Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The years 2000 and 2004 were very important dates for America and Ohio. Ohio was a dud. Ohio could be a trifecta by November 2008. Ohio failed the nation and produced the ugly Bush/Cheney coup of democracy. Unless Ohioans are extremely vigilant, the ugly mess might continue.
It's caging and the voting machines. Period. Not too complex to understand, at least for Republicans. The Democrats apparently are slow learners, very slow. They are way too naive, many paces behind the GOP. And if the Dems don't get it early in 2008, the game's over for America.
Here's a primer:
Voting machines- a machine to cast and count votes. Or, in the 21st century, only the first half applies. The GOP is way ahead of the Dems on technology, way ahead! Recall this name: Diebolt, associated with Diebolt Voting Machines. We talked about them last semester, do you recall? That, dear students, was only phase 1 of a concept known as vote manipulation. Can you imagine what the new technology has produced in that field? That 'touch screen' method with a paperless trail provides easy opportunity for a little technical hankie-pankie. 'Gosh, a computer error wiped out 1200 votes. Sorry.'
Caging- not animals, but people. Specifically minorities, blacks preferred. The term has made its way to Wikipedia: Caging is a term of art in the direct mail industry, as well as a term applied to a technique of voter suppression. A caging list is a list or database of addresses, updated after a mailing program is completed, with notations on responses received from recipients, with corrections for addresses that mail has been returned undelivered from, or forwarded onward from. Obtaining a CD of the voters in a county is simple: pay $3 and it's yours. I have one for Lucas County, October 2006. Every name, every address, phone numbers, precinct number and, best of all, party affiliation. A prize possession of every GOP county party chair in the state of Ohio.
Right now, print-outs of every voter in 'certain' voting precincts across Ohio lie on GOP Headquarter desks. Only certain precincts, you know. Special precincts. Here in Lucas County, the letters are no doubt already addressed and stamped to the 'folks' in 14-C, 8-E, 17-D, 2-B and 4-E. It doesn't take too many brains to identify the correct ward and precinct. The 'caging' is up and running throughout Ohio.
What is Ohio's Democratic chairman, Chris Redfern, doing about all of this? Will he be 'surprised' after Ohio goes into the GOP column next November? Gosh, who could have known? Is he awake yet from his long slumber since the '06 election? Is he still basking in those victories, believing that every thing's OK here in Ohio? Drop him a note to see if his address has been caged.
All Ohioans ought to read this article, Will Ohio Be the Next Ohio in 2008? on the need for optical scanning machines in every precinct in Ohio by November 2008. Optical scanners with two paper trails: the original paper filled out by the voter plus a printed summary of each vote.
No doubt the GOP are already spinning the accuracy of the touch screens as well as the 'expense' of changing to a new system.' Right, the expense.
Bottom line: Will Ohio Be the Next Ohio in 2008? Could be in Democrats and independents sit back and click their ruby heels and wish...
Other alums include Eva Ware Barnett - composer of "Arkansas," Arkansas state anthem
Shelley Breen, Heather Payne, Denise Jones, and Terry Jones (singer) of Christian pop music group Point of Grace.
Still more: William Miller - professional football player in the Canadian Football League and the USFL. Nell I. Mondy - biochemist and international expert on the potato; Augustus Albright - noted outdoorsman and conservationist, former Arkansas Gazette columnist; Cotton Cordell - inventor of the world's best-selling fishing lures; Cliff Harris - former All-Pro Dallas Cowboys safety; Tommy Patterson - former NBA forward for the Baltimore Bullets; TJ Bingham - Former NFL player.
I bring this college to your attention because, if he is successful in his presidential aspirations, Ouachita Baptist University will become a household name across the land. Yes, by now you have guessed it: Mike Huckabee is a grad of this esteemed university, Bachelor of Religion. He did very well there, one of the top academic graduates, edging out Miss Arkansas for top honors.
In a comment yesterday, someone said that Huckabee is just a Jimmy Carter.
That hit me like a brick, so I researched Huckabee and found his educational history which also includes attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas where he dropped out after one year.
Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, attended Georgia Tech and Jackson State University but graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelors of Science in Physics, finishing 58th out of 820.
Not that attending a prestigious university necessarily turns out competent graduates. After all, George W. Bush is a Yale grad.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
No doubt tomorrow evening one in the crowd will ask the same question that I have been asked by this group for the past several years: What's the name of your blog? They never remember and/or they couldn't care less, which is fine, as long as they are getting the information that they need. Information not only on who's who, but on what the GOP has been doing to suppress the vote of urban black voters. I have posted stories on that issue and receive few comments.
