2007: People We Lost Who Gave So Much

[Right after I wrote this, I learned that the mother of one of my best friends died New Year's Eve morning. Mrs. Judd, being human, was hardly perfect. But when my own mother died just as I started college - my father predeceased her, dying just as I started kindergarten - Mrs. Judd was quite kind to me. A few times, I was lucky enough to hear her say that despite all I had been put through - "she's handling as well as anyone could as bad a tragic situation as life deals" - she was impressed that I still kept up with school despite having to take care of my little brother and take multiple jobs to do so. For many years, she allowed me to be an odd little part of her family. Knowing she was ill, she had been in my thoughts a lot lately and especially yesterday. I was about to contact her son, my friend, to ask how best I could contact her to tell her how much I appreciated her kindness at such a tough time when I learned she had died. I was too late - but if the appreciation in my heart counts for anything, then she knows. I dearly appreciated her as a scared teenager and I still do today. Thank you, Mrs. Judd, and may God bless you and show you the same kindness.]

There are many more of these folks than I will list here, but I'd rather publish an abbreviated list (and get it out) than to start some exhaustive, all-inclusive one I won't even have finished by this time next year.

My heart and soul demand I start this list with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., a writer whose work I did not begin to respect and appreciate until I was well into my adulthood (my loss) and whose death I continue to grieve almost a full year later. If you have not yet read his last work, "Man Without A Country", shame shame shame on you... and get yourself to a bookstore and get a copy post haste. A library borrow is also acceptable, though you want this one on your bookshelves (and pity on you if you don't HAVE even one bookshelf).

I also deeply miss Molly Ivins, probably one of the very best things to ever hail from Texas. Her humor, her sharp mind and even sharper pen and tongue, are unmatched.

Norman Mailer, the prized writer, also well more than earned a spot at the top of this list for all he contributed to the arts, to American culture, and to my own education and development as a writer. With all three of these people so far listed, we have a blessing: we still have their work to admire for many, many, many generations to come.

There is also David Halberstam, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and writer whose documentation of the Vietnam War, among other pivotal American and world events, was invaluable.

But I'm hardly done. I also mourn the loss of:

Tom Snyder, the once top TV talk show host who was far more human than the "egos with hair" we have now

Grace Paley, the poet and anti-war activist

Madeleine L'Engle, one of the first and most prolific published women sci-fi writers

Ira Levin, best known as the author of "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Stepford Wives" but I believe his best work was "This Perfect Day", a terrifying and thought-provocating sci-fi future society book; he like Vonnegut and Mailer have played a role in shaping my writing

Steve Gilliard who started The News Blog

Beverly "Bubbles" Sills, the great opera singer who, though I hated opera, I thoroughly enjoyed her and her beloved mother

Art Buchwald, the humorist

Calvert "Larry Bud Melman" DeForest of David Letterman fame

And last but not least, Benazir Bhutto; while her legacy may be considered controversial, she proved that a woman can play an enormous role in traditional Muslim societies and MUST be allowed to do so - few would have been as brave as she in trying again and again to help change her country


Name Your Best Films/Documentaries/Books of 2007?

(And yes, if you have WORSTies, you can cite those, too.)

While Time Magazine and CNN and all the usual suspects rush to TELL US what films, books, and yes, even scandals were the best and worst of 2007, we're all thinking people here who don't need to be told what we can reason for ourselves.

With this in mind, what films/documentaries and books did YOU find to be the best of 2007?

Some of my big favorite books (and they would go on a big favorites list that spans more than just this year, btw) also happened to find their way onto my Christmas wish list, and I've already devoured two. These are:

* "Touch and Go" - Studs Terkel's excellent memoirs (he's a national treasure!)
* "The Omnivore's Dilemma" - Michael Pollan, an excellent follow-up to his mind-opening botany book that discusses how Americans really ARE what we eat
* "Deep Economy" - a must-read by Bill McKibben, a Vermont neighbor, that gives us a real eye-opener of an understanding of how the economy, much of which escapes our attention, drives our lives and politics and the future of this planet

But I can't fail to note the late, forever great Kurt Vonnegut's last book that I literally inhaled, "A Man Without A Country".

As for films and documentaries, I would rank "An Unreasonable Man" (about Ralph Nader), Michael Moore's "Sicko", and "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" among a slew of excellent works that I saw this year.

What about your favorites?


RIP: The American Dollar (Or Why You May Be Able to Use Your Paycheck to Wipe Your Butt RSN)

Well, the ruination of the economy and the labor market the Bush-Cheney Administration worked very hard to bring about in record time between the December day they stole the election from Al Gore in 2000 and the first 100 days of them "presuming" office in January 2001, and continued throughout their absolute monarchy is almost complete.

We've already seen - for the first time - economists in many other lands besides our own say the American dollar is increasingly useless and is shunned compared to many other emerging players like China and yes, even Iran and the Euro. Also a firstie: the Canadian dollar has become (significantly) more valuable than its U.S. counterpart, a phenomenon many said would never happen. We've seen the middle class grow poor and more home foreclosures in this country than at any time since the stock market crash and resulting economic phenom known as "The Great Depression" began in 1929. [As Bush would say, look at the good side: at least poverty is up and those we owe money TO are making huge additional money in obscene charges for debt).

Now, many are saying flat out that the dollar's days are numbered, which means ours as an economic superpower also are numbered. I can't help but think that it's all too apt to say that the buck stops with Bush and Cheney, because it quite literally may, even before they leave office on January 20th, 2009.

Here's one example of the dollar's funeral dirge submitted by Reader Sharon (whose typing is only slightly better than her marksmanship).


Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

Since Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf plunged his country of Pakistan into one of its maddest states ever in his efforts to control the results of voting a few months ago that threatened to unseat him, it became not a question of IF his major opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, twice elected and twice unseated as a Muslim country's first major woman leader, would be assassinated, but when.

I find much about the reaction to her death to be completely disingenuous. The first was the Bush Administration's reaction, acting like they were saddened when I doubt they were; my biggest questions with her death, in fact, center around just how much involvement Musharraf - who was to face Ms. Bhutto in elections in less than two weeks - and the Bushies may have had with her assassination earlier today.

While we've heard that the Bushies really wanted her there in a power sharing arrangement with Musharraf, there is far more evidence that neither Musharraf nor Bush actually did want her there, since the progressiveness she represented is hardly what the Bush Administration wants in trying to control that part of the world.

But I am just as suspicious concerning the rush by the Bushies and their ilk - including "I see 9/11 everywhere" Rudy Giuliani - to identify al Qaeda as responsible for Bhutto's death. Sure, Bhutto did not pose herself a good candidate for al Qaeda; she also wasn't who Musharraf and Bush want either.

In truth, there are any number of groups and individuals who could have put the hit on this woman. Sadly, the more the Bushies point to al Qaeda and boast "they know" Osama bin Laden is behind it, the more questions I feel arise as to their own culpability here. After all, the Bushies - and this is clear right from their administration HERE at home - are no champions of democracy; they like the "absolute monarchy" kind of arrangement. While Bush is hardly the first "monarch" to decide who lives and dies, a hell of a lot of destabilization and attempted coups around the world since 2000 (including the short ouster of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez) point right back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Bush Declares New Threat On America: Zombies!

Gee, zombies. Sounds like much of his administration and loyal followers.

Keep watching this video to see the scariest zombie of all at the end. Please, make that zombie eat salt (the way to get a zombie to die or crawl back to his - or her, of course - grave).


Don't Let Another Presidential Election Be Stolen

As much as I try to pay attention to what all the 2008 presidential candidates are saying (and yes, even the truly ridiculous ones like Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani), I find I can't just assume that the best (Democrat) candidate will win Election 2008 in less than 11 months. And my fear isn't just vague and unfounded, not when I've watched the last two presidential elections, 2000 in Florida taken from Al Gore and 2004 in Ohio stolen from John Kerry. So have you, whether you accept this truth (as has been confirmed by many sources now) or not.

Nor did my fear lessen when even Democratic lawmakers agreed a few months ago to put back any real voting reform until 2012 - a DOZEN years past the first documented stolen vote.

It doesn't matter WHO the Democrats put up for president if the Republicans have a way to steal and otherwise invalidate winning vote counts. Nor can we wait until Election Day to not just voice our concern but to demand better.


Colorado: Electronic Voting Too Easily "Stolen"

On the heels of yet more evidence from Ohio that the 2004 presidential election was stolen (on the heels of the Bushies already having stolen the vote in Florida in 2000), Colorado's secretary of state has helped in the process of de-certifying electronic voting as being too easily corrupted. More at BradBlog.

Good for Colorado!

Nods to New Jersey For Ending Barbaric Practice

Let me applaud New Jersey for becoming the first state in the better part of a half century to REMOVE state-sanctioned executions (aka capitol punishment or death sentence) from its courts.

New Jersey has been doing some good things of late and this is one of the most positive.

Nods to Jon Corzine and the people and lawmakers of New Jersey.


The Last Debate of 2007

Argh. So many debates, so long before the actual vote is NOT a good thing.

If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend Ralph's list of questions he'd like to see addressed at round two of the Iowa debates: the Dems in the last debate of 2007. [How do I nominate Ralph to be the next moderator?]

