Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Jay Bookman in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

...when properly harnessed, greed makes an effective, productive servant.

But it makes a terrible master.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Great Coal Sludge Disaster of 2008

Amazingly, folks have called and emailed from all over the Nation asking about us. We're fine. Whites Creek Gorge faces many threats but this isn't one of them.

We are downstream of the TVA disaster site by 20 miles or so, and the Whites Creek embayment on Watts Bar Lake is large enough that we'll see very little of the effects, even far into the future. The stuff will keep right on going to Chattanooga, or simply settle into the lake bottom, along with vast quantities of other nasty stuff left over from the Atom bomb project. Like megatons of mercury and enough radioactive isotopes to kill everything on the planet several times over.

But would you believe it's in a relatively safe place at the bottom of a huge TVA lake under several meters of mud. The PCB's are the greatest threat and you can just not eat the fish. That's too bad because Watts Bar has produced over forty world record fish.

I'll try to post more later, but you can follow some of the fun at, our local progressive community site.

We are working to house some of the volunteers who have experience helping communities who have felt the impacts of coal and its disasters. I have to force myself not to say "I told you so"...Aw what the Hell..

As I've said before, "Mining coal is one of the stupidest and most self destructive things humans do."



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Will Bush give Cheney a Pardon that includes Murder?

Claims from the actual people who say they worked to fix elections for the GOP say that Obama actually won the election by maybe seven million or more votes than the final tally says he did. One of my fervent hopes is that election fraud gets investigated in heroic depth. Problem is, the people who know what they did to help Karl Rove steal elections...Well, they are dying.

He told—Connell told Spoonamore that one of the primary reasons why he helped Bush-Cheney steal elections was to save the babies.

Michael Connell was about to testify about Karl Rove's illegal involvement in the 2004 election tampering in Ohio that gave George Bush his second term in the presidency. He was afraid that Bush and Dick Cheney were going to throw him under the bus, but he was wrong. It was an airplane.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He reported threats to his lawyer, Cliff Arnebeck, and Arnebeck—also, Velvet Revolution heard from tipsters, as well, tipsters who also claimed that Connell’s life was at risk. Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the first—who was the one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the inside. He’s also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove is making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.

Republican IT Specialist Dies in Plane Crash

America Now

The price of freedom is eternal vigilence.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


"History will be very kind to me. I intend to write it." ...Winston Churchill

There is some kind of Bush legacy project going on. It must be that conservatives worry that people will look back onthe Bush regime and realize that giving total control to a manifestly selfserving political party is not good for the long term survival of our nation. "Can't have voters realizing we're all crooks, we gotta lie about what happened," must be the whisper going through republican inner circles.

President Bush has yet to take responsibility for one single uncomfortable thing that happened while he was president. "All the decisions that were made" that precipitated the housing crisis? "Made before I got here." It's possible that he believes that, but more likely he's simply lying. The New York Times has done a little study that shows very plainly that the responsibility for the subprime meltdown lies with George W. Bush, who blocked every effort to prevent it from happening. It's like they really really believe that what ever is good for their short term bank accounts is good for the entire country.

Save money? Don't be silly. "Borrow and spend" has been the mantra of the engineers driving the train right of a cliff. "Sensible regulations?" Why that's big government! They are against big government, for deregulation, and letting people who commit constitutional crimes go...Right after we give them medals.

The whole thing is laid out here.

As we head into this season of renewal, let us not forget who the bad guys are and what we need to do. It is a large task. But as my friend says, when you have to eat a whole elephant the only way to do it is one bite at a time.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Indecent Exposure

I feel as if a white hot spotlight has flashed on with both of our national political parties caught in the glare.

Nothing in my memory exposes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party more than the debate on the monetary bailout of our financial institutions and our lack of a monetray bailout of our auto industry. At the same time, nothing exposes the spinelessness of the Democratic party more, either.

It appears that the GOP is run by very effective managers suffering from moral bankrupcy, while the Democratic party is run by...well, nobody.

A couple of facts intrude...Financial institutions, like the ones we just bailed out with three quarter of a TRILLION freaking dollars, used their bailout money to pay dividends to stockholders and bonuses to their executives, and, to allow the healthier ones to buy up weaker ones, and we still have no credit.

Salaries make up 60-70 percent of the cost of doing business at financial institutions.

My junior senator, Bob Corker, voted for that one.

My junior senator, Bob Corker, is leading the charge to break the United Auto Workers union because the cost of building an American car includes 10-15% labor. Only it actually only includes less than 10% labor, the rest is pensions and healthcare costs for retired workers...Old people who fulfilled their part of a contract and Bob says screw 'em.

(While actively working to undercut America's big three, Corker is squarely behind the $577 million dollar subsidy the state of Tennessee is providing foreign car maker Volkswagen, by the way.)

So Bob...It's the right thing to help an industry with 60% labor costs and a bad thing to help an idustry with 10% labor costs unless the workers agree to work for half what they're getting now?

The Democratic Party will never get a more clear cut delineation between between the two political parties as to which one stands for people and which one stands for corporations. There is a clear line between good and evil here.

It is time for the National Democratic Party to say it loud.




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Help Plug a Leak in the Ark

I'll be danged...There're my friends right there in the latest issue of National Geographic!
One of my favorite do-gooder projects is the small work I get to do with the folks at Conservation Fisheries, located across the street from the Knoxville campus of Pellissippi State College. These folks toil away, for salaries a teacher wouldn't work for, in relative obscurity doing the work they love and feel called to do...Saving fish species.

It's fascinating to walk around their facility and realize that for some of the most beautiful creatures in our world, this is their last best hope for survival. It may seem to the unknowing that losing a species is no big deal. There's lots of others, right? Well, no. There are fewer and fewer species on this planet and it's our fault. We never know which one is the critical straw that will crash an ecosystem by it's disappearance. Nor do we know which species holds the cure for a dread disease, or even, as one day may be the case, the key to humankind's survival.

The Fish species that Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI) work with live in Tennessee's streams and rivers, and they are having a tough time getting by. Of the 4,000 or so Boulder Darters left in the whole world, 15% of them are given life by the aquariums of CFI in Knoxville. Of the less than 6000 Yellowfin Madtoms, a fascinating tiny catfish looking beastie, about the same percentage survive in the tanks that are painstakingly maintained in the ordinary looking building that houses Conservation Fisheries Inc. and the interns and scientists who function as a dating service and nannies to breed and rear thousands of young of these and many more fish species. It looks like an old steel building but it is really an ARK.

Here's your chance to help Noah, by going to the Conservation Fisheries website and donating a few bucks. You'll feel really good about yourself.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

President-elect Obama’s transition team LISTENED!

From Renee Hoyos at Tennessee Clean Water Network

Understanding the Big Damned Mess We're In

Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, whatever, have no business being anything other than a minority player in the scheme of a democracy. The very idea of letting them gain control of our press and media has had devastating results on this country, as any honest observer must admit.

When a platform is given to a nut job vice presidential candidate who prayed on TV for god to bless her efforts to get federal money for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere", and then not be laughed off the national stage as she doggedly repeated the obvious lie, "I told them Thanks, but no thanks", it becomes obvious that something is wrong with our truth detectors at the national press.

I watched with rising anger as President Bush said he regretted that his intelligence was so bad prior to his starting the Iraq war, even though his offices went so far as committing treason and a host of lessor offenses as they gamed the
CIA into doing their bidding and ruined the careers of people who pointed out the lies.

Frankly I think all of our national problems flow from an ineffective press. It was the Pamphleteers, after all, that drove the outrage at British injustice that created this nation. Without them, we are destined for mediocraty or just plain failure.

One of our Nobel Laureates in Economics lays out the big mistakes in our recent history that allowed forces to congeal into the sorry state of the nation as it sits today. He factors in the consolidation of our media as one of the five biggies.

Here's an overview.

