Friday, June 30, 2006

The Moon and The Pale Blue Dot

This image of the Earth and moon in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded on Sept. 18, 1977, by Voyager 1 when it was 7.25 million miles from Earth. The moon is at the top of the picture and beyond the Earth as viewed by Voyager.

In the picture are eastern Asia, the western Pacific Ocean and part of the Arctic. Voyager 1 was directly above Mt. Everest (on the night side of the planet at 25 degrees north latitude) when the picture was taken.

The photo was made from three images taken through color filters, then processed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Because the Earth is many times brighter than the moon, the moon was artificially brightened so that both bodies would show clearly in the prints. Image Credit: NASA

Hat tip to:
Gregg for finding this photo, and the information on it.

Who are we?
We find that we live on an insignificant planet
of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away
in some forgotten corner of a universe in which
there are far more galaxies than people.
- Carl Sagan:

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there -- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
- "You Are Here," Pale Blue Dot
"The Cosmos may be densely populated with intelligent beings. But the Darwinian lesson is clear: There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another."
- "Who Speaks for Earth?" Cosmos
"We are the product of 4.5 billion years of fortuitous, slow biological evolution. There is no reason to think that the evolutionary process has stopped. Man is a transitional animal. He is not the climax of creation."
- The Cosmic Connection
"We must stop pretending we're something we are not. Somewhere between romantic, uncritical anthropomorphizing of the animals and an anxious, obdurate refusal to recognize our kinship with them - the latter made tellingly clear in the still-widespread notion of 'special' creation - there is a broad middle ground on which we humans can take our stand."
- Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
- Pale Blue Dot
"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
- Pale Blue Dot
"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring."
- Cosmos

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Conservatives love philanthropy-- until they realize they can't control where the money goes.

You'd think everyone would be thrilled that two of the richest men in the world (in fact, according to the Fortune 500 list, perenially THE two richest men in the world), Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have joined forces to become great philanthropists, giving away billions to universities, libraries and other institutions around the world. Liberals would be thrilled because of how much money these institutions would receive to further their mission for the common good, conservatives would be thrilled because of the ability to demonstrate how the super rich can give back (in stark contrast to, most notably, the selfish Wal-Mart heirs whose main concern of late has been lobbying Congress to try and get rid of inheritance taxes, presumably to prevent any of their money from ever being used for the common good so they can pass it on to the next generation of plutocrats; it might be noted by the way that Buffett and Gates' father both signed a letter a couple of years ago in favor of keeping the estate tax.) So everyone (at least those not named Walton) should be thrilled, right?

Well, not some anti-abortion priests. Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of Human Life International said that

[Buffett] "will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents."

That statement is an absolute outrage. First of all, Dr. Mengele, who carried out hideous 'experiments' on concentration camp prisoners, was anything but a philanthropist. To compare Warren Buffett to Dr. Mengele is an insult to the survivors of his 'experiments' (yes, there are still some out there) and marginalizes the crimes of one of the last century's most notorious criminals (probably the most evil of Hitler's henchmen to escape justice and die of natural causes.)

Secondly, Rev. Thomas is referring to money that Buffett has given to Planned Parenthood and birth control programs, and also money he donated in the 1990's specifically to fund clinical trials of the 'morning after' pill, RU-486, after misguided anti-abortion advocates thought they had prevented the trials by blocking Federal funding for them after Republicans took over Congress in 1994. They don't seem to have a problem with, for example, Domino's pizza founder Tom Monaghan giving generously to pro-life causes, so why should they be upset that Warren Buffett once chose to spend some of his money to pay for something that the Federal government didn't want to spend taxpayer money on? After all, isn't that the conservative ideal? Well, I guess not if it circumvents their circumvention.

Third, consider what Planned Parenthood is for. The name says it all. They teach family planning, birth control, and where necessary, that the morning after pill be available. All of which actually reduces the number of abortions! So by being angry about it, aren't Rev. Thomas and the others either showing that they haven't thought this all the way through, or else they are in effect admitting that it isn't about abortion at all, but about forcing 'wicked' women to 'pay' for their decision to have sex by becoming pregnant?

It's not just the Rev. Thomas either:

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, wrote a commentary this week holding the Buffetts partially responsible for the approval of RU-486 in 2000.

"Since then, approximately 500,000 American babies have been killed with RU-486," Perkins wrote. "Buffett's billions have the potential to do damage like this on a global scale."

I guess conservatives like philanthropy only as long as they can theorize about how it will replace government programs. But when it replaces the ones they actually wanted to can, then they go nuts.

And conservatives have a problem. Conservative billionaires either keep their money, or like the Wal-Mart heirs, invest it in lobbying big government. Liberal billionaires are mostly the philanthropists, which means that most of the money goes-- that's right, to liberal causes (conservatives who wanted to squeeze the budget reins to choke National Public Radio either off the air or into compliance are still ticked off about Joan Kroc's bequest of $200 million in her will, which makes NPR pretty much immune to most of what they can do, at least through the end of the Bush administration.)

I can't wait until the Gates foundation starts upgrading internet access in their local school or library, and they can't shut it down just by pleading that people would rather have a tax cut, nor make funding contingent on a censorship agreement. Can't you hear the outcry already?

Cross-posted at Deep Thought.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Those Summer Nights

Summer is supposed to be a time of outdoor fun, and I have some unhappy campers who are anxiously awaiting the water truck to fill up our pool. The good news will be here tomorrow. I said to my husband, we should have just put the pool up and the rains would have saved the truck a trip. He said he did not want to swim in acid rain.

At any rate, I was glad to read that Jane made it safely to Connecticut. It has been tough going in some parts here. Just take a look at the road in Sidney, New York. The banks of the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, N.Y. overflowed and this mother and child had to leave their home.

So to cheer my daughters and mother in law up I decided tonight I was going to treat them all to a facial. Yeah, hubby wanted one too. I have a glowing family and then I dropped the bomb. I told them they would have to pay me for my services by helping with petitions.

Sure hope your evening has gone well.

A Ripple of Silence

Whenever a soldier dies, in Iraq or anywhere else, a wave of uneasiness — fear, revulsion, guilt, sadness — ripples through the survivors. It could be felt on Monday, even when the fighting was still going on.

That was the quote that my mother read to me this morning when she called to see how we were doing with all the rain. Just raining water here not bullets. We talked further, but I could tell in her voice that this article written in the New York Times had touched her to tears. The soldier was Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk, 26, of Zion, Ill. and he had just died in Ramadi from a mortar shell.

After Terry Lisk's body was place on the helicopter, Col. MacFarland spoke to the troops who stood in silence saluting Terry. The Colonel said:

"I don't know if this war is worth the life of Terry Lisk, or 10 soldiers, or 2,500 soldiers like him," Colonel MacFarland told his forces. "What I do know is that he did not die alone. He was surrounded by friends.

