Friday, October 31, 2008

Symbol Over Substance

Driving in to work this past week I've seen several of these signs along the highway. Attached to a McCain/Palin campaign sign is a hand-stenciled "Pro-Life Abort Roe v. Wade" sign.

As mean and nasty as this election has been the one thing that I've been surprised not to see are the traditional old hot-button Republican topics. McCain has yet to mention abortion, flag burning, gay marriage. These are issues that generally all but disappear for every 2 or 3 of four years, making their return appearance as the campaigns start to heat up and Republicans find themselves calling out to their "base."

The thing is, up until 2 years ago the Republicans held all of the branches of government. Dubbya was President, the Congress was majority held by the Republicans and Bush had been handed the Presidency by the 5-4 conservative split by the Supreme Court. So, with their position of governmental power, why didn't they try to "abort Roe v. Wade" then? Why not make flag burning unconstitutional? Why not push legislation to define "marriage" as an act between a Man and a Woman only?

It's not that I don't think some Republicans truly believe in these things, I'm sure some do. It is more that the value of satisfying their constituents by taking action is significantly less than the value these issues have as ideas, as symbols around which Republicans can energize their voters to get out to the polls.

Will there ever be a time when Conservatives can try to overturn Roe v. Wade? While I don't discount the possibility, I'm doubtful that it will ever happen. The use of abortion as a shorthand rallying cry for a wide variety of Conservative issues is simply too strong for many Conservatives to want to lose. After all, what would they replace it with?

Progressives have their list of issues as well, leading off with affordable health care for all. It's an issue that has held strong symbolic value for Progressives, but I believe that it's also an issue whose time has come to become a reality. Due to the broken American health care system there is such a national agreement for the need for universal health care that we are almost to a point where we can't not do this. (It will be seen as a strong win for whichever side makes it happen)

So, what will Progressives replace it with? I don't think that's going to be much of a problem. Progressives have a long history of fighting for social justice and making things better for all Americans. There will always be wrongs that need to be righted and as long as Progressives can hold onto power we can make those good things happen for the betterment of the country.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's There Not to Trust?

CNN's Politics web site has an article that quotes two life-long Democrats who have decided to vote for McCain in this election. In the article they're quoted as saying:
Most of all though, (Lula) Easterling doesn't like Barack Obama. "I'm scared to death of him," she admits. "I'm scared of what he stands for, the whole nine yards. He hangs with the terrorists and he lies. He never tells the truth and he's a flip-flopper. He's not to be trusted."
Now I don't know the Easterlings personally. However, I do know what this type of talk represents. By buying into the scare tactics the Republican talking points have been pushing for weeks on end you simply turn off your brain. Why bother thinking when someone else will tell you how and what to think and when? That's easy enough.

However, it's not all that hard to find dissenting viewpoints.

Take, for instance, the older woman at the McCain rally who said she couldn't trust Obama... because he's "an Arab." McCain, to his credit, took the mic away from the woman, quickly, and corrected her.

McCain missed the chance to say, "There's nothing wrong with being an Arab, just as there's nothing wrong with being Russian, European or American." He also missed out on a chance to stop the core of the response.

If she knew just a tiny amount about the American political process, say, even less than a foreign national testing for their US citizenship, she would know that you have to be born in the US to be eligible for the Presidency.

Still, I'm not convinced that Lula Easterling's fears and the McCain "Crazy Lady" aren't really speaking to the same point: Obama is Different.

Perhaps in all of the serious-minded policy discussion you've not noticed that Barack Obama's skin color is unlike the skin color of Most Americans. (Until 2050, that is) It's darker.
So dark, in fact, that Obama is Black.

I'll let that fact settle in for a moment.

I grew up in the Maryland suburbs just over the Southeast border of Washington, DC. The neighborhood my parents brought me home from the hospital to started as an all white one and, slowly, over time, became more and more mixed. I went to school with whites and blacks... and hispanics and asians and all sorts of other races. I grew up in a predominantly black church in DC. My parent's friends were all sorts of colors and races. It was simply no big deal.