Surely most folks at the gathering on Sunday will expect an easy Democratic win, believing that the nation is fed up with Republicans. Yet they need to be reminded of their naiveté in both 2000 and 2004 when the GOP political machine maneuvered behind the scenes to skew the votes for the Republicans. Blind hope is easily trumped by determined scoundrels.
Microdot, a co-author of this blog, posted a comment yesterday that struck me. He said, "...but to be informed is the best defense against the usual gang of scoundrels next attempt to exploit this for their own terrorist fear mongering ends!"
Although he had directed this comment to the Bhutto assassination, it surely is relevant to any political situation, towards any group of thugs and deviants.
I will challenge the party-goers to wake up from their Pollyanna-like dreams and spread the word to all of their friends and acquaintances to be alert to the dirty election-day tricks that are already in place not only here in Ohio but across the nation. "to be informed is the best defense against the usual gang of scoundrels!"
A group in Brattleboro Vermont is petitioning to put an item on a town meeting agenda in March that would make Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney subject to arrest and indictment if they visit the southeastern Vermont community.
"This petition is as radical as the Declaration of Independence, and it draws on that tradition in claiming a universal jurisdiction when governments fail to do what they're supposed to do," said Kurt Daims, 54, a retired machinist leading the drive.
I would hope that the World Court in The Hague would be sending some lawyers to this town to help write the war crimes indictment. After all, they have been doing a fine job of that with other miscreants and scoundrel leaders for some time.
Were Karl Rove still advising Bush, I am certain that he would have planned an unannounced, midnight stop at the airport just to stick it to the insurgents in Vermont. The coward. But we already know that.
I just read that Tom Tancredo, our most rabid anti immigrationist and most specifically the loudest anti illegal Mexican voice has just endorsed Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney, in his across the board, trying to be everything to every Republican has done his part to pander to the illegal Mexican immigration hysteria being milked for votes.
Here's some very interesting history......
Mitt Romneys father, George, who went on to become the two term Republican governor of Michigan in the 1960's was born in Mexico and was an illegal immigrant to boot!
George was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1907, the son of Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt. The Romneys had lived in Mexico since 1884, when Miles Park Romney moved the family there from Utah.
Miles Romney was a Morman polygamist who realized that as Utah approached State Hood, the United States Government would not tolerate thte Mormon Polygamist communities there. The 1882 Edmunds Act stripped polygamists of their rights of US citizenship, denying them the riught to vote, serve on juries or hold office.
Like today's immigration raids, polygamists were hunted down and arrested. They were asked to leave the country or risk jail.
Miles chose to renounce his US Citizenship and move to Mexico with his multiple wives and children. At that time, many Mormons were leaving the American territory to establish Mormon colonies near the border. The Mexican government also had laws declaring polygamy illegal and the Mormon polygamists were coming into Mexico in direct violation of Mexican immigrattion law.
Utah became a state in 1895 and as part of it's conditions for Statehood, it passed a state constitution forbidding polygamy.
The Romneys stayed in Mexico and there are still descendants of the original line living there. Gaskell and Anna Romney left in 1912 , at the hieght of the Mexican Revolution, when the rebels menanced the Mormon settlements. Their Relative, Junius Romney was able to negotiate a safe passage for many of the Mormons who wanted to leave, including Gaskell, Anna and their infant son, George.
They entered the United States illegally as citizens of nebulous status of Mexico with no formalities or border searches and ended up settling in New Mexico.
For an illegal Mexican immigrant, George did pretty well for himself. He rose up through the hierarchy at GM and entered politics and became a very successful governor of Michigan and led the state through some it's most traumatic years.
Perhaps the family history gave George some of the personal tools and morality that guided him through the dark days of the Detroit Race Riots. He embraced the principle of Dr. Martin Luther King and as his last political gesture, opposed Richard Nixon for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968, publically breaking with the Party to oppose the Vietnam War.
Perhaps it's more than just Tom Tancredo who needs to be reminded of the Romney family history.
Singlehandedly yesterday, Rev. Huckabee identified +600 Pakistani illegals who had snuck into America- the 2nd highest number of illegals next to you-know-who! No doubt his sleuthful vigilance will carry him forward in Iowa to an even greater victory margin.
Rest safely tonight, my fellow Americans, with Rev. Huckabee at the helm of our nation we will be even more safe that we have been with that other born-again Christian fellow who has been guiding out ship of state so well for the past 7 years.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The Lakota Sioux claim that none of the treaties have been fulfilled with the US. And they continue to fare poorly because of current policies. They believe that it’s time for them to self govern.
