Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mejias Press Conference

Yours truly, Capt. Cleere, Dave Mejias, and the local VFW Commander.

Friday, October 27, 2006

King-sized scandal

Reprint of an email from the Mejias campaign, 27 October 2006:

FARMINGDALE - On the heels of the recent news that the home of Congressman Curt Weldon's lobbyist daughter was raided by the F.B.I., Dave Mejias, Nassau County Legislator and candidate for Congress in New York's 3rd Congressional District, called on Congressman Peter King to tell the truth about his dealings with Park Strategies, a lobbying firm that employs King's son, Sean King.

An article in yesterday's Newsday ("King's son works for defense lobbying firm"), details that Sean King is a Vice President at Park Strategies, and that "Park Strategies has lucrative contracts with many big businesses to lobby on defense and homeland security spending." The article quotes Peter King as saying "[Sean King] has no clients that deal with my office." NOT TRUE. This video shows Sean King in Taiwan touting his clients, Lockheed Martin and L-3 Communications, both firms that receive Homeland Security contracts.

A posting on the New York Observer's Politicker Blog quoted King as saying "[Sean King] is not a lobbyist, does no lobbying, and has no dealings with my office whatsoever." NOT TRUE. According to the State of New York, Sean King IS a registered lobbyist.

Today, in a separate Newsday article, Peter King continued to deny any wrong doing despite mounting evidence that he is engaged in a clear conflict of interest - homeland security contracts being awarded to companies that employ his son's lobbying firm.

"This is a perfect example of the culture of corruption in Washington - relatives of members of Congress lobbying for homeland security contracts," said Mejias. "Peter King is lying about his son's employment as a lobbyist, and Sean King's clients receiving government contracts. This is a major conflict of interest, and the people of Long Island deserve to know the truth."

Mejias called on Peter King to answer several critical questions:

  • What calls or meetings has Peter King had with Sean King and clients of Sean King?
  • What requests has Peter King made on behalf of Sean King and clients of Sean King to government agencies and congressional committees?
  • What Homeland Security contracts have Peter King steered in the direction of Sean King's clients?
  • Has Peter King ever encouraged companies lobbying for Homeland Security contracts to hire Sean King's firm?
  • Will Peter King release all correspondence with his Congressional office about lobbying for Homeland Security contract?
  • Will Peter King release his Congressional calendar to show who he met with, and when?
  • "It"s bad enough that Peter King has been a rubber stamp for the failed policies of the Bush administration," said Mejias. "Now we learn that Peter King's relatives are cashing in on his position, and he's lying to cover it up. It's time to put an end to the culture of corruption in Washington. We need leaders in Congress who will fight for us, not pad their family's pockets and roll over for the special interests."

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Bombing the Google

    Just helping Darryl, blogging at the General's place:


    Share these links with your friends and family, and plaster the links all over your blogs and web pages!

    Senate races:
  • WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
  • VA-Sen: George Allen
  • TN-Sen: Bob Corker
  • RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
  • MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
  • MO-Sen: Jim Talent
  • MD-Sen: Michael Steele
  • AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

  • House races:
  • WA-08: Dave Reichert
  • VA-10: Frank Wolf
  • PA-10: Don Sherwood
  • PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
  • PA-07: Curt Weldon
  • PA-04: Melissa Hart
  • OH-18: Joy Padgett
  • OH-15: Deborah Pryce
  • OH-02: Jean Schmidt
  • OH-01: Steve Chabot
  • NY-29: Randy Kuhl
  • NY-26: Tom Reynolds
  • NY-20: John Sweeney
  • NY-03: Peter King
  • NV-03: Jon Porter
  • NM-01: Heather Wilson
  • NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
  • NH-02: Charlie Bass
  • NC-11: Charles Taylor
  • NC-08: Robin Hayes
  • MN-06: Michele Bachmann
  • MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
  • KY-04: Geoff Davis
  • KY-03: Anne Northup
  • KS-02: Jim Ryun
  • IN-08: John Hostettler
  • IN-02: Chris Chocola
  • IL-14: Dennis Hastert
  • IL-10: Mark Kirk
  • IL-06: Peter Roskam
  • ID-01: Bill Sali
  • IA-01: Mike Whalen
  • FL-22: Clay Shaw
  • FL-16: Joe Negron
  • FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
  • CT-04: Christopher Shays
  • CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
  • CO-05: Doug Lamborn
  • CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
  • CA-50: Brian Bilbray
  • CA-11: Richard Pombo
  • CA-04: John Doolittle
  • AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
  • AZ-01: Rick Renzi

  • Click here for more information about this post, and see this if you want to do something similar on your blog or web page.


    Cross-posted at the Brain.

    Saturday, October 07, 2006

    Cruise ships vs. Ocean liners

    Since I'm sharing my vacation with you, I figured I'd explain a little about the differences in cruising between cruise ships and ocean liners, just in case you were seeing how much fun we're having and would like to book a cruise of your own.

    There are more than two types of passenger ships but for cruising purposes you need only concern yourself with two of them. There are cruise ships and there are ocean liners and they are very different vessels. The first rule of thumb in differentiating is that cruise ships are a hull that's built around a hotel. Basically taking a land-based hotel and making it seaworthy. An ocean liner is a hull into which a hotel is fitted.