I'm listening to the debate now though it caught me by surprise. CNN kept saying the debate was Thursday night but at 2 PM ET, they fed us some of the worst audio possible (sounds like it was recorded in my washing machine). However, what I noted FIRST were these points:

-- CNN made a big and rather demeaning deal of the Dem senator candidates who took private jets to rush to Iowa after voting on the energy bill today as in "oh, really, they couldn't save energy going together by plane?" - I don't mind the question but why the hell is this standard NEVER, EVER applied to the Bushies or the Republicans in general? We ALL need to be smarter about energy use; if only Democrats do it, it won't work.

-- Why were Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich kept OUT of the Dem debate today (which CNN applauded as a smart move) yet Alan Keyes (who? well, we last saw him mosh pitting in the 96 Republican presidential race), who not even Republicans seemed to know was running until last night, allowed to debate in the GOP version?

-- If CNN thinks it's "helping America" with its "approval meter" showing where viewers like and dislike debate points by candidate, they're screwier than their Kyra Philips is dumb as denuded dirt.

-- Moving up the caucuses and primaries is a massive mistake; we'll eliminate good candidates way too early which, sadly, may be the point.

Military Suicides Soar While Bushies & Pentagon Look The Other Way

In case you haven't heard, Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought active-duty military GI and veteran suicides to some of the highest - if not THE highest, since the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have steadfastly ignored the issue altogether - levels on record. Here:

The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide and members of Congress on Wednesday questioned why there's not a comprehensive tracking system of suicide among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Mike Bowman, of Forreston, Ill., said his son, Spc. Timothy Bowman, 23, is a member of the "unknown fallen" not counted in statistics. His son, a member of the Illinois National Guard, took his own life in 2005 eight months after returning from war. Bowman said he considers his son a "KBA" — killed because of action.

"If the veteran suicide rate is not classified as an epidemic that needs immediate and drastic attention, then the American fighting soldier needs someone in Washington who thinks it is," Bowman said.

Financing Tax Cuts for Billionaires And Corporate Welfare With Lives of Sick Kids

As promised, President Bush - who has never met a tax cut for the wealthiest or a way to have taxpayers foot the bill for mega corporations such as making Americans pay for oil industry refineries at a time when energy companies are seeing their most massive profits EVER - has vetoed the Congressional bill which would have allowed more kids to be covered by health care insurance under SCHIP.

Calling this disgusting and unconscionable simply does not begin to describe this.

Think about this: thousands if not tens of thousands of kids could be covered SIMPLY for the cost of what taxpayers will be expected to pony up so that Jenna (the even dumber Bush twin) can get married at the White House. Guess Bush has his priorities straight.


It's Time To Neuter Mutt ("Mitt"( Romney AND His Religious Claptrap

Bhfrik already posted about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's extremely tortured logic and compared it, as much in the media did on Thursday, with JFK' famed speech on Catholicism, religion, and the United States' highest office. Yet, when I went back and looked at a rather complete version of the Kennedy speech, I see HUGE differenes (and that's even before you address the issue that America in 1960 was a considerably different place than it is today; in 1960, few gave second thought to being force-fed religion in schools, for example).

Two things especially about Romney's statements not just irritated but scared the hell out of me.

First, his frequent use of "require" as in freedom REQUIRES religion. Uh, say what? freedom. What he's saying blatantly is that he chooses to pretend he knows far more about how a democracy should run than our founding fathers. And, fwiw, it wasn't John Adams or his son who just about bankrupted the commonwealth of Massachusetts over the disastrous "BIG DIG" as Romney did as governor while, according to many reports, the "friends" who thanked him in cash for those contracts increased Mutt's (Call it a typo if you wish, but it fits) his personal fortune considerably.

Second, I don't WANT a president who will "rule" me and the rest of America based on his religious convictions. We're not electing a pope, damn it. I want the president to lead the country and let me practice my religion separate and apart from fundamentalist pandering in Washington.

Third, if Romney can't respect one of the core tenets on which this country was founded and its democracy begun - the separation of church and state - than he has NO business whatsoever running for local dog catcher, let alone the leader of the free (to worship exactly as Mutt tells you to) world.

Considering the scandals and miserable practices of these "good moral values" Republicans like Romney, I doubt very much that God wants them speaking for Him either.


Lou Dobbs: Illegal Aliens "Stealing" American Jobs Is Bad Unless They're Working For... Well... Uh... Lou Dobbs

If you didn't catch Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" last night, you missed a very interesting piece on how Lou Dobbs, CNN's great white hope hype who blames Mexicans for stealing the three U.S. jobs big fat corporations haven't already moved to India or Bangladesh or political prisons in China, just LOVES using "illegals" to do the dirty work at the horse shows his daughter appears in.

Dobbs was on "Democracy Now" on Tuesday as well, where he spent the entire time deflecting every question asked by hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (whom he haughtily dismissed as idealogues in a lovely pot calling the kettle black moment) by asking them ridiculous questions like, "How many guests have I had on my program?" and "Why are you calling people we ask to appear on my show guests?" [What does Dobbs call them? Chihuahuas? Pretzels?]

The rest of the time he rolled one of his many chins and dismissed the Southern Poverty Law Center (which I happen to think does some good work in a number of different areas) as hacks while suggesting he - the Great Dobbs - had no idea that the CCC is the modern day name for the KKK, a fact I've known for over a decade.

Lou's just such a shit. Which is brown, btw.


Prescriptions: Just Between You, Your Doctor, AND Your State Police

As Julie at DailyKos points out from an article posted yesterday at Green Mountain Daily, the Vermont state police wants prescription drug records on citizens (not those suspected of committing crimes but information about anyone who takes drugs the police find "interesting" - full-scale data-mining of which any fascist police state would be damned proud).

Excuse me, is there a constitutional lawyer reading here who might be willing to help me start a class action suit? I won't stand for this, so I certainly won't sit back.

This isn't some "silly trip down the rabbit hole" - this is yet another bad butcher job on the U.S. Constitution, the Vermont government, and individual privacy. If they are allowed to do it here in Vermont, they WILL do it where you live, too. And imagine the myriad ways they can abuse it and "lose" it to data insecurity.

Christians: Take It From Gandhi

Why is it some of the very best observations about Christians comes from those who aren't ones? Yes, this is rhetorical.

Gandhi got it right enough, and he didn't live to see the latest, most perverse of the American fascist evangelical movement (trust me, not all evangelicals are fascists but far too much of what gets practiced in this country "in God's name" amounts to it):

I like your Christ.
I do NOT like your Christians.
They are so unlike your Christ.

Iran: The Bushies' Deadliest Game Ever

I talk with many progressive, moderate and increasingly, well right of center Republicans who these days not just readily admit but rant and rave themselves that the Bush Administration's logic on almost everything it does is so very bad as to be criminal (meaning: OK, we gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time, but you can't fuck this much up without a PLAN!). On Iran, even some of the neocon fans, however, are reeling from this administration's latest approach.

The IAEA studied Iran's capabilities for some time and said that Iran is not ready to do any real damage with nuclear power to anyone (even Israel, which is often the greatest fear though Israel's got MUCH bigger ones and a penchant to use their weaponry with some abandon). Major U.S. intel on Iran determined Iran really poses no threat and, because the intel determined this, it's sat hidden for a year.

NOW, the day AFTER other national intelligence tells us Iran is in no position to do us or anyone else much damage for some years to come, what do the Bushies do?

Why, they scream louder that we need to attack Iran ... you know, before they attack us. Then, in a few years and several trillion dollars (not to mention untold numbers of lives lost, because Iran DOES have enough of a military to hurt us in ways Iraqis could not organize while we're being told that the U.S., perhaps with Israel, could go after Iran's so-called nuclear reactors which would kill millions of Iran citizens), Karl Rove can come out again, like he did this past weekend, and claim Congress made Bush do it.

I'm a pretty compassionate person. But when it comes to the Bushies, I'd take a page out of the great lyrics for "Sweeney Todd" (for a pacifist, this is my all time FAVORITE musical oddly enough), the fantastic musical turned into a Tim Burton film for Christmas release with Johnny Depp:

Never forget. Never forgive.


Republicans, Mental Health, And Delusions

As Ricky Shambles posts at my "other" home at All Things Democrat, GOPeeuponers are into delusion: they think their mental health is better than anyone else's.

Ricky puts it well: ignorance MUST be bliss.

Larry Craig: "It Ain't Easy Bein' Hypocritical"

Oops. What IS it with the "moral" and "family value" Republicans who can't keep their zippers up at the same time they insist anyone else engaging in much less heinous behavior deserve to be struck dead by God AND the American system? There is absolutely nothing wrong with being homosexual and by no means is homosexual synonymous with pedophile (most of whom are heterosexual, btw) - unless, of course, you're a gay who insists that other gays deserve to be stoned - but am I the only one who wonders if Craig may have pulled this on one or more unsuspecting males below the age of consent?

From the Buzzflash team:

Well, it looks like Larry "I am Not Gay" Craig -- who has remained a senator despite his initial promise to resign as of September 30 -- has been caught by Idaho's most influential paper, the Idaho Statesman, and left without a stall to stand on, so to speak.

