Sunday, May 27, 2007


Tony Bill Clinton Soprano and his lovely wife Carmelary
enjoyin' happy times in t'erapy together

Granted, Connie Bruck's "Fault Lines" article in this week's New Yorker is hardly a paean to Tony Villaraigosa. It paints Los Angeles' new mayor as a man terminally on the make. "They'll never get me," he's quoted as saying, "I'm like Bill Clinton."

But is it really possible to write a long profile about our new mayor without any mention whatsoever of his efforts to get Bill Clinton to pardon Carlos Vignali's crack dealer son? This incident was publicized even before Villaraigosa got the hots to run for mayor in 2001, and it may well have cost him that election. Perhaps it's an innocent omission.

Admittedly it's an "old" scandal and then you'd have to remind readers Hugh Rodham received 400,000 dollars as a fee for Vignali's son's eventual pardon (yes, of course, he did get it from Bill) and that Hugh is Hillary's brother and I suppose that might have tilted the article a smidgeon to far from the Left Coast, making it a shade too parochial, too local, too... New York.

So why annoy Bill, or readers who are Hillary supporters? (Do I smell a bigger profile in the works -- one of the New York Senator?)

Then don't raise an unpleasant ordure. Wait until she gets nominated and let the Republicans do it! This kind of wisdom has cost us winnable elections in the past. And some Democrats might prefer a candidate who doesn't have to continually rise out of the slime.

Is this being too hard on the Clintons? Well, did Monica, Whitewater, the Rose law firm and that messy bit with the pardons at the end have anything at all to do with Pope W's election?

The sarcasm, if you haven't noticed, is thick here. Today's Sunday New York Times notes that Hill was among the last of the major candidates to withdraw from the Fox News-sponsored debate planned for next September, and you need only look to last weekend's "Eco-Tecture" issue of their Sunday magazine for broad hints of how spotty the Clinton environmental record was, including extremely luke-warm support of Kyoto.

As was presciently suggested by the Weekly Green Planet months ago, yes, Fabian Nunez, one of the two prime movers in advancing the date of the California primary supports Hillary.

Trailing in Iowa, her staff cleverly leaked a memo yesterday so she could scotch the rumor she's going to ignore Iowa while laying the predicate for its irrelevance. Basically, she has to give it less attention because that's what the primary season is going to demand of her. Not that she had anything to do with it.

Harry Shearer's public radio show LeShow has long enjoyed twitting the C's with a sound-alike spoof he calls "Clinton-Something". I'm looking forward to their last installments, hopefully this year.

But if they, the Clintons, garner the Democratic nomination he should rename and reframe it for another soon-to-be-defunct TV show -- The Clintanos -- with B. eating big bowls of ice cream and taking care of the family business while Carmelary is off building her spec house, a white one, in Washington.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Green Thieves: RiverWired

Here they come, folks, to the ageless "Greensleeves," they prance piping forward, dancing for dollars, veiled in green, those who will stop at nothing, not even the pretense of social consciousness, in search of a quick buck. RiverWired, a site billing itself as "green" Social Networking, has stolen this blog -- lock, stock and barrel -- without permission and without attribution. And it has "monetized it". These web pages appear, crummily I should point out, with ADS. Paid advertizing. If this is a "Green community," social networkers beware.

When I finally caught up with them and demanded they stop RiverWired took four days to respond. When they did this was their note: "Dear T. Lief, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We're in the process of contacting bloggers about their participation in the content aggregator service on our site...(ie, too busy stealing) We had trouble finding contact info..."
But no trouble pulling down the entire blog, ripping off all identifiers and no response to my direct request they remove my material. When I again demanded they stop, I received this from one Cris Popenoe, who'd been copied with all previous communications:

"Everything has been removed.

Cris Popenoe"

Surprise, surprise, I checked today, that was a lie. A quick search of the blogosphere shows that the blog complains of the same shabby treatment. Anyone doing this legit would not have taken the liberty Cris Popenoe, et. al., have taken. Nor responded the way they have. So it may be helpful to other bloggers and green sites, particularly those doing without ads, to list those enlisted in this FOR PROFIT scheme.

It has numerous touts who'd go nameless, except they are likely bad actors, too. And naming bad actors is the best we can do for now. For example, one dubious ally is Another is Random Thoughts of an Eco Tech Entrepreneur (name says it all, doesn't it?). Fucc blog, Ypulse blog, Appscout, Dexly, Screenalicious are some other touts for RiverWired.

This is another example of the dollar-driven pollution green advocates face. It's a tide. Making money off the boom in environmental consciousness is the only thing taking off at the moment. With so much dung being passed off as green, sadly, its hard to be anything but a gadfly.

This RiverWired scheme reminds us of the carbon neutral companies reported on in an earlier post. Only its goals are not even as laudable, since the site provides nothing except what it takes from others and more chatter and meetups for carbon neutral dating...

To update that post, THE TRUTHINESS OF CARBON NEUTRALITY, which examined the offset companies who have gone so far as to flog the virtues of private jet travel to boost their business, the New York Times has finally caught up. It 'reviewed' the phenomenon in an article on Sunday, April 29th, 2007, called, provocatively, "The Carbon Neutral Myth – Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins."

However, in the slovenly journalistic fashion that has become the norm at the Old Grey Lady, the article propagated the results of a survey done by a carbon neutral offset provider to rank the quality of their own cohort!! This is Judy Miller redux. You remember Judy, the reporter who was in bed with Scooter Libby and the Neocons? She chose jail and a false martyrdom to forestall the disclosure that it was her run-amok, unvetted Times reports on the presence of WMD that led the charge in the run-up to the Iraq War.

This recent Times article smacks of the slapdash; it's dismal, source-avoidant, research-free infotainment. It's available for comparison online at

The press could help if they'd show courage in daring to write more than eye-catching leads.