HA! Well, they demanded of KFI and me, an apology and reprimand. They wanted me to apologize to Muslims for making fun of them, and they wanted a reprimand. As a matter of fact, we received emails, and I’m going to share with you a quick email sent to Mr. Greg Ashlock, Regional Vice President of Clear Channel Radio. (He reads the following email):

Dear Mr. Ashlock,

I am writing to kindly ask KFI radio and Clear Channel Communications to issue a formal apology and to reprimand Mr. Bill Handel for making Islamophobic remarks on one of his recently aired shows.

On January 12, Mr. Handel mocked the deaths of hundreds of Muslims while performing their annual pilgrimage to Mecca. He also described the event as a stampede, characterized Islam as a “strange religion,” and portrayed Muslims as anti-Semites.

Mr. Handel’s comments are not only incorrect; they also demonstrate a reckless and insensitive attitude toward the loss of human life and toward a religion that is practiced by 1.3 billion people around the globe.

Needless to say Mr. Handel’s comments about Muslims’
attitudes toward Jews are stereotypical and they only serve to increase tension and conflict among people of Abrahamic faiths.

I urge KFI and Clear Channel Communications to distance themselves from Mr. Handel’s repeated Islamophobic remarks by issuing a formal apology and a reprimand.

Looking forward to your reply,

Now, we got hundreds of these, hundreds! Beijing, China…Saudi Arabia…Jordan…Kuwait…needless to say all through America, too. Strangely enough, every one of them are identical! (Re-reads the first line of the email). How to you get hundreds of emails that say exactly, precisely the same thing? Why, you have an organization that sends emails out to all of its people and says please write to these folks because they have offended. Any by the way, not one of these people actually listen to the show. Nobody knows who Bill Handel is, nobody’s ever heard of Clear Channel. Why you think, Susan Baker in Bakrain, is buying a Select Comfort Bed because I’m pitching here at KFI? COME ON! Nope, it is about the organization CAIR. And they call themselves a civil rights organization, which I find hilarious. This is an organization, by the way, that has been accused of having ties, and was started by the folks that are part of Hamas. The very same people that on the news this morning, asked the world to continue sending aid to the people of Palestine. And the world says, all you need to do is say that Israel has a right to exist, and you’re going to give up terrorism. NOPE! They won’t do that.

So, CAIR has asked me for an apology for making fun of Muslims. Or in this case, specifically, for making light of the fact that hundreds of Muslims died while performing their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and I was wrong in describing the event as a “stampede.” Although, I don’t know what other word you would use, when you have hundreds of people…stampeding, but so be it. And, characterizing Islam as a “strange religion…I sure did…I characterize Judaism as a strange religion, I characterize Catholicism as a strange religion, and every other religion as a strange religion, across the board. But, I guess when you are an Islamic organization; all you care about is, when I make fun of that particular religion. And I portray Muslims as Anti-Semites. Yeah, I got to apologize for that one, because I don’t know where the hell I ever got the idea that Muslims are Anti-Semites. Where would I ever get that idea?!! You’re right, you’re right; I guess I manufactured that out of a whole cloth.

So, CAIR, which by the way, has some of its own problems, in terms of how it was created, and who it’s connected to, and things that it has done. For example, several years ago, when a billboard showed a picture of Osama Bin Laden, here in Southern California, and it said something like “this guy is a threat.” They immediately said, “take that down,” they complained about some billboard company saying Osama is a threat, saying that’s anti-Muslim, how dare you do that.

So, bottom line, this is my response, I put it in writing, because it is going to be issued, and I want it verbatim.