In a December 2nd article, accompanied by graphic audio accounts of gay sexual encounters with Craig, the Idaho Statesman (owned by McClatchy Newspapers) provides the names and stories of four men who appear to undercut Senator Craig's claims that what happened in a Minnesota washroom was due to him being a victim of "profiling."

We're not familiar with older, tall white guys from Idaho being "profiled" a whole lot, and apparently the long-standing rumors about Craig are once again being confirmed. Craig has shunned and ridiculed the Idaho Statesman since it first began exploring Craig's hypocrisy on his sexual preferences (he has been a big anti-gay stalwart). But the newspaper has kept on the beat, so to speak, and documents its article about the post-Minneapolis revelations about Senator Craig with graphic audio clips.


"Save The Constitution: Impeach Bush and Cheney"

I LOVE this man and I NEVER say such things lightly (and please ADD to his acknowledgement that John Nirenberg is starting out in single digit weather - I got a touch of frostbite on a short midnight walk last night myself when it was a toasty 4 BELOW - with a major storm about to hit the hell out of New England):

BRATTLEBORO — He's got waterproof, size-11EEEE New Balance sneakers, a bright yellow poncho and a plan. He's got outrage in his heart, a Web site in his name and much of his retirement savings sunk into his cause.

John Nirenberg, a 60-year-old Ph.D., author and academic, plans to walk from Boston to Washington, D.C., to confront House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in hopes of persuading Congress to take up the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

He's no activist, he says. He's not sure he'll make a difference. But he's going to try.

On Sunday, he'll hit the road from Faneuil Hall, walking 15 miles a day until he gets to Capitol Hill, making symbolic stops at the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and Trenton, N.J., as he makes his way to the U.S. Capitol.

Wearing a "Save the Constitution, Impeach Bush and Cheney," sandwich-board style sign, he hopes to rally support for an issue Pelosi has said is no longer on the table.

"This is about satisfying my conscience. I just don't want to be the guy who says in five years that I regret not having stood up and said something."
We should ALL be more like Mr. Nirenberg. And we should start REAL SOON NOW.


Australia Sees Reason And Ousts Their Bush Anyway

Three cheers for Australia for sending their leader, John Howard, packing.

Apparently, the Aussies don't let voters do Diebold.

Rudd, his replacement, sees the great wrong of the Bush agenda AND wants to apologize (not like an apology fixes history but still, we've never managed to apologize for slavery) to the aboriginals for the great racial cleansing committed in the name of Australia's colonization.

Cheers, Australia. And thank you. Let us only hope America can get rid of their Bushie, too.

A Heart Where There Is None Or Just A Ploy To Get Rudy In Office?

Yes, MSNBC reports that Grand Emperor of the Evil Empire Bush's Vice President Dick Cheney has an irregular heartbeat.

Just one question: what proof is there he has a heart?

Ask the people of Iraq, of Afghanistan, our soldiers, to name but a few. I suspect they have no such evidence.

But beware: there has been speculation even among some on the right for more than a year that Cheney would conveniently disappear with at least a year to go to Bushdom to introduce a Rudy Giuliani, for example, in the Veep seat.


Here We Go: Bushies Putting Fear In Voters Claiming Al Qaeda Targeting 2008 Prez Election

And it comes from the so-called Democrat Homeland Security Advisor (and such an incompetent brown noser that she's a perfect Bushie) Fran Townsend who, btw, resigned yesterday (years too late, if you ask me).

Personally, NOTHING Al Qaeda can do will amount to anything compared to what the Bushies have done to democracy since 2000.

Will Impeachment Resistance Cost Nancy Pelosi Her House Leadership Seat?

As Anonymous points us to in comments, there is an effort underway to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her leadership role due to her resistance (and she's hardly the only one) to bringing impeachment proceedings against either Bush, Cheney, or the entire Bush Administration.

Considering recent polls say that about 70% of Americans believe the Bush Administration has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" and more than 50% believe they warrant impeachment proceedings, it's harder and harder to understand why the Dem leadership in Washington is so desperate to keep votes like Dennis Kucinich's impeachment motion against Cheney off the floor.


Think About Next Thanksgiving

When we approach Thanksgiving 2008, we _should_ already know who won the 2008 presidential race (but it's hard to exclude the possibility the Bushies will pull either a 2000 vote cheat/a 2001 "Rudy tells NY he must stay mayor after 9-11"/a Musharraf end-run around democratic vote this last month).

I suspect certain things will be true by then and while I'll tender some here, please keep in mind that what I predict does NOT mean what I necessarily want to have happen AND that I'd like to see what your predictions are for this time next year.


* I don't think it's a given that the Democratic candidate WILL win the 2008 presidential race as much as some would like to believe it is; in fact, because we've allowed "fair election" policies to languish rather than get enacted, we've made it more likely there will be incredible shenanigans pulled in 2008

* IF a Dem wins, it will be Hillary - a choice that many Dems and Republicans will not embrace; if it's Hillary, we have ourselves to blame

* If a GOPeeuponus wins, it will be Rudy Giuliani, and that will be a disaster for the world as well as just us

* Before the 2008 race, we will be in a fight with Iran - whether it's full blown war which I expect it to be or not, it's still wrong

* A fight with Iran will make the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq seem like child's play; it will further bankrupt us financially and militarily and will ensure that those who want to hurt us have more free rein to do so because our resources will be committed in Iran

* Iran's Ahmadinejad was RIGHT about one thing this week: the American dollar is worth almost nothing; the longer the current GOP policies prevail, the worse our dollar will get and more and more and more Americans will suffer

* ALL of the bad inherent here CAN be changed if WE get involved and give as much passion and energy to changing events as we do to carping about what is wrong; NOTE this: it's critical - we can affect a change but only if we DO something more than complain and blog and slog

What say you?

One Thing NOT To Be Thankful For This Week

Karl Rove's new "fair and balanced" column for Newsweek has debuted. Newsweek actually has the nerve to claim it gives balance to political issues. And - wonder of wonders - his first topic is "how to beat Hillary Clinton next November."

Excuse me?

Not even still-Bush-supporting Republicans can possibly believe that line of bull.


Hate IS Terrorism

Today, Washington is crowded with those protesting a number of different issues that come together under one major topic: how few hate crimes have been charged and prosecuted under the Bush Administration. Sadly, it's not that hate crimes are down... but the same people who support the Bushies are the same types, too often, who feel that any crime deliberately committed against a person of color, a homosexual, etc. are "justified."

In some of the most vicious crimes possible, where it's clear that the expression of hate toward someone just because of their color, sexual presence, race, etc., the feds allow for only simple charges to be brought rather than the much more serious charges inherent with hate crimes.

I'm with those marching which include some of those affected by the terrible "Gena 6" case. We must "recover" from the hate-filled Bush years and those who feel they get an automatic free pass to hang nooses, to threaten blacks and gays and others, to go after "towel heads" just because our president seems to feel that every Muslim is an evil one.

And, btw, HATE *is* terrorism.


The LIE Of Rudy Giuliani's Moderate Progressive Nature

Lies and damned lies.

The myth that Rudy Giuliani is not only the most progressive of the GOP wannabes running for his party's 2008 Republican presidential nomination but SOOOO moderate even Dems would vote for him is one big lie. Glenn Greenwald in his Salon blog tackles this and is brave enough to call a heinous lie just that. Here's a snip:

The most transparent and destructive fallacy being recited by our Beltway media class is that Rudy Giuliani is a moderate or centrist Republican. Examples of this fallacy are everywhere.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman yesterday
twice asserted during his "chat" that Giuliani was a moderate -- first rejecting the notion that the GOP is purging moderates by citing the fact that "the frontrunner in the presidential campaign is Rudy Giuliani, an abortion rights, gay rights, gun control advocate," and thereafter claiming that GOP political operatives want Giuliani as the nominee because "they think Giuliani will mobilize moderate Republicans and independents who lean Republican." Today, his Post colleague, "mainstream" enforcer Shailagh Murray, insisted that while Ron Paul is well outside the mainstream, Rudy Giuliani is squarely within it.

The very idea that Giuliani is a "moderate" or a "centrist" is completely absurd. Regarding the issues over which the next President will have the greatest influence -- foreign policy and presidential powers -- Giuliani is as far to what is now considered the "Right" as it gets. His views on foreign policy are far more radical and bellicose even than Dick Cheney's, and his view of presidential powers makes George Bush look like Thomas Jefferson.

This whole "moderate" myth is grounded exclusively in Giuliani's non-doctrinaire views of social issues. But that's pure fallacy. Political ideology doesn't function like mathematics, where two numbers situated on opposite extreme poles can be averaged together to produce a nice, comfortable number in the middle.

That isn't how political ideology works. A warmonger with authoritarian impulses and liberal positions on social issues isn't a "moderate" or a "centrist." He's just a warmonger with authoritarian impulses and liberal positions on social issues.

Even Giuliani's
allegedly "liberal" positions on social issues are completely overblown. Outside of judicial appointments, Presidents actually have very little impact on issues such as gay rights, abortion and gun control. Other than judicial appointments, what impact has George Bush had on those areas? Virtually none.