Every step we take in rebuilding our country has to reverse these mistakes at every turn.



Friday, December 05, 2008

Quote of the Day

"...(Obama) says we only have one president at a time," (Congressman Barney) Frank said.

"I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have..."


Grackles and Broadwing

Yesterday morning...

I sat at the breakfast table with the morning light on my back. I felt, more than saw, the shadow near the back of my head. There was a loud smack, I uttered an expletive and ducked reflexively. Turning to look, there was a broadwing hawk recovering itself in mid air, just three feet from my face, and just on the other side of the window. This was the second time the hawk had slammed into it after missing a dove perched on top of the feeder.

So I have to find a new location for it. I can't continue to rely on the screen on the outside of the window to save the hawks life and keep the glass from crashing in on my head. They seem much larger when they are three feet from my face, flapping wildly to keep from falling to the ground. Striking and beautiful, the striped tail stands out in my mind after the hawk glides through the branches of the white oak and off into the woods.

A few minutes later, a gazillion grackles take over this side of Whites Creek Gorge. I tell my wife that it's at least TWO gazillion but I'm going with the more conservative figure for this account. It's way more than a shitload, for sure. The grackles are everywhere, on every branch, constantly moving, boiling three dimensionally to the ground, to the trees, from branch to branch, descending on any tree where one of them looks like it has found something to eat. Suddenly the ground is swarming, suddenly it has only a few birds in it but the trees have grown black leaves everywhere, and a few brown ones. It is like the noisiest locust swarm ever, oozing through the forest, boiling almost. For a half hour I watch them, erratic in their motion but moving, nonetheless, in one direction as a whole, up the creek, and eventually it is still and the noise gets more distant.

The cat is in shock, hiding under my car in the driveway. She is still under there 45 minutes later when I come out to leave for town. Normally she swaggers out to receive adulation but this morning she bolts around the house and under the porch where the dogs have taken refuge. They have gathered closely together to await their fate, the whim of a gazillion grackles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Ghost of Thanksgiving Present

Most of the history you were taught in school is a figment of somebody’s wishful thinking, and maybe the desire for happy tales and life in a fantasy world.

For us to learn what actually happened at the so called “First Thanksgiving” is next to impossible, since our information comes centuries later through the letters of people who would have no interest in recording their own worst deeds in those harsh times where the colonies of the New World became the focus of the dark energies created by the marriage of greed, religion, oppressive conservative governments in the Old World, and native peoples who were doing just fine up 'til then without Europeans, thank you.

The first recorded Thanksgiving celebration was probably held in Saint Augustine Florida by Spaniards led by Pedro Menendez, who were thanking their god for not killing them on the voyage over. Since they weren’t destroyed at sea, it apparently meant that they now had God’s blessing to spread venereal disease, smallpox, murder, slavery, and religion amongst the aboriginal peoples who had it way too good up ‘til then, what with plentiful seafood, game, and war practiced mostly as a sport between tribal divisions. History records the date as September 8, 1565.

You were probably thinking that the first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims, but no, it was supposedly December 4, 1619 at the Colony of Virginia settlement of Charles Cittie, by a group of English who were also thanking their God for not killing them on the voyage over, and his apparent blessing for what they were about to do to the locals, et cetera.

The Thanksgiving we were indoctrinated in as we were growing up was the one the Pilgrims apparently had in 1621. Several controversies arise from the accounts of that celebration, which frankly was several days long, as the Indians (as the Europeans referred to them) came and went bringing five deer as their contribution to the seafood, grain, and fowl that comprised the feast.

Probably the main controversy regards the presence, or not, of turkey at that first Thanksgiving. William Bradford, writing in his book Of Plymouth Plantation, says,
“…And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion…”

Edward Winslow, writing in the journal Mort’s Relation uses the term “fowl” as opposed to “waterfowl”, which would indicate a wider variety of game birds than duck and goose…
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor(Bradford) sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others.”

It is currently fashionable to call the presence of turkey at the first Thanksgiving a myth, but it appears to be one of those mythological myths that fashion and lazy researchers tend to throw at us from time to time. We do know that a local Wampanoag man called Squanto taught them to catch eel, or the Pilgrims would never have survived to harvest corn.

Another obvious mythological myth I read was that they didn’t have bread, because they had no ovens as yet. This is evidence that certain historians are morons. Hello…They had corn. They had iron cookware, They had corn BREAD! And they had other grains as well. I suppose the historian who wrote that was thinking they popped all that corn instead.

While the Pilgrims and the Puritans ( a noxious breed of religious separatists who seem to have been profoundly disliked by everyone including the sailors who brought them over) were having their Thanksgivings and feasting with the Indians, the settlers in Virginia were being massacred back, for one or more of several nasty things they had done to various natives, resulting in the death of about a third of the White settlers in Virginia and the capture and enslavement of a bunch of their women by the Indians. There was nothing wrong with this in the Indian’s view, since the settlers obviously condoned enslavement by force. Squanto, the savior of the Pilgrims, had been taken as a slave by an earlier expedition and hauled to Europe. He was in the settlement as a translator as a result, and not, as some accounts have proposed, a savage wandered out of the wilderness to befriend the Pilgrims. Anyway, the Indian retribution was repaid by retribution, specifically, inviting the Indian men to a feast and offering them poisoned liquor. 250 or so were thusly murdered by the Virginians. I assume thanks was given by the settlers afterwards.

So…With the religious overtones surrounding the first recorded Thanksgivings come a lot of killings. The spirit of killing continued to go along with Thanksgiving for a hundred and fifty years, when The American Continental Congress issued the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving, in which Americans gave thanks to the Almighty for blessing their weapons to be used against the British:
FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success...

Abe Lincoln solidified the tradition in the middle of the American Civil War with a note of regret for the human sin of war
…they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union…

Thanksgiving is obviously a most conflicted and yet original of American holidays. It evolved out of brutal hardship as well as humankind’s stark brutality to itself. Arising from religious strife and racial war, we now have a Thanksgiving that can stand alone with simple gratitude for human existence as enough reason for feasting.
George Herbert Walker Bush established the tradition of pardoning one turkey while eating another one, though he blamed it on Harry Truman. His idiot son followed suit with great flourish as did recently the malignant governor of Alaska, who made great fanfare of pardoning a turkey even as another one was being beheaded a few feet behind her...well seen on camera by millions of Americans.

No better metaphor for Thanksgivings past can I devise.

But it is Thanksgiving present that now confronts us, and we face one of those periods that are the thing of the curse, “May you live in interesting times”. The real reminder of Thanksgiving is that humankind has faced many many times like this, each unique in its diabolical nature. We have survived them up until now, and will probably survive this one.

For that realization, and for the ultimate benefit of my children and yours, I give thanks.

Let us feast!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pardon Watch II

The "pre-emptive" pardon is a particularly onerous thing. I'm still mad at Jerry Ford for his pre-emptive pardon of Richard Nixon. We are still discovering Nixon's clandestine criminal acts that damaged our democracy. Why shouldn't we have investigated, discovered and dealt with him back then?

"It would harm the Country," said President Ford, "It's time to move on."

In fact, the greaater harm came from the failure of American justice. Criminal activity by the President of the United States of America and his high government appointees is particularly onerous and destructive in the sort of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that the founders of this nation intended for us to expose and punish.

George W. Bush has already commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby, who took the fall for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. His crime was obstructing justice. Patrick Fitzgerald pointedly stated that Libby covered up for Cheney and Rove, essentially hiding acts of treason from American Justice.

A group of Democrats have stepped forward and introduced a resolution asking President Bush to not issue "pre-emptive pardons" which our founders never intended to be issued. Pardons were for acts of mercy after the event of trial. By acting as he has, Bush has covered up the high crimes of his administration. If we could just concentrate on the acts of treason that led America into the Iraq war, I'd be willing to let the misdemeanors go.

