Friday, August 29, 2008

A Reminder From Mother Nature

Talk about uncanny timing.

On the
third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, after months of discussion about off-shore oil drilling, and just days away from the GOP National Convention scheduled to be held in Minneapolis, (the city in which a bridge collapsed only 13 months ago), the residents of the Gulf Coast once again sit in the path of nature's fury.

It's almost as if Mother Nature herself wants to remind us that we have not been good stewards of our infrastructure and wants to make sure that we remember the many promises made, and yet to be fulfilled, to the people of the Gulf.

Two hours ago Alan Markoff of Reuters reported the following:
"Hurricane Gustav gathered strength over the warm waters of the Caribbean on Friday roaring toward the Cayman Islands and the Gulf of Mexico on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's deadly strike on New Orleans.

The storm, which killed up to 77 people in the Caribbean, plowed toward superheated waters south of Cuba where it could absorb enough energy to strengthen into a major hurricane before ripping through the heavy concentration of U.S. oil and natural gas platforms off Louisiana.

While long-range storm forecasts are prone to huge errors, the most likely track had Gustav going ashore west of New Orleans Tuesday morning as a Category 3 storm on the five-stage Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.

U.S. emergency officials warned that Gustav was expected to be accompanied by a 15 to 30 foot (5 to 9 meter) storm surge along the Gulf Coast and said four states in its potential path were expected to begin large-scale evacuations on Saturday.

'This storm has the potential for being a very dangerous storm,' said Bill Irwin, a program director with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Oil prices slipped on Friday after a week of volatile trading due to Gustav's threat to the 4,000 Gulf platforms that produce a quarter of U.S. oil and 15 percent of its natural gas. Energy companies evacuated offshore workers and shut production in preparation for the most serious Gulf storm since the devastating 2005 Atlantic hurricane season."

And as my friend Bob was preparing to evacuate New Orleans he sent out the following message to his friends:

Well, here we go again. Ironically on the third anniversary of Katrina, the people of Louisiana are once again faced with the possibility of a direct hit from a hurricane. As I write this, the forecasted track of Hurricane Gustave will place it on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (a suburban community of New Orleans) on Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

Two things are different today as the state prepares for Gustave from this time three years ago.

1. The people and government entities of the area are far more prepared this time than they were three years ago.

2. I live here now…on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana!

There was a time (when I was a reporter) that I would have a.) wanted to be here to cover a hurricane and b) I would have had to be here to cover a hurricane. Neither of those factors come into play in 2008.

As a result, you won’t have to include my name on your “mental checklist” of people in and around New Orleans that you have to check on in this area if Gustave moves this way. I will be leaving New Orleans on Saturday evening and flying “home” to Philadelphia.

Having been back in the area for a few months now working directly on the Katrina recovery effort, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that the storm continues to have on the people of the region. Trust me, the last thing that is needed here is another direct hit by a major hurricane. Please include this area and her people in your prayers over the next few days.

May God bless New Orleans and all of her people.


Bob, I echo your sentiments

Related news items:

Extreme Homeowner Makeover

Updated on 8/29/08 10:25pm

McCain's Reactionary VP Pick

In a move that appears to be purely reactionary, Senator John McCain has now picked Sarah Palin, Governor from Alaska as his running mate.

Why is this reactionary? Let's look at the facts.

  • There are still a few disenchanted Hillary supporters who are looking for a any reason to justify why they can't bring themselves to vote for Obama. But let me just say this, Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton.

  • Now that the message has been hammered home that John McCain has voted with the Bush Administration 90% of the time or more, he needed to pick someone with the reputation of being a Maverick.

  • Since Joe Biden's son Beau Biden, Delaware's Attorney General and Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, is headed for Iraq in a little over a month, McCain picked a running with a son in the Army. And,

  • Of course, McCain needed to add a little youth to his ticket.

This is not taking anything away from Sarah Palin's accomplishments. But, please explain to me how the neocons who are so concerned about national security would be at ease with Sarah Palin a breath away from the presidency.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Only One Question Remains?

Clips from the last night of the Democratic National Convention. I think that they speak for themselves.

Rep. John Lewis, (D-Georgia) ties the past to the present and establishes Barack Obama's place in the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.

In the following clip, Rev. Berniece King introduces her brother Martin Luther King, III

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and former US Vice President Al Gore addresses the convention.

Senator Barack Obama's Nomination Acceptance Speech

There's only one question remaining. Americans what will you do?

Video of Rep. Lewis' speech added after initial posting. It took me awhile to find it online

A Day 45 Years in the Making and Why It's So Personal

I was only 3 years old when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the "I Have A Dream Speech" on the Washington Mall so, obviously, I wasn't there. Yet it seems that every day of my life has been shaped by the words spoken that day. I've seen the video footage so many times that it seems that those events are a part of my personal experience. However those are images captured through a lens and someone else's point of view.

I have shadows of memories of watching the funeral of John F. Kennedy but my recollections of his life and his Presidency are all courtesy of video footage, docu-dramas and books from someone else's point of view.

It seems that every day of my 48 years I've measured my life, (my view of the world, my personal politics and social conscience) politicians and my country by the benchmarks established by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

So when I woke up this morning and had no Internet service due to a defective modem and Comcast said that they couldn't get out until tomorrow, I had a bit of an emotional crisis.

How could it be that I wouldn't be able to blog about the day that it seems that I have waited for all of my life?

Thank heavens for my friend Bob who knows that I'm a historical and political nerd. Bob patiently allowed me to vent and yes, cry, until a plan was developed to get me back online today. As a blogger, freelance writer, and elder caregiver, "I get by with a little help (actually a lot of help) from my friends."