Yet when it comes to the one instrument Presidents can actually use to shape social issues -- judicial appointments -- Giuliani's decisions will be anything but liberal. He has
said repeatedly that he would "appoint judges like Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas" -- the most conservative justices on the Court. And his closest legal confidants are the by-product of relationships he formed at the Reagan DOJ -- people like Ted Olson and Michael Mukasey -- and his appointments are almost certainly going to comport loyally to Federalist Society dogma.

"Out of The Mouths of Blabbering Boobs & Bushies"

With so much bad news - from the economy to the declaration that we're having our deadliest years E-V-E-R in both Iraq and Afghanistan to a host of other awfuls, the Bushies have made a few really TELLING declarations in the past week that are worthy of note.

First, there was Bush's insistence that anything Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf wanted to do to for his country was A-OK with Bush. But that's not quite the NEWS. Bush, when asked if it was appropriate for Musharraf to claim the presidency when he came to power through a military coupe with Musharraf heading the military at the time, Bush comes out with:

Can a leader run both the military AND be president of his country at the same time? Of course not!
Uh.... Houston to the president: YOU ostensibly run the military as commander in cheat.. uh chief WHILE you are also supposedly president.

Then there's White House spokesvermin Dana Perino, Tony Snow(job)'s even sorrier replacement who, when asked if it was appropriate for any country's leadership to choose arbitrarily to end his/her nation's democracy and civil liberties in the name of protecting its citizens from terrorism, said NO!

But all the Bushies have done, since even before Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, is spy upon us as its citizens without ANY proof any of us is jeopardizing national security, to wiretap and remove constitutionally protected liberties, all in the name of "homeland security." In fact, in the same week Perino uttered this startling declaration (and removing our liberties have NOT made us any safer, I must add), the Bushies had several new initiatives underway to snoop upon us without due cause.

Stop the insanity, people!

This Veterans Day

I think it's important to consider that IF Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney truly respected our American service men and women, many of them now vets, than they would NOT be talking about another bloody, useless, war without end with Iran - worse than our endless wars with Iraq and Afghanistan rolled together.

Instead, it's telling just to remember how hard Bush fought to keep from fighting in Vietnam while Dick Cheney, speaking of this time and his many evasions of the draft: "I had other priorities."


Not Just Iraq: U.S. Also Marks Deadliest Year In Afghanistan

Not only does the Bush-led campaign in Iraq result in more U.S. and coalition deaths than ever in 2007 despite all the happy horseshit about the "grand success" of the "surge" to kill the insurgency; no, Bush has something else to boast about (and he's enough of an ass to do so, too): this is our deadliest year for American troops in Afghanistan (remember them?) since we invaded in early October 2001.

And this distinction was earned BEFORE Pakistan fell apart to prop up Musharraf's ego; with the chaos there now, one must assume that Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and friends have more room to manuever than ever. And each day, the Bushies push harder and harder for war with Iran, a country where we can't even begin to claim it will be a "cakewalk" to wage war.

The Bush Administration: fucking the world over since January 2001.

Good Night, Norman Mailer

It is with profound sadness I report that literary genius, Norman Mailer, has died; he was 84.

Mailer at his best was really beyond comparison. Some found him too controversial but to me, he was a complex man who examined tough issues, did not look for easy answers, and went where his mind, heart, and soul took him. Like the rest of us, he had demons to exorcise.

Some of my favorites of his were "Tough Guys Don't Dance" and "Executioner's Song" which focused on the Gary Gilmore execution, perhaps one of most media-intensive of this nation's sad love affair with capitol punishment.

Definitely a one of a kind, I know I will miss him greatly.
Thank you and good night, Mr. Mailer.

Obscene: Bush "Leans" On Dead Soldiers' Families For Support


While Bush and Cheney and Petraeus keep insisting "the surge" has been an unprecedented success, and given that the "surged" numbers were there just about all year, then how is it that 2007 became the deadliest year on record for American and coalition forces in Iraq?

And that doesn't even address how deadly it's been for Iraqis.

At the same time, this story by Stolberg in The Times about how Bush and the families of dead soldiers are "leaning on each other for great support" just makes me sick. Bush, who wouldn't attend one damned service funeral, who certainly won't meet with the families of ALL fallen soldiers because he wants a guarantee the grieving loved ones won't ask him any pesky questions. I find this to be the height of obscenity.


One Sky. One Climate. One Future. One Chance.

My partner saw 1 Sky listed on a lawn sign at a neighbor's house today and I like what I see. Global warming/climate change/"the greenhouse effect" is not JUST a serious risk and challenge to us all, but also an incredible opportunity to recognize and reach out as global neighbors all under that.... 1 sky.

Check it out.


American Lawyers Vote To Impeach Bush-Cheney

The members of the National Lawyers Guild have voted to request (demand would be nice) the House of Representatives open impeachment proceedings against BOTH Bush and Cheney.

Another Bushie War, on Americans: More Senseless War on Drugs, VT Style

When the Bushie Republican Governor of Vermont didn't like that a (Democrat, I believe) lawyer and part-time judge didn't get serious prison time for possession of marijuana, he didn't just get mad. No, Jim Douglas ordered all state law enforcement officials to send marijuana (NOT heroin, NOT cocaine, NOT methamphetamine) cases to the FEDS directly, bypassing local and state courts.

Now, I'm not excusing the woman lawyer/judge who as an officer of the court certainly knows basic law. And yeah, 2.5 lbs DOES sound like a lot (except that drug cops are taught to pad the weight anyway possible and go to some truly ridiculous extremes to do so, often at the behest of higher ups and prosecutors who want to hit heavier charges as well as confiscate property).

But what the fuck is going on here? The War on Drugs has been such a miserable failure. And if you want proof, look at the Miserable Failure in the White House right now, a cokehead drunk with delusions of grandeur who actually thinks he's president when, you know, it's really Dick Cheney. I'm tired of fighting a war on Americans who as adults can make their own choices for what they consume, good or bad. If being a Bill O'Reilly isn't a federal offense (yet offensive, nonetheless), being a pothead shouldn't be either, I would think. And I say that as someone who hasn't used in God... I can't tell you how long.

No less than the Times-Argus, the Barre-Montpelier, Vermont newspaper that very few accuse of being a liberal rag, is kind of aghast at what Douglas is doing. And ALL American taxpayers should be: it's taking a local problem and, for the War on Drugs - and the war for the Bushie-style Ego, dumping it on feds that apparently need to focus on otherwise law-abiding potheads rather than on Bush corruption and Osama bin Laden and company.

From Surplus To Deeper In Debt Than EVER: The Bush Economy

Well, Bush managed to push us $9 trillion in debt (and some economic forecasters say this is nowhere near how much we owe since much is still hidden from accounting eyes).

Remember the surplus Bill Clinton left us with?


Ah, that’s because of the 7 years of Bush who can veto health care for kids but demands tax breaks for Dick Cheney and friends.

Oh, and you likely owe at least $32K grand per person in your household for the “war that will pay for itself, guaranteed! cakewalk” called Iraq”.

Sorry, no checks. Only blood and sweat and your hopes and dreams are tender we accept, please.

House Has Not Yet Killed Impeachment of Grand Emperor (VP) The Dick Cheney

While the Dem leadership seemed about as eager as most Repugs to kill it - and why they're so bashful about high crimes and misdemeanors when we're talking about treason committed in some of the most fundamental aspects of our society completely eludes me - it was Repugs who, thinking it might give Bush a "sympathy factor", who decided to let it hang around. (Somehow, I suspect only his parents give Bush much sympathy these days.)

Now others are pushing harder for the matter to go before the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by none other than John Conyers, a Dem who has shown he does not always buckle to popular pressure. Keep hope alive.

Homelessness And Vets: More Than Just A Crying Shame

With a new study out that shows that American veterans account for 25% of the country's homeless comes two questions that are far more than academic:

1) What do we do to our soldiers that they end up this way?
2) Why are so many Americans now homeless - and many of them are homeless WHILE working more than one job because housing here is so expensive - and why are we allowing the numbers to soar higher each and every day?

Other stats show that we have NEVER seen an epidemic of homelessness like this among people WHO WORK, who pay taxes. So why under Bush has this flourished?

Well, I know the answer to that.


Hallelujah and Thank You, CREW!

Buzzflash reports that CREW is launching a much-needed online site specifically to help us research government documents: Governmentdocs.org.

As Bush's Empire "Rises", Ours Falls Drastically

Positive you don't want to impeach this entire Bush Administration?

Everytime he opens his mouth about Iran, the crude oil price per barrel skyrockets and his "economic" genius has created what is arguably a much worse set of financial circumstances for many Americans than what happened during in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the coming of the great depression. 439 days more is an AWFULLY long time.

From The New York Times:

Stock markets plummeted and the dollar sank to as investors grew skittish over rising oil prices and the prospect of a substantial U.S. economic slowdown.

Rudy's Man In Stripes?

Considering Bernie's size, let's hope the prison stripes aren't horizontal.

Is it true? Is the man Rudy Giuliani tried to foist off on us as Department of Homeland Security chief, a man with a most checkered past and much of it tied right to Rude Rudy, former NYPD chief Bernie Kerik, about to be indicted?