So, Lincoln Davis...Congressman Davis...I urge you to support House Resolution 1531introduced by Congressman Nadler.

America deserves justice.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby You can drive my Car (Cliff ahead)

We got problems.

If there is one thing that has become starkly evident, it is that republicans are willing to let entire sectors of the economy tank if it hurts unions. This is done on ideological assumptions and has nothing to do with good government or kindness to others.

I listened to Congressman Zach Wamp tell an interviewer that he wanted to let the auto companies go bankrupt. "They'll go into chapter 11 and they'll be fine," Zach said. Zach has been a very strong apologist for George W. Bush whose administration has pumped over 2 Trillion dollars into the financial sector but refuses to help America's manufacturing base. I don't get it. Sure the (Not so anymore)Big 3 have serious problems and they need to be slapped around with major concessions and conditions but if they go down, roughly 2 million jobs will be lost in direct labor and another 12 million jobs will be lost in the down market ripple. Zach either has no clue or he's a mean sob. I don't think he's that mean.

The economist who has been uncannily accurate in predicting the current financial mess stated it best on the automotive bailout, "We have to!" (Watch this)

So what are Republicans thinking?

The GOP never dreamed it would get to kill a massive part of organized labor and have an entire region of the country completely collapse on the Democratic parties watch to boot, but that is just the opportunity that has arisen for the Limbaugh/Coulter wing of the GOP.

A 25 billion dollar loan, with strings attached mandating the auto industry stay the fuck out of monkeying with healthcare reform and making them go green or else, could save hundreds of billions of dollars in social spending over the next 10 years alone.

10 to 12 million jobs lost, boom!, 200 to 1 trillion dollars in emergency social spending to deal with the collapse's impact on the region, the UAW dead and Wal-Mart the biggest employer in the region, Michigan in full economic collapse and millions of voters ripe for being in play in the next round of the Culture War.

That clear observation comes from here. Lots of really good thinking and ideas on how to structure a bailout.

At this moment in history, the American Republican party looks like the mean little bully who came to your birthday party, broke all the toys, and crapped on the cake on his way out the door...Then goes around telling everyone your party sucked.

The GOP, and the media pundits who are all clamoring for Obama and the Congress to let the auto industry die will be damning us and running against the Democratic Party as the party that 'Let Michigan Die' or 'Let Detroit Die' for a generation if the auto industry is allowed to die.

I'd say that's about right.



Oh...And the best idea for a condition in the bailout proposal is that executive pay has to be capped at CAFE standard MPG times the pay of the lowest paid worker. That would be amusing for wure.

Monday, November 17, 2008

They're Ba-aack

The sound is always the first notice that the Sandhills are back. I watched several hundred fly over in the November evening and finally realized that I had time to go find the camera and come back out.

They will be coming in day and night and it's a wonder to hear them on a crystal clear cold night and look up wondering where they are. They sound so close but they're usually way up there.

If you've never made it to the Hiwassee refuge get ready to go next chance you get. It's an amazing sight.

How Republicans Won Tennessee...


The religion of Barack Obama was a major focus of his opponents in the presidential campaign. Decidedly un-christian things were and continue to be said about him, including the absolutely stupid people who called him a Muslim in one breath and ranted about his Christian pastor, Jeremiah Wright, in the next. I am not a fan of those who wield religion as a weapon.

Interestingly, as Barack Obama refers to and is being compared to Abraham Lincoln in his transition to power, Lincoln had his own problems with those purporting to be godly:

As the author Susan Jacoby documents in Freethinkers, her 2004 book on the history of American secularism, presidential candidate Lincoln rued the opposition he faced from 20 of the 23 Protestant ministers in his hometown of Springfield, Ill. Earlier in his career, Lincoln complained about opposition from religious figures who warned Christian voters against him on the grounds, Lincoln wrote, that "I belonged to no church (and) was suspected of being a deist."

I think the most often repeated, yet demostrably false, statement about religion is that America was founded as a Christian Nation. Just the opposite infact, as the founders realized the problems with a state that promoted religion...It always came down to a particular religion and that's just plain wrong. If there is one thing each and every one of us disagrees with each and every other one of us, it is religion.

Here's a test for you:

1. Protestant Christianity is the dominant religion in America. True or False?

2, The fastest growing religion in America is: (a) Islam, (b) Judaism, (c) Evangelical Christianity, (d) The Church of Satan, (e) None of the above.

3. There are more atheists in America than there are Jews in the entire world. True or False?

4. The United States of America was founded by Christians. True or False?

5. The third largest religious denomination in the world is Secularism. True or False?

Got your answers? Feel confidant? Ok, lets see...

1. Protestants will soon fall to fewer than 50% of Americans...False.

2. It's Wicca. Yeah, really.

3. There are about five times as many atheists in America as there are Jews. Worldwide, Atheism is the third largest group with 16% and Jews are about 0.22% of the people on the planet. The statement is true by a very large margin. It should also be noted that "Jew" is a race, not a religion, and that the percentage of Jews who are atheists is greater than the average in Americans as a whole.

4. False, in that America was founded by men with a wide mix of religious views, including Deists and Atheists, as well as Christians. Probably the most intentionally violated provision of the Constitution is stark proof of this: " religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.."

5. True. Roughly...Christians are 33%, Islam is 22%, Secularists of all stripes are 16%.

The Bill Maher movie, Religulous, is out and proving, as my friend said, beyond any doubt that Bill Maher is a jerk. It also proves that most religious people know essentially nothing about their own religion, but are ready to condemn those with differing religious views and associations. The very comment that Obama might be a Muslim was telling, in that it unmistakenly branded the commenter as a religious bigot, if nothing else.

Maher's parting request in his movie is for non-religious people to speak out about their non-religion. He may be calling for secularists to become a power block like evangelicals or Catholics, I don't know. With 30 million of them in the United States, they certainly could wield voting power if they came together and organized.

The problem is twofold. How do you organize people around the common thread that they are independent thinkers? The other problem may be easier to deal with in the long run. If there is any group who faces greater condemnation by the religious community than is Atheists. A group of folks headed by Margaret Downey are combatting this by driving out the fear that creates bigotry, and they are doing it in the most Christian of methods, by showing love.

In an episode earlier this year in the Philadelphia area, where Downey lives, the stage appeared set for an atheist-vs.-Christian billboards shouting match: Downey and colleagues had posted a billboard on Interstate 95 saying, "Don't believe in God? You're not alone," prompting a local Christian congregation to erect signs with a counter-message promoting God. Instead of escalating the billboard battle, Downey and company asked those who put up the pro-belief sign to join forces and volunteer with them for a Philadelphia charity. The people from the Light Houses of Oxford Valley congregation accepted the offer and teamed up with the atheists to spend a half-day sorting and packaging food for the needy.

Downey says that the religious sometimes try to put down atheists by saying they don't believe in anything, but she says that is wrong.

"We atheists simply add one more 'o' to our belief system — We believe in Good."

When we look for the good in others, why are we surprised when we find it to be common and widespread? There are so many things that we all agree on that we could spend the rest of our lives working together for "Good" without ever having to confront our differences. Is this the moment that we decide to give this a try?



Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Sermon

Today's Sunday Sermon is delivered in part by the survivors of a religion.

30 years ago today, the not so reverend, Jim Jones, murdered 900 acolytes by deed and by proxy. Here is an excellent account that includes statements from surviving survivors. I use that term because a number of those who escaped that evil day were later done in, some by others, some by their own hand.

This is an account of Religion's power for evil...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pardon Watch

If there is a villian in the destruction of America it is not George W. Bush, who is nothing more than a C minus student conveniently foisted in front of the electorate by a powerful neo-conservative marketing team, corrosive in its evil. Bush never, not even for one day, lived up to his job. He was the ugly contestant giving beauty padgent answers so bad that reporters simply tired of asking them. Bush was the stuck and bleeding animal driven into the waters to attract piranas away from the real actors in his administration, only he was so distasteful the fish would never finish their meal. He lived on to never answer their questions as often as his keeper felt it necessary.

