Saturday, May 31, 2008
Digby, of course.
And now the big day has arrived...
"It's not fair to not reward people whose vote was not supposed to count," they say. But as most people point out, those two primaries are not a fair assessment of how the people would have voted if they had known the rules would be changed.
...it was widely reported and understood in both Florida and Michigan that the results of these primaries would not be counted. And based on that knowledge, large numbers of voters in both states simply didn't participate.
If the DNC were now to turn around and decide to make these contests count after all, these non-participating voters would be disenfranchised no less than the people who did turn out would be if the DNC sticks to the rules and doesn't seat any of the delegates. The simple fact is that large numbers of people, acting on accurate knowledge and in good faith, decided that there wasn't a real primary being held in their state on the day in question and on that basis decided not to participate.
The simple fact is that as many as 1.5 MILLION voters will disenfranchised if the rules get changed and the credibility of the DNC will be seriously undermined by the actions of the Clinton campaign.
Perhaps that is the Clinton's ultimate goal...To join the Republican Neo-Conservative elite in destroying Democracy in America.
Friday, May 30, 2008
There are several scenarios, none of which look favorable to Hillary Clinton. She keeps claiming this is a close race but it's not anymore. Obama has run a masterful campaign, responding to attacks but remaining positive and honest, and now leads the delegate count, which is the ONLY thing that matters, by 52.6% to Hillary's 47.3%.
That's a very secure margin, and will stand regardless of the shameless hypocrisy and maneuverings of the Clinton campaign. It doesn't take much to realize that Hillary Clinton lost her bid to become the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party for two reasons...
First...Her campaign has been shoddily run from the beginning, squandering a quarter of a BILLION DOLLARS to the point that she had to inject her own money to save it.
Second...Aware of the distortions, intentionally misleading statements, and outright prevarications from Hillary herself, a majority of Democratic primary participants have chosen someone else and awarded their votes to Barack Obama whom they deem worthy of their support and the Presidency.
And Now for something completely different:
White House issues climate report under court order, 4 years late; confirms other findings
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Cliff Notes:
1. Last year the DNC passed rules that said that no state could hold its primary earlier that a certain date.
2. All of the Democratic Presidential candidates signed a pledge NOT to PARTICIPATE in any state that violated the rules.
3.The rules said rule breakers would receive a punishment of from a minimum of losing half their delegates up to a maximum of losing them all.
4. Florida and Michigan moved their primaries earlier than that date. Harold Ickes and several other Clinton campaign members vote FOR stripping Florida and Michigan of ALL their delegates if they went through with it. An Obama representative voted AGAINST.
5. All the candidates took their names off the ballot in Michigan except for Hillary Clinton and Dennis (I'll take my name off at the same time Hillary does because I don't trust her) Kucinich.
6. Candidates were not allowed to take their names off the ballot in Florida. Hillary campaigned specifically in Florida. Everybody else followed the rules.
7. Hillary Clinton is now losing under the rules that her campaign was instrumental in writing and passing and neither Hillary nor Bill are happy with the situation.
8. The Clinton campaign continues to repeat the outright lie that she is winning the popular vote.
9. Obama is winning the popular vote according to the rules.
10. Obama is winning the delegate count according to the rules.
11. Obama is winning the delegate count even by Hillary's new Calvin Ball rules, which apparently say she can change the rules anytime she wants to.
12. This is all way too obvious so why are we even talking about it?
13. The Democratic National Committee attorneys have sent out a memo listing the legal options the rules committee must choose from among when they decide the fate of the delegates from Michigan and Florida.
14. The legal options do not include seating the full delegations, or any other option that would move Clinton out of second place.
15. The choice is essentially between rewarding two states and a presidential campaign that broke the rules...Or standing by the 50 plus States and Territories and a Presidential Campaign that played by the rules.
16. The Clintons are organizing protests at the DNC rules committee meeting this Saturday.
17. The Obama campaign has told his supporters to be very nice to everybody, no matter what.
18. Barack Obama is the Democratic Presidential Nominee, and has been for some time.
19. I will forgive Hillary Clinton for what she has done if she campaigns strongly to guarantee Obama is elected and works to support his Administration...But I will NOT forget what she has done.
20. They all lived happily ever after, except for some periods of bitterness in the upper rooms of the dark King's castle.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Bush tells Americans they are better off; as the torture continues at Guantánamo Bay - the only part of Cuba Bush actually controls - he calls on Raul Castro to honour human rights; as he cuts taxes and starts wars, he calls on Congress to practise fiscal rectitude. Not content with pissing on your leg and telling you it's raining, he tries to convince you that your leg has been dry all along.
As the primary season draws to a close it has become increasingly apparent that Hillary Clinton has run her campaign with the same contempt for intelligence, decency and democracy that Bush has run the country.
Nothing we plant can rival the natives. This is Indian Pink.
President Bush has been chosen to speak at Furman University for graduation. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of tickets and not only that, several people are asking that they not be forced to listen to him speak.
From a letter signed by a couple of hundred students and professors:
...public officials and their administrations are vested with a public trust. They are obligated to follow and execute the law. They must act in the public's best interest. They are bound by moral standards.
And when they act contrary to these standards they are answerable to the people, for when the actions of a public official and his administration become as odious as this president's, silence implies consent. It is to acquiesce to the awful, to condone the criminal.
Our objection, then, is on moral and legal grounds.
So what happens?
