Thursday, August 31, 2006

Olbermann Tears Rumsfeld Apart

I watched this twice last night on Countdown. If you thought all Olbermann was capable of was bringing the cynical or the funny, then this might change your mind.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 5:17 PM /

Racism, Discrimination, Stereotypes and Ignorance - All Part Of The GOP Platform

Could this really be an election-year campaign strategy? Could Republicans really be focusing their energy and attention on racist and discriminatory comments as a means to potentially draw out a certain demographic of voters?

Is there any other possible explanation for the recent flurry of comments made by Republicans running for office in November?

The following are just examples, and are by no means a complete and exhaustive list:

August 25th - Katherine Harris states that the separation of church and state is a lie, and "...if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin...."

August 18th - Tramm Hudson, running to take Katherine Harris' seat in the House of Representatives, notes that "I grew up in Alabama. I understand, uh, I know from experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim." Hudson is facing a five-way GOP primary race in Sarasota, Florida.

August 11th - Do we really need to go over George Allen's "macaca" comments, which he made immediately (we're talking the next SENTENCE immediately) after he stated, "My friends, we're going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas... and it's important that we motivate and inspire people FOR something." Literally, not even a SECOND passes between the end of that statement, and his "Welcome to America, Macaca" comments.

One of the worst offenders, however, seems to be Conrad Burns, A Republican running to keep his Senate seat in Montana. At a picnic for supporters last week, Burns even admitted it himself - he stated, "I can self-destruct in one sentence.... Sometimes in one word."

Obviously, Burns likes to prove that statement as being accurate. Take his comments to firefighters in July, where he stated that they had done a "piss-poor job," and even singled one of them out, stating, "See that guy over there? He hasn't done a g-- damned thing." Racist and discriminatory? No. Ignorant? Absolutely. There were firefighters who had traveled 2,000 miles to assist the state in fighting their fires.

So, he's proved "ignorant." Now let's move on to his racist and discriminatory comments. For that, look no further than the assorted video of Conrad Burns speaking about his "nice, little Guatemalan man" - comments which have received criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike.

Not strong enough for you? Well, look no further than yesterday, when Burns made comments, with Laura Bush standing by his side, about terrorists who "drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill at night." Laura Bush, following comments from Sen. Burns, thanked him, saying:
"Ending our dependence on foreign oil, reforming our immigration system, rebuilding the Gulf Coast and keeping our country safe from terrorism are not easy tasks, but they're absolutely vital goals," said Bush.

"And to accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations conducted with civility and respect," Bush said. "And Conrad Burns is a positive and powerful part of that dialogue."
Accusing taxi drivers of being terrorists is civil and respectful, Laura? Really?

Legislating sin. Blacks can't swim. Macaca. Taxi drivers are terrorists.

Are these really isolated incidents, or do they spell out something larger about Republicans and the GOP in general, and the methods by which they are running their campaigns? Most of these are "low profile" events that have been caught on videotape, displaying how these candidates "relate" to the "common man."

Most recently, however, the event was a fundraiser with the First Lady standing next to the individual making the comments, and agreeing with them.

At least we can be thankful that by and large, the American people are seeing these incidents, and are showing their disapproval.

In Virginia, where Allen once enjoyed a double-digit lead over Webb, Jim Webb now leads Allen - 47.9 to 46.6 - still within the margin of error, but it clearly shows the effect of "Macaca" on Allen.

While Katherine Harris leads in her Republican primary race, but in a match-up between Katherine Harris and Democrat Bill Nelson, there's no contest - Nelson has a commanding 63-20 lead over Harris.