In hind sight, I apologize for being more than a little snippy with the Comcast customer service rep. After all how could he know what this day means to me.

I have lived through the assassinations of RFK, MLK and RFK; the Viet Nam war, Watergate, Iran-Contra and every other political scandal of the past forty some years.

As a child I stayed up and watched political conventions with my Mom. Remember the convention coverage of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley then later,Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings? If you don't then believe me, those conventions didn't look anything like the one we've seen this week.

I proudly cast my first vote in a Presidential election for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and could not believe that the American people elected Ronald Reagan. I've been encouraged by Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan. I've voted for every Democratic presidential candidate from Carter to Kerry, including Michael Dukakis. Poor Michael Dukakis.

And through it all I still held on to the words and speeches from my childhood.

However when the election was stolen from Al Gore in 2000
my hope began to fade. And when it happened again in 2004 with John Kerry I was mad as hell. I was disillusioned, disappointed with the American people, disgusted by the swiftboat tactics of Karl Rove and determined that I wouldn't let a day pass that I didn't write a post, sign a petition, write a letter or share a news story that would help end the reign of Bush/Cheney.

And now, as I sit here waiting for Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic party's nomination as their presidential candidate I know that I am witnessing and writing about history from my point of view.

This day has been 45 years in the making and for me, it's so very personal.

Related posts:

I'm Starting to Feel It -- Hope

Laughter Turned to Tears

Kerry's Revenge

In 2004, the Rove political machine swiftboated him.

GOP pundits repeatedly intimated that he had married for money and his wife was bashed for her wealth.

The Election Board in Ohio cheated him.

And then, in 2006 his own party snubbed him.

But on Wednesday night, it was Senator John Kerry (D-MA) who served up the political "red-meat" that the pundits have been looking for. Revenge is sweet and a dish best served cold.

Related posts:

Recognizing Architects of the Revolution

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday Night's Shining Lights

In addition to Rep. Dennis Kucinich's wake-up call to America, many other amazing speeches were delivered during Tuesday Night's Democratic National Convention. And for the most part, the brightest lights of the evening came not from the stars of the party like Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) or Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) but from everyday people like:

  • Katherine Marcano, the flood victim from Cedar Rapids who told the moving story of her struggles with getting an education while working, taking care of a disabled sister and an ill mother.
  • Robin Golden the Michigan auto worker who will lose his job in two weeks when it is shipped to Mexico. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes and will lose his healthcare coverage when he loses his job.
  • Gloria Craven the recently laid off textile mill worker from North Carolina who spoke of her pride in her husband who, after also losing his job, is going back to school at the age of 62; and,
  • Lily Ledbetter the grandmother from Alabama whose gender discrimination case went all the way to the Supreme Court only to be dismissed.
Sadly, if you only watched the network coverage of the convention you probably did not see or hear, Katherine, Robin, Gloria or Lily. Fortunately you can still see them by visiting the C-SPAN video library. (And No, I do not work for C-SPAN)

These are the voices that the disenchanted Democrats, the Independents, the Soccer Moms and the members of NASCAR Nation need to hear. Unfortunately, these voices are usually not scheduled during primetime and when they are, the networks cut away from them or the pundits talk over them. If the swing voters could actually hear real people explain their reasons for voting for Obama then maybe people like my friend John P., (a retired investment banker from FL)., would not feel this way when I forwarded the recent Joe Biden video his way.

John sent me the following reply:


No offense, but I can’t support Obama & Biden… With me it is country first and party last. Reckless spending on more social programs is not what the country needs today. We live in very dangerous times. The world is a cruel place and other countries look for signs of weakness to take territorial advantage. We have been at war with Islam for a very long time, but now it is an organized war. A war with a mindset that we westerners do not understand. There are literally thousands of people out there waiting in line to kill themselves to kill us. You cannot negotiate with those people. You kill them before they kill you.

If Condi Rice or Colin Powell was running, I’d be backing them to the hilt, but not someone with zero international experience and a history of poor choices where personal and professional relationships are concerned.

I believe in opportunity – not entitlement.

I believe in equality – not supremacy.

I believe in right and wrong – not “it’s OK if I make money or don’t hurt anybody too bad…”

I believe in something for my grandkids – not live for today and to hell with tomorrow.

I believe in the vision of our founding fathers – a strong country – free – with opportunity for anyone that wants it – and little government interference.

While there are many who say that this is not a race issue – it most certainly is a race issue. Many of my friends are voting for Obama because he is black and not because he is the best man for the job.

Think about where we are today with respect to our social progress… in my lifetime, I have seen segregation and the end of segregation.. I have seen women and blacks of every description and ability rise to the top of every single thing you can name – except the presidency of the country – Yes, sports.. remember Jackie Robinson? When he broke into baseball, there were no blacks in ANY sport… How about business? Some of the richest and most successful people in the country are women and blacks (Oprah ring a bell?)… Carli Forino – pres of Hewlitt Packard… Xerox.. another lady… and then there is Wall Street – look around you and see what has happened in the last 50 years – think about the FACT that the vast majority of WHITE people in this country are leading the charge to encourage people of all races, sexes, and abilities to succeed – or at least try!

Over the next 50 years – where will we be? Mired in government disasters? Up to our armpits in government debt (that we will never be able to repay)? Will out dollar be strong or weak because our government has debased the value of our currency?