Another letter signed by several hundred students from the CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS FOR A BETTER TOMORROW is sent to the Administration. It contains fairly transparent propaganda straight from the Republican pr machine...Bush isn't a global warming denier (he just refuses to let anybody do anything about it), and he hasn't created the largest deficits in history because the professors are stupidly measuring the deficit in US Dollars.
Then there's this:
1. We ask Furman University to hold professors to their contractual agreement toattend commencement exercises in recognition of Furman’s graduating class and its accomplishments by refusing to grant any “conscientious objector” releases. We also request the names of all faculty members who have submitted such a request, as well as an update of any additional faculty members who do so between now and graduation.
I would paraphrase that to say, "These people must be forced to listen to the wisdom of George W. Bush. We want their names and where they live...We will show them a 'Better Tomorrow!' "
Monday, May 26, 2008
The robot is called the Phoenix Mars Lander. Getting to Mars is not much of a problem...Landing on Mars and being capable of functioning afterward is quite the accomplishment.
I love this stuff. It's proof to me that America did not always dislike Science and that a good portion of it still reveres the rigorous search for knowlege in the quest for enlightnment. Based on our history of failed Mars landings, it may seem like a "miracle" that Phoenix survived, but miracles were not involved...It was science and engineering.
The Phoenix left the ground in the USA all folded up inside a nose cone.
Within a few minutes, It was accelerated to over 17,000 miles per hour, the velocity needed to escape the Earth's gravity (only a "theory"). The problem with going 17,000 miles per hour is that the little robot is aimed at a rock and had to slow down from 17,000 miles per hour to zero miles per hour in about five minutes, and then call home and tell everybody not to worry, pictures on the way soon.
Way to go, little Robot!
Way to go, Scientists and Engineers, and their teachers back in 5th grade who showed them how to make a battery out of a potato( not a "potatoe")!
Way to go, Science!
A miracle could never have accomplished as much.
There are lots of places to see the pictures our little robot, Phoenix, will send back. It has already sent a bunch of them. This link will take you to the Wikipedia page on the Phoenix which has the history and lots of other pictures, as well as the ones coming in now.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
America sets aside one day each year to honor its citizens who served in the armed forces and grieve for those that died while serving.
We should all take a moment sometime during this sacred occasion and resolve to understand why we have wars in the first place. Presidential candidate John McCain said, "I hate to tell you but there are going to be more wars." I wish he had added, "But I will do my best to keep them to as few as possible." But he didn't and won't. I don't think he understands war or why they occur, but merely accepts them as inevitable. I want something different this Memorial Day...I want it to serve as a apology to all the victims of war and a day of resolution to avoid War as much as possible.
I am not a pacifist advocating concession in order to avoid war, but I am a realist who believes that war is an evil thing, fought most often for all the wrong reasons.
The modern world has seen wars fought over all manner of things, but mostly because rich and powerful people, or Countries, or Corporations nowadays, want to be richer and more powerful.
There are other reasons of course....There are wars fought for glory... There are wars fought because somebody got their ass kicked somewhere else and needs to beat somebody up to prove how strong they are... There are wars fought because "We're crazy and It's what we do"...There are wars fought over women...And then There are wars fought under the banner of ideology, which actually means those people have something we want and our god says we should go kill them and take it.
Some folks will say I've left out "Religion" as a cause of war, but I say that's just an excuse, not a reason. Feel free to disagree.
At any rate, when you sit down and look at it, there's not one single rational reason for war except for somebody not being rational. As a country, we're in the middle of one of those wars right now.
There will be speeches today and all sorts of ceremonies to make somebody look like they care. President George W. Bush will certainly make a nice speech which he will look out over the crowd and read with all earnesty, Then he will perform the symbolic act of walking away from the teleprompter, never giving his words another thought.
A strange commemorations will be the Rolling Thunder parade of thousands of motorcycles. They will assemble in the Pentagon parking lot and all ride together making a massive noise which is created by the burning of the very fossil fuel that our troops are dying for at this very minute. They will ride to the reflecting pool across from the Lincoln memorial. This is a fitting act to honor war, but not its victims.
And in that is a greater thought for this Memorial Day. Why don't we expand the meaning of Memorial Day and make it, not just in honor of the members of the armed forces who died, but in honor and remembrance of ALL the victims of war?
In Fahrenheit 9-11 there is a clip of an Iraqi man who picks up the body of a mutilated baby killed by American bombs. The child had been loaded into the back of a pickup truck which was full of bodies and the man is shouting at an American Soldier. He holds the baby up to the soldier and shouts emotionally..."Why are you doing this? Why did this baby have to die? What crime did this baby commit?"
That is the American war as we honor our dead.
I lost friends in the Viet Nam War, and somehow I felt guilty for not going. It's an odd guilt when I examine it. I did not evade the draft, go to Canada, or shoot my foot so that I would be designated 4F...unsuitable for combat. I simply wasn't drafted.
Every Memorial day for some reason I remember Johnny Bush, a kid from my town in Georgia who was killed in Viet Nam. I don't remember Johnny all that well now, but I remember his mother's face at the ceremony for Johnny. He died in a stupid war, fought for no good reason. We knew that at the time but did not have the courage to stop it.
We knew the Iraq war was stupid at the time, but did not have the courage to stop it.
We know the Iraq War is STILL stupid, even now...Do we have the courage? ...You and I?
Today is Memorial Day. I will honor the men and women who served, and the one's that died serving, in our Armed forces.
I will honor Johnny Bush, who died in Viet Nam.
I will honor his mother, who partly died at the same time.