"A Greek philosopher said that only the dead have seen the end of war," the colonel said. "Only Terry Lisk has seen the end of this war."

R.I.P. Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Supreme Court basically ruled today that a state legislature can redistrict anytime it wants so, basically, the Delay gambit in Texas is okay. It also said Hispanics were denied some rights and some changes need to be made in Delay's redistricting to correct for the inherent “bias” (none dared call it racism).

Anyhow, instead of crying in our beer about the overall pro-l decision, the Democrats should do two things:

1. Loudly and clearly broadcast that the Texas Republican Party discriminated against Hispanics and that they can be expected to do more of same if they succeed in the ’06 and ’08 elections -- in all states across the nation.

2. All states with Democratic legislatures should begin redistricting to box out Republicans, increase the voting power of their constituents, and take back as much power as possible from the piglet party.

The Supreme Court said this is fair play, so let's play to win. I bet California could be an interesting place to start.

Don't cry -- get busy.

~ Gregg

"America's Tuning Fork"

About a month ago Pete Seeger did a fundraiser with John Hall here in New York. Pete Seeger resides in Beacon, within the district where John Hall is running for Congress. I did not have the opportunity to attend the event with Pete Seeger, however I was fortunate to attend one later that evening with Jackson Browne. I wanted to share a letter I got from Pete Seeger with you. I think the letter speaks for itself.

Dear Friend,

Music has always had the ability to comfort and inspire. From Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" to Freda Payne's "Bring the Boys Home," songs have delivered the message of the American people. John Hall's anthem, "Power," is such a song. Speaking in melodic phrases about solar energy, biofuels, wind power, and other renewable sources, John's song addressed the urgent need for renewable energy sources - 27 years ago.

Now we have a chance to bring John Hall to the United States Congress in New York's 19th District.

John doesn't just write songs. He helped organize the No Nukes Concerts decades ago and raised over a million dollars for safe energy and conservation; he's held elected office in upstate New York, and served on the board of Clearwater working to protect the Hudson River.If you want a proven environmentalist, union member, independent thinker, dedicated worker and determined leader in the US Congress, please contribute as generously as you can right now.

June 30 is the end of the second quarter of the Federal Election Filing period when PACs, environmental groups, and Democratic leaders judge the financial strength of a campaign.

If everyone getting this email just sent $10 to we could raise a million dollars from this appeal alone. And, John will need it to compete for TV time with a six-term incumbent who has received huge donations from the oil, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries.

Let's take our county back, restore checks and balances, and put a proven leader in Congress. Please join me in supporting my friend, John Hall.

Yours in peace and solidarity,

Pete Seeger

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm giving credit where credit is due.

Caught in his latest usurpation of the Constitution of the United States Of America, His Majesty is close to a public temper tantrum. Even I could hardly believe the video. I don't expect it to stay up too long. As I write this, AP, AFP, Reuters, BBC and CNN have picked it up. FOX, of course has not. I'll bet Yahoo will get pressure to pull it. Hopefully, some tech saavy person will grab it and put it up on IFILM or YouTube before that happens. Remember how they scrambled to rid the WWW of the bush/Abramoff pictures?

This boy's gonna pop an artery.

Bush slams leak of terror financing info

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

President Bush said Monday it was "disgraceful" that the news media had disclosed a secret CIA-Treasury program to track millions of financial records in search of terrorist suspects. The White House accused The New York Times of breaking a long tradition of keeping wartime secrets.
"The fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror," Bush said, leaning forward and jabbing his finger during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters in the Roosevelt Room.
The Times has defended its effort, saying publication has served America's public interest.
The newspaper, along with the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, revealed last week that Treasury officials, beginning shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, had obtained access to an extensive international financial data base — the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift.
The New York Times late last year also disclosed that the National Security Agency had been conducting warrantless surveillance in the United States since 2002 of people with suspected al-Qaida ties.
"Some in the press, in particular The New York Times, have made the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult by insisting on publishing detailed information about vital national security programs," Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech at a political fundraising luncheon in Grand Island, Neb.
"The New York Times has now twice — two separate occasions — disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish those stories by senior administration officials," Cheney said. "They went ahead anyway. The leaks to The New York Times and the publishing of those leaks is very damaging."
Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, defended the decision to publish the story.
"Most Americans seem to support extraordinary measures in defense against this extraordinary threat, but some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight," Keller said in a note on the paper's Web site Sunday.
But Treasury Secretary John Snow said in a letter to the York Times that over the past two months he and other administration officials had engaged in a "vigorous dialogue" with reporters and editors at the newspaper trying to persuade them to refrain from revealing the program.
Snow said the effort to persuade the paper not to publish also included former Republican Gov. Thomas Kean of New Jersey and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., the co-chairmen of the Sept. 11 commission, as well as a number of members of Congress and top government officials.
In an interview Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room," Keller revealed that Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., who has been a vocal critic of the Iraq war, also urged the Times not to print the information.
"In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counterterrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trail," Snow wrote.
Keller told CNN on Monday: "I believe they genuinely did not want us to publish this. But I think it's not responsible of us to just take them at their word."
On Monday night, the Los Angeles Times Web site posted a letter explaining its rationale for reporting the story. Editor Dean Baquet wrote: "We considered very seriously the government's assertion that these disclosures could cause difficulties for counterterrorism programs. ... In the end, we felt that the legitimate public interest in this program outweighed the potential cost to counterterrorism efforts."
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the story represented "a highly unusual departure" from the practice of newspapers honoring the secrecy of sensitive matters during wartime.
"The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public's right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody's right to live, and whether, in fact, the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans," the press secretary said.
Using broad government subpoenas, the money-tracking program allows U.S. counterterrorism analysts to obtain financial information from a vast database maintained by a company based in Belgium. It routes about 11 million financial transactions daily among 7,800 banks and other financial institutions in 200 countries.
Some Democrats in Congress have said the program raises concerns about intrusions on privacy and was another step in an aggressive Bush administration expansion of executive-branch powers. On the other side of the argument, Rep. Peter King (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has urged the Justice Department to "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times."
Keller told CNN he didn't expect to be prosecuted. "So far, the administration, and in particular the attorney general, while they have dropped some hints about prosecution, they have not embraced in full the argument that the Espionage Act applies to journalists," the Times editor said.
Bush said Congress had been briefed on the program and "what we did was fully authorized under the law. And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful."
He said: "The 9/11 Commission recommended that the government be robust in tracing money. If you want to figure out what the terrorists are doing, you try to follow their money. And that's exactly what we're doing."
You absolutely MUST watch the video!

