Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He who controls the past controls the future

Rove: "Congress Pushed Bush to War in Iraq Prematurely" You are not going to believe this, well, actually you will...

According to Karl Rove (on Charlie Rose), the Bush Administration did not want Congress to vote on the Iraq War resolution in the fall of 2002, because they thought it should not be done within the context of an election. Rove, you see, did not think the war vote should be "political".

Moreover, according to Rove, that "premature vote" led to many of the problems that cropped up in the Iraq War. Had Congress not pushed, he says, Bush could have spent more time assembling a coalition, and provided more time to the inspectors.

If you are like me, you have stopped reading/listening, and are rushing to get your anti-emetic
the rest of the story

The Thought Police are coming, really...

The Thought Police are coming....check out this proposed bill. Guess it's ok, (NOT ! ) we already have Big Brother watching all our communications. Hi Big Brother...do I have enough "code words" on this page?

Per Randi Rhodes website http://www.therandirhodesshow.com/live/ my favorite radio commentator. I'll supply the links below.


An Act passed by The House in late October and currently before the Senate Homeland Security Committee is as bad as or WORSE than the McCarthy Era when people were labeled and jailed for anything HE deemed UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES.

Language inserted in the act does partially define "homegrown terrorism" as "planning" or "threatening" to use force to promote a political objective, meaning that just thinking about doing something could be enough to merit the terrorist label.

The act also describes "violent radicalization" as the promotion of an "extremist belief system" without attempting to define "extremist."

Note Section 899A Homegrown Terrorism where it becomes a crime "to intimidate or coerce the US government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objective". And Section 899B Paragraph 3 – The internet is a tool of terror.



S. 1959: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s110-1959

Votes on the Violence, Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorist Act: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-993

Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to 'Disrupt' Radical Movements in the United States. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7439

Philip Giraldi from Huffington Post wrote more about the Act http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-giraldi/the-violent-radicalizatio_b_74091.html


and who voted yes?

Aye TX-1 Gohmert, Louis [R]
Aye TX-2 Poe, Ted [R]
Aye TX-3 Johnson, Samuel [R]
Aye TX-4 Hall, Ralph [R]
Aye TX-5 Hensarling, Jeb [R]
Aye TX-6 Barton, Joe [R]
Aye TX-7 Culberson, John [R]
Aye TX-8 Brady, Kevin [R]
Aye TX-9 Green, Al [D]
Aye TX-10 McCaul, Michael [R]
Aye TX-11 Conaway, K. [R]
Aye TX-12 Granger, Kay [R]
Aye TX-13 Thornberry, William [R]
No Vote TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R]
Aye TX-15 Hinojosa, Rubén [D]
No Vote TX-16 Reyes, Silvestre [D]
Aye TX-17 Edwards, Thomas [D]
Aye TX-18 Jackson-Lee, Sheila [D]
Aye TX-19 Neugebauer, Randy [R]
Aye TX-20 Gonzalez, Charles [D]
Aye TX-21 Smith, Lamar [R]
Aye TX-22 Lampson, Nicholas [D]
Aye TX-23 Rodriguez, Ciro [D]
Aye TX-24 Marchant, Kenny [R]
Aye TX-25 Doggett, Lloyd [D]
Aye TX-26 Burgess, Michael [R]
Aye TX-27 Ortiz, Solomon [D]
Aye TX-28 Cuellar, Henry [D]
Aye TX-29 Green, Raymond [D]
No Vote TX-30 Johnson, Eddie [D]
Aye TX-31 Carter, John [R]
Aye TX-32 Sessions, Peter [R]


Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to 'Disrupt' Radical Movements in the United States

by Jessica Lee

Global Research, November 25, 2007

Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of "homegrown terrorism," Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience, according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians.

The proposed law, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1955), was passed by the House of Representative in a 404-6 vote Oct. 23. (The Senate is currently considering a companion bill, S. 1959.) The act would establish a "National Commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence" and a university-based "Center for Excellence" to “examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence in the United States" in order to develop policy for "prevention, disruption and mitigation."

Many observers fear that the proposed law will be used against U.S.-based groups engaged in legal but unpopular political activism, ranging from political Islamists to animal-rights and environmental campaigners to radical right-wing organizations. There is concern, too, that the bill will undermine academic integrity and is the latest salvo in a decade-long government grab for power at the expense of civil liberties.

