Saturday, June 30, 2007
The kids are out and we open a bottle of wine and sit on the deck and watch it get dark, for one.
Or we get free tickets to a movie with a bunch of people we have something in common and then there's margaritas afterward. That one works too. Really well, as it turns out, even if the margaritas did need a little something. you get a bunch of passionate people discussing everything and who cares if it ain't perfect...it's perfect.
Michael Moore gets hammered by conservatives. Mostly those who have never seen a Michael Moore movie and stayed in your seat at the end to watch all the credits, because of the little jewels (eat your vegetables and go for a walk) hidden amongst the amazing list of contributors. Of course we stay there to let the tears dry up a bit. I still can't figure out how I can cry and laugh at the same time, but I was in good company as the whole crowd had the giggling sniffles.
Frankly, I know of any number of depressing stories concerning the American health care system. When I realized that I was going to actually watch SiCKO I was dreading a somber, gut wrenching, tragic experience. Well, sure, we cried and hurt for those people, but mostly we laughed.
We laughed at the opening stupid statement by our President, and then two hours of reaction shots as we wondered why other countries have medical systems that serves people instead of HMO's and they wondered why we have a medical system that doesn't.
Does Michael Moore present both sides of the argument? Of course not. We have the "other side" hammered at us incessantly every day of our lives. Drug ads, insurance ads, ads for attorneys who want you to get what you deserve because you've been harmed by mesothelioma...Sicko is not "fair and balanced" and I would have been severely disappointed if it had been. I wanted a message, "The whole world thinks the American system is stupid and broken," and I wanted to be entertained. I wanted to laugh and by golly, I did.
I laughed at how stupid we are for putting up with our idiotic medical care system and I laughed at the rest of the world laughing at how stupid we are for putting up with our idiotic medical care system...And...I got pissed, as Sicko clearly demonstrated that it's our fault things are this way.
Can we do what has to be done? Sure. Will we? I don't know...But I want to do what has to be done.
And so does everyone else who was in that theater.
Go see Sicko...I dare you!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Fred Thompson wants to become president. His intent, among other things, would be to make sure Scooter Libby get's out of jail for the "trifling offense", as he calls it, of covering up an act of treason by Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Fred's speeches are currently sounding like they are cribbed from Benito "The invaders must be crushed" Mussolini, as in...
“Twelve million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women and children around the world.” (Fred blames this on the Liberal policies of Ronald Reagan, btw)
If Democrats take over the Presidency and Congress in a big way, it will be real legal trouble for Cheney and Rove, and Fred can stay on TV, pretending to care.
John Dean has come to the conclusion that we shouldn't wait for elections and that all of them should be impeached, and that we should start with Dick Cheney:
"...It has long been apparent that Cheney's genius is that he lets George W. Bush get out of bed every morning actually believing he is the President... "
Former White House council, John Dean.
"A man who can so easily disregard the War Powers Act, FISA, the Geneva Conventions, and the War Crimes Act is merely flicking fleas when it comes to complying with laws like the Presidential Records Act, which requires him to keep records. Yet as CNN and other news organizations have reported, Cheney ordered the destruction of the visitor logs to his residence. These, of course, are presidential records the law requires him to preserve and protect."
Dean makes a solid case for Cheney's conviction.
Nancy Pelosi does not want to impeach because she seems to believe that Congress will "discover" outrage after outrage from now until the 2008 elections and the resulting ferver to punish republicans will sweep democrats into office in such numbers that the outrages can all be reversed. While I think that is very likely, I have to ask the question, "Why wait?" The collateral damage in the meantime will be horrendous and may include another stupid war, this time with a country that still has plenty of teeth to bite back..Iran...And lots of friends, too, like say, China.
I don't think America can wait for elections in 2008. Democrats must show strength and loudly and forcefully bring impeachment actions against the enemies of our Constitution.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
It turns out that the United States government was taken over by Dick Cheney some time ago and all he cares about is what's good for Oil companies...Well that and suppliers of war materials, and if a company does both, it's golden.
Rudy Giulliani recently spoke at Pat Robertson's really bad law college in an incredible moment of irony. You might recall that Pat nodded and agreed when Jerry Falwell announced that the city that Giulliani was mayor of at the time, New York City, was destroyed on 9-11 because of sinfulness. Rudy might dress up as a woman, room with gay guys, sleep with his mistress in the mayor's mansion, and run with organized crime, but why kill a bunch of firemen because of Rudy, god?
US coins are suddenly being struck without 'In god we trust" on them. This has the Freepers all in an uproar, but pretty much everything gets the Freepers in an uproar. They love Ann Coulter, who recently got politely dismantled by Elizabeth Edwards on TV for suggesting that a terrorist bomb should blow up Elizabeth's husband, John.
The Freepers also got in an uproar when an analysis of several serious studies of American religion came back showing that in all truth, less than half of us are actually seriously religious. Less than half? Freepers immediately announced that anybody who doesn't believe in Jesus should be killed.
The third richest man in the world is Warren Buffet and he backs Hillary Clinton for president...Well, he also backs Barrack Obama, too. Or maybe he just backs anybody except a Republican. Anyway, Buffet raised a million bucks for Hillary and has given the max to Obama and plans more fundraisers.
That bit of news is overshadowed just a bit by the fact that Al Gore, who still isn't running, Leads all candidates in the New Hampshire primary polls.
The conservative leaning Washington Post has just finished a 4 part series on Dick Cheney stating, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cheney is the AntiChrist...Whether they think this is a good thing or a bad thing is unknown at this point.
Washington Post Series on Dick Cheney: I, II, III, IV
Like I said...Interesting times...And I left out a ton of stuff.
