Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Here's what I consider as the best portion:
Of course, nothing about our being "over there" in any way prevents terrorists from coming here. Quite the opposite, the evidence is overwhelming that our presence provides motivation for people throughout the Arab world to become anti-American terrorists.
Some 100,000 Iraqis, probably more, have been killed since our invasion. They have parents, children, cousins and fellow tribal clan members who have pledged revenge no matter how long it takes. For many, that revenge is focused on America.
At the same time, investing time, energy and resources in Iraq takes our eye off two far more urgent tasks at hand: one, guarding the homeland against terrorism much better than the pork-dispensing Department of Homeland Security currently does the job; and two, systematically dismantling Al Qaeda all over the world, from Canada to Asia to Africa. On both these fronts, the Bush administration's focus is sorely lacking.
Richard Clark's book, like that of the CIA's George Tenet which is just around the corner, and plenty of others will be part of the very interesting and yet so sad history of the Bu$hCo years. I truly think in time you'll have people either denying they voted for old Dubyah or making some interesting excuses of why they did so. Certainly our corporate Big Media, Karl Rove's tricks combined with the GOP machine's discipline, dreadfully flawed Democratic campaigns/consultants ... will provide cover for some denying their support. Still, the majority of informed and intelligent Americans I knew in 2004, and 2000 to a lesser extent, did not support Bu$hCo.
Truly Iraq was a disaster. Would that we could salvage something from the many failures. If another administration was handling perhaps we could even yet. John Kerry, and the other grown ups that actually had combat and other experience that he'd have brought into his administration, would have had two years now, but for Ohio and the fear-mongering of 9-11 and gay marriage. I often wonder what our foreign policy, including military force, would look like now. Peace ... or War!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Today's news that Senator Bishop wants the issue of an official state apology for slavery decided by a vote of the public shouldn't be surprising. Senator Bishop claims he's worried that "lawsuits" will result. While I'm not always happy with Senator Sanders, he's correct in the fact that most reparation claims are time barred. Corporations, rather than individuals, might face some exposure yet even that's a stretch. This MSNBC/AP article from the past summer is decent entry level material on the issue yet is interesting simply for the human angle.
Here's my beef though. Alabama has hardly had a real good record on these votes. Just today MSNBC/AP recalls 40% of Alabama voters voting against the removal of the ban on interracial marriages, which has long been unenforceable, from our antiquated Constitution. This old CNN coverage of the vote hardly comforted me on how our voters might handle this apology issue. We voted down removal of language on segregated schools!
Alabama voters just might serve up some numbers that might not be very pretty if Charles Bishop get his way. Peace ... or War!
UPDATE - July 2, 2008 - Like Dan I could also write many posts on Alabama's CCC. He reveals the following:
Alabama Senator Charles Bishop was the keynote speaker at 2008 Conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens. For those that don’t know, the CCC is an interesting Christian conservative organization. They have 14 principles — some of them are more than okay. I like the Bill of Rights too, even the ones that are out of favor currently. Other principles, however, are a little more than sublimely racist. Some of the highlights:
- They believe the US is a “European” [white] country and should remain that way.
- They oppose any and all Mexican immigration (as well as any other non-European immigrants).
- They oppose interracial marriage.
- There shouldn’t be histories, monuments, and cultural items that show anything but a European perspective of US history and culture.
- They oppose “multicultural” and “Afrocentric” education in schools.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. - Cat's Cradle (1963)I had a hard time deciding how to label this Cornerstone. I started with "resentment", then went to "ignorance", then to "learning", then to "waste", then to "regret", then to ... Any ideas? I reckon it's so deep that it applies to plenty.
I also suppose the beginning of the Brinkley piece (He survived being captured by the Nazis and the suicide of his mother to write some of the funniest, darkest novels of our time, but it took George W. Bush to break him.) applies to how many from the left might feel. Indeed the Bu$hCo years have been and remain a very dark chapter for our world. I'm not broken but seriously bent. Vonnegut had little faith in humanity before Commander Codpiece and the Mayberry Machiavellis started ruining everything they touched yet Bu$hCo was apparently the last straw. I've read his last work, Man Without a Country, and figure he'd pretty much given up on a nation that would settle for "leadership" by such a disaster of an administration.