And here's another one for you (click on the text to read the entire article) The "I'm above the law" signing statements are coming back to bite him in the ass:

bush ignores laws he inks, vexing Congress

'Sen. John McCain thought he had a deal when President Bush, faced with a veto-proof margin in Congress, agreed to sign a bill banning the torture of detainees. Not quite. While Bush signed the new law, he also quietly approved another document: a signing statement reserving his right to ignore the law. McCain was furious, and so were other lawmakers.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is opening hearings this week into what has become the White House's favorite tool for overriding Congress in the name of wartime national security.

"It's a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution," the committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter , R-Pa, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm interested to hear from the administration just what research they've done to lead them to the conclusion that they can cherry-pick."'

Also posted at The Divided States Of bu$hmeriKa Part 2 and Ass Kickers In Exile

It must be an election year, the Republicans are in control of the agenda, and they have nothing substantive to run on. How do I know that?

Well, today, the Senate opened debate on a flag-burning amendment.

Last year, I did a post in which I pointed out that exactly ONE flag was burned in the United States in 2004 protest.

Then last year, according to a site owned by supporters of an amendment, they could only find twelve incidents of 'flag desecration' in the entire country.

Let me say that again. A dozen in the entire country in an entire year, as researched by supporters of the amendment (I'm even giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that every word they say on that page is accurate.)

And, in all but a couple of the cases that have been solved, the perpetrators were teenagers, drunk or both. If anything, I would question whether the publicity afforded because of the kind of rhetoric we hear may be inciting drunk or rebellious teens to do something that might not have even crossed their mind minus the phony flag-burning 'debate.' Further, in every single one of the twelve cases a crime already on the books was committed, and either the perpetrators were arrested or the case remains open. The crimes included arson, theft, vandalism, incitement to riot, disturbing a public assembly and other unspecified charges (likely including public intoxication) as well as all those relating to flag desecration that the group could come up with that are apparently still being enforced locally (in none of the twelve cases was this the only crime which apparently had been committed.)

And I'd even add one more (maybe): There was an incident in which a group calling itself the 'Islamic Thinkers Society' ripped up a flag in New York and put it on video, mainly it seems for the benefit of people who want to ban flag burning (I wonder if someone over there on the right paid them to deliver the tape just in time for the fourth of July last year, since they had been forced to use old 1960's era stock footage of someone actually destroying a flag). This only shows one thing though. If this incident (which seems remarkably staged-- probably why it wasn't listed in the link above) was in fact genuine then it seems that all the publicity we are giving it is certainly contributing to such incidents as there are.

All this is exactly why we DON'T need a flag burning amendment. There is no epidemic of flag burning in the United States. Twelve cases, up from one the year before is no evidence that this is a problem, and in every case there are already local laws that cover the situation (especially since it seems that the flag burners involved apparently prefer to burn someone else's flag). The way the right would have you hear it, there are avenues practically lined with flag burners, who are creating a serious threat to the security of our nation (and just think of the greenhouse gases emitted). But it just ain't so.

Now consider a document which is practically sacred. The basis of our freedom, which makes America unique among all the nations of the world in being the first, and for a long time, the only, free society on earth. This document has only been amended 27 times in the history of the Republic (in fact only seventeen, as the first ten were included when it was written), and when it was, it was nearly always amended to spell out broad freedoms and rights given to millions of people, in fact an expansion of freedom. The only exception, where any kind of freedom was limited, was the 18th (prohibition)* which also stands as the only amendment that was considered such a massive mistake that within a few years another amendment was passed to repeal it. Now, is our generation's legacy going to be that we will add an amendment not guaranteed to expand anyone's right, but only to silence a handful of kooks?

And I will give credit where credit is due. The Senate's number 2 Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said on ABC's 'This Week'

I think the First Amendment has served us well for over 200 years. I don't think it needs to be altered.

Which in my opinion bodes well, if the Republicans manage to keep control of the Senate (which hopefully won't happen.) Given that Bill Frist is leaving the Senate, and the number 3 man, Rick Santorum, is in serious trouble in his race for re-election (with his conservatism being the biggest strike against him in Pennsylvania), McConnell will almost certainly become the new Minority Leader (or Majority Leader if we don't get to 51). It means that instead of continuing to fight this dragon every year, Democrats may actually have a chance to slay it once for at least the next several years if we can get enough votes this year to scuttle it. Apparently it won't be way up there on McConnell's agenda to bring back again.

Well, maybe not, but in an election year it 1) makes a great diversion from the real issues which face us, and 2) you can always get people on record who have the good sense and guts to vote against it and run some commercials back home which practically show them holding a blowtorch to a flag.

*- some might argue that the 27th amendment, which was actually written by James Monroe and ratified 200 years later, and which limits the ability of Congress to vote pay raises to itself, is a restriction of freedom. It has only been part of the Constitution for a dozen years though, and was completely unnecessary were it not for the failure of the people to vote out Congressmen who voted themselves pay raises after midnight.

cross posted at Deep Thought.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I heard the story about the AWOL female soldier who refused to report for her second tour of duty in Iraq this morning on NPR radio on my way to work. As if being deployed to that hellhole a second time wasn't stressful enough, it turns out that the real boogeyman of the day was the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of "superiors".

Army specialist Suzanne Swift left her Washington-state-based unit six months ago without permission. She was arrested last week at her home in Oregon. She says she deserted because of the sexual harassment she suffered during a year-long deployment to Iraq. The Army says it's investigating her claims.

You can listen to the story at NPR, here:
Iraq Veteran Says Harassment Prompted Desertion

Netroots include the Young

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down and read the blogsphere and it was certainly a good weekend to read it. Then I needed to sit back and interpret it all. Of course, I did need to lean on some people for understanding, they know who they are, and I thank them for it. If you haven't had the opportunity to follow the Zengerle Follies, I recommend that you read James Wolcott's post. Afterall, the right wingers are saying:

It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face.
And Lee goes on to demean the commentors of blogs stating that we lack concentration. My only guess is that Lee really has not been an internet user for very long. Since we all know what it was like when the internet first came into our homes. We would sit in front of the computer and travel from link to link wondering how we were ever going to find our way back to the beginning. Sure, it took a little time to adjust but we did. And it was Digby, who I think by now you know I read daily, who brought the "Lee article" to its knees. It is brilliant and unsurprising from Digby.

We all know there is a fight between the big media and the blogsphere, after all, they are losing readership. Jerralyn at Talk Left put it so bluntly and I loved reading her words:

Big media has a dog in this fight. Newspapers are losing readers like a sieve to bloggers and online media. Have you noticed that every newspaper now has "blogs," most of which seem more like articles that didn't make the cut of the paper's final edition -- articles written by traditional journalists in that impersonal, reporting tone with too much prose and too few external links? It's like they don't have a clue what this blogging thing is all about.