In the Montana race, Conrad Burns is running even with Jon Tester - Burns had been trailing in the past months. Currently, they're tied at 47. We here at PTF still believe that this will be a Democratic pick-up in Montana.... Why? Because Conrad Burns will continue to shoot himself in the foot, and because he's ONLY at 47 at this point - Republicans have been pushing HARD to keep this seat. Even at this early point, a dazzling Who's Who of the GOP has marched to Montana and to the aid of Conrad Burns - Laura Bush, Elizabeth Dole, Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp, Bill Frist.... For all of this "star power," Burns should have a commanding lead over Tester - instead, all he can muster is a tie. Look at the money the campaigns have spent thus far. Burns has spent a staggering $4.6 million to Tester's $1.2 million - and they remain tied.

Trust me.... Jon Tester is going to take this seat away from Conrad Burns in November, which will allow the former Senator from Montana a lot more time to spend with his nice little, Guatemalan friend.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 2:28 PM /

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So.... Did We Miss Anything?

It's been a good two weeks since PTF has posted anything of real significance, while we waited to unveil the new design.

Now that we're back up and running, it's time to "catch up" take a brief look at what was missed while we were gone:

Bush Reads (those two words by themselves are stunning enough) Camus as summer vacation ranch fare; George Allen creates a sensation with his new version of Hakuna Macaca; Turns out even Mom is running away from the GOP; the case of Snow White V. United States Supreme Court; Chuck Hagel jumps ship; Lieberman wants to keep troops in Iraq, even "if" civil war erupts, and believes that any other action is aiding and abetting our enemies... Whoops! Wait a minute... scratch that.... Lieberman is considering a timeline to remove US troops; JonBenet Ramsey killer is caught... Whoops! Maybe not so much; Osama Hearts Whitney; Bush can't solve the nation's gas problem, but giggles at his own; Alaskan Republicans pull a "Lieberman" on Gov. Murkowski, and yet it somehow doesn't get quite the same attention by the GOP; Pluto has been kicked out of the club; the GOP orders fear, and plenty of it; Katherine Harris thinks Joe Lieberman, Norm Coleman, Arlen Specter and others "legislate sin"; Meanwhile, the candidate running to replace Harris' seat in the House is tripping over comments about the aquatic skills of African-Americans; Rockey (he lost his tie, amongst other material possessions) - 1, Sheehan (she lost the life of her son) - 0....

There's a partial list of some of the events that happened in the last two weeks... now that we've spent some time catching up.... onward!!!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 2:08 PM /

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kyra Phillips Pisses Standing Up

For a long time, it was just an underground conspiracy theory, but today on CNN, it was confirmed for the world to hear. It requires a bit of mental theatre, but just imagine the picture of Kyra standing in front of the urinal, jabbering on to some poor pathetic soul trapped in the bathroom with her, while HER MIC IS ON and the network is carrying Bush's remarks on the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Not that he was saying anything important, anyway.

Keep an ear out for that fateful "zip" toward the end.

Happy Anniversary, New Orleans!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 3:31 PM /

Saturday, August 26, 2006

And With A Mighty Trumpet Blare....

The newly designed PTF is making it's first appearances to the general blogosphere!

We know that there are a few little tweaks here and there to resolve, but we hope that you will grow to love this new PTF, even more than the original.

Take a peek around - things will be in flux for the next few days, but we will be back up and running with content VERY shortly!!

Special thanks go out to Luna at LunaStone Designs for her assistance and patience with this re-design!!

Posted by FleshPresser at 3:50 PM /

Friday, August 25, 2006

On Notice

I know it's been a long wait for the NEW PTF to take off, but is this really necessary?

Needless to say, when Mr. Colbert puts you on notice, it's time to get back to work.

I am happy to announce that the newly-designed PTF will make it's Premiere this weekend!!

Stay tuned...

h/t Blue Gal

Posted by FleshPresser at 6:42 PM /

Monday, August 14, 2006

Coming Soon - New Fall Premiere of PTF!!!

That's right... we're in the final stretch of summer, and here at PTF, we're gearing up for the new fall Premiere of Pressing The Flesh!! After getting some advice from a great friend and fabulous blogger, the fall is going to bring a fresh new look to PTF, and a sharper focus, keying in on the politics leading up to the November elections!