Given that I hardly think Dubyah has worked hard at much of anything in his life, and "ignorant" certainly applies, maybe this applies to an extent. Yet, it's broader than simply this current President. From my own struggles of late to find my way in the working world to the Alabama politicians to the local yokels running things near my "home" to the ... I've got a powerful dose of resentment working these days. Hate to be in that place and hope it eases sooner rather than later. Peace .. or War
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Heck of a job Georgie putting this rascal in at the #2 slot at Defense and then getting him, after the dreadful work he did related to Iraq, in as the top tomato at The World Bank. Peace ... or War!
A few days ago I ran across Bruce Bartlett's Op-Ed in the Gray Lady titled "How Supply-Side Economics Trickled Down" and started to post off it. Folks may recall that Bartlett worked under both The Gipper and Bu$h the Elder. Today I located another NYT Busines Section piece from Robert H. Frank titled "In the Real World of Work and Wages, Trickle-Down Theories Don’t Hold Up".
Bartlett wrote, in part:
Today, supply-side economics has become associated with an obsession for cutting taxes under any and all circumstances. No longer do its advocates in Congress and elsewhere confine themselves to cutting marginal tax rates — the tax on each additional dollar earned — as the original supply-siders did. Rather, they support even the most gimmicky, economically dubious tax cuts with the same intensity.
I'm hardly a fan yet even this "Supply Side" cheerleader, at least back in the day, knows the doctrine had gone way off the reservation. He suggests a proper burial. Amen!
Mr. Frank begins his effort with:
When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” The same logic explains the call by John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate, for higher taxes on top earners to underwrite his proposal for universal health coverage.
Providing universal coverage will be expensive. With the median wage, adjusted for inflation, lower now than in 1980, most middle-class families cannot afford additional taxes. In contrast, the top tenth of 1 percent of earners today make about four times as much as in 1980, while those higher up have enjoyed even larger gains. Chief executives of large American companies, for example, earn more than 10 times what they did in 1980. In short, top earners are where the money is. Universal health coverage cannot happen unless they pay higher taxes.
Trickle-down theorists are quick to object that higher taxes would cause top earners to work less and take fewer risks, thereby stifling economic growth. In their familiar rhetorical flourish, they insist that a more progressive tax system would kill the geese that lay the golden eggs. On close examination, however, this claim is supported neither by economic theory nor by empirical evidence.
He closes with:
In the United States, trickle-down theory’s insistence that a more progressive tax structure would compromise economic growth has long blocked attempts to provide valued public services. Thus, although every other industrial country provides universal health coverage, trickle-down theorists insist that the wealthiest country on earth cannot afford to do so. Elizabeth Edwards faces her battle with cancer with the full support of the world’s most advanced medical system, yet millions of other Americans face similar battles without even minimal access to that system.
Low- and middle-income families are not the only ones who have been harmed by our inability to provide valued public services. For example, rich and poor alike would benefit from an expansion of the Energy Department’s program to secure stockpiles of nuclear materials that remain poorly guarded in the former Soviet Union. Instead, the Bush administration has cut this program, even as terrorists actively seek to acquire nuclear weaponry.
The rich are where the money is. Many top earners would willingly pay higher taxes for public services that promise high value. Yet trickle-down theory, which is supported neither by theory nor evidence, continues to stand in the way. This theory is ripe for abandonment.
Soak the rich! I'm pretty much an Unreconstructed Keynesian so I'm waiting for those ideas to come back into vogue. Seriously, a stronger America requires a progressive tax code. Peace ... or War!
"The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart."I use that quote as part of my Daily Kos comments plus I also recall relaying a sanitized version to several of my classes. The line can come across as a little arrogant and yet often seems appropriate in these times where so many people with power appear to be lacking in depth. Peace ... or War!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
"An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it.""Abandonment" might not be much better than "not finishing" yet it sound like it was more of a choice perhaps? I guess the thing is that the art in my mind can at least be portable, although my materials and canvas of late are hardly so. Peace ... or War!
Certainly Walking Wendell wasn't the only one up on Goat Hill involved in this travesty yet he chairs the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that voted 10-0 to allow PAC money to still flow into various political party operations. After a 103-0 vote in the House to have you and yours pull this stunt gives you Outlander status that is well earned. Peace ... or War!
