Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Law & Order" Star Bashes Gandhi

Mohandas K. Gandhi

As protesters rang in the fifth year of Operation Endless Bloody Occupation with demonstrations around the country, Fred Thompson lashed out at that favorite whipping-boy of all chicken-hawks: Mahatma Gandhi. To follow Gandhi's example, he admonishes anti-war activists, would cripple our foreign policy. Like Dubya who recently tried to compare his quest to that of General George Washington, he is completely misunderstanding the lessons of history. Will these angry white men never stop painting themselves and the country they've commandeered as noble underdogs? Oh the righteous anger of the enfranchised!

What the "Law & Order" star doesn't appreciate is that in any Gandhi analogy, we would be the British Empire, not India.

Here are some words of wisdom from the mediocre actor. (Yes. I'm still smarting from the loss of Steven Hill.)

The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When American’s think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolph Hitler or Saddam Hussein.

Gandhi probably wouldn't approve, but I can live with that.

What both the right-wing hawks and the left-wing peace movement don't get about Gandhi is that he was really a tactician and a master of asymmetric warfare. He knew India could never have defeated the British Empire in open combat and their violent uprisings were resulting needless deaths. Gandhi's strategy made their deaths effective. It was a strategy with two major prongs: economic (boycotts) and military (peaceful civil disobedience). Passive resistance leveraged the morality of the British occupiers. You can only slaughter so many peaceful, unarmed people before your stomach starts to turn from the shame of it.

Thompson also misrepresents Gandhi's role in WWII. While it is true that Gandhi recommended to the British:

I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.

He was also a pragmatist:

At every meeting I repeated the warning that unless they felt that in non-violence they had come into possession of a force infinitely superior to the one they had and in the use of which they were adept, they should have nothing to do with non-violence and resume the arms they possessed before. It must never be said of the Khudai Khidmatgars that once so brave, they had become or been made cowards under Badshah Khan's influence. Their bravery consisted not in being good marksmen but in defying death and being ever ready to bare their breasts to the bullets. [emphasis added]

Lest we forget that Gandhi, ever the politician and tactician, was using his possible support of the British as a bargaining chip, twisting the arms of his nation's occupiers.

After lengthy deliberations, Gandhi declared that India could not be party to a war ostensibly being fought for democratic freedom, while that freedom was denied in India herself. As the war progressed, Gandhi increased his demands for independence, drafting a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. This was Gandhi's and the Congress Party's most definitive revolt aimed at securing the British exit from Indian shores.

Bloody peacenik!

Fred Thompson should worry less about Code Pink's identification with Gandhi. What should concern the war party would be the possibility that a leader of Gandhi's stature and tactical acumen could emerge in Iraq.

Mark Tatulli's "Lio"

If you can imagine the bastard child of Charles Addams, Gahan Wilson, and Gary Larson, then you'll find him on the comics page in your friendly neighborhood newspaper scaring the hell out of Cathy, Sgt. Snorkel, and Hagar The Horrible. He's Mark Tatulli's delightfully wicked Lio. If your local rag doesn't carry him, either harass the clueless editor mercilessly or get on your Mac/PC because it's bizarre, smart, imaginative, and funny. It's well-written and superbly-illustrated, too. Enjoy!

What funny, frivolous sites do you visit

Fess up. What sites do you visit for mindless entertainment, to blog off steam, etc.?

Yes, I know, bloggers are supposed to actually go *outside* once in a while, and do things in that thing they call the "real world". But, say it's cold, or rainy, or whatever.

In other words--no lectures. Just share your fun stuff, please.

I was reminded of the "adopt a virtual pet" site on a recent visit to DemoKat's blog. (Incidentally, I have added the link to her blog *twice* now, but Blogspot is being evil for some reason and keeps dumping it.

Bill Maher on "Sacrifice"

Video via Crooks and Liars here.

And finally, new rule: liberals must stop saying President Bush hasn't asked Americans to sacrifice for the War on Terror. On the contrary, he's asked us to sacrifice something enormous: our civil rights.

Now, when I heard George Bush was reading my e-mails, I probably had the same reaction you did--George Bush can read?! (Laughter.) Yes he can, and this administration has read your phone records, credit card statements, mail, internet logs... I can't tell if their fighting the War on Terror or producing the next season of Cheater. (Laughter.) I mail myself a copy of the Consitution every morning, just on the hope they'll open it and see what it says! (Laughter and applause).

So when it comes to sacrifice, don't kid yourself--you *have* given up a lot! You've given up faith in your government's honesty, the good will of people overseas, and 6/10 of the Bill of Rights. Here's what you've sacrificed: search and seizure, warrents, self incrimination, trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment. Here's what you have left: handguns, religion, and they can't make you quarter a British soldier. If Prince Harry invades the inland empire, he has to bring a tent. (Laughter).

You know, in previous wars, Americans on the homefront made a very different kind of sacrifice. During World War II, we endured rationing, payed higher taxes, bought war bonds, and in the interest of national unity, people even pretended Bob Hope was funny. (Laughter.) Right--like you laughed at him!

Women donated their silk undergarments so they could be sewn into parachutes. Can you imagine nowadays a Britney Spears or a Lindsay Lohan going without underwear? (Laughter.) Bad example, but look, George Bush has never been too bright about understanding "furriners", but he does know Americans. He asked *this* generation to sacrifice the things he knew we would not miss--our privacy and our morality. He let us keep the money. But he made a cynical bet, that we wouldn't much care if we became a Big Brother country that has now tortured a lot of random people.

And yet no one asks the tough questions, like "Is torture necessary?", "Who will watch the watchers?" and "When does Jack Bauer go to the bathroom?" (Laughter.) I mean, it's been five years--is he wearing one of those astronaut diapers?