To check out the area of the Lakota Sioux, click here. It is amazingly massive.
"None of the treaties have been fulfiled.' Imagine that. Looks like they want to be on the government dole!!
Here's what I'd say to these ungrateful people: if you don't like our country, go back to where you came from!
Why do we love dictators? Do we secretly have a love-affair with strong men? Do we subliminally long for a king? Our history seems to prove it. Look at the list of dictators that the U.S. Government has funded to prop-up their power-hold on the people of their nations:
Shah of Iran
Papa Doc, Baby Doc
...to name the most obvious.
Why would a nation, the world's first democracy, a nation that fought a bitter war to gain its independence from a ruthless monarch, prop-up other sordid scoundrels around the world? For those of us who have paid atention in our history classes, we know. Which is precicely the problem for America: their history classes were most often a boring babble of dates and names which posed few challenges to the intellect. A nation of history-illiterates is the prize of scoundrels and other ignoble leaders.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Which, of course, leaves the citizens of this republic uninformed and lied-to. Where is he truth? The media has proved itself untrustworthy, especially in the run-up to the Bush War. Radio talking heads present well-spun and pre-digested information to the listener. Blogmeisters wear their own colored glasses. Internet sites are often skewed. What's left? Word of mouth?
Yes, Mr. Paul, 'people are starving for the truth!' Do you provide it? Who does? What's a citizen to do?
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
How about the Top 10 Actions that Most Damaged our Republic in the Year 2007? Let's see if we can collectively come up with 10. If we get more, we'll have a vote on the most severe. If you don't mind, I'll start off:
The same people call me when I have a letter published. The odd thing is that the callers are so skewed in their thinking that they negate their own 'logic' with each ugly word that flows from their mouth. The callers generally like the trumped-up propagandized sentence, "We're bringing freedom to them!" They also enjoy the classic, "Freedom is not free!" Sadly, they have drunk deeply the propaganda fed to them by Rove and Cheney.
Unaffected by their ideals, they deny the writer these very freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Of course, that document is getting rather tattered these days by this administration. Nonetheless, they carry on with their righteous pronouncements interspersed with a dozen or so expletives. Often they end with, "Why don't you go back to [ ] and leave America to real Americans."
One caller who vomited in my voice mail forgot to do *67 before his exploitive-filled rant, so I called him back. Shocked by my return call, and quite unprepared for a challenge, he hung up on me. The coward. I called back, but he took the receiver off the hook for the next hour.
Odd stuff; odd people. Anyway, here's Sally Keller's latest exercise of her First Amendment right:
I do not understand why Democrats in Congress are acting so surprised about the destruction of videotapes of Americans using torture.
This has been the most vile and corrupt administration in my 50 years, and the Democrats have rolled over and played dead since Sept. 11, giving this President unprecedented power. They continue to fund a war that is gouging the taxpayers and lining the pockets of the war profiteers.
Every American knows that torture is being carried out and 70 percent want an end to the Iraq war, a war that the leading Democratic presidential candidates refuse to address, and that two out of three voted for.
I am not in the least bit surprised that evidence of torture has been destroyed, and I am fed up with having my intelligence insulted, not only by President Bush but also by the people I have voted for to represent me in Congress.
Sally J. Keller
Sunday, December 23, 2007
It burst out from behind the clouds and shined down on my face."
"OK, son," the mother kindly said, " I'll look out the window and look for myself, to see if that's the case."
"Oh, son, I can't see it now, but I'm sure you'll see it again. Go back outside and play, but come in if it starts to rain."
No doubt-Cheney, no doubt, already worked out a plan similar to that unveiled today of J. Edgar Hoover to round up and detain 12,000 'dangerous Americans.' According to a newly declassified intelligence document, Hoover sent the plan to the White House on July 7, 1950. In it, Hoover asked President Truman to essentially sign off on mass arrests of individuals around the country -- about 97 percent of whom were U.S. citizens, the FBI director said.
Who would doubt that Dick Cheney has already suggested that plan, perhaps as far back as 2002? Surely, anyone who has not drunk the Kool-Aid wouldn't put it past this devious bastard.
Look at this Cheney-connection: "All of the names on the list had been compiled by the FBI over a period of 2 to 3 years and included individuals that the Bureau believed were potentially dangerous to national security. Hoover's plan was to arrest roughly 12,000 suspects and lock them up in military prisons like the one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
Cheney's fingerprints are all over this one. And, for those whose Kool-Aid has not completely exited their system: "Hoover, seeking to achieve such status, asked President Truman to declare the mass arrests necessary to "protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage."
