Monday, April 30, 2007
I wonder if this is the most diverse city in America? Something I noticed...I didn't encounter a single entry level job filled by a white person...African Americans, African Africans, Middle Easterners, some hispanics, and lots of Asians, but no young white kids.
Let me leave untouched for the moment the racial implications of this unscientific observation and just say that every young person in America should have the joy of working for minimum wage at some point in their employment career. Some folks think mandatory military or public service should be a part of every person's obligation in this country but I think it should be burger flipping. Want to know what life is really like? Try saying "You want fries with that?" and smiling at someone who essentially treats you with all the respect they would give to wallpaper. Try doing that for a living...Well, except that you can't actually live on what you make.
Think about how this would change our leaders. Suppose George Bush's first job had been at the car wash or the grocery store instead of working for Salem Bin Laden at Arbusto Oil?
Ok, I guess some folks are going to say W's first job was in the National Guard, and he did get an actual pay check. He didn't show up for that one after they told him he was going to have to pee in a bottle and being a Senator's son in the National Guard isn't actually much of a job no matter how you look at it.
So anyway, I have several hard working friends even though I myself don't work very hard. Two of the best workers and most successful people I know started their careers in grocery stores bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and following little old ladies to their car with a cart, but I missed that one. My first job was flipping burgers, which I did for a bit before moving on to the entreprenurial world of newspaper delivery. Then it was construction and a bad rock and roll band. Then sorting packages at night for UPS in order to pay for college and then off to the professional world. The minimum wage jobs taught things that just weren't an option in other places. How to make change, for instance. How to say "thank you" while looking people in the eyes and smiling, especially when they aren't smiling back and you aren't really all that thankful for the way they are treating you.
I forget that lesson from time to time.
But while I am guilty of forgetting one of life's best lessons...Soem folks never learned it in the first place. I am afraid for America. Our society is changing in such a way that we will no longer have shared experiences. I've been relatively successful and have had lot's of people working for me at times. I'm not the perfect boss but I have been on the other side of the desk. I've served fountain drinks and ice cream to my "betters" and I know how it feels.
There's a poverty to a working career that starts in a business suit.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
"Dude, you're 2000 years behind," the students said. "Jesus loves you, but I don't," they said. And the worst criticism of all...
"You're mean," the students said.
Preacher Bourgault ranted about his First Amendment Rights as the campus police escorted him away because he didn't have a permit to disturb campus life. After filling out the paperwork he was back and collected a crowd of about 200 students who mostly came by to heckle him back.
But there's a difference that should be noted about what the students said, they mostly quoted bible verses back at Preacher Bourgault...From the new Testament. The preacher seemed most incensed when he was ranting about homosexuals and some gay students kissed and hugged in front of him. You know what Jesus said about homosexuals don't you? Absolutely nothing. Preacher Bourgault hasn't caught on to that.
Well a few students decided to excercise their own First Amendment Rights and made signs with bible quotes and went to the Higher Ground Church and held their own "ministry". They stood on the street across from the church, quietly, smiling, and waving to people as they drove by. Several stopped and thanked the kids, and one even gave them some money. A few church members came over to the kids and said come inside and listen to the sermon and the kids said they would be happy to have a discussion of issues and differences but they weren't going to sit still and be preached to. The church members kept their kids away from the students. I figure the church people were totally not gong to let their own young children be infected with the disease of actually discussing and thinking about things. They prefer the "Do what the Preacher says...Or,
...Burn in Hell"
These are the people who give god a bad name.
The case of Karl Rove's missing emails is taking on greater and greater importance. George Bush lost the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio. Karl Rove and his operatives appear to have stolen the election after midnight. Some of them have already been convicted and are serving time for other election related crimes, but this has been curiously uninvestigated until now. Here's an excerpt from a definitive article:
...It was in a crucial period after midnight on election night 2004 that these
paired conflicts of interest may have decided the election. As exit polls showed
a decisive Kerry victory, there was an unexplained 90-minute void in official
reporting of results. By this time, most of the vote counts were coming in from
rural areas, which are traditionally Republican, and which, ironically, usually
report their results earlier than the Democratic urban areas.
In this time span, Kerry's lead morphed into a GOP triumph. To explain this "miraculous" shift,
Rove invented a myth of the greatest last-second voting surge in US history,
allegedly coming from late-voting fundamentalist Republicans. No significant
evidence exists to substantiate this claim. In fact, local news reports indicate
the heaviest turnouts in most rural areas came early on election day, rather
This article comes from the Free Press
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is either the stupidest and most incompetent AG in the history of the United States, or the most corrupt.... I vote D, All of the Above... And all this for a few fake voter fraud charges timed to help republicans in an election cycle that they lost anyway.
The current crop of Republicans will soon have entered more "guilty" pleas than even the Reagan Administration, which up til now was the most convicted administration in American history.
And you thought Bill Clinton had a bimbo problem...Hey, At least he didn;t have to pay for it. Former Congressman Duke Cunningham brought in a boat load of prostitutes for republicans, maybe because they couldn't get it any other way. He paid a big price, though...got a little jail time.
Neocon poster boy, Paul Wolfowotz, has it figured out when it comes to paying your Mistress for sex...He used someone else's money.