In conclusion, after September 11, President Bush told us Osama bin Laden "could run but he can't hide". But he ran and hid. (Laughter.) So Bush went to Plan B: pissing on the Constitution and torturing random people. Conservatives always say the great thing Reagan did was make us feel good about America again. Well, do you feel good about America now?

I'll give you my answer. And to get it out of me, you don't even need to hold my head under water and have a snarling guard dog rip my nuts off. (Laughter). No, I don't feel very good about that. They say evil happens when good men do nothing. Well, the Democrats proved it also happens when mediocre people do nothing.

If you don't get HBO, Bill Maher's "New Rules" is available via iTunes:

HBO - Bill Maher's New Rules - Bill Maher's New Rules

I, by the way, *don't* get that particular premium channel, so I am not positive how this works--it is my impression that "New Rules" is a segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, but I don't know that for sure. Anyway, this is supposed to be the "Real Time" link below.

HBO - Real Time with Bill Maher - Real Time with Bill Maher

Al Gore to testify before Congress Wednesday

Via Yahoo News:

Former Vice President Al Gore has collected nearly 300,000 electronic signatures asking Congress to take action on global warming, Gore said in an entry on his Web site Friday. Gore said the signatures demonstrate "that hundreds of thousands of people share my sense of urgency" on climate change. Gore is scheduled to testify before Congress about the issue Wednesday.
Click here for more of the article, and here to visit Al Gore's online journal.

You can add your own electronic signature here.

When Debbie Does Dallas Met Jigsaw

Hey, for all you freaks who love horror movies, here’s some great news: Eli Roth is doing a sequel to Hostel.

Have you seen the poster yet? It was unveiled last week at New York Comic-Con.

It’s a wet, freshly butchered lump of meat.

Animal? Human?

I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine. Ick.

As you probably guessed, I won’t be seeing Hostel II.

I never subjected myself to Cabin Fever, The Hills Have Eyes, Feast, Saw, High Tension or The Devil’s Rejects either. I won’t go to a movie theater to see any type of splatter flick, or rent one from Netflix.

Usually, when it comes to cinema, I try to be open-minded. I’ve enjoyed Dances With Wolves, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Singing In The Rain, Yojimbo, and Bananas. I don’t care how my local Blockbuster chooses to file these films on their shelves. Genres are meaningless to me. Either I like it or I don’t.

However, except for films by the brilliant and subversive David Cronenberg (The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch), I despise the horror movie genre. Yes, I know I’m prejudiced. As with Cronenberg, there are exceptions. Se7en, for one, comes to mind. It’s unique, disturbing and powerful. Still, after I saw David Fincher’s brooding, gore-splattered thriller, I knew I never wanted to see it again.

Why? Well, because the majority of them remind me of bad pornography. And it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a big-budget motion picture from a major studio by Eli Roth or an amateurish pile of shit finished in a weekend by a soon-to-be-forgotten hack, there’s a nasty but familiar subtext underneath that I recognize and I don’t like it. What horror movies and pornography have in common is in how much it hates us.

Pornography is misogynistic, clumsy, vulgar, simplistic, and mean-spirited, and doesn't pretend to be about anything else but sex. As long as you're willing to lower your expectations, leave subtlety and genuine human feelings behind and enter an ugly world of anonymous genitalia and meaningless orgasms, you'll never be disappointed.

In horror movies, these same principles apply, except you replace sex with violence. Blood 'n' Gore 'n' Guts is the fuel which runs this infernal machine. In Cronenberg’s oeuvre, there’s nuance and a rigorous intellectual philosophy behind the violence. But for everybody else, violence is all there is. The only artistic utensil to be found in their toolbox is an old hammer encrusted with dried blood and a few blonde hairs from a dead cheerleader.

And most of the time, other than the occasional token male becoming a screaming, bone-splintered lump of hamburger, it's always violence against women, isn't it? Just substitute scenes of women being gangbanged for scenes of women being stabbed and tortured to death. Women are objectified and turned into meat puppets that exist solely to be used as toys for naughty little boys with chainsaws.

Remember that repulsive scene in the beginning of High Tension when the homicidal psycho fellates himself with a women's disembodied head? And how much do you want to bet there were idiots--male, of course-- who probably laughed their asses off? Did they smoke a cigarette afterwards?

At least the guys who sell pornography pretend to try and keep children away. If they’re smart, the more reputable porno movie houses won’t let anyone in without checking their I.D. For those X-rated sites online there‘s parental control software you can use like Net Nanny. Blockbuster Video doesn’t have “adult” DVDs available at their stores, and the ones that do keep them in a separate section.

On the other hand, since horror movies are usually rated “PG” and playing at your local cineplex, they’re wholesome mainstream entertainment the entire family can enjoy. And yes, I swear to God, while I stood in line I’ve seen families wheeling in their baby carriages to see Wolf Creek. I want to punch the parents in the head.

These movies scare the hell out of me. They’re nightmares that don’t go away when you wake up but instead follow you the rest of the day. And what frightens me the most is knowing that there are people who will watch Hostel II and react as though it’s a sitcom. Worse, there are others in the audience who’ll be turned on by it.

So, was it good, huh baby?

Did you come?

Sunni Leprechauns?

click to enlarge

Since Pelosi and some of the newly minted Democratic House members seem unable to find the courage to get us out of this God-forsaken war, we need to turn to Leprechauns. Yes, Leprechauns.

We can start confiscating the Leprechaun's pots of gold to help manage the deficit and we need to start recruiting in Ireland. Because if we can't depend on Democratic backbone to get us out of Iraq, we will need all the luck we can get.

Now, if we can just get Ted Kennedy in the race.