David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin's University who studies government surveillance and harassment of dissident scholars, says the bill "is a shot over the bow of environmental activists, animal-rights activists, anti-globalization activists and scholars who are working in the Middle East who have views that go against the administration." Price says some right-wing outfits such as gun clubs are also threatened because "[they] would be looked at with suspicion under the bill."

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), which has been organizing against post-Sept. 11 legislative attacks on First Amendment rights, is critical of the bill. "When you first look at this bill, it might seem harmless because it is about the development of a commission to do a study," explained Hope Marston, a regional organizer with BORDC.

"However, when you realize the focus of the study is 'homegrown terrorism,' it raises red flags," Marston said. "When you consider that the government has wiretapped our phone calls and emails, spied on religious and political groups and has done extensive data mining of our daily records, it is worrisome of what might be done with the study. I am concerned that there appears to be an inclination to study religious and political groups to ultimately try to find subversion. This would violate our First Amendment rights to free speech and freedoms of religion and association."

for the rest of the article

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wounded? Pay back the Pentagon ....

This is so outrageous! What are they thinking?

Just in time for the holidays, there's a special place in Hell just waiting to be filled by some as-yet-unknown Pentagon bureaucrat. Apparently, thousands of wounded soldiers who served in Iraq are being asked to return part of their enlistment bonuses -- because their injuries prevented them from completing their tours.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Barack Obama at the Backyard Austin, Tx

I got to be on stage! Got a "sort of" hug from the Senator too.
Oddly, he remembered signing my shirt in San Antonio in June, because it was Ray's and my 35th wedding anniversary.
Great experience, and a great speech. Go Barack!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The "Good Germans" Among Us

From the New York Times. I can't add anything more to this. It's excellent.
However, I can say this- IMPEACH!

October 14, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us
“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

Still, the drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.

There has been scarcely more response to the similarly recurrent story of apparent war crimes committed by our contractors in Iraq. Call me cynical, but when Laura Bush spoke up last week about the human rights atrocities in Burma, it seemed less an act of selfless humanitarianism than another administration maneuver to change the subject from its own abuses.

As Mrs. Bush spoke, two women, both Armenian Christians, were gunned down in Baghdad by contractors underwritten by American taxpayers. On this matter, the White House has been silent. That incident followed the Sept. 16 massacre in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where 17 Iraqis were killed by security forces from Blackwater USA, which had already been implicated in nearly 200 other shooting incidents since 2005. There has been no accountability. The State Department, Blackwater’s sugar daddy for most of its billion dollars in contracts, won’t even share its investigative findings with the United States military and the Iraqi government, both of which have deemed the killings criminal.

The gunmen who mowed down the two Christian women worked for a Dubai-based company managed by Australians, registered in Singapore and enlisted as a subcontractor by an American contractor headquartered in North Carolina. This is a plot out of “Syriana” by way of “Chinatown.” There will be no trial. We will never find out what happened. A new bill passed by the House to regulate contractor behavior will have little effect, even if it becomes law in its current form.

We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq — and should. Paul Bremer, our post-invasion viceroy and the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts, issued the order that allows contractors to elude Iraqi law, a folly second only to his disbanding of the Iraqi Army. But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.

In April 2004, Stars and Stripes first reported that our troops were using makeshift vehicle armor fashioned out of sandbags, yet when a soldier complained to Donald Rumsfeld at a town meeting in Kuwait eight months later, he was successfully pilloried by the right. Proper armor procurement lagged for months more to come. Not until early this year, four years after the war’s first casualties, did a Washington Post investigation finally focus the country’s attention on the shoddy treatment of veterans, many of them victims of inadequate armor, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals.

We first learned of the use of contractors as mercenaries when four Blackwater employees were strung up in Falluja in March 2004, just weeks before the first torture photos emerged from Abu Ghraib. We asked few questions. When reports surfaced early this summer that our contractors in Iraq (180,000, of whom some 48,000 are believed to be security personnel) now outnumber our postsurge troop strength, we yawned. Contractor casualties and contractor-inflicted casualties are kept off the books.

It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.

We ignored the contractor scandal to our own peril. Ever since Falluja this auxiliary army has been a leading indicator of every element of the war’s failure: not only our inadequate troop strength but also our alienation of Iraqi hearts and minds and our rampant outsourcing to contractors rife with Bush-Cheney cronies and campaign contributors. Contractors remain a bellwether of the war’s progress today. When Blackwater was briefly suspended after the Nisour Square catastrophe, American diplomats were flatly forbidden from leaving the fortified Green Zone. So much for the surge’s great “success” in bringing security to Baghdad.