PS: Here in the gorge, our eagles had twins again this year. The screeching is incessant at times. Until you get to watch them learn to fly, it never dawns on you that they learn to fly before they learn to land. The landings are ugly and tear up the target tree limb. One big baby wound up upside down for a few seconds in a white pine before it crashed around and got settled.
The red breasted woodpeckers are feeding their fledglings wild cherries. I cut back on the suet feeder to make them learn to find real food.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
When I was elected chairman, my predecessor, Charles Hamby, sat down with me to pass along his advice for running the Oconee Democratic Party.
When the subject moved to "volunteers", Charles said: "Well, there are two ladies up in Salem that are always willing to work hard for the Democratic Party. Their names are Nancy Hayward and Yvonne Harron. They are terrific and you'll want to get to know them..."
And get to know them, I have. Nancy and Yvonne wrote brilliant letters to the newspapers, articulating the most progressive political positions. They volunteered in our office. They ran our booth at local festivals and parades. They hit the streets when the DNC sent us door hangers. They donated money to local candidates. They both contributed to the heart and soul of our party and worked tirelessly regardless of the task.
Yvonne, an early morning riser, loved to sort through her email and surf the net to find articles that supported Democratic policies... and she loved digging up research on how the Bush Administration is soiling our country's good name. More times than I can count, Yvonne's 5:30AM emails to me ended up being forwarded to everyone on our email list... or they prompted me to get fired up and write a column. When we launched the new website in Sept 2005, Yvonne ensured that fresh articles were posted on the site EVERY DAY. Her passion for a progressive America became my passion - and we loved to chat back and forth and discuss the issues of the day.
But lately my email "Inbox" has been lonely... the early morning emails have stopped. My friend Yvonne is terminally ill with cancer and her days with us are numbered. Today, she is at home under the care of Hospice... and her dear friend Nancy.
The time will soon come to honor a true progressive hero... a citizen-activist whose motivation for helping Democrats sprang not from a desire for money, power, praise or recognition - but from a deep desire to help make this country great again. If Yvonne's spirit could be infused into our political leadership, America could be whole again.
For now, Yvonne's spirit is still here and we need to support Nancy in the difficult task of holding her friend's hand through the twilight of life. Please send Nancy and Yvonne your love, prayers, and most importantly, your thanks for their years of service. Let's make sure Nancy's "Inbox" is not as lonely as mine....
Ken Campbell, Chairman
Oconee Democratic Party
Some old friends and I gathered up in the South Carolina hills around the Chattooga river to shoot some interviews about the old days of paddling. That would be the days before the Ocoee River turned into a theme park, I guess. Like any history, we'll leave out the really good stuff. Every industry has it's characters and crazy people, but in the case of the outdoors and human powered recreation, it's all of us.
The cameraman had flown in from California and was melting in the Carolina humidity. I don't know which is worse for him, the fires which are burning Tahoe and the Sierra mountains back in California, or death by drowning in humidity and your own sweat. A 5:45 am flight out of Knoxville this morning may just save his life.
Frankly, I love summer in the Southern Highlands. The air may get inhospitable but the water gets perfect. No one on earth has ever found greater relief than slipping into a clear pool in a spring fed creek when the temperature and humidity add up to 190. Shrinkage is a wonderful thing at certain times.
We had time to play and we did, crawling around on and through the rocks in a favorite rapid gone meek in the summer drought. We crawled through a hole in the rock ledge of the rapid. At normal paddling levels, we would have been driving our boats hard over the top of the hole which would be hidden, submerged under hundreds of cubic feet of water crashing over it's deadly mouth. At least one person has died there, but today it is a wonderland for old children. I let myself settle into the pool within the hole and watch the water crash over my head and out through the large opening beside me. I hadn't planned on this and was wearing cotton shorts and a nice shirt but when the river says "Join with me," what choice do you have? I work it out later.
Sand laden water drills holes in the underlying rock of mountain rivers during floods. The progress is only seen over geological time frames, but those who pay attention can see a river change before their eyes. Rocks the size of small cars and even houses get moved around, changing the river. We stood on just such a rock, moved only two feet in the thirty three years I've known it but moved none the less...Headed toward the ocean. In only 87,000 more years, the rock will be a mile closer to Savannah at this rate, but things could go wrong...or right, according to the point of view. Savannah's nice and all but maybe the rock likes it here.
Later on we sat in the cabin and drank together watching the thunderstorm and light show of a summer evening in the mountains.
Monday, June 25, 2007
The Mormon Church officially got a draft deferment for Mitt Romney so he wouldn't have to go to Viet Nam.
Romney got his draft deferment by serving as a mormon missionary in...
Nobody has to make stuff up where republican presidential candidate are concerned. Well except for their campaign managers.
So Mitt Romney got a deferment because he was carrying the word to french chefs.
George Bush got out of going to Viet Nam because his daddy got him in the National Guard and he quit going when they told him he had to take a drug test to keep flying planes.
Dick Cheney got deferment after deferment, mainly because he was just too damned evil to be allowed anywhere near a war zone:
"...we learn that Cheney was at the heart of the soul-deadening practice of torture to extract information from our enemies."
"Cheney and his allies, according to more than two dozen current and former
officials, pioneered a novel distinction between forbidden "torture" and
permitted use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" methods of questioning."....Washington Post
No way the United States of America is going to torture people, nope, nope, nope...We're sticking to...
"cruel and inhuman methods of questioning."
Antonin Scalia, Justice of the Supreme Court of the good old USA, told people that "torture works. Jack Bauer saved everybody in Los Angeles by torturing."