By the time the word "blog" is understood by mainstream Americans, bloggers will have moved on. Markos and those in the netroots once again will leave big media in the dust. Politicians, if they are smart, will hang with the netroots to avoid a similar fate.

And the media knows that, why do you think they descended on Yearly Kos? They realized that there is a base out there, which is very much opposed to the Bush Agenda. Georgia10 shared it in this great post:

Yes, the Democratic Party does have a base.

And boy, judging from the reaction from some quarters of the press, it was like they stumbled upon a New World filled with an undiscovered indigenous people. Who are these members of the "netroots"? How do they interact? What are their goals? Who is their leader? Do they light bonfires and eat their young?

We saw it as the media descended upon YearlyKos, armed with cameras and notepads ready to "observe" this strange phenomenon, this corporeal gathering of the newly discovered Democratic base, as if they were filming a Discovery Channel documentary. For quite a while, their coverage of us focused not so much on us as much as on our reaction to things--such as our reaction to Colbert's speech.

We have always been here, of course. The only difference is that the internet has allowed us to meet in a 21st century public square of sorts. And yeah, like people do when they get together for change, we (gasp!) organize and we (holy shit!) debate strategy. We argue. We support each other. We raise money. We spend money. We make miracles happen, and we make mistakes. And, unlike the Republican base, we do this all publicly. Our debate is online, naked and raw. Millions attend our town hall meetings, and each participant speaks out in her own unique (and yeah, usually anonymous) voice.

I love the ending of her post:
All of us--a whole movement greater than the sum of its parts, powered by ordinary people who are pursing an extraordinary concept of change.
But a more curious thing is happening, and I know it is not only in my household, I saw it in Blue Girl's post. The movement involves our children. They want to know what their parents are doing. They see us involved and they want to be a part of it. Why just yesterday as we were all reading and listening to the radio, my youngest daughter turned to me and said "Democrats are talking on the radio, Mom." What she was referring to was the commercial by Ned Lamont.

Things are changing so rapidly, and it is no deep dark secret.

Crossposted at Team Bio.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Small Room, huh Joe?

Power of the Blog: Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman stands a good chance of losing his August primary thanks to heavy blogger backing of his opponent, Ned Lamont.

Sans-Culotte reminded me:

Remember the Kiss? Never forget the kiss.

See Lieberman Jump For Joy at the SOTU
Watch as Bush spins his Iraq message and Lieberman jumps out of his seat faster than anyone else in the place including all of the Republicans.

Photo By: Gary Fabiano / SIPA for Newsweek

A Call for Peace

Photo by: Michal Cizek, AFP

I stole this poster from Bring It On.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

A couple of days ago, Greg posted about Dan Rather. I am not sure if many remember the bizarre event that occurred one night in October 1986. Dan Rather was walking down a Manhattan street when he was punched from behind and thrown to the ground. His assailant kicked and beat him while repeating, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" That attack inspired Michael Stipe to write a song. Michael also said:
"It remains the premier unsolved American surrealist act of the 20th century. It's a misunderstanding that was scarily random, media hyped and just plain bizarre."
Those words he said, sure are right. Just look at what happend during this past week.

Just Another Idiot in the Wall: Don Goldwater, the GOP candidate running for Governor in Arizona is officially being indoctrinated into the "Reincarnation as a slug" group. Old Don actually called for the creation of a forced labor camp for illegal immigrants and that he wanted to hold the undocumented immigrants in camps to use them as labor in the construction of the Wall.

That's the sound of the man working on the chain gang: Joe Lieberman has been busy releasing lies about Ned Lamont's position of the Kerry Amendment.

Teach Your Children Well
: I am sure that most have already read the article by Richard Morin. However, I agree with what Matt Stoller says: "What the 'Daily effect' really shows is that Jon Stewart is able to accurately describe our political world to young people. And in fact, Daily Show viewers not only have more negative feelings about the political system, but they are better informed than 'hard news' viewers."

Don't Dream its Over: Digby actually had second thoughts about being to harsh in criticizing the Democrats for their response to this Republican trash talk on the war. I am sure glad he went ahead and posted it.

Welcome to Miami, Buenvenidos a Miami: Spin Dentist says: "I suppose the gentlemen who got arrested, as ragtag as a crew as they are, who couldn't even supply their own boots, should still get arrested for plotting some kind of bombing. But from reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Times, it appears to me we have a distinct whack job factor going on here, as well as an IQ deficiency."

Friday, June 23, 2006

We here at Night Bird's Fountain light a candle for the Mother of Jane Hamsher. She left this Earth yesterday, June 22nd.

We had joy, we had fun,
we had seasons in the sun.

But the hills that we climbed
were just seasons out of time.

Okay folks, yesterday we learned:

Earth warmest in at least 400 years, panel finds
National Research Council report undermines critics of 'hockey stick' data

MSNBC staff and news service reports

WASHINGTON - Weighing in on the highest profile debate about global warming, the nation's premier science policy body on Thursday threw its weight behind controversial data and voiced a "high level of confidence" that Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, possibly even longer.

A panel convened by the National Research Council reached that conclusion in a broad review of scientific studies, reporting that the evidence indicates “recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years.”

The panel of top climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is running a fever and that “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.” Their 155-page report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century.

In addition recently we learned:

Global warming helped fuel 2005's destructive hurricane season, researchers said Thursday. Their study adds to a roiling scientific debate over the role of climate change in spurring more intense hurricanes.

"About half of last year's extra (ocean) warmth was due to global warming," says a co-author of the study, Kevin Trenberth of the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. That translates into an increase in ocean temperatures of just under 1 degree Fahrenheit above natural year-to-year variability in temperatures.

And so it seems fairly obvious as Barry Commoner said awhile ago that:

What is new is that environmentalism intensely illuminates the need to confront the corporate domain at its most powerful and guarded point - the exclusive right to govern the systems of production.

And soooooo, my question is:

When are those freakin’ morons in the United States Congress and White House gonna pull their heads out of the sand and get off this hyper “free markets cure all things” ideology and do something towards providing a livable planet for our children and grandchildren????


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Solstice

Solstice comes from the Latin (sol, sun; sistit, stands). For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky—that is, its noontime elevation does not seem to change.

What were your noon time thoughts?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow."
~Dan Rather

I watched Dan Rather my whole adult life. For me there was no network news other than CBS. Vietnam, Watergate, those nasty and foreboding Reagan years ... thru it all Dan reported with more of an edge and more of a connection to the average citizen than the other major news shows. I think he had Bush by the tail in 2004. It seems clear that, whether or not the document was tampered with, the little bush cheerleader had been both AWOL and insubordinate while in the Air National Guard. (Remember the secretary whose memory of the bush piglet was quite clear on this?) But the facts of the case and the obvious abuse of privilege by the rich punk were not enough to bring him down, and the jackals had their way with Dan. Now the rich kid gets to send other people's sons and daughters off to die in a war he lied us into.

