Saturday, April 30, 2005

Helen Thomas on Abu Gharaib

Helen Thomas is a woman I have admired most of my life. I loved to watch her at Presidential press conferences. She never gave up, she followed up her questions, and generally took no bullshit from anyone, including the President. Sadly, now reporters are too chicken, or perhaps less than well educated or informed to ask hard hitting questions; or perhaps they are afraid the Bushites will never let them enter a press event again if they speak out, so they don't. Helen Thomas still speaks out, and eloquently on Abu Ghraib .
I agree with Ms. Thomas that there is absolutely no way these enlisted personnel (and one LTC) came up with the entire idea to torture prisoners. The prevailing attitude is always set at the top. I think there is long line of guilty folks that are getting off. Where were the Chaplains? They should have been out and about, and monitoring the situation, the condition of the prisoners, etc. As the daughter of a military Chaplain I know full well what the Chaplain SHOULD have been doing, but what did he/she do? There are always more people out there than just the guards, and there is rumor, and more. Oddly there was only one man with the courage to stand up and say it was wrong. Now he is basically in a witness protection program. Although I understand he will be awarded a medal from the JFK Profiles in Courage group, which he richly deserves.
The "fearless leaders" of our military deserve punishment for their roles, which I am sure they had in all of this. Instead, the enlisted folks are scapegoated and the big wigs get off. Symptomatic of this country today. The rich and the bigwigs get it all, and the rest of us get nada (nothing).

Molly Ivins, got to love her

"It's a joke that the Right wing claims it is against 'judicial activists.' What they want are judicial activists who agree with them."

- Molly Ivins, syndicated columnist.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Two stupid Bush things this week...

Ok, Bush makes less and less sense to me. Yesterday his speech, including Social Security changes was the first stupid thing.

Why? Well, President Bush said on Tuesday (April 5,2005) in Parkersburgh West Virginia the Social Security trust fund doesn't exist, and that the Treasury bonds held by the program are "just IOUs" that will put an added fiscal burden on future generations unless the entitlement program is overhauled. He went on to say: "There is no trust fund, just IOUs that I saw firsthand that future generations will pay -- will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical government programs."

Ok, those were Treasury bonds, the same ones he referred to in his speech on Thursday, April 28, as the investment option for "private accounts." On that date he stated that Treasury bonds were "good as gold."

Does anyone else see the faulty logic in this besides me? Treasury bonds are worthless for Social Security, but ok for "private accounts?" It sounds more like we are being sold down the river, in more ways than one.

The second stupid thing, his energy proposal. Drill for more oil. Not conservation, not programs for development of alternative energy, no... drill for more oil. Did he sleep through 5th grade science? Did he not learn that oil, or any other natural resource is not infinite? Maybe infinite is too big a word for him. Oil WILL run out, it's a fact. What an idiot.

He "cares about" the poor? His touted Social Security plan "where benefits for low-income workers will grow faster than benefits for people who are better off" sounds great, but ignores the fact that poor people in this country have just had Medicaid funding cut by billions, have no access to health care, poor schools, no child care options, and Head Start funds have been cut. Sure it would be nice to benefit the poor in their old age, but what about now?

This is not the country I grew up in. I am disgusted and angry about it. Bush is the President of lies and the purveyor of total eyewash and Orwellian speech.

Young Republicans chairman confronted Woman bounced from Bush event

Young Republicans chairman confronted
Woman bounced from Bush event recalls Klinkerman

By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News
April 27, 2005

The chairman of the Colorado Young Republicans was one of the people involved in a March 21 incident in which three Denver residents were forcibly removed from a speech given by President Bush because of a bumper sticker.

Jay Bob Klinkerman, leader of the state group for Republicans ages 18 to 40, admitted in an interview that he was at the gate of the Wings over the Rockies Museum when the three people were stopped.

Klinkerman also was identified as being involved in the incident by Karen Bauer, one of the three removed. She confronted him about it at a Young Republicans event Tuesday night.

Two of the three who were removed, Bauer and Leslie Weise, said that Klinkerman is the event volunteer who was wearing a magenta shirt and smiley-face tie that night, and told them, "Secret Service is coming down to talk to your group."

Then a man who looked and acted like a Secret Service agent arrived and threatened them with arrest. He allowed them to enter but then found them 20 to 30 minutes later and forced them to leave.

But Klinkerman, 31, of Thornton, told the Rocky Mountain News that he never said anything to Bauer and Weise about the Secret Service.

He declined to identify the man who threatened the trio with arrest.

The real Secret Service says the man who ousted Bauer, Weise and Alex Young from the president's speech was actually a Republican Party staffer. The Secret Service has told the three that the man admitted to an agent that he ousted them because they arrived in a car with a "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker.