'Dangerous to national security.' To 'protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.' Words that flow easily and often from the tongue of Dick Cheney.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
What the soldier's father, Chris, would learn about his son's final days would lead the retired Special Forces commando, who teaches at Fort Bragg, to take on the very institution he's spent his life serving — and ultimately prompt an investigation by the Army Inspector General's office.
The documents, obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Chris Scheuerman, reveal a troubled soldier kept in Iraq despite repeated signs he was going to kill himself, including placing the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth multiple times.
Pfc. Jason Scheuerman nailed a suicide note to his barracks closet in Iraq, stepped inside and shot himself. "Maybe finaly I can get some peace," said the 20-year-old, misspelling "finally" but writing in a neat hand.
This Associated Press story brings to mind a recent conversation I had with a person in the mental health field. I was told some sketchy information about a local National Guard soldier just back from Iraq who is suffering severe Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was back from his 2nd 15-month tour and fears greatly that next December, he'll be back in Iraq.
The soldier said that one in his platoon already committed suicide and another attempted it twice but chickened out. He said, "So did I!" The man is terribly angry with everybody, including family members, but especially so of 'foreign looking people.'
The mental health worker told me, 'Luckily he doesn't have a weapon [he says] because if he did, he'd shoot somebody, I'm sure of that.'
I asked if the government was paying for his counselling sessions. Because he is a Reserve Member, he doesn't get Veteran benefits.
I have been thinking of this man for many days now and wonder how he will do in the next few days. Even trauma-less folks often find these days stressful.
The Reserve and National Guard surely have been abused by this administration and apparently it is showing. I heard on NPR on Friday that the newest mental health report on active-duty servicemen and women showed a large uptick in suicides and attempted suicides. The reporter said that the length of the war, the seemingly no end in sight, and the 15-month tours have contributed greatly to the demise in the mental health of the troops.
I am most angry with the right-wing talking heads who continue to pump up this war, sitting back in their easy chairs, with no blood on their hands or on their children's hands. "It's an all-volunteer army!" they cunningly proclaim, as if that inoculates them and the tragic deaths and injuries suffered by the soldiers and Marines.
But what of the National Guard and Reserves? They are not professional soldiers. They are, as their names suggest, an auxiliary force to be used in times of emergencies. Iraq is hardly an emergency and never was. Yet these brave men and women are called upon again and again to put their jobs and families on hold, and go into hell for 15 months and then return home to a 'normal life.'
Never in my life have I witness such a blatant misuse of our resources. Never. And it goes on and on, no end in sight.
Back to the award. The now-defunct right-wing blog, KoozNews, listed several [first] annual awards last week and this blog swept up the #1 position for the 'Worst Blog in Toledo.'
I have never won a major award before this one. When I saw that I was the first place winner, I went to my writing desk, pencil and paper in hand, and began writing my acceptance speech. It was a beauty! I did 7 re-writes until it was just perfect.
Well, all of that work for nought! Nada, nothing! Wouldn't you know, Mr. Kooz shuts down his crummy blog before I could accept the award and give the speech.
Drat! And his was such a neat and tidy blog, too. Just like you would expect from a tight-ass right-winger. He even vetted the comments before posting them. Only two of mine made the final cut. Apparently I tilted just a little too far left for his good taste.
Oh well, another blog down the proverbial drain. Glug! Glug!
>An example of this religious bigotry came in the form of a letter from the bishop of Toledo which he mandated be read at all weekend masses just before council voted on the measure. A statement from the Toledo Catholic Diocese said that Bishop Leonard Blair was "confident that he speaks for many, many people in Toledo in expressing deep disappointment that both the City Council and the mayor have taken this action."
That letter angered many Catholics in the Toledo diocese causing some to decide to leave the church. I personally know of two such people.
The Blade reports that Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with a 2006 population of about 47,100, enacted such a registry in 2003 after passage of a citizen initiative.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The damage to our republic by the Bush/Cheney Administration is almost too much to innumerate. Congress ought to appoint a czar to investigate it all but, of course, they are a large part of the problem, too. After all, a strong Congress would have stopped this president in his tracks before March 20, 2003. But they didn't and because they did not exercise their constitutional mandate, the imperial presidency saw a green light and moved forward like an unstoppable bulldozer, crushing anything in its path.
The CIA torture tapes were perhaps the last straw, but maybe not the last one. Who can list all of the lies, spin and outright illegal deeds that have been done by this White House in these past seven years? I have lost track and that is exactly the problem. That czar ought to collect them all and write them on a poster board [or two] to re-educate the citizens on the damage that their careless votes has meant.