While some regular features, such as Flesh, Ink. Friday, will be on hiatus, other features will become more regular, such as an expanded edition of the Road to Washington Weekly, as well as other new features!

Stay tuned!!!

Posted by FleshPresser at 6:28 PM /

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Nothin' Like A Good Ole' Fashioned Low Bush Poll....

Sit back, enjoy your latte, and as the Republicans do their best to spin on the Sunday talk shows this morning, take some of these facts from the latest AP-Ipsos poll into account:

Bush is back down to 33%, his low point which was reached back in May. So much for his "Zarqawi bounce."

Nineteen percent of those who supported Bush in 2004 are prepared to vote Democratic in the fall elections. REMEMBER that distinction as Republicans tell you they're not frightened - these aren't Republicans stating they're ready to vote Democratic in 2008 - they're voting Democratic in the CONGRESSIONAL elections. SO much for their spin about the November election not becoming a referendum on the Bush Administration.

The number of voters who state that their Congressional vote in November will BE a vote of opposition to the President has jumped to 29%, up from 20% last month - that's a hell of a jump for one month - and expect the number to get bigger as we get closer to November.

Perhaps most tantalizing for the Democrats - approval for Bush in THE SOUTH has dropped from 43% to 34% in the last month.

The generic question of support for a Democrat versus a Republican has gone up to 55% for the Democrats, another rise in the numbers for Democrats.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:21 AM /

The Next Time You Hear Bush And Republicans Are Tough On Terror...

Even as word escapes about the timing of the "imminent threat" of terrorists blowing up trans-Atlantic planes, maybe we can ask the Bush Administration why they're trying to spend less on bomb detection technology.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:54 AM /

The Week That Was - August 13, 2006

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:34 AM /

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just In Case There Was A Doubt...

Over two years ago, the September 11th Commission reported that it found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

None. Zero. Nada. Zip.

That, of course, hasn't stopped Bush Administration officials from continuing to try and sell the link to the American people as a rationale for the war in Iraq.

Today, news breaks of a terror plot involving terrorists smuggling explosives on board trans-Atlantic flights. Although the plot had all the earmarks of an Al-Qaeda planned attack, Michael Chertoff stated that U.S. and British officials "cannot yet form a definitive conclusion" about al-Qaeda involvement.

So, the good guys got the bad guys. Excellent news. Regardless of Al-Qaeda involvement or not, there was a plot, and those responsible were arrested.

How does Joe Lieberman decide to use the news? Taking a page from the Republican playbook, he played on fear and attacked the Democratic Senate Nominee, Ned Lamont, with the news.

In addition, Lieberman went so far as to try and tie the foiled terrorist attack to the war in Iraq.

Take a look at this article, and specifically what Joe Lieberman had to say:
“If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,” Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event at lunchtime in Waterbury, Conn. “It will strengthen them and they will strike again.”
Is it any wonder that Lieberman received a phone call from Karl Rove on Tuesday?

We bring this to your attention just so we're all clear on what Lieberman's position is regarding the Iraq and Al-Qaeda connection.

And to point out exactly the type of campaign Lieberman plans to run in Connecticut.


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Posted by FleshPresser at 4:56 PM /

Help! Lamont Is At It Again!

Omigod Omigod Omigod!!!

Someone help me! I went to see PTF a few moments ago, and IT WASN'T THERE!!!

Lamont's supporters are at it again - hacking web sites!!!

Oh wait... maybe Blogger is just having another routine malfunction.

And, as for Lieberman's site.... maybe we can explain to the former Senator Lieberman that when traffic exceeds bandwidth, this can often cause ANY website to crash, let alone one that costs $15/month.

Or maybe we can get Senator Stevens to explain it to him.

