Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama and the Rick Rabbit Warren

This is the best I've seen written on this subject to date: Taking Yes for an Answer

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Remember the Guillotine

I have been absent a bit too long from these pages. I really ought to spend more time here. Perhaps I'll put pen to paper over my Christmas break. In the meantime...

I don't know about you, but I am starting to get a little worried. I may not have this desk and computer and chair and roof over my head all that much longer. Now, I have no imminent concerns over the health of hearth and home, but I'm in the same boat we're all sailing in, and I'm not in the posh cabins. Neither am I sitting in steerage just yet, but a further list to port could easily wash me there.

So here is what I have to say: To you people out there who caused all this; to you overly powerful, greedy, sadistic, obscenely wealthy, traitorous, motherfuckers who robbed our treasury blind and even now have your butt boy Bush eviscerating the endangered species act, among other things - just because you can and just because you enjoy fucking every living thing on this planet, and to you who are quietly secreting away the billions you frightened us into handing over to your henchmen carte blanch; your days of hiding behind your dollars (and yen and kroners, and euros) are coming to an end. Watch out; as we all become poor, nobody is going to fight for you anymore. You will be on your own. Your private armies will disband. Your ready access to all your wealth will soon become as problematic as it was for the Howells sitting on Gilligan's Island. But you won't be able to bully anybody into refreshing your gin and tonic. The advantage of having one tenth of one percent of the world's population owning 99 percent of the world's wealth is that, baby we have the numbers in spades. And all your guns are going to be pretty worthless when you have nobody left willing to pull the triggers on your behalf. You folks better start ordering your coffins. You're going to need them soon.

Remember the guillotine.

I hope it was worth it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have a long post I have started to write, but I'm not there yet. Life has intervened.

However, I want to write briefly about these post-election times. The euphoria of almost two weeks ago (it seems much longer) has settled down to "who is being considered for this position," and "why has Obama's camp become so much less close to the chest in their vetting process," and "will Obama support a Big Three bailout," and even "what puppy will the Obamas have?"

Amidst all of that hoo-haw, on third pages of newspapers and mentioned on radio only by Randi Rhodes, is a sinister, disjointed for now, movement of hate and violence. I am very concerned about this. We need to vigilant. We need not yet rest on our laurels. Not only do we need to stand strong as a movement for the purpose of making the changes we have all ascribed to as progressives and liberals and just-plain Americans; we need to build this movement so we can stand in strength against the rising fear and hatred fanned by Limbaugh and Savage and the KKK. They will surely rein havoc and murder. We must be larger than them.

I am very hopeful. I am also very concerned about the threat within. These are times of great potential and also of great peril. Let's rise to the call of our times and stand firm together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Rule

A note to those who would post here:

I will gladly post any comment that does not spew hysterican rhetoric here, regardless of my agreement or disagreement with the poster. I will however, beginning now, not accept any comment that I find to be pure hatred-filled, or willfully-ignorance-filled, bluster, and I will summarily delete all such comments.

Tough luck.

If you want to be read, post original thoughts (not rehashes of your Neo-Natzi mentors), and post honest opinions, not racially or socially charged disinformative tirades.
If you follow these simple suggestions, we may have a conversation.

Lacking that, Fuck You.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

America’s Next Civil War

America is poised on the edge of a new era. We are (knock on wood) just about to elect our first Black President. This comes on the heels of what some are describing as the bleakest eight years in American history, culminating in what could become a worse economic collapse than that of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Americans’ willingness to embrace a man of African descent for President rides hard on their rising certainty that the old guard got it desperately wrong.

As the old era collapses before our eyes, desperate old men are flailing about in an attempt to retain power, if not necessarily to reconsolidate it. Even if the presidency be lost for the old guard, a super minority in the Senate might still be avoided. And so the old boys (and their new girl) are spilling and spattering out words and sentiments intended to divide and to spread fear. Their only chance of retaining a sliver of power in Washington, as they view it, is to manipulate the fear and visceral hatred of the “other” into votes against the better interests of their constituents.