What kind of sex is worth $200,000? We could ask Paul Wolfowittz. He's got woman troubles so bad that he hired Bill Clinton's Paula Jones Case Lawyer. Bad news for Wolfie...That guy blew the Supreme Court argument which resulted in allowing a sitting President to be sued in civil court. What's up with a Jew having a Muslim Mistress? Is this some kind of Massa thing? And come on, Wolfie, the $60,000.00 pay raise is incredibly transparent, don't you think?
So what kind of "JOB" is worth that kind of money? I don't have to spell it out, do I?
Heck, I don't think even Jeff Gannon made that much until he started getting paid for keeping his mouth shut. Oh wait...bad choice of words. he usually got paid for...well, I'm not going there. You can read it for yourself. But still...the big unanswered question in all the Republican sex scandals is "Who was Jeff Gannon, Gay male prostitue who spent 100 or so nights in George W Bush's White House....Who was Jeff Gannon on top of?" And why do his customers call him "Bulldog"?
Let's go, Fox News! This is your kinda news story. How about doing a "We report, You decide" on that one.
"After weeks of mock testimony, there you have it. Alberto Gonzales doesn't know
what happened, but he assures you, what he doesn't remember was handled
properly." --Jon Stewart
“Today on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales raised his right hand, swore to tell the truth, then everybody had a good laugh.” - Jay Leno
A new study says that heart disease is related to erectile dysfunction. No wonder Dick Cheney has been so grumpy all the time.- Jay Leno
Sunday is Earth Day, the day we reflect on how we are destroying the planet. Then we stop reflecting and fire up the Jetskis and go right back to destroying it.... Kimmel
Monday, April 23, 2007
"I think these gated communities are a great place to keep all the republicans...When the Revolution comes we can just sit out here and pick 'em off as they try to get out."
He looked at me with a pained smile and wondered whether I was kidding for sure. Maybe I was wondering the same thing. I thought about this particular moment when I read a Knoxville republican's post in a global warming comment thread. Here's the quote he posted:
"In the long run, we are all dead."...John Maynard Keynes
I wonder if the greatest difference between ne and republicans is that they want their children to die with as much money as possible...And I don't want my children to die, period.
I'm really liking this school's online newspaper. When a college student can write a piece linking the demise of football, a religious fanatic, and the Vigil for the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I have to think the future of rational thinking and its eloquent expression is safer than I had believed.
So the students actually voted down the Alumni's plan to build a football program with a tax on student fees and the alumni are disgusted with the students?
Funny! And there's also the obligatory for a college rag "Give Pot a chance" story as well.
The future of academic life is strong...(Ha!)
The East Tennessean
Susan has a shot of Fred Thompson's wife showing off to Paul Wolfiwitz...and yeah, there's the snarky comment we've come to know and love.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Grosbeaks are back. This one can't quite get the hang of the thistle feeder but at least he gave us a glimpse of his mating display colors.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Well not really. The National Rifle Asociation is not about rifles anyway...It is about the business of weapons and is dedicated to the concept that America will only be truly great when the Richest of the Rich among us have all the tax cuts they can possibly be given.
Wait...That's not right...That's another rant, sorry.
The NRA is dedicated to the concept that a well regulated Militia being necessary for a free State. Americans must be allowed to buy all the guns and ammo they can possibly afford and be allowed to carry their weapons hidden about their bodies into schools and court rooms and anywhere else a Patriot want to pack heat. You can never tell when a gun enthusiast will be called upon to blow somebody away because they feel afraid. (That's the law in Florida already and it's coming your way soon.)
Elaine Boozler notes this little fact:
Japan has a population of about one hundred and twenty seven million four hundred and sixty three thousand six hundred and eleven. The number of children who died in Japan last year as a result of being shot is...ZERO.
3,250 US Troops were killed in Iraq during the last four years.
120,000 US Citizens were killed by shootings during the same time period.
And we're afraid of Terrorists? Dude! A terrorist gotta get in a line to shoot an American. We're taking care of that ourselves.
Folks, we are a Nation of morons.
Here's a great piece by Ms. Boozler. It is funny as well as tragic.
It is called:
We Are Getting Tired of Prying Your Guns out of Your Cold Dead Hands
Friday, April 20, 2007
Wednesday, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association went before the Supreme Court of the United States of America and asked the Supreme Court to void the Constitution and limit Free Speech in America.
You probably missed that because your news channel was involved in another grief orgy and you not only missed Organized High Schools Sport's attack on the Constitution, but you probably missed two republican Congressmen resigning important Congressional Committees because of being the targets of corruption investigations. It confounds me that the Cosntitution could possibly stand in the way of High School Football but that is what the TSSAA claims.
The story is that Brentwood Academy, a private high school, was accused of sending out a recruiting letter, which is illegal under TSSAA rules. It didn't matter that the letter was sent to students who had already paid their deposit for the school year and that they weren't being recruited from other high schools (though there are always rumors to that effect) it was a rule violation in the TSSAA collective mind. But what about the Constitutional guarantee of Free Speech? Not where preserving the purity of high school football is concerned!
When it comes to the highest law of our country...The Constitution simply cannot be allowed to stand in the way of organized high school sports.
How can high school football get to the Supreme Court in the first place? Listen people...We're talking about real principles here, not just those high falutin lawyer principles either, I'm talking FOOTBALL!