What will our legacy be for our children and grandchildren?... Losses of freedoms to more and more government programs telling us what we can and can’t do? (Look at the mess that government interference has made of our schools… lack of discipline, teachers loss of authority, loss of decision on what will or can be taught… I may be wrong, but it seems to me that almost every time the government gets involved in some part of our lives, we pay a price for their “assistance” AND money! The money comes with strings.. you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you have to bus children to hell and back for whatever reason… any of that make any sense? How about just making EVERY school a good school and not allowing the lawyers and nuts to run a program that is so important to our children?

For what we are spending in busing, we could build and staff new schools and new programs for students with problems AND special abilities… But, the inmates DO NOT get to run the asylum… disruptive students DO NOT get to stay… DO NOT get to threaten teachers (or other pupils), DO NOT bring their gang crap to school…. You get the picture? When I went to school (in Philadelphia for starters) the worst possible situation was to be sent home (never mind suspended etc.) Parents did not look kindly on children that were not respectful and courteous to their teachers… “once upon a time”… We need that time back…

Teachers teach. Teachers are held to standards. Students are held to standards. This is the future of our country and you get out what you put in… or as we say in accounting, “garbage in – garbage out”.

Please – President of the United States is far too important a job to vote for someone on the basis of weather he (or she) is a nice person or not. Certainly not because he or she is white or black. And most certainly not because he or she is republican or democrat.

We live in dangerous times and you can’t look back and say, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that” after a terrorist nuclear bomb blows up New York city or Philadelphia… That is reality – not wishful thinking.

Finally, we are not talking about George Bush – he is out of the office in January next year. That is the end of his mess. Bad decisions, bad judgment, bad economics, and bad policy where our dependence on foreign oil and money is concerned. Yes, that is George Bush’s legacy.

Now, we must – MUST – carefully and thoughtfully examine each candidate. We must carefully consider each candidate’s position on matters of extreme importance to our country’s future. “Change” without specifics of what kind of change is dangerous. Do we need “change”? Damn right we do. We need to stop deficit spending, we need to tell the Russians and Iranians that we will blow their silly asses off if they continue to threaten the US and the rest of the world. We need to stop supporting dictators and other despots. We need to tell Hugo Chavez and others of his like that if they threaten their neighbors, they are toast. We need to tell the worthless UN that we are out of there and they can support their own anti US programs with somebody else’s money…

Hard? Yep, any time you make a decision, it is hard. Nothing is black and white – everything is shades of gray….

What about the environment? My thought is a program like JFK’s back in the 60’s… we WILL be energy independent by 2015 – period. A national program that involves all of us. Our leaders, our industry, our scientists, and each of us individually… National purpose… what is our national purpose now? Grab everything you can get for yourself and to hell with everybody else? Seems that way in Congress… Do we need to drill everywhere there is oil… absolutely – Do we need alternative sources of energy – absolutely. Do we need conservation – absolutely. Do we need more wind, nuclear, and solar sources of energy – absolutely.

Do we need clean beaches, clean air, clean water… absolutely.

Do we need the government telling us or doing the whole job for us? – not in this lifetime.

The role of government – and the leaders in government – is to “LEAD”… outline the goals, supply incentives, mobilize the people and monitor progress – reporting to the people on progress as time goes on so that you and I can feel that our efforts are making a difference.

Well Pam, got on my soapbox again… sorry about that… just that I care deeply about this country and its future. No offense about Sen. Obama, but he is not the person for the job right now.

As always, please feel free to disagree with me or argue your views… and yes, before you ask, you can use this in your blog etc. if you want to…lol…you know me, I get passionate about the country and politics.

I'm not giving up on John but I doubt that any speech by a Democratic politician is going to get his attention.
John needs to hear from everyday, working people who share his concerns but recognize that the answers are not coming from the GOP.

Back to the convention. One of the speeches that really got the crowd going was delivered by Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT). Who is this guy? He's great. Can you saw "petro-dictators"?

Finally, no one, not even her detractors, can deny that last night Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the best speech of her political career. Now THAT was Hillary's voice.

And yes, I did cry again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quote of the Day: "Wake Up America"

-- the rallying cry of Senator Dennis Kucinich during his speech at the Democratic National Convention

Maybe if it's said long enough and loud enough Americans will finally wake up.

I'm sure that Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Molly Ivins and Ann Richards were all looking down from Heaven saying.. Go Dennis Go

Related posts:

Remembering Stephanie Tubbs Jones

We'll Miss You Molly

Companion Guide to the Democratic Debate from Texas - Part I

and check out

Wake Up America! McCain Family Connections Scream of Corruption
by Nancy Hill for The Political Voices of Women Blog

Skip the Networks, Watch C-SPAN

After watching the full evening of the Democratic National Convention on C-SPAN I decided to pop over to CNN just to see what they were saying. I was amazed. I couldn't believe that we had watched the same event.

The CNN pundits repeatedly harped on the fact that there wasn't "enough red meat" and how the Democrats didn't attack Bush/McCain enough.

Now lets think about this for a moment.

Here we had the opening night of a convention to nominate a candidate who promises to bring together people across party lines, a candidate who wants to prove that we are not a nation of "red states" and "blue states" and the media pundits want the opening night's speakers to come out like attack dogs. Duh!

Apparently while millions of Americans are desperate for political change, the media wants to see the same old political games. In fact, some of them are practically salivating and dreaming of a repeat of 1980.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that the next few nights will provide the media and us with enough Bush/Cheney/McCain bashing to get our fires going. In fact, I'm hoping that someone is going to pull another Ann Richards' speech out of the bag. And, I'm sure that more than one disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporter will be caught on camera with their "Hillary 2012" tee.