The photo of George Bush above is priceless. I am a keen observer of the face and this face shouts loudly to me of frustration and disdain. Disdain that it is over: the tightly sealed box of secrets has been pried open. It is the face of a tired man. Any man, no matter how strong, will show the strain of keeping secrets for so long. He, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and Rice have, like the Wizard of Oz, kept us so fearful that we dare not probe too deeply into their affairs. But Toto barked and now the ruse is at an end.
What do discredited men do after it is all over and they have been publicly shamed? Many take to suicide; others flee to distant lands or hide in spider holes. Some are hung in public.
What will George W. Bush do? That is the only secret we don't know.
Well, if you still have some intellectual curiosity as well as the courage to look at all of this, then Andrew North's piece will be the perfect read for you. The BBC titles it: Iraq: The trauma and the mistakes
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.
The new version of the battery was explained by Yi Cui. He explained that 'a laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers. "It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development."
The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels. "Given the mature infrastructure behind silicon, this new technology can be pushed to real life quickly," Cui said.
Now we have to ask the question: how long before it will be ready for the automobile? It seems to me that replacing the conbustion engine is of paramount importance if we wish to save the planet. How will Big Oil react to this potential new energy source?
lots of questions...
I suspect that for most of us, these were the nightmare years of awkwardness, emotional pinball, and deep wounds over small slights. Oh, and zits, too – just in case you were somehow feeling too good about yourself on any given day.
But for those of you who have for some reason been wishing that you could return to those golden years, I’ve got news for you: You already have! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Courtesy of the regressive right and its Grand Old Party (and isn’t it just grand?), we’re reliving all those many joys again and again.
I was wondering how he was going to tie junior high to Republicans when I first received Green's email a few minutes ago. Let's see how it all unfolds...
But here’s the good news: Once you understand this, there’s no longer any mystery to figuring out these clowns. That’s ‘cause everything you need to know about the regressive right you already learned in junior high. For instance:
Elitism Is For Elites! What’s wrong with some people having all the goodies and most everybody else having little or none? That whole egalitarianism critique is for tenth-graders, man! When you’re in junior high, though, it all just makes perfect sense. Certain golden children were born to rule, and the rest were born to have it lauded over us, when we weren’t being laughed at, that is! You can certainly see that today in regressive policies on war and taxes, to name just two. Rich people paying taxes or Republicans going to Vietnam? Pshaw! Why do you think they keep us hoi polloi around, anyhow, other than to fight their wars and pay their tax bills?!?!
Green goes on comparing those ugly days in junior high with today's GOP. His topics include:
As I was reading through this essay I was thinking that this is déjà vu all over again! For the past 7 years I had the feeling that I'd been through this Bush/Cheney stuff at some other time and no wI realize that, in fact, I had! What a punishment.
All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.
“It was worse than I anticipated,” the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”
Ms. Brunner proposed replacing all of the state’s voting machines, including the touch-screen ones used in more than 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties. She wants all counties to use optical scan machines that read and electronically record paper ballots that are filled in manually by voters.
Naturally, this calls into question the results of the 2004 presidential election. During that election, the Secretary of State of Ohio was also the chairperson of the Bush/Cheney re-election team, Kenneth Blackwell. Mr. Bush made an 'exceptionally strong' showing in the Buckeye state.
Rolling Stone Magazine printed a story in June of 2006 written by Robert Kennedy Jr. titled, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Kennedy says, "The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."
Is anybody surprised by all of this? Stolen in 2000 and again in 2004. The only question remains is: will it be again in 2008?
Vladimir Putin is Time Magazine's person of the Year. No, he is not the bully I was thinking of. In fact, I would bet he is no bully. Bullies are cowards and Putin is no coward. Cunning, calculating and dangerous to be sure.
George W. Bush is the bully I had in mind. Reports of his childhood shooting frogs at the pond is a good indication. Osama bin Laden mastermind the 9-11 attacks on America, but Bush went after the soft, safe, easy target of Saddam Hussein. Bush's toady, Cheney, helped him with the ruse.
In fact, Bush did that other cunning thing that bullies do: they soft-soaped the real tough guy, Putin. He declared that he saw his soul and it was a pure as the driven soul. Ha! Bush was able to get Tony Blair for his other toady, to help with the ambush-snowball fight.
Now Vladimir Putin has his dour photo on Time Magazine's cover. Saddam is dead; the easy target. Mission accomplished. Bin Laden and Putin linger on.