Oh great...We have a Supreme Court Justice who can't tell the difference between real life and a fictional TV program. Next thing you know, republicans will run a candidate who is totally unqualified to be president but it'll be ok because he's played one on TV...Oh, wait!...
Makes you proud to be an American.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The old county road that went from Grandview in Rhea County over to Alloway in Cumberland County used to go right through the DeArmand farm, wind down the hill and cross Whites Creek and go up through the old Moody farm and back up to Possum Trot, where it made the climb up to Alloway. The road has moved down to the new bridge but the old Possum Trot Ford is still there.
Grandview and Alloway are still on the maps but they aren't towns anymore, just like the not-a-town-anymore that I live in, Glen Alice. Glen Alice washed away in '29 but it's the bigger of the three not-towns. Got a monument, too. Glen Alice also still has the five foot by five foot concrete slab that was the old United States Post Office, I hear, but I've never seen it. Grandview and Alloway just faded out but churches and cemetaries never go away and folks seem to have a need to visit their dead.
The powers that be decided that there should be a bridge over Whites Creek but Possum Trot Ford is wide and shallow and bridges are cheaper to build where the creek is narrow and deep so the road moved. There was a lot of blasting and dozing and cement mixing ad Baker Bridge was born. I don't guess it mattered much that Alloway and Grandview were connected by Federal Highway 68, the new bridge would let folks get to Zion Baptist Church on Sundays without going all the way around in the Winter when the creek was up.
The folks at Zion still dunk. Just upstream from the new bridge (They still call it the new bridge 53 years later), there's a high rock wall on the South side of the creek and a nice pool with a sandy bottom on the North side...not deep enough for a swim but perfect for a dunk.
The rock wall has amazing acoustic properties which I discovered one Sunday morning sitting on the new bridge after a hike. The bridge rail is one of those old fashioned kind that have holes in them. You can sit on the ledge with your feet poking through the holes and prop on the railing. I used to look out my car through bridge railing holes at rivers and creeks as I drove by but you can't do that any more...no holes in "new" new bridges...only concrete.
So one day a couple of years back, I was sitting on the bridge wondering who the voices up the creek belonged to? The voices were on my property, after all. Then the singing started. I knew it was from church people then, but it was bouncing off the rock walls so that it sounded like the rocks themselves were singing to me.
Now country churches are about a lot of things and peace and love don't rise to the top in most of the ones I've been in, and I've been washed up, dressed up, threatened, and dragged around to a fair number. I've heard a lot of hellfire and damnation and mean things come from a pulpit, but even in the worst church you'll hear good music made by plain folks. The good church people may drink, and cuss, and fight, and sneak in each other's back doors, just like every other bunch of folks on this planet, but come Sunday they gather up and condemn, repent, and sing.
I like the singing.
So this day, sitting on the bridge, I listened to the rocks sing... Harmony. There had been a good dunking and now the good people were singing to the rocks and the rocks were singing back. I listened until they stopped and started walking up the trail toward the bridge and I walked to my car and left.
Yesterday, we drove in toward the old Possum Trot Ford where the road used to go and hiked around a bit. Whites Creek cuts many channels in the gorge during high water and in the droughts of summer, some of the back channels become ponds as the lowering water levels cuts of the channel to the main creek. The ponds are usually full of fish...Huge bluegills and smallmouth and a gazillion or two little fish that go back into these slews to hide from the bluegills and the smallmouth. We started at one of the dunking pools, hiked up on top of the ridge and back down to the clear blue green pool near where we'd left the truck. It was really hot and we were really sweating and the pool was really clear. There was thunder from the storm on the ridge top but we got in the water anyway. The fish aren't afraid of people once they're in the water and they came right up to me as I swam under a large rock shelf that hung about a foot above the water and went 8 or 9 feet back before it ended. It was one of those places kids like to get in. So I'm a kid, too, watching the surface of the pool ripple up as the rain came in. The rain started in big drops and then the lightning so we got out much too soon. But it was good while it lasted.
The church people have no monopoly on the need for renewal. It's a human condition. There are times when a person just has to Dunk... If only the rocks could have sung to us.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Every time, I find something new and worthy. Something that reinforces my beliefs in "play fair, don't cheat, and stick to the facts in an argument."
In great speeches words just come together and have meanings all out of proportion to the number of letters involved. For instance:
"Et tu, Brute? Then fall Ceasar!"
You would think that George W. Bush would have that one painted on his wall so he would know when to go bird hunting with Cheney. ( Yo, W...You're at 26%...Ask Brutus if he still loves you?)
The Gettysburg Address is often portrayed as a meaningful speech but I don't get that one. How did hundreds of thousands of Americans killing each other on a single day consecrate anything? Lincoln dedicated a memorial to the soldiers who died and didn't say a damned thing about the monumental malevalence of the politicians who lined them up across from each other, the monumental obsession to duty that led great generals to give the orders to fire, or the monumental stupidity of "We the People" who let ourselves be manipulated into one example of why humans from time to time are incapable of resisting evil leadership.
In all history, citizens have ceded their own best interests only when their common voice has been taken over by a central power structure which then censored the voice of the people. This is the case today, as our corporate media serves to prop up diseasedly corrupt politicians who do the work of the marketing and accounting departments of mega-International corporations. How else do you explain over half the people still believing that Saddam had something to do with 9-11, or that giving Exxon Mobil billions of dollars of our tax dollars is a good thing? The examples are endless with the public confusion on climate change being the single most threatening manipulation of public opinion in human history. Media by corporations leads inevitably to Government by Corporations and Corporations have no conscience nor soul. As a construct of humanity, Humans have now created our Satan.
Our society, our Nation, Our planet can only be saved if wiser more thoughtful voices can some how make themselves be heard. Once upon a time there was a simple soap box in the market square. Today we have Blogs.