The service is investigating that man on possible criminal charges of impersonating a Secret Service agent. He was wearing a dark suit, earpiece and lapel pin.

The Secret Service and the White House know the man's name but have refused to reveal it. The White House has said he was a volunteer "concerned that these people were coming to the event to disrupt the event."

Bauer and her friends said they did nothing. They want to sue the man for violation of their freedom of speech.

Klinkerman said he had never met the man before the event March 21.

Bauer and Weise said they were stopped at the gate by a man who checked their names on their tickets against a sheet of paper. He told them to wait with the man now identified as Klinkerman.

Klinkerman said he doesn't know how the three were picked out from the crowd, and that he didn't see them removed. He declined to answer other questions.

On Tuesday night, Bauer introduced herself to Klinkerman as one of the three in the incident, and said she had questions that she would like to ask him.

Klinkerman replied, "I won't talk to you about that without a lawyer." He declined to give her his attorney's name and refused to talk to her further.

Bauer said she would have asked, "Who trained him? Did the White House train him? Who was he working with? How were we ID'd?"

"He knows who he passed us on to," she concluded. or 303-892-5438

Comment from progressivegrannie: Freedom of speech denied by the Bush goons!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Outrageous, what a country we live in!

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the FLSA Act, mis-nomered "Fair Labor Standards Act" does not cover the following:
vacation, holiday, severance or sick pay
meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations
premium pay for weekends or holiday work
pay raises or fringe benefits
a discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees and pay stubs or W-2's?
Look closely....this does not even allow bathroom breaks of any kind. Workers have had to sue for bathroom breaks, including prison guards in Texas, who were not allowed to leave their guard towers during their 12 hour shifts! Can you hold your pee for 12 hours?
All this was done in research regarding a pay dispute my future son-in-law has with Johnny Carino's restaurant. It was not important to his issues, but it sure suprised the heck out of me to find this out. You see, according to Johnny Carino's HR person, they don't have to give work breaks in Texas, and it looks (sadly) like they are right. How gross it that? A food worker who can't go to the bathroom, or take a break to blow their noses, or whatever? Ugly mental picture.
So....worker bees of America, if you want a bathroom break, you have to work in the following states that have mandated employee breaks: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Otherwise, get some depends and hope for the best.
What a messed up country! This bill was originally passed in 1938, and it sure has not gotten any more humane in the intervening years.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

In response to George Bush's new "energy plan"

This by progressivegrannie's husband:

The plan George Bush should have developed…makes about as much sense as the one he did come up with…


As an alternative energy plan, George W. Bush has submitted the following plan to the U.S. Congress and the American people:

The plan, known as FART, or Free American Rectal Technology, is designed to help America reduce its reliance on foreign oil for energy production. The plan requires that every citizen 21 or older obtain a FART device from the Federally Listed Anal Technology or FLATUS center. After obtaining the device, one need do no more than follow the simple instructions which consist of inserting the end of a tube into one’s rectum and placing the collection bag on ones waist or thigh. The methane gas collected in the collection bag is transferred to a “holding tank” also obtainable at FLATUS. Once the tank registers “full” the tank is to be taken to a FLATUS center to be siphoned into a larger tank, which will subsequently be taken to a local electrical energy plant for use. Collection vehicles will also visit neighborhoods once a week for those individuals who are homebound or without transportation.

In order that the FART system works optimally, the President will ask Congress for a $280 million dollar farm subsidy to encourage farmers to produce beans, which will be available to the general population at the FLATUS center. The President believes that the increased production of methane will off-set the increased costs of the agricultural subsidy. The plan will reduce dependence on foreign oil to 25-30% for within 5 years.

Remember: Americans cannot be energy independent unless we all go down to our FLATUS Center and try FART.

Write against the proposed constitutional amendment against GLBT

ample letter to Sen. Wentworth to protes HJR 6, the proposed constitutional amendment stripping gay and lesbian Texans of their rights. Please consider emailing your senator against this bill.

Email Sen. Wentworth
If you don't know who to write, go here: who is my senator

"The Honorable Jeff Wentworth
State Senator
Texas Senate

Dear Senator Wentworth:

I am writing to urge you to oppose HJR 6, the proposed constitutional
amendment which would write unequal treatment for gay and lesbian Texans
into our Constitution by banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples. It
would also bar civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

The Texas Constitution was first adopted in 1876, and its Bill of Rights
echoes key freedoms of the U.S. Constitution designed to protect all
citizens of the Lone Star State. Our Constitution was not designed to revoke
or restrict these liberties.

If this amendment passes both houses of the legislature and is approved by
voters, thousands of committed same-sex couples will be written out of the
Constitution meant to safeguard them and their families.

Marriage, other forms of relationship recognition and basic civil rights
protections are essential components that make all families, including
families headed by same-sex couples, safer and more secure.