But Monday night it was refreshing to watch an evening of ordinary people taking the stage and speaking about their encounters with Barack Obama. It was nice to see the faces of the people that the party has shied away from like former President Jimmy Carter and Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The first night of the Democratic National Convention was for the "true believers", "the new believers" and "the I want to be a believer(s)".

Just seeing Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reminded us that bridges are falling down in America. Watching the children of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduce their mom reminded us of how important this election is to young people. Watching former President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Jimmy Carter interview Hurricane Katrina survivors reminded us that we MUST care about the most vulnerable in our society. Seeing Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) reminded so many of us of just why we're Democrats. ( Yes, I did shed a tear when he walked on stage.)

And, Michelle Obama... she reminded us that Dr. King's Dream is inching a little closer and maybe, just maybe the world will begin to view African American women in a light other than some of the popular stereotypes.

So I highly recommend that if you're planning on watching the remaining nights of the convention, watch C-SPAN first and decide what the speeches mean to you. Save the pundits for later. I'm glad that I did.

cross-posted at Political Voices of Women

Monday, August 25, 2008

Get Ready for Michelle

Michelle Obama will address the Democratic National Convention tonight at 10:30pm. Here's a glimpse of how Michelle prepared for tonight.

Hillary Nixes Rumors About Clinton/Obama Rift

Earlier today Senator Hillary Clinton spoke at a New York press conference and set the record straight on her role in the Democratic Convention and why her supporters should vote for Obama and not McCain.

If the video is not visible click here to view it.

However, as Catherine Morgan pointed out in her blog "Polls, Perception and The Democratic Convention" the media just doesn't want to accept the fact that primary rivals can also be mature, civil adults and put their differences aside for the greater good.

Sadly, there will be a few Clinton supporters, like the women who called in to C-SPAN this morning, who will vote for McCain. This woman stated that she had been a Clinton supporter and will now vote for McCain in November but she "afraid that there will be riots everywhere if Obama isn't elected". And it's just that type of irrational fear that Karl Rove tapped into in 2000 and 2004.

What do you say to someone who lets irrational fears outweigh their judgment. ?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Remembering Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Today, as Senator Barack Obama was preparing to introduce his new running mate, Senator Joe Biden he took a moment to remember Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who is being funeralized today.

Thank you Senator Obama for honoring a woman who kept her head when virtually all around her
lost theirs.

WIMN's Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive »

To the New York Times, Tubbs Jones' death less newsworthy than
where an elephant, or Tori Spelling's mom, lives

By Kristen Harbeson
kristen harbeson

Here is what the New York Times wants me to know about what is going on in my country on August 21, 2008:

1) Millionaires in Los Angeles are giving up mansions to live in condos. This story is accompanied by a picture of Candy Spelling, the smiling widow of Aaron Spelling and mother of actress Tori.

2) The scientists involved with pinning the anthrax investigation on Bruce Ivans three weeks ago continue to congratulate themselves on their sharp investigative skills.

3) Vermont wants to capitalize on their groundwater, and some people are worried about whether they will be able to flush their toilets.

4) An elephant in Dallas isn't going to go anywhere.

If I didn't know better, I would think it was a slow news day.

Fifteen stories below the "Distraught Elephant to Remain in Dallas" story, in the second to last article of the National News headlines, I could almost miss the fact that Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a fifth-term elected member of the United States House of Representatives, has died.

Tubbs Jones, a distinguished Congresswoman, the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in Congress, the first African-American woman to sit on the extremely powerful House Ways and Means Committee, a champion for the urban poor, for women's rights and for social justice, a woman of grace, dignity, intelligence and power, died unexpectedly at the age of 58. This article about the death of a path-breaking elected official sits fifteen stories below "news" of an elephant whose situation will remain exactly the same.

I would have missed it completely if I hadn't known that the newspaper had to report this sad development somewhere. Perhaps, though, the Times was just being ironic by placing the story about her death directly above the "Names of the Dead," since Tubbs Jones was outspoken and unflinching in her opposition to the Iraq war from the very beginning, and voted against it consistently — one of the very few who did.

Not only did the Times not consider Tubbs Jones' death to be as newsworthy as an elephant's housing situation, the loss of this trailblazing American leader wasn't deemed important enough to merit a breaking news alert in my e-mail… unlike Michael Phelps' gold medals or Tiger Woods' knee surgery, both of which the Times made sure to inform me about via Because clearly, Phelps' medals and Woods' knees have a profound effect on public policy for the urban poor and disenfranchised. (No, wait…)

It says something when ironic humor is the only possible alternate explanation for the placement for this story beyond inherent racism and/or sexism.

The New York Times should be ashamed of itself.

Guest Blogger Kristen Harbeson works in historic preservation - a cause championed by Stephanie Tubbs Jones. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland

NARAL Pro-Choice's Statement on the Selection of Joe Biden

August 23, 2008

Statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America on Sen. Barack Obama's Vice-Presidential Selection

Washington, D.C. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in response to Sen. Barack Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.

"Sen. Biden has consistently expressed support for a woman's right to choose. While we have not agreed with him on every vote, we have a longstanding relationship with Sen. Biden that is open, positive, and constructive, and we are confident this will continue in a new administration under Sen. Obama's pro-choice leadership.

"Most notably, Sen. Biden has a strong record of opposing judicial nominees with hostile anti-choice records. He voted against George W. Bush's two anti-choice nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and he opposed anti-choice Justice Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Court as well as multiple anti-choice nominees to lower federal courts.