Frankly, I don't like private schools. The only place a human being ever has to learn to get along with people not like him is in public school. Some kids learn more and some kids learn less but they all ought to eat in the same cafeteria. What happens in private schools is rarely about opportunities...it is about exposure, though there are exceptions. Catholics gather up, and christians gather up, and rich kids gather up, and public schools are left to deal with the rest. Private schools section off society at an early age and I don't like that. Private schools ran away from the Constitution when desegregation rulings started flying around on publicschools, so it tickles me to see Brentwood embrace the Constitution's 1st Amendment. I love them for that.
Anyway we'll know sometime in June whether Football is more important than Free Speech in the erratic collective mind of the Bush Supreme Court. Much as I dislike private schools, I hope they win. I may not like private schools, but I LOVE the Constitution.
I wish George Bush would read it sometime.
The 2nd Amendment is not the only one being tortured in today's society but it seems like it. Just mention the idea that all guns all the time might not be the path to a righteous society and all hell will break loose from the folks who keep their weapons in a shrine instead of a gun safe.
Just to refresh, the Second Amendment as ratified by the States reads exactly like,
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Curiously, in the version passed by the House and Senate of the United States there were a couple of interesting differences. That version reads:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Like I said...Curious.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
When I got the big binocs I could tell it wasn't a bird I was familiar with, but it was handsomely beautiful. I found it easily in the bird books but I have to say I haven't seen a single photo that does it justice. No wonder since there would be no way for me to get a decent shot as the bird was a bundle of energy and never slowed down as it searched from branch to branch for insects. So now I have the Blue Gray Gnatcatcher as a visitor in the gorge. I wonder how much the hard freeze has hurt its food supply?
This is a drab photo of a really handsome bird that has to be really tough to photograph. The one I saw definitely had a noticeable sky blue color, so much so that I thought I had a cerulean warbler in the yard.
Listen to it sing
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Our federal budget is a disaster and our peanut butter is no longer any safer than our spinach, but at least we got trapped into a war we can't win and oil prices are gone through the roof. The once noble Republican party is now held captive by weapons manufacturers, International Corporate mercenaries, and religious fanatics who put Jesus's name on old testament horrors, but at least our media can lie to us with impunity.
Our Constitution isn't worth the parchment it's written on, and our Justice department is so corrupt it would make a Soviet era Politboro boss proud, but we have a President who can stand on a dead city with perfect lighting for the best political effect.
Let's hear it for a newly discovered blog by a writer who says it far better than I:
The Big Con
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sometimes we look to our religious leaders but there is not one prominent religious American who calls for kindness in the spirit of Jesus or Buddha, instead we have backslid into the rabid self serving violence of old testament Moses embodied in a false christianity. The "Christian" guidance of Pat Robertson has led to his "Christian" Law school graduates being given high Justice Department positions for which they are not just unworthy but incapable. They are also corrupt, as we are seeing on a daily basis as one of them has taken the Fifth Amendment to hide her criminality. Our current crop of prominent religious leaders has failed America.
Sometimes we look to our political leaders, but there is not one American government official from the President down that has any right to claim the moral high ground. All of our national leaders are complicit in exactly the same kind of sensless killing we are currently grieving over, having stood on the ashes of the World Trade Towers and launched a brutal war and even more brutal occupation of a country that had nothing to do with it. Our President rejected diplomacy and turned to war. Over a half a million innocents have died. While he may have been a C student in college, he gets an F as the Commander in Chief. Why? Because he has no moral goal to his actions. Where is the real moral good that can come of our continued presence in Iraq? Where is our National morality? One thing is certain...It is not embodied in our political leadership.
What has happened is that America's national morality has been replaced with a false righteousness which has now produced horrifying results throughout our society on every level. America has no greater need at this moment than its moral leadership. It will not be found wearing a thousand dollar suit and pounding a podium in feigned outrage on tv. It will not be found in a Dobson, Sharpton, Falwell, Robertson, or Jackson holding up the symbol of someone else's maryrdom. Our moral leadership will also not be found in a political structure that serves corporations above humanity. it is time for us as a nation to say, of the Conservative revolution, "Well dang, that didn't work."
It is time for moral leadership and it will only be found in Humility. As we look to choose our next leader we must work hard to survive our current ones and, this time choose a humble servant who can give us true moral leadership.
In a similar bur less strident vein, there's this:
I hope that this country can return to the two party system of government as soon as possible. My proposal would be to eliminate the current Republican party and turn it over to the Democrats in toto. My disgust at Republicans is shared by a core group of morale American citizens who have decided to change their alleigence from Republican to American. Have they decided that they love the Democratic Party now? No, I don't think so. But they sure have come around to loving their country and being forced to act accordingly.
Here is one eloquent voice by a respected former Republican. I think it is a must read, particularly for conservatives.
"I say A pox on (Republicans) and their values," he wrote.
Former Republican Congressman ,and one time Presidential candidate, Pete McCloskey who tells us why he can no longer be a Republican.
The short version is that he loves his country too much.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Don Imus is a "pussy" compared to this nice lady:
Ann Coulter on mixed race relationships:
In describing the murders of doctors and health care personnel who worked at abortion clinics, Coulter said the victims had been shot, “…or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure performed on them with a rifle.”
She was speaking at Coral Gables Baptist Church.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on the story of Phineas:
Perkins use of the Scripture was only slightly less menacing than Coulter’s flippant analogy.“We read that Phineas arose and he took action…,” Perkins said.“Not only is prayer required…I warn you that if you begin to pray for our nation that, at some point in time, you’re gonna be prayin’ and you’re gonna feel a tap on your shoulder and hear, ‘Son, daughter, I’ve heard your prayer; now I want you to do something about it.’”