I will honor the guy who lives in that trailer a few miles from here, who partly died in Viet Nam and never came all the way back.
And I will honor that baby...All the babies.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
At this point, no rational or honest human being could actually make the case she's making. Frankly, no rational human being can even understand what she's blathering about, but speculation is that she wants the Veep spot, now that she's lost the nomination for Number 1. How can you make the claim that you are even worthy of the Vice Presidency when you violate a pledge that you yourself worked to put in place and signed along with all the other Democratic Presidential Hopefuls?
Obama did the honorable thing and honored the pledge he signed not to participate in Florida of Michigan primaries. He did the wrong thing in trusting Hillary Clinton, and now Hillary is trying to make the case that he withdrew his name from the Michigan ballot and should receive no votes from that state's primary and that she should get all the votes because Obama trusted Hillary and that's his problem because she couldn't be trusted!
I cannot overemphasize how disappointed in Hillary Clinton I am. I have been a long time defender of the Clintons. Now that she is doing everything she can to poison the water for Barack Obama...I'm over it. Nothing has made my error more clear than Hillary's attempts at destroying her party simply because she can't have it her way.
Let's not put aside that by acting the way she has, misrepresenting both the Democratic process and her part in making it the way it is, she clearly demonstrates her lack of fitness for the position.
So if not Hillary as Veep, who?
I want Richardson for his talents as well as his demographics, but there is evidence that I might not get my way.
Susan has the scoop!
Makes sense to me. How about this one. Check this baby out:
Did you notice the keys sticking out of the tank? It's an electric hybrid bike. Pedal it or let the front hub mounted motor do the work. It has a top speed of 18 mph, depending on Rider weight and terrain, and a range of 60 miles. The battery unplugs from the bike and plugs into the wall and recharges completely in four hours.
Some of my associates were involved in research on these things several years back. I scoffed but they kept saying, "No, really! You have to try one."
Ok, I'm ready. Retail list price is $1800 bucks or better.
Hillary Clinton's campaign is directly responsible for stripping Florida of it's delegates and now she wants to break her own rules. The original penalty for holding an early primary was to lose 50% of a State's delegates. Only one delegate to the DNC Rules Panel voted for that option...
The Obama supporter!
All 12 Clinton supporters voted to completely strip both Michigan and Florida of the delegates Hillary so desperately now wants to count. Aren't we tired of Leaders who cheat?
On Aug. 25 (2007), when the DNC's rules panel declared Florida's primary date out of order, it agreed by a near-unanimous majority to exceed the 50 percent penalty called for under party rules. Instead, the group stripped Florida of all 210 delegates to underscore its displeasure with Florida's defiance and to discourage other states from following suit. In doing so, the DNC essentially committed itself, for fairness' sake, to strip the similarly defiant Michigan of all 156 of its delegates three months later. Clinton held tremendous potential leverage over this decision, and not only because she was then widely judged the likely nominee. Of the committee's 30 members, a near-majority of 12 were Clinton supporters. All of them—most notably strategist Harold Ickes—voted for Florida's full disenfranchisement. (The only dissenting vote was cast by a Tallahassee, Fla., city commissioner who supported Obama.)
There's a lot more to this story but it all boils down to the simple fact that Hillary Clinton lost the nomination by her own devious calculated lies and maneuvers and now will not, or can not, face that truth. She must now cheat to win and every minute she remains in the race, she divides the Democratic Party more and more. She can't win the Presidential nomination and it looks to me like she thinks the only way she can get the Vice Presidential spot is by threatening to tear the Democratic Party into shreds unless she gets her way.
I am very disappointed with Hillary Clinton. I thought she was better than that.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The policy of "shoot first, ask questions later" took us into an unjustified war, and without a clear concept of what "winning the war" actually means.
President Bush constantly talks about the "progress" that is being made in Iraq against the insurgency, but he's looking for good news with a microscope. All anyone can see is "Mission Mis-accomplished" and the continuing losses of American lives, the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the torture scandal, and the ominous decline in our nation's moral authority in the world community.
Senator Ted Kennedy, June 7, 2005
Not one thing has changes in three years, except that Ted Kennedy is ill.
I wish him and his family the comfort they deserve in this difficult time.
Clinton overwhelmingly won Kentucky, but the Kentucky pledged delegate count for Obama gave him the majority. In plain speak, Kentucky won it for Obama.
Obama won Oregon, an overwhelmingly white working class state, by double digits. The delegates awarded will pad Obama's count. At this point he only needs 64 delegates of any sort to have the 2025 needed. he will pick up delegates today as the results from both primaries get counted more closely. (they hold back awarding all delegates until the vote is certified). Oregon has 52 pledged delegates.
I don't count fudging the facts as an actual lie. Hillary's surrogates are yammering this morning about her having won 4 of the last 7 primaries and that is actually true. But if Anyone nods their head in agreement, it says more about their lack of critical thinking skills than the lies of the Clinton campaign. Obama won 7 of the last 11 primaries, so by the same reasoning...The Super Delegates should overwhelmingly back Obama and as a matter of fact a majority have declared their intention to do so.
At this point, Hillary Clinton can NOT win the Democratic Primary. She would need more than 100% of the remaining delegates. She is behind in Pledged delegates and Super-delegates. She keeps on stating that she is ahead in the popular vote but that just plain isn't true.
In order for Hillary to be ahead in popular vote, you have to count Michigan and Florida, which she has signed a pledge not to count. You also have to give Obama ZERO popular votes in Michigan, which is bogus at best since his name was not on the ballot and Clinton's was because she violated her pledge to have it removed.