"In addition, Sen. Biden has a strong record in opposition to anti-choice clinic violence and voted to hold anti-choice extremists convicted of violent attacks against doctors and patients at women's reproductive-health centers accountable for their criminal actions.

"Sen. Biden, who is a cosponsor of the landmark Prevention First Act, also has joined us in supporting commonsense efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy by improving women's access to birth control, ensuring teens receive accurate sex education, and supporting family-planning programs."

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which tracks all choice-related votes in Congress, classifies Sen. Biden's record as mixed choice.

Let's All Say Amen to Joe Biden

If you were getting a little bored with the 2008 presidential election campaign prepare to get interested again. Now that we all know that Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) is Sen, Barack Obama 's running mate things are sure to liven up a bit.

Joe Biden is to politics what Brett Favre is to football. You know that every once in a while Favre (the gunslinger) is going to throw an interception but when he's on his game, there is no one better. Well, every once in a while Joe Biden (the straight shooter) is going to say something that will make you cringe but boy does he know his stuff.

In September of 2006, Sen. Joe Bide introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for President Bush to
appoint a presidential envoy to Sudan and establish a no-fly zone over Darfur. The following video clip includes a response from Joe to a question about the situation in Darfur that was posted during the July 23rd, CNN/Youtube Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate.

Let's take a look back at Joe via the Coffee Conversation archives.

from The Jon and Joe Show, August, 2007

from Do Will Really Need More Reasons to Impeach?, September 2007

In the following clip Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow of Air America & Joe Biden speak to Bush's insanity

and from No Analysis Required, September 2007

The following is a clip of Joe Biden's responses during the MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate

and finally from Mischief Night at the Democratic Presidential Debates, October, 2007.

Who will ever forget "a noun, a verb and 9/11"?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do You Recognize This Woman?

A Caregiver's Vent

You cook all her meals, (often taking them to her in her bedroom), wash all the  dishes and do all of the grocery shopping.

You clean her house and clean her laundry.

You help keep her balance in the shower and then clean it when she's done.

You pick up the numerous items that she leaves and drops all over the house.

You run all of her errands and do your best to keep all of the bills paid on time.

You tend the garden and the house plants.

You take in the paper and take out the garbage.

You take her to the doctor, get her prescriptions filled, fill her medicine dispenser and then remind her to take her medicine every day, several times a day.

Your weekly schedule revolves around her doctor appointments as well as visits by her visiting nurse, physical therapist, et. al.

Despite the fact that all of her siblings have died prematurely from illness, she gives you an attitude when you remind her to take medicines.

She also has an attitude about the healthy diet that you try to prepare but often complains about her aches and pains.

She is quick to remind you that you've gained weight and need to do something about it. However, her weight gain is the result of all of her medicines and there is little that she can do about it.

When you ask her to lay out her clothes the evening before you have to take her out, she tells you that she doesn't need to.

And when you ask her to try on something that she hasn't worn in years she tells you that she doesn't need to.

You wake her up 3 hours before you're scheduled to leave for an appointment and somehow you still never get out of the house on time.

You try to fix her a special breakfast every Sunday. But when her friends or out-of-town relatives call at 1pm she tells them that she hasn't eaten yet.

If she gets to the mail before you do, she rips up the mail (with your name on it) if she thinks that it isn't important.

If she gets to the phone before you do, she'll tell you later that someone called for you and that's all she remembers.

When people telephone for you and she doesn't feel like calling you to the phone she tells them that you're asleep. However, if a telemarketer calls while you're in the shower or trying to work, she calls you.

Of course, sometimes I do hide in my bedroom and pretend that I am asleep.

Despite the fact the you have a multiple bathroom home and she has a bedside commode, she has to use the bathroom in which you're trying to take a shower, NOW!

One day a month a housekeeper comes in to help out. And for this reason, when this woman has guests who compliment her on the state of the home and/or the garden she replies, "I do my best but I do have someone come in and help me out". You just sit there and smile.

And if you utter a word of complaint about any of the above, she tells you that you have "the devil in you".

Do You Recognize This Woman?

If you do, please come get her and return my mother.


Truth Nor Consequences

Watch as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates dance around the truth about the consequences for Russia's actions in the Russia-Georgia conflict.

Try not to laugh


I give everyone of those journalists credit for maintaining a poker face during those interviews. However, don't you wonder what was going on off-camera?

Now with a straight face, explain to me how Russia's international reputation is any worse than that of the United States after the Iraq WMD debacle. If, as Secretary Gates states, "the world is looking at Russia through a different set of lenses", just imagine the magnifying lens they're using to look at the US.

As for the impact on Russia's reputation referred to by Secretary Rice, apparently no one in the Bush Administration saw this 2007 interview with Garry Kasparov. I sure did.


A little earlier today, Reuters correspondent Oleg Shchedrov reported the following on the Russia-Georgia conflict:
"Washington demanded on Friday that Russia pull its troops out of Georgia 'now,' but Moscow said it would be another 10 days before the bulk of its force left Georgian soil.

In a sign of growing tension between Moscow and the West over the conflict in Georgia, a Russian news agency reported that Russia had temporarily frozen cooperation with the NATO alliance, though there was no immediate confirmation.

In some of Washington's toughest comments to date, the White House declared Russia in violation of its commitments to leave the territory of Georgia after routing Georgian forces in a war that erupted two weeks ago.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he could not imagine a circumstance in which the United States would engage in military-to-military cooperation with Moscow until the Georgia situation was resolved.