The story of Phineas is one of the more grusome old testament horrors. If you want to be in Mr. Perkins' "Family" I suppose you have to kill a couple of people with a pitchfork:
Why I think modern Conservatives are Evil
But having pointed all that out, I want everyone to know that I have a wonderfully optimistic view of where Tennessee College Students are headed. Two stories from the East Tennesean, the Student newspaper at ETSU"
The Student Editor's Opinion
And just so you can bookmark it or even subscribe:
The East Tennessean
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Several that I would tag are gone or just idle... Bilmon, fafblog, Michael Berube. Come back fafnir, the planet needs you. Knoxviews is usually the first stop on my early morning orbit but that wouldbe a tag back and that's not allowed by the rules of the game.So here are my choices narrowed down to five in no particular order.
1. Mountain Laureate I'm probably doing this to force ML to post more, but it is for the greater good. An award winning journalist, and I mean a real one, ML has been through some life changes recently but this is now. ML should share more and I have elected myself the official pesterer.
2. Prairie Weather Like me, in the way of loving wild places so much that PW makes the sacrifice to live in a remote home. I look to PW to flag things I might otherwise miss on the national stage and convey them with a thoughtful observation that always enlightens.
3. Rationally Speaking Massimo married a canoeing friend of mine and is so smart that language has it's limits in conveying his thought, but since he speaks several of them fluently, it all works out. he not only makes me think...He makes me think I'm not as smart as I think...I think...
4. Instaputz You have to admire Instapundit in some weird ways. he's inspirational to say the least. But what he's inspired is A rather intelligently written blog devoted to pointing out the daily misleading statements of a blogging UT Law professor, usually by quoting the aforementioned professor while nailing him to the cross of self contradiction...and yes, Lies.
5. Kiss My Big Blue Butt I admit to having a soft spot for smart mouthed women. I've never seen a sharp wit as a bad thing and Texas girls of a certain type have an overload in that department. It goes well with a loud bousterous laugh. Every County government in America would be better having to answer to a home town version of the smart-ass woman who used to own the World's most dangerous beauty Salon. Ok, local bloggers, This is how it's done. Did I mention she's funny?
Quote of the day:
There's no shame in being served horseshit on a platter, Friends, but we
shouldn't be proud of going back for seconds.
And so it goes...
Form the smartest blogger I know:
I don't particularly want to be a media critic. I like media and I respect the
talent of most of those who do it professionally. I never wanted to be some
crank carping at the television set --- I'm interested in politics. But there
was simply no choice.
Since the 80's the right systematically set out to convert
the political press into their friendly collaborators even if they didn't know
it. They had lots of cash and knew how to show everyone a good time. And they
mau-mau'd them to death. It worked beautifully.And while they did that, they set
about creating an alternate media that could feed the wingnut base directly
while feeding the mainstream more discretely. It came into full bloom during the
late 90's and ushered in this presidency. And predictably, a nation softened up
by years of rightwing propaganda was ready to put him on a pedestal when the
country was attacked on 9/11 --- even though his actual performance at that time
was laughably inept. Iraq was the result. That was when the whole operation
jumped the shark.
Liberals of all stripes, bloggers and others, were by that
time unanimously appalled by the GOP, Fox, talk radio and the mainstream press
and began to fight back.
We shall see if we have the staying power to keep it
Friday, April 13, 2007
... Well, you are very nearly totally correct. On most things in my
experience. I do think you have referred to "lying bastards" or some such
characterization of conservatives on various occasions. I'm not hammering you
for that, I do it too, and don't feel bad about it, nor inaccurate. And Imus
appears to be a real oinker. But he should be allowed to say what he thinks. The
market place is the arena for casting him out, and I don't think he will get
that opportunity. He may be a racist, he may be a sexist. But I think you are
right, he's just a bully, to whomever! All included.It is interesting that we
(the nation) are spending as much time and energy on this as we are, when there
are many much more important things to be outraged, or even mildly annoyed, at.
Think it's a plot by Rove?...Gordon
Yes, I have!
...Referred to Conservatives as lying bastards. I stand by that statement and I can back it up. Facts have a Liberal bias and aren't the province of the conservative noise machine.
I would like folks to remember that I did not call for Imus to be fired...Exactly the opposite, in fact. I called for him to serve those he had wronged in such a way that his victims could better understand him for what he is...And in such a way that Imus could understand his victims for what they are:
Young, black, also white (people forget that the team is mixed) overacheivers...such as the player who speaks several languages and listens to symphonic music not rap becasue she plays several musical instruments on a symphonic level...and yeah, she got game, too!
Now Imus gets to play the victim, claiming people were out to get him. Of course they were, and with damned good reason, but his show was not particularly profitable, he demanded way too much in salary (ten million a year, dang!), and it was the sponsors that actually pulled the plug. Got that?
Imus was fired by the Marketplace...Ha!
I doubt that he will be able to accept that very easily. The victim role is so much easier.
Now here's the part that disappoints me in this sorry episode. Jesse jackson and Al Sharpton are both Christian ministers. Not once did I hear them do the Christian thing and ask for us to forgive Don Imus.