Even bigger than the Florida and Michigan thing, is Hillary's failure to count all the Caucus states that Obama won. How does her statement that "every vote must count" seem to you when she refuses to count the votes she doesn't like?
Obama is now saying really nice things about Hillary Clinton, even as she continues to denigrate his victory.
In my heart I have lost a good bit of that warm feeling I always had for Hillary. What I want most of all for my country is an honest electoral process with candidates who have a personal ethical regard for the truth and media who have a clue what that is. When a candidate is elected I want to feel like I will be given the facts and not lied to for whatever convenient reasons, and the Iraq war and non-existent weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's non-existent responsibility for 9-11 and all the other just plain lies we have been told by George W. Bush and his pack of thieves are clear illustration of why being told the truth is important in America.
Most of all, this election cycle has shown me that the majority of Americans want to be told the truth. Hillary Clinton still can't bring herself to do that, and as a result, Barack Obama has won the Democratic nomination for Presidency.
One more thing...In a voice vote of the audience taken by David Letterman yesterday, Barack Obama "soundly" defeated Hillary Clinton AND John McCain.
OK, TWO more things...All primaries will be over two weeks from yesterday. I suspect Clinton will not drop out but will continue, all the way to the convention, because she can still raise money to repay her campaign debt, over $10 Million of which she loaned herself. I would be highly suspect of fundraising efforts by Clinton at this point.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Here Obama walks with his adopted Crow parents, Hartford and Mary Black Eagle. I think that makes him Barack Black Eagle. The Crow have given him his Crow name of "One who helps people all over the land."
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
After the storms came through, the light in the gorge was amazing. I wish I were enough of a photog to really catch it but here's a taste of evening light on the mist.
That was the sign NRA members saw as they passed through the metal detectors. They were filing in to see and hear John McCain and they would have to give up their armament to do so. Lots of them had to be frightened, possibly overwhelmed by the feelings of insecurity. They had to give up their guns, and knives too, if they wanted to see John McCain.
Was that safe? Hey...What if one of the Secret Service people went crazy and started shooting?
More likely...What if McCain went crazy? He's done it before. Will they make sure he doesn't have a gun before they let HIM into the Hall?
The only people who could protect them would be the people who were, you know, trained to protect them.
Does the Second Amendment mean that the right to have a weapon is paramount? Is no other right defined in the Constitution as important? Does the right to "Keep and Bear Arms" mean that the Secret Service has no right to keep CC permit holders from carrying their weapon into the White House? The halls of Congress? Church? Little League baseball games?
Does the NRA propose that I or any other US Citizen with no criminal record or history of mental illness be allowed to carry a concealed weapon to a meeting with George W. Bush? If so, that clearly demonstrates that they are nuts...As in crazy.
If not, that clearly demonstrates that there are limits to the right to bear arms, just as there are to all other rights, even free speech. Perjury, libel, and slander laws clearly indicate this, since your speech may not consist of a damaging lie, in some cases. (Why not all cases? I don't understand why that would be bad?)
At any rate, none of us will get to freely exercise out second amendment rights around George W. Bush, because, frankly, you can't even exercise your First Amendment Rights around George W. Bush, and perhaps in that concept is the answer to this dilemma...
Constitutional Rights Zones.
We could establish Second Amendment Zones for the NRA. They could all have their guns and play with each other and watch their children play Little League games knowing everyone in the crowd was heavily armed.
This would give a new meaning to being "In the Zone" and possibly create a whole new series of reality shows as the rest of us watch from a safe distance...The cameras would have to be heavily armored with bullet proof glass in case there was a disputed Umpire call.
They would all feel so safe knowing they could start shooting the instant trouble arose inside their Second Amendment Zone. Yes, they would feel so safe...And as long as the bullet proof walls held up...
The rest of us could feel safe, too.
The conclusion that we are in trouble is unavoidable. I report the assault on nature evidenced in coal mining that tears the tops off mountains and dumps them into rivers, sacrificing the health and lives of those in the river valleys to short-term profit, and I see a link between that process and the stock-market frenzy which scorns long-term investments -- genuine savings -- in favor of quick turnovers and speculative bubbles whose inevitable bursting leaves insiders with stuffed pockets and millions of small stockholders, pensioners, and employees out of work, out of luck, and out of hope.
I could have said that...Just about have. Any of us could have said that, though possibly not in prose that well crafted. The Reverend Bill Moyers DID say it, and all I have to do for this Sunday's Sermon is ask you to read the entire excerpt from his new book, "Moyers on Democracy"
Democracy in America is a series of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck. The reigning presumption about the American experience, as the historian Lawrence Goodwyn has written, is grounded in the idea of progress, the conviction that the present is "better" than the past and the future will bring even more improvement. For all of its shortcomings, we keep telling ourselves, "The system works."
Now all bets are off. We have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear, and the great American experience in creating a different future together has been subjugated to individual cunning in the pursuit of wealth and power -and to the claims of empire, with its ravenous demands and stuporous distractions.
Peace...And please go outside for at least a little while today.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Senate voted Thursday night to nullify a Federal Communications Commission rule that allows media companies to own a newspaper and a TV station in the same market.
"At this watershed moment, public outrage against Big Media has reached a breaking point. The Bush administration's threats to undercut this bipartisan effort in Congress show how out of touch this president is with the will of the American people. But we’re not going to stand idly by and let the White House green light Big Media's expansion. The great pendulum of political change is swinging away from corrosive consolidation and toward better media."