P.S.... on a more serous note, the front page of my blog does seem to be missing, so I'm not quite sure how it's allowing me to get in here to write a post. If this actually IS a Lamont supporter... knock it off... I'm on your side.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:14 AM /

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ned Lamont Wins!

Donate to Ned Lamont's Campaign NOW.

Joe Lieberman refuses to accept the outcome of an election primary held by the political party to which he says he belongs.

The people of his own state speak, and he refuses to listen.

Lamont said that if he lost this primary election, he would support Lieberman in the General Election. Lieberman, however, courts the Republican vote over that of his own party.

Ned Lamont is THE candidate of the Democratic Party in Connecticut.

Lieberman is just a bitter, arrogant, out-of-touch DINO (Democrat In Name Only) who can't seem to get enough of losing.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:01 AM /

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

LiveBlogging GA Results - McKinney/Johnson - 11:10PM

Getting closer in Georgia's Fourth, but not close enough for McKinney. With 87% of the vote in at this point, and 146 out of 167 precincts reporting, Johnson leads McKinney 59-41. Johnson has 35,756 votes and McKinney has 24,767 votes.

I think it's time for Rep. Johnson to begin packing up her office.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:14 PM /

Lieberman's Concession Speech

Lieberman is speaking to his supporters now, and while he has conceded to Lamont, he has almost guaranteed that he will run as an Independent.


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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:09 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - PTF Calls It! NED LAMONT!!

I think with WFSB reporting that 87% of the vote has been counted, and the Hartford Courant reporting that 94% of the vote has been counted, and the lead continuing to be a 52-48 race, PTF is ready to call the Connecticut Democratic Primary Election in favor of NED LAMONT!!!!

651 of the 748 precincts have reported now, with Ned Lamont capturing 124,940 votes, versus 116,060 votes for Joe Lieberman.

Tomorrow I will go into details, but suffice it to say that PTF believes this to be a GREAT night for the Democratic Party!!!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:58 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - 10:28PM

OK.... 84% of the vote is counted, and 625 out of 748 precincts are reporting. The lead continues to hold 52-48 for Lamont over Lieberman. 120,616 votes have been cast for Ned Lamont, and 111,887 votes have been cast for Lieberman.

So, why haven't we called the race here at PTF, despite the fact that we've done six updates now with the same four point lead for Lamont?

Because Hartford results remain outstanding, and those results could easily upset this current flatline in the results.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:33 PM /

LiveBlogging GA Results - McKinney/Johnson - Update

DeKalb County remains outstanding - a very significant stronghold for McKinney. As it stands, with 85 out of 167 precincts reporting, and 50% of the vote counted, McKinney continues to play catch-up, with Johnson holding on to a 58-42 lead. Johnson has 17,739 votes, and 12,876 votes for McKinney.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:29 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - Almost Done!

It's almost time for the Fat Lady to sing - 81% of the votes counted. 608 out of 748 precincts counted. Lamont continues to hold a 52-48 lead. Lamont has 116,387 votes and 108,683 for Lieberman.

It's becoming pretty clear to me that Lamont is going to hold on to his lead, but will it be enough of a lead to prevent Lieberman from pursuing his Independent candidacy?

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:23 PM /

LiveBlogging GA Results - McKinney/Johnson - 10:11PM

Another update from Georgia, as 34% of the votes have now been counted, and 58 out of 167 precincts reporting. McKinney has made up some ground, but remains behind Hank Johnson, 60-40. Johnson has 12,098 votes versus 8,002 for McKinney.

Methinks it's too little, too late for McKinney.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:15 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - 10:04PM

One more of these updates and I'm going to get close to pull the trigger and call the race. Right now, 76% in, and 565 out of 748 precincts counted - Lamont remains ahead with a 52-48 lead. 106,996 votes for Lamont, and 99,940 for Lieberman.