Where could America be if had say, Jesse Jackson, gone up to Don Imus and said, "Come with me to the gym. you and I will clean up and wash towells and serve these young women to make up for the harm, but more importantly feel the harm your words caused. This way, Mr. Imus, you will grow as a person and these young women will get to know that bigotry is about fear and is to be pitied as much as reviled."
Since the death of Martin Luther King, One thing I've never seen is a prominent christian leader 'wash the feet" as it were. This was a huge moment in America. Bigotry could have been greatly diminished by excercizing forgiveness but it became instead a moment for the shifting of power...a moment for revenge.
It doesn't have to be that way.
"We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car..."
Karl Rove deleted email from the RNC server AFTER he was directed to save them by Special Prosecutor Fitzpatrick. Rove's salary is 100% paid for by the US taxpayer even though 95% of his email went through the RNC. This is connected with the Federal Prosecutor firing scandal in which Bush fired Prosecutors who refused to bring false charges of voter fraud against Democrats. Two of these convictions have been overturned already. Investigations against Republicans were dropped, even though they later had to be reinstated and at least two Republican congressmen are now in jail.
Neocon Iraq war architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Paul Wolfowitz was publicly booed at the World Bank by his employees, as he apologized for giving his girlfriend huge raises...illegally. They shouted for his resignation.
The Bush Administration is doing everything it can to keep this nice lady's customer list from becoming public. Several high level bushies are being implicated in really weird ways. The main architect of the iraq War used the madam's services but didn't engage in sex? That's the claim.
Today's must read:
How many facts are needed to destroy a false Beltway orthodoxy?
This is my question after reading this morning’s papers: How many cold,
hard facts are needed to kill tired Beltway orthodoxies? Or, now that we are in
the Age When Journalism Died, is it true that when an orthodoxy has enough money
and insider vanity behind it, it becomes immortal? Here are five orthodoxies
that jump out from just this week's news - orthodoxies that have little - if any
- relation to the facts. They elicit a simple question: Has our political debate
been hijacked by Washington power-worshipers and consequently divorced from the
"reality based" world?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Dear Mr. President, Come take a walk with me.
Let's pretend we're just two people and You're not better than me.
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.
What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye And tell me why?
Dear Mr. President, Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.
What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work Hard work Oh
How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President, You'd never take a walk with me.
From the early short stories I was exposed to in college to his later novels and speeches, I have never read a single sentence from him that didn't entertain and challenge. His body of work is nothing short of amazing.
The official Vonnegut web site is in mourning, but here is a link to a very fine unofficial site that will bring back memories to anyone who has ever read anything by him, and frankly it would be difficult to get through any English Lit class without some Kurt burning itself into your brain.
From: Wampters, Foma & Granfaloons
Brief Encounters on the Inland Waterway. ''Frank warned me against following
anybody. 'Thinking the guy up ahead knows what he's doing is the most dangerous
religion there is.'''
Yes, We Have No Nirvanas. ''Unitarians don't
believe in anything. I am a Unitarian.''
And from his commencement speech at Agnes Scott College in 1999:
I myself have an axe, which I have ground as sharp as a razor. What would I
like to do with it, if I could? I would like to plant it in the forehead of the
Babylonian King Hammurabi, who lived almost four thousand years ago.
Hammurabi gave us a code which is honored to his very day by many
nations, including my own, and by all heroes in cowboy and gangster films, and
by far too many people who feel they have been insulted or injured, however
slightly. However accidentally:
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.Revenge is not only sweet - it
is a must!
What antidote can there be for an idea that popular and poisonous?
Revenge provides revenge, which is sure to provide revenge, forming an endless
chain of human misery.
Here's the antidote:
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against
Deleting Rove's emails is probably against the law.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
But there were comments from dedicated Imus fans who didn't like me saying anythin bad about Imus, and some from conservatives who, as usual, went off on things I didn't say. Several of these commentors made me think that they didn't read the entire essay or simply don't have the reading comprehension skills to understand it if they did.
Let me go simple on these folks.
Don Imus is a talented radio personality and a bigot. He's a bully. He and his producer and his cohorts intentionally used words that caused hurt to people who did him no harm. He also has good qualities. My proposed sentence for his actions would be to put him in very close contact with those he hurt, in a subservient role, for an extended period of time...Not to punish him, but to let him experience the humanity of the people he harmed, AND...to let the people he harmed experience the humanity of the person who harmed them.
Whether Don Imus would grow from this experience, I have no way of knowing, but I doubt he will grow as a person without it. I suspect his career is greatly diminished, or will slide away in the next few months, or is possibly over all together. As more and more Imus racism comes to light, I suspect the latter. He has gotten away with being a bully for way too long. The real tragedy of Don Imus is that he has a good wit and much talent that he chose to use in a bad way. It made him rich, so I can't feel sorry for him at this point.
The people I have greatest concern for are the folks who have been the victims of misogyny and bigotry at the hands of people like Imus. By putting him in close contact with the players, I figure they will see him as what he is, just another person with problems. It is the burdens of the victim that weigh heaviest on a human being and this was what I would try hardest to lift.
Howard Stern tells richard Simmons about Don Imus. via Left of the Dial
I got replies:
"It is the unkindness in people we should hate. That, we can change ifwe do so choose."