I have been asked to apologize to the Muslim community, on behalf of CAIR, for comments I made on a January 12th broadcast, that it claims I was insensitive to Muslims. I have taken this request into consideration, and I am willing to issue a formal apology. I will issue a formal apology; live on the air, provided that CAIR clearly defines its positions on several issues. As has been widely reported, CAIR has been the subject of a number of investigations for ties to terrorism. If CAIR will publicly acknowledge the following three statements, I will recognize it as an organization that TRULY represents law-abiding, peace loving, American Muslim citizens. Not merely a front for people who advocate terrorism. Number one, CAIR denounces all bombings, attacks, where the intended victims were innocent civilians. Such as all bus, market, restaurant bombings in Israel, the 2004 train bombing in Madrid, and the 2005 subway and bus bombings in London. Denounce those as terrorism. Number two, Israel is a sovereign nation. Recognized by the world community, has a right to exist with defensible borders. CAIR will never say that. Three, CAIR, and its associates have no ties, nor have they ever had any ties with individuals or known terrorist organizations, whatsoever, financially or otherwise, including but not limited to, Hamas, Islamic jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Al Qaeda. Can’t say that one either, they can try, but I doubt they will. Because if you look at the history of CAIR and how it started, you will see many of its founders in jail, tied to terrorism, financially tied to terrorism. But that’s up to them.

So here’s a question I have for them. I’m going to throw the gauntlet down now. I’ll be more than happy to apologize for offending people. I’ll apologize all day long. What I want to know is why the AP and our local television stations carry the banner when they describe themselves as civil rights organization. I would like reporters, media, print, radio, television reporters, to ask CAIR…how do you respond to Handel? You’ve demanded that Handel apologize, Handel has come back and said, I’ll be more than happy to apologize, if you denounce bombings as terrorism. The way the do it, is bombings against Israelis is that of a freedom fighter. And attacks from Israelis to Palestinians are terrorism. See how that works? Osama Bin Laden is a freedom fighter, to these people. The attacks on civilians are simply a revolution, to get out the bad guys. I want reporters to ask CAIR, respond! Do you denounce all bombings as terrorism, doesn’t matter of political motivation, doesn’t matter if an Israeli does it, doesn’t matter if a Palestinian does it, doesn’t matter if a Chinese guy does it, doesn’t matter if an Irish Republican Army guy does it, it is terrorism, if the victims are innocent civilians. Number two; Israel is a sovereign nation recognized by the world, has a right to exist. And you’ve never had any ties to anybody associated with terrorism…Hamas, Islamic jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda. I’d love to see that. Then you get your apology. By the way, we have called CAIR, all through the weekend, left messages to their communications director, and we have not gotten a response. I would like to them to come, and respond on the AIR, and respond to these charges. I’m sure their response will be, that’s not the issue. Yes, it is the issue. I’ll be more than happy to talk about your issue if you talk about my issue. Maybe, they’ll shock me. You are invited to come on the show, and respond, because I am accusing you of all three of those allegations, and I’d like you to respond.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Little Green Footballers CAIR about the Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Bill Handel Response 

Some excerpts from the comments section of this Little Green Footballs post (see here for context):

#3 Jheka 1/30/2006 08:18AM PST

It'll be nice to see someone make CAIR defend their MANY terrorist ties.
#7 Biff Baxter 1/30/2006 08:19AM PST

CAIR will denounce terror right after Cindy Sheehan is sworn in as California Senator.

IOW, never.
#8 Jheka 1/30/2006 08:19AM PST

Also, I hereby demand that CAIR immediately move back to their 1967 offices ...
#49 SlothB77 1/30/2006 08:36AM PST

This is fantastic. CAIR utilizes media stories such as this to try to 'expose' radical talk show hosts. Handel has just turned the tables back on CAIR. He calls them to the carpet for what they really are and totally undermines their momentum. I wish the WMAR guy in Wash DC had done this. Handel has just used the favorite technique of CAIR against them.
#98 BIG 1/30/2006 09:03AM PST

I am sure ACLU lawyers are rushing to defend the free speech of Bill Handel?
#137 ibrodsky 1/30/2006 09:38AM PST


I have obtained through secret channels CAIR's planned responses to Handel's questions:

1. Yes, we denounce all forms of terrorism including state terrorism and specifically Israeli state terrorism against the poor, oppressed Palestinians.

2. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to defensible borders--in Europe, Alaska, or on an unihabited Pacific island.

3. We have no ties to any terror organizations. However, just as KFI-AM does not necessarily endorse everything its hosts say, we are not responsible for what our directors and members do in their spare time.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Do you CAIR about Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Bill Handel? 

The latest about Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel. From Drudge Report:

Mon Jan 30 2006 10:10:49 ET

Los Angeles's top talkradio station is under fire from a Muslim group because of comments made earlier this month by morning man [Nobel Peace Prize nominee] Bill Handel. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has demanded an apology from Handel for making fun of a stampede that killed hundreds of Muslims during an annual pilgrimage.

But Handel is set to fire back, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Handel will apologize IF the Council on American-Islamic Relations:

1) Decries all acts of terror (described specifically, not generally)

2) Agrees that Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to defensible borders

3) CAIR has no ties of any sort, financially or otherwise, to any terror orgs or individiuals.


KFI-AM does not condone making light of the deaths of people engaged in religious observances. We regret that listeners found the comments of one of our on-air hosts to be insensitive. KFI does not censor its hosts, nor does it tell them what to say or not to say. KFI is a strong and passionate believer in 1st amendment rights and that is at the very core of this radio station.


As of right now, the KFI web site includes an MP3 of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Handel's full statement. On the air, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Handel noted that KFI received hundreds of e-mails, all with the exact same wording, and many from areas that are outside of KFI's broadcast area (although I believe podcasts are available, so presumably they could have heard it. As Handel noted, most of the letter writers probably didn't know who he was, didn't know who Clear Channel was, and probably weren't going to rush out and buy a Select Comfort mattress (one of Handel's advertisers).

A tip to all protestors, whether you be Communist, baby seal clubber, fundamentalist, or libertine - your protest is more effective if you at least have some type of relationship with the item that you are protesting. Which is why the Ontario Mountain Village Association has a mailing address on Vineyard Avenue. But I digress.

And Relapsed Catholic includes the following:

Meanwhile, in a related story, Lourdes celebrates its 56,892th stampede free day.

And HolyCoast says:

I've heard [Nobel Peace Prize nominee] Handel and his bunch say lots of things that as a Christian, I could get really worked up about, but why bother? Life's too short to take everything so deadly seriously. Advice to CAIR: cool your jets. No one really cares if you're upset.

And a Midwestern culturalist comments:

[Nobel Peace Prize nominee] Bill Handel makes a joke a fourth-grader would love and becomes CAIR's latest target.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Handel is not alone in criticizing CAIR:

*U.S. Senator Richard Durbin: "[CAIR is] unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect"

*U.S. Senator Charles Schumer: "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism"...

Since its founding in 1994, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its employees have combined, conspired, and agreed with third parties, including, but not limited to, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (“HLF”), the Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”), and foreign nationals hostile to the interests of the United States, to provide material support to known terrorist organizations, to advance the Hamas agenda, and to propagate radical Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, and certain of its officers, directors, and employees, have acted in support of, and in furtherance of, this conspiracy.

But CAIR supports the First Amendment, at least in certain circumstances:

Dr. Parvez Ahmed (Click Photo)
CAIR Chairman
“Royer's indictment stemmed from his activities after he left CAIR. Certainly no organization can be held responsible for the personal activities of its employees or associates, especially after they leave or before they join an organization.”

“People who make statements connecting CAIR to terrorism should understand the legal consequences of their attempted slander and defamation. The First Amendment does not protect defamation.”

-Parvez Ahmed

To my knowledge, the Free Muslims Coaliation has not said anything about the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel affair. Here's a little bit about them:

The Free Muslims Coalition is a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era.
The Free Muslims was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.