It's "Big Media" that's seemingly at issue here. Let's start with "Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America" by Peter Phillips from way back in 2005 on Common Dreams. Here's the money quote:
A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other.My take on Imus, Katie Couric ... Iraq is that the leadership making the decisions of Viacom, GE, Westwood One, MSNBC, CBS, Time, News Corp, etc. is following the profits. Capitalism requires this perhaps yet I'm increasingly nervous about the consequences. Additionally, my experience is that many people living the high life often lose touch with the world outside their elite surroundings. Truly if a person is living the American dream in the corporate world would they really upset the boat? Folks on down the food chain want to please those up at the top. That's reality in nearly every organization. The consequences for this occuring in mass media however go well beyond a grumpy big mouth like Don Imus saying outrageous things on our public airwaves or a cute and clever personality like Katie Couric getting a little sloppy with the script.
The Imus back-scratching seems certain. I found an old piece from 2002 titled "US Media Interests: Champions of Profit, Propaganda and Puffery" by John Stanton and Wayne Madsen that reads a little bumpy (pot calling the kettle black?) yet seems correct in many ways. Some quotes are:
A crisis without precedent is underway in the United States. And its consequences will be far graver than those wrought by the U.S. presidential election of 2000 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The collapse of the Jeffersonian "free and uncensored press" in America endangers the liberties of all Americans and, arguably, citizens from all walks of life around the globe. As the U.S. prepares to invade Iraq and preemptively strike anywhere in the world it feels threatened, the only remaining barrier to monstrous U.S. totalitarianism is a sickly and crippled U.S. media, an aggressive foreign media, and the hope that the heretofore somnambulant American public will awaken from its stupor. ...
They editorialize on issues that please advertisers and the profit margin. ...
... U.S. print and broadcast organs from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, from NBC to Fox, and from AM radio bands to FM bands, spew out a vile and banal concoction of information that numbs the mind and homogenizes the thought processes of a U.S. citizenry scurrying about to support the "war effort." So-called "news programs" seek to pacify and assure during the commute, the thunderstorm, the shopping spree, the murder. Weather, roads, guns, cars, food are all endowed by newsreaders with character as if those "things" are conscious entities. As Herbert Marcuse so adroitly pointed out, in this environment people don't "see" themselves, they project themselves into "things". Viewers are commodities to the U.S. media interests. "Thought" need not apply here. ...
So it's no surprise that U.S. media interests enthusiastically embrace all the activities that move money from one hand to another, but none that move a contrary, novel or critical idea from one mind to another. ...
... the stupefying advertisements and "news" inserts that come with viewing or listening to any broadcast programming from U.S. media interests leaves the viewer punch-drunk. The nauseating blend of politics, sound-bites, comedy, murder, "reality", "Hollywood", "news", "graphic footage" ---- intermixed with the viscous commercialism that plays on procreation, death, and productivity---put forth by owners and news readers of infotainment interests stands as one of the most mercenary acts in capitalist history. ...
Here's one portion relevant to the Iraq fiasco, and once again I'll claim opposition to this War of Choice, that seems very solid:
As U.S. military planners, politicians and corporations continue their global pacification campaign against a now trumped up Al Qeida, they have already planned for the invasion of Iraq and, perhaps, other members of the Axis of Evil. To garner public support for boundless U.S. military operations--from which new exploitable markets magically appear--the war machine has received the enthusiastic support of U.S. media interests whose task, it seems, is to keep the public busy and acquiescent. In reality, most American's are extraordinarily adverse to war, yet the U.S. media interests upon which they rely for "thought" are the integral operatives for U.S. war propaganda and concomitant public indoctrination.
I'll close with a portion of Jeff Cohen's "Cable News Confidential" provided by Greg Palast. Jeff, who will be in Huntsville, Alabama this Friday evening, wrote:
It’s says a lot about TV news that people like Phil Donahue, who correctly questioned the Iraq war, have been banished from the system. Yet I’m unaware of a single TV executive, anchor, pundit or “expert” who lost their job for getting such a huge story so totally wrong. I do know of a hawkish host on MSNBC who was taken off the air—he became the general manager of the channel.Thank goodness for alternatives. I 'll remain a news junkie yet I surely get frustrated with what I hear and see. No coverage of the 2008 Presidential candidates issue positions but they'll cover the horse race for sure. At least we now know who the father is of Anna Nicole's daughter. What's the alternative to the dominance of "Big Media"? Studying, alternative sources, calling the media conglomerates on their BS, funding public highspeed, public media, checking foreign sources, regulations, exposure, less consumption, education, supporting public service journalism, fair elections, leadership, sharing of ideas, discourse ... Any othe solutions or at least ways to cope? Is there any hope? Peace ... or War!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
As for the "less dependent on foreign oil", I guess that just means drill in ANWAR and pretty much anywhere a shaft can be sunk. Raising CAFE standards, tax incentives, investment in research, building out European/Japanese style public transportation ... be damned! We know Big Oil will be taken care of, unfortunately so, perhaps to a lesser extend should the Democratic Party keep or actually gain control, by whichever party is in power.