No, the real villian of the Bush Administration is Dick Cheney. The acts laid at his door include torture, war, domestic spying, and the enabling of Karl Roves worst offenses. One or both of them committed high treason. Serious articles are now coming out that depict Cheney's usurpation of Presidential power. We should read them and maintain our anger at what has been done to our democracy in order to derive the energy it will take to cut out this infection which is even now looking for its next host. In the meantime we must be aware that the forces that brought us our national disaster are still at work, even as Dick Cheney slithers out from under the presidency into darkness.

Neo-conservatism is even now searching around our Nation looking for a congenial bumbling front, a typhoid Mary, which it can use as a host to reinsert itself into the halls of Democracy in order to destroy from within. Someone who will say things like,
"Well, I could think of -- of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today."
Someone the Press will draw fire from the media while neo-cons glut themselves on America's vitals.

A current article documents and analyzes Cheney, his rise to power, and his use of Bush as a willing puppet.

Bush is the front man, and is known as such. He takes questions. If he answers them badly, still he is there for us to see. To address Cheney separately would be to challenge the supremacy of the President—a breach of etiquette that itself supposes a lack of the evidence that would justify the challenge.

The fact that Bush's answers are so inadequate, from a defect of mental sharpness and retentiveness as well as dissimulation, kills the appetite for further questions. But the fact that the questions have, in a formal sense, been asked and answered lets the vice- president off the hook. Thus the completeness of his silence and seclusion, for long intervals ever since September 11, 2001, is an aberration that has never been rebuked and has often gone unnoticed. "There is a cloud over the vice-president," said the prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in his summation at the trial of Lewis Libby. "That cloud is something you just can't pretend isn't there."

The Co-President at Work
By David Bromwich

It is long and depressing but must be read for a clearer picture of the disease vector of Neo-conservatism. Understanding may give rise to an innoculation against a recurrence. Maybe it won't.

But maybe Bush knows all this and somehwere deep inside himself, he actually loves his country. Maybe he holds some level of anger at Dick Cheney for his part in Bush's presidential legacy as "Worst Ever!" Maybe, as a parting act, Bush will actually do something to serve his country.

If there were one thing George W. Bush could do to really help his country, it would be to refrain from issuing pardons to Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and his minions. There are very many of us who want a complete public airing of all that went wrong under his presidency. We need a laundry list of what has to be corrected. I hold out little hope.

I look for blanket pardons to be issued that will be broad enough to include the charge of High Treason, though that wording will not be used.



More interesting stuff

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is why I am an ACLU Member

...between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 143,000 NSLs, only one of which led to a conviction in a terrorism case.

Abuse has also been rampant. An investigation last year revealed that the FBI had broken regulations governing NSLs in more than 1,000 cases.

World's most dangerous Librarians

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Announces Rules for Lobbyists

"The ethical guidelines released today for the Obama transition are tough and unequivocal. They will prevent some honorable people with rich experience from serving in the transition. That is a real cost but it is more than balanced by the strong signal sent by the President-elect. He aspires to attract to government able individuals whose highest priority is to serve the public interest. This is a very constructive step in that direction."

The Rules

Without Comment

The Gay Agenda

I realize I live in East Tennessee and all that this implies. Things change slowly everywhere and at roughly the same pace. It merely depends on which rung of the ladder you start on, as to how long it takes you to reach the top. Every step has to be touched on the way up.

It saddens me to chat with folks who tell me they vote for president based on abortion or gay marriage...What stupid issues. First of all, they are religious dogma flowing from fundamental christian thought or lack thereof (believe it or not, most Christians don't think this way), where certain groups of people want to force their own religious tenets on others. The biblical justification is tenuous at best, and I like to say that I believe that we should do exactly what Jesus said regarding homosexuals, which is absolutely nothing. People make their own choices and nobody forces anybody to choose gay. Second of all, our children's future has very little to do with these divisive wedge issues. On a list of issues that America needs to face for the gratest good for the greatest number, these fall somewhere on the fourth page, if that.

People have to wake up and face their own prejudices and start making good decisions about what really matters. They have to do it one human at a time as they come to realize the truth about the gay agenda...There isn't one.

It's just people wanting what people should have in a just society.

So people change as they climb the ladder of self examination. Here is an inspiring post from someone who recognized their own moment of change.

There is no 'gay agenda' there are people, people who want to get married. They want a damned certificate that says they are bound forever. But we wont give them that, because we are afraid our children will be gay? Are you serious!?

Homophobia has the same genesis as racism...It's all about fear.

Please don't be afraid.



Monday, November 10, 2008

Bush Flips Off the Planet on his way Out the Door...

We have gotten used to the bad news late Friday press releases of the Bush administration. They announce the worst of the worst of the bad news or their latest despicable act when it is too late to make the evening news on Fridays so that very few people have maintained their outrage through the weekend until Monday. This time Bush went beyond even that...

Knowing that their policies would be vociferously repudiated a tteh polls...They announced that they will sell oil drilling rights to the viewshed of Arches National Monument and they announced this horrible act on election day. So add to one of the most beautiful places on the planet, not just America, roads and oil rigs to what you'll see when you visit.

Bush also plans to drill Canyonlands National Park and Dinosaur National Monument...And for what? A pittance of oil, a few more fotunes for rich friends, and a destroyed pristine environment for all time.

These people are beyond sick. Republicans put tax incentives on the worst of the worst gas guzzlers and cry that the moral thing to do is "Drill, baby, Drill"? I have seen Dinosaur and was touched beyond words. I rode mountain bikes with my young family on the trail throught BLM land that followed dinosaur tracks, yes, dinosaur tracks, over the slick rock to an overlook in one of the Arches natural cathedrals. There are some places on earth that are sacred and it is up to the best of humanity to protect them from the worst of humanity.

We now have a clear picture of what the worst of humanity looks like and we have voted it out of power. Can we stop it's maddened destruction as it slinks out the door into banishment?



Friday, November 07, 2008

Ebert: He Was The Grown Up

Roger Ebert lived to see this day...

President Obama is not an obsessed or fearful man. He has no grandiose ideological schemes to lure us into disaster. He won because of a factor the pundits never mentioned. He was the grown-up


Tennessee Democratic Party Loses Mirror

It's a painful thing to watch someone you care about waste away.

When the rest of the Nation is jubilant and dancing in the streets, the Tennessee Democratic Party is mired in depression of their own making. They got their asses handed to them Tuesday. With a very popular sitting governor, Democrats managed to lose control of the state Senate and the State House with a census year looming which will allow Republicans, now that they are in control, to redistrict our state in much the same way Tom Delay did Texas, gerrymandering the Democratic Party into a deep hole. In the entire nation, only Tennessee went backwards on Tuesday in such an impressive manner. The reasons are simple and obvious, but I don't see any signs that awareness has yet struck the TNDP.

Successful for so long, the Tennessee Democratic Party catered to its big donors and blew off the actual people in this state. You know...the folks they are supposed to be fighting for. The, um, voters. You know locals were ready and willing to work their asses off, but the only message they got was "send us some money".

Ask yourself what the TN Dem message was in this last election? They ran away from the central theme of the Obama campaign which was simply, "George W. Bush and all the Republicans that helped him screw up this Nation are bad for us and it is now up to Democrats to fix it." With the national campaign calling for everyone's help to fix healthcare, fix the economy, rescue the environment, and deal with the devastating Iraq War, what we heard at the local level was, "I'm against Gay Marriage"...Pitiful!