So I hope Dan finds a new job with some teeth to it. CBS and the MSM are not of much use to me anymore, with the way the world of cyber space has evolved and the MSM has turned, to check out line foolishness. If Dan finds some venue to ask his hard questions, and go in the field where the shit is flying, and take down some pompous asses, I will be following him again.


"What many of us need is a spine transplant. Whether it's City Hall, the Statehouse or the White House, part of our job is to speak truth to power."

~Dan Rather

In Bushworld, the poor shall remain poor.

The Republican-controlled Senate refused Wednesday to raise the minimum wage, rejecting an election-year proposal from Democrats for the first increase in nearly a decade.
The vote was 52-46, eight short of the 60 needed.

and also in Bushworld...
House Republican leaders on Wednesday postponed a vote on renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act after GOP lawmakers complained it unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight.
Can we officially call our country broken?

And to think our own President...

George Bush is defacing the American flag in Vienna, Austria. But it is not the first time, apparent G.W. Bush has defaced the American Flag before. Puppethead posted about it back in July 2003.

TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > § 8
§ 8. Respect for flag

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
I do like the way Snudge at Think Progress thinks:
Both “George” and “Bush” are words and a signature is an insignia. Plus, all of the words are made up of letters. If he followed up his signature with a smiley face, that would be a picture.
AmericaBlog has the picture.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PFC Thomas Tucker, PFC Kristian Menchaca & SPC David Babineau


Day is done,
gone the sun,
from the lakes
from the hills
from the sky,
all is well,
safely, rest,
God is near.

Fading light,
Dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky
Gleaming bright,
From afar,
Drawing, near,
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun
Neath the stars
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This, we, know,
God is near.

Pfc. Kristian Menchaca
We are praying for you.

I don't care what that asshole Snow says, I think it is really important that we post about Kristian. May he return safe and be reunited with his family soon. Meanwhile WaPo says:

As Vasquez and Tucker's family in Madras, Ore., awaited word Monday on the whereabouts of their sons, a message was posted on the Internet saying the soldiers were abducted by an Islamic group. A Marine spokesman in Baghdad had not been able to verify the authenticity of the statement, which was purportedly posted by al-Qaeda in Iraq under the name of the Mujaheddin al-Shura Council, an umbrella organization of insurgent groups..

Leave a message if you wish to and I will make sure to forward them to Kristian's family, his 18-year-old wife, Christina, his mother, Maria Guadalupe Vasquez, and his brother, Julio Cesar Vasquez.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pfc. Thomas Lowell Tucker
We are praying for you.

I don't care what that asshole Snow says, I think it is really important that we post about Thomas. May he return safe and be reunited with his family soon. Meanwhile Raw Story says:
Ahmed Khalaf Falah, a farmer who said he witnessed the abduction, said three Humvees were manning the checkpoint near Youssifiyah when they came under fire from several directors. Two Humvees chased after the assailants, but the third was attacked before it could move, he told AP. Seven masked gunmen, including one carrying what appeared to be a heavy machine gun, killed the driver of the third vehicle, then took the other two soldiers captive.
Leave a message, if you wish to and I will make sure that
Wesley and Margaret Tucker get them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tim Tagaris, anyone remember him?

He has been quite busy since he joined the Ned Lamont Campaign. Tim attended the fundraiser at the home of Governor Weicker and his wife, Claudia Weicker in Chester honoring Ned Lamont.
Governor Weicker took the stage and talked about the fact that Senator Lieberman has literally transformed a serious debate about the war and other topics to a 30 second cartoon.
More at Ned Lamont Blog

Marc Pekowsky, Cordially invites you to a house party & jam session in support of John Hall, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in NY-19

Sunday, June 25, 2006 from 3:00 pm ­ 6:00 pm
43 Benjamin Road, Mahopac, NY
(845) 628-8330

Bring a lawn chair or blanket

Musicians: bring your instruments for a giant jam session

OPEN CONTRIBUTION = (No Contribution Necessary)

We at Night Bird's Fountain, would like to wish all the fathers on this earth a good day. May you have relaxation, good wine or beer and a nice dinner with your family. That is what we are doing on this extremely warm day.

I miss my father very much. He lost his battle of cancer 12 years ago but I know it would have made his day to see a remarkable man speak this morning on Meet the Press, and no I am not talking about Tim Russert. I am speaking of Rep. John Murtha. Murtha is my hero. He is a true Patriot.

Murtha said regarding Karl Rove's remarks last week:

He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside, saying stay the course. That’s not a plan. … We’ve got to change direction. You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office and tell troops carrying 70 pounds on their backs, inside these armored vessels hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up — and he says stay the course? Easy to say that from Washington, DC.

Think Progress has the video.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Red Letter Rev!!

And, rather than cyber ice cream, I tried my hand at some of that famous 'nanner puddin, although it doesn't compare with Rev's. (Uhmmm, do you care to share your recipe?)

Finally, this particular birthday would not be complete without a little hoedown music. And Jen has graciously agreed to lend a hand to get this party rockin: Happy Birthday, Luv!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

How The Fawn Got Its Spots
A Dakota Sioux Legend

Long ago, when the world was new, Wakan Tanka, The Great Mystery, was walking around. As he walked he spoke to himself of the many things he had done to help the four-legged ones and the birds survive.

"It is good," Wakan Tanka said. "I have given Mountain Lion sharp claws and Grizzly Bear great strength; it is much easier now for them to survive.

"I have given Wolf sharp teeth and I have given his little brother, Coyote, quick wits; it is much easier now for them to survive.

"I have given Beaver a flat tail and webbed feet to swim beneath the water and teeth which can cut down the trees and I have given slow-moving Porcupine quills to protect itself. Now it is easier for them to survive.

"I have given the Birds their feathers and the ability to fly so that they may escape their enemies. I have given speed to the Deer and the Rabbit so that it will be hard for their enemies to catch them. Truly it is now much easier for them to survive."

However, as Wakan Tanka spoke, a mother Deer came up to him. Behind her was her small Fawn, wobbling on weak new legs.

"Great One," she said. "It is true that you have given many gifts to the four-leggeds and the winged ones to help them survive. It is true that you gave me great speed and now my enemies find it hard to catch me. My speed is a great protection, indeed. But what of my little one here? She does not yet have speed. It is easy for our enemies, with their sharp teeth and their claws to catch her. If my children do not survive, how can my people live?"

"Wica yaka pelo!" said Wakan Tanka. "You have spoken truly; you are right. Have your little one come here and I will help her."

Then Wakan Tanka made paint from the earth and the plants. He painted spots upon the fawn's body so that when she lay still her color blended in with the earth and she could not be seen. Then Wakan Tanka breathed upon her, taking away her scent.