The blogoshpere is, at present, the most democratic of mediums ever to be created. Bloggers read and think and write, and those who read and think and write the best, rise up the readership ladder...Each click of the mouse, anywhere in the world, a vote in this ultimate democracy.
The blogosphere has its crazies, they are loud and few...And it has its Digby's. We are not, as Fred Thompson claims, "fringe elements." The common views of the Progressive blogosphere are the common views of America.
Fred thinks that Leftist fringe elements are anyone who opposes his own views. "Those people who think we are the bad guys," Fred says. Fred Thompson is an agent for the Bush administration whose focus of late has been to keep Vice President Cheney's boy Scooter out of prison. Fred's speeches more and more have become repetitous mouthings of Bushian lies. He will never give the "Speech."
What Digby has done is point out that the ideals and viewpoints of "Progressive bloggers" are the viewpoints of mainstream America. Honesty is highly revered. We challenge our own views with the verifiable ones surviving. Opinions must be fact based in order to be considered.
Among the commonly shared opinions of the Progressive blogosphere:
The Constitution was, and still is, a good thing and must be obeyed...And that means impeaching anyone who breaks its covenants.
Humans have the right to legal representation, particularly against the government.
Lying to promote a war against a sovereign nation on another continent is wrong.
Good will and kindness are better than being a bully. Torture is simply wrong.
You are entitled to your own religion (no matter how goofy, Mr. Cruise) but you are not entitled to force others to listen to your views against their wills (Mr. Robertson).
The Government has the Duty and every right to regulate your Business and much less so your personal life and medical decisions.
Progressivism is mainstream America no matter what agents of Bush conservatism like Fred Thompson try to tell us in their pitifully dishonest speeches.
All hail Digby...Brutus has left the building.
More, if you can stand it, from Greenwald
Thursday, June 21, 2007
President Bush said that yesterday as he vetoed the stem cell research bill. I was stunned when I heard it on the radio. Did he really say that? Does he ever actually think about the things he says or does he just read his script and go ride his bike?
In his veto statement, Bush has issued a pacifist manifesto. Read it again...
"Taking a life...In the hopes of saving a life...Is unethical...And there are other choices."
How can a human being prosecute a war after making that statement? How could he live with himself after ordering the bombing of a home in Baghdad and killing 54 men, women, and children because a "source" told him that Saddam might be in it?
I guess taking a life in the hopes of killing someone is OK?
I don't see how these people live with themselves.
By no stretch of logic can a blastocyst be considered a human life in the first place. It has no chance of surviving unless it is implanted in a woman's uterus and a lot of things go perfectly. In the normal course of events, hundreds of thousands of blastocysts are created which will never be implanted. They are destroyed in the overwhelming majority of cases. We could use cells taken from a few of them and more than likely save lives, heal the crippled, make life better for untold numbers of humans. One man who has proven to have deeply flawed capabilities of judgement, a dishonest man, a cowardly man, a man who cannot even see the condemnation his own words make of his own actions, has sentenced thousands more to suffering and death.
Let's end his reign of meanness. We have the power.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
...All of us who blog in the progressive blogosphere have a common goal.
It’s the same goal of virtually everyone in this room tonight. We want to begin
a new era of progressive politics and take back America. We may argue about
tactics and strategy, or the extent to which we are partisans versus ideologues
(and believe me, we do), but there is no disagreement among us that the modern
conservative movement of Newt and Grover and Karl and Rush has proven to be a
dangerous cultural and political cancer on the body politic. You will not find
anyone amongst us who believes that the Bush Administration’s executive power
grab and flagrant partisan use of the federal government is anything less than
an assault on the Constitution. We stand together against the dissolution of
habeas corpus and the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and we all agree
that Islamic terrorism is a threat, but one which we cannot meet with military
power alone. And yes, a vast majority of us were against this mindless invasion
of Iraq from the beginning, or at least saw the writing on the wall long before
Peggy Noonan discovered that George W. Bush wasn’t the second coming of Winston
Giulianni seems to hang around with some really nice people...like spoiled rich coke heads and... the mob.
From the web site of Fred Thompson:
"In the tradition of Daniel Boone of Tennessee and President George Washington, citizen-legislators and leaders Thompson had admired growing up, he walked away from an easy reelection victory to seek new challenges."
George Washington was a "citizen legislator" and Daniel Boone was from Tennessee? How about "Fred Thompson was a K Street lobbyist who could make tons more money with half the work as an ex- Senator."
Fred was too lazy to do his job. And I guess the "new challenges" had to do with making up stuff in order to get republican criminals off the hook. Fred was in charge of the "Free Scooter" movement and still makes the ludicrous statement that Valerie Plame wasn't a covert agent.
Fred's people meant to compare him to Davy Crockett, I guess...The TV Davy and the TV Fred are pretty cool, but the real ones are pretty lousy people. Fred says it's ok to destroy the CIA career of the wife of a political enemy ( Who's offense was to catch Bush and Cheney in a huge lie) and Davy Crockett abandoned his wife and a bunch of children to run off and become a mercenary in Texas, where some Mexicans apparently had the good sense to shoot him.
I still say the worst thing about Cheney/Scooter/Rove/Bush...yeah, Bush... outing a covert CIA agent in order to punish her husband for catching you in one of the worst purposeful lies of your administration...is the sheer cowardice of it all.
Cheney/Scooter/Rove/Bush, You guys lied and got us into a tragic stupid war. You got called on it by a Patriot. And then you committed the shameful and disgraceful and cowardly act of...
Attacking a man's wife to get back at him because you are too chickenshit to stand up and take your beating.