Giuliani said the chief lesson he learned from Sept. 11 was that “Never will America be on defense against terrorists who are planning to come here and kill us.”
As president, Giuliani said he would also cut taxes and develop an energy policy less dependent on foreign oil.
Rudy serves up the standard GOP response to "terrorism". Flawed as those positions are, that's what the true believers expect to hear. Once again guys, the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Those nations are hardly democracies or part of modernity but at least on paper they our allies. We invaded Afghanistan, for the most part a decision that nearly every American could accept, to go after the Taliban and al Qaeda yet Dubyah's boy, that enabling Tommy Franks, let Osama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora. He's likely in Pakistan. Many in Pakistan loathe our nation. They have nuclear capabilities. Heck of a job Georgie!
Of course we left Afghanistan, well before our work was done there. Truly that nation rebuilt properly could have been a model in a region that truly matters. Since some innocents were killed that would have been perhaps part of the balancing out. However, Bu$hCo and his handlers elected to go on a certain fool's errand in Iraq. Plenty of wise Americans knew this was coming, most mass media excepted of course, and I'll include myself in that mix. Bu$hCo and the neo-cons lied (or at least royally screwed up) the run up to the invasion and then the occupation has been an even larger disaster. Very few if any terrorists, certainly none affiliated with al Qaeda, were in Iraq before we invaded. Some are there now of course and Bu$hCo's occupation (plus torture policy!) is guaranteeing more and more extremists. The Brits, the Germans, the ... Hell, everybody does terrorism maintenance, and that's the best anyone will ever do you goobers, better than we do. Seriously, Osama and other enemies of our country couldn't have designed a more perfect disaster that that created by old Dubyah and his neo-cons.
This idea of never being on the defense against those planning is loony tunes material. What other choice do we have? Surely going after a known threat is a given but that's more likely if we have allies to help us identify and access threats. Bu$hCo has burned up so much good will that I'm figuring allies are in short supply. HUMINT Dubyah! Buying their favor is about all that is left and that's imperfect. Securing ports and borders seems wise yet that's still pretty much lacking under Bu$hCo. Militarism is seldom going to work in the long approach to fighting terrorism and this cowboy style of using our military is not only going to destroy our warriors and their families but it is creating more extremists.
That sort of brings me to the last of Rudy's script. When all else is lost there's always "tax cuts". Never before has a war been fought with the President telling everyone else to go shop and spend those tax cuts. What tax cuts? Some average American might have gotten a little less than a couple of hundred that has long been absorbed by local and state costs and fees and some even backed up. Tuition for instance really floored me. Everybody that is willing to look sees the so called tax cuts pretty much only favored the fat cats. And don't go into the Laffer Curve, supply side, voodoo economics as that dog doesn't hunt. It never did but to explain gets complicated. Trust me and if you doubt my position I'll get a post up upon your request. The taxes on work and wages, old fashioned sweat of the brow stuff, remain the same. Dividends and capital gains got their breaks. Hardly fair it would seem to this country boy. Under Bu$hCo's GOP approach those top few in the society have surely cashed in. Think, study, question ... and Rudy and the GOP's reliance on "tax cuts" is revealed as simply more garbage they are shoveling.
Finally, the above image is from Americans for Shared Sacrifice. Amen! Peace ... or War!
Per Danny, here is what Joe Turnham said today that has my Scots up:
“While I respect Guiliani’s record as mayor of New York City, I am surprised that his liberal record on abortion, gun rights, and illegal immigration would find such a warm reception among Alabama Republicans. In fact, I believe all the leading Democratic candidates are more in line with Alabama values than Rudy Giuliani.”I'll let the "I respect" mess go beyond wondering if Joe could have not run with plenty of Rudy's record there in NYC (hardly a perfect one Joe!), his business profiteering, Rudy's ties to Bernard Kerik ...? Giuliani's positions on reproductive choice, reasonable restrictions on assault weapons, and comprehensive immigration reforms are hardly where I'd attack him as even here in Alabama you'll actually get a rather broad spectrum of opinions.