That's what we get for electing a bully as our leader.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It is a fun site to play around with. [I ought to get come compensation for this promotion]
Some children, however, such as Andrew, Ben, and Alice, did not enjoy coming to my classroom. Faced with the challenge of sensory-motor experiences, they became tense, unhappy, and confused. They refused to participate in the activities, or did so ineffectively, and their behavior disrupted their classmates’ fun. They are the children for whom this book is written.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Religious and cultural conservatives, unhappy about the rise of abortion and divorce, have made "family values" a staple of Republicans' political strategies for three decades. The phrase took on new life in 1992, when then-vice president Dan Quayle blasted fictional TV character Murphy Brown for having an illegitimate child. Family values were at the heart of a 2004 drive to put same-sex marriage bans on state ballots and draw conservatives to the polls.
They mention that only Mitt Romney regularly talks about so-called 'family values.' They note that "there are signs that family values have lost their punch as a campaign issue. Most voters say family values in general are important to them, but a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they don't care much about candidates' personal lives. Political analysts say voters and candidates have broader, more immediate concerns: the ongoing U.S. action in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the threat of terrorism and an economy that's putting stress on low- and middle-income people."
Family values and the USA Today story was the topic of discussion on this morning's Washington Journal on C-Span. The phone calls on the Republican line seem to indicate the truth of this article. There were only two who talked about gays, pornography, and church. The others addressed the economy as more of a 'family value' to them.
Three-quarters of the voters in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll last month said family values are extremely or very important to them. Asked what the term means, one-third said "strong families." Some called it a "ploy" by conservatives to win votes; others mentioned health care and abortion.
That one-third who mentioned 'strong families' is a key to the '08 election. of course, what makes a family 'strong' is up to interpretation. I would think that two items are of particular importance in creating a strong family: a roof and a job. Families disintegrate without either. Families without either or both don't care about a porn shop down the street or the gay couple two doors down. Or whether Mr. Jones is twice-divorced. Or religion, unless the church opened its doors to them and fed them.
What has this Republican administration done for families in the past 7 years? As reported earlier, they have foisted $450,000 worth of debt on them; they have watched the dollar turn into play money on the international markets; they have watched banks foreclose on their houses; they have watched factory after factory close and go overseas. They have seen the cost of drugs and health care rise like a jet taking off from the runway. They see roads, bridges and sewers collapsing. They see a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk at $3. They see Payday Loan shops mushrooming up all over town. They see more and more closed stores and shops. They see government waste and more and more corrupt government officials.
Family values. This is what it is all about, not some phony holier-than-thou crap about the Bible. Food, a house, a car and a job. That makes America a strong nation. After that, we'll worry about some trivial things like gay marriage.
As is the custom with Bush appointees, their experience and moral character is not that important. If confirmed assistant secretary for fossil energy, Suboleski would oversee development of clean-coal technology and other fossil-fuel projects.
L. Paul Bremer. Donald Rumsfeld. Michael Brown. Harriet Miers. Alberto Gonzales.
It never ends.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Democrat-turned independent- turned Republican. How's that for a U-turn in politics. Odd that we here in Ohio saw it coming, but apparently the folks in Connecticut were blinded by the man. Oh well, it just goes to show you that politicians can't be trusted [as if we didn't know].
Recall, Connecticut, recall.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Critics said they hope that if enough states drop out, Congress will redirect the funding to comprehensive sex education programs that include teaching about the use of condoms and other contraceptives.
A critic of the federal program said, "It's a canary in the coal mine of what's to come.
We hope that it sends a message to the politicians in Washington that this program needs to change, and states need to be able to craft a program that is the best fit for their young people and that is not a dictated by Washington ideologues."
No doubt those 'Washington idealogues' were prompted to legislate the abstinence program through pressure from fundamentalist churches as well as the Catholic Church. It seems that these two religious bodies enjoy crotch politics very much. After all, the Bible says...
Luckily there are more mature and wise folks behind this shift in sex education priorities in these 14 states, people who look at the data rather than some line in Leviticus to make a judgement on the health and safety of our youth.
Things like this happen when religious beliefs enter government. We have a grand example of this practice in the Muslim world. We ought not send representatives to Washington who have some religious agenda in their back pocket otherwise we may end up with the American Taliban operating in DC.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Senators Feingold of Wisconsin, Byrd of West Virginia and Sanders of Vermont voted to stop the flow of billions of tax dollars to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon , General Dynamics, United Technologies and TRW Inc.
Only three. The others paid the piper.