Yes...I did just call George Bush and Dick Cheney "Chickenshit"...
And so is every Republican and anybody else who doesn't have the courage to look into their hearts and face the truth.
Live with it.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
"Are Conservatives stupid or lying?"
My own answer to whether conservatives are stupid or lying has always been...
Here's a less snarky proposal that draws on a worldwide perspective. It adds a third leg to the stool of Conservatism that gives a more critical analysis.
Conservatives are a world wide phenomenon so don't think America is alone in it's misery. We just have a particularly malicious strain of conservatism infecting about 29% of our countrymen at this time.
It may come as a surprise to most folks, but in studies of American opinion, we are getting more Progressive and less conservative. People who claim the title of conservative are in the minority when it comes down to actual issues. Consider the two big hot button issues of our time, gay marriage and abortion. Slightly almost two thirds of Americans think Roe v Wade should be preserved (62%) and a similar number think some form of civil union/gay marriage should be enacted.
Conservatives are in both denial and minority.
This is why Karl Rove works so diligently to suppress Democratic votes. This is why Alberto Gonzales' use of the Justice Department as a political weapon is so destructive to American Democracy. If both major parties were allowed to vote in equal percentages, Republicans would become the minority party they so richly deserve to be.
Bottom line is that America is a Progressive Nation with a Neo-Conservative power structure and...
A bunch of wimps for an opposition party.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Make just enough rules to keep the games fair.
Remind us of the rules.
Make sure nobody gets hurt too badly.
Deal with the cuts and scrapes.
Smack the Bullies.
Pass out hugs from time to time.
Is that too much? Anybody got something to add?
Telling insight into the state of our president's conscience can be seen in his answer when he was asked about the "Future"?
"We'll all be dead." was his answer.
The United States of America is a big damned mess. Iraq is merely a symptom of what happens when too many people with no conscience control the power of this country and the media simply repeat their lies instead of holding a strong light to their actions.
I judge things by long term results. If it had been public knowlege that gas prices would double and stay doubled, and we would "lose" $8 Billion as in "can't find it", and that 3600 American troops woud die and 20,000 American troops would be seriously injured, and that Iraq would fall under the influence of Iran and civil war that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East...Would we have still voted to go to war?
the Bush Presidency is a monument to bad decisions with disasterous long term effects. I believe that one decision will go down in history as the greatest blunder in history and it's not going to war in the first place.
Tell me what you think.
The short primer on exactly what has happened in Iraq is fairly long but you should read it. It's a facts only compendium and a handy reference. Read it...
And be pissed...
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I even heard ... --- ... at one point.
(SOS is the International emergency signal...Short for "Save our ship.") If we hadn't had such a monster of a thunderstorm here in the gorge, I might think it was possessed. Confused is a better term. Stoves and refrigerators are really smart nowadays but they just can't keep it under control during a good electrical storm. The microwave oven still won't talk to us.
One of the dogs goes crazy during a storm and chews up parts of the house trying to get in. I've tried to give her a place to go but she thinks the only safe place on the planet is under my feet with her eyes closed. I built her a concrete block dog house and chained her to it during a series of good boomers. We found out they just don't make concrete blocks like they used to. She seems to need something to tear up when she doesn't understand what's going on, gets scared and goes crazy. Kinda like President Bush seems to need to tear up the whole planet. I hope he feels better, now.
At least the dog calms down and goes back to being a good dog after the storm is over. President Bush? Not so much. Perhaps we should get somebody to wipe that foam from around his mouth. That's the only explanation for his immigration policy. And his war policy, and his International relations policy, and just about everything else now that I think about it. He's gone crazy and just wants to tear things up because his Daddy won't let him crawl under his feet and close his eyes.
Republicans don't seem to be able to come up with a plan to do anything positive, except to try to make Not-Republicans look bad. Democrats can come up with plans that would work just fine if they could get someone strong enough to implement them.
Democrats think too much and the Republicans don't seem to think at all. Both of them play at politics for money instead of the common good. This is pretty obvious when you look at the senators and congressmen who support the coal liquification project, which is an outright environmental disaster from start to finish. We destroy entire mountain ranges getting coal out of the ground, pollute all the water for several counties cleaning it up, and kill 30,000 people a year burning it up so we can all have night lights that block out the stars at night.
Sometimes I want to just throw up my hands. Maybe what this planet needs is a good storm to wash things up.
In the long run, though, it doesn't seem to have worked for Noah.
I'll keep plugging away.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
So here's his speechwriter...the real Ronnie Raygun, coming to grips with reality:
(Commentary by Wonkette)
...Anyway, it’s kind of cute to watch somebody like Peggy Noonan start to get a small clue:
The White House doesn’t need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don’t even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.The really hilarious thing is that these same brokenhearted Republican conservatives are rushing blindly to Fred Thompson … who is building a political machine completely controlled and staffed by Bush-Cheney people.
The . . . Enlightenment embodied the hope of establishing governments that freed people from superstition and tradition, so that people could use reason and science to generate knowledge useful in improving society. . . . . . . [S]ince the Enlightenment, our modern world has been characterized by a public culture, which holds as primary beliefs the . . . views that rational intelligence must be used both to make it possible for science to produce knowledge and to ensure that this knowledge serves only humane purposes. Moreover, it is understood that society can achieve these goals, and attain the flourishing that results, only when it allows intellectual autonomy to manifest itself fully across the social and the public realms. Thus, attaining the degree of civic friendship needed to maintain the stability of a liberal democracy . . . depends on the extent to which science is understood as necessary for progress in all dimensions of life. When this understanding is strong, then there would be an overwhelming respect for the public culture of civic friendship that sustains autonomy and its associated virtues—freedom, critical thinking, intellectual pluralism, and the civic virtue of toleration.