Now, in the aftermath, Democratic officials are blaming everything and everyone except their own inability to craft a message and effectively execute. In my own state senate district, the message from both campaigns was the tired and dessicated, "god, gays, and guns." Both of them were anti-choice, pro-gun, blah, blah, blah. For crying out loud, we had a very competent and energetic woman running on the D side, and all we could do was mimic worn out and disappointing R talking points?

TN Dems have no message...No plan...No game. It's a sort of every man for himself. Worse, they have no effective local organizations in most of the state. Why is that? Everybody else in the whole freakin' country has furiously built local organizations but not in Tennessee, where the mission seemed to be preserve the hierarchy...good old boys first. The moral of the Rosalind Kurita story, a State Democratic Senator who voted against the incumbent senate leader giving the chair to Republicans, was completely lost on state Dems. When a Democratic Senator sees the Republicans as the lesser of two evils, do you think it might be time to look in the mirror for some self assessment? Nope...they simply ran Kurita out of the party. All for trying to preserve the good old boys who lost anyway.

In the absence of a functioning local Democratic party, progressives have turned to their own hands and minds to do something about it. has been vilified by Republicans and even dissed by Democrats who felt threatened by an effective movement rising up from the voters when their national party was failing them, but it is a far more effective local organizing tool than anything the local Dems have at the moment.

Howard Dean was widely ridiculed for his 50 State Strategy, but he plowed the ground and enabled several strong grassroots organizations to start the rebuilding process in a ton of red states. In Jesse Helms' North Carolina, incumbent Senator Elizabeth Dole was tossed out by a Democratic Woman and Barack Obama won the state's electoral votes. North Carolina, People! This was done by local people and organizations working with an effective national campaign that "get's it".

What about Tennessee? My local state senator went public demanding that Democratic Governor Bredesen not meet with the head of the Democratic National Committee (Howard /dean) who was offering expertise in building localized effectiveness. Later Senator Kilby went public against having Barack Obama visit East Tennessee. Well...his senate seat has now been handed to the Republicans, and one of the reasons cited by Republicans is that John McCain made a last minute East Tennessee. Say what you will about the paucity of the Republican message, it got delivered.

Well it's "morning in America" and TN Dems are just sick about what they let happen. If they continue to wallow in a depressive state, they ain't seen nothing yet...Just wait 'til 2010, when the governor's race is up. There are easy lessons to learn, and ready tools available that have been proven in a state right next door. But it's like the Tennessee Democratic Party is a man starving because he's too depressed to stand up and walk just across the room to a table set with a banquet...

And blaming everybody but himself.



Other Views of the nuts and bolts required for salvation.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

America is a center-right Nation? Absolutely FALSE

Well, that didn't take long. We already have the new meme flowing from Karl Rove and others on the right, "America is a center-right nation."

Bull crap.

Conservatives are a minority in America but they'll never admit it. Not only that, but when you ask people plain questions, it is clear from their answers that Americans are simply not idealogical conservatives. From the highly regarded Pew Research Center comes, not the idea but the fact, that we are quite Liberal as a nation:

The number of people who think government has the responsibility to take care of people who can't take care of themselves is 70%.

The number of people who would prefer a smaller government is 57%. (The Federal government shrinks under Democrats and swells under Republicans...Did you know that?)

The number of people who think corporations are too powerful and should be restrained is 65%.

The number of people who think Labor Unions are necessary to protect the working person is 68%.

The number of people who think stronger laws are needed to protect our environment is 83%.

The number of people who think we should put more emphasis on fuel conservation and alternative energy than in drilling for more oil is 69%.

The number of people who would be willing to pay more for products and services in order to protect the environment is 60%.

The number of people who support government funded health insurance for all citizens is 66%.

Two thirds of Americans solidly support Liberal ideas, concepts, and programs that would greatly benefit the vast majority of citizens. Do you know who would lose a little bit of money if these programs were enacted?

Very, very, rich people and those who serve them.

America is a very Liberal Nation, and don't you let anyone tell you otherwise.

Our mainstream media is picking up the chant they've been handed by the neo-conservative noise machine. But now, when you hear anyone say we are a center right nation, you will know better than to believe them or trust them any more.

All you have to say is, "No it's not."

America is different from what we have been told. As someone recently said..

"America is better than these last eight years!"



Read more from really good thinkers;

Eric Alterman

Paul Rosenberg

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Reports Keep Coming In...

From our friends outside the Country in New Zealand...

Actually there was lots of dancing at the pub! Did not have the drink a drop =-- we were all giddy with the excitement! The world celebrates that the new generation, the next generation the beyond color generation is taking leadership. The giant roar that went up at the jammed place when McCain conceded was enough to sustain me through the night! What a night - a new day!! It rocked with the world.

And from inside the Bush Administration...

Wow! OMG! and all those other Expletives...Now What?

In my quest to stay awake to see Barack Obama speak, I actually had to limit my beverage consumption. I couldn't follow the "Monday Night Football" plan whereby I fall asleep on the couch during the commercial between the first and second halves, and then wake up in the fourth quarter to see what everybody is yelling about.

I was wired until the electoral tally broke 270 and then all the phone calls started coming in. My circle of friends seemed to be very happy in the wee hours, and I suspect there will be some groggy folks at their desks today.

Obama won...We won...Now what?

My home state of Tennessee continued its march against the tide and went heavily Republican at all levels. That's trouble for people who care about the environment or want religious proselytizing kept out of schools. There's a long list.

But now we have the scenario in place. The playing field has changed and the teams have different field positions than they did 24 hours ago. What's next?

One way to think about it is to see who were the winners and who are the losers after yesterday.

One pundit thinks that Obama's election means that race will be less of a barrier to candidates. This could have a bearing on Tennessee"

Harold Ford Jr./Artur Davis: Ford, a former Tennessee congressman and 2006 Senate candidate, and Davis, an Alabama congressman, are weighing bids for governor in their respective states in 2010. Obama's victory -- the first by an African American in the country's history -- and his strong showing in states like Virginia and North Carolina could well make it easier for both Ford and Davis, both of whom are black, to overcome the traditional racial divides present in southern politics. Obama's win doesn't mean Ford or Davis will win but it does lessen the power of the argument that a black candidate can't be elected to certain offices in certain parts of the country.

I strongly question that. Tennessee politics are driven by fear and loathing...The issues are rarely positive ones. We tend to stick to smearing our opponents as being against the god, gays, and guns hot buttons that motivate our likely voters. In a year when most of the rest of the nation put aside race as a qualification and voted for leadership, Tennessee's politicians ran as hard as they could away from the national ticket. They accepted the way things are in Tennessee and campaigned accordingly. I don't believe they had to.

Rather than trying to play into the prevailing prejudices, Tennessee's Democrats could have paid their dues in rewriting our state's narrative. We could have also moved away from prejudice as a campaign theme. Instead, we validated it.

My Country has, at least momentarily, moved away from race as an issue, but the burden of history will weigh heavily upon Barack Obama. The TV people keep talking about America electing a "Black Man" and I wish they wouldn't. I wish Obama could be thought of as a "Multi-Cultural" American.

After all...most of us are.

Folks, this country is in serious situation, debt ridden, divided on schools, health care, the environment, and the Iraq War and whether or not you can defeat terrorism by destroying a whole nation that had nothing to do with the act that started the war.

I have great hope (yes, there's that word again) that Barack Obama can reverse the course of neo-conservative destruction and decay beset upon America. It will take all his talents and all of our effort to support him. The question comes down, not to whether Barack Obama will be a great President of the United States of America...But rather, "Will we let him?"

The onus is actually on us. Are we ready to become a "Great Generation"?

I hope so.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Further Radicalization of the GOP

Saint Krugman sees what I see, and says it far better.

...the GOP's long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.

This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration's dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year's election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign's tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they're going to have to realize that the Republican Party has become the party of intolerance.

The entire article is here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

WhitesCreek goes Out on a Limb and Predicts...

From Nostrodamos...