So much for our republic.
Many fundamentalist churches put on gala nativity scenes with lots of music, lights and spectacle. Odd that they seem to glamorize this holiday so intensely when, in fact, most of the 'story' is mythology borrowed from earlier times and pagan religions.
Odd, too, because many fundamentalists like to regularly slap 'sin' and damnation' onto anybody who doubts any line of the bible. Yet, they laud this thinly documented story. Of course, if the boy named Jesus had had an ordinary birth, like other boys at this time, then the prophesies about him would not be valid and their claim, Son of God, would be even more in doubt.
Strange, too, that when the nativity scene is packed away for another year, Joseph never gets another nod in the New Testament and Mary makes only one or two cameo appearances. One of them is a rebuke of her by Jesus himself. So much for family values.
Friday, December 14, 2007
There is also a link to a fascinating study of the evolution of a Jewish sect, "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence." The study concludes that what had happened to Jews was, as the authors put it, "natural selection, stemming from their occupation of an unusual social niche."
Is it coincidental that this report and the biblical report center around the people of Israel? Fascinating science like this is being reported every day and it is hard to keep up with all of the new discoveries that scientists bring us.
Sadly, the ID folks huddle in their church basements and lament this science and wail and cry over these new discoveries. Which is fine with me, as long as they do it in the basement rather than out in the open, making fools of themselves.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I wrote about this situation here and about her 14-year-old autistic son whose clothes caught fire trying to warm himself in this article. This afternoon my wife discovered, while visiting the boy in the hospital, that FirstEnergy made a gross error and she did not owe $600 at all! The $600 was from the previous tenant who left town without paying it.
What Fortune 500 company operates with this incompetence?
This family has suffered a great deal at the hands of FirstEnergy. Two weeks of living in a house as cold as a meat locker because of incompetence! An autistic boy needing skin grafts because he was so cold he leaned on the stove to warm his bones, literally.
I hope Anthony J Alexander, CEO of FirstEnergy, has some discomfort of his own over this debacle. Fortune 500 Corporation? Sure!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Don't you just wonder who those 16 'no' votes were from? I bet I could make some fairly accurate guesses.
First I'd guess that most if not all were Republicans because, as we all know, they are the party that is 'tough on crime.'
Next, I'd guess that they are right-of-center Christians, perhaps evangelicals. After all, the Bible says...
Last, I bet they are angry folks, bitter about something in their personal lives.
I wonder how close to the truth I came?
Here's another question that just popped up in my brain: Which state will be the LAST state to ban capital punishment? Come on, think, think hard.... OK, here's a clue: remember the years 1995 - 2000 Do you need another one? Think nasty, think vengeance, think preemptive war...
Reminds me of that old poem:
The dinosaurs are not all dead,
I saw one the other day raise his head.
He turned his head and looked my way.
Then opened his mouth and began to say:
"Tell me, have all the lunkheads died out yet?"
Up pops Mike Huckabee on our TV screens: smooth talking southern guy with not many passport stamps. Shucks, he's a likable sole, ain't he? Kind of shallow but, what the hell, he has a nice smile. Church-going man, too; a former minister. Praise Jesus. Likes war and guns too. Doesn't care much for gays. Folks with AIDS either, as he said back in 1991, he'd like to corral them all in a pen to protect us from their infection. None too bright on the scientific level apparently.
Gosh, won't it be fun to have another 'regular guy' in the mold of George Bush running our country for another 4 or, praise God, 8 long years? I think he ought to pick Tom Tancredo as VP to keep that Darth Vader tradition alive as well.
Tom and Huck! Downright folksy.
He painted himself as an ultra-conservative toady of Bush and the folks in Ohio's 5th Congressional district loved him. He won each of the 16 counties. His TV spots cast his latest opponent as an ungodly abortionist, illegal alien-loving liberal, while he stood in front of a church with his wife and family. The bobblehead voters believed it all.
As the map shows, these 16 counties were not all solid Bush '04 counties, yet his message of strict conservative 'values' swept him to victory.
What that says about the up-coming presidential battle next year is any one's guess. Three factors must be noted about this special election: his opponent was a woman, his father was a well-known politician and the weather was awful. Yet his sweep cannot be overlooked as the state gears up for the '08 election.
One thing is crystal clear: conservative voters do show up at the polling booth come rain or shine.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
VERIZON BUSINESS VP for Human Resources Bob Toohey
BURGER KING CEO John W. Chidsey
AMERICAN AIRLINES President and CEO Gerald Arpey
Hates Mexican immigrants too. He was the only GOP candidate absent from the Spanish-speaking debate a few days ago. Swell guy.