A federal indictment against former police commissioner Bernard Kerik is expected as early as this Friday. Government sources say that if the indictment is unsealed on Friday, Kerik is expected to surrender at the Westchester Federal Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y.

The sources say Kerik has told his close friends and members of his legal team that he expects the potential indictment to come before the statute of limitations expires on Nov. 15 on charges that could include tax evasion and bribery.

If the indictment is leveled against Kerik, it will be the latest twist in the tale that began when the child of a prostitute rose to police commissioner of New York City, achieved heroic proportions in the shadow of the collapsing World Trade Center, was gifted a diamond-encrusted chief's badge, awarded millions of dollars in stun gun stock options by business clients and given the proffer of a presidential appointment by President George Bush to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Is it just me or did some of the strangest and worst people benefit outrageously much from 9-11? Bush, included.

Maybe Pat Robertson can pray for him. God knows, I pray for Pat (to be delivered to hades where he belongs where he will fight the devil for dominance).

Satan's Sidekicks: The Marriage of Rudy Giuliani and Pat "Your Blood, MY Diamonds" Robertson


The great savior (of his own ass), Pat Robertson, who pretends to be a preacher and philanthropist so he can smuggle blood diamonds out of third world nations via his missionary and "humanitarian aid" planes, has thrown his complete support behind Rudy Giuliani for the GOP presidential nod for 2008.

I mean, if you were the Repug candidate, wouldn't YOU want a man like Pat, who blamed 9-11 on gays and liberals, who has threatened the U.S. Supreme Court and suggested institutions like the U.S. State Department SHOULD be blown up to fulfill God's will (threats that would get the rest of us serious prison time, btw), and who spouts nothing but hateful invective toward anything NOT Pat Robertson-centric?

Actually, if offered the financial and moral support of Pat Robertson vs. being boiled alive in oil, let me be the first to climb in that big vat. Pat's support holds sway only with the most extreme of the Christian fascists.

The old Rudy - the REAL Rudy - would have run from such an endorsement. But this is the Giuliani whose career was considered over on September 10th, 2001 and the very next day, on his way to being raised as a national hero AND a billionaire based on a total litany of noun-verb-911.

What A Surprise: Mortgage Companies Are Padding Fees On Struggling Homeowners

I note that this Times article about how mortgage companies are playing fast and loose by tacking on extra fees and pretending to lose (to the point of destroying more than a half million dollars in checks to pay mortgages) payments. Countrywide, my former lender, is noted here and indicates it makes about $300 million a year just in late fees.

Ah, if you haven't heard, people in other countries are rushing their dollars over here to buy up foreclosed properties (including many homes and defunct subdivisions-in-the-building) what with the American dollar taking a hit all over the place. Even Canada is here buying up things since, for the first time ever, the Canadian dollar is worth a good chunk more than its U.S. counterpart.


Oprah and Boo Fricking Hoo

I couldn't give a flying fuck that poor, poor, poor Oprah feels "so devastated" that girls have been abused at the school she founded in Africa. I mean, all Oprah has done is make this about HER instead of the abused girls. She told us how she went room to room crying... wow, I wonder if the injured girls had a reaction. Gee.

Oprah really needs a HUGE swift kick somewhere extremely tender, and I hope life delivers it to her soon. I know she's the great white hope (look at her audience - women of color, by and large, seem intelligent enough to stay AWAY) but she's bought her own PR for so long her ego grows at the reciprocal rate that the world's ice masses are melting.

Actually, I'd like to keep the icebergs and just melt Oprah and her loony sidekick, Dr. Phil(ledFullofHimself).

Bush And His Medals

Can't get anything past Bush, who awards the vaulted Medal of Freedom to a great-grandma who runs her own Guantanamo Bay-style prison in the basement and spent Halloween waterboarding toddlers who wet themselves.

Actually, he's giving it to Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" - decades late, of course, and a safe choice since even many Republicans these days think blacks should not be lynched for absolutely no reason. Not Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity, of course, but still, more than a few dozen GOPeers. ::choke::

Human Bloggers To Be Replaced?

Uh.... no one tell Karlo that the cats are taking over. He worries so about them.

Cheney Impeachment Resolution And War With Iran

I also posted this at All Things Democrat but...

From Ramsey Clark, an appeal to action in advance of plans against war with Iran and acknowledging that Rep. - and Democratic presidential candidate - Dennis Kucinich’s priority resolution to be presented on the floor tomorrow (Tuesday, November 5th) calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Read the rest of this letter from Clark here.

President George Bush plans to attack Iran. From coast to coast, the people of this country are demanding impeachment, which may be the only way to stop him. We are acting now because a failure to impeach Bush with Vice President Cheney and other civil officers for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity may condemn the world to war without end. Has he not made it clear that he intends to attack Iran?

Again and again he has threatened Iran with attack if it does not abandon its nuclear program and act to please him. The threat, like the use of force against a nation, is a violation of Article 2.4 of the Charter of the United Nations just as the threat of assault, like assault itself, is a crime in all legal systems. President Bush has unilaterally imposed the most comprehensive economic sanctions within his power against Iran, excepting of course the purchase of Iranian oil. Sanctions are crueler than the colonial whipping post because they harm infants, children, the elderly and the infirm.

When President Bush decides to launch missiles at Iran, he will proclaim the ecessity for his action to prevent nuclear terrorism, and save freedom and democracy. “This government does not torture people,” President Bush assures us despite Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, rendition, the staunch defense of torture by his legal advisers throughout his Presidency and what We the People know, as he knows we know. We are being told that truth is what the Decider says it is. As with Iraq before, he now says Iran is a nuclear threat to the U.S. and brooks no dispute of his decision.

Failure to act will place the United States and much of the rest of the world in great danger of spreading war and violence resulting from a direct attack ordered by President Bush against Iran, retaliation by Iran and the fueling of existing tensions and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region.

No More Colbert Presidency

Gee, and we all just thought Stephen Colbert was such a serious candidate, too. Yet I'd still embrace him over the Republicans and one of the Dems running.

Side Note

As you might have guessed with the rising volume of postings, my DSL is working (and topping the bandwidth test speed charts - apparently the cows and sows who neighbor me aren't using a lot of bandwidth).

Bad Gets Worse

From Reuters (and filed in the Empires Crumble department):

Police fired tear gas and clubbed thousands of lawyers protesting President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's decision to impose emergency rule, as Western allies threatened to review aid to the troubled Muslim nation. More than 1,500 people have been arrested in 48 hours, and authorities put a stranglehold on independent media.

Pakistan and Osama Bin Forgotten Laden

See my post here for why I think we should be paying very close attention to the Pakistan mess and the possible "resurgency" of the Bushies' favorite bogeyman, Osama.

Also Belated... to MissM(agnificent)

a belated Happy Birthday to you!

You can read MissM at her blog.


Why I Worry About Florida Installment #2617

So what kind of fuckup do you need to be to go into a church and abuse a corpse in a coffin?

I mean, besides the kind that elects a Ros-Letinen, a Diaz-Ballert, a Mel Martinez, or a Katherine Harris to office. ::cough::

Jim Hogue's "The Ballad of Ladder 5" And The "9-11 Truth Movement"

I know many - and it's not just Dems - remain with serious questions about the events of September 11th. While I'm not trying to stir up a brew here on a Sunday, I did want to point to a bit of political poetry offered up by a Vermont local actor/activist Jim Hogue about 9-11 you can find here.

You can listen to Hogue's often politically-centric program, The House on Pooh Corner, streaming live at WGDR online every Monday from 8:30-10 AM ET.

Rice/Other Bushies Subpoenaed to Testify

Secrets passed to pro-Israel lobbyists? Hmmm.

Our media pays little attention to this, but you can bet it's getting noticed elsewhere.

A Little Late Halloweening

.... more earthly matters kept me busy on Halloween itself but let me offer this from the page of a local - and phenomenal musician who happens to be a descendant of the Countess Bathory herself that suggests that a woman, at least as much as the Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler, was the basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Note, however, that the 600+ dead from the Countess pales mightily compared to Bush's Iraq and Afghanistan adventure. ::choke::


Pakistan Under Emergency Rule - Uh Oh!

If you haven't had the news on, that "pal" of ours, Musharraf of Pakistan, has a mess on his hands... and this time, it's not directly George Bush. The road to the country's Supreme Court is closed and all hell is breaking loose there with a huge honking state of emergency declared.

This has everything to do with the Supremes there set to rule on whether Musharraf can declare himself the winner in the election a few weeks ago which many said was rigged in his favor (sound familiar... Bush 2000? Diebold making Pak voting machines, perhaps?).

Coalition of the willing, indeed.


Repugnicants Love Torture - So Long As It's Done To Others

Much of the time, it's easy to believe you've heard it all, that nothing else can shock you.
But listening to MSNBC later Monday night, in a discussion of AG Nominee Mukasey, the way he's hedging on whether something like waterboarding is torture or not (gee, what is it if not torture?), and how this is making "a sure-fire nomination" into a testy affair, my "delicate sensibilities" were once again tested.