There is nothing new about this in America, and especially in American politics. Senator Joseph McCarthy used these tactics like a maestro in the 1950’s. Segregationists incited murder in the 50’s and 60’s, and the 90’s found our country fearing gays and illegal aliens as if the core of our existence were under attack.

What is troubling now is the way in which those, who truly believe that there is a pro-American crowd and an anti-American crowd in our midst, are being marginalized into a tight-knit stronghold of “us and them” mentality.

The past eight years have been the culmination of thirty years which started with Ronald Reagan, during which time we have had the American economy shift so far to the top-down model that the inevitable collapse has finally arrived. Most Americans are becoming aware of the flaw in this ointment, and are ready to return to the bottoms-up approach favored by Franklin Roosevelt. And while we would love to keep our heads embedded firmly in the sand, we understand in our guts just how much hard work we have ahead of us. Our dawning new day is not a panacea; it is simply a necessary step we must take if we are even to have a chance at rebuilding this troubled land.

As we cast our ballots in favor of a better future, few if any of us do so in spite. We don’t see the “real Americans” who see us as “anti-American,” as enemies. Neither do we look down our noses at them. I believe that if the “God and guns” crowd understood how they have been mercilessly used and manipulated toward the ends of folks who couldn’t give a fat nickel for their fates, these people would rise up in an anger yet unseen in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, even that statement is likely to be seen as elitist.

There is a very large group of Americans, perhaps twenty-five to thirty percent of us, who have been thoroughly manipulated and maneuvered into positions of fear and hatred for decades now. Social engineers, most often in the guise of radio talk show hosts, have employed the same brainwashing techniques used by cult leaders and Jihadists.
Quotes like these are very telling:

"Liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish and achieve." – Rep. Robin Hayes, R-North Carolina

"(“Real America” is) something Barack Obama can't possibly know, because he's not one of us. It's like the way (Richard) Nixon was able to talk to the hard hats." – Jim Wilson, a Colorado District Attorney

"I had to work for everything I got. That's what I was taught, and Sarah Palin understands that. People like Obama, they get driven in vans all over Washington. Palin's a working mom." - Reese Resnick, a Durango CO oil and gas industry salesman

These are disturbing sentiments. The most troubling aspect of these statements is that the fact-checkable portions of them are simply false. The first statement cannot be fact-checked, but I am liberal and I can assure that I have no hate for Americans that work, accomplish and achieve – in fact, I am one of those folks myself. The next statement, that Barack Obama is not one of us is simply ridiculous, unless you redefine “us.” But if you redefine “us,” you have undefined America, and have written her a new history. The final statement implies that Barack Obama was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Who is telling people such obvious lies?

I listened in dumbstruck fascination as a self-admitted listener to radio talk show host Michael Savage called a progressive host to tell her that Barack Obama was not in Hawaii to visit his dying grandmother; he was there to obtain a fake birth certificate since he had no real one. Source of this lie: I would guess it must be Michael Savage himself. He used to inhabit the dark corridors of a local talk radio station, and his dishonest vitriol is nearly unparalleled. But the point is this: once people have been indoctrinated sufficiently into the “us and them” world view, you can tell them almost anything that bolsters that view, and they will accept it without a thought.

Something on the order of seventy-five million Americans, who are otherwise mostly perfectly good people, have been so conditioned. That’s a blanket figure and a blanket statement, but I think the poll numbers back this up. We can push forward our progressive agendas and plans, and we should and must, but we are leaving behind the hearts and minds of this increasingly marginalized group. And there will be a piper to be paid. The conditioning of these Americans is such that for every move we make as a nation toward revitalization in a bottoms-up economy, and toward a more tolerant society, there will be a counter hardening of resolve in the camp of “real Americans.”

Nothing that grows malignantly is sustainable. Even seemingly benign malignancies (like stock-market bubbles) must eventually come crashing down. The polarization of American culture is not sustainable either. I firmly believe that a progressive, tolerant, bottoms-up America is an America on the right track. I am also fairly certain that the far-right crowd which fancies itself as the “real America” is not going to change their minds any time soon. So while we are rolling up our sleeves to rebuild our failing infrastructure, and reinvigorating our public school systems, and building a green economy, we all had better be watching over our shoulders. There’s a civil war brewing. And they have all the guns.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Higher Cause

As I digest one more day of political news and punditry, I think we all need some clarity. This isn’t merely a case of “us versus them,” or product “X” against product “Y.”