Last week Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war combat veteran who directs Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, sketched for me the apocalypse to come. Should Baghdad implode, our contractors, not having to answer to the military chain of command, can simply “drop their guns and go home.” Vulnerable American troops could be deserted by those “who deliver their bullets and beans.”

This potential scenario is just one example of why it’s in our national self-interest to attend to Iraq policy the White House counts on us to ignore. Our national character is on the line too. The extralegal contractors are both a slap at the sovereignty of the self-governing Iraq we supposedly support and an insult to those in uniform receiving as little as one-sixth the pay. Yet it took mass death in Nisour Square to fix even our fleeting attention on this long-metastasizing cancer in our battle plan.

Similarly, it took until December 2005, two and a half years after “Mission Accomplished,” for Mr. Bush to feel sufficient public pressure to acknowledge the large number of Iraqi casualties in the war. Even now, despite his repeated declaration that “America will not abandon the Iraqi people,” he has yet to address or intervene decisively in the tragedy of four million-plus Iraqi refugees, a disproportionate number of them children. He feels no pressure from the American public to do so, but hey, he pays lip service to Darfur.

Our moral trajectory over the Bush years could not be better dramatized than it was by a reunion of an elite group of two dozen World War II veterans in Washington this month. They were participants in a top-secret operation to interrogate some 4,000 Nazi prisoners of war. Until now, they have kept silent, but America’s recent record prompted them to talk to The Washington Post.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an M.I.T. physicist whose interrogation of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, took place over a chessboard. George Frenkel, 87, recalled that he “never laid hands on anyone” in his many interrogations, adding, “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.”

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.

A favorite Christmas comedy sketch

SNL, The Delious Dish, Schweddy Balls.


I could not agree more! This from dailyKos

What'll It Cost Me?
by MrMichaelMT
Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 05:52:01 PM PST
With the release of Sicko and the expected barrage of trash aimed at Democratic candidates from right wing radio, it's inevitable that someone will accost you. (After all, that "I'm a Progressive" tatoo on your forehead stands out.)

"Why should I pay for someone else's health care? I'm paying enough already!"

The major candidates have done an incredibly poor job of articulating what the savings would be to our society that universal healthcare would achieve. So I guess it's up to you.

Get ready to answer: "Yes, you are! You are paying way too much. Universal health care will save you, personally, a bundle."

MrMichaelMT's diary :: ::
When you are sitting in church or the movie theater, look to your right and your left, ahead and back. Chances are that one of those people is paying health roulette. When they get really, really sick they go to an emergency room--and you pay.

This issue update from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that uninsured Americans could incur nearly $41 billion in uncompensated health care treatment in 2004, with federal, state and local governments paying as much as 85 percent of the care. It also finds that if the country provided coverage to all the uninsured, the cost of additional medical care provided to the newly insured would be $48 billion.

So if you just skim the headline, you might mistakenly think you are saving 7 billion by not covering the uninsured. Guess again! By waiting until health care is critical, the cost of healing the uninsured is many times the cost of insuring--and caring for--them in advance. Just remember the case of Deamonte Driver.

Deamonte Driver's life could have been spared if his infected tooth was simply removed -- a procedure costing just $80...
In the end, Driver endured two surgeries and weeks of hospital care totaling about $250,000 in medical bills. Sadly, it was too late to save the boy, and he passed away on Feb. 25.

According to the National Academy of Science, neglect due to lack of health insurance leads to developmental delays in tens of thousands of children each year. They end up in special education, costing school districts many times what general education would cost.

Look at your property tax bill. Highlight the school tax (in most states.) You are paying for the child down the block, who doesn't have health insurance. And you'll continue to pay, for his/her entire life, due to lower productivity.

And then, of course, there is the economy. Every time someone stays home sick, our nation loses productivity.

The value of what the United States loses because of the poorer health and earlier death experienced by the 41 million Americans who lack health insurance is estimated to be $65 billion to $130 billion every year, according to a first-ever economic analysis of the costs of uninsurance for society overall. This lost value is a hidden cost that could be recouped by extending health coverage to all, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

So we can attribute at least part of the decline of the dollar to our loss of productivity of our unhealthy society.