Quatrain 78, Century X

At the war's end:
The Feeble Kept One will strike down the Night
And his Imbecile Queen will rise from the snow
Bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf.

Actually, the "Feeble One" promises to never end the war, so this prophecy cannot apply to tomorrow's election.

Still...Isn't it delicious, in a way, to think of His "Imbecile Queen"?

OK, I admit it's scary. But one thing I have heard from an amazing number of people, young, old, rich and poor...If Obama is denied the Presidency, there will be White Folks rioting in the streets.

Frankly...I don't think so. I don't think we are going to be causing trouble tomorrow night.

So here is the long awaited WhitesCreek Prophecy for 11-04-2008:

I think we are going to be...(Turn your speakers up and get out of that chair!)

Dancin' in Chicago (dancin' in the street)
Down in New Orleans (dancin' in the street)
In New York City

Callin' out around the world,
are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer's here and the time is right
for dancin' in the street.
Dancin' in Chicago (dancin' in the street)
Down in New Orleans (dancin' in the street)
In New York City

All we need is music, sweet music,
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swingin' swayin', and records playin,
Dancin' in the street

Oh it doesn't matter what you wear,
just as long as you are there.
So come on every guy, grab a girl,
Everywhere, around the world

There'll be dancin', they're dancin' in the street.
This is an invitation, across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There'll be laughin' singin', and music swingin'
Dancin' in the street

Philadelphia P.A., Baltimore and D.C now,
Can't forget the motor city,
All we need is music, sweet music
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swingin' swayin', and records playin,
Dancin' in the street

Oh it doesn't matter what you wear,
just as long as you are there.
So come on every guy, grab a girl,
Everywhere, around the world

They're dancin', dancin' in the street
Way down in L.A., every day
they're dancin' in the street
Lets form a big strong line, and get in time,
We're dancin' in the street.
Across the ocean blue, me and you
We're dancin n the street

And for you CaliForNeeUns who are awaiting the Prop 8 Vote I offer this version...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hickory Wind Redux

The Day it was

Scary Picture!

Consumer debt is now equal to the gross national product.

BondDad explains what it all means.

Short version is that the real bottom line job of the next President is to encourage the creation of jobs.

Deus Ex Machina?

There are some folks who think that electronic voting machines will steal this election from Barack Obama. Nah...Can't happen.

What this means is that you have to vote. Vote early if you can. Check your vote before you leave the machine's booth and make sure that it highlights or checks the correct name, not just in the Presidential races but in down ballot races also.

One thing I hope Obama and the Democratic majority will do immediately, is fix the voting machine problem requiring a paper record and receipt of your vote and open source software at a minimum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eloquent Endorsement of Obama...By another Republican Senator

Former Senator Charles McC. Mathias Jr., a Republican, represented Maryland in the U.S. House from 1961 to 1968 and in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1986.

In addition to talking about his long family history and his own personal support of the Republican Party, Senator Mathias states how difficult it is for him to realize that his party has abandoned its principles and duty to America. It is from pure patriotism that Senator Mathias faces reality and endorses Barack Obama for President of the United States of America...

I believe that Obama's inspirational leadership, contemplative nature and well-reasoned, forward-looking policies offer our troubled nation a real opportunity to face and overcome its many challenges at home and abroad.

On an array of domestic issues, including health care, education, tax policy, the environment and alternative energy sources, Obama promises a clean break from the recent past and tangible hope for a return to fiscal responsibility, economic security and true environmental stewardship, all of which are essential to restoring our greatness.

From the Washington Post



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Check the Endorse!

Will Republican Congressman Zach Wamp come out and endorse Barack Obama? A ton of Republicans are. The rest of them are scared and dreading election day.

Zach seems to be predicting a bloodbath for his party and appears to have mentally moved on from the inevitable McCain defeat...

"It's time for a fresh start. We need new faces and new people to communicate what our party stands for," said Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee. After the elections, Republicans need to develop a simple, five-point plan that gets back to the principles espoused by GOP icon Ronald Reagan, he said - smaller government, no deficit spending, and a strong national defense that does not entail making the United States the "world's policeman."

Someone needs to tell Zach that Ronald Reagan is a mythological figure who never actually existed, except in the words of speechwriter Peggy Noonan.

A little history here...Zach first got elected with one of the dirtiest campaigns we've seen in east TN, with a TV ad showing his opponent, Randy Button, morphing into Bill Clinton and the Devil. It was the closest race of the Gingrich revolution, and involved the famous "Contract with America" which, blindly followed, has gotten us into the incredibly deep hole we find ourselves in today.

President Clinton vetoed most of the more onerous provisions of the "contract" and deliverred his predecessor the first budget surplus in generations. The two main henchmen of the contract in Congress, Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, left office under ethics clouds, with Delay still facing legal issues.

With control of the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, Republicans proceeded to run over the Constitution, pillage the Treasury, pack the Supreme Court, weaken the EPA, fund the a devastating war, fail to hold a treasonous Vice President in check, failed to guarantee an accurate count of American's votes, and increase the power of lobbyists and their money out of all proportion, balance, and fairness, allowinf lobbyists for Banks, Wall Street firms, polluting corporations, and defense industries, to write legislation which Congress was called to vote on without ever having read it.

So the real problem for Zach Wamp is not that he needs a new five point contract to communicate what Republicans stand for...The problem is that after 8 years of watchig Republicans run loose and roughshod over the princibles of representative democracy, America has seen for herself EXACTLY what Republicans stand for.

The first step in curing this problem is realizing that we have one, and that the root cause comes out of the Republican party. This is clearly evidenced by the incredible list of prominent Republicans who are publicly endorsing Obama. The list is amazing, courageuos, growing every day, and does not yet include Zach Wamp.

It's time to get on the freedom train, Zach. (And Lincoln...You listening?)



And now this:(thanks to our Runner Dude friends)

Subject: - David Sedaris on being undecided in this election

"To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane.

The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat.

'Can I interest you in the chicken?' she asks.

'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?'

"To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OMG! McCain's a Socialist?

And please don't miss the bonus irony content of this beauty of a video where the question comes from a student at a state university.

( Note to Pete...who told me that he doesn't care if Obama is an Arab, he's a socialist. Pete is currently a senior at Clemson University where his education was brought to him by the socialist state educational system...Have someone explain this one to you.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ziggy and the Spiders from Morning Joe

Road Trip


It's Fall, leaves doing their thing, football games, beer, and songs that feature a tuba player.

We had sworn a solemn oath to go to a college football game while our son was still a student so when Clemson (his school) hosted Georgia Tech (one of my schools) it was time. It didn't hurt that Walhalla, SC was having Octoberfest the same weekend, or that you have to go over mountains to get from East Tennessee to West South Carolina and the color is quite nice this year.

In most of the rest of the world, drinking beer on the streets during festivals is not only allowed, but encouraged. In Roane County it's illegal except for certain legal loopholes that I won't mention lest the church bretheren rabble rouse to close them. Walhalla solved the legal problem by recognizing a big funeral tent as a legal bar under which beer may be served and consumed for four days every October. They started with "near" beer, moved up to "all three kinds" Miller, Bud, and Bud Light, and now have a fine selection of actuall beers to choose from, as long as you stay under the tent with the band.

The tent gets rather crowded, the band has a dance troup and some cow bell players, the crowd gets dragged onto the floor to dance, vendors line the park, and the town makes 25% of it's sales tax revenue in this one weekend for the entire year. It's a tourist destination now. I talked to the man who has been putting it on for over 25 years and he said it was a hard sell at first but now, even the church people love it. They set up booths and hand out literature.

It's a love fest of a different sort, but they had shuttles and vans to haul folks home if need be, and the cops were amazingly friendly and helpful. The only complaint I heard was that the beer tent needed to be much larger, since you had to stand under it to consume. The cops overlooked the fact that the crowd grew bigger than the tent and all was well.