The Free Muslims promotes a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs. The Free Muslims' efforts are unique; it is the only mainstream American-Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously. Unfortunately most other Muslim leaders believe that in terrorist organizations, the end justifies the means.

As written recently by Khaled Kishtainy, columnist at Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Newspaper, "I place on the Islamic intellectuals and leaders of Islamic organizations part of the responsibility for [this phenomenon] of Islamic terrorism, as nearly all of them advocate violence, and repress anyone who casts doubts upon this. Naturally, every so often they have written about the love and peace of Islam ? but they did so, at best, for purposes of propaganda and defense of Islam. Their basic position is that this religion was established by the sword, acts by the sword, and will triumph by the sword, and that any doubt regarding this constitutes a conspiracy against the Muslims."

The Free Muslims finds this sympathetic support for terrorists by Muslim leaders and intellectuals to be a dangerous trend and the Free Muslims will challenge these beliefs and target the sympathetic support given to terrorists by Muslims.

The Free Muslims encourages Muslims and Arabs to be proud of their faith and at the same time critical. The community of the faithful must now take steps to bring Islam into the 21st century. As the Free Muslims?s founder recently said, "The only way that we as a people can make a profound difference and improve the quality of life for all Muslims is if all of us make a difference individually."

Other Americans have spoken up against terrorism, but never before has this message come with such clarity from Muslims or Arabs. Muslims are the only ones who can resolve the problem of terror in Islam, and sadly until the founding of this Free Muslims, they were the only group who had not definitively spoken up against the use of terror.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Rick Warren and the Saints 

Gil (remember him?) links to a news source called Lark, which is running this news item. (And I'm reading it in Alaska, too.)

Pastor and author Rick Warren has signed a deal to purchase the New Orleans Saints football franchise for $320 million from current owner Tom Benson, and has pledged to pour his time and energy into helping the city and team rebuild.

"This is the start of the Saints' turnaround," a Warren spokesman said. "America is going to see what a purpose-driven team can accomplish."...

The Saints will now operate differently than most NFL teams. Players will be required to go through the 40 Days of Purpose program. Alcohol will not be served in the stadium, and every attendee will receive a copy of the Purpose-Driven Life. Halftime shows will offer "edgy, cool" evangelism and worship concerts, says a spokesman.

Here comes another one:

Out of fashion for 4,000 years, asherah poles have shown up in night clubs and hip restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami, where patrons consider them trendy, mystical symbols of ancient power.

"People want to connect to something with ancient roots, not some modern religion," says a night club owner who added carved, modern-looking poles to his facility. "People rub them to get good luck with their careers and relationships."

But a Jewish watchdog group has begun surreptitiously stealing or cutting the poles down, leaving unattractive stumps....

As far as anyone can tell, the poles first showed up at a fashion show in West L.A., where the set designer used religious icons to spice things up. People raved about the sleek asherah poles so much that local clubs added them to their décor. Poles are often accompanied by a carved bowl at the base where people offer "sacrifices" of spare change, or even jewelry.

"It represents natural religion, I guess," says Sasha, 23, who dropped a dollar into an asherah bowl before ordering a blue-colored beverage at the bustling Octopus Bar. "It makes me feel connected to the earth and to spiritual energy. Maybe it will help me be lucky."...

Oh, well, at least they aren't agitating for the return of Molech. Or perhaps they are.

Back to Lark News:

After immersing himself in popular slang phrases, youth leader Dave Jackson has become completely unintelligible to members of his church, even the youth.

"We stopped understanding him about a month ago," says Tanya Gooden, 17, of his youth group. "It was a slow process. Now when he preaches we have to assume a lot of things by his tone, not his words."

Jackson, tracked down at his church office, told a reporter, "Fo shizzle, my nizzle, it's the big mack tizzle, you trackin'? The get-down was off the hook, bra. Big-time ace. Dey scened until the old folk rolled in and the crew got dot gone. Good Sunday, bra."

Just wait a few years and marry Jamie Lynn (or whatever her name is).

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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