And this is the area where you can draw a bright red line between the plans for extending private insurance and single payer health insurance. The way in which a single payer plan would decide what to pay is completely different than a private system. Let me give the single example I know best--paraplegia. Private insurers calculate the cost of maintenance--six months of physical therapy, to insure that the para can get in and out of a chair, a new chair every five years. WD-40 and you're done. Single payer plans (like those in Europe) ask: "What more could you do if we paid for X?" Then they pay. There are hundreds of other conditions where the calculation is the same--obligation? or potential?

To regular readers of DKos, this may seem like a no brainer. But MSM has ignored them, even in the face of two SCHIP vetoes. Until they are reduced to bumper stickers, we will remain a "Sicko" society.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Killer Awoke Before Dawn

The Killer Awoke Before Dawn
by blueness
Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 03:01:41 AM PST
Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the finest piece of public art in the history of this country. The vision of a haunted ex-Army infantryman, realized by a 21-year-old Asian refugee, The Wall has became a place of pilgrimage, a secular shrine, something unprecedented, unrivaled in our Calvinist country. Tens of millions of people have brought hundreds of thousands of mementos, gifts, talismans, offerings to The Wall.

Among them, this letter:

Dear Nick:

The little baby you never saw turned 17 in August. She looks like Scotty now; she used to look like you when she was younger.

This was all such a waste. Maybe your sacrifice means this won't happen again.


Oh, vain hope. Not to be, not to be . . . .

blueness's diary :: ::
The Wall began with Jan Scruggs, former Army infantryman. Up one night in the wee hours, nursing a bottle of Scotch, alone with ghosts in his Maryland apartment, he saw again twelve of his friends blown apart while unloading an ammunition truck, how he'd wandered, helpless, among them, watching their brains, their entrails, their lives seep out.

He decided that night that he, a 29-year-old ex-corporal, an American University student--in short, a nobody--would see to it that a memorial was built in Washington, DC that would list the names of all the US servicemen and women who had died in Vietnam.

Scruggs began with $2800 of his own money; ultimately the project attracted ten million dollars. What Scruggs, and those who joined him, wanted was a memorial that, besides listing all the names of all the military personnel who had died in Vietnam, would also be reflective and contemplative, harmonize with its surroundings, and make no overt political statement about the war.

From the 1400 submitted designs, that of Maya Lin, a 21-year-old Yale architecture student, was selected . . . and the forces of reaction then screeched into overdrive in opposition.

First, the racists objected to an Asian designing a memorial honoring Americans who died in an Asian war (that Lin was Chinese, from a family that had fled Mao, made no difference to these people).

Then there were complaints that it was black--aren't war memorials supposed to be white? And anyway, isn't black "the color of shame"? That objection was answered by General George Price: "Black's really not the color of shame. I'm black myself."

Then there was hand-wringing that "it's a hole in the ground"--dark, dreary, depressing, a wallow in despair.

So, finally, all the blathering and the clattering, from the same sort of people who succeeded in smearing paint over the genitalia in The Last Judgement, forced into the entry of The Wall a wholly unnecessary and supremely mediocre bronze sculpture of three soldiers.

Doesn't matter. The Wall overcomes it.

Everything about The Wall is right. As Lin has said, it is:

a rift in the earth--a long, polished black stone wall, emerging from and receding into the earth . . . The memorial is a moving composition to be understood as one moves into and out of it; the passage itself is gradual, the descent to the origin slow, but it is at the origin that the meaning of the memorial is to be fully understood.

Names are listed in perfect equality, general to private, in chronological order of passing, on polished black granite that reflects those gazing upon it, uniting the living and the dead. Each reflecting upon the other, blurring the distinction into the indistinguishable. Little wonder that so many people bring so many living offerings to The Wall, speak to the names upon it as if they were still sentient beings, leave them letters, cigarettes, food, flowers, clothing, drink.

rest of the post

To my fellow Veterans, I say...Thanks for serving our nation. Hooaaah!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Knitter's Unite! I'll knit one, how about you?

Knit Your Bit
November 10, 2006. When I started my morning walk, it had been a lovely fall day; sunny and warm. I knew it would be one of the last. Sign of winter were everywhere from scavenging deer to barren trees. Still the chilly rain and darkening sky came as a surprise. I hurried back home, to warm up and work. Later on in the afternoon, I had planned to participate in a local Veterans Day knitting event.