East Tennessee could use a visionary small town that could put on an event like this.

Our tickets were courtesey of the Clemson Tiger mascot and were in the section with the player's family. I was warned to wear orange and not to cheer for the wrong team. Actually, since it was the first game after Tommy Bowden got fired, I was pulling for the Tigers, who almost pulled it out in the last minutes.



And for you political junkies, here's the biggest event of the week so far:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Debate, "No Negative Campaigning"

Do Republican strategists watch too much TV?

(I mean the torture strategy was stolen from 24.)

Hat tip to Digby!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soon we can start the Real Work

It's funny to see the McCain/Palin campaign rant breathlessly about Barack Obama's collaboration with a noted educator to found an organization dedicated to school improvement with money from a prominent Republican foundation.

They say Obama and William Ayers wanted schools to teach Liberal ideological things like...reading, science, mathematics, civics...My Gosh!

Can you believe anyone could vote for a man who did things like that? And look who the funding came from ...The Walter Annenberg Foundation. Terrorists!

Why even this very day, Walter Annenberg's widow has endoresed...John McCain?...For President...Oh, wait...What?

But they funded terrorists, didn't they?

Oh, Wow! Now, we find out that Lamar Alexander has an Annenberg Foundation connection to these terrorists. One of Lamar's direct reportees, David Kearns, probably carried secret terrorist instructions from Lamar and his boss, George Herbert Walker Bush.

David Kearns was: Chairman of the Alexandria-based New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC)—a 1991 school reform initiative of President George H. W. Bush; former Deputy Secretary of Education (1991–1993) under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the George H. W. Bush administration; former president, CEO and chairman of Xerox

XEROX! You hear that? They were actually using this man's company's machines and copying documents! Copying documents in offices at every level in America's government...Some of them were even..."secret" documents!

Were all the Annenberg Foundation members terrorist connected? Looks like it! They read like a who's who in America for Education.

My Gosh! How deep does this go?

Look...Bill Ayers worked with a totally misguided group and did some bad things 40 years ago in order to try and stop a stupid, probably unconstitutional, and tragic war, in which tens of thousands of Americans were killed, far more were wounded, and hundreds, including John McCain himself, were captured, held prisoner, and tortured.

He was not convicted of any crime. For decades, now, Bill Ayers turned his energy toward positive action and has worked for better schools. He is a noted PHD professor of Education.

Compare Obama's association with Bill Ayers, 30 years later, in the service of their community, working for better schools, with John McCain's association with his own domestic terrorist, G. Gordon Liddy.

Ayers was trying, in however miguided a way, to stop a war.

G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, was working to destroy Democracy in America, to continue the Vietnam War, and preserve the Nixon Presidency. Liddy readily admits his intents. His plans included murdering journalists and kidnapping people who opposed Richard Nixon. They would have been carried out except for his bungled burglary at the Watergate Hotel, in which he was trying to steal documents outlining Democratic Presidential Campaign strategy.

Got that? John McCain's friend, fundraiser, and supporter, G. Gordon Liddy, committed domestic terrorist acts in a plan to destroy Democracy in America. He hasn't reformed or worked to give back to his community by working for better schools, as William Ayers has done. He has only tried to become rich, by promoting his perverse ideology, which John McCain still buys into, in books and on his creepy conservative radio show. Liddy held a McCain fundraiser in his own home and has donated thousands to McCain. He also told his listeners that you have to shoot United States agents in the head to kill them.

Obama works with a diverse group of people that includes Republicans, Democrats, and other school activists like William Ayers (who turned his capabilities toward the good side of the force), to improve schools in his community, and McCain has the nerve to accuse him of associating with terrorists?

McCain takes money from domestic terrorist and convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy and acts holier than thou?

John McCain has no honor left.

Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.

Then the real work of saving America can begin.



Update: Federal Prosecutor of the Weathermen praises Ayers for becoming a responsible citizen.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Governor's Land and Water Forum and Devilstep Hollow Cave

First of all I want to note that Governor Bredesen has been awarded the National Humanitarian Award for his work in preserving Tennessee's natural heritage.

Well Done, sir!

I'll talk more about that later and will try to link to the actual announcement if I can find it.

As part of the Governor's Land and Water Forum, we were taken on a tour of our newest state park at Devilstep Hollow. It's 12 miles South of Cumberland Mountain State park but is not yet open to the public. The driveway crosses private land and a new easement is being purchased and developed.

The farm is beautiful, sitting at the very head of the Sequatchee Valley. Grassy Cove is on the other side of the massive sandstone ridge which separates the two valleys,, which are geologically the same.

Here is the Devilstep Hollow sinkhole where the cave is located.

This is where the Sequatchie River flows out of the ground at the Devil Step Hollow farm, a few hundred yards from the sinkhole.

I'll try to add more photos of the actual conference as I have time. There is some great stuff going on in Tennessee that will improve and preserve the beauty of our state for future generations. As a result of Phil Bredesen's personal commitment TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke made this announcement,

"Governor Phil Bredesen has been selected as the National Recreation and Park Association’s 2008 National Humanitarian Award winner for his work to preserve and protect Tennessee landscapes."

Fyke nominated Bredesen for the award, which NRPA presents to an individual or organization whose concern for humanity has been expressed through park, recreation and conservation efforts that enrich people’s lives.

The one worry I kept hearing from the folks in the room is what will happen after Phil Bredesen leaves in two years? He has set the bar very high for the next governor, and folks are concerned that Tennessee may return to the environmentally indifferent years the hallmarked the previous administration.

Phil Bredesen will be a hard act to follow.



Update: The Link

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Quote of the Day

Tina Fey:

"I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5," Fey said at last month's Emmys. "So, if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."

I have another "quote of the day"..."Kill him!"

That is the crowd response to Sarah Palin's incitement against Barack Obama. Sarah Palin and John McCain are losing the Presidential race and they are losing big. America is finding them to be unworthy of leadership. By this last action we see that there is more to this than just not being up to the job...They are appealing to a sickness in American society.

By all accounts Barack Obama is an extremely good and kind person. He faced incredible odds as a mixed race child and overcame them, excelling at sports, academics, and achievement in his personal career. He became head of the Harvard Review, which is a stunning achievement at the Harvard Law School for anyone. Obama turned down big money job offers at New York law firms to return to the community in Chicago and serve as a community organizer to bring people together so that they could face their challenges together. We have tales from people who have met Barack over the years and they are all good and wonderful stories of kindness and helping strangers. As part of his good works, Obama agreed to serve on a Chicago schools forum at the request of Mayor Daly. It was unpaid service for the good of the community.

Sarah Palin and John McCain have no record of kindness coming to us from people who know them. McCain has an evil temper and a foul mouth. His humor is mean spirited and ugly. Palin is a winking liar as her whopper about that bridge to nowhere shows. She didn't build the bridge...She just kept the money. Neither of them has a clue about what to do to solve any of our nation's problems.

But something uglier and more sinister is coming from the McCain campaign. Incitement to cause harm. What is in the character of a person who would lie about another's character? Palin speaks the words well crafted by her handlers that attempt to assassinate the character of a man who, up to now, has done as much good in this world as he could and who wants to do more. They want to make us think that Barack Obama is a terrorist. It's a lie...They know it.

Here's another quote of the day. This one is older than the first two...

"Thy shalt not bear false witness against thy fellow man."

PHD Professor William Ayers was appointed to the same Board as Obama in Chicago. They taught at the same University. Ayers was an activist who made bad choices way back in the 60's when America was fighting and losing another bad war...This one in Vietnam. He joined the Weather Underground to fight what he saw as a government gone crazy. he was never convicted of anything except bad judgement. Barack was 8 years old at the time. Ayers turned his life toward more positive avenues of correcting society and today, is a leading authority on inner city schools and is a noted author of hundreds of significant academic articles and 16 books in the field of education. Yep! Sounds like a terrorist to me.