We have a higher cause than to promote yet further the divisive advancement of partisanship. Rhetoric pronounced from behind the safety of a party-base ensconced podium, inciting violence and bigotry, belongs to America’s past shame. Inspired calls for community visions and victories and for sleeves rolled as colors blend; as the rich hues of working sweat stain our brick and mortar edifices; as we pursue the purpose of our common humanity; these things belong to now and to America’s future.

That is clarification.

How has a once-great people found itself to be so full of hate? Why are so many of us lifted with the inspiration of belittlement? When did we learn to accept meanness as a substitute for substance? Who told us that fear should shape our vision?

These sentiments do not embody greatness. The purveyors of such filthy pursuits must not be considered for high public office. Under extremely troubling circumstances, we have found ourselves faced with the best opportunity any of us has had in our lives, to effectually make a deep mark on our futures, and on all of our children’s lives. Any of us who would accept hatred and fear as a substitute, or even as a dodge, cannot possibly say that we have inherited the spirits of our fathers. We will as good as have spit on their memories.

Instead, we must consider who we are as a people. We are great, not by our name or by our past, but only by our continued vigilance in the advancement of human freedom and dignity. Guns did not win this freedom for our ancestors. Hearts and minds won freedom with new ideas and with determined spirits. Guns only won our independence. Many an independent nation has subsequently lost its cause.

Our nation is in dire danger of losing our cause. It’s time to re-learn our real heritage. It’s time to unlearn the mockery of that past that proclaims our greatness to be at the expense of the shoddiness of all others.

Only causes challenging us to our nobler selves can make us to know we are doing right. Listen hard, please. There will be a test. And this is it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama Ten Points Ahead

Did you ever think you'd see the day when people were so afraid about their futures that they would forget their fear of a black man?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Okay, so they broke it...

You know, I've been thinking.

Okay, I didn't start out thinking. I started out with my head in the sand. I started out accusing other people of having their heads in the sand. I started out angry. I started out pointing fingers. I started out scared. I started out despairing.

I said that I hadn't expected to spend the last twenty years of my life in a global economic depression. I schemed to see if I could keep everything we had worked so hard for. I considered plans to protect things I just absolutely could not lose. I tried to imagine myself living on the street after being evicted by a bank - a bank also hanging on for an inch of dignity, and inevitably losing. Ultimately losing.

I blamed it on economic greed. I blamed it on financial laziness. I blamed it on Republicans. I blamed it on Democrats for not having nads.

I blamed it on myself for not being prepared; for not being prescient enough to know I should have amassed two tons of gold these past twenty-five years.

And then I spent some time thinking. And I'm still thinking. I'm still reacting, but I'm working really hard at locating that thoughtful space.

And I have decided something that I think is really important.

When Bonnie and Brandy and I were in Italy five years ago, we were robbed of almost everything we had with us on our last day there. This reality hit us very suddenly. We heard our car alarm sound as we walked the path beside an ocean-side castle to the parking lot where we had carelessly abandoned most of our traveling belongings just an hour earlier. Moments later we saw the shattered glass that threatened profoundly to equate to a shattered vacation and shattered lives if we gave it that space to grow. Brandy immediately crashed into tears. My heart broke into twelve thousand pieces as I realized that I had failed to protect her, and I nearly lost my will to do anything but recriminate my own ill begotten decisions.

To my amazement to this day, I found something very deep inside myself, and called my daughter and wife to action. I announced (while shouting down the daemon that wanted me to despair and take all and any blame) that we needed to pull together NOW. I told Brandy that I knew how awful this was, but that I needed her strength now. We all needed each others' strength.