Here's the problem I've got ... Why use "liberal record" and "Alabama values" in this statement and in this context? What do those phrases mean? Not only does it seem that Joe is using the frames of the right, he is more importantly also missing a chance to talk up a vision of our party that embraces Progressivism and/or Populism. I've mentioned before that the Alabama Democratic Party "leadership" seems to favor Republican Lite strategies yet Joe has had days to prepare for this opportunity. And this is the best he could do?
Why does Joe so easily fall right into the "liberal" label trap the Republicans have been laying for us for so very long? First of all, I'm a proud liberal. Here's the definition:
Liberal: adj. 1. relating to or having social and political views that favor progress and reform. 2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom. 3. giving and generous in temperament or behavior. 4. tolerant of other people. (Collins Concise English Dictionary)Even if Joe wants to run from "liberal", and I'm not sure what the Alabama Democratic Party is about if the Chairperson does, allowing an opponent to frame what constructs mean is often fatal. We lefty types can't get past the language often and darned if we didn't do the framing for them in this case.
Somebody please buy Joe this book, this book, this book... We'll hope he'll visit Rockridge Institute and study up on Professor George Lakoff's work on framing. Surely in Alabama the biconceptualism material is an area he'll want to master. Read some Paul Krugman Joe. There are plenty more yet these will do for a start. Think of our role in the national picture for the party please. Please!
Alabama values? What are those? I don't expect Joe to talk negatively about the state and yet we've hardly been doing everything we should do here. And what of universal values like fair play, justice, education, environmentalism, affordable health care, diversity, broad prosperity, opportunity, tolerance, engagement, independence from foreign/fossil oil, open government ... ?
I can't promise that if Joe and the balance of the leadership in our party will get with the program then Progressivism/Populism will once again immediately get a foothold in Alabama. But I can promise you that continuing to head right, all the while falling for the right wing traps and frames, dooms this state party and perhaps the state as a whole. Economic Populism and Proud Progressivism is the way Joe. Peace ... or War!
As a remedy against all ills - poverty, sickness, and melancholy, only one thing is absolutely necessary: a liking for work.I'm not so sure about this always working however. It seems to have perhaps not always been so for Mr. Baudelaire as well. Maybe it did usually apply in simpler times? I like (love?) to work and often think I can do the work of two men. Finding somebody to pay me a reasonable wage for my work seems to be what is necessary right now. At least I've got my health. For now. Peace ... or War!
A portion of the editorial reads:
... By the mid-1990s Gingrich, Armey, DeLay, Lott and a host of lesser lights from south of the Mason-Dixon line seemed to be running the show.
Then it happened. They pushed too far. Bent the rules. Said things they shouldn't have said. Did things they shouldn't have done. Got the nation into things folks concluded the nation should not have gotten into. One by one they — and those like them — fell from grace.
With the Democrats now in control of Congress and the Republican president's approval ratings sinking, it's not likely that the GOP will soon exercise the power it once had.
Even if the Republicans rise, which could happen, it is not likely that the South will rise with them. The follies and foibles of Southern Republican leaders left a bad taste in the mouths of many party members outside the region. They might be willing to make Trent Lott the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, but they want someone less controversial to lead the party.
This offers a good, object lesson for Southern Republicans. As the GOP swings back to its more moderate roots, Southern Republicans need to swing with it. ...
This makes plenty of sense to me based on the numbers and trends I'm seeing. Reminds me of the Molly Ivins cure for a chicken killing dog post from a few days ago. The GOP brand is truly tarnished, and rightly so, yet Progressivism is still far from being the default position. Peace ... or War!
Monday, April 09, 2007
Either this Kos post or this MyDD post will give you more information about what the Cosgrove family is facing. Please recommend either or better yet both to increase their ranking. Vicki's personal blog on John's condition is here. The Progressive Connection has a method by which PayPal donations may be made.
Thanks for considering my request. Since Vicki is a true Peacemonger I probably should just close with Peace! Still, Vicki once told me a person she met called her "Boadicae" and explained this name was that of a tall, red haired warrior from a part of today's England that had fought against the Romans. I've always figured that fellow was a perceptive soul. Vicki is a scrapper. She's tough and brave and bold and ... Even so, a warrior like Vicki need a little help under circumstances such as these. Peace ... or War!
Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.