"Now," Wakan Tanka said, "your little ones will always be safe if they only remain still when they are away from your side. None of your enemies will see your little ones or be able to catch their scent."

So it has been from that day on. When a young deer is too small and weak to run swiftly, it is covered with spots that blend in with the earth. It has no scent and it remains very still and close to the earth when its mother is not by its side. And when it has grown enough to have the speed Wakan Tanka gave its people, then it loses those spots it once needed to survive.


Federal Judge Rules U.S. Can Detain Non-Citizens Indefinitely on Basis of Religion, Race or National Origin

A federal judge in Brooklyn has ruled the government can legally detain non-citizens on the sole basis of their religion, race or national origin and then detain them indefinitely.

The ruling came in response to a class action lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a group of immigrants who were detained following Sept. 11th.

A conversation with an attorney from the Center of Constitutional Rights that filed the lawsuit

It's the "us" versus "them" mentality. And, I fear that it's only a matter of time before this law will apply to US citizens, too. After all, the NSA can spy on us without a warrant and the police no longer need to "knock" on a door before serving one. All the while we continue to fight for "freedom" in Iraq, our freedoms are eroding.

2008 cannot come fast enough. Thankfully, we have Nov. 2006 to get started.

Joey is Losing IT!! Even Josh Marshall Sees It!!

My god, this guy has resorted to childish, cartoon commercials to try and knock Ned Lamont out of the race. It's embarrassing! I have yet to see this ridiculous commercial air here in CT. As the article says, it is in limited markets. I hope it goes all the way!! It will only serve to show how out of control and threatened Lieberman is. You must watch this one!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

2,500 — "a number"

When asked about the landmark 2,500 US soldiers killed in Iraq, today the White House Press Secretary claimed that “Everybody would like the war to be over now.” He also said the 2,500 figure was “a number.”

QUESTION: Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the president on that?

SNOW: You know, it’s a number, and every time there's one of these 500-benchmarks, people want something.

Of Course the WH would like this war over! It is their biggest nightmare, but to back out, will make it all look like the mistake it was!


It's just a number???

9 /11 is just a number
400 billion dollars is just a number
40,000 civilian deaths is just a number
18,000 injured is just a number
9 billion dollars lost is just a number
3 and a half years is just a number
1 Zarqawi is just a number
130,000 troops is just a number

However, callous arrogance, denial and stupidity is rampant and unlimited, in the White House.

Just keep in mind that what you're hearing is coming from the bunch who believe that the Constitution is "just a g.d. piece of paper." Clearly, there is no respect for the office, the founding document, our brave troops, nor the American people.
Patriotism involves one heckuvalot more than the ability to speak English or putting magnets on a gas-guzzler. Unfortunately, the pugs just can’t make the leap from all-show-no-go to abstract understanding of what makes a nation; most particularly what makes this nation.

The far-right think if they mouth prayers loudly in public (yet deny the Gospel) and wave a flag and put ribbon magnets on their SUV's, that is surely the primrose path to righteousness. Gimme something for nothing -- that's the Republican way. T'ain't that easy. It takes involvement and participation.

You only get to keep the rights you're willing to defend. Once a right is taken away (or thrown away, in the case of the reichers), it never returns.

(muttering) Just a number ... grrrr ... those were real people with real lives and real loved ones.

~Red Letter Rev

Why did you lie, George?
Why did they die for your lies, George?
Why do you keep lying, George?
Why, George, WHY?

Ernesto Che Guevara de la Serna
born June 14, 1928

I missed putting up this post yesterday. I think it is important to remember Che Guevara because on October 9th, 1967, he was put to death by Bolivian soldiers, trained, equipped and guided by U.S. Green Beret and CIA operatives. His execution remains a historic and controversial event; and thirty nine years later, the circumstances of his guerrilla foray into Bolivia, his capture, killing, and burial are still the subject of intense public interest and discussion around the world.

"As long as imperialism exists, it will, by definition, exert its domination over other countries. Today that domination is called neocolonialism." - Ernesto Che Guevara

Tony Snow is One Sick Bastard...

and seems to be on an almighty high after he snuck into Baghdad with his boss and posed for photo ops. It appears that Tony Snow gets off playing G.I. Joe, too bad the guy has no clue what it is really like to go on a mission.

However, he thought he was on a mission today. A purely evil mission belittling soldiers and former presidents. First he demeaned the lives of the 2,500 soldiers who were killed serving a lie by President Bush by calling their deaths "A number and a benchmark." Think Progress has the video and transcript:

Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?

MR. SNOW: It’s a number, and every time there’s one of these 500 benchmarks people want something. The President would like the war to be over now. Everybody would like the war to be over now. And the one thing that we saw in Iraq this week is further testimony to the quality of the men and the women who are doing that, and the dedication and determination to try to ensure that the people of Iraq really do live in a free, effective democracy of their own creation and design.

Any President who goes through a time of war feels very deeply the responsibility for sending men and women into harm’s way, and feels very deeply the pain that the families feel. And this President is no different. You’ve seen it many times. You saw it, you saw it when he was in that ballroom, Terry, and you had this crowd of servicemen and women who were cheering loudly for the President, and he got choked up. So it’s always a sad benchmark, and one of the things the President has said is that these people will not die in vain.
I find it truly amazing to listen to G.I. Snow rubbing up against the President and selling Americans a loving picture in Iraq. War is the ugliness thing people view and for 6 years we have seen all the ugliness this President has caused. And today we were reminded of it by G.I. Snow.

But G.I. Snow was not done, he had to defend the reason that his loved and cheered President snuck into Iraq. So what does G.I. Snow do at the prompting of Imus? He decides to attack Former President Carter for sneaking off to fish, while Bush only sneaks off to speak with other governments:
1. Whereas Bush “snuck off” to visit Iraq, Carter “used to sneak off and fish on the weekends.”

2. “[U]nlike in the Carter years, where…you had the humiliation of hostages being taken in Iran,” in Bush’s case, “you’ve got the president who’s showing up in Baghdad and talking with the new government.”
The response by Think Progress to these two remarks is the reason, they are the first website I log on to read the news of the day. Nico from Think Progress writes:

A couple points:

1) Tony Snow is in no position to mock President Carter for vacationing. President Bush has spent more time vacationing than any president in modern history, with 319 days worth as of August 2005. President Carter took 79 vacation days during his 4 years in office, the lowest of any president in modern history.

2) Kidnapping has become a “scourge of Iraqi unrest.” Tony Snow claims the hostage crisis in Iran was a humiliation for President Carter. But “at least 280 foreigners” — including many Americans — “and thousands of Iraqis…have been taken hostage since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003,” and Baghdad has become the “kidnap capital of the world.”
This administration has hit an all time low making it public that they can attack former Presidents and belittle the deaths of soldiers. I was reminded that the soldiers who had to protect this pathetic man, may have had buddies who lost their lives.Perhaps these soldiers even watched as their buddies got blow up.