No doubt he has a flag in every room of his house. Yet strangely, he was absent when called up for service in Vietnam. Reminds me of Dick Cheney. Seems that young Tom fought hard to stay out of 'serving our country in a time of war.' He asked for a 1-Y deferment from serving in Vietnam. Why? Because he claims that he was treated for mental illness while in high school.
Go Tom Go! You DO support the troops, as long as it isn't you in that army khaki. What a fraud, like most of the bellicose right-wingers. They all love war...as long as it is some other kid doing the fighting and dying.
Monday, December 10, 2007
A homegrown, white terrorist, one of a string of young men who have opened fire on schools, shopping centers and now churches. The model is Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who killed 167 men, women and children in an act of right-wing terrorism.
Eric Rudolph, whose targets included two abortion clinics, a gay and lesbian night club, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, was another white man driven to terror. Some anti-abortionists think of him as a hero.
Of course, the KKK still lives on as knots of angry white men spew their hate at blacks and Jews across the nation. Apparently they have given up their lynching habits.
Two white teens slaughtered many at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed themselves to the teeth as they methotically carried out their plan and suicides.
White supremacists John William King, 23, Lawrence Russell Brewer, 31, Shawn Allen Berry, 23, dragged James Byrd to death behind a pick-up truck in Jasper, Texas.
Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, were convicted of the hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student attending the University of Wyoming.
In Red Lake Minnesota, Jeff Weise, 16, killed his grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.
In Pennsylvania, 32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.
All angry white men. Homegrown terrorists. Sick men with access to weapons.
And some people in this nation are worried about Mexicans coming across the border. Of course, they do have brown skin.
I wrote about this family a week ago [here] and today we were informed of the burned boy's condition. In that post I reported that the FirstEnergy bill and fine was paid on a Friday afternoon, but, due to much incompetence by Toledo Edison, was not turned on until afternoon on Tuesday. That afternoon I met the boy and could not believe how cold his hands were- they felt like the hands of a corpse!
The furnace at his rental house took a long time to bring the temperature back up from near-freezing and apparently his autism failed to warn him of the dangers of his action.
The $1.6 billion profit earned by FirstEnergy in the 3rd quarter comes at quite a human cost.
In a separate sentencing case that did not involve crack cocaine, the court also ruled in favor of judicial discretion to impose more lenient sentences than federal guidelines recommend.
Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
No doubt there is an uproar today on the right-wing talk shows, FoxNews, and blogs. "They" will be back on the streets to sell more drugs and rob more stores. The 'they' are, of course, the black inner city males who are the 'curse' on our society. Of course, most of the right-wingers don't live in the inner city or, for that fact, in cities at all. But they will scream and holler at this SCOTUS decision.
It feeds their racism.
- Dickens, A Christmas Carol
How proud Al Gore looked this morning on live television as he received the Noble Peace Prize in Oslo, standing among the other recipients. Dignified, smiling, he arose from his chair and shook the hand of the other co-recipient, and accepted this august award for his doggedly firm stance on global warming and its consequences.
One can only dream, as Scrooge did, of what the past might have been if things had been different.
I contrast this proud moment to that of the man who won the White House; a man filled with arrogance, self-righteousness, swagger, and, above all, foolishness. And lies and death, destruction, and ultimately shame.
Peace be with you, too, Al Gore. You have lifted our troubled nation on this proud day from the morass in which we find ourselves.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
In September 2002, four members of Congress met insecret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).
So Ms. Pelosi, waterboarding met with your personal standards? Apparently she, like so many Americans just after 9-11, were so filled with rage and fear that standards of morality were nixed and the 'blind eye' became the norm. Violence begets violence.
As so many warmongers have said : "9-11 changed everything!" Apparently even morality standards.
As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?“ Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Who is [are] the newest savior[s] of our nation over in the CIA? Clearly one or more brave senior members of that staff threatened to leak the NIE Report on Iran to the press if the Bush Administration did not release it. There is no doubt in my mind that Bush was forced to release it.
The right-wing talking heads and bloggers, fed by the White House PR Team, are right now castigating the report, hoping to save this president from the same fate as Nixon. As I type this, a bevy of Republican talking heads are making the rounds on the Sunday morning shows, spinning that report, watering it down, picking out parts of it to keep the fear alive, the fear that will keep the masses afraid, very afraid.
Hopefully in my lifetime, the name or names of these brave and patriotic Americans will be revealed. They along with Mr. Felt ought to be memorialized in statues on the White House lawn.