The long and the short of this is that we did manage to get our shit together. Within a matter of hours we had passports, other identification, new credit cards, cash, plane tickets, and our dignity wrapped around us again. We had managed, in a few short hours, to bring ourselves from a potentially ruined vacation, without a penny to our erstwhile unsubstantiated names, back to being people, and to being a family, and and to being revelers in life, again. We weren't without our scars, but we weren't victims either. We had our lives back.

This time things are going to be a bit harder. The assaults on our financial securities and on our dignity are much greater. And this time there are many many more lives than just those of three lonely travelers at stake. But this is where I got to thinking today: the principals are really the same.

Just as the three of us pulled together, deciding in the midst of our fear and despair that we couldn't afford to wallow in those emotions (no matter how justified), we as a society need to find the same strength together. This isn't going to be easy. Some are going to fall apart. Some people aren't going to be able to find any inner strength. I've never blamed Brandy for her reaction to our situation by bursting into tears. I've tried not to blame myself too much for letting it all happen or for finally having a meltdown in the Atlanta Airport on the way home the next day. We pulled together then; both immediately, and subsequently; and I know human nature has that capability. We have it in spades.

And so I am committing myself to making it though this very uncertain economic future with dignity and pride. And more importantly, I am committing myself to helping others through it as well.

Bonnie, Brandy and I all learned something about our resilience on that Thursday afternoon in Italy. And we each integrated those experiences into the overall fabric of our lives, and are better people for it. Our country is going to be better for this. We will be.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recipe for Disaster

No, this isn't a commentary. This is a recipe I concocted recently and I felt I should share it for the benefit of all. I hope you like it:

Recipe for Disaster

To a broth of Crusty Old Man, add,

1 Short Temper
3 Bomb’s
plus 1 Iran, well stirred
1 Over-confident Karl Rove
1 Lovelorn Independent “Democratic” Senator / VP hopeful
1 Well-seasoned Romney stuffed firmly into the cavity created by Rove.

Simmer on low heat for several months, then turn to high, and add,

1 Denial of Crusty Old Man male fulfillment
1 Impetuous act of defiance
1 Viagra enhanced libido.

Crank that burner all the way to the Right, and vigorously stir in,

1 to 2 Pregnant Moms
1 Unrequited Beauty Queen
1 Bridge to Nowhere
1.1M Dollars slashed from Pregnant Teen’s fund
A few Caribou shot from an airplane
1 Suspicious Birth (add more to taste)
1 State next to Russia (almost as good as being there)
13,634 Alaskan Independence Party members
1 Estranged Brother in Law
Several As yet unrevealed Scandals

From the oven, remove the previously concocted Incited Hateful Prayer for Rain (see last month’s edition for the recipe), and accidentally spill it, causing hurricanes to rain on your own parade. Maintain a good face and serve promptly. Caution: This recipe sours very quickly; do not attempt to reheat.

Serves: No One

Please distribute freely.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's a joke, right?

I must have misplaced my calendar. I could have sworn yesterday was August 29th, not April first.

I have to admit the word palin' has come to mind many times when looking at John McCain, but it has always been in reference to his skin tone. Who would have guessed he could actually find someone with that adjective for a name? Palin isn't so much a running mate as it is a dermatological condition.

But the joke gets better. Remember when the Pugs were asleep at the wheel and Dubya nominated his personal attorney, Harriet Meyers, to the Supreme Court? That took days (or maybe it was weeks - I don't remember any more) to settle. Bush got his dick slapped (although it was Dick who did the slapping), and Harriet managed to crawl away with a modicum of her dignity in tact.

Do you think that might just possibly be happening again? McCain was at the Miss Buffalo Chip competition a couple of weeks back. With adolescent excitement making his voice quiver, he offered up Cindy (not in a million years can I imagine somebody named Cindy as First Lady) for contention in the topless bikers' pageant. The man clearly likes a pretty face (even it you need to remove an inch of spackle just to find it).

So in sharper definition of his sallow character, McCain, in a effort to avoid Mittens as his in-house handler, finds an ex- beauty queen cum podunksville governor for a running, er, um, mate. Well at least we already know she's for world peace. I bet McCain is giddy imagining Cindy and Sarah in high heels and bathing suits on either side of him at his inauguration. Sarah could wax philosophical about how Americans don't have maps and such as.