The offender in this case in Michael Reagan, the adopted son of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, a right-wing talk show host who has always played very desperately into the extreme right fold because he knows he possesses neither the brain power nor the pizzazz to be anyone in his own right. Reagan, making fun of Sen. Lindsey Graham, a GOPeer himself - for having the nerve to question the Bushies' insistence that God WANTS America to torture anyone Muslim (or Dem or Progressive), uttered something like, "heck, the only thing we can be sure of is now we'd like to see Lindsey Graham waterboarded."

Nice. Really nice.

Michael Reagan has always sickened me. But this is a new low, even for him. That anyone in this country is even advocating torture - let alone making it sound like something fun to do to those who disagree with them - tells us a lot about the very wrong direction in which this country has been taken.

Terrorists on 9-11 didn't destroy our way of life - our leaders did it, and any of us who stood up and declared they could take away any rights or liberties or human rights protections from us just to keep us safe destroyed our way of life.

Why, oh why, do the extreme righters - and surprise others like Alan Dershowitz - hate America so much?


Putting A Face On The American Home Foreclosure Crisis

As some of you kindly noticed, I've been absent a great deal lately (although I believe the situation is now corrected... especially once my DSL begins to work). Although I really hate airing dirty laundry in public, I feel obligated to tell you a bit of why I've been missing, since it ties directly into a very serious situation here in America: a record of primary home foreclosures that now EXCEEDS that of the Great Depression that began in 1929.

I am one of 1.6 million home mostly middle class home owners whose home was foreclosed upon. Obviously, my financial problems were a big part of it; like many, my principal income post September 11th nose-dived and (also a sad norm with foreclosures and bankruptcies) a catastrophic illness in 2003 left me unable to work the 20 hours a day, 7 days a week I had for many years. By 2005, every effort I engaged in to secure my home went boom.

Though financial advisors always say to contact your mortgage company, lay out the case, and work with them to find a solution, my mortgage holder - the largest in the U.S. - never returned my calls. In fact, in the 7 years I had a mortgage with them, I never managed to speak to one single human being. When I tried to sell the home (tough in a bad market), the mortgage holder fought that, too, going to court to prevent me from doing so.

Sadly, my case is becoming the norm. Millions and millions of homes have been taken back since Bush took office (the "ownership" society he talked about really only meant the banks owning us), and though 1.6 million have been lost this year alone, some figures cite that at least 20 million other home owners are in serious danger of bankruptcy/foreclosure in the next year. Millions more are at risk of losing homes within the next two years. (More than half of all bankruptcies in the U.S. have as their initial factor medical bills - but, of course, universal health care isn't needed by anyone except Congress for themselves. ::cough::choke::

This crisis does NOT just affect the home owners. Mortgage companies have no reason these days to work with home owners because the federal government gives them a wonderful out: all the laws are written to their favor AND the Federal National Mortage Association (aka Fannie Mae) comes in and buys these foreclosed homes with our tax dollars to save the mortgage holders. Since homes aren't selling, this is only going to worsen... and get much worse if we continue to have someone like Bush (aka Giuliani, Thompson, etc.) in the White House and running Congress.

Massachusetts is talking about trying to intercede to provide some kind of bridge between distressed home owners and their mortgage holders to try to help people stay in their homes and save tax dollars being lost to "help" mortgage companies when it's American families who need the assistance.

I'm not asking for sympathy here, but to help put a face on this crisis. So many of my friends have been totally perplexed how someone like me, hardworking and frugal, could be caught. The answer is, this can happen to anyone. And does.

Crawling In The Fast Lane!

Who knew that when I recently moved deeper into the high rural hills of Vermont - and happened to get a roving bear as a neighbor - that I would happen to land in one of the few areas in the deep woods that offers DSL service. Even got it installed on Thursday.

Now only if it worked!

Sadly, I think it's a TCP issue, messed up beyond recognition and, so far, resistant to removal/reinstallation. But to know that 1.5 mbps is sitting on my desktop just beyond the reach of my system is only incredibly frustrating.

More irritating is that the only place the catten (a three month old kitten who appeared less than 24 hours after I moved in whom the dog adopted immediately, hereafter known as Jerry Che Garcia because, like his namesake, he doesn't do well in rehab EITHER) will sleep is at my temporary desk setup. My rump is a ruin of scars from his trying to convince me to get out of ::cough:: his seat.

However, Karlo will be pleased to learn that Jerry does not blog. In fact, Jerry refuses to do anything but beg for food, make the dog (Ben) cry, and fight for my seat.

My only other complaint is that I missed both a Gogol Bordello (gypsy punk) concert at my old alma mater Vermont College and a Ladysmith Black Mambasa performance at the Barre Opera House earlier this month. However, I intend to LIVE more of my life in this incarnation of me, so next time there's a concert I want to attend, I am there!


Just Who Is The Terrorist?

Since last week's vote on Capitol Hill pronouncing Iran's military as a terrorist organization (trust me, I have no love lost for most of the last however many leaders of Iran but, as the Christian Science Monitor opined shortly after September 11th, 2001, "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter") adding more and more drums toward the steady Bush-Cheney beat toward a full blown war with THAT country as well, I can just about imagine how well it would play if other countries labeled Bush and "our" Pentagon as terrorist organizations.

Certainly, I think that even within our own nation, there is widespread concensus that Bush-Cheney and all their evil elves have functioned as not just enemies of "the state" we hold dear (as in free speech, democracy, their war on the middle/working class, non-stop lies to engage in more dirty tricks and torture and war, to name a scant few. Yet can you imagine the outrage and the "right"eously angry shaking jowls of the likes of a Fred Thompson, a Trent Lott, and a Dick Cheney if another country labeled them as terrorists?

The longer we allow this evil empire to continue making misery and mayhem wherever it goes (some of which "grow" right here at home), the more we in effect empower our terrorists to wreak havoc on others. Nor am I sure that it is in anyway prudent to allow Bush and Cheney to sit there, orchestrating global oppression for the 450-460 days left to run of their term.

In other words, there is really not much we can - or even should - do about Iran and its military. Yet, here at home, we have a huge obligation to stop this continuing seven year nightmare and eliminate our own homegrown terrorists like Dubya, The Dick, the Blackwater honchos. Time we acted, too.


Bush: "To Prove I'm Relevant, I'm Ready To Let Your Sick Kids Suffer!"

Just when you thought it couldn't get anymore bizarre and bastardly at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue....

That Bush thinks he's relevant must be of great comfort to parents of sick kids this president BOASTS he wants kept from any kind of meaningful health care coverage. For a man who proves day in and day out (those few days Dubya bothers to pretend to work, that is), his comment today he is PROUD to veto the Dem-pushed provisions for government-aided health care for children (Ricky Shambles posted powerfully about it here (aka Schipstorm) at All Things Democrat earlier this week) to prove his relevancy as a president reaches a whole new subterranean L-O-W.

I overheard a woman today, a woman I have heard defend Bush right and left (and man, is he ever to the right), an ardent conservative Republican who does not believe in social programs to help anyone who makes less than 100K, completely lose it upon learning of the president's latest lunacy. "How does taking away basic health care from poor kids make him a better president?" she demanded in complete consternation as she literally threw up her hands.

Even this loyal GOPer seemed to see through the ridiculous fog of lies the Bush-buttkissers put up about how rich adults were using the kids' health care and how those from families earning $85K or more were "swindling" the system when people who cannot afford rent and food should pony up $400-800 a month in health premiums. Anyone with half a brain (OK, Bush doesn't qualify even by that lesser standard) has been appalled at the tighty righties' miserable position on this.

If the latest Bushism sounds even worse than the classic Ebenezer Scrooge bit from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" who, when asked to help the poor at the holiday season, inquires of the do-gooders if the debtors' prisons still operate since his taxes support those institutions, you aren't far from the mark.

Writes Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post on this matter:

Asked how he found himself vetoing a children's health insurance bill that had passed Congress with bipartisan support, Bush insisted that using a veto is "one way to ensure I am relevant."

When a reporter followed up and asked Bush if he felt he was losing leverage and relevance, Bush replied: "I've never felt more engaged and more capable of getting the American people to realize there's a lot of unfinished business."

Which, let's be blunt, is hard to believe.
For seven years now, everything that has come out of Bush & Cheney's mouth has been hard to believe. No, correction: impossible to believe. Nice that they'll take a stand on the fallen bodies of sick kids, eh?

Gives a whole 'nother sick meaning to No Child Left Behind.

Too Bad The Bushes Didn't Use Contraceptives...

Also posted elsewhere and proof that most of the worst assholes in the world are on Dubya's speed dial:

How many ways has the Bush Administration done its utmost to destroy the hearts and minds and soul of Americans (not to mention the devastation they've wrought in the rest of the world)? Even the world's finest supercomputers can't count that high.

The latest - and sadly, not the worst - is this from Think Progress on how Bush's new "family planning" appointee, Susan Orr, refers to simple contraceptives as an evil element in the "culture of death" promoted by progressive minds. [Too effing bad that Babs and Papa Bush didn't use some contraceptives along the way; would have saved countless lives, jobs, hearts, minds, etc.]