There is a part of the America that likes to believe that we've come so far as a nation that skin color doesn't matter, that race doesn't matter. And, if you happen to have X skin color and live in a predominantly X skin color area, chances are skin color really doesn't matter. Much.

However, I live in a mixed neighborhood. A mixed neighborhood in the South. It's an area that was, undoubtedly, in it's past proud of its segregated areas and intolerant of blacks who gave any indication of trying to rise above their station.

When I was an elementary school librarian I read the short stories of Mildred Taylor to a hundreds of fourth grade students. Her stories were about a black family living in Mississippi during the turn of the century, a generation or two removed from the Civil War. These stories were filled with awkward, sometimes fearful interactions with the poor white families who lived around them.

I always had to preface these stories with an explanation of what prejudice was, why some people were racist and why those causes were tolerated then but are no longer seen as such now. It was empowering to state simply that skin color should not matter, that prejudice is simply wrong. That racism is simply wrong.

So, to the Easterlings and the Crazy Ladies out there, let me make this very plain. Your statements do not disguise your real meanings. By saying, however cleverly coded you think your words were, that Obama is Black and, therefore, is not to be voted for and/or trusted, you are exposing yourselves as the racists you are.

And racism is just plain wrong.

Now that you've shown yourselves to the light of day, please accept the gift that light is offering by acknowledging this about yourself and work to overcome your prejudices.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sarah Palin is an ignorant, ranting, whining bitch. There I said it. But lots more are thinking it.

Actually, I didn't say it originally, I'm merely quoting it.

I'm more than willing to say it as well, though. For instance:

"Sarah Palin is an ignorant, ranting, whining bitch."

Who has the guts to say this sort of thing publicly? Meet Helen Philpot, one of two women, friends for over sixty years, who is blogging about life and politics. Margaret and Helen's blog may have started out as a way for the two to keep in touch, but it's gained major exposure over the internets through her recent tell-it-like-it-is postings on Palin and McCain.

Just take the titles of some of her posts along with hand-selected (by me) quotes from said blog entries:

Sarah Palin is a Bitch… there I said it.

"She will say anything and avoid answering any question instead choosing to spout whatever line or soundbite some adviser put into her mouth a few hours earlier. And exactly when did sounding like a hick make someone “more like us”. Last time I checked we were a country striving to educate our children to be intelligent and honest. I think I would die if my daughter came home from school and said something like “I gotta tell ya. Change is a comin’.” At the very least I would remove the Beverly Hillbillies from her approved TV viewing list."

"She loves to talk about being a mother but the last time I checked, having your newborn on national TV at 11PM instead of in bed wasn’t considered “good muthering“. Neither was making your child’s unexpected teen pregnancy the talk of the nation because you desperately wanted to be a politician in Washington DC - or isn’t that exactly what you said you didn’t want. From where I sit, it appears you would sell your soul for the position."

Yep. I called her a bitch and I am not taking it back.
"I am so surprised at how many of you have come to my little web page blog. People didn’t think I was 82 so I thought maybe you couldn’t see the pictures but then someone called me old and fat so I guess you can...

For those of you calling me names. Shoot. I’m 82 and have been called much worse by much better. Margaret all but called me a communist for posting it in the first place and told me my sailor mouth would get me in trouble! I don’t mind. Besides I started it by calling that fool from Alaska a bitch. Surely you could not have watched that debate without realizing she has no idea what end is up. I remember a girl like that in high school. Her name was Sally and we used to say that she wasn’t right in the head."

Maverick my ass!
" is what my heart is telling me. I am 82 years old (83 in December). It’s time to hand the reigns over to the next generation and hope that we did a good job raising them. To Senator McCain I say, with love in my heart, sit down and shut up. You’re beginning to look like an ass and your answers sound like a cross between Barnie Fife and Floyd the Barber. And no matter how many times you start a sentence with “My friends” if you end it with a bunch of stuff that really doesn’t make sense… well eventually someone like me is going to call “bullshit”."

"One more thing for Senator McCain before this old bird goes to bed. Ronald Reagan is dead. Let it go."