So did Rove blink? Is Neocon Death Star Control in panic mode, with all those mindless minions scurrying about, hair on fire as their wiring short-circuits? I can see it now. Mittens actually has several hairs out of place and his mask is half torn off, revealing Cheney's sneer beneath. Shouts of "damage control" echoing about the underground chambers; the wails of torture victims in the dungeons below drowned out by the louder wails of a machine for which the wheels have just fallen off.

We back off from this picture to a distance several miles above, and watch and listen as a loud whump is followed by the colossal collapse of megatons of earth. Clouds of dust rise into the atmosphere. And slowly settle. Into silence.

Sarah and Cindy. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Grampy McCain

Today is John McCain's 72nd birthday. Do you remember where he was three years ago today, on his 69th birthday? He was at an airforce base in Arizona, eating cake with Dubya. I have to imaging that was one expensive cake as tax paid for cakes go.

But do you remember what else was happening three years ago today, as Bush and McBush were eating cake?

Hurricane Katrina was drowning the city of New Orleans. That's what was happening. Rome was burning and Nero and McNero were fiddling.

Now guess what? Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the gulf coast once again. It's scheduled for landfall, very possibly in New Orleans, on Monday, the day McSame's convention is slated to begin in Minneapolis-St Paul (Larry Craig's home away from home).

Well, Larry, you may need to wait a bit longer to get your fill of, well you know. It seems the Repugnant-Cons may delay their Con-vention. It would be awfully embarassing if a whole convention center full of these pig-faced slimeballs were eating cake as another hurricane makes landfall in Louisiana.

If they delay their orgy of oligarcy, do you suppose they will all be in New Orleans filling sandbags instead? I think more likely they'll be busy securing options to buy ocean front property on the Gulf Coast.

Monday, August 25, 2008

PUMA's My Ass!

Something is becoming clearer to me. The results of a poll I heard about today list 45% of Hillary supporters as currently being avid Obama supporters. An additional 25% say they will vote for Obama regardless of mixed feelings. And a whopping 30% say they will vote for McCain.


How do you explain that? Are people so willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces? Or are they that racist that they will vote against their own interests rather than bring themselves to vote for a black man? I used to think it had to be one of these two answers.

I don’t believe it any more. The answer is simple. This 30% of Hillary supporters never did support Hillary. They registered as Democrats. I’ll agree with that. And they did so for the following reasons: 1) They wanted to lend legitimacy to their supposed support for Hillary, and 2) They really wanted to do their best to defeat Obama in the primaries.

This explains a lot:

Obama started out in Iowa beating Hillary handily. He followed that with a Super Tuesday sweep. And then things started turning. All sorts of reasons for this shift were touted at the time. Folks started asking why Obama couldn’t close the deal.

Now supposed Democrats say they will vote for a candidate who has made very clear the platform that he will espouse. McCain favors everything Bush has stood for. McCain has added not a single progressive move to Bush’s platform of the past seven and a half years. What Democrat would possibly vote for that platform?

No Democrat would vote for that platform. That’s the answer. These 30% factions of “Hillary supporters” are not Democrats. They are Republicans. They were always Republicans. All you need to do is to listen to some of their rhetoric (I’ve heard many of them). They don’t sound even the tiniest bit like Democrats. They utter their allegiance to all things Hillary, but those utterances ring hollow. Everything else they say clearly screams Republican.

So to all those who have felt Barack should have done better against Hillary than he did, take heart; he did! And to anyone who is listening to this 30% faction and wondering if their own support of Obama might be the result of flawed thinking, relax. And to anyone who is upset that we might be missing 30% of 18 million Hillary votes (that’s 5.4 million votes), forget it. Those were never Hillary votes. They were never Democrat votes. They were always McCain votes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm only going to say this once: Wake up Republicans! And especially, wake up religious right!

When are you going to see that McCain and the party you hold dear are using you as patsies? Look, McCampaign is testing the waters on fielding a pro-choice Veep. Just what the hell does that tell you? When McCain tells you he has faith in JC, etc, blah, blah, ad nauseum, yada, yada, he's also been telling you that he's not like the "baby killing" Barack Obama, and that he believes in the sanctity of all life (read: all American [preferably white] life). In short, he's confirming his pro-life stance.