Changing the Constitution is never simple. There are over 1000 protections,
rights and responsibilities that go along with civil marriage. Many, like
immigration rights and veterans death benefits, cannot be covered by
contracts or legal planning. The Anti-Gay Texas Marriage Amendment would
permanently deny access to each of these family protections to gay and
lesbian couples and their families.

Our Constitution is for protecting our most basic and important rights. It
should never be used to settle partisan, religious or ideological disputes.
There is no question that many Texans disagree about marriage for gay and
lesbian couples, but those disagreements do not belong in our Constitution.

Please oppose these amendments to the Texas Constitution and any attempt to
build discrimination into our great state's chief document. I look forward
to hearing from you on this extremely important issue."
My personal addition to this letter:

I for one, can't understand why a gay civil union or marriage will threaten my own marriage. It's ridiculous. In addition, as a nurse I have taken care of many gay patients, whose partners are extremely devoted to them, and actually spend more time with their partners than straight people do. They love as deeply as we do, and there is nothing wrong with that. My Uncle is gay, and he and his partner have raised 2 children who graduated from Ivy League schools, something I cannot say I have done with my own children.
Gay people do not deserve to have their rights as citizens of this country stripped from them. That is unconstitutional in my humble opinion.
But then I guess that in every generation we have to find a scape goat and this time it is gay people.
Meet some, they are not scary people. They love, laugh and enjoy life just like the rest of us.

Tony Blair told that British participation in the invasion of Iraq could be illegal

From The Guardian "Tony Blair was told by the government's most senior law officer in a confidential minute less than two weeks before the war that British participation in the American-led invasion of Iraq could be declared illegal.
Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, spelt out to Mr Blair the dangers of Britain going to war without a second resolution. It is understood that he then went on to warn that British soldiers could be hauled before the International Criminal Court."
Why am I not surprised by this? Invading another country is always wrong, especially when done under the guise of lies. Today we sent a co-worker off to Baghdad (a military surgeon), and what he will see and do in the next year, and his attempts to alleviate suffering that we caused with this invasion will surely try his soul. War is costly, and not necessary.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More on Justice Sunday, after Justice Sunday

I was struck by their message that they are the ONLY Christians on the planet. What are the rest of us? I was really insulted. Somehow, they totally ignore the message of the New Testament, and presume, yes PRESUME that they are right and the rest of us are wrong! As my father, an Episcopal priest, used to say..there will be a wall in heaven so they don't realize the rest of us are there.
I really think some letters to the editor need to go out, regarding this Justice Sunday thing and the fact (as many non fundamentalist religious leaders have said this past week) that we are insulted and angered that our religious beliefs are seen as less than theirs, that we are less Christian somehow. Not to mention the fact that the founding fathers did not want a state religion....some strange thing they wrote in our constitution about that, if I recall. Do these people not get the constitution? They want to promote one religion for all, damned to the rest of us, non Fundamentalist Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. That's just not constitutional, period. There are many ways to the same path, lest we forget. As a remote descendant of the Iroquois Nation, of which the Algonquin were members, this speaks to my heart.

Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin: "The Great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us...."

Many ways to God, is one better than another because man says so? In the greater scheme of things, I think not.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Justice Sunday?

Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders
Justice Sunday my Aunt Fanny! To attempt to portray those of us who disagree with Republicans and their impending theocracy as non-religious is wrong. My Episcopalian soul recoils. I am proud to be a person who believes in Jesus' teachings. However, I believe in the Christian values that Jesus taught, including taking care of the poor, the needy, the sick, and those who society has cast out. I certainly do not see those values in policies put forth by Republicans.
To put on such a "show" just highlights the hypocrisy of the Republican party.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Still want that "private account?"

From the New York Times:
After last week's market plunge - when America's three main stock gauges fell more than 3 percent - Wall Street and unusually nervous individual investors are looking to the flood of earnings reports this week to see how optimistic corporate America is in its outlook for the economy.
Gosh, just makes me want to have more of my money to put in the stock market. That way I can watch my 401K plunge along with my social security earnings that Bushie has convinced me will be "safe" in the stock market.
Want to be even more discouraged ? Read on.

Tom DeLay needs to go!

DeLay's cronies stated that there was not enough outcry to remove DeLay. Well, watch this, and then email your elected "representative" (term used loosely as these folks represent none of us, they represent their wallets).
See the house of scandal video
Let your voice be heard in D.C. Email, write, call....

Remembering Marla Ruzicka

Marla's self-assigned mission in life was to help innocent people who are caught in the crossfire of armed conflict. So, perhaps it was fitting, in the brutally impersonal way of the universe, that Marla herself became an innocent victim of war. On Saturday, April 16, Marla was killed in a car bomb attack as her vehicle traveled along the road to the Baghdad airport. She was 28 years old.