...Steven M. DeLue
Aside: Have any of you listened to OZOMATLI?
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The first one was my Dad, who thought one of the coolest things going was to make hydrogen balloons with a glass jug, Draino, and some other stuff I'm not going to mention here. Nothing dangerous about that, right? Let's see...a balloon full of hydrogen gas, Mom and Dad lighting cigarettes for each other, while Brother and I balanced the weight of the balloons so that they would hover head high inside the house. We used string and a book of matches, tearing them off one by one until liftoff was achieved... House, hydrogen filled balloon, matches, two boys aged 7 and 10...Nothing dangerous about that, right?
Years later in high school chemistry I blew up a beaker full of hydrogen mixed with a bit of air... on purpose and well controlled. Years after that, I had a balloon in my hand and thought about Dad and the hydrogen and the matches and then, after all those years, I connected the dots and realized the possibilities...My own personal Hindenburg moment on Lockland Avenue in Winston Salem, NC, in 1960.
"Coulda been on da News!"
Dad was a "Kiddie Cruiser" in the Air Force at the end of WW II and never flew a plane himself. We hung out at air shows a lot and flew model airplanes he made. I wrecked some really cool flying machines, since I never did get the hang of landing one after spinning around in a circle for five minutes with a raging little motor attached to two wires and a handle that wanted to get away form my hand which was really tired and I was dizzy and then the gas would give out and I would get really scared because I might wreck the plane and Dad would say, "Damn, Son."
I really liked helping to build the planes, which took a long time in kid time, but not so much the un-building, which was pretty much instantaneous in a kid's life. It took longer for Dad to say, "Damn, Son" than it did for me to un-build a model airplane.
The other Air Force Vet that taught me science was Don Herbert. He flew B 24 bombers in WW II and was much better known as Mr. Wizard. I revered him even more than Roy Rogers. In a world that only had two TV stations, I would watch Mr. Wizard on Saturdays instead of the cartoon on the other channel. Most kids did, back then. Today, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and Beakman's World use all kinds of flashy gimmicks to keep kid's attention. All Mr. Wizard had to do was say, "Ok, Kids. Watch this."
Then Mr. Wizard would perform some kind of miracle, like showing us the vapor trail of cosmic rays in a glass chamber he had set up right there on a table that looked just like the one in our kitchen. Sometimes afterward I would be out in the garage trying to repeat the miracle and an electric motor I built out of a can and a battery won the science competition at school, even though all the other boys knew where I got the idea. They couldn't make it work though, so "Nya, Nya.."
Bob Herbert flew 54 missions over Mussolini's Italy and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and a bunch of other medals, but Mr. Wizard was my hero...Still is. He taught me that science is what god is talking about and that the real world is far more amazing than anything a mere human can make up.
Bob Herbert died the other day at the age of 89.
Peace, Friend...Would that there will ever be another!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Think about it. When the Cold War ended, all the losers didn't just vaporize. The winners didn't just go away either. All the corporate infrastructure and those who feed on corporations wrapped up in the Military Industrial complex suffered with no war to fight.
Not only that, but Americans could pay attention to the environment and schools and municipal infrastructure and parks and greenways and things and even really obscure things like balancing our budget so we don't hand our kids a mountain of debt which went to making war profiteers rich beyond imagination. People like Dick Cheney and George H W Bush and someone else who makes those guys look like that sweetie on Romper Room who pranced around with the little kids on that live tv show in the 60's which I only got to watch when i was too sick to go to class but wasn't too sick to have "lust in my heart" as she wore her short skirt (mini's were in) on her Romper Stompers...Oh wait...What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, "Someone Else" truly evil. That would be Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater. (Interestingly, that Wikipedia entry has been severely edited this very morning...Where are the conspiracy people when you need them?)
Eric Prince looks like the kind of guy that would give the "Prince of darkness" a bad name. Blackwater, by the way, use to only mean the tea colored waters stained dark in lowland creeks by the tannin from leaves. Then it meant that nasty stuff that leaks out of a septic tank. Now...It's the name of a Corporate Mercenary Army operating in Iraq with full blessing and financial support from the Bush Administration.
When four people were brutally killed and their bodies mutilated, burned, hung, photgraphed, and shown in Newsweek, the families wanted to know what happened.
You won't believe the reat of this story. Sorry I give it to you on a Sunday.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Al Gore's home energy use vs GW Bush'sgas home energy use has been a topic of much wingnut gas lately so here is the official response from Gore, along with some other stuff I found interesting.
Several golfers are staying at our motel since we're only a short distance from the St. Jude golf tournament this weekend. We can see John Daly's bar from the windows. It's a curious crowd to me, but I bet the golfers think the same thing about the soccer team.
It was pretty funny, though, John Daly's promo trailer looks like one of those things you see at nascar events only with a big Hooter's logo on the side. We walked by it and saw this beautiful heroic picture of Daly on a golf tee at sunset pasted across the back of the trailer. Even on the mural, Daly had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
He came into the bar and sang with the band for a bit. You could see the scratches on his face from his wife's attack on him the night before.
So I have a friend who works in the golf biz and he says that there are only three golfers with real promotional value...Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson...and John Daly. I realize that lots of people play golf and that it is sort of a religion, but who the hell is John Daly a role model for?
Maybe he's the real role model for all golfers...Sloppy fat, drunken party hearty, with a huge drive.
I just don't get it, but peace anyway.