This one hits close to home:
Dan Rolling, CEO of National Coal, personally stands to make millions if the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Bill fails, but he's only got until Dec. 31, 2008 to pull it off.
Hey, can't let the economic future of several counties, like Fentress, or Oneida, or the environment of The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area stand in the way of a guy getting filthy rich, right?
Friday, May 16, 2008
... "We can't let the Democrats take our issues."... And those issues would be?
"We can't let them pretend to be conservatives," he continued... Why
not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day.
The Bush White House, faced with the series of losses from 2005 through '08, has long claimed the problem is Republicans on the Hill and running for office. They have scandals, bad personalities, don't stand for anything. That's why Republicans are losing: because they're losers.
That is not a Democratic strategist speaking...it's Ronald Reagan! Or rather the heart and mind of Ronald Reagan as read from the teleprompter. Read the rest of what Reagan's speech writer, Peggy Noonan, has to say about how screwed the Republicans are...I mean really screwed!
We'll be looking for Karen Hughes' mea culpa and dirge, coming soon. It's the only thing left, other than arresting Karl Rove.
An open letter to George W. Bush
But the greatest act of appeasement by an American President is possibly Bush's withdrawal of American troops from bases in Saudi Arabi at the demand of Osama Bin Laden, who gave those bases as the prime justification for his attack on America on 9-11-2001.
From a story written in 2004:
The full piece is worth reading but it's long and contains a bit of diatribe. The facts are not in dispute, however.
It now appears that appeasing Bin Laden was a major part of the neo-con sales
pitch to the White House. Congressman Christopher Shays, appearing with David
Kay on the Larry King Show (2/11/2004), made a startling revelation about the
war party’s marketing strategy. In an attempt to deflect a question over the
non-existent WMDs, Shays gave away part of the neo-con arguments presented to
key decision-makers. “We knew we needed to get out of Saudi Arabia, that was one
of the contentions of Osama bin Laden."
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Your immediate e-mails or calls are needed to preserve Tennessee’s natural lands.
The state must balance the budget, and Gov. Bredesen has proposed a number of cuts for doing so. The legislature is right now working over these proposals, and there is still a $15 million shortfall. One solution being offered is to take the real-estate transfer tax that is devoted to open space, wetlands, and parkland acquisition, and to earmark it for general revenues so it can be used to balance the budget.
If this happens, we lose not only the $17 million that are currently in the fund, but the entire mechanism for generating land-acquisition money. The real-estate transfer tax would have to be re-appropriated for its original purpose this would take at least 2 years. In the meantime, the state would have no means of protecting our special and fragile natural lands and waters, which are increasingly threatened by adverse developments.
The decision may well be made today or tomorrow morning. Please lose no time in contacting Gov. Bredesen’s office by phone, fax, or e-mail.
Also Also contact your own Senator and Representative and any you know and
urge that this backward step not be taken!
to find your legislator's contact information, visit:
Also, please notify any like-minded others you know and ask them to take action and to spread the word.
You have been a good and strong advocate for Tennessee's Natural Heritage but the current budget situation is leading to a mistake in the manner that may be chosen to balance the state's finances.
Using the real estate transfer fees paid on every real estate transaction being used to balance the general budget is a huge mistake. This is dedicated money paid to the State for a specific purpose. It is a fee that is supposed to go to protect land in Tennessee...Not a tax. This money should be used for the purpose for which it was intended and for which it is collected. It should go to the purpose for which Tennessee Citizens paid the fees, projects like securing the land adjacent to the Cumberland Trail System in Rhea County, for instance, which hits very close to home for me.
Governor, you have made the statement that the Tax Payers expect us to live within our means, and that is true. The Tax payers also expect that money they have paid above and beyond, and in addition to, taxes that is supposed to be put to specific uses, not be confiscated and used for other purposes.
This is a bad precedent to set for future Administrations who may not be as attentive to the needs of Tennessee's parks lands. In addition, this is not the time to step away from our obligations, particularly with so many pristine places and sensitive lands being divested by corporate interests and being developed.
Thank you for your time.
He did this once before, caught hell for it, and made it up to future generations with a stupendous effort to preserve and protect some really important lands, The Sundquist Forest and Frozenhead among them. The problem this time is that Bredesen has only a couple of years left and may not have time to pay future generations back for robbing their legacy. Worse...He will have solidified the precedent that fees paid specifically for preserving Tennessee's Natural Heritage can be misdirected for other purposes. What do we think that will mean if we have a Republican governor next term?
I am calling the Governor's office to express my fears and sadness that this has even come up again after his last experience, and ask him to please stand against this move. There are critical lands that need protecting right this very minute, in East Tennessee. To delay the funds will drive them into the hands of developers and deny them forever to future generations of Tennesseans.
Pick up the Phone...Give 'em a call!
Senator Tommy Kilby
Representative Dennis Fergusen
And While you have them on the phone (actually you'll chat with a very nice staff person so don't be afraid) Mention the Scenic Vistas bill and tell them you really don't think we need to destroy our Mountains and water Quality in order to pad Dan Rolling's golden parachute at National Coal.