Instant Karma

Excuse me for a second, I just wanna open up the window and sing, O.K.? Thank you.

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead


That felt good.

And, I have to tell you, it’s a feeling that’s been a stranger in my life for quite some time, especially if you’re a progressively-minded masochist who reads the news to see how the idiots in the White House are screwing us over.

But not lately. It’s another day, and there’s another new scandal in Washington that won’t go away. “Our” President’s Teflon is wearing thin, I guess.

The trial of “Scooter” Libby that resulted in a “Guilty” verdict, the horrific Walter Reed tragedy that has already caused three generals to resign, Alberto Gonzales–-man, the hits just keep on coming.

Still, what else should we expect from The Administration That Couldn’t Govern Straight? Ruthless? Sure. Used to having their way? Uh-huh. Consumed by a vainglorious hubris and petty-minded malice? Yep. Smart? Hm, no. If they were smart, they would have remembered that old truism about “be good to the people you meet on the way up, because they’ll be the same people you’ll meet on the way down."

If you ask me, what’s fueling this frenzy of investigations are all the guys Georgie (My Pet Goat) Bush, “Darth” Cheney, and Mr.Turd Blossom have brutally victimized over the years. You don’t think there’s a few ex-CIA spooks, pissed-off journalists, retired generals, humiliated diplomats and disgraced politicians waiting their turn to drop a dime and to savor a big bowl of cold Klingon soup?

Hmm hmmm, tasty.

Of course, it helps when the public is ready to hear the truth.

And when foreclosures are up, when gas prices are up, the number of corporations downsizing is up, when bankruptcies are up, when medical expenses are up, and college tuition is up, maybe propaganda vehicles like Fox News becomes increasingly more irrelevant when it gets harder for Mr. and Mrs. Sixpack to pay their bills.

I don’t think most Americans care about Monica (“Deep Throat”) Lewinsky anymore.

Now, there are a few purists out there who are outraged by the idea that for all the heinous crimes this administration has done (Iraq, Katrina, Medicare Plan ‘D’, No Child Left Behind), it took some e-mails and incriminating paperwork to finally reveal that The President Has No Clothes. "Huh? Bush is gonna be busted because some faceless bureaucrat forgot to hit the 'Delete' key? It's not big enough! Waaah." It's like being disappointed because Hannibal Lector is captured in a CVS because he wanted to buy Sudafed for his sinus infection.

Who cares?

Personally, it’s like when I heard the news about serial killer and part-time cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer getting killed in prison. Or Al Capone getting busted for tax evasion. Or Slobodan Milosevic dying in his cell of a heart attack.


If I’m looking for justice in an imperfect world and that’s the way the karma goes down, I’ll take it. After all, beggars can’t be choosers.

Did somebody say “Impeachment”?

Payback is a bitch, ain’t it?

You know, I feel like singing again:

Instant karmas gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin
Join the human race...

Yo, Alberto! How's that noose? A little snug, huh?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Living together in different worlds

Also at Booman Tribune and My Left Wing, ePluribus Media and Street Prophets

It was just yesterday that I discovered the 60 Minutes segment on Daniel Tammet. I guess it came to the forefront due to Pi Day, which was on the 14th. Via Yahoo, 60 Minutes segment on Daniel Tammet

Meet Daniel Tammet, a 27 year-old math and memory wizard. He can do things with numbers that will truly amaze you. He is a savant. . . with a difference. Unlike most savants, he shows no obvious mental disability, and most importantly, he can describe his own thought process. Join correspondent Morley Safer as he explores the extraordinary life and mind of Daniel Tammet.

He, like our son, has Asperger's Syndrome. Demetrius and I watched one of the video segments together yesterday morning. In the evening, one of the mothers at Son in Ohio's social skills group had a copy of Daniel Tammet's book, Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant. I'm very interested in reading the book, but in the meantime I'd like to share a bit of what I've found captivating about Daniel's story. And it's not the "gnarly number powers" that many people focus on, but rather how he experiences the world differently. His anxiety:
That anxiety keeps him close to home. He can’t drive, rarely goes shopping, and finds the beach a difficult place because of his compulsion to count the grains of sand. And it manifests itself in other ways, like making a very precise measurement of his cereal each morning: it must be exactly 45 grams of porridge, no more, no less.
When Son in Ohio was 4, he was obsessed with the number 4, having 4 of anything, etc. It was imperative that we park on level 4 of the parking garage at the library, or he would have a "meltdown". Crying, absolutely beside himself. I have to admit, I found it hard to be sympathetic. He had a little sister who was two, and with kids that age, any outing can be a challenge. So, once we'd finally arrived at our destination, to have the level we park on become a life or death issue?

But as time went on, and we learned that his difficulties were due to Asperger's Syndrome, we had a better understanding of the importance of order and control. In a world that seemed chaotic, unpredictable, and alien, it helped to have a handle on something that was reliable, orderly, and unchanging. I had to smile when I heard Daniel Tammet say that "numbers are his friends", because Son in Ohio's imaginary friend was named "Mr. Alphabet". The alphabet was his longest running special interest, spanning the course of several years, but others included states and capitals, planets, and rainbows.

Rainbows? That one threw us initially. But rainbows were always the same, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Well, they are *supposed* to always be the same. But there are plenty of people out there who have no idea how vile an offense they are committing when they omit Indigo. You do *not* want to leave colors out, or there will be hell to pay! Oh, and if you're doing an alphabet book, don't even *think* of cheating on the letter X--saying it is for eXtraordinary or some nonsense like that. If our son found a new alphabet book at the library, the first thing he did was flip to X to see if they used a real X word. But I digress--the point is that all of his special interests were orderly systems of one kind or another, and that seemed to provide a measure of comfort.