I had read about Knit Your Bit in our local paper, the Iowa City Press Citizen. It was started by Lauren Hadley at the World War II Museum. She had invited knitters to once again pick up their needles to provide scarves for World War II soldiers, now elderly veterans. The scarves would be distributed at Veteran Administration Centers. In support of this national knitting project, our local historical society was hosting a knitting circle. Knitters and crocheters of all ages were invited to attend. Museum Studies students from the University of Iowa would be there taking oral histories of those who had stitched away on the home front during World War II.

By the time I was ready to leave for the knitting circle, a heavy snow was falling. I shrugged into my warm winter coat, grabbed the knitting basket I had prepared and chugged over to our new historical center on the Iowa River. In the lobby of the building, a circle of comfortable chairs were set up around a gas fireplace. Nearby was a table with a coffee urn, a plate of home-baked cookies, and a stapled-together collection of Knit for Soldiers patterns in a neat pile. The students, bright and cheerful with knitting of their own, greeted me. The local TV news station set up cameras to film the occasion. A woman who knit during WWII was wheeled in by her husband. They had driven a great distance because she wanted to give her testimony. The students huddled around her.

Two women I knew from Iowa Fiber Alliance arrived, their knitting in big bags. One brought her mother-in-law, a prize-winning knitter, who remembered knitting in school for the war effort. We all buzzed back and forth about knitting and ideas. The room was very warm from the gas fire. Occasionally we looked out the large window, catching a glimpse of the gloomy weather. When it came time to go, no one was anxious to leave.

Michelle's Father, Stanley Epstein
Photo courtesy Michelle Edwards Later that evening, knitting at home, I thought about my father who was a soldier in WWII. He died before I was able ask him the kind of questions I thought about now. What was it like to be at war, to be battle a fierce enemy far away from home? What was it like to witness death and destruction, and then, to receive a wooly gift from far away, from the safety of someone's classroom or the comfort of a family's living room. What did a piece of hand-knit warmth, a pair of warm socks, a scarf, or a sweater mean to soldier at war?

As I put my knitting down that evening, I looked over the Knit for Soldiers patterns. If he were alive, how would my father feel now, an old man with time to ruminate over his soldiering days? Would a hand-knit scarf bring comfort to him and his war memories? As a life-long knitter, that's the hope that keeps me stitching most days. The possibility that the wool and needles will make an object of comfort and warmth for both body and soul.

Knit Your Bit 2006 was a great success. Over 1600 scarves were collected and distributed to veterans all over the country. And although, it was intended to be a short term project, the founder Lauren Hadley has decided to keep it running.

Are you ready to knit your bit? It doesn't take a lot of wool, much time or even great knitting skill to make a scarf. You could try an easy pattern, say the Road Scarf.

Knit Your Bit asks that the scarves be made in male-friendly colors. This Veterans Day, I'm going to knit one in honor of my father's service. Wool-Ease® Blue Mist #620-115 -- a blue with subtle overtones of greens and grays. Three skeins. May the veteran, who receives it, wear it in good health.

Send your scarf to: The National World War II Museum
Knit Your Bit Campaign
945 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kucinich offers his resolution on impeachment

Stop lying to yourself. You love Dennis Kucinich

Democratic primary voters, you agree with him about (almost) everything, and you know it.

By Rebecca Traister

Nov. 5, 2007 | Dear Democrats:

It has recently come to my attention that you (and by "you" I also mean "I") are in the grip of mass self-delusion. It's long entrenched, and reinforced every night as many of you swig your beers or glasses of wine, lean over your keyboards and earnestly debate the merits of John Edwards and Barack Obama, fret over Hillary Clinton's authenticity and calculate the chances of Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd.

You are lying to yourselves. In a quest for an "electable," "not insane" presidential candidate, you are willfully overlooking the candidate who actually comes closest to representing the things in which you really believe: justice and peace and the basic freedoms that should be afforded to every American, regardless of race, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation or galactic origin. In an effort to distance yourself from the squish of the Birkenstock and the stench of the patchouli, you have convinced yourself that compromise and pragmatism light the path to the White House. And you are correct. But still, before walking listlessly down the aisle toward our impending union with tepid centrism, let's rip our clothes off for one final, ill-advised fling with ideological honesty:

Dennis Kucinich is our man! If he can't do it, well, that's because we're all chickenshit and condemned to a future of our own making. Yay, Dennis!