"Hello world. Well where do I begin? I am shocked at the response to my little rants. You sure do know how to make an old gal feel special. Of course there is another woman out there who feels special, but that’s only because she’s been shooting caribou out the window of her Straight Talk Express on the way to her next Republican hillbilly rally.

For crying out loud America. How bad does it have to get? Senator McCain is practically crumbling to dust before our very eyes while Governor Palin is out in the hinterland screeching about some 60’s hippie who bumped into Obama once or twice over the years. This from the woman who panders to secessionists in Alaska. Please, dear God, somebody throw a stone because that glass igloo needs to be shattered!"

The Straight Talk Express Just Drove Off That Bridge to Nowhere

"My hat’s off to McCain for trying to set the record straight about Obama not being an Arab, but what does it say about his judgment that he handed a live microphone to Ma and Pa Kettle in the first place? I mean what truck and tractor pull was cancelled to make room for that stop on the Straight Talk Express?

Look. I called Governor Palin a bitch. Some of you didn’t like that word and I really don’t care. I’ve been around the block a few times. Hell, in dog years I’m already dead so a little word like bitch is hardly cause for concern in my world. But when a crowd starts yelling “terrorist”, “kill him” and “Arab”… well that is entirely different and it’s time the guys driving this Straight Talk Express started using their heads for something other than hat racks. If you watch Palin doing her little performance at those rallies you quickly realize that she is either too stupid to see or just doesn’t care that her dog sled is going down a slippery slope. We can’t put that in the White House. We just can’t."

What strikes me the most about Helen Philpot's writing is that I haven't read anything like it before. Democrats, on the whole, are far too nice, far too polite to write such things. In their effort to be all-inclusive, to listen to and accept all people from all walks of life they become afraid to call something out for what it is.

Not everything wants to play nice. Not everyone wants a happy, sunshiny world where we all can be happy, loved, warm and well-fed. Not everyone wants a fair, level playing field.

Palin and McCain are two such people. They want as much as they can grab as fast as they can grab it. Fueled by eight years of watching Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush White House rake the working class of American over the coals, smothering us with the Constitution until it, too, burst into flames, they have seen what can be done and are eager for their chance to carry on the Bush legacy.

It takes someone like Helen to call them out on it and remind us that we, too, should be calling them out, just as loudly and just as angrily.


Monday, October 13, 2008

If McCain Loses, At Least We Know Who Is to Blame

On Saturday, October 11, John McCain held a rally in Davenport, Iowa. The rally opened with an invocation from Arnie Conrad, Executive Director of Interim Pastor Ministries.

Now I'm well aware that you can't hold anyone fully accountable for things said during an event they have sponsored, nor does the mud slinging guilt-by-association that's being flung around these days directly mean much.

To this end, I don't hold the McCain campaign responsible for Mr. Conrad's words. I do, however, hold Mr. Conrad fully accountable for them.

In his invocation (seen and heard in the last segment from Countdown in the video clip, above) Mr. Conrad says the following:

"I would also add, Lord, that Your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god, whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah, that his opponent wins for a variety of reasons.

And, Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation because they're going to think their god is bigger than You if that happens.

So I pray that You would step forward and honor Your own name in all that happens between now and election day."

I'll leave you to watch Keith Olbermann's reaction to the use of "Hindu" as a God and to some of the other points Olbermann takes issue with.

For me, the problem with Mr. Conrad's statements is they show a clear "God is on Our Side" mentality that is not only not spiritually based, but is fundamentally dangerous. For, if God is on any one side, He is clearly against the other side. Go way beyond the prayers for God's wisdom and protection being said at Obama rallies on a daily basis; forget about the idea of Competing and Canceling-Out Prayers. Mr. Conrad is saying that his belief in a political ideology is not only superior to the other party's ideology, but is directly aligned with The Will of God.

Think about that: Republican ideology is God's Will. Therefore, Democratic ideology (and Libertarian, Socialist, Communist, etc., ideologies) are against God's Will. That would make them fundamentally evil.