Here's the other segment from the interview that really caught my attention:
But at the end of the day—genius or not—that brain does work a little differently.

"One hour after we leave today, and I will not remember what you look like. And I will find it difficult to recognize you, if I see you again. I will remember your handkerchief. And I will remember you have four buttons on your sleeve. And I'll remember the type of tie you're wearing. It's the details that I remember," Tammet tells Safer.
This brought to mind the time when our son attended summer "day camp" in the same classroom where he'd gone to preschool that year. Exact same classroom, but different teachers. When I arrived to pick him up at the end of that first day, he remarked to me, "Sarah is calling herself 'Donna' now." Now, "Sarah" and "Donna" did indeed have some similar features, such as hair color and length, and the fact that they both wore glasses. But I imagine most kids would said, "My new teacher looks a lot like the teacher I had before" or something like that. The fact that he went straight for the conclusion, "Apparently my teacher changed her name" was one of our first big clues that the world did indeed *look* different to our son, because he naturally focussed on different things.

Our son lives with us in our home, but in a way we live in different worlds. Of course, we could say that for any two people, but we don't think of that most of the time. I think most of the time we assume we are operating on the basis of some shared reality. But we learned over time that our son did *not* experience the world in the same way we did. Looking back, I feel a little bad about not being more patient in dealing with some of those early fixations and sensitivities. But then again, I was navigating in uncharted territory myself.

One of the memories that stands out from right before our son's diagnosis is another mother suddenly running up to me and screaming that my son had knocked her child down. I was completely blindsided and never did figure out what happened. My attention at that moment had been on my daughter, who was in a toddler gymnastics class, and I'd been helping her walk across a balance beam. The other woman was in full "protective mother mode" and that's understandable as her child was smaller than my son. But at that moment I felt utterly confused, helpless, and clueless about how to respond. No doubt the world of parenting I experienced was very different from hers.

Wrap this thing up with some sort of conclusion? I wish. For now, all I've got is that we really need to work on being gentle to each other, because we have no idea what kind of world our neighbor might be inhabiting.
More links about Daniel Tammet:

Transcript of the 60 Minutes Segment here.
Audio on NPR's Talk of the Nation: A Look at an Autistic Savant's Brilliant Mind
Daniel Tammet's website and blog
From the Science Channel (includes more video) Brainman.

The Stepford Candidate

Who replaced Hillary Clinton with an animatronic doll? I liked the old one better. The one who was a chronic Glamour-don't, with the silly headband and doughty clothes. The one who made gaffes about not being Tammy Wynette. She was a real person. I could relate to her. Can we have her back, like in the execrable remake of "The Stepford Wives?" I fear this is like the chilling, original film and that the human Hillary is lost to us forever.

I don't get people who think she's a feminist icon. She's amassed a lot of power, but she's become the living antithesis of feminism; cautious, people-pleasing, self-monitoring... She apparently can't state an opinion that doesn't test well in 10 focus groups. To put it bluntly, she has no courage.

This morning I learned from Chris Durang on The Huffington Post, that she weaseled out of answering yet another direct question.

In the short article -- part of a blog called "The Caucus" on the New York Times website -- Hillary Clinton is asked if she agrees with General Pace that homosexuality is immoral.

What do you think she answered? "No, I don't agree"?

No, what she answered was: "Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude."

Thanks, Hillary! Really brave. Really forthright.

How hard would it have been for her to say: "Well, I think it is not immoral, and I know many Americans don't think it is and don't want to interfere with consensual adult behavior. But I understand other people believe other things. I hope in time that will change."

Isn't that probably what she actually thinks? Wouldn't that be taking a stand?

For Durang, who was talking straight about bisexuality long before it was cool, that's got to rankle.

Somewhere along the line, beltway Democrats seem to have decided that nothing bad can happen to them if they can make themselves completely inoffensive. And they have not yet learned that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

It's a formula that works least of all for Hillary. She wasn't born slick or charming and she can't pull it off without appearing terribly inauthentic. She seems so afraid of being her natural, divisive self, she's become positively insipid. She's more and more like an overly airbrushed photograph, or a plastic surgery disaster. Her entire personality has become like a face immobilized and expunged of character by too much Botox.

Worse than her coy evasions, when asked directly if she thought homosexuality was immoral, is her politically calculated clarification.

"I should have echoed my colleague Senator John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe," her statement said.

In other words if the big, strong, military, Republican man says it's ok to gay, it must be safe to have that opinion. This from someone who wants to be the first woman President?! A woman who needs a man's imprimatur to state an opinion? She might as well go back to baking cookies.

I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.
-- The Stepford Wives (1975)

Crossposted from The Blogging Curmudgeon.

Ken Blackwell hired by FRC

Guess Ken Blackwell is not going "gently into the night". From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins announced that Blackwell would be joining the Christian conservative group as a "senior fellow for family empowerment."

Blackwell, a Cincinnati Republican who was Ohio secretary of state, will lead FRC's efforts in addressing family economics.

Over the years, we have known and worked with Ken Blackwell on the toughest issues facing families and our country," Perkins said. "We have witnessed Ken's willingness to stand and fight for preserving marriage and defending the unborn. His unwavering commitment to tax relief and conservative fiscal policies has supported family enterprise."

Click here for more.

Everybody serves!

click to enlarge

Oh yes, everyone has options. They can come and go and they all grovel at the feet of El Presidente.


They all know what the other is doing. They are picking this nation apart in order to remake it in their own corrupt neocon fantasy.

And the spear at which they are doing this is the US Military, which ironically, does not serve at the pleasure of the President, they are forced into it. Then once no longer able to carry out their orders due to injury, they are shipped back to Walter Reed where they are abused in a very hideous way.