Clean the wax out of your friggin' ears! McCain is pandering to you! He doesn't give a damn about fetuses, born or unborn. He just wants your votes. Otherwise, why the hell would he even consider a pro-choice running mate? Hmmmm????? Think about it now!

Now Mr. Obama admits to being pro-choice. You may not like that. You may not agree with it. But he's telling you the truth! And he is no baby killer. Not all the crap Hannity and Rush and O'Reilly tell you is true (come to think of it, I'd be shocked if any if it were true). Isn't honesty worth a whole lot more than someone who is using your beliefs and sentimentalities and convictions for the cynical purpose of garnering votes? And unlike McCain, Barack had the guts to tell the truth in front of a pro-life crowd. I kind of like the idea of a President with guts. Don't you?

I know a lot of people are telling you a different story, but we folks on "the left" are really concerned about the rights of regular folks. That's folks like us, and that's folks like you. No kidding. Really, we want your rights to think and act the way you want to, to be as valued and cherished and protected as all of ours. Look really hard at McCain. Look really hard at what the Republican party has been doing now for years. They don't care about you.

In fact, if I were you, I'd be really pissed off at being used. I'd be so pissed that I would never vote for any of them again.

Folks, if you can't bring yourself to vote for Obama, then at least don't vote for McCain. Stay home on election day. Or better yet, vote for Bob Barr. I don't agree with Bob Barr on everything, but I think he's honest. I don't think he's just using you. Don't be used. You're worth a whole lot more than that.

Please wake up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Are you out there? Do you live near me?

I feel pretty lame writing this, but I am losing my mind. I need help. I don't know where to turn.

This litany of insanity ought to drive any sane person mad:

Drivers are sent to prison. Crime families and their cronies in the highest offices in the land are not. Sore-loser candidates threaten to be spoilers for us all. A nation founded on freedom cannot find it in its soul to see a black candidate as anything other than black. Anthrax almost certainly directed toward its deadly conclusion by the crime family noted above, is ascribed to a man so harassed by law officials that he kills himself; and the case is closed. We are destroying our planet and my well-educated boss sits across from me at lunch and tells me that global warming is a hoax perpetrated on us by those wanting to make money off a brainwashed public. The candidate I most respect as our next potential president seems to have lost - at least temporarily - his passion for dispensing with business as usual, and his passion for change. The state of Texas steps up its passion for executing people of color and Latin accent. Proof upon proof upon proof of criminality in our White House is swept under the rug of jurisprudential and journalistic indifference. Americans worry about the awkward re-induction of Brett Favre into professional football and beg for offshore drilling, content that oil spills will not destroy their back yards.

Then there is my profound sense of futility as I smash my head against the walls of these imponderables, only to see them multiply as if mocking me and the handful of sane persons on this planet-in-peril. I spend and send my money to campaigns that mirror, in some fleeting fashion, my preponderance for not wishing to be a witness to humankind's final, and far from finest, hour as we slip into the cesspool of extinction. Will the cockroaches' decedents ponder our civilization as they pick through our fossils a million years from now? Or will only shreds of plastic endure, and will Earth's future owners wonder what flesh could have fossilized in such an odd manner?

I observe slack-jawed co-denizens of our world shuffle like zombies in The Night of the Living Dead to stand before a Best Buy storefront in anticipation of its doors unfolding to reveal electronically bedazzling wonders to their fried cortices. I notice last night as I wander a parking lot that I am embarrassed to admit I was in, that my car is the only one of several hundred that sports a political sticker of any sort at all. Radio stations and sports teams are resplendently represented.

And this is maybe the crux of the deal: I have no idea how to contact those with whom I can share my fears, angst, and very meager hope. I know these people exist. I hear them call in to progressive radio shows. I read their blogs and I see their comments left behind like breadcrumbs amidst the noxious thorns that surround them.