American politics is so polarized that, in general, any national election is decided by the 20% of the electorate who are Undecided. (Forty percent will vote Republican, period; forty percent will vote Democratic, period) What we, as a nation, have lost (if, indeed we ever really had it) is the ability to have a reasoned discussion about differences. Is it really that difficult to sit down across a table from someone with opposing political views and discuss them, not to try to convince the other person of the fallacy of their beliefs, but simply to understand why they hold those beliefs?

Apparently, it is. Just the other day I was in line at a local mega-DIY store and I happened to turn around and saw the older couple standing behind me. They both had such venomous looks in their eyes as they locked eyes with me. At first I thought it was the typical "long-haired hippy" response I've gotten for much of my life -- but then I remembered that I'd recently cut most of the pony tail off. It wasn't until I was walking back to my car that I realized they had been reacting to my satchel strap of Obama buttons that had been pointed their way.

I believe in God. I believe that God created all of us and that He loves all of us. That love extends to the people who earnestly try to to His will every moment of every day and to those who have the darkest of hearts.

When Moses came down with the Ten Commandments the people argued the minutia of their meanings. When Christ came down He said, essentially, "Okay, I get it. Ten was too many. Let me distill the essence of all of those and everything else, into two simple statements: Love God. Love each other. Think you can do that?"

Loving everyone is tough. Loving your enemy is even tougher. (Just try it sometime) However, it is the rock upon which the New Testament, and therefore Christianity, is built upon.

When people wonder why Christianity has such a bad name across the world I believe it's because of people like Mr. Conrad who fail to grasp that Loving Each Other means loving all of the people all around the world, be they people who worship "Hindu, Buddha, Allah" and/or people who support Barack Obama.

When anyone corrupts Christianity by poisoning it's simple message of love and compassion with power, they stop doing God's will and diminish us all.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Sarah Palin is Good for Democrats and Bad for Republicans

Why Sarah Palin is Good for Democrats

When Sarah Palin came out on stage Wednesday night, September 3rd, the entire race for the Presidency changed. During her acceptance speech she hit all of the right notes through a carefully crafted speech delivered with strong conviction, friendly personality and with enough Far Right buzzwords to get the crowd cheering wildly. In 30 minutes the convention hall was transformed from a group of party faithful who were mostly half-heartedly supporting their candidate, to a cohesive, energize party. In Sarah Palin they were able to rally around the Cult of Personality that (imho) they had been secretly, jealously, watching Democrats rally with Barack Obama.

That night Democratic panic began setting in. John McCain was such a low-energy, uninspiring grumpy old man that even the Republican pundants were having a hard time selling him with much enthusiasm. Winning the election this time around was almost going to be... dare I say it... easy.

Then, overnight, it suddenly wasn't so easy. In fact, as poll numbers started switching sides, it looked as if Palin was energizing the Right so much that she and McCain just might take the election from the Left.

Sarah Palin's greatest gift to the Left, in this election, has been to make them realize that no matter how bad the past eight years have been for America, the Left still needs to work for their candidates. That the Left still needs to earn this election. By becoming a Republican Celebrity of the First Order, Palin shook up the Left and got them working again to win this election. Any hint of complacency is gone, any signs of "we deserve this one" have been replaced by positive action for Obama and Biden.

Why Palin is Bad for Republicans

After her triumphant acceptance speech at the Republican Convention the McCain Rove Team sent Palin and McCain out on the road to do a series of public speeches. The crowds ate up the Palin excitement, cheering wildly, despite her giving the exact same speech every time. It was as if Palin the Rock Star was doing a concert of her one hit single.

When it was announced that Palin was not going to be made available for interviews the press was not amused. Even moderate-to-conservative pundants were not happy with that decision. Given McCain's age and medical history, it was vital for the American public get to know the woman who was, potentially, going to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

As she continued to not be available for interviews, the concerns only grew louder. When Rove finally relented and gave her to Charlie Gibson of ABC it quickly became apparent that Palin either had not been as well-prepared for the interview as she should have been or that she simply did not know all that much about Big League politics.