Update: Fixed the link to Al Gore (Thanks Rikki)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Scooter lied to Federal investigators, a criminal act, in order to cover up an act of treason, revealing the name of a covert agent in a time of war, that was most likely committed by Vice President Dick Cheney with the full knowlege of President George W. Bush. This criminal act is called "obstruction of justice" and is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
There ya go...That's all there is to it. Now you know.
The Judge in this case issued a sentence that was very close to the maximum allowed under Federal guidelines, even though Scooter had over 150 letters of support from high ranking and well connected people. One of the letters was from James Carville, who calls himself a Democratic campaign consultant. Mr. Carville does such a lousy job that he can't even convince his own wife to vote for Democrats, and now he comes out in support of a high official and WhiteHouse aid who played a part in a treasonous act.
Way to go, James. Your Country thanks you.
Fred Thompson was a big player in Scooter's disinformation program and issued any number of statements that have turned out to be false. One big one was his statement that Valerie Plame was NOT a covert agent. Fred went big on this one, even though every word of testimony in Scooter's trial said she WAS. Even Scooter's own lawyer failed to provide any witness testimony saying otherwise.
Fred is running for President of the United States. His people keep saying "He's got Honesty."
Fred was elected Senator from the State of Tennessee by parking his Mercedes a block or two away from campaign appearances and jumping in a red pickup truck so he could show up and tell people he was just like them. The red truck was rented. Fred didn't even own the thing and doesn't drive pickup trucks. His other job is as a Washington Lobbyist.
I love my state but taken as a whole, we must be dumber than wheel barrow full of mule compost to elect Fred Senator. Now we get to see how dumb the rest of our nation is.
Will they fall for Fred's mule compost about poor old Scooter Libby? Or will they fall for the supper hyped tacky tv ad for "Honest Fred's Used Pickup Truck Sales"?
Scooter Libby is a fall guy. He lied to Federal investigators in order to cover for Cheney and Bush and now we see a flaw in our Constitution that allows the President of the United States to pardon the very people who could give the testimony that would get him impeached, just like his Dad before him in the Iran Contra scandal.
So here's the Shorter version of the Scooter Libby Case:
The Vice President of the United States is a traitor...and so is his boss.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Some of us sooner, some of us later, but nobody gets out of here alive. How and when is usually a mystery to any given human, but not always. Some folks get to know and they are always in the "sooner" category.
Some of us play roullette with our health...Some of us lose. Everyone gambles a little bit, and nobody ever breaks the house.
Yeah, we all know all of this and it never seems to change anything, which seems pessimistic coming from someone who spends a fair amount of time agitating for political and environmental change...In these particular areas, all of humanity seems to be addicted to gambling. Environmental pollution is a gamble folks lose every day.
Our political systems are a gamble played with other people's money as often as possible. Conservatism is the biggest gamble of all...played with other people's money and other people's lives. Climate change is a gamble played with the future of the entire planet and every living thing on it. I always wonder how any rational human being figures they have the right to push every living organism on this entire Earth onto the table, glower at every one, and every thing...and say,
Sometimes people lose a gamble with their health. It affects people differently and their reactions must be viewed empathetically by most of us, since only the terminal can truly sympathize. I offer for sharing a short piece by someone whose writings I've admired. She gambled and is now playing her remaining chips with grace.
"...Tonight, I stand in a pharmacy and laugh and laugh and laugh. I
have filled two prescriptions for anti-nausea pills to help me through the
chemo. One prescription is for 27 pills; the other prescription is for 3
pills. In addition, I throw in a packet of nicotine patches, having
vowed that if I were in stage 2, I wasn't going to bother to stop smoking,
but if I were in stage 1, I'd quit. One of my material angels is paying
for these medicines, because my prescription drug plan will not authorize these
drugs for 10 days or more, and I need them by tomorrow. I laugh, appalled
at the obscene price that my angel is paying. The bill for these 30 pills
and 14 patches comes to $1,134.88.
If I'm an average initial-diagnosis-in-stage-one person, I'll be around
for the next 16-to-20 months. I'll write from time to time about how it's
going. And then, I'm outtie. Goodbye cruel world; hello world with
the tender, baby soft skin and the tremulous, aching smile of innocent
adolescence. Goodbye cruel world; hello world of big hearts and nausea and
pain, of mordant humor and hearty laughter, of radical and outrageous hopes, of
rapid-spreading, fast-moving, metastisizing, Stage 2 love."
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Who is the bad guy here? By that I mean, who should be punished for committing a crime against our nation and it's people?
Senator Leahy has obviously done or said something to make poor Mr. Cheney angry, and I believe it was to demonstrate that Mr. Cheney was a serial liar on the floor of the Senate.
No news there.
Mr. Cheney was angry and blurted out an expletive that adults use toward each other for various reasons. It has an obvious sexual etomology, curious in it's own right, but now is simply the nuclear weapon in personal insults. The news is that Mr. Cheney felt compelled to use the insult and this would be amply demonstrated by C-span's televised coverage. All the world could witness this on a vivid and personal basis, and thereby draw appropriate conclusions as to the worthiness of the participants in this little drama.
Once again we note the question: Who is the bad guy here?
Well according to the Federal Communications Commission it would be C-span who would be vigorously fined for airing this blurted expletive on the public airwaves.
Cheney tells a US Senator to "Go F**K himself" and C-Span gets punished?
The regulations that would fine C-Span were put in place by a bunch of grandstanding conservatives... Pretend to fight obscenity, not by sanctioning Dick Cheney, but by fining the people who would show the world what a jerk the man is.
Well now a Court has actually ruled that the regulations are stupid.
"Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in
which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of “get lost” to Senator
Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate."
Then the Judges mentioned something I though we had done away with in Bush America...The Constitution:
“We are skeptical that the commission can provide a reasoned explanation for its
‘fleeting expletive’ regime that would pass constitutional muster...”