The above struck me as the perfect ending to your thoughts. We
canchoose to change the unkindness of the spoken word. Just consider
who"performed the act" and do not take it personally. I listened to a
talkshow on the way home from Cookeville on Sunday night and it was great.It was
a "call in" talk show re Imus. Some blacks were adamantlyagainst his
remarks and are still talking about how horrible theirancestors were treated:
slavery, etc. Other blacks were not offended.So, it is really how
one accepts remarks such as that. Just let it go.I wonder what would have
happened if Imus made the same remarksconcerning the men's basketball
players. The gist of the program was"we do have a double standard when it
comes to so-called 'bigotry/racialslurs', etc." I agree with that. I never
heard about this Imus personuntil this happened. Enough junk on TV as it
is right now.
I consider you somewhat of a mentor , and a friend . With that said I am goimg
to take you on about IMUS , nothing personal , Stay
(I'm not going to repost any of Jim's "nothing personal" personal attack because you folks have all seen it. To say it was ill informed, poorly reasoned, and incorrect is not doing it justice.)
I am with you, up to the point you conclude our media "is for sale." I guess it
is the journalism school graduate in me that balks at that. Elaborate, please,
(I did. Go back and follow the link. But I can elaborate in two words...Fox News. I have discussed media consolidation on other occaissions as well.)
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
There are mean and nasty elements that make up not just our society but each of us individually. We are the sum of our parts and a moral life is built, not on those parts being perfect, but by trying to stay on the path of being a better and kinder person all the way to the end. we try to cast out the parts we don't like, the mean thoughts, the unkind actions, the little things that add up to less of a good person than we could be "If Only".
Don Imus is a jerk in a really big way. he also does a ton of work for charity. People close to him talk incessantly about the good things he does and how much he cares for people. He also carries a concealed weapon, as folks who have hugged him have noticed. Harold Ford Jr. spoke of his own discomfort at this revelation after Imus handed Harold a very generous Senatorial campaign donation. This is an example of normal human contradiction carried to caricature. It is present in all of us to some degree.
MSNBC will no doubt sacrifice Imus, more or less. I doubt they will permanently fire him. There's money involved and our media is for sale. Conservatives know this and it is the only way conservatives can survive. They must pay handsomely in order for their inconceivably hateful message to exist. Conservatism uses bigotry by providing it a haven. Our American media has sold it's soul for profit and has abdicate its Constitutional responsibilty for fairness and accuracy. Only a few Corporations control the vast majority of the media outlets. The Iraq war, our loss of Constitutional freedoms, and electorate stupidity on the issues of science and climate change are only symptoms of the loss of our free press. The question is whether we can get accuracy back as an American ideal...or not.
In the interest of "Accuracy" it is imperative that we understand during this current flap that bigotry is not about hatred...Bigotry is about fear. It is about insecurity. Al Sharpton calling for Don Imus's scalp is not going to end bigotry. Sharpton's actions will not do that. So far, I haven't seen one singe leader step forward to drive out racial fear. It won't make as good a headline, so what we'll see is sharpton and other high profile blacks yammering about the "Evils of Racism" instead of doing something that will actually help end racism.
I've thought about Don Imus and frankly I don't like him or his show and I really don't like the creeps he keeps on the payroll who are so much worse than he is that they make him look moderate by comprison. Imus says he wants to go talk to the Rutgers women basketball team and apologize in person. Bold as that seems to be, it is a cop out.
Until Don Imus feels a personal revulsion at the lack of kindness in the act of someone...Anyone.. calling a young black girl a "nappy-headed 'Ho", there will be no end to racism and bigotry.
I wouldn't punish Don Imus by suspending or firing him. I would have him serve as the towel boy for every practice and every game for the Rutgers women next season. Racism and bigotry will only end when people like Imus quit being afraid. He should face his fear by serving people he is not the same as. Different people are simply different. We can't hate them for that.
It is the unkindness in people we should hate. And this is what we can change if we so choose
Monday, April 09, 2007
I am headed out to the plumbing contractor supply house so I will have to let others rant for me this morning, just so's you fine people can have your fix of daily snark and outrage.
In this first one, several folks point out that we founded this country to hold certain ideals higher than our own personal self interests. We care about other people not just the rich ones and the lackeys that serve them. We have principles...or did until recently:
America is a nation of losers. It’s the best thing about us.
We are the dregs, what the rest of the world barfed up and threw on our
shores...We are, in fact, a nation of refugees, who despite the bastards in
white sheets and the know-nothings in Congress, have held open the Golden Door
to a dark planet. We are not imperialists and that’s why Bush lies and
Cheney lies and, yes, the Clintons lie. ... Greg Palast
John Edwards and Elizabeth have called on us to get off our keesters and stop
feeling sorry for ourselves. They believe what the great prairie scholar
Patricia Limerick does, "In order to bring out the best in the American people,
you have to believe that they have the best in them." And the Edwards
Today's must read...All of it!
So the Bush regime went to fight "terrer" in the wrong country and did it so badly that the world has turned against America in the process. Bush replaced "Corroded and corrupt" with "corroded, corrupt, inefficient and incompetent".
"Incompetent" is probably the most obvious failure of the Bush regime as a whole.
Terri pointed this one out:
NEW YORK (AP) -- In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country - a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."
"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the
corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order,"
Lamar doesn't like billboards anymore than he likes windmills.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
And why is it a mark of civilization that we crap INSIDE the house? 'Splain that one to me, eh? What moron thought that one up? Would whoever it is like to come over and help rip the carpet out of the basement?