So fearless and brave, helping victims of war. I sure wish I had her boundless courage. For more on Marla, see the story
May she rest in peace. Who will follow in her footsteps so the least of these people will not be forgotten?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Democrats must stop 'speaking down to voters,' Dean says

Dean says beleaguered Democrats need to begin doing more to "show up" in all 50 states, including those they are unlikely to win. And they should stop "speaking down to voters,"

"People in economic distress and harmed by the economic policies of the Republicans continue to vote Republican," he said. "It's because we're not addressing the central underlying fears of people" when it comes to the pressures they feel in raising families.

For more see the article in USA Today.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bush's shameless photo op in West Virginia

Another stupid Bushie trick...posing with a file cabinet. Why you ask?

What happened..."he visited the office of the federal Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg, W.Va. He posed next to a file cabinet that holds the $1.7 trillion in Treasury securities that make up the Social Security trust fund. He tossed off a comment to the effect that the bonds were not "real assets." Later, in a speech at a nearby university, he said: "There is no trust fund. Just i.o.u.'s that I saw firsthand."

Social Security takes in more money than it needs to pay current beneficiaries, and the excess is invested in the Treasury securities that Mr. Bush was discussing. They carry the same legal and political obligations as all other forms of Treasury debt, every penny of which has always been paid in full and on time.

In his speech, Mr. Bush went on to acknowledge that future generations would have to make good on the debt. But the intended meaning of the photo-op was clear. In the hope of persuading people to privatize Social Security - a move that would only add to the growing debt burden for future generations - Mr. Bush wants Americans to believe that the trust fund is a joke."

This made as much sense as when he looked for WMD's under the curtains at a banquet.
Idiot boy strikes again.

Here is the full story.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

HB 16, Frank Corte's way to eliminate women's options

Frank Corte's HB 16 (allowing Pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions) will not only take women's rights down a slippery slope, but lead the way to a massive change in health care delivery. After all, if I (as a nurse) can decide against doing something because it is against my beliefs, then I could refuse to take care of "smelly old people" because I don't believe in taking care of the elderly, or refuse to give narcotic pain medications because I don't believe in them, the list could be endless. Do I give blood to save someone's life or walk away because of my personal beliefs? When personal feelings enter into how health care is delivered, be it medications or other forms of treatment chaos will ensue. When healthcare professionals are allowed to refuse to perform a service that is part of their job, just because of their personal beliefs, the healthcare of the citizens of this state, which is already precarious, will only get worse.

I will always remember my first nursing instructor, Ms. Ruth Sperry, at TCU, who taught us that our personal biases, etc. had absolutely no business in determining the manner in which we treated patients. All patients were equal, period.

Mr. Frank Corte, is not a health care professional, but a religious zealot, who can not see the reality behind his proposal. He is too ignorant to realize that his "agenda" allows the flood gates of "personal beliefs" to alter behaviors in many unforseen areas to the detriment of our society. His lack of respect for women is obvious. Removing women's choices is a first step away from democracy. Shall we return to the 1800's when there were no choices? Shouldn't Mr. Corte state his real goal--getting women back to the kitchen and out of the board room. Having barefoot and pregnant women slapping food in front of their husbands promptly at 5:30 pm, is that your real agenda Mr. Corte?

Women deserve choices and they deserve to have all options available for healthcare, including contraceptives. Since when is a pharmacist a physician? He/she can only surmise what a prescription is for, they can't diagnose or presume to diagnose the reason a medication was prescribed, and therefore have no business refusing to fill a prescription. I can virtually guarantee you that no pharmacist in Texas has refused to fill a prescription for Viagra. Priorities, priorities. Men first class citizens and women second class citizens in Texas. Women deserve better.

It would serve this nation well to remember what The Declaration of Geneva
(World Medical Association, 1948, 1968, 1983) states: "I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics, or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient." This is as appropriate today as it was in 1948.

Book discussion, God's Politics

Viva! Bookstore at Mini Mansions

Time: Sunday, April 17, 2005 1:00 PM
Location: Ventana Gallery
Title of Event: God's Politics -Book Discussion
There will be a book discussion from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm of God's Politics by Jim Wallis (HarperSanFrancisco, $14.95). All are welcome to participate in this "after Church" discussion group. Cynthia Caruso will facilitate the discussion based on the book's thesis: "Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It."

Yes Virginia, liberals do go to church.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sample living will (tongue in cheek)

Sent by a friend. It says it all.

Living Will

I,__________________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound
mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood
politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a
cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better.

When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children
and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, and call it a

Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a
special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these
boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the
health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a
permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case . I don't
care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run
for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that they play politics with
someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to
legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these
people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my
behalf. They, too, should mind their own business.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a
political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his
or her existence a living hell.