But the ones that remain, they are forced to serve AGAINST the interests of the Constitution and the We The People.

And again, Rove is in the center of it all.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ecumenical Advocacy Days in D.C.

I wasn't aware that this was going on this week. Via the Episcopal News Service:

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, made the plea: ''Each child is God's own beloved… How we treat each child is how we treat God... Every child needs and deserves health coverage.''

She addressed her words to the 1000-plus members of the faith community present in Washington, D.C., for Ecumenical Advocacy Days March 9-12.. ''God didn't make different classes of children and the U.S. should not continue its current inequitable treatment of children.''

This is the year that the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expires. Funded only through September, Congress must reauthorize the program, cut it or expand it. That reality helped keep participants focused on how to influence Congress.

''This is the time for action,'' declared Lindsey Wade, policy associate with the Children's Defense Fund, to those preparing arguments for the legislators they would visit the final day of the gathering.

Advocacy Days, now in its fifth year, drew the religious community to Washington to lobby for a range of human rights and justice issues. Several days of workshops and training preceded their descent on Capitol Hill.

More than 50 churches and faith-based organizations, including the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, sponsor Advocacy Days. The theme this year, ''And How Are the Children?'' aimed a spotlight at ending child poverty. Speakers addressed domestic and global issues: unaccompanied children crossing the border, fixing the No Child Left Behind program, effects of the Middle East conflict on the region's children; the impact of U.S. security policies on children; effects of debt on Africa's children; escalating violence in Burma and the Philippines and a dozen more.
Click here for the rest.

The Confidence Graveyard

By dhonig


three reasons to give three cheers to blogtopia! and yes! we coined that phrase!

cross-posted at skippy and a veritable cornucopia of other community blogs.

we have noticed, as of late, a disheartening trend in various comments and blog posts around blogtopia (y!wctp!). several writers have seemingly fallen into the dumps because things are not progressing as progressively as progressives would like. they cite the dems' refusal to discuss impeachment, the iraq defunding which looks to be dead in the water, and the general tendency of those in charge to ignore the common citizens they are supposedly hired by to run things.

however, we here at skippy international are feeling pretty good about things, and we wish that the rest of you in blogtopia (y!wctp!) would join us. after all, there are several major accomplishments that have come to fruition recently, all of which were done, if not completely, then certainly with major efforts, by the netroots.

to start with, blogs and bloggers really came into their own as true-to-life journalists with the libby trial. thanks to the kids at firedoglake, and to marcy wheeler (also known as "emptywheel"...and maybe some day she'll explain what the hell that screen name means), as well as swopa of medianeedle, jerlayn merritt of talkleft and margie burns for bradblog (plus others we have surely missed, and our apologies if we have), the idea of blogs as actual journalism came into existence.

where before blogs were seen mainly as an outlet for cranky powerless people to whine, suddenly it was proven that they could be used as an outlet for cranky powerless people to disseminate information on a national level at a level far deeper and wider in scope than any electronic media, and most dead trees media.

dan froomkin, and admitted fan of blogs, said on a q&a:

i think what did with this trial was not just impressive, it was transformative. by offering the public live-blogging of this very important trial, you not only put the msm to shame, but actually became a must-read for journalists who couldn't attend the trial, but wanted to get a better and faster sense of what was going on than they could from their own colleagues.

i'm not saying that the msm should emulate everything bloggers do -- far from it -- but the blogosphere's enthusiasm for this story was something to behold, and admire.
now, we here at skippy international had little to do with the libby coverage, short of a recurring photoshop, but just the very fact that several blogs made history by making journalism with this story should be an inspiration to everyone in blogtopia (y!wctp!).

this post is far too long to take up any more room here at iba. you can find two more reasons to give three cheers, as well as tons of pithy analysis, available at skippy.

Nationalizing Religion In America

click to enlarge

Despite our vast differences on politics, deities, eastern vs Lexington BBQ, fav Nascar teams and what not, there is ONE national religion in America and the temple is center court. Ramadan could be seen as the month after the NCAA finals are over. Easter could be recruiting season. But the finals are the High Holy Days. Sacrament is given a few days earlier in the form of a bracket play-off card.

The national past time is not really baseball anymore, it is basketball.

And the Heels will prove to be angelic this year!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

War protest at the National Cathedral

This action alert is from Faith in Public Life

3,500 Christian Leaders from 48 States to Protest War at National Cathedral, Mass Arrests Expected at White House

(Washington, DC) – Christian Peace Witness for Iraq will begin with a worship service on Friday, March 16 at Washington National Cathedral to be attended by more than 3,500 people of faith from 48 states, followed by a candlelight procession through the center of our nation’s capital, where thousands will surround the White House bearing the light of peace, and 700 will risk arrest by remaining in prayer in front of the White House. The service begins at 7 p.m., and the White House vigil will begin at 10:30 p.m. It will be the largest Christian peace demonstration, as well as the largest single civil disobedience action at the White House, since the beginning of the Iraq war four years ago.

More than 190 Christian and interfaith peace vigils and actions will also be held around the country in conjunction with Christian Peace Witness for Iraq-- including large-scale acts of moral civil disobedience organized by Christian Peace Witness coalition member group the Declaration of Peace .

WHAT: Christian Peace Witness National Cathedral Worship Service, Procession and Action at White House

WHEN: March 16, 2007 at 7pm

WHERE: The National Cathedral
Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-5098

WHO: Features speakers include:

Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of God’s Politics

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of America in the King Years and a Presbyterian Elder

Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the North American Conference of the World Council of Churches.

Rick Ufford Chase, convener of Christian Peace Witness for Iraq’s steering committee and former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.