But I cannot find anyone at the end of the breadcrumbs. Oh, don't misunderstand me; I do find e-people. But I need to find people of flesh and blood. I have a hole in my gut that is as big as Jupiter that needs to be filled by conversation across a coffee table, not across a cyber-port. I want to shake the hand of the man and or woman who understands and shares this sense of dread. I want to feel my hand hurt as it is bruised by knuckles and fingers that have forgotten the physical act, and are an expression of a sense of friends-well-met. Or a sense of shared hurt and worry. Or a sense of revolution.

Are you out there? Do you live near me?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pool it!

In the past two or three weeks I have received "emergency" requests for donations from perhaps half a dozen candidates. The candidates range from Congressman, to Senator, to President. I have given to each of them in the past (or at least I have blogged or in other ways opined on their behalf), and I am not a constituent (or potential constituent) of half of them.

The candidates include Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Dennis Kucinich, Robert Wexler, and Barack Obama. I don't remember for sure who all I've actually contributed money to in the past, but clearly they all consider me a donor for their current and future needs.

And if I had sufficient resources I would give more often and more freely (I discovered just a few days ago that I had inadvertently signed up for a monthly give-a-thon to the ACLU when I thought I was just donating once - I believe very strongly in the ACLU, so I didn't cancel this "generosity," but it cramps my style all that much more).

So I decided (at first) when I received this deluge of requests, that I would only give to actual candidates who would (if elected) represent me. That list includes Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and of course, Barack Obama (sorry Dennis and Robert). But now I realize that I can only afford so much and even a continued commitment to these three is difficult. They're like a hungry baby! I understand the constant need to feed the campaign, but I just can't do it all.

We're house-hosting a gal working Obama's campaign in Albuquerque, and as of tonight, we've signed up to host yet another (a guy this time, I believe). That is a continued commitment, and I have no qualms claiming "campaign equity" for that generosity. But I do realize the realities here.

The realities are:

1) the smear ads being launched against all five of the candidates I listed above are in fact essentially the same. The claims made are untrue, or at best, a mockery of the truth. If you read/listen to the ads you get the idea really quickly that you can pretty much exchange the names of the candidate and state for different Democratic candidates, and end up with advertisements that are equally "effective," and

2) Democratic responses to these smear tactics spend probably too much time on the defensive. They obsess, as do the smear campaigns themselves, with the personal aspects of the candidates. And they treat these Rovian tactics as if each is an isolated incident.

So here is my idea: Pool your money. Let's make our Democratic responses count. A) Quit spending so much just trying to make essentially the same point over and over, only for different candidates and in different venues; B) find a common message about the health and common good of our candidates and spread it across the board; and C) find a common message about the depravity and common destruction embodied in the Republican party.

Hammer these messages home. Leave no stone unturned, but shout the same cohesive (and brutally honest) message as each stone is upended. Let's get a mantra going. You know, one of the brilliant strategies of Karl Rove is that mantra politics works, and that it's cheap! I wouldn't want to lie like these bastards do, but I want to shout the truth in ways that scare the bejeezus out of their party faithful.

Let's save our money and hit a home run! What do you say Tom and Martin? What do you think Barack? And how about you Dennis and Robert? We can make this an inclusive club if we all pool our resources.

All of you espouse changing our system. Let's start here.

Friday, August 1, 2008


When I heard this morning that somebody, after seven years of law enforcement going absolutely nowhere, had finally emerged as a credible suspect for the 2001 DC anthrax attacks (that left half a dozen dead), I knew I was about to smell the stench of bullshit.

Sure enough, that familiar smell wafted into my awareness shortly thereafter.

Vince Foster is the poster child for the anti-suicide defamation league of conservative conspiracy theorists. Frankly, I find Foster's suicide a bit suspicious myself. In fact, whenever I become aware of an all-too-convenient death, officially slated as a suicide, I cannot help but sit up and take notice. Like the death of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (rest easy, David Vitter).

This most recent convenience was just such a death. As of this evening, the spin on Bruce Ivins is becoming more and more fleshed out. What began early today as a ironic story of dogged investigation, betrayal and suicide, is now becoming this administration's latest snow job. Randi Rhodes suggested today that Bush had a loose end or two to clean up. One of her callers expanded on that suggestion with the observation that Ivins may have been seen as a liability.