This is from my friend in Nashville:
This just out at 9:00 PM on Wednesday, 5-14......As all should know by now, the state is in a budget crises with cuts being made right and left and state workers being offered incentives to retire. It was announced earlier today that the budget was at least $15 million out of balance after all the cuts. So...the news tonight is that a very reliable high level source has let us know that one solution being offered is:"to again take the real estate transfer tax that is devoted to open space, wetlands and parkland acquisition and use it to balance the budget."The budget is out of balance by $15 million plus or minus and the transfer tax generates about $17 million. This is a very real danger due to the budget and revenue crises.
We need to call RIGHT NOW the governor's office to express our disapproval of this scheme.
Second, we need to call our representatives and senators to tell them of our call to the governor's office.
If this particular solution passes, the transfer tax is lost...at least until it is reappropriated for its original purpose.PLEASE CALL TODAY THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. please pass this on.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Ford took a strange turn to the right in his campaign. It was a calculated move that started several years before his actual campaign for the Senate. He came out against gay marriage and went to shooting ranges to fire a pistol. He always chose a chromed revolver, according to the gun nut reports that ridiculed his penchant for bling. And nobody close to him thinks he cares one way or the other what gays do in their private lives. There are far more important issues and he could have chosen to run on them.
Why didn't he make fun of Corker's fence? Heck, Corker had hired Mexicans. The point is that neither of these men ran as their true selves. Corker ran to the right of his beliefs as well, according to an insider I talked to who said he always thought Corker was a Democrat until he ran for office. (Bob Corker is actively drilling into the climate crisis as well as other enviro issues...He may surprise me yet)
Regardless of what they pronounce there is no way to get around the fact that Bob Corker ran a campaign that used race as one of its stanchions. I mean, Having a blonde white chick asking Harold to, "Call me" is about as subtle as an eleven foot ladder leaning on a ten foot fence.
The thought has been with me for some time that racism still exists because of several factors but one of them is that certain people of every race want it to exist. Blacks and Whites are far less different than, say Whites and Japanese at this point, but being Japanese would probably not get mentioned in a contest, certainly not as a negative. In fact, there is no genetic test that determines black or white and almost all of us in America are some combination, as are Harold Ford, Jr. and Barack Obama, and I...and you...Too!
Harold Ford Jr. just married a beautiful white woman. She is also extremely smart and capable, I have been told. The question arises as to how will this affect Harold's possible run for the Governor's office? I think it helps him, not because Emily Ford is white, but because Harold Ford, Jr. is married. The whites, for whom this will be an issue until they die off, will make this an issue, but they would not have voted for Harold anyway. Other's will see Harold as less of a threat on a racial level because he has wed. (I don't want explain that concept to you any further. Figure it out if it's not obvious.)
On the national level, Hillary Clinton tried to walk a razor on Obama's race and failed. She certainly got the bigoted democrat vote and will lose the nomination in part because of that tactic. In the National election the Republicans will also use that tactic and will lose anyway, and by huge numbers. That loss may be the one event that finally puts America over the top with regard to racism.
I found the comments of this Memphis Commercial Appeal article on Harold Ford Jr.'s wife to be enlightening. Bigotry is a human disease that knows no single race.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
There were mundane things, not just depicted but stuck on it. And there were photos, scribblings, and paint and I can't remember what else. The more you walked by it, the more new things you saw.
"...people had come to see, through Mr. Rauschenberg’s efforts, not just that anything, including junk on the street, could be the stuff of art (this wasn’t itself new), but that it could be the stuff of an art aspiring to be beautiful — that there was a potential poetics even in consumer glut, which Mr. Rauschenberg celebrated. “I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly,” he once said, “because they’re surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.”
The remark reflected the optimism and generosity of spirit that Mr. Rauschenberg became known for. "
The ephemeral adult life of these delicate and beautiful insects is illustrative of the simplest meaning of life...
I would add, "Then give it up and donate your leftovers back to the food chain." I hope that I can be composted at the end of it all. Seems noble and far less barbaric than the options currently in favor.
As we sat on the rocks and talked, a large dark silhouette flew down the creek toward us, only a few yards above our heads, turned above us and flew back up the creek. The form of its wings as it flew and the long hooked bill gave it away. "An eagle," I said. "They fly just like a crow, when they're flapping."
We watched the insects all around us in clouds over the water. Some places the mayflies would touch the water and the surface of the water would break into a ripple, looking as if a pebble had just landed at the exact same place.
I hear they taste like raw oysters, but I don't plan to do that particular research project unless I get way hungrier than I have ever been so far.
Welcome to the food chain, little mayfly.
Oh yeah...The United States of America has admitted to torturing prisoners and charges had to be dropped against one alleged criminal because the evidence against him was obtained by means of torture, which is illegal under U.S. Law and the Geneva Convention. The prisoner in question?
Mohammed al-Qahtani, the man who was supposed to be the 20th Hijacker on 9-11-2001.
Monday, May 12, 2008
It seems that Republicans will do just about anything to get their way, including screaming bi-partisanship, which in the whacko selfish world of the Elephant caucus means, "The GOP gets its way and screw everyone else."
I am reminded of the little kid who sees a classmate with two cookies his mom gave him for lunch and says, "Hey...You're supposed to share." The other child dutifully gives away one of his cookies to the mean little kid who promptly gobbles it up, looks at the other kid who has the one remaining cookie and says, "Hey...You're supposed to share!"
In the case of the Republican Caucus in Congress, the creepiness is compounded. When they are refused more than their fair share, they knock your cookie out of your hands into the dirt, and run away home, calling your mother bad names.
The Republican Caucus was in such a snotfest, trying to keep the Democratic Majority elected by the American people from getting its work done, that Republicans even tried to change their votes and vote against Mother's Day.