Celeste Zappala, a United Methodist and founding member of Gold Start Families Speak Out, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004

SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

Who gets to determine our "value"?

Originally posted at My Left Wing

I haven't been able to keep on top of all the essays written here. Being on a bit of a break from work, I have a little more time than I did, but I still have to balance my blogging with working on things that can generate income. 'Cause my time off is *never* "paid vacation" time. I say this in order to explain why I miss many essays that I might really appreciate reading, and also to explain why I was so concerned by what I read when I finally did take a look at Why We Don't Write/The Two MLWs. People here actually don't write out of concern that their work will be regarded as "not good enough"? Aw crap! Why would we *do* this to ourselves and others?

And while I'm on the topic, WTF is it with the disparaging of all things "meta"? That tends to be the bulk of what I write, when I actually *do* write. Some of you may be aware that I do transcripts sometimes--for example, I actually transcribed the whole tv appearance MSOC did a while back. I've done plenty of others as well, and sometimes people express amazement that I am willing to go to that kind of trouble. The reason I transcribe is pretty simple. First, I think it's important to make sure people's words *in context* are available. Secondly, it makes me feel like a "useful engine". That's important to me. And a lot of the time it's much much easier for me to mindlessly transcribe something than to actually put together words of my own.

Which brings me back to "meta". (I already said here that I'm going to press forward with this and post it even if it might suck. And the scattered nature of this post is a pure reflection of my state of mind--it's rainy and dreary outside, so I lack focus. It's not a bug--it's a feature!) "Meta" in one form or another is what I *do*. It's how my mind works--I see connections between things. I've had *plenty* of opportunities for "f---ing learning experiences", I reflect on them, and I share my insights. I do this, not because I have some belief that *my* words on an issue are better written, or more valid, or more important than anyone else's. But sometimes someone will read them and find them helpful in some way--maybe it will provide them with one more "piece of the puzzle" that they need. And in my mind, that's the most important work we can be doing here on earth. Reaching out and making connections. Touching other lives in a positive way.

I want to share two more things before I close this rambling essay (for now). The first is a comment I made to one of skippy's diaries at Booman Tribune last month. Yes, it had to do with that damn "Blogroll Amnesty Day" nonsense. And no, I don't normally drop "f-bombs" when I write. But this is an issue I get pretty worked up about...

I have no fucking patience for elitism. Especially considering how hard I work all day and still find the fucking time to try to do some social justice activism, which I don't profit from monetarily, simply because I fucking care about making the world a better place.

It's been a long week. One thing I meant to mention in the context of all of this is that it brings back a memory from years ago, of a fellow receptionist describing an interaction she had with one of the attorneys at the firm where she was employed. He wanted her to do the dirty work of booting some "lesser" attorney out of a conference room or something, and she balked at being put in that position. He boomed back at her, "I'm a $300 an hour man"

I cannot stand that kind of crap. You make more money, you wield more power, whatever, does not make you inherently more worthy. Sometimes it just means you got lucky. Sometimes it even means you stabbed somebody in the back to get where you are.

The second thing I want to share is a piece of scripture from 1 Corinthians. It's one that has been on my mind a lot lately.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Occasionally people will react negatively to any mention of religion--sometimes to the point of belligerently insisting that I "leave the God stuff out of it". I haven't experienced that here, that I can recall, but it's happened often enough in my years of blogging that I *do* hesitate before I "go there".

So anyway, I'm cognizant that some people, because of negative past experiences, are uncomfortable with seeing scripture quoted. And I try to be sensitive to that because, well, because I'm just "like that". Anyway, if you're one of those people, maybe you can try mentally deleting the religion words from the passage above. Because I really think, even as just a piece of literature (an "essay" by Paul, if you will) it is pretty relevant to what I've been trying to say in this post.

Marines too weak for Gays?

click to enlarge

I have never understood the whole right wing idea that Gays in the military are bad. Our military is rumored to be the toughest and most professional on Earth - able to run into the teeth of battle without batting an eyeball.

Scared of nothing.

So you are telling me this fierce bunch of people who have been fighting Al Qaeda, the Mahdi Army and who knows what all, for almost six years now can’t handle Gays?

Somehow Gays are more of threat to democracy and freedom than Bin Laden? This is one thing the Marines can’t overcome? A beach they can’t take?

Horseshit. Marines can handle anything and so can the other branches of our military.

Dick Cheney's obsession with death

They don't call Dick Cheney the Dark Lord for nothing. Jeff Feldman has a fascinating post at Frameshop (cross-posted at HuffPo) that clearly underscores the Snarling Beast's relentless focus on death and killing:

Despite the timid coverage of Dick Cheney's recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2007 Policy Conference, America's violent-tongued Vice President gave a speech that all but accused the Democratic party of plotting to commit treason and kill American soldiers. Somehow, the thinly-veiled threats and violent vocabulary of Cheney's horror-soaked speech was missed by CNN when it described the Vice President as "chiding" Democrats.

Reading through Cheney's speech--posted to the White House web site for any journalist to read a full 5 hours before the CNN article appeared on their web site--I was able to quickly pull together the following list of words and the number of times they were repeated, all of which evoke violence and all of which were used by the Vice President in the span of 27 short minutes:

war - 31
terror - 26
enemy - 12
attack - 7
battle - 7
kill - 6
destroy - 4
bomb - 3
weapons - 2
death - 2
murder - 2
violence - 2

In this speech--where CNN claims the VP was only "chiding" Democrats--our NC-17 VP repeated the words "war," "terror,""enemy," "murder," "death" and "kill" enough times to make Quentin Tarantino cover his ears and switch over to the Animal Planet.