U.S. impatience has been growing by the day as it waits for a full-scale pullout of troops and weaponry that Russia sent into its small Caucasus neighbor two weeks ago to counter a Georgian attack on the Moscow-backed South Ossetia region.

A Reuters reporter saw a column of T-72 main battle tanks lumbering across the border from Russia into Georgia -- the first sign of heavy armor being withdrawn from Georgian soil -- but elsewhere Russian forces remained in place.

As Charles Amico noted in his blog, "We The People":

"So the Bush Administration has overplayed its hand again and has been blowing smoke at Russia in the form of bellicose language expected to threaten the Russians. Do you really believe this tactic will work? If you do, wake up."

Related posts:

The New Old Russia

Olympic Corporate Sponsors With Their Heads in the Sand

Olympic Sponsors Ignore China's Rights Violations on Yahoo! News

by Alison Raphael, OneWorld US

Tue Aug 19, 3:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (OneWorld) - A leading U.S. human rights group blasted Olympic corporate sponsors such as McDonald's, Panasonic, and Coca-Cola yesterday for disregarding human rights abuses in host country China.

"The Olympic sponsors claim to be good corporate citizens," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). "But as they enjoy the Games from the comfort of their seats at the Olympic stadium, they should reflect on their failure to speak up for the Chinese citizens who built the stadium and their hotels, clean their hotel rooms, serve their meals or, in the case of Chinese journalists, try to bring them their news."

The statement refers to the oppressive conditions imposed on workers brought in from poor areas of China to build the stadiums; families uprooted from Beijing to make room for the Olympic facilities; 'undesirables' forcibly removed from the city; and pressure on the Chinese media to remain mute about protests and abuse, as well as detentions and beatings of both protestors and journalists.

Despite their public pledges of "social responsibility," most of the corporations reached by HRW refused to accept any responsibility for speaking out on human rights

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Before You Watch the Political Conventions

arm yourself against manipulation.

Watch this video:

Free for All

And for extra protection watch:

Orwell Rolls in His Grave

And then consider the following message from investigative journalist Greg Palast.
So much is at stake.


Obama Doesn't Sweat. He should.

by Greg Palast

In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.

In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives - overwhelming Black voters.

In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.

In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.

My investigations partner spoke directly to Barack Obama about it. (When your partner is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., candidates take your phone call.) The cool, cool Senator Obama told Kennedy he was "concerned" about the integrity of the vote in the Southwest in particular.

He's concerned. I'm sweating.

It's time SOMEBODY raised the alarm about these missing voters; not to save Obama's candidacy – journalists should stay the heck away from partisan endorsements - but raise the alarm to save our sick democracy.

And that somebody is YOU. Joining with US, the Palast investigative team. Here's how:

We have been offered an astonishing opportunity to place the Kennedy-Palast investigative findings on a national, prime-time, major-network television broadcast. Plus, separately, we have an extraordinary offer to create a series of reports for national network radio.

But guess what? The networks will NOT PAY for our public service reports. We have to raise the start-up funds in the next two weeks to film it, record it and get it on the airwaves.

WE need YOU to fund the reports, DISSEMINATE the findings as we post the print, audio and video on the web– and ACT on it.

So, for only the second time this year, I am asking each one of you to make a tax deductible donation to the non-profit, non-partisan Palast Investigative Fund of $500, $150 or $100.

Progressives have complained for years of no opportunity to get the hard, cold sweaty truth on the air. Well, put your money where your heart and soul is.

Donate at least $500, I'll send you every book I've written and every film, signed. Send $150 and I'll send you as a gift, a copy of John Ennis' film Free For All, Armed Madhouse, The Election Files and a copy of Live from the Armed Madhouse all signed.

Donate $100, and I’ll send you 3 copies, one signed to you, of "The Elections Files," (Watch the trailer here) the best of our BBC/Democracy Now films – including special never-broadcast interviews with Kennedy(Watch a clip) and fired prosecutor David Iglesias (Watch a clip).

I know you’re ponying up for your favorite candidates. But what’s the point of winning folks' votes IF NO ONE COUNTS THEM?

Please make your donation – today. No corporation, no big foundation, is going to take on this emergency in our democracy. The election’s about to be stolen – for a third time. SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Donate today (for $1,000 minimum, we’ll list you as a Producer of our next DVD, in gratitude). Why? Because the only way to get the vote-chewing cockroaches out of the voting machinery is to turn on the lights – tell the truth on them. On prime time.

After our team busted the story of Katherine Harris' attack on innocent Black voters as "felons," the NAACP sued and won back their rights. The truth CAN make the difference. Yes, we can. Indeed, we HAVE.

Think all votes should be counted in America? Then YOU stand up and be counted. Don’t expect networks or commercial sponsors to pay for your democracy. Feed the truth, donate $100 right now and pass on a copy of the Elections Files to your dippy cousin who thinks Kerry lost fair and square.

Donations from our prior and only request already paid for some of our filming in the Southwest. Don't let this story be swept under the border.

If you want more information, go to, or write me directly at – and hit the button, "contact Greg."

Greg Palast is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for Investigative Reporting at the Nation Institute, New York. Read and view his investigations for BBC Television at

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones dies of aneurysm

Thank Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones for standing up for your beliefs.  Your voice will be missed. 

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones dies of aneurysm
on Yahoo! News

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who was one of the few dissenting voices in Congress during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, died on Wednesday after a brain aneurysm, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Tubbs Jones, who represented parts of Cleveland and its eastern suburbs, suffered the aneurysm while driving her car in suburban Cleveland Heights, her office said earlier in the day. She was 58.