Actually I am not of the opinion some of those that seem to be succeeding are idiots, well perhaps in a few cases, yet darned if I'm not beginning to wonder how some of these particular folks caught their breaks. Hardly the life I ordered and I'm trying to stay positive and bold but efforts to get back on my best path are proving so very frustrating. Peace ... or War!
Clearly the fact that much of the recent DOJ scandal revolves around communications that occurred via these systems has broadened the inquiry. At least something is growing in America beyond casualties in Iraq and the deficit and ...
Also, please note that "some" emails are automatically purged every thirty days. Wonder which ones? I'll link to the US Code on The Presidential Records Act of 1978 yet I have not taken time to study. From everything I'm reading, it seems somebody has some 'splainin to do. Peace ... or War!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
I'm personally hoping for a library with a garden plus a ... ? Peace ... or War!
The national media continues to self destruct under the weight of its politically purchased editorial pages. Not content to simply slink away quietly after leading the nation into a disastrous war of choice through negligent and even highly corrupt reporting practices, the editorial boards of all of the major newspapers - still apparently strapped collectively into a mission accomplished payola flight suit - continue to play political attack dog for their paymasters.
After all, what is a little feigned concern for national security, a little faux patriotism between friends and corporate shills? ...
... Why are they trying so hard to distract us? Because they have already lied. Lies require more lies and more lies require myths and trumped up scandals. Would honest people ever spend this much time on distractions?
I think that with the exception of a few real journalists and honest columnists in the MSM, the American media-industrial-political complex is a discredited, decadent, ugly thing to behold and, sadly for us, a real danger to democracy. They are a collective Faust, selling their very souls for access, power, money and anything that relates to those three commodities so important to the morally vacuous. They sell their souls, we pay the price, and they make a profit.
I'm sure some clever soul deserves credit for the image. I think I first saw it on FireDogLake yet where I located this evening no attribution was present. Hardly the corporate media, perhaps my use will be forgiven. Certainly, using it in the good fight makes me feel a little less crummy by posting. Peace ... or War!
The reason I ask is from my visiting this old Molly Ivins piece where she describes a Texas solution for curing a chicken killing dog. She suggested just wire a dead chicken to the dog and let it rot to the point where "the dog won't be able to stand himself." The late great Molly was talking to Progressives in mourning (I'm still there!) over the 2004 election telling us ...
The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.
Molly's soothing rant was worked off of by Bob Davis in my local Anniston Star (even if he went with the more family rated wire the dead chicken to the cage version) where he rolled off an impressive list of Bu$hCo/GOP rotting chickens in his "The smell of scandals". There's however a caveat to thinking that future voters can really smell the rotting chickens in his close where he writes:
And let's not forget a virtual war on the press corps and the public's right to know, as more and more of what was once done in the open has been pulled behind a curtain and truth-tellers are demonized and hounded by prosecutors.
I have been ready for some oversight and still hope for some of the "journalist" cocktail set to grow a set or at least get the hell out of the way to allow some of the serious reporters to do their jobs. Great column and a reminder of how lucky I feel to have this paper as "my" local paper. I was not aware that Bob Davis worked with Molly Ivins. What a honor. Peace ... or War!
John Solomon and Peter Baker, via WaPo/MSNBC , serve up "White House looked past alarms on Kerik : Giuliani, Gonzales pushed Department of Homeland Security bid forward". A portion follows:
... He joined Giuliani's 1993 campaign as his driver and was later given top appointments, including corrections commissioner and eventually police commissioner. After office, Giuliani and Kerik became partners in a security consulting firm.
So when Giuliani telephoned Bush to recommend that he make Kerik his second-term homeland security secretary, the president jumped at the idea. The sheen of a 9/11 hero seemed to be just what was needed to take on a troubled new department struggling to integrate 22 agencies and 180,000 employees to protect the nation's ports, borders and airports; enforce immigration and customs laws; and respond to major disasters. Only a few aides, including then-Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and senior adviser Karl Rove, were clued in to the president's decision.
As with every nominee, Kerik was given detailed financial disclosure and personal history questionnaires to fill out, all intended to unearth anything that might prove embarrassing in a confirmation hearing. Giuliani's firm assisted in filling out the forms, according to a source familiar with the situation, and the papers are now an issue in the federal criminal investigation. Kerik, his attorney and Giuliani Partners spokeswoman Sunny Mindel declined to comment.