For goodness sakes. Cheney's speeches need a warning label: "**WARNING** The Vice President of the United States gives speeches peppered with violent vocabulary that may give you and your children nightmares for days."

More here or here.

It's enough to make you nostalgic for the days when Republican presidents would bust a union and then talk about a shining city on a hill, or gut programs for the poor and then talk about a thousand points of light. This administration is all about fear -- fear and death. For after all, a population that's convinced it's going to die at a moment's notice isn't going to care about how the Vice President and his business cronies are robbing their future.

(crossposted at Brilliant at Breakfast)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Happy Pi Day!

In addition to being Einstein's birthday, March 14 is also Pi Day: From Yahoo News:

This is a story about love. About inscrutable complexity and remarkable simplicity, about the promise of forever. It is about obsession and devotion, and grand gestures and 4,000-word love letters.

It is about a curious group of people with an almost religious zeal for a mind-numbing string of numbers. Actually one number, made up of a chain that is known — so far — to be more than one trillion digits long.

They are the acolytes of the church of pi.

And once a year many of them gather to talk about pi, rhapsodize about it, eat pi-themed foods (actual pie, sure, but so much more), have pi recitation contests and, just maybe, feel a little less sheepish about their unusual passion.

That day falls on Wednesday this year: March 14. Or 3.14. Obviously.
Click for more.

The Exploratorium web site has a page about Pi Day, and a page of pi links.

Click here for a pi poster:

Upon closer examination 350,390 digits of pi are visible. Each line contains 600 digits of pi. The first 440 most commonly recognized digits are visible from a distance.
And finally, a pi song/video. It's to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie. Here's the web site of the writer. The video only has part of the song, but here's an mp3 of the the whole song, and this link has the lyrics.

Happy 128th Albert Einstein!

Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879. In my time zone, this Happy Birthday, Einstein post is coming a few hours too early. But in Germany, where Einstein was born, it's already after midnight. So there you go.

Please use this thread to share your favorite Albert Einstein quote, link, or story.

Here's an excerpt from a very well known piece Einstein wrote on science and religion. A lot of people have seen the "blind vs. lame" quote, but I hadn't seen it in context before today.

Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Though I have asserted above that in truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with reference to the actual content of historical religions. This qualification has to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes.

Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

March on the Pentagon

web button white

Just a reminder. Hopefully someone who knows more about the event will write a post about it.

Why Bush 41 really fainted.

click to enlarge

You just can't keep a good agent of Satan down.

Bush 41 passed out this past weekend. The doctors, obviously on the payroll of the Illuminati, claimed he suffered from simple dehydration.

I call bollocks on the the whole story. What was an 82 year old man doing out in the middle of the desert in 94 degree heat in the middle of winter? I bet you didn't know it got up to 94 degrees in the U.S. in winter? Never mind, don't get me sidetracked on Gore so early in the morning.

Here is the real story... Bush 41 was in the sweltering heat for one reason, so he could begin to grow accustomed to feeling of the flames of Hell licking his flesh as he bows before his master, Satan, for spawning the Anti-Christ, Bush 43.

And he got in more practice this weekend... a brush with homosexuality.

"The ugliest part of what happened was that my [male] friend … gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,"

Cause you know, somewhere in Hell, there is a razor wire butt-plug with his name on it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Pluto Planet Day

As I previously noted here, New Mexico is declaring March 13 "Pluto Planet Day". Here's the declaration:
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
Joni Marie Gutierrez


WHEREAS, the state of New Mexico is a global center for astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico is home to world class astronomical observing facilities, such as the Apache Point observatory, the very large array, the Magdalena Ridge observatory and the national solar observatory; and

WHEREAS, Apache Point observatory, operated by New Mexico state university, houses the astrophysical research consortium's three-and-one-half meter telescope, as well as the unique two-and-one-half meter diameter Sloan digital sky survey telescope; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university has the state's only independent, doctorate-granting astronomy department; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico state university and Dona Ana county were the longtime home of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has been recognized as a planet for seventy-five years; and

WHEREAS, Pluto's average orbit is three billion six hundred ninety-five million nine hundred fifty thousand miles from the sun, and its diameter is approximately one thousand four hundred twenty-one miles; and

WHEREAS, Pluto has three moons known as Charon, Nix and Hydra; and

WHEREAS, a spacecraft called new horizons was launched in January 2006 to explore Pluto in the year 2015;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet and that March 13, 2007 be declared "Pluto Planet Day" at the legislature.
I really like that "excellent night skies" line. :)

Alachua Update

From the comments at Howard-Empowered People. This is a follow up to Alachua Elections on again(?).

News from Alachua for friends of Charlie. He is doing well. But has been working 24 hours a day for nearly a year. The work has been difficult but is now starting to pay off as people are seeing through the haze of spin and framing.

The local news blockade has effectively kept this story fairly quiet until now. But even the major media outlets in Alachua County are now seeing through the facade.

Please take a look at the front page story of the Gainesville Sun today and help us spread the word around. Charlie needs our help. You would be proud of the work he is doing. Many of us were skeptical about the role the internet can play in local politics. But he has shown us the importance of community and that includes the wider community that stretches across the nation.

Alachua makes waves by doing things its own way
Sun staff writer

ALACHUA - The public comment period of last Monday night's city meeting started as many others do - with people lining up behind the podium to criticize or praise a recent decision by city officials.

Residents quoted Maya Angelou, Thomas Jefferson and Florida election laws to back up their points. They cheered and booed other speakers' comments. Some called city officials everything from incompetent to ignorant. Others thanked them for bringing positive change to the community.

At issue was the city's decision to disqualify the three people who challenged two incumbent commissioners in the city's April 10 election for what city officials said was incomplete paperwork. That decision would have essentially called off the election.
See more here.