How dare Barack Obama teach at the same University as this man! How dare Barack Obama work with this man who turned his life around from one of destruction to one of hope and building up and working together.

"Kill him!" said the man standing at Sarah Palin's feet, as she smiled and winked at the crowd.

This is the level to which John McCain has sunk. I used to think well of him, but I was mislead. It was all an act. Now...McCain is a fountain of nastiness and sickness and I am very afraid of what he and his followers are capable of.

I know that McCain advocates the destruction of Social Security, bombing Iran, dangerous confrontation of Russia with the possibility of starting World War III...I know that he plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for his tax cuts for rich people. I know he has turned from a strong defender of the Geneva Conventions to an advocate of torture. But what are we seeing John McCain become now?

John McCain has turned his life around just like William Ayers did...Only, in the opposite direction.

America must be saved from the sickness that is Sarah Palin and John McCain and all of the bad things they represent.

We have 4 weeks to work to turn our country away from the dark period in American history that is the Bush/Cheney administration. If McCain wins...We could well look back on the Bush years as the good old days.

Stand up for a good man to be our next President...Barack Obama.



Monday, October 06, 2008

This is heck week for me. I have a Conservation Commission meeting, the Governor's Land and water Conservation Forum, and a trail to get planted before it rains tomorrow. Ok, I'm lazy...

Here's something to chew on until I can get back to you:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Can we Talk?

There are several discussions taking place in our nation this week.

Will people vote for an angry, incompetent, and lying man rather than a stunningly accomplished leader who is of mixed racial heritage? (Most of us are, actually, according to DNA studies on America's population)

Are we having a discussion of race or is it a discussion of campaign lying?

In Buchanan Virginia it is a discussion of both...

"We go to church, sing our songs, pray, come out and talk about, 'I can't be for an African American, because of the color of his skin...You can't do that if you are a Christian.

A local newspaper columnist, in a spoof of Obama’s platform, wrote in one recent piece that the Democrat would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black (a reference to a pro-Obama song by Ludacris), and divert more foreign aid to Africa so "the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream." He joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag "with a star and crescent logo," an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to "raise taxes to pay for Obama's inner-city political base."

The columnist, Bobby May, is also treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party and was listed in a July news release as the county's representative on McCain's Virginia leadership team, though he said his column reflected his views alone, and he denied it was racist.

Uh, Huh...

Isn't it amazing that we have now narrowed our Presidential choices to two candidates who associate with Terrorists?

One of the candidates associates with a convicted felon who made plans to firebomb the Brookings Institution, Murder investigative journalist for the Atlanta Journal Jack Anderson, and kidnap protesters at the Republican Convention, before he was caught. He was convicted and served 4 1/2 years in Federal prison for several break-ins to steal papers from opposing political figures. The Convicted felon even used the public airwaves to instruct his followers on how to shoot Bureau of Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms agents. In the most brazen of acts, this domestic terrorist held a fundraiser for his candidate who attended even though it was held at the terrorists own home, where tens of thousands of dollars were raised.

The other candidate associated with a man who was a member of a radical anti-war group 30 years before they met, but who was never convicted of anything. This man rebuilt his life, earned a doctorate, published 16 scholarly books and hundreds of articles, founded the "Small Schools Workshop" and the Chicago School Reform Collaborative" and has become a leading figure in the education community and is a nationally recognized and distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago.

Uh, Huh!

Now for something completely different...

Our bible study passage for the day is:

Proverbs 6:11-14

Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.
A worthless person, a wicked man/woman,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
Who winks with his/her eyes, who signals with his feet,Who points with his/her fingers;
Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,Who spreads strife

And 6:25

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.

Uh, Huh!



"Barack Obama Won't Take Away Your Gun," says one flier. "But John McCain Will Take Away Your Union."

Saturday, October 04, 2008


With mornings in the 30's, we have been spending most waking moments outside. The sourwoods have turned, as have a few dogwoods and someother random trees and shrubs. With our drought, it isn't unusual to see some stressed out plant giving up for this year. Next year will be better...It always is, before it actually gets here.

The mast crop was destroyed last year due to the late hard freeze that turned everything brown all across the Southeast. This year the trees have bounced back with doubled vigor. I picked up a chestnut oak acorn yesterday that was too big to wrap my OK sign around. "Bigger than a Bantie," said my neghbor. He was referring to bantam chicken eggs.

Anyway, in some places the woods are hard hat areas, with acorns dropping like rocks. Even a baseball cap takes off some of the sting, but a direct hit still causes some cussing. The old shag bark hickory tree next to the parking area can dent up a car roof better than any hailstorm, so that part of the lot is off limits for the next month or two.

One complaint I've heard is from deer hunters, who say that the acorn crop is so good that they can't get deer to come to their feeders. Too bad, I say. Looks like the hunters will actually have to "Hunt" this year.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bail out of the Bailout

Republicans have long maintained that games go better without referees. The problem with the financial markets, republicans argue, is that the referees demand that we be honest and play fair and take care of other people's money and that just won't work. Republicans claim that taking away their whistles wasn't enough...What needs to happen is for the referees need to go away. And then I guess they'll start trying to get rid of the statisticians who keep score.

America should be relieved that when Nancy Pelosi hurt the Republican's feelings so badly by pointing out that their deregulation of financial markets brought American financial markets to the brink of ruin. Republicans are so sensitive that they voted against the bailout bill. As it turns out, that may have been a good thing for all the wrong reasons.

As expected, anytime you let lobbyists into the room, they try to steal something. Buried in the bailout bill were the seeds of the final destruction of America's banking regulatory system.

"The original Relief Act of 2006 called for a date of October 1, 2011 to allow banks zero reserves, if the Federal Reserve Board thought it fit. This bill would have moved that up to tomorrow!

Tomorrow people! Do you hear me! Tomorrow we could have all woken up to the possibility of zero holdings in our banks and it being legally allowed!

And you dare cheerlead for this bill?"
Daily Kos

This may seem complicated but it isn't. You learned wwhat the reserve holdings in banks were for back in middle school civics...Is civics still taught in school? It is the amount of money a bank has to keep on deposit, in reserve, that it cannot loan out. This is what caused 30% of all the banks in America to fail back in the early part of the 20th Century. It's why we have a Federal Reserve, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and a U.S. Dollar. Henry Paulson was going to kill all of this yesterday.

Even worse, he was going to place a time bomb into legislation and leave town, much like McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm did with his deregulatory bill in 1999. Gramm baked the cake and hid the file so that Bush and his people could saw through the bars on the bank windows.

That would have meant that your hometown bank could simply tell you that they were out of money when you went to withdraw your life's savings and it would be completely legal.

Listen to me...Throw out the Paulson Bill and start over.

This bill has no guarantees, no protections, and no requirements that anything be fixed. The actual wording is, "The President shall propose..." That would be George W. Bush, at this point, known, loved, and trusted?

I don't think so.

It's just throwing money, America's credit card actually, at the losses of monster financial institutions and speculators, in the hopes that things will work themselves out...It also props up the high price of oil by 40% by propping up Oil specultors. How about that one?

"If speculators were forced to liquidate their positions, oil would easily be $65 to $75 per barrel by the time the liquidation was complete," said Michael Masters, the founder of Atlanta-based hedge fund Masters Capital Management. Tuesday, oil was trading at $108.74 in midday trading in New York

I am beginning to believe that we should take our medicine and let some really big boys get killed by the market. If I could be guaranteed that a sound regulatory system would emerge from the ashes, I would let these people burn.

As it is now, I give you a quote from Republican Minority Leader Boehner, "What we have here is a flawed proposal that may work."

Later he blamed Democrats for the failure of the vote. I want to thank them. Now get the lobbyists out of the room, call in the economists, and give us a rational proposal that is less flawed and far more likely to work.