Presidential nominees typically go through a full-fledged FBI background investigation before their appointments are announced. But because it is hard to keep Cabinet selections secret for so long, they are vetted only by the White House counsel's office before being made public. The FBI then conducts its full probe before Senate confirmation hearings begin.
The long nightmare of Bu$hCo is still far from over yet to think we'd have another version of Dubyah, even if he's surely sharper, in The White House makes it all the worse. With St. John stumbling perhaps some Bu$h backers will be shifting toward Rudy. Here's hoping the American public and media will take a strong look at Rudy. Peace ... or War!
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Progressive Farmer provides this one, from George Santayana, that follows
A man's feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.I suppose I'll ponder on this one, plus several other constructs, as I debate tackling some disturbing posts I stumbled across. These posts are on a blog that is apparently based in Madison, Alabama. I'd read the term before yet to see "dhimmicrat" thrown around so much forced me to use The Google. Some very harsh views and yet I'm not sure if I'd want to question the thinking of anyone that posts as "Sniper One" on "7.62mm Justice". Peace ... or War
Friday, April 06, 2007
The "playful banter" needs to stop and the work needs to begin. Quit pouting and do the job!
Also, not everybody in the Senate ought to be labeled an Outlander. Some are ready and willing to work. I expect if some new blood was in charge there would be some progress. Finally, there aren't that many "Democrats" down in Montgomery and I'm thinking those few aren't the problem. Those Alabama Democrats that are part of holding things up seem to be those that most often practice Republican Lite.
Both factions have some blame here yet this foolishness is only hurting our state. Peace ... or War!
NPR has a new series that I've yet to wade through yet I'll put up since it looks very solid. I am also linking to an older Salon effort and expressly to this portion referencing the Contra Costa Courthouse near where I worked this past fall. California's Proposition 36, where first time offenders are sent to rehab and supervision, is examined. Hardly perfect yet better than more harsh approaches. Even in that system profiteering is present.
I'm in favor of fully legalizing marijuana and think liberalization of our drug policy makes sense as well. Not going to get off into a policy rant here yet hope people find the series useful. Peace ... or War!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
We'll see how Zalmay Khalilzad manages to explain his PNAC fleas soon I suppose. Of course he's got lots of explaining to do I'd think. Peace ... or War!
The above image is an effort to describe the St. Bartholomew's Massacre on August 24, 1572. I'll not bother with links as a person can use the Google if they are interested. The Wars of Religion, Thirty Years War, ... were mostly about various groups using the faithful to get or maintain power (damned if that doesn't resonate!) so maybe the French simply wised up. I'm thinking they don't need a fundamentalist from Alabama scolding them. Many Europeans, and apparently a good number of Republicans, simply think you true believers are nuts.
As an aside, Baby Plaid is being baptized this Easter weekend. I'll not attend, as at that church as I'd find not just one but two ex-wives, yet I'll be thinking of him, mostly as relates to the symbolism of the ritual. I've talked to him some about his faith and yet one day I figure we'll be able to share our respective thoughts more completely. I'll hope to not make the mistakes of claiming the truth, or even worse not engaging his ideas, as I'd argue most of my family has often done. I also hope he and I can visit France and the balance of Europe one day. Ought to make for some good conversations.
Vivre et laisser vivre. Paix ... ou Guerre!
My Representative Richard Laird has shown his ignorance so I'll not waste a call. I'll be calling or mailing Senator Benefield however. If you are here in Alabama, all five of you that visit, if you can take time to call your folks on Goat Hill, I'd surely appreciate. However, if you've only got one call in you then please burn it on Constitutional Reform. "Save the Ales!" gets trumped by saving the state. I'll argue protecting our kids requires a new constitution Representative Laird. You and I both know you're more about protecting the Big Mules. Banks, ALFA, Alabama Power ... have you nailed down where it counts so they'll let you get all Christianist on matters like this trivia. Talk about morality when you support immediate and total reform of the 1901 Constitution Sir!
When Alabama's own ABC stores sells everything from grain alcohol to Mad Dog 20/20, plus even has an Official State Spirit (the wonderful Conecuh Ridge brand that I personally can vouch for), there's simply no reason for not voting for this legislation. The only reason would be perhaps fearing the Bible thumpers but there's hope there even. Even a hardshell Baptist will agree high end beer ought to be available for legal purchase by adults once they learn the facts.
Free the Hops Alabama. Peace ... or War!