First elected in 1998, Tubbs Jones headed the House Ethics Committee and was the first black woman to serve on the tax-writing Ways and Means committee.

Tubbs Jones compiled a solidly liberal voting record during her decade in office and was one of only 11 Democrats in the 435-member House who voted against a 2003 resolution supporting President George W. Bush and U.S. troops at the start of the Iraq war.

After the 2004 presidential election, she protested suspected voting irregularities in her home state, which Democrat John Kerry lost narrowly to Bush. She lodged a complaint in Congress that led to an unusual debate challenging the result.

Ooops, He Didn't Mean to Say That

.. or He wishes He had said that a LONG time ago.

You Decide.

Quick Thoughts on "The Florida Healing Outpouring", Todd Bentley & Miracles

These days it seems that much of the Christian evangelical community is abuzz over Todd Bentley and the evangelistic and healing meetings that occurred during four months in Lakeland, Florida. It seems that many people feel the need to either defend or condemn Mr Bentley, his personal life, and the meetings in general. I am not going to do either. I'm just going to ask you to consider the following.

If you believe that you were blessed in some way by the events in Lakeland, FL., thank God and pray for those who weren't.

If you feel that the events in Florida were harmful, misleading, doctrinally unsound, or as some have said "demonic", then pray for all of those who were involved.

If you believe in miracle healing then hold on to your faith because that makes you a good candidate to receive one. But try to take good care of your health so it doesn't come to that.

If you don't believe in miracle healing then take good care of your health because modern traditional and alternative medicine is your only recourse.

If you're a Christian and think that Todd Bentley is misguided, unqualified, a charlatan, etc., etc., then pray for his soul. If you're not a Christian then just ignore the whole thing.

The bottom line is this. Miracles, big and small, happen every day.
The real question is, How will you perceive the moment?

When a firefighter found little Kyson Stowell laying in the midst of the rubble of a tornado devastated Tennessee community some called that a miracle. Others chalked his survival up to fate or "dumb luck"

When a little Chinese boy named Li Ke was found in the midst of the ruins of his school which had been devastated by an earthquake most of his rescuers called that a miracle. Again, others chalked it up to dumb luck.

When ordinary cats and dogs with no special training save their families from fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. some people call it a miracle. Some people chalk it up to animal instinct and dumb luck.

There are a million stories like these that happen every day. How you choose to view them is up to you?

Amazing things happen to people who we may judge to be "good" as well as those we judge as "bad". In addition, amazing acts are performed by people who we judge as "good" and some we judge as "bad".

But ask yourself, Who Are We Supposed To Be Judging?

Related post:

Take A Closer Look

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCain's Revisionist History ... A Political Ploy or Signs of Something More Troubling

In case you haven't heard, Senator John McCain's recent re-telling of one of his POW experiences is raising more than a few eyebrows.

In the following video Cenk Uygur of "The Young Turks" shares his take on "the cross in the dirt" story.


Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo quotes one of his Republican pals as saying:

"You didn't get this from me, but use it as you will. Is it just me -- as a Republican knowing how we've played this game before -- or should there be genuine puzzlement why Obama isn't unleashing Democratic veterans (Jim Webb, Jack Reed, John Kerry, BOB Kerrey perhaps, etc. Some Democratic generals, whatever) to go after McCain on this "cross in the dirt" stuff? I mean, if there was one issue tailor-made for "Swift-Boat" payback, I can't think of anything else."

Well, in response to Josh Marshall's friend I would say that people like Jim Webb, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, etc, may all see "the cross in the dirt" story in the context of a troubling change in the behavior of a man whom they once respected. And while I agree that this is tailor made for a little political payback, if I were in the Obama camp I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot poll.

You see what's troubling about the questionable details in McCain's story is not as much whether he changed the facts in the story to pander to the Christian evangelicals but whether Senator McCain really believes that the incident happened exactly as he recounted it to Rick Warren.

Why? Because, I have recently come to understand that one of the signs of the onset of senility and/or dementia is memory confusion. On numerous occasions I have heard an elderly person tell a story about an incident as being from their personal experience when in actuality the incident happened to someone they know. And believe you me, when they're convinced the story really happened to them, there is nothing that you can do to prove to them that it didn't.

In the following clip, Keith Olbermann points out other instances of McCain's memory confusion.


It's really sad when you see this happening to a family member or friend but the thought of the future President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces not having a clear grasp on reality is terrifying.

Yes, They're Still Out There and They Vote

If, for one moment, you find yourself taking Barack Obama's presidential candidacy for granted just remember that there are an awful lot of stupid people like Jared Taylor.

In the following video Cenk Uygur of "The Young Turks" interviews one class A1 idiot who probably votes.

This is why you so many emails depicting Obama in African dress and emails with "Obama's African relatives" are circulating. There are people on the far political right that know that those type of emails touch on the deepest fears of people like Jared Taylor.

Gee, I wonder how Jared Taylor explains people like:
  • former, VP Dan Quayle
  • Anna Nicole Smith
  • Paris Hilton
  • Ted Bundy
  • Charles Manson
  • and the guests on Jerry Springer.
I wonder if Jared vacations in Myrtle Beach with Cokie Roberts.

AntiVirus Software on A Voting Machine?

cartoon republished with permission of under a creative commons license

Permanent link to this comic:

I never really thought about whether voting machines needed anti-virus software until blogger and security expert, Bruce Schneier pointed out the accuracy of the cartoon above in a post.

Why would a voting machine need anti-virus software? After all it's not like it will be sending and receiving email, browsing the internet or downloading games. A voting machine can't be remotely accessed, can it?