It appears that Hartford remains outstanding, which could be significant.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:09 PM /

LiveBlogging GA Results - McKinney/Johnson - Update

Just so you're aware, I'm not ignoring this race, but the results are coming in SO much slower for this race. Right now, there is still only 34 out of 158 precincts reporting, or 21% of the vote.

The results, however, haven't changed significantly - Johnson still commands McKinney 70-30%. 5,996 votes for Hank Johnson, and 2,607 for Cynthia McKinney.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:02 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - 9:56PM

The numbers are flying in.... Lamont continues to hold on to his small lead, 52-48%, with 69% of the vote in now. 96,364 for Ned Lamont, and 89,226 for Lieberman.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:00 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - Another Update

It remains close, but Lamont has yet to give up his lead, with over half the votes counted. 56%, to be exact, and 420 out of 748 precincts reporting, Lamont maintains a 52-48 lead over Lieberman. 78,780 votes for Lamont, and 72,243 for Lieberman.

I'm off to try and get more information about the outstanding precincts, in hopes to get a sense of which way this election may break.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:53 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - 9:37PM

Yikes... Joe-mentum is beginning to kick in!

With 50% of the vote in, and 373 out of 748 precincts reporting, the gap has closed significantly. Lamont maintains a small lead, 52%-48%. 69,466 votes for Lamont, and 64,056 votes for Lieberman.

That was one hell of a spike - it'll be interesting to see how the night unfolds now.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:42 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - Update

Just tracking it as it comes in... keep it going, Ned!!

With 38% of the vote in, and 287 out of 748 precincts reporting, Lamont continues to hold on with a 54-46 lead over Lieberman. 61,449 votes for Lamont thus far, and 53,159 votes for Lieberman.

PTF is not ready to make our call on the race yet, but we're getting close. It should be noted that most of the results have been coming in from the smaller towns thus far.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:31 PM /

LiveBlogging GA Results - McKinney/Johnson - 9:22PM

Switching over to Georgia's 4th District, looks like it's going to be a long night for Cynthia McKinney.

Hank Johnson currently has a commanding lead over McKinney - 74%-26%, with 12% of the vote in, and 20 out of 158 precincts reporting. Raw votes are 2,505 votes for Hank Johnson, and 892 for Cynthia McKinney.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:26 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - New Numbers

With 184 out of 748 precincts reporting, or 25%, Lamont continues to lead 55-45 over Lieberman. Raw votes are 40,044 for Ned Lamont, and 32,575 for Joe Lieberman.

Yup... love watching election results even more than the Oscars.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:18 PM /

LiveBlogging CT Results - Lamont/Lieberman - 9:10PM

This race has made me realize that I love watching election night results more than almost anything else on TV... what kind of a geek does THAT make me???

Anyway, with 17% of the vote reporting right now, Lamont holds a 56% - 44% lead over Lieberman. Raw votes are 29,463 for Ned Lamont, and 22,898 for Joe Lieberman.

These results are from 126 out of 748 precincts reporting.

More later.... looking like a Lamont kind of night!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:11 PM /

Primary Day

Today marks an important day, not only for local primary elections, but for the directon of the Democratic party, in a sense.

The marquee match-up, obviously, is the Senate Democratic Primary in Connecticut, where Joe Lieberman is fighting for his political life against Ned Lamont. Another high-profile race is playing out in Georgia's 4th District, as Rep. Cynthia McKinney fights for her job against Primary challenger Hank Johnson.

The challengers seemed to be leading in both races going into the elections. Lamont maintained a six point lead in Connecticut against Lieberman, while Johnson built a thirteen point lead in his race against McKinney.

Of course, within several hours, we'll have at least some initial results from both of these races.

I was going to post some of my thoughts about both of these races today, but I think I will wait until after the results come in. I'm sure that PTF doesn't have enough of a wide scope to influence the results in any way, but just in case we have readers in Connecticut or Georgia's Fourth District, I will simply say this:

If you need an example of just how important ONE single vote can be, take a look at this example. And REMEMBER, CT and GA aren't the only states having Primary Elections today - wherevery ou are, make sure you vote if you have the opportunity!!!