Chattanooga Congressman Zach Wamp was one of the 178 republicans who did that and I wonder what his mother said to him when she found out? I'll bet it was something like...
"Zach Wamp, I love you very much and at this moment, I am not proud of you... I raised you better than that."
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Congratulations to the future mothers of the world. If I had a wish for you, it would be to raise well fewer children. The fruit of too many children is a dark thing.
Congratulations to Jenna Bush and Henry Chase Hager, who were married on the Bush ranch in Crawford Texas. May Jenna Bush Hager be a future mother who will raise well a few children. may she teach them the ways of truth.
The Wedding ceremony was performed by The Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, Pastor of Windsor Village Methodist Church in Houston Texas. Reverend Caldwel has publicly endorsed Senator Barack Hussein Obama for president.
A mother's wish for all her children and the original meaning of Mother's Day...Peace!
Friday, May 09, 2008
ABC News has announced that Obama has passed Clinton in the Super delegate count.
The final tally has Clinton winning Indiana by only 8 tenths of a percent, instead of the 2 percent previously announced...Maybe Rush did carry the state for her after all, because his effect was as tiny as her margin of victory.
Hillary looks like she is still trying to portray Obama as the "Black" candidate. Several people point out that this would be more of an outrage if she hadn't already lost and that she probably is doing more damage to herself, in the long run, than she is to Obama.
Paul Krugman turns out to only be nearly perfect. He seems to be telling the Obama camp to stop saying things that continue to divide the Democratic party along the lines of education and race. I have a one word answer to Saint Paul on that one...Huh? (see previous paragraph)
Krugman also says that economists who respond to the survey say that John McCain's economic policies would be better, and seems to waffle on whether he agrees. John McCain himself says he doesn't know crap about economics.
McCain's solution to the Trillions Bush has run up on the national credit card is to keep spending and give more tax cuts to rich people. Kinda makes me pine for the good old days when we were depending on "VooDoo Economics instead of...
Doo Doo economics!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
The loss in Indiana was narrow... The win in NC was overwhelming.
As the results were announced, Obama gave an exhilarating speech with forgiving and healing overtones. He set the tone for his campaign against John McCain, high minded but forceful. Obama ran a positive campaign against a formidible opponent who did not...and has won. By staying positive, he has maximized his opportunity to unify Democrats and carry the mandate he will need in the Presidency that will give him the power to undo, as much as possible, the Bush legacy of devastation to America.
Hillary read her lines with fortitude and telling body language. She diminished herself over the course of her campaign, getting caught in meaningless petty lies and appearing to attack Obama with racial overtones. She will be forgiven but she will have to ask, and Bill and Chelsea and Hillary Clinton will stand on the stage with Barack Hussein Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
All of this is a wonder...A testament to the ultimate morality of an America that lost its way but found it again. And, this is a testament to Saint Howard Dean, the Wise.
Don't forget that.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
When President Truman retired from office in 1952, his income was substantially a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25 000 per year. When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, 'You don't want me. You want the office of the president, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale.' Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, 'I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.' We now see that the Clintons have found a new level of success in cashing in on the presidency, resulting in untold wealth. To day, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.?
Was good old Harry Truman correct when he observed, 'My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference."
Subtle, funny, and completely misleading, with the all too obvious intent of bashing the Clintons.
But...Why use a great Democratic President to bash another when there are so many excellent Republican Presidents to bash?
The Clintons were shown the way by their predecessors, Reagan and Bush, although GHW Bush simply used his Presidential connections to amass greater wealth by forming Carlyle Investment group, and had to wait for his son to start the war which made him obscene profits. What a tag team these guys are!
And shall we get started on Dick Cheney's Halliburton? Wait...He was only a Veep, so we can't count him, even though he still holds major amounts of stock by proxy in a hedge fund which held at one time 70% of its assets in Halliburton and its subsidiaries. Kellog Brown and Root is now responsible for the greatest atrocities of the war as well as war profiteering by overcharging the US Government for services it never -delivered. And whenever you're ready we can talk about the $8-9 BILLION that Cheney's Halliburton simply "lost" somewhere in Iraq...Money provided by the US Government that was supposed to be used for rebuilding and is completely unaccounted for.
Back to Presidents...Reagan...Why did you get me started? Paid Two million dollars for one speech and a meal with international big shots, he had to actually "work" two hours. His $300,000 house was bought by a Republican doner for $1.7 million, conveniently providing Reagan with the money needed to buy the Reagan ranch, where he hid out so that people would not realize exactly how far into Alzheimers disease Reagan actually was during his presidency.
So have the Clintons profitted from their term in the Whitehouse? Absolutely. But they worked hard at it making speeches for one tenth what Reagan was given for his payback, and they won't have to start a war that kills millions and forever burdens America with Trillions of dollars in debt.
But when you talk about the "Last Honest President" why not mention Dwight David Eisenhower? Ike was that rarest of humanity, an "Honest Republican". Would that all republicans held Eisenhower as their hero instead of Ronald Reagan (a paper president completely unattached to reality merely reading the lines written for him by Peggy Noonan). Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, warned America of a grave threat to its future and world peace...Republicans!
I suggest you go back and read Ike's farewell speech in its entirety but here is an excerpt:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted
influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military-Industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Dwight D. Eisenhower as he left office in 1961...See? Ike was warning His country to beware of Republicans!