It's true, and I suspect many of you think it to yourselves, perhaps even confess it sotto voce to your loved ones during each Democratic debate (especially the ones where he doesn't mention the UFO): If the Democratic base pulled levers for the candidate whose policies best reflected its own beliefs, Dennis Kucinich should win his party's nomination in a landslide.

OK, sure, his reign as mayor of Cleveland was a mess. He has never passed a piece of legislation. He loves to flash peace signs that provoke flashbacks of your crazy Aunt Martha's annual Woodstock slide show. The fact that when you try to picture him at any sort of summit, you quickly envision Nicolas Sarkozy stealing his lunch money leads you to suspect that he might be an ineffective player on the world stage. He is a vegan. He has been compelled by his sense of honesty, and his close personal friendship with Shirley MacLaine, to disclose his encounters with extraterrestrial life. Also, he really does bear an unfortunate resemblance to a leprechaun. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Extra-repellent are the signifiers that surround Kucinich: the hippie-dippy factor of his supporters and their wavy-gravy, pierced, peacenik naiveté. You don't want to descend into the Unitarian Church basement and talk about peace over potluck fruited rice casseroles. Because, sure, you might believe in peace, you might want peace, but you don't want to text peace. And you'd sooner eat a bucket of trans fats than talk about it with a bunch of Hacky-Sackers in Phish T-shirts. It's just like how you believe the music of Bruce Springsteen is important but don't attend his concerts because you prefer not to picture yourself in the company of overweight men from New Jersey who wear unironic mustaches and know the air-guitar chords to "Glory Days."

But here is the truth: If you believe in universal, single-payer healthcare and that campaign finance and electronic voting are corrupt; if you hate the Patriot Act and believe it erodes civil rights; if you believe that gay people should have the same rights as straight people, that America should rejoin the Kyoto Protocol and take steps to halt global warming, that we should invest in alternative fuel sources, that our water and air need to be protected from pollution and overuse, that the government should reduce the amount of money it spends on war and instead work to improve the country's education system, and that going to war in Iraq was a terrible and tragic mistake, then you are that guy playing air guitar, and he is you.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It's time to come clean and admit that we are a Dennis Kucinich-loving party trapped in Hillary Clinton-supporting bodies.
the rest of the story

Monday, November 05, 2007

How to electrocute a turkey

How To Electrocute A Turkey Recipe
One crazy family
One bad oven
circuit breaker
one turkey and stuffing
Wine and/or alcohol of choice

Get out the china, the silver, etc. set a pretty table, and serve yummy food. However, my sisters and I had a tradition that bordered on the stupid, but we loved it.
First, a big breakfast.
Then, get the turkey washed, usually a hilarious event accompanied by using the sprayer at the sink, and not necessarily spraying the bird. Water fights are essential.
Second, get the bird stuffed and in the oven.
Third, all bets are off. It's time to make the most outrageous side dishes while sampling the wine that will be served with the turkey.
Usually, we are still sober by the time we serve the turkey....but it this whole thing started a long time ago...1978 or 1979....
as I write this, I think I should post this as a recipe on how to make a turkey, let me know what you think...
It was a cold, dreary Nebraska Thanksgiving. The turkey was in the oven, and our extended family was gathered in the living room, watching football. Soon, we heard a wierd noise from the kitchen... runnnngggg, runnnnngg, rrrrrrrr, brraaacckkk.....
The 3 sisters got up and ran to the kitchen to see what was going on....we were followed by all the kids (6 of them) as we streamed through the tiny kitchen door only to see sparks coming from under the oven, and feeling electricity course to our knees....we all screamed and ran BACK out the kitchen door, as the men in the family were trying to get through the door to hit the circuit breaker.
The oven fried, the turkey was removed, and dropped....it slid across the kitchen floor, half-baked. There was squealing and screaming!
Once the sparks stopped, we had to decide. What do we do? Throw the turkey out? The more enterprising of the sisters, took the bird, put it in the sink and washed it. We then took it to the basement and cooked it in the gas oven.
It is known as the year we electrocuted the turkey.
There ever after, we never made a turkey without being fortified by alcoholic beverages to anesthetize the memory of the electocuted turkey.
So get that turkey in the oven, and have some fun doing it! Don't be too serious. Disaster could strike, and what would you do??