This is yet another cesspool of depravity dug by a group who imposes their twisted brand of morality on the rest of us while they seem to engage in nothing but perverted, sick, definitely-not-Bible-sanctioned acts, usually in and around their second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth marriage themselves. Their sense of family values always extend both to their multiple sexual partners AND their multiple spouses. All while they claim that allowing same sex marriage will destroy the heterosexual unions they can't seem to keep from killing all by themselves.

(Waving to Larry Craig, "Morals czar" Bill Bennett, Ken ("My closet is very large yet I prove that being gay doesn't always mean being merry") Mehlman, et al.)

Dick Cheney, Enemy of the State (And The World)

As I posted elsewhere...

I strongly (as in STRONGLY) encourage you to find your local listing for this week's PBS Frontline for a startling, scary profile of Vice DickPresident Dick Cheney's 30+ year war to take away civil liberties at the same astonishing pace as he wants to turn the American presidency and any notion of democracy into a game only Cheney and his pals can play.

I was riveted and sickened all at once; those who maintain BIG questions about the Bush Administration's possible complicity in September 11th will find new fodder with the revelations from Cheney's own hench cretins that as buildings still burned that day, The Dick was calling in his people to stage a coup against American democracy and the U.S. Constitution while giving the president more powers than our founding fathers EVER wanted to allow.

This material, fully documented, FAR EXCEEDS the imagination of George Orwell's 1984 and the machinations of Machiavelli. And yet, with all of that, what REALLY amazed me was that the dimbulb former Attorney General (although a dimbulb HAS to burn brighter than also former AG Alberto Gonzales) John Ashcroft ACTUALLY stood up for us when Cheney demanded the feds launch the most massive domestic spying and data mining operation against the American people in U.S. history.


Gee, What Would Jesus Say About Ann Coulter?

Well, I suspect even Christ would spit on her, as well He should.

Just when you think Annthrax can't top herself at diving any deeper into the ugly sluggy muck of existence, the woman who WISHES she were human now tells Jews to "get perfected" and to do this, they just need to "convert to Christianity already!"

Too bad Ann can't convert to Christianity. Or at least, become human. Growing a conscience, however, will never happen for this nasty purveyor of hatespeak and total intolerance.

The only possible "good" to come from this is that it exposes the "Christian neoconservative" and nutcase quotient's big mission: befriend Israel "only" to get us to the Rapture and then kill any Jew who won't convert to Christianity.

As a Christian, I am beyond appalled. My God, and my Christ, tell me to respect everyone in the way they wish to worship (and not worship, as they see fit). Unfortunately, in today's "fundamentalist" movement, they pretend their own vile message is that of God/the messiah. Beware those false profitsprophets, folks.

Draft Gore!: Will The Nobel Prize for Peace Be The Latest To Name Al Gore Winner?

In the "here's a vote Bush & Cheney, Florida and Ohio can't (literally!) steal from a Democrat!" department.

Also noted at All Things Democrat (by the resident grump - me):

Wish Al Gore the best tomorrow when the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.

In a year when Bill Clinton’s Veep brought home awards at Cannes, from the Academy AND Emmy awards mostly for his work on educating America and the world about global warming, I would love the tighty righties to have reason to deal with another “Inconvenient Truth” on Friday if the man many want to run for Democratic candidacy for president in 2008 wins. Nods to the folks at DraftGore, too.

[Now if only we could get Henry Kissinger’s peace prize recalled!]

Nods, too, to Doris Lessing, who at 88 today became the oldest person (let alone woman) to win the Nobel prize in literature. Lessing’s work is considered - uh… can you say seminal work when it comes to feminism? - important stuff in understanding women and women’s power.

The Dumb(er) Bush Twin, Jenna: "Why Fight In Iraq When I Can Get Married In The White House!"

This one just makes me so ill...

Your kids can fight and die in Iraq but Jenna's just too busy having a good time spending some of the money the Bush-Cheney war of empire is netting the dumbest man ever to breathe White House air.

As I noted at All Things Democrat, Jenna's top 5 reasons for not fighting her dumb daddy's Iraq quagmire of a war must include:

a) not enough drugs and alcohol in Iraq
b) few nightclubs that allow women
c) will ruin her manicure
d) “What’s eye-rock? Cos if it’s hip clothing, I already own it!”
e) “Cos I’m a Bush, silly. We just suck the blood out of everything, not serve!”


Rumors of My Death Are

... well, not entirely accurate.

By the end of the week (telecom permitting), I should be back blogging with a few tales to tell and quite a bit the wiser to match the scars I've gained.


Serve Those Who Served Us (Despite Bush's Lies)

This sent along by Steve of Cernigs Newshog (aka The Newshoggers) is worthy of our attention in this bipartison blog fundraising effort:

I'd like, if I may, to impose and request you spend a few minutes reading about a bipartisan blog fundraiser in honor of the tragically-killed NYT op-ed writers Sgt. Omar Mora & Sgt. Yance T. Gray.

This is truly a bipartisan effort, which has the approval of Sgt. Gray's father, and it goes to a good cause. All funds raised will go to the Fisher House charity, an organization which builds houses near military medical facilities where loved ones of those who have been injured in the line of duty can stay free of charge while their service member undergoes necessary treatment.



A Must Read

This is from Wes Clark (Retired NATO Supreme Commander and 2004 Dem presidential runner), but I've heard great reviews of this book from many sources. I won't like reading about it, but I feel it's my duty as a citizen of a country that sees war as a tool of empire.

I have just finished reading a book that was so compelling and moving that I wanted to urge you to buy a copy, while helping a worthy cause. "The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and Reality of War," by Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Brandon Friedman, captures the feelings of war with uncanny perception. Among the many excellent war memoirs by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Brandon's stands out as the best. I couldn't put it down.


Bush and Iran: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid But STOP Him

Insane and megalomaniacal simply do not begin to describe Bush anymore.

Our military is broken, our coffers are empty, and yet the Bushies say Iran is not just in their sights, but a definite strike zone.

Support our troops in the best way possible: demand treason charges be leveled against the Bush Administration not next week, not next month. NOW.


In Honor Of My Repressed, Angry, And Homicidal New England Female Forebearers

It's August 4th, a date notable for the following:

"Lizzie Borden took an axe,
gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father forty-one."

Ol' Lizzie B. (the longtime Sunday School teacher, of which I was one once) was indeed ultimately acquitted of the bloody murders of her father and stepmother at their home at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 4th, 1892 (on a sultry, 92-degree morning). [Fall River is where my family hailed from once they got off Plymouth Rock. A part of my family were her neighbors.]

However, from 1892 until her death in 1926, the whole community turned on her (Bush likes the "guilty until proven innocent" manner of jurisprudence, at least as long as the indicted do NOT belong to his administration) and Lizzie died a recluse, her own friends those she largely paid to socialize with her.

[Waving to Mr. Judd.]


Tragedies Waiting To Happen: Yesterday Minneapolis, Tomorrow Your Town?

Right now, according to ABC News, the federal government acknowledges that about 35% of this nation's major highways are in desperate shape; this in addition to the tens of thousands of bridges, countless thousands of stretches of railway, and other parts of the infrastructure that have been left to decay and are now at best "structurally unsound" and more likely flat out very dangerous.

It's only a matter of time before we see the disaster on the I35W bridge in Minneapolis repeated, perhaps with far more deadly results.

Department of Homeland Security? I dunno; al Qaeda supposedly attacked us ONCE. But can these terrorists do anywhere near the damage our federal government has, just in its total irresponsibility regarding the failing infrastructure?

I think not. President Bush's plan? Why, to tell us to pray, of course.

"I Cannot Answer Your Question Because To Do So Might Require The Truth; We Can't Have That"

And, as we all know too well, the truth (and accountability, and responsibility, and words with more than one syllable) is the worst and scariest form of terror to the Bush Administration.

If you missed the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing this morning where Karl Rove was supposed to appear, yet did not (big surprise, eh?), but where his deputy (J. Scott Jennings) did show up just to say, "Screw you!", here's a Recap for Dummies:

Chairman Patrick Leahy: What is your name?

Rove's ASSistant: I respectfully (chortle) decline to tell you this because it might endanger national security, cause terrorists to stop fighting us over there and come fight us over here, AND possibly make the president mess his pants (again) at a time when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is not available to change his ultra-small Pampers.

Leahy: You're trying to tell us you can't even state your name for the record?

ASSistant: No, I'm stating I won't. I mean, who the fuck elected you and gave you any constitional right to question the authority of the Absolute Monarch, God's boss and mine, George Bush?

Leahy: Moving on, please state your job title and your specific responsibilities.

ASSistant: I can't tell you that.

Leahy: Why?

ASSistant: Because I don't like you. Nobody likes you. Remember when Vice President Cheney, the only man who can tell God to take a freaking hike, told you to go fuck yourself? Just as promised, sir, the Bush Administration restored much needed maturity, accountability, and leadership - not to mention a colorful disregard for just about everything without a billion dollar check attached - to Washington.

Leahy: I see. So your job is to stonewall?

ASSistant: Did I mention that in the latest revision of the Patriot Act, we plan to place all Democrats and just about anyone who earns less than a cool three million a year on a list of terrorists to be denied jobs, services, constitutional protections, AND breathing privileges? Now, if you'll excuse me (and it's not like you've got a fucking choice, you old shit), I need to go so I can get Karl's Starbucks and his daily 50 lb bag of Skittles. It's a tough job subverting democracy and making a mockery of all America claims to hold dear, but Karl and Cheney are damned good at it!