Hey G.I. Snow, this is what a soldier views everyday, Tomorrow Never Comes Until It's Too Late

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On Rove and Leopold...

It's official according to TruthOut that they are Standing Down on the Rove Matter. The source that Jason Leopold used will not be made public. TruthOut believes that they should never compromised the identy of a confidential source.

I do respect their request though:

In that Mr. Luskin has chosen the commercial press as his oracle - and they have accepted - we call upon those publications to make known the contents of the communiqué which Luskin holds at the center of his assertions. Quoting only those snippets that Mr. Luskin chooses to characterize in his statements is not enough. If Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has chosen to exonerate Mr. Rove, let his words - in their entirety - be made public.

Greg Sargant at The Horse's Mouth has a great new feature called Follow The Bouncing Bush.

The idea is simply this: To highlight the most absurd examples in the media of reporters or commentators straining to find whatever scraps of evidence they can find that President Bush is on the rebound.

Highlighted examples will be rated on a scale of one to five: the least offensive examples will be awarded "one" Bouncing Bush; while the most ridiculous and comical examples will earn the dubious award of "five" Bouncing Bushes. The feature will be posted when circumstances warrant, and will continue as long as the media plays this ridiculous game. And even if Bush does in fact enjoy a rebound at some point, the hunt will continue for media efforts to distort, inflate or exaggerate it. Readers' nominations, of course, are always welcome.

Today's winner is: The AFP wire service, for this headline and lede:
Democrats in disarray as Bush basks in glow of Iraq trip

U.S. President George W. Bush's triumphant return from his unannounced visit in Iraq found opposition Democrats more divided than ever on U.S. policy in the wartorn country, and how best to capitalize on administration missteps the Republicans basked in the afterglow of the president's dramatic lightning visit Tuesday to meet with Iraq's new Prime Minister Nuri Maliki -- an event likely to figure prominently in a daylong debate Thursday in the House of Representatives on Iraq and the US "war on terror." (Emphasis added.)

Guess what the evidence of this allegedly unprecedented Democratic disarray was? The fact that John Kerry and Hillary Clinton have different positions on Iraq -- the very same positions they've held for months! And that's it. Nor is there a mention of the appalling violence that took place after Zarqawi's death, which one might think would make Bush feel a bit less "triumphant" about Iraq.

If You Can Stomach It . . .

Well, this part will be easy to endure, George Carlin will be on Leno tomorrow night. I just love him! Though, I admit I've been a bit disappointed in his political abandonment over the past couple of years.

BUT guess who else will be on that program? Ann the Mann!! Gawd, that woman has raised holy hell, and -- in the process -- sold a shitload of books as a result! It makes me crazy!

And Al Gore was on Larry King tonight. King asked Gore about his reaction to the Coulter flap, and Gore was just disgusted with the whore (I don't mean that in a SEXUAL way at all!). She has sold her soul to satan. I hope she rots in hell!

Gore's movie looks incredible, and it beat the box-office sales of Anniston's "Breakup" movie. Wowzer. They said that the movie will open nationwide on Friday. You betcha I'll be there to see it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

AFT has got Lamont's Back...

Over at Connecticut Blog, they have the really big news:

AFT Connecticut, the state’s second largest AFL-CIO union representing more than 26,000 professionals, including healthcare, higher education, and public employees, has endorsed Ned Lamont for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

Musings (political and otherwise) for the day.

I was on my way to my favorite bookstore (PamB knows the one) today, and I was listening to my favorite radio guy. I was astonished when Colin said he was about to interview Mary Cheney. This, I thought, is going to be good cuz Colin just is a blunt kind of a guy. Heck, he pissed Lieberman off by asking some hard questions. I'm not so sure Colin's questions with Mary (or maybe lack of stick-it-to-her on her responses) were so hard core. Anyway, I was trying to listen to the interview in full -- as I sat in the parking lot of said bookstore. You can take a listen here:

(You have to scroll down to the 5th story on the left-hand side to find the interview).

Anyway, I didn't have the sustenance to continue to listen. I was getting nauseaous (sp) at Mary's BS comments. I relented angrily. Shut off the car and headed into Barnes & Noble where I (ironically) picked up a copy of one of my favorite magazines. It's a feminist magazine called, "bitch." Somehow, that made me feel better or vindicated or something.

Next, I just want to say that I have (MUCH more than usual) avoided the DNC blog these days. The trolls tire me, and I really wish the DNC folks would put a stop to it. I understand time constraints probably have something to do with it, but jeez!!

Otherwise, I am overloaded with Senior (High School) constraints. My son had prom this weekend. And then we had some issues with his grades (AGAIN). Then, I'm trying to plan a graduation party AND buy gifts and all the rest of the BS that comes from being a parent of two teens. It feels like I just went through this stuff one year ago. Oh, yes, I did!

Last year my older son gave me a heap of the graduation stuff. Two years in a row is just too much!! Speak of my older son, he was late coming home from work tonight. It is uncharacteristic for him. And I really think I can handle one hour late with little panic. But when it came to TWO HOURS, all kinds of things went through my head -- as any mothers out there can relate to. But he arrived, and he was fine (Ummm, didja even consider CALLING me to let me know you are delayed?).

Sometimes I think these guys are trying to send me to an early grave! I've thought about putting them up for adoption. The problem is that my older son is 19, and my youger son will turn 18 on June 25. Generally, they are good kids, though. It just feels like they are testing my patience.

Silly as it may seem, I decided to comfort myself by scheduling a rare appointment for a manicure on Friday. Maybe I'll consider getting a tatoo next ;-)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rewriting Tommy J

On June 1, 1998 V.P. Al Gore issued a memorandum that requires most new government documents to be written in "plain language" and that by Jan. 1, 2002, no matter when they were printed, these documents must be written in "clear, everyday words." One political satirist and journalist has already "rewritten" the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE -- or, as H. L. Mencken himself might have said it:


"When things get so balled up that the people of country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

"All we got to say on this proposition is this: First, me and you is as good as anybody else and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else.

"That any government that don't give a man them rights ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter.

"That whenever any government don't do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum's rush and put in one that will take care of their interests."

~H. L. Mencken, 1921

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog

(I love this one. Keep on Keeping on, bloggers!)

LAS VEGAS, June 9 — If any more proof were needed of the rising influence of bloggers — at least for the Democratic Party — it could be found here on Friday on the Las Vegas Strip, where the old and new worlds of American politics engaged in a slightly awkward if mostly entertaining clash of a meeting.

Potential presidential candidates, campaign representatives and Washington reporters were in abundance Friday at the YearlyKos 2006 Convention, a three-day gathering of bloggers in Las Vegas.