If you need a sneak peek at some of my thoughts, take a look at the post that my friend ModFab wrote about Lieberman, and our ensuing conversation.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:03 PM /

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust...

We profiled Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio back in January, and we predicted his ultimate demise. Prior to the Abramoff scandal breaking, Ney was ranked by non-partisan organization as the 11th most powerful Member of Congress.

Well, no longer. Today, Rep. Bob Ney announced that he will not seek re-election in the House of Representatives.

Perhaps most interesting is that he was asked to step aside by House Majority Leader John Boehner, who advised him that if he lost his race, he wouldn't be able to get one of those high-paying "life-after-Congress" positions on K Street.

Clearly, the threat of not being able to stay in Washington resonated with Ney, and he gave up the opportunity to serve his constituents in favor of heading directly to the street that was ultimately his undoing - K Street and the Lobbyists.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:12 PM /

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Non Sequiter - Say Cheese!

I don't know where I've been, but it was only yesterday that my ears finally fell on Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine:

I had seen the Nick at Nite commercial that, as it turns out, he sings on - adding lyrics to the Dick Van Dyke Show theme:

Who knew, though, that he did all these great lounge covers, like the Snoop Dogg cover that I've featured above, Gin And Juice?

If you like what you hear, you've GOT to check out his covers of classics like Baby Got Back, Fight For Your Right, American Idiot, or all of his tunes on iTunes or you can grab the albums on Amazon.

I leave you with one final, funny tune from Richard Cheese:

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Posted by FleshPresser at 2:13 AM /

The Week That Was - August 6, 2006

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:30 AM /

Saturday, August 05, 2006


As PTF has become more and more focused on regional and national politics, I dropped an earlier weekly feature here - POUNDING MY FLESH, focusing on my drive to complete both a half AND full marathon in January 2007.

With a few minor setbacks here and there, I continue to train, and am on track to run the 39.3 miles in Orlando at the Disney Marathon on the weekend of January 6-7, 2007.

To be clear, this is something that I've never done before, and so I don't know what the final outcome will be, but I continue to train and I'm focused on reaching the goal, as Goofy as it might be!

As of today, I've completed 172.7 training miles, with an average of 11.21 minutes/mile. That pace is fine, as long as I finish the race, but it means that for the marathon, I'll be running for almost five hours. That, after having run a half-marathon the day before.

Obviously, I'd like to shave a few minutes off my pace between now and January.

The goal, though, is to finish, and so as long as I cross both finish lines, I'll be thrilled. I'll continue to post updates from time to time on my continued progress.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 9:03 PM /

A Literary Reminder

If you haven't e-mailed or posted yet, remember to join up with PTF's Book Club, and our first selection, Whose Freedom, by George Lakoff.

For those of you who have signed up already, we'll start getting into it soon!

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Posted by FleshPresser at 3:27 PM /

Friday, August 04, 2006

Last Chance For Vacation

Labor Day is approaching far too quickly, and before we know it the summer will be over.

That's why it's important to make your plans SOON for the new hot vacation spot - check it out and you, too, will be convinced!!!

For the best in alternative vacation sites, there's nothing finer!!!

See you there!!!

Posted by FleshPresser at 6:23 PM /

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It'll Be OK, Joe...

So, Joe and Dubya were snuggling in the afterglow, and the Connecticut Yankee rolled over to face his Texas Cowboy, tears welling up in his eyes, and admitted, "I'm afraid, Pookie. The latest poll shows Nasty Ned up by thirteen points over me. What am I going to do if I can't be a Senator anymore?"

"You'll always be my Scrumptious Senator, Joey" Dubya whispered back to him.

"Cut it out, Georgie! I'm serious! I'm frightened!" Dubya could see Joe was telling the truth.