In her interview this week with Katie Couric, this trend continued. When pressed, repeatedly, for a single example of McCain's support for financial reform to back her claim of the same, Palin finally gave up, saying, "I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you." (The UK's Telegraph's headline read, "Sarah Palin endures 'cringeworthy' CBS interview"

Capitol Hill sources are saying that Palin has done extremely poorly in a mock debate held in preparation for next week's Vice Presidential debate as well as in a mock press conference. The Huffington quotes McCain aids describing both as "disastrous."

The moral of this Alaskan Salmon Out of Water Story is twofold:

1. Big fish in small, remote waters do not, necessarily, automatically have what it takes to swim with the bigger fish.

2. Self-confidence is easy to have when you're the one in charge. When you're no longer in charge, however, is the real test of confidence, character and wisdom.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Keith Knight is an east coast-born, west coast-transplant cartoonist. His weekly cartoon, The K Chronicles, has long been a must-read. He's personal, political and honest in his observations. This week's cartoon is a great case in point.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Symbolism of Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin is seventeen. She is unmarried. She is also five months pregnant.

Personally, this is no big deal. I feel sorry for her, in that no matter what happens to her baby, that choice, that decision will be with her for the rest of her life.

In today's society, where children are expected (and usually want to) leave home around age 18 and strike out on their own, deciding to keep a child means having to grow up very, very fast. All of the usual adult responsibilities -- finding a place to live, rent, utilities, independence -- all have to be renegotiated to include a small child who is utterly and wholly dependent on another young person for their very survival.

Give the child up for adoption and there's always a lingering emptiness that only the child could fill. Plus, there's the endless questions: is my child alright? did s/he find a loving set of parents to raise her/him? is s/he finding their way in life? is s/he happy? is s/he looking for me as much as I wish to be looking for him/her.

Abortion is often just as complex. The job of raising a child may be alleviated, but the reality of that child, of that life carried inside of you, that life that was a part of you, growing with and through you, never goes away. Estimated delivery dates are often remembered as would-be birthdays. They return on a yearly basis to those uncertain of their decisions or those who always have that lingering "What if..." in the back of their minds.

Any way I look at Bristol Palin's pregnancy it's a less than perfect situation. Not just for her, but for her family as well. If I had a 17 year-old daughter who was pregnant I know we would fully support whatever decision she made. If she decided to keep the child it would be the full family that raised that child, not just our daughter (and the sperm donor, should he decide to participate).

There are two things that disturb me about Bristol Palin. One is personal, for her, and another is far more symbolic:

First, being a seventeen year-old pregnant girl cannot be easy, even in the best of circumstances. Even with the full support of the family (or, reportedly, not) it's still a life-defining, life-altering challenge.  That Brisol's pregnancy is being played out on a national stage with full national attention is not just sad, its the ugliest sense of a combination of obscene (in the true Greek sense of the ob skene meaning) voyeurism and invasion of privacy.  For God's sake, let the poor girl have her privacy.

As pure symbol, devoid of person, personality and individualism, strictly viewed as an object for semeiotics, Bristol the Symbol is something quite different.

The right wing of the American politics has been quick to either brand the issue as Bristol and her family as having chosen life (now leave her alone) or being strictly a private family issue.

Now, I admit if the roles and parties were reversed we really would not know what the response/reaction would be.  However, being a relatively intelligent and knowledgeable person who follows politics, I have considered the idea for many days and I keep coming back to the same conclusions.

If, for instance, Barock Obama, another presidential candidate affiliated with a major non-Republican political party, or if Joe Biden, a Vice Presidential candidate with a major non-Republican political party, had a teenaged daughter who was pregnant, I believe the public and media discussion would be completely different.

Instead of being a respected, sequestered "private family matter" or "personal decision" the issue would be preyed upon a daily basis by the Righteous Right.  This would not be a "family who chose life", this would be a "family who, obviously, failed their daughter and have failed in their primary role as parents", who "failed to instill teach their daughter the fundamental difference between right from wrong" and "have burdened themselves and their daughter with a mistake that will distract them all from the important issues facing our country."