Tweety's "it's a neo-con newspaper now" rings especially true today after reading the WaPo Pratfall in Damascus : Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy editorial. The Boston Globe's take on Speaker Pelosi's work was different and other papers have hardly shilled the GOP and neo-con talking points once they bothered looking at the facts. Simply to bother Bu$hCo believers I'll link across the pond to the cheese eating surrender monkeys. Then again finding a NYT piece in The San Francisco Chronicle might be even more bothersome. Has the WaPo's editorial board become the equivalent to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network? Peace ... or War!
UPDATE - If you want a solid understanding of the situation then Professor Juan Cole is certainly where I'd suggest a person start. Reckon the WaPo can't find him on the intertubes? Use the Google guys!
The article beings with
Educational software, a $2 billion-a-year industry that has become the darling of school systems across the country, has no significant impact on student performance, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education.
The long-awaited report amounts to a rebuke of educational technology, a business whose growth has been spurred by schools desperate for ways to meet the testing mandates of President Bush's No Child Left Behind law.
It's the kids fault! Blame the little monsters, the twittering tweens, and the angst-filled adolescents. Even the most dedicated educator goes through spells where they do it. However, before you go there full out I'd suggest the proper place to look might be our society as a whole, the parents, and certainly the politicians. I'm willing to give the children a break usually and once I consider what we are asking of them in the current arrangement it is even more easily done.
Our society is just full of much garbage. We seldom if ever celebrate learning much less hard work. We're a fast food nation that is lacking in substance in so many ways. Our celebrity and sports obsessed world has now even gotten to the point where reality is a genre of entertainment. Kids are lazy. Reckon why? They can't think. Surprised? They won't behave. Like our pop tarts do? They can quote rap lyrics but not much else. What's up with that bitches? I could go on and on but I'll just stop.
I've had to work with some teens (plus parents or caregivers) that were simply asses. I know nearly every kid that was a real pain got at least some sympathy after meeting the parent(s). More than once I said, "Ya know ___ is doing OK all things considered." Some families have been truly pitiful in their ignorance. Generational poverty on steroids. Some just didn't have the skills and/or smarts to make things work. They'd try some yet struggled with the work over time. A few kids, often now with grandma, had past experiences that had gotten them in a real bind so they found it difficult to catch up. Lots of kids were in situations where alcohol and drugs were a problem. Many were in homes where the parent(s) worked around the clock to keep up in today's GOP economy. Some were lazy. Others were too cool for school. Raging hormones. Over stimulated from the cradle yet now sitting in a desk in a concrete block room was hard for many. Reading for content learning was tough for plenty of kids. Now I'll stop. I really mean it this time.
But here's the bottom line ... what goes on at home, and this includes a blend of economics and culture and attitudes and ..., is the main influence on what goes on at school. Some research suggests "home" might be over 80% of what will result in "learning". Welcome to the jungle educational software providers. At least y'all aren't treated like teachers. Yet?
Truly we're at the point where the politicians and profiteers are running our schools. "Learning" is struggling on despite NCLB and the accountability movement. Yet, studies like what we've learned about today show the reality. What are we going to do about it? I'll continue to raise hell about today's bizarre flawed educational policy. Molly Ivins taught me that. As far as society, I'll just do the best I can for me and mine. That brings me to another idea for a post yet I'll want to stew on it for a few days. Stay tuned. Peace ... or War!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Matt Stoller nails an analysis on Nancy Pelosi's recent work in the Middle East with
If there's a way forward it will be with our nation showing real leadership, although unfortunately that might let Dubyah fade away rather than make he and his answer for their crimes. Might be worth it yet I hope we, and that means the Big Mules and various right wing nut jobs that brought us this disaster of a Presidency, have learned our lesson. We, and that's without my vote for the record, sent a boy and his Mayberry Machiavellis to do a job that has proven simply more than they could or would accomplish. Peace .. or War!
... Pelosi is acting as a real Secretary of State or President would in foreign affairs. She is negotiating and representing an America that offers itself as a trusted partner for peace and collective security.
Much of what America did in international affairs prior to the Bush Presidency was to act as sort of buoy, or a neutral third party in negotiations, a bulwark that other nations could broadly trust. America didn't always keep its word, and it wasn't always a perfectly done role, but there really was no alternative. And I think what the Iraq war has shown is that the alternative really is total chaos, and that means that America can reclaim a leading role in global affairs if we begin to rebuild our credibility. ...