Dubya pulled Joe over to lean on his chest, gently stroking his golden locks. "Don't you think I'm going to take care of you, Joe? Don't worry... I've got it all figured out."

"But how?" Joe lamented.

Dubya then explained his plot to ensure that he was able to stay close to Joe, no matter the circumstances. He reasoned that if, for some reason Lieberman lost the race, that he was already covered by submitting his petition to run as an Independent candidate.

"Do you really think that I won't have Republican fundraisers sending a little money and influence in your direction? Hell, I'll even be able to sneak out and do some campaigning for you - it'll give us an excuse to be together again, anyway. Besides, all it took was a phone call from Daddy to get Bubba to come campaign for you, right?"

"But won't people see right through that?" Joe protested.

"Look, didn't you see what we did in Pennsylvania? We funded a Green Party candidate to run on the ticket against Santorum and Casey... a GREEN Party candidate, and we funded almost every nickel of it! If people don't blink at that, they'll never think twice about this. Hell, you're already the Republican's Favorite Democrat... we'll deliver all the votes to you that you could ever want."

"But what if it doesn't work, Pookie?"

Dubya nuzzled Joey and tweaked his nose. "You worry w-a-y too much, my little Twinkie.

"If you DO lose the general election, which I can't imagine happening, I'll just kick Rummy out of his job, and you can have HIS job! He's too old and worn-out, anyway. You'd look a LOT better behind his desk."

Joey's eyes welled with tears once again... but these were different. They were tears of joy. "You'd do that for ME, Pookie?"

"You KNOW I would... hell, I'd get to see you all the time, and Turd Blossom could even tell folks I'm being 'bipartisal'. Now gimme more of that Joementum, Twinkie."

Their eyes locked on each other, they embraced sweetly, and disappeared back under the covers until early the next morning.

DISCLAIMER: The preceding homoerotic scenario was merely a dramatization, but I believe the political prognostication to be dead accurate. We'll just have to wait a few months to see if it actually comes true.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 6:36 PM /

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Middle East - What Do YOU Know?

I think this post is more for me than it is for my readers. I suspect, however, that most Americans, in actuality, understand little about what is really going on in The Middle East right now.

This post, then, serves to piece together what I think I understand about the current conflict in The Middle East. Let me be clear - I am no Middle East expert. I am sure that there are individuals who will read this and find loopholes in my placing of events. But it should also be known that I really come to this subject with no strong convictions - save for the ultimate desire to see the conflict in The Middle East cease.

So here goes...

Israel holds between 400 and 600 Lebanese "security prisoners" in their prisons. These prisoners include women and children.

The United States has declared over and over again it's desires for democratic elections to take place throughout the Middle East. The United States government identifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. However, similar to the democratically elected Hamas government of Palestine, members of Hezbollah have been democratically elected to the Lebanese government - in 1992, 12 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament were won by Hezbollah candidates. Ten seats were won in 1996, eight seats were won in 2000, and in 2005, fourteen seats were won.

Hezbollah wanted to have Lebanese prisoners released from Israeli prisons, and as such, they captured two Israeli soldiers, with the mistaken hopes of coordinating a prisoner exchange. This practice had been common in the past, and the organization calculated that the same thing would happen.

They were wrong. Rather than negotiating, Israel launched a military response, relentlessly bombing Lebanon until such time as the soldiers were returned to Israel.

Hezbollah responded to Israel's military actions by raining down missiles on Israeli citizens.

How do you end a conflict when everyone is wrong? When all the moves are miscalculated? When the conflict is emboldened by larger powers on either side?

Make no mistake about it - Hezbollah is a terrorist organization if for no other reason than they espouse an ideology which includes the destruction of Israel. While they state that they are forbidden to harm anyone who is innocent, they have targeted Israel indiscriminately, making no distinction between Israeli military and its citizens. One would also argue that capturing Israeli soldiers with the intent of coordinating a prisoner exchange is foolish, even if this has taken place in the past.