So CBS shouldn't be punished for a live broadcast in which Bono blurts and expletive about children dying in Darfur.
Will this give conservatives a talking point for the next election or will they just turn to even stupider things like calling for the firing of Joe Scarborough for discussing Fred Thompson's wife being a Pole Dancer?
Court rebuffs Indecency regulations
Quote of the Day:
"...what politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and
artifice and nonsense that I find I have in short supply."
Monday, June 04, 2007
"That question is meant to divide us," said Edwards.
I got bored and flipped channels at times and I noticed something else...While CNN was airing a debate, NBC was airing a warm and fuzzy piece on Fred Thompson. It even showed Fred's wife wearing a modest outfit for a change. Karl Rove and the republican slime machine appear to have annointed Fred and are busy trying to make him look like he lives in Tennesee and has solid credentials as a Washington outsider. Fred, of course, has esentially lived in Washington DC most of his adult life and has been a paid lobbyist after serving his one term in the Senate.
Fred scares me.
If you photoshop his very expensive suits out of the picture, he looks like a taller Richard Nixon, with better personal grooming habits. I'm not putting down expensive suits and good personal grooming habits, per se, although I wear a suit as a last resort, and I'm very resourceful, and it's a cheep one at that. It's just that the media regards clothes as good when they are on a Republican candidate, and ostentatious when a Democratic candidate wears them. Photoshop the expensive suit out of a John Edwards picture and you still have a handsome smiling man who cares about other people and has a record of service to prove it. What does the media focus on? $200 dollar haircuts which they blow up to $400. Fluff over Substance.
This is why the media like Fred. He's got great fluff.
Go back to Fred and look...What you see is an actor... Pretending to have substance...pretending to not be a Washington Lobbyist...Pretending to be strong...Pretending he's not almost as far right wing as disgraced Senator Rick Santorum...
Here's my bottom line, and I have to cut Fred Thompson some slack because he was the only Republican Senator to vote against drilling in the Artctic National Wildlife Refuge, which makes him a flaming liberal in some people's eyes.
We need the media's help in saving America. WE need them to focus on substance this time. We need to know what Fred Thompson and John Edwards are going to do to save Middle Class America.
How does Fred's Health Care proposal compare to John's?
I don't want America to choose the next President based on Fred's trophy wife or John Edwards playing fiddle in Lyle Lovett's band. or even the fact that, PER HAIR, Fred Thompson's haircuts cost way more than John Edwards' do.
I want all the candidate's to be asked how in the hell they are going to get us out of the mess this last President and his Political party have gotten us into?
Sunday, June 03, 2007
"You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.
What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.
The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slaveowners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?
Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed,the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.
For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.
Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.
Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.
It's time to regain the sprit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.
It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.
Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi sattlelite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.
It is time to stop looking for an accomodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?"
We've lost a Fighting Liberal. Let us replace his vigor by pledging to renew our own. The only thing at stake is the future of our children's world, after all.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
"A Nixon apologist who sees the press and Democrats tangled in a scheme to hoodwink innocent Republicans -- Thompson really is the ideal candidate of the 28% crowd. It's little wonder that in his latest on screen role, Thompson was cast to play President Grant in the run up to the Wounded Knee Massacre. Representing the side of corruption and violence comes naturally to him."
Friday, June 01, 2007
His Aunt just sent me a new batch of his postcards to drool over.
Whatever, John Tobin is a phenominal nature photographer. His wilderness exploits would make a great book and so would his photos. I want to be first in line for the coffee table book if he ever puts it out.
Go look. You can thank me later.
I look at his photos and think, "Dang...I wish I had even seen that...much less taken an awesome picture."
... my favorite from the latest stuff his mom sent me:
The man some folks credit with bringing down one corrupt President, Richard Nixon, is busy behind the scenes propping up another corrupt president in a huge way. Fred out to have "I helped Bush lie us into War" written on his nose as well...There is certainly room.
"It really is hilarious how right-wingers can whip themselves up into a frenzy about "Liberal Hollywood", but shriek like little girls when a Hollywood celebrity winks at them."...DailyKos
The funny stuff about Fred Thompson is running around the internet tubes, as in the "As Seen on TV" jokes, but this obscures the real Fred, which isn't the least bit funny. Fred was a strong backer of the Iraq war, a lobbyist who pushed the legislation that led to the elder Bush's Savings and Loan scandal, and a backer of I. (committed treason by outing a covert CIA operative during a time of war) Scooter Libby.
Most folks don't realize that Fred is one of the Conservative insiders who have gotten our country into a deep pile of trouble:
In fact, Thompson went so far as to be featured in a March 2003 commercial by the conservative group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: "When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us -- before 9/11"
History is not always a friend, and it now shows that the Iraqi people and even their notorious leader Saddam Hussein, had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11, carried out almost completely by people from Saudi Arabia.
In 1982, Thompson was one of the lobbyists who was after U.S. Congress to pass the Savings and Loan deregulation legislation that allowed for additional government support of ailing S&Ls, and was a major contributing factor in the subsequent Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980s.
Thompson's political experience grew when he was appointed to an "informal position" by President George W. Bush to help guide the nomination of John Roberts through the United States Senate confirmation process after the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005.
In 2006 he served on the advisory board of the legal defense fund for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr, who was indicted and later convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Valerie Plame affair.
Fred Thompson News
Oh yeah...I almost forgot that one. Fred Thompson helped George Bush destroy the United States Supreme Court by installing his own personal lawyer as Chief Justice.
I guess when you know you stand a real good chance of being impeached, it helps to have people like Fred stacking the court for you.