All I can say is if they have to remove the McAfee Anti-virus software from the voting machines I wish them lots of luck. I once decided to switch from McAfee Anti-virus to another company's software and it was a nightmare trying to remove the McAfee software.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When Will Common Sense Trump Self Interest?

After months of following the debates on the US "oil crisis", watching gasoline prices rise and then slowly decline and, spending most of July watching the endless parade of charts and graphs pro and con offshore drilling on C-SPAN, I've come to the conclusion that self-interest is clearly winning out over common sense.

Here's why I've reached this conclusion.

1. A recent Rasmussen Report poll* found that 64% of the American public now supports opening up protected coastal areas to off-shore oil drilling. I suspect that many in this group are the same people who still don't believe in global warming, still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 bombings and, now believe that China is drilling for oil off the coast of Florida.

2. I'm willing to guess that the vast majority of the aforementioned 64% probably doesn't own coastal property or work in the fishing or resort industry. I suspect that they have an image that coastal residents all live like residents in Malibu. NOT!

3. I'll go out on a limb and say that the 55% of Americans (as cited by the Rasmussen poll) who agree with the Republican proposal for building more nuclear plants probably won't want to have one of these new plants placed within 10 miles of their home or have the nuclear waste stored within a hundred miles.
I also suspect that they would be highly upset if someone proposed placing a wind farm near their home. Too unsightly.

4. I suspect that the vast majority of people who now support off-shore drilling might be a little upset if their community was re-zoned or their property declared as eminent domain in order to build all of the support facilities for the new off-shore drilling platforms.

5. You don't have to try to fool all of the people, all of the time. You only have to feed them enough mis-information to get them to put self interest ahead of common sense.

As Peter Dizikes pointed out in his article, "Did you hear that Alaska has more oil than the Middle East?" for there are probably more myths, half truths and twists of science being pumped out about offshore oil drilling than there will ever be barrels of oil pumped from the sea.

Dizikes writes:

"You don't have to drill deep into our political discourse to find suspect stories about oil, with politicians peddling the flagrantly false notion that China is producing oil off the coast of Florida, while right-wing activist Jerome Corsi claims oil is not a fossil fuel but "a natural product the Earth generates constantly."

Such declarations serve a political purpose: to make oil drilling seem like an easy solution to our current energy crisis, to marginalize warnings that we are running short on oil, and to stymie efforts at conservation or developing alternatives to fossil fuels. "

Last week Eoin O'Carroll of The Bright Green Blog wrote a great article debunking four of the most popular myths that are interwoven in the offshore drilling debate.

Myth #1: We know how much oil there is. Opponents of offshore drilling frequently cite a report by the Department of Energy saying that, according to the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, there are “only” about 18 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in the currently off-limits Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions. As a Tuesday editorial in the Washington Post points out, the MMS arrived at those estimates using seismic equipment that is now outdated

Myth #2: It would be “our” oil. “The American people deserve more access to American oil,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana on the House floor recently. That may be true, but any oil drilled off America’s shores won’t automatically be American oil. It will belong to ExxonMobil. Or Shell. Or BP. Or another multinational company that will be just as free to sell the stuff to China or India as they are to sell it to Americans.

( Just ask the people of Louisiana who owns the oil being drilled off of their coast and how much their state's residents are benefiting from that oil. Robert, I'm not picking on Louisiana. )

Myth #3: Drilling offshore in the heavily regulated US would prevent more environmentally destructive drilling elsewhere. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer put forth this argument a couple weeks back in an op-ed for the Washington Post, in which he criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s environmentally motivated opposition to offshore drilling.

The only way that we would really get any significant amount of production to shift from the developing world to the United States would be if it were cheaper to drill here. And that’s not going to happen, partly because of the very environmental regulations that Krauthammer touts, but mostly because the stuff is way down there at the bottom of the ocean.

Myth #4: China is currently drilling off the coast of Florida. “[O]il is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida,” said Vice President Dick Cheney in a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce in June. “But we’re not doing it, the Chinese are, in cooperation with the Cuban government. Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply.”

“Right at this moment, some 60 miles or less off the coast of Key West, Florida, China has the green light to drill for oil in order to lower energy costs in that country,” said House Republican leader John Boehner on his website.

The myth seems to have originate(d) in a piece by conservative columnist George F. Will, who has since run a correction. Mr. Cheney’s office also issued a retraction. But this hasn’t stopped people from still circulating this rumor. The site Talking Points Memo has compiled a list of over a dozen current and former Republican members of Congress who have pushed this falsehood.

And finally, let's address the biggest myth of all --

ExxonMobil et al will lower oil prices in the US if they are given more oil leases, offshore or anywhere else for that matter.

ExxonMobil that company that recently posted the best quarterly profit ever. ExxonMobil, who according to The New York Times, earned "
nearly $90,000 a minute over the quarter." ExxonMobil who still refuses to accept real responsibility and pay compensation for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Nineteen years, people.

If you believe that ExxonMobil is going to voluntarily lower gasoline for altruistic reasons, boy do I have some snake oil to sell you.

And now, the Democratic Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama says that he's willing to compromise on offshore oil drilling the same way that he compromised on the FISA bill's telecom immunity for illegal wiretapping.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm disappointed with the actions of a lot of politicians these days.

Related items:

* 64% Now Support Offshore Drilling; 42% See it as Best Way to Reduce Oil Prices

Related posts:

A Healthy Dose of Economic Reality

It's Time For An Intervention