The crowd attracted to the convention demonstrated that blogging has become a way for candidates to organize and communicate with voters.

There were the bloggers — nearly a thousand of them, many of them familiar names by now — emerging from the shadows of their computers for a three-day blur of workshops, panels and speeches about politics, the power of the Internet and the shortcomings of the Washington media. And right behind them was a parade of prospective Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders, their presence a tribute to just how much the often rowdy voices of the Web have been absorbed into the very political process they frequently disdain, much to the amazement, and perhaps discomfort, of some of the bloggers themselves.

"I see you guys as agents of advocacy — that's why I'm here," said Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat and a prospective 2008 presidential candidate, who flew here at the last minute to attend the YearlyKos 2006 Convention. Bloggers, Mr. Richardson said later, "are a major voice in American politics."

They may think of themselves as rebels, separate from mainstream politics and media. But by the end of a day on which the convention halls were shoulder to shoulder with bloggers, Democratic operatives, candidates and Washington reporters, it seemed that bloggers were well on the way to becoming — dare we say it? — part of the American political establishment. Indeed, the convention, the first of what organizers said would become an annual event, seems on the way to becoming as much a part of the Democratic political circuit as the Iowa State Fair.
"It's 2006, and I think we have arrived," Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos and the man for whom the conference was named, announced after being greeted with the kind of reception Elvis, or at least Wayne Newton to a more traditional Las Vegas audience, might have received had he walked into the dowdy ballroom at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. (Mr. Moulitsas was accompanied by a media adviser and bloggers snapped his picture whenever they spotted him.)

"Both parties have failed us," Mr. Moulitsas said. "Republicans have failed us because they can't govern. Democrats have failed because they can't get elected, so now it's our turn.

NY Times

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'll be gone for just a bit over a week.

My girls are competing in a pageant in Nevada, after which I plan to take them hiking in Yosemite, and maybe fit in a trip to Knott's Berry farm before heading back.

Before leaving, though, I want to address an issue that seems to have come up this week.

It has been the plan of the right to criticize those of us on the left as 'unpatriotic' ever since the early days of the Cold War (after all, I think they reasoned that because communism was an ideology which originally had its roots on the left of the political spectrum, therefore liberals must harbor some sort of secret sympathy for Josef Stalin or something ridiculous like that). Through decades of red baiting the right learned how to win elections with these sorts of things (taught by none other than the master red baiter of them all, Richard Nixon, who got elected to congress by accusing Congressman Jerry Voorhees of being a closet communist.) An example of what they preached went like this: if you wanted the US out of Vietnam, it might have been simply because you couldn't see any rational reason to continue to lose troops fighting an endless war, but the right could (and did) claim that you must actually have some sort of secret line to Hanoi or Moscow and were really working not for peace for America, but for victory for the reds. Later on, Newt Gingrich and a couple of his friends helped set the tone for their attacks against Congress by standing in the well and making speeches that were televised by cable all over the country, actually asking where 'anyone of the Democrat side of he aisle' would stand to dispute their contention that they were all anti-American and wanted to change America into a communist country by doing everything they could to help the Soviet Union defeat America in battle. Of course the house chamber was empty during these speeches, but their audience wasn't other congressmen, it was rubes listening all over the land, and it was great dramatic theatre. And that fit their black and white view of the world perfectly: either you were for every warlike move that America made, or you were actively working for the communists.

One wonders whether some on the right actually miss the days of the Cold War and how easy it was to crucify Liberals as 'anti-American.'

But not to fear, they have a new tool to attack the left as unpatriotic and anti-American. It was on full display this week after Zarqawi was nailed by an American surgical strike. For example, on Fox News' the Big Story, host John Gibson and guest Ed Rollins

suggested that attendees at the "big convention" for the "far-left-wing Daily Kos" weblog were "demoralized" by the death of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi....

On the June 8 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson suggested that attendees at the "big convention" for the "far-left-wing Daily Kos" weblog -- at which he noted Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean and Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and John Kerry (D-MA) were scheduled to speak -- were "demoralized" by the death of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Republican strategist Ed Rollins agreed, adding: "Well, they'll claim it's a conspiracy theory. That we knew their meeting was going on and that's why we did it [killed Zarqawi now]." Gibson replied: "Well, they are claiming that. They are claiming at this moment that they were saving Zarqawi to kill at an important moment."

As Media Matters For America has noted, MSNBC host Don Imus and CNN political analyst Bill Bennett have also suggested that liberals were saddened by Zarqawi's death.
And we hear that sort of thing from people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on a daily basis, pretty much interrupted only by commercial breaks.

Uh, go ahead and read the comments that day on the front page of Kos. An example of one (requoted in the quotes after the Media Matters article) reads like this:

"CHEERS to finding a really evil needle in a really big haystack. U.S. forces rocked terrorist Abu Musab "Dick" al-Zarqawi's world last night when they tossed a thousand pounds of explosive whupass down his gullet. They found his body in the bedroom. And the kitchen. And the den. And the garage. And the neighbor's apartment. And I think I found an eyebrow in my Cocoa Puffs this morning. My only regret: he didn't know what hit him." - Bill in Portland Maine, front page of DailyKos (this was written before we learned that he actually did have a few moments of life left, during which he did learn what hit him.)

As I wrote in my own post about Zarqawi:

And it is a good thing that he is dead. Zarqawi was a murdering monster who won't be mourned by anyone except for a handful of fanatics.

And I don't feel any differently about it today. And it isn't even logical that anyone on the left could feel any sympathy for a guy like Zarqawi even if he wasn't a murderer-- if he or those who think like him ever did succeed, they would create a feudal society where men are absolutely in control and girls have to drop out of school before junior high school so they can get married, where people are forced to pray several times per day and even the smallest moral transgression is punishable by such things as public flogging, amputation, or being stoned to death. Why would any of us Liberals feel sympathy for a guy who wants to create that kind of a society?

What this shows is that regardless of what those of us on the left may feel, the right has decided that they can pull out the old Cold War red baiting gimmick, paint it green (the color of Islam) and go about their old tricks. The truth doesn't matter.

Heck, they may even find some malcontent somewhere on the left who actually does miss Zarqawi. And if they do, expect them to display him or her in front of a fifty-thousand watt searchlight as an example of a 'typical' liberal. Of course if they do find one, he or she won't be any more typical than that church that protests against gay people at soldiers' funerals is typical of conservatives. My only response to that would be to reread my comment from above:

And it is a good thing that he is dead. Zarqawi was a murdering monster who won't be mourned by anyone except for a handful of fanatics.

Nowhere did I say that all the fanatics would be radical Islamicists. But don't presume to assume if you find one that that is what Liberals think, because it isn't true.

Cross-posted at Deep Thought

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