Worst of all, this  would have been portrayed by the Righteous Right as a personal failing by the parents and a moral failing by the parents as well as their fundamental beliefs, both as (whatever-deficient-sect-of) Christians., and as Americans.  This would not be framed as a "Choice of Life" but as a basic Moral Failing of the Parents, as the inability of the heads of the family unit, the basic unit of all America, to lead and guide those most close and important to that unit.

And, if you can't lead and guide that basic, most fundamental unit, how can you ever hope to lead an entire nation.

It's the Righteous Right's fundamental hypocrisy concerning the Symbol of Bristol Palin that I find most gut-wrenching and most offensive.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Women Against Sarah Palin

This past week has been a busy one. The Republicans have successfully managed to keep the campaign off of any of the issues that really matter in the day-to-day lives of most Americans and, instead, switched the focus to the spectacle that is Palin.  

Palin is not a credible candidate for Vice President.  Palin is a side show act; Palin is distracting entertainment.  Palin is exactly the type of lousy excuse for 'serious discussion' that Jon Stewart railed against when he appeared on CNN's Crossfire.  (Stewart's appearance helped to end the show's run on CNN shortly after his appearance)

In that appearance Stewart said, "Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America."  By dressing up Pundants in a 22-minute show, complete with empty arguments, cheap shots and Lightning Question Rounds, it masqueraded Theater and called it Political Discourse.  Serious Political Discourse at that.  Crossfire was as much serious political discourse seeing Russia from your living room window makes you an expert on International Policy.

This past week the headline were dominated by as many different ways of looking at The Sarah Palin Story as newspapers and TV news shows could come up with.  Charles Gibson was granted a sit-down interview by her Republican handlers late in the week, thus giving us our first glimpse of what she really does and doesn't know (Bush Doctrine, anyone?) and how well she's learned to parrot the various talking points of the McCain campaign thus far.

The overall effects of this are likely to be 'a wash', however.  That 40% of Americans who will be voting Democratic come November -- come h3ll or high water -- saw only that Palin truly isn't ready for anything close to Vice President, especially not with an elderly man like McCain at the helm.  That 40% of America who will be voting Republican come November -- come h3ll or high water -- saw their party's great white hope take on the media elite and score a resounding victory.

As usual, this election will come down to those 20% of people who claim to be Undecided.  If part of that decision comes down to how the women in that 20% feel about Sarah Palin, there are two things that give me hope.

The first is that Palin is on the cover of the latest National Enquirer magazine.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the Enquirer, but there is a huge portion of the American public, nationwide, who either buy the Enquirer or at least read the headlines at their local grocery story check-out aisle.  (I fall into the latter group, being a fan of The Weekly World News, myself.  Real check-out aisle truth comes in simple black and white)  While the cover image isn't all that unflattering, the story headline reads:


The article lists family drug addiction, vandalism, kicking their pregnant daughter out of the house (once the pregnancy was discovered)...  Even if the story is either partially true or not true at all, it's enough to tarnish the pristine Palin image in the sub-conscious mind of the American public.

Second, for the more thoughtful, there's the new blog Women Against Sarah Palin (which is not to be confused with the web site Women Against Palin, nor the Women Against Palin site's own blog although, there's nothing wrong with confusing any of them with one another, for that matter).  These sites all feature intelligent women who are working to quickly move America away from the false entertainment of the Palin nomination back to the issues that must decide this election.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey/Sarah Palin & Amy Poehler/Hillary Clinton on SNL

my apologies for the NBC-inserted pre-video commercial, but if you haven't seen the skit that opened SNL on 13 Sept 08, it's worth sitting through to get to the skit.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Right Palin for the Job

A Palin I can completely endorse for President!


Friday, September 05, 2008

And Now, Your Moment of... Truth

I've managed to watch a good part of the Republican convention this week and I've been astounded by the lack of integrity and the downright hypocrisy of the Right Wing talking heads and candidates.

Thank God we have Jon Stewart and The Daily Show crew to talk Truth to America.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wake Up Democrats! Wake Up America!

Dennis Kucinich makes me proud to be a Democrat.

I only wish the country would give him a chance to be President.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Be Nice, But Indict

Two weekends ago we did something very out of character for us: we went to a party. Not only was it a party, but it was a party where we didn't know anyone.