Israel's response, however, has also been foolish. While they have one of the most intelligent, well-trained military forces in the world, and posses the most precise weapons in the world, they have repeatedly made glaring errors in their military strikes, including an airstrike on a U.N. observer post, killing at least four U.N. observers, as well as the most recent strike on Qana, which resulted in large civilian casualties. Most of these deaths were women and children.

One may argue that Hezbollah has placed themselves within civilian populations, and as such, Israel has no other alternative. Given this knowledge, however, one must question the reasoning that would push Israel to these attacks in the first place.

Every time Israel kills a civilian in Lebanon, they leave behind family and friends who are pissed off, and probably become sympathetic to the Hezbollah movement. Hezbollah has always enjoyed support by Lebanese citizens, largely due to its social services - in addition to its military actions, Hezbollah operates schools, clinics and hospitals and provides services to citizens at less expense than the Lebanese government can provide.

How ironic is it that Israel's attempt to destroy Hezbollah winds up exacerbating the problem, actually creating sympathy throughout the Arab world for this terrorist organization? There was a thought that Israeli attacks punishing Lebanese citizens for embracing Hezbollah would turn its citizens against Hezbollah and aid in the destruction of the terrorist organization. But the opposite has happened.

Additionally, it should be noted that the destruction of Hezbollah will not end the problems for Israel. One has only to look at the PLO for evidence of that. The PLO in Palestine was ultimately replaced by Hamas. The same thing is destined to happen in Lebanon.

Worldwide views of the United States are not fairing any better in this conflict. While Bush has called on Iran and Syria to stop their support of Hezbollah and to end their encouragement of the violence in the Middle East, the United States continues to ship weapons to Israel, thereby assisting Israel in their military efforts, and encouraging the violence in the Middle East.

America is reliving all of its past wars in the Middle East right now. Iraq has become this generation's Vietnam, with American soldiers caught in the middle of a civil war between Islamic factions, operating essentially as nothing more than targets.

If the comparison between Iraq and Vietnam can be made, perhaps an analogy can be drawn between the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and the Korean war. The Korean war was a proxy war between the United States and the communist powers of China and the Soviet Union. Today, that same proxy war is taking shape between the United States and countries like Iran and Syria.

The losers in this conflict are seemingly endless. Obviously, there are the Israeli and Lebanese citizens who are caught in the crossfire.

Israel loses, as well. How do they get out of this conflict with anything that can be viewed as a win? Even if they completely destroy Hezbollah - wipe them off the face of the map - how does that ultimately ensure their security? It does nothing of the kind, because the cost of their military action is the knowledge that they create millions more enemies in the process, all intent on destroying Israel and delivering revenge and what they perceive to be justice.

The United States loses, largely by failing to take action to end the violence on both sides and resume diplomacy aimed at peace in the Middle East. Moreover, the government shares culpability in the Arab world, because of the blind support of Israel and the continual supply of weapons that we provide to Israel. As we all know, the last thing that America needs right now is yet another reason for those in the Middle East to hate us. Remember that battle we were supposed to be fighting for the hearts and minds? How's that going?

It is sad to think that one of the few winners in this conflict may ultimately be Hezbollah, provided they can survive in any organized capacity. If that happens, they will be able to raise their fists in the air and say that they repelled the "Zionist Aggressor," lending undue credibility to their claim that they are a "resistance organization," rather than terrorists.

So, that's the situation as I see it currently. As I said, I'm sure there are potential flaws in my thinking, and I post this more to try and gain some understanding for myself. I encourage all of you to add to this notion of understanding. Let's try to put this in terms that most Americans can understand, so that we can all be knowledgeable about this issue, rather than simply turning a blind eye to it and dismissing it as not worthy of our attention due to the complexity of the issues surrounding the conflict.

Tell me where I have it right. Point out where you see the flaws. Let's talk about it.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:43 PM /