Mutual Linking

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled "I can't believe it's not a meritocracy!". I guess it could be seen as an "angry" post, but I think it was pretty mild as such things go. It was inspired by Atrios, the founder of Blogroll Amnesty Day, writing a post entitled "Why your blog sucks" Nonetheless, I really don't want to focus on the negative here.

I suppose that post by Atrios after he was the one who initiated the blogroll dump movement ticked me off as much as it did because I've had plenty of real life experiences where that same theme is present. It's as if once you reach a certain level of success, the rules of decency no longer apply. I'm certainly not going to mention specifics, but let's just say I've had many opportunities to declare, "If I ever get in a position of power, that is not how I'm going to treat people!"

Well, I sat this morning with the "compose a post" window open for well over an hour, and still couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted to stay. So I decided to go back to something I posted at the Independent Bloggers' Aliance on February 28, because it sums it up better than anything else I can think to say.

At the risk of being way too adorable, I've decided to go ahead and post this Shel Silverstein poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends

I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins

I think I got it in my head after reading Maryscott O'Connor's essay Wherein I Respond to the Response to the Post Article, and I was balking at the notion that, if one is afforded the opportunity to speak to and be heard by a larger audience, one is somehow obligated to speak and behave within certain acceptable parameters. Well, a big part of the reason many of us speak out, is because we do not approve of the way the media-political "game" is played. It's not making things better for ordinary people. It's not making people better able to connect with and learn about each other.

In short, powers that be, your game and its rules suck. I do not choose to spend my time and energy in a vain attempt to becoming a better player of that bullshit game. If I do find space in my life for involvement in the political process, my energies will be directed toward changing the game and how it's played.

And I think another thing that brought this poem to mind was the discussion of different approaches to linking. With mutual linking, everyone wins. Even from a purely pragmatic standpoint, it's good for all of us.

While I'm on the topic, I should point out what the "About" section in the sidebar says:
This blog is designed to be a place where ordinary people who also happen to be bloggers can post about issues that are important to them, and be heard by wider audiences. If you write for your own blog or for a group blog, you are more than welcome to crosspost those essays here, but we ask that you use that opportunity to tell your readers "this entry is crossposted at the Independent Bloggers’ Alliance. You are also encouraged to post links to stories written by other contributors here. The fact is, the more we get in the practice of linking to each other, the better it is for all of us.

As far as ideology, I expect that we will be something of a mix of moderate to liberal viewpoints, not necessarily loyal to a particular party. Nobody is their best self all the time, but I expect us to make a genuine effort to treat each other with respect, even when we disagree.

If you'd like to become a contributor, drop me a note at ohiorenee(at)
I just posted that blurb, as well as what you see below, in a comment over at Kos.

One last thing...some of you first encounted me on the Dean blog. That was probably my first "blog home". But my first real foray into the internet came, gosh, I can't remember the year. Eight years ago, maybe? I was involved in dog rescue, working as a "foster parent" for dogs in need of adoption. On Saturdays, I would bring whichever dog I was fostering at that time to "adoption day" at a local pet store. While I was there, I would hear all these stories about why people adopted pets only to turn them over to shelters. This was such a preventable problem, if only people went into pet adoptions with the right information. So I started bringing helpful printouts to these adoption events.

And later I created this web site. And that's what blogging has always been about for me. Trying to have my voice heard in a way that can make a positive difference.

Again, I know there are people who will read all sorts of malicious intent or self aggrandizing or whatever into my posts on the issue of bloggers supporting each other. Nothing I can do about that. But I also trust that there are people who will take me at my word, and it is those people I am addressing here.

Cheney’s dietary supplements

click to enlarge

I have always felt when a politician brings up their relationship with God in a campaign, they are usually as far away from morality and their faith as they can possible get.

I get that from Cheney and doubly so from Bush (maybe triple). They give great lip service to the Lord Almighty™ but are total failures in showing examples of their faith in their daily lives.

I understand the need to keep diplomatic relations with an enemy nation, but Bush has constantly cozied up with some of the most atrocious people on the planet. His personal relationship, as well as his family's, with Middle East dictators has always been troubling. (Don't get me started on the whole Nazi nastiness) And the same goes for Dick Cheney and his Halliburton.

So I hear Cheney talk about Christianity and know it is all a lie, so I must also conclude that all his positive, love-fest language about Jews is equally false. Israel doesn't have that much oil production, so why should Cheney give a shit about them?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Middle East Oil vs Nebraskan Corn

click to enlarge

Ethanol is not the be-all solution to our energy problem. You could plant all of the U.S. in corn and still not have enough to provide all our energy needs, if you used sugar cane, those figures would dramatically improve. However, corn-based ethanol is a great way to make changes NOW. America has an ungodly infrastructure to grow, harvest and transport corn. Using that corn for ethanol is no-brainer. Plus it helps family farmers... a group the government has habitually abused for decades.

From CNN:
In Nebraska, 84 percent (56 out of 67) of the counties of under 10,000 residents lost population. Kansas lost 28,392 in non-metro population, Iowa 21,697, Illinois 18,673 and North Dakota 17,866. Almost all the farm communities in the Midwest experienced similar population stagnation or loss.

According to Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol is now revitalizing many of these rural communities - and not just in the Midwest.

There are already about 100 U.S. ethanol plants in operation, up from 50 in 1999, and 78 more are under construction, reports Dinneen. They range from Texas and California to New York and Florida. They use corn, sorghum, soybeans and other crops to produce ethanol. Development of practical cellulosic ethanol production plants (from switch grass, corn stalks, municipal solid waste and other sources) is underway."

Anything that keeps our money OUT of the hands of Middle-East Dictators and Theocracies is a very good thing.