Lessons taught by the father that are sometimes well learned by the chikldren...I think it is well worth noting that Dwight Eisenhower's son, David, and Richard Nixon's daughter, Julie, who are husband and wife, have turned away from the Republican party and have recently endorsed Barrack H. Obama for President of the United States of America.
Monday, May 05, 2008
In the run up to the il fate Iraq war, we were fed a series of distortions and out right lies. There were any number of people trying to point this out but one stands above all others, former UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, who is also a former Republican. Ritter went on record stating that, as leader of the UN Inspection team in Iraq, he could state with near 100% certainty that Saddam had no WMD's, no capability for WMD's, and way to get that capability. Ritter was excoriated by Bushco...Only he was 100% correct in all of his pronouncements. The justifications for the Iraq war were simply fabricated by the minions of Dick Cheney and George Bush, as has been born out by years of searching high and low for WMD's that simply do not exist.
Scott Ritter was correct. I mention that because, as a very astute analyst with a superior track record of being correct, Scott Ritter has other things to say...Like this:
"We take a look at the military buildup, we take a look at the rhetoric, we take a look at the diplomatic posturing, and I would say that it’s a virtual guarantee that there will be a limited aerial strike against Iran in the not-so-near future—or not-so-distant future, that focuses on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command. And if this situation spins further out of control, you would see these aerial strikes expanding to include Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and some significant command and control targets."
He also points out that once again...there is no reason to do this.
Who is pushing this? I know ...John McCain...but really, who is pushing John McCain, who is after all just another in a long line of lackeys for the big corporations who feed on war, like Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Blackwater, Bechtel Jacobs, and General Electric? Oh, wait...
Quote of the Day: ...asked this morning by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos if she could name a single economist who backs her call for a gas tax holiday this summer, HRC said "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists."
Sunday, May 04, 2008
I can not decide which is greater, our mockery of human decency?... Or our bald faced Hypocrisy?
We rant about family values and gays, which have no mention in the Ten commandments, no matter which version you claim, and applaud the repeated violation of "Thy shalt not bear false witness...", which is prominent and possibly foremost, since lying enables all other sins.
Barack Hussein Obama is nearly pure. There is very little to attack in order to generate the fear necessary for Conservatives to win the presidency in November. Their minions are not motivated by love or a caring nature, but only fear and loathing, and possibly greed, though that seems to be limited to the higher eschelons of conservative bigotry.
Each of our three remaining presidential contenders associates with religious leaders. Obama has now rejected the worst of his former pastor's rantings, while still affirming his love for the man and his respect for all the good that Jeremiah Wright has done in his lifetime. What more Christian act could Barack Obama do than that?
Obama has clung whole heartedly to his principles, as Republicans and the Clinton Campaign attempt to make him a martyr for the very goodness that we claim to want in our highest leader, Few religious leaders can compare in creepiness with the smarmy charm and vileness of a Reverend Hagee, whose support John McCain welcomes. Nor has Hillary Clinton's membership in "The Family", a group that claims to have pushed her "to the right" been examined to any great length. But Obama get's hammered because he hasn't "repudiated" his former pastor enough?
Give me a Break!
The real question here, is whether we will sit here as an electorate and accept the framing and lies we are being fed.
I know I won't.
I wrote a bit about the travesty of the Tellico Dam, the famous snail darter, and Congressional skulduggery in passing a law that says this particular endangrerd species is hereby NOT endangered, by act of Congress. There was much more at stake than that fish:
The Cherokee Indians had been working with our coalition right along, so then they filed a constitutional lawsuit against the dam based on violation of Native American religious rights (Congress can’t amend away constitutional claims). But the Cherokees’ appeal came up one vote short in the 6th circuit, the Supreme Court denied our petition for certiorari, and the river finally died. David Scates tells a sad story, of watching as the water came up. There was a budding rosebush at the edge of the river as the impoundment backed up, and as the sunlight filtered down through the two feet of cold clear water that had drowned it, for the last time its flowers blossomed, staying there for a few days, under water. He told us, ‘I cried, seeing the blossoms open under the water as it came up.’”
Also interesting in this saga was the part a swimming rabbit played in helping the Corporate Media make Jimmy Carter look foolish and weakening him to the point that he could not veto the legislation that murdered the Little Tennessee River:
For those with a lot of time to kill, here is a strong compendium of personal diaries by environmentalists. You may find that they are intelligent and excellent writers:
Friday, May 02, 2008
"That's a Black and White Warbler," said my friend in response to the sound. "We hear them a lot but don't see them that much."
At that point in my life I had seen exactly one, ever, and that was only for a few seconds while sitting in the woods in the South Carolina mountains. Monday night I saw a mystery bird and went out to try to get a decent shot of it, which I didn't. They just don't seem to want to cooperate. That bird was the yellow throat warbler I posted earlier, but while I was waiting for the yellow throat to sit still, up popped this black and white warbler, posing nicely.
Eyeball to eyeball, he's an intimidating little beast, eh?
Thursday, May 01, 2008
It is one thing to campaign on your strengths and downplay your weaknesses while making big noises about the weaknesses of your opponent. It is another thing altogether to make shit up, or to repeat things that you know are not true, just because these lies serve your purposes.
If you require that kind of tactic to win...You are not worthy!
Hillary! I'm Talking to you...
...And other "appropriate ceremonies"...
This is getting too weird.
The Presidential Proclamation
Perhaps a real celebration of Law Day would be to make the Bush Administration obey a few laws, like say FISA or even the U.S. Constitution, maybe.