    While both are basically floating hotels, ships like the Noordam and her sisters, Oosterdam, Westerdam, and Zuiderdam (Vista - class ships), Queen Mary 2, and Queen Elizabeth 2 are ocean liners. Most ships now plying the tourist trade routes however, are cruise ships. Big, boxy things that the esteemed writer and lecturer Bill Miller (who is also passenger aboard Noordam for this crossing and I had the delightful opportunity to meet the other day) calls "forgettable".

    Ocean liners have a long, storied history, making their debut upon the high seas around the turn of the last century. They are, as I quote Mr. Miller once again, "the largest piece of moving machinery made by man." Noordam and her sisters are just the latest in a long line of ships who were built to make the North Atlantic crossing from Europe to the Americas. And that is the key fact about ocean liners, they are built to take the pounding of the North Atlantic through four seasons.

    There is also a different culture aboard liners as opposed to cruise ships. Liners are still considered transportation, just as they were before the advent of passenger aircraft and the jet engine. Many people aboard Noordam, over a hundred by the way, are either staying aboard after we dock in NYC to move on to other destinations or were aboard when we embarked at Civitaveccia in Italy, leaving us in Spain or at Bermuda when we arrive. Mrs. F and I have come to believe that liners are the only way to return from a European vacation, which we did for the first time coming home from London aboard QM2 two years ago.

    I won't get into the wonderful history of ocean liners, Mr. Miller does that far better than I in his 60 books on the subject, but I will make it easy for you. Ocean liners are a culture of sophisticated elegance. Cruise ships are party boats. Each has its place. The Mrs. and I have had a great time on the fourteen holidays we've taken on cruise ships since we were married. At this point in our lives though, you probably won't see us on another one. As I said, there is a different culture aboard liners.

    Where a cruise ship has Caribbean bands and the canned background music is reggae, hip hop, and rock & roll, aboard a liner you're far more likely to see a string quartet or a big band, and the background is more Mozart than Bob Marley. A liner is more sedate, the crowd a bit older, and drinking and raucous partying is not the priority. Lord knows, the alcohol does flow, but you won't see people falling-down drunk. You won't see jeans and t-shirts at dinner, and it's the odd man who doesn't wear a jacket and tie to the dining room. Many people's downtime is rather spent in the library, attending lectures, or classes on one subject or another. I signed up for several master class lectures by Mr. Miller and the Mrs. is taking a series of cooking classes from some world-renkowned chef, broadening her already gourmet-caliber talents.

    Refined elegance and liner culture is truly an amazing thing and the ghosts of the old liners now departed, the German Emperador, the Italian Rex, the French Normandie, the American United States, Lusitania and Mauritania the ships of the legendary British White Star Line (yes, even Titanic), and the original Queens, Mary and Elizabeth from Cunard stand guard over us as we make the crossing that was once the only way to get from Old World to New. Liners embrace the romance of the high seas and while to many, a ship is a ship, reading one of Mr. Miller's books will give you a new understanding of these leviathans of the world's oceans.

    Liner vs. Cruise ship? Put me on an ocean liner any day. Once you're bitten by the bug, you'll see what I mean.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Gonzalez-Bayass Winery

    Cadiz/Jerez de la Frontinera 2

    Seems that St. Michael (San Miguel) is a big macher in Spain. I think more churches are named after him here than any other. He's the patron saint of Jerez de la Frontinera.

    This is the oldest doorway in the city of Jerez. Still in use in the town hall since just after the Romans got tossed.

    The Plaza de la Asuncion in Jerez, also dating back to Roman times, Julius Caesar living here for a time.

    The Gothic Cathedral de la Salvador. Notice the flying buttress architecture. To architecture nuts like the Mrs and me, this was heaven.

    A statue of Dope Pope John Paul II who blessed the cathedral on a visit to Jerez in 1984.

    Cadiz/Jerez de la Frontinera

    Entering Cadiz through the old city walls.

    A beautiful square in the center of the Old City. They have so many of these that I forget the name of this one, but way cool regardless. Art Deco abounds here.

    Cadiz is a city of beaches as it sits on the Atlantic, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar. The sand is yellow, the color reflected in a lot of the old construction. The boats belong to the mackerel and anchovy fisherman who head out to sea in those little fucking things as the sun goes down.

    The Al-Kazar. The Moorish/Muslim influence is great here, owing to the proximiy to Africa.

    The ancient mosaics also decorate every street corner, a hint at the Catholic background of 90% of the people here.

    Monday, October 02, 2006


    In Florence.

    This bust of Dutch King William is at the end of our corridor on the ship. I rub his head for luck every time I go past.

    Kids build the same crappy cars all over the world - Valencia.

    The Fixers on the bus - Valencia.

    Mother Superior jumped the gun. Boy was she pissed at me for taking her pic. Heh ... - Florence.

    Lladro Factory

    Valencia 2

    The Museum of Science.

    The opera house.

    The aquarium.


    Leaving Noordam bright and early.

    Ruins of the old city wall.

    Plaza de la Riena and the Church of San Miguel.

    The bull ring.

    The city market, which has been in operation in one form or another for close to 2 millennia.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006


    A couple frigates and desroyers from the Spanish Navy anchored off our bow.

    And for all you Defensor Fortis guys, talk about an excellent field of fire and defensive position. Attacking this position would require something on the scale of Omaha Beach.