My wife found it listed on's site of parties celebrating the Democratic victories in the mid-term elections. She had orginally asked some other friends to join us but they all backed out at the last minute, so we were left to go on our own.

The party ended up being part event and part CD Release Party for a local Raleighwood band. All in all, it was an odd, cobbled-together affair with the band playing in the emptied living room of a fashionable, historic area (Boylan Heights) house that was being reburbished.

After the first set the homeowner/keyboardist opened the mic for anyone who wanted to share any thoughts on the elections, the Dems victories or anything they'd done to contribute to the Dem's cause during the election.

A few people got up to speak and it was clear they hadn't been prepared to do so.

The last guy to speak had called several hundred people from the democratic headquarters during the week before the election. He told of how happy people were to hear from someone, how grateful they were to be encouraged to vote and make a difference.

He ended by saying it was now time to put all of the partisan politics behind us, to not "go after" the Republicans but to just move forward.

From the floor, where I was laying, I loudly said, "Be nice, but indict!"

My wife cheered that thought on by saying, "We're not ready to make nice!"

The speaker tried to chide us, saying if we did that we'd never get elected again. He quickly left the mic and sat down. When my wife tried to engage him in a conversation he just as quickly got up and went to the other side of the room where he gathered with some friends and avoided us.

"Be nice, but indict" has become my personal motto for the coming two years in politics. What Bush and the Republicans have done to the Constitution is intolerable. Dems need to (a) work to make corrections to the damage done and (b) make sure that those responsible are exposed and punished so (c) this kind of miscarrage of justice and abuse of powers never occurs again.

I see the Republicans as having acted like little kids who have realized that their parents have left the house for the day. Suddenly they were the ones in charge and they got to set all of the rules -- and so they did. They ran amok, trashed the living room, had a 'fridge-emptying food fight in the kitchen and strung their littlest brother up by his belt from the ceiling fan.

Now that the parents have returned home, there's clean-up to be done and punishment to be doled out so the spoiled brats learn that what they did was not acceptable.

Some people learn because they have the character and sense of self-identity to know what is right and wrong for themselves and others. Some people are too in-it-for-themselves and could care less. They need to be handled accordingly.

(And, yes, I'd be saying the same thing if the parties were switched and the same abuses of power had taken place)


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not As Seen on TV

Not as seen on TV
Not As Seen on TV

I spent the better part of a week in New Orleans during the second week of June (2006) and have been spending time ever since trying to wrap my head around many of the sights I saw during my stay.

Growing up, as I have, in the US, I was led to believe that we were the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. With that status came expectations of our outlook on life, a "Might for Right" approach that would help us make the world a better place to live.

Obviously, that isn't the case.

However, I had definitely expected more from the US when it came to it's own citizens. The flooding in New Orleans (and other Gulf Coast cities) happened in August of 2005, almost 10 months ago. Certainly something had been done to at least start cleaning up the area. Right?

Apparently not.

These images were all taken in the Ninth Ward, near to where the first break in the levee started the flooding of New Orleans. They're, in many ways, some of the worst that I captured, but they're still indicitive of the lack of anything down there that's being done other than a systematic betrayal of the trust the citizens of New Orleans placed in their elected officials.

I have posted these images and many others over at my main blog on livejournal:

If you're interested in seeing more and/or commenting, please check them out and let me know what you think.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Fooled Again vs "Effectively Over"

Mark Crispin Miller, author of the new book Fooled Again writes that John Kerry now believes that the 2004 election was stolen.

At the time of the election Kerry heard about all of the (under) reported potential problems and ways in which the election could have been hijacked, but lacked any hard evidence to make such accusations public. Fearing being referred to as a "sore loser" he declined to take his Vice Presidential running mate's (John Edwards) advice and press forward with any charges and, instead, conceeded.


Doug Thompson, a Capitol Hill Blue writer, writes that:

"A growing number of Republican leaders, party strategists and political professional now privately tell President George W. Bush that his presidency "is effectively over" unless he fires embattled White House advisor Karl Rove, apologizes to the American people for misleading the country into war and revamps his administration from top to bottom.