Oh, one more thing: Impeach this! [holding crotch, jiggling it]


As The Worm(s) Turn: Rove Flips The Bird While His ASSistant Refuses to So Much As Identify His Job Function

Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post offers a good take on Karl Rove's middle finger flip to the Senate Judiciary Committee today in the continuing, ever more baffling U.S. Attorney purge scandal that Rove and Bush clearly orchestrated for partisan gain; God forbid someone - anyone - in the Bush White House be held accountable for his or her actions.

For my take on how Rove's hench-weasel responded to the simplest questions posed by Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA and Scotland (cough)), see this post. The fellow seemed unwilling to so much as give his name. The contempt these folks hold for anyone not part of them is just astonishing. I have to say I can find no real precedent for the extensiveness of the clear and utter disregard for any accountability for their felonious actions.

At the same time, the Bush Administration is apparently pumping its set of huge brass balls ever larger because, as it becomes clearer with each passing day that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cannot tell a truth and certainly has NO capacity for performing his job ("I serve at the pleasure of the president; I nap when he does!"), the Bushies want to give this dolt even MORE capability for spying on us all under FISA, without due cause and definitely without any accountability.

Elsewhere, Time Magazine states what is all too obvious to those of us paying attention: Bush won't boot Gonzo because to do so might bring some very nasty, impeachable, perhaps fully treasonous facts into the light of day. How terrible that would be - for them, that is.

Of Disasters And Playing The Fear Card: Did You Notice?

Wednesday night, as the tragedy of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis played out in prime time, gave what (at least for me) seemed a potent example of how badly the media, especially hopelessly partisan and misleading venues such as virtually anything and everything Rupert Murdoch owns like Fox News, the Department of Homeland Security, AND the Bush Administration serve us in times of tragedy.

I've addressed my complete disgust with the Bushies on this subject in earlier posts today, so let me turn to the rest, starting with the Department of Homeland (Incompetence and In)Security, which took rather long Wednesday night to say they doubted terrorism was at fault for the devastation.

From what I could tell, more than 90 minutes elapsed before the DHS managed to say that probably Osama bin Laden - or a liberal blogger, for that matter - was responsible. Now that might not sound too bad, but this message came SIGNIFICANTLY AFTER one cable TV news source, notably Keith Olbermann doing live coverage on MSNBC, bothered to check the Minnesota DOT's Web site and learned important details like the fact significant pile-driving, which can cause fierce vibration and therefore could be a major contributing factor to such a structural failure, was to take place that very night. I flipped between MSNBC, CNN, and Fox for the better part of three hours, and I have to say Olbermann's crew was almost always not just ahead of the game, but putting out important and verifiable details that put the disaster in much better perspective. For example, they seemed the first to report that this bridge had been considered at only 50% of its structural best several years ago and was on a list with tens of thousands of other bridges throughout the country in dire need of repair or replacement. In Bush's America especially, little things like basic safety take a huge backseat to getting Halliburton ever greater unprecedented profits thanks to no bid contracts awarded by the Bushies. Was this information magically available globally to the World Wide Web somehow not available to the idiot DHS director Michael Chertoff and his band of corrupt incompetents calling themselves by a department name they aren't fit to wear? So yes, I wonder if the slowness by them wasn't convenient to the fear campaign.

Fox, on the other hand, at best behaved almost hysterically and at worst... well, I have to say that I seriously wondered whether they were deliberately playing into the fear card as part of the great leadup to the nonstop terror scare fest we must expect as we edge closer to the 2008 presidential election. It seems to be part of the Republican playbook to scare the bejesus out of everyone with the silliest of potential terror events (exploding cheese and grandmas with bombs in their Reeboks, for example) while completely ignoring the gravest of present dangers like the Bushies and Fox News. At one point, Shep Smith filling in for O'Reilly was as breathless as a scared schoolgirl talking about explosions and all but suggesting that Osama bin Laden had decided that the way to hurt America most was to make it tough to get to Minnesota's Mall of America. They had a terror alert banner running that seemed suspiciously like something to be used to scare the not-so-bright into thinking al Qaeda wants to win its war one structurally unsound American bridge at a time.

Folks, we're being played and for far worse than mere fools. Fox plays us, the Bushies play us, and our own desire to not worry about all this "pesky political stuff" also plays us directly into the hands of those who want to peddle fear while reaping huge profits for doing nothing more than none too talented sleight-of-hand, hoping you're too busy watching American Idol or the latest ball game to notice.

As Rome And Bridges Burn (And Collapse), Bush Fiddles But Without The Talent of Nero

[Ed. note: For more on this issue, read my posts here and here.]

As a person of faith, I happen to believe in the power of prayer. I make no bones or apologies about this. I also have no desire to shove it in your face, whether we think alike or not.

However, when President Bush finally appeared, sandwiching in time for a comment about the tragedy on the I35W bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis Thursday evening - hard to schedule between his naps, bike rides, Condi Rice still helping him read "My Pet Goat" (he's still trying to finish it lo these six years since he began it on the morning of 9-11 but, written for small children, some of the words probably prove quite a challenge to him) along with (of course) his myriad lies and machinations - Bush was once again quick to cite that he was praying and telling us we should do so as well.

Now, I'm certainly not going to say it's inappropriate for the leader of the free world to pray. However, I rather expect that same leader to do MORE than pray. And I sure as hell don't need him telling ME to do so since the decision to pray, or not, is one that is intensely private and personal.

Time and again, whether on the subject of September 11th or the horror he's caused in Iraq (and Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and here, there, and everywhere), the U.S. Constitution he and pal Alberto Gonzales have used for toilet paper, or whether his favorite Texas team wins the playoffs, Bush shoves prayer at us like he's our moral compass (well, he does seem to believe he sits not just at the right hand of God, but on His - or Her - lap, fiddling dangerously with the control panel, wondering what happens if he presses that big red button - indeed, as Gonzales says he serves at the pleasure of the president, our president thinks God serves at the pleasure of Bush's "decider" omnipotence). Why bother to actually lead when you can just spout prayer and then return to his nap, right?

Let me suggest that Bush should be looking at the nation's infrastructure; for example, the thousands of OTHER bridges out there ruled as structurally questionable if not more so than the one that collapsed yesterday. And not just LOOK at the infrastructure and rush to award lucrative no-bid/no-work/no-good-results contracts to his bestest pals in exchange for money in Bush & Cheney's pockets, but start implementing a real plan to address these issues. The ever-accelerating decay of the nation's infrastructure did not begin with the Bushies, but in the name of the ridiculously incompetent "Homeland Security", everything thing else has gone to goo while he sees terrorists everywhere but where we have the greatest concentration of terrorists these days: namely, HIS administration.


Much Better: Arrest Impeach Supporters Rather Than Indict A Lying, Thieving President

It's amazing, really.

A president who stole two elections, lied us into countless wars (the one in Iraq and the ridiculous one he labeled "War on Terror" are but two), violates the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention on a daily and egregious basis, has made our country far less safe (and our risk from terrorists seems almost microscopic compared with our grave and present risks from the Bush-Cheney minions who are themselves terrorists), has killed the American dollar (still in freefall throughout the world) along with countless soldiers, civilians, and so-called enemy detainees, goes scot-free.

But cops arrest a 74-year-old man for selling Impeach Bush buttons at a Maryland farmer's market. Cindy Sheehan and nearly four dozen other Americans have also been arrested this week for impeachment efforts.

Feel any safer? I don't.


Bush Retains Deep Burrowing Bug Up His Butt

[On Saturday morning, as CNN ran the breaking news headline for hours saying they were awaiting news of Bush coming out of his colonoscopy, I was still woozy from a lack of caffeine. Thus, when they showed video - while that banner headline ran - of a bust of more than 30 pounds of marijuana found in the trunk of a car driven by a teenager, I slapped my head and thought, "Geez. Is THAT what he's had buried up there all this time? You'd think if it was pot, he wouldn't have been such a paranoid, perverse, and antagonistic little prick!" Turns out, these were two separate stories.]

On Friday night or so, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann joked that President Bush had to rush to sign the "new" anti-torture legislation bill (one meant to "clarify", as if it was anyone but the Bushies who needed such clarification, the rules against torture during interrogation laid out by the Geneva Convention) into effect before he "handed over" temporary control of the presidency to Vice President Dick Cheney while he underwent general anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy Saturday morning, just in case The Dick got any "funny" ideas.

There were also more than a few jokes running around (not exactly the ha-ha variety given what these chickenhawks are willing to do when someone else is in the line of fire) that we should pray like hell that Cheney didn't decide to use his few hours as commander-in-cheat to declare full scale war on Iran.

The sad news? Well, it's pretty damned clear that Bush's colonoscopy failed to dislodge the very deep, dangerous, and dum-bulbafying bug he's had buried up his sigmoid (one of the lovely stretches of intestine we call the colon) for at least the last seven years. Also, according to the president's doctors, they found no brain wedged up there, finally putting an end to the theory that this is where Bush has had his mind buried all this time.