So I'm busy today, looking for the drawing of my septic system that I filed somewhere 14 years ago because it's a long weekend and everybody else is working but not County Government.
Then I have to dig a hole.
You know, for eight years I lived without indoor plumbing, and at this particular moment I'm wondering why I ever changed? I got civilized and that might have been a mistake, and yes, I know that some of you will debate whether I ever actually did get civilized, but in that regard I will simply point out that there are four bathrooms inside...INSIDE...this house. I now have a hot tub outside but not one functioning outhouse, other than the one Mom nature has provided since time began.
We should always listen to our Mom. She's saying something about climate change right this very minute. We should start listening or maybe things outside will quit functioning, too.
Are we laughing yet?
Now...Why do I think this one is funny?
The Republican Party is dying.
Our Constitution was written by men with a visceral distaste for religious
fanaticism. Many of those 35% of voters who still claim the Republican party are
going to change anyway as the Bush administration comes under scrutiny, but many
more will shift if an appropriately framed message is delivered.
And now...For something completely different:
You'd think the gore of Halloween, with its vampires, monsters and
horror-film killers, would mean October is high season for fake blood.
But at Performance Studios costuming shop, high season for fake blood
is right now, and the biggest buyers are churches.
"At Halloween, we sell blood by the ounce. At Easter,
we sell blood by the gallon," says Gary Broadrick, owner of Performance
And now...for something even differenter:
Why is there a Soccer ball in this picture?
Or for that matter, why is there a picture in that picture?
Thursday, April 05, 2007
The Secret Service pulled a gun on students, threatened them and stopped students at American University from making a citizen's arrest of Karl Rove. Rove showed up at American University Tuesday night to speak to the College Republican's Club, a secretive organization that allowed no Press, camera's, or recording devices at Rove's event. A Secert Service spokeswoman said that no SS agent came in contact with the protesters.
This is a bit of a problem for the Secret Service because the Student Newspaper has the pictures, and...
Four people said they saw a man dressed in plainclothes shove a protester, flash a gun and tell him, "I'm a fucking cop, I'm going to arrest you." Public Safety has confirmed that this man was with the Secret Service.
The funniest thing about all this was that the President of the Campus Democrats was there to make the arrest!
Matt Kent, a junior in the School of Public Affairs and president of the College Democrats, declared to the crowd that Rove is a federal criminal because he violated the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which was passed by Congress after Nixon's resignation to ensure that all White House written communication is open to the public. To comply with this legislation, officials must submit copies of letters to the Office of Records Management, including e-mails. Kent said Rove violated this act by setting up a separate e-mail server for the White House that was not open to public scrutiny. "As such, he is a criminal," Kent said. "He broke federal law..."
"The College Republicans tonight are hosting a fugitive of the law," Kent said. "We don't have the power of the law, but we have the power of citizen's arrest."
Here's the student newspaper account. It is a wonderfull balanced piece that should be a model for a Free Press.
And an account of the Bill O'Reilly distortions in the Media.
Even the Yahoo News report is false, claiming the Secret Service agents shown in the picture are "security guards and campus police"
Here's the picture.
See what's free at AOL.com.
I had my binoculars out and was looking into the treetops at the pollinating insects cruising the blooms. Most trees have fairly intricate blooms that get totally ignored by humans, but the insects know all about them. The prize goes to one of the wild cherry trees, though, with several big black butterflies cruising its canopy. All I ask is that they slow down for just a second so I can identify them, which they didn't but I'm thinking black swallowtail for now.
Anyway, I'm having a tough time working up much outrage with everythingbeing so nice. I'll just leave you with some amusment:
We’re now finding out where all the candidates met their spouses. Barack Obama met his wife at a law firm. John McCain met his wife at a naval officers dance. And Rudy Giuliani met his third wife when he was cheating on his first wife with his second wife...Leno
It turns out she [Anna Nicole Smith] had nine different prescription drugs in her. Which, in the medical field, is known as the "Full Limbaugh." - Bill Maher
"In Nevada, as part of a training exercise, firefighters burned down the famous brothel, the Mustang Ranch. The sad news? Two congressmen were still inside." --Jay Leno
Do you hear that the NHL is considering banning fighting in ice hockey? That’s the only way to make ice hockey less popular than it is now. Hockey without fights is like NASCAR without mullets... Ferguson
And lastly, one of my favorite cartoonists is back in the political arena...
charlie fincher couldn't stand it...He's baa...ack.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
So why didn't George W Bush throw out the first pitch, again this year?
It's really simple. Bush never ever shows up at any place where he will have to face the fact that America doesn't like him. He didn't show up at a Baseball park because he would have more than likely been booed.
Washington, DC — Federal climate, weather and marine scientists will be subject to new restrictions as to what they can say to the media or in public, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under rules posted last week, these federal scientists must obtain agency pre-approval to speak or write, whether on or off-duty, concerning any scientific topic deemed "of official interest."
This one pisses me off.
Josh Marshall points out that Bush Justice Department appointee, Monica Goodling, is the first Justice Department Official in history to invoke the 5th Amendment, which is only constitutional if she has in fact committed some criminal act, and she still has her job?
But Democrats are sooo mean!
Does it seem as if most of these scandals surrounding this administration right
now---one might say engulfing it---have this underlying theme of Karl Rove
attempting to use the resources of the federal government to ensure his dream of
a permanent Republican majority?