This in the face of plummeting public approval ratings including a growing number of Americans who believe that Bush should be impeached if he lied to the US public about the reasons for invading Iraq.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

How to Steal an Election

There have been conspiracy theories about the ease with which an election run on electronic balloting machines can be stolen since before the 2004 election. These machines, with no paper trail, with easy to hack security systems and common admin usernames/passwords were a rallying point for many on the left, especially in light of the close vote count in Ohio.

It didn't help when the Chief Executive of Diebolt "promised" Dubbya Ohio and the election.

Well, now the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released their report on the use of electronic voting machines. In the report they discuss many of the security concerns raised by the left -- and determine that those concerns are completely legitimate.

While this report is going under-reported in the media, The Rock River Times has writen an article and posted it online which details the GAO's findings.

I've seen plenty of "Elections that are for sale are not free" bumper stickers over the years. Elections that can be stolen aren't either.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A New Hope

It's been a long time since I've updated this political side blog. That's largely been because after the democrats lost the election in 2004 I've felt completely burned out on politics. I've kept up to date on most things, but I've had no interest in discussing them (outside of small circles of friends) and certainly not writing about them.

The Cindy Sheehan movement down in Texas caught my attention, in part because I like that kind of In-Your-Face refusal to sit down in the back of the room and just be quiet form of protest and because she was starting to get some national exposure for an issue that the current administration has been despirately trying to marginalize.

National coverage is one thing. Mobilizing that energy into personal action by individuals is another. The former could be simply a media-generated fad to generate news-interest during a slow period of the year; the latter would mean something really was out there and happening.

Early last week emails were sent out to organize Vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan all across the country. Given the short notice (emails went out on Monday, the vigils were on Wednesday) I wasn't expecting much. Still, we decided to go to the Vigil closest to us and hope for the best.

I took lots of pictures of our small Vigil on the bridge. The people were all very relaxed, peaceful and friendly. We all knew why we were there and were grateful to find that we each weren't alone in our opposition for the war in Iraq. It was a good evening.

I posted a selected number of my images up to my flickr account. Later in the day someone posted a Flash presentation slideshow of some of the best images found on flickr from Vigils all around the country. That slideshow, found here, was important to me -- not so much because the picture shown above is included, but because I was able to see evidence that there were over 100,000 people who were all willing to more-or-less spontaneously come together to peacefully, quietly stand in support of Cindy Sheehan and in opposition to an unjust and immoral war.

Looks like there may be hope for us yet.


Thursday, February 03, 2005


Listed on BlogShares

Feeling a surge of web-based narcissism yesterday I searched for myself online and was surprised to find this blog listed on Blogshares. Go figure. With zero comments posted here I had all but assumed no one was reading this blog at all.

So while this posting is primarily to officially lay claim to my own blog (with the blogshares logo above) here's something else to think about from yesterday's Reuters:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday."

The full story is available at this Yahoo News page.


Monday, January 31, 2005

Children of Iraq

This is cross-posted, with some minor editing, to my personal blog. Sometimes posting just demand better exposure.

Bonn showed me these images yesterday. They come from a website called Zonaeuropa. The page takes a while to download because of the sheer number of images.

(Note: There were no photographer's credits given for any of these images)

What astounds me, just continually astounds me is the unthinking arrogance of the current administration. To think for a minute that any country would accept an invading force as liberators and welcome them and their style of government as anything other than Invaders is absurd.

Instead of being seen as anything positive, we've shown ourselves to be concerned only with our own financial interests at the price of any international standing we might have had, regardless of any human cost -- be it in Iraqi lives or those of our own soldiers.

We're doing more to instill hatred of the US than any propaganda campaign against us ever could. And we've all but ensured several future generations of terrorists willing to give back to the US what they felt was given to them and their country.

God help us all.


Friday, January 28, 2005

The Latest from Seymour Hersh

There's an incredible lecture by reporter Seymour Hersh posted online now. It's from a talk he gave last November, but it spells out what the current administration is planning, their views on the world and how bleak things appear to be.