...clearly, what Rove was trying to do is in jurisdiction by
jurisdiction, protect Republicans, go after Democrats, and essentially turn our
criminal justice system into what they have in a banana republic.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I have some questions.
1. What flag is Rove flying in his lapel?
2. What are all the medical personel doing standing around?
3. Why would someone whose nickname is either "turdblossom" of "Fired" eat at a place called "Porkers"?
4. Can we issue the subpoenas now?
The folder is from an Internet hosting company called Coptix. This proves without doubt that Karl Rove is illegally running all the White House e-mail through a private company instead of the White House government servers which belong to the American People. Anyway, everybody knew all that weeks or months ago, but now there’s a picture of Karl Rove holding a folder from a Chattanooga blogger.
Word is that W didn't get to eat much because he would jump up an run to shake hands with folks as they were leaving the restaurant. Is that a picture of a confident powerful man or one whose country has figured out that his acheivements are well below average? (Isn't "well below average" a nice way to say that?)
I have one more question, actually...
5. How did the other people in that restaurant keep down their lunch?
Update: The Photo is a fake. But nothing changes. It was faked by Coptix themselves, btw. We'll see where this goes. Fun part is that executive privilege can't protect anything on Coptix servers from Congressional subpoena.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Some months ago I was riding my mountain bike on the neighbor's farm and came across the renegade herd of his prized mutant nubian goats dining on the blackberry canes that had sprung up in the woods after the recent outbreak of pine beetles had killed off the resident yellow pine population and opened up the forest floor producing a bumper crop of thorny delights. To say that the goats prospered is a gross understatement. Watching the Nubians happily munching the thorny delights growing where a formerly pristine forest ecosystem had prospered, I made the connection between what I was observing and the ungulate population explosion that had been the talk of the neghbors in our quaint rural valley.
With my contacts at St. Jude Medical Research Hospital, who were working on gene replication and transplantation, I pursued the possibility of implanting genetic material from these particular mutant goats into the offspring of the pigs that were forcibly removed from the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, in order to make room for the new trailer park that would eventually house the Texas Ranger wing of the Secret Service. While not ready to divulge the actual direction subsequent research led our diligent team, I can say that we will soon lead the world out of the polluted darkness of Concentrated Animal Feed Operations and into a much brighter ecological and culinary future with a joint venture involving Scott Paper, Huber land Resources, Bowater Land Corporation, Tyson Chicken and Wampler Sausage, Inc.
No longer will a clear cut virgin forest need be scorned by America's liberal environmental community. In the future this form of desecration will be considered the very picture of Earth First Renewal. We will feed the multitudes in a way heretofore never imagined.
To say that this is a monumental undertaking is a monumental understatement. This project has consumed more and more of my time until now, as it currently stands, something has to give. Having amassed property and capital that any republican would envy, I cannot drop the family ball, leaving it as it were, to the vagaries of Roane County divorce court. That being said and with great regret I must announce that it is the relentless pursuit of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, that must take the back seat. To paraphrase a not so great American..."WhitesCreek won't have to kick George W, Bush around anymore."
Remember me my friends! And sometime in the near future, when, engaged upon your search for that perfect barbecue sandwich and reveling in the fruit of the hops, the sweet tartness of mountain blackberries assaults your palette... Know that my quest is accomplished and that I have excercized my options on that part of Paraguay not already occupied by the offspring of former stockholders in Harken Energy.
There's not much more I can say at this point except that I will remember these past months fondly as I enter the next phrase of my professional life.
Good Luck...and Good Night.
There's been this wonderfull little piece going round and round on the internet tubes about Geroge W. Bush's environmentaly awesome little ranch house and Al Gore's Belle Meade monstrosity. Bush's house is supposedly 4000 sq feet and sips at environmental resources, while Al's 10,000 sq ft. and gobbles up energy.
So what gives? Al Gore seems to be living the Republican dream while George seems to be living the Eco-Liberal professor's dream. How can this be?
It can't! That's the simple answer. My friends who sent me the email asked the obvious question, "Is this a joke?" and to that I reply, "No. As with anything Republican, it is part truth tortured into whole lie."
Al and Tipper could do better, of course but they're rich, live well, and balance their lifestyle with good works for the environment, including maintaining a lot of forest acres and purchasing carbon credits which more than make up for their excesses.
George and Laura making up for their excesses by going eco friendly?...Nothing of the sort. Their house in question was designed and built, as essentially a movie set, specifically to counter Al Gore's enviro cred during the 2000 presidential election.
First off, It ain't any 4000 square feet.
A CommonDreams piece on the house back in the original GOP press release day of 2001 does call George's house a 4000 sq ft enviro correct dwelling. It was constructed as a movie set for George's pressidential run, however. He had never lived there at that point and it flat out isn't 4000 square feet it is a much more kingly 10,000 square feet just like Al and Tipper's house where the Gore's actually live.
Then there's this other little detail...As any recent map of the ranch will show, there's not just one modest little house on this former pig farm, whose photogenic herd of cattle actually belong to the previous owner. There are several houses on the ranch. And through the "miracle" of a separate electric meter for the modest little Bush house, the Bush ranch appears to be a model of environmental sensitivities.
Here's the little house they use as a backdrop for Bush photos showing what a down to earth guy he is.
Here's a little shot of the ranch so you can go see for yourself. Let it all load and keep scrolling down. What do you think, folks?