The 2001 anthrax murders and terrorist tactics were most certainly the acts of folks incited (and paid) by Karl Rove at Dick Cheney's behest. They are the real terrorists. They are the murderers. And today, we have seen one final sweeping under the rug of a murder case about as close to the Executive as makes no never mind. And we have been provided with a false list of accusations. And better yet, we have been provided with a corpse. And a corpse cannot testify as to their innocence. Or to the complicity of others.

And speaking of complicity, Nancy Pelosi remains adamant that the protection of the Constitution is off the table. We will not see prosecution of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against this republic. We will have to suck it all up and accept that "winning" this fall trumps all else. Oh yeah, we're talking about a party winning. That matters. The public doesn't get to win. We get to watch as the winners ascend the dias' and claim their glory. And we are supposed to count that as winning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Response to a PUMA

I read this blog tonight with interest. And I laughed several times. But the endgame of the blog's author is questionable. For your reading pleasure (or nausea), this was my response to that author:


I liked the wit and constrained vitriol in your blog. But while I am no more the zombie-minded minion of Obama than you are, I am befuddled by your comments:
“But, just because I'm not voting for Obama, doesn't mean I've lost my

So, just whom are you voting for? Ralph Nader? Bob Barr? Cynthia McKinney?

I sympathize with the need to have a strong third (and fourth and fifth and sixth) party. But in the meantime, a McCain presidency could well spell the end of our society. Do you mean to indicate that you would actually welcome that?

I wrote with barely controlled fury when Obama voted “yea” on the FISA bill. In a moment of pique I even threatened to campaign against him.

Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

FDR did not run on a progressive platform. He was born and bred to privilege. But the times, and more importantly, the will of the people, transformed his presidency into the most progressive of the last century. And please don’t parade out Japanese internment camps, and other war-time limitations of liberty. The net result put millions of our parents, aunts and uncles through school. It resulted in an infrastructure that, until Reagan started abandoning it, was the industrial envy of the world. In short, FDR’s programs, incited by the masses and perfected by a great intellect, ended the first great depression and initiated the greatest middle class this world has ever seen (until, yes you guessed it, Reagan decided to end that too).

You may idealize one of the third (or fourth or fifth) party candidates. I myself idealized Dennis Kucinich. And I still do. But I realize that even if we really truly had free and honest elections, my hero, Dennis, would likely not be a strong president. He doesn’t lack intellect, nor tenacity. He lacks the ability to pull people together toward the achievement of a common goal. Oration has been dismissed at Hillary Clinton’s peril. And the McCain campaign is attempting to dismiss it now as well. But when the people of a nation, or of a planet, have the need to come together under a common cause (perhaps for our survival), oration comes in mighty damn handy. And it can’t hurt one bit to have a predilection for even moderate progressiveness.

So what practically executable vision do you have?



Thursday, July 24, 2008


I know that in itself, rhetoric is insufficient as a means of enacting social progression. I know Barack Obama shocked and dismayed many of us as he first announced his intention to say "aye" to the unconstitutional FISA bill, and then followed it up with an "aye" on the record in session. And all this when his vote didn't even count, as that awful bill passed far too easily.

I know many of us have chafed at Barack's promise of expanded "faith-based initiative" programs. The word on the liberal street is that Obama is drifting all to swiftly towards the center. And we who put our hearts out in front of our sanity to vaunt his advance over Hillary's juggernaut campaign, have had our sanity severely challenged as a result.

But damn, that man can give a speech. His soliloquy in Berlin today was one more amazing call to action and awareness for those of us who find no value in life except that we confront head-on the human tradegy.

In his speech today, Mr. Obama decided to include the entire world. He did so in a manner that would have elevated John Kennedy. And he managed to bring me to tears. He went beyond his own ambitions; he dispensed with the ambitions of the Democratic Party; he left the ambitions of the United States, and those of Europe, far behind. And he challenged the world. He challenged the world in a way that did not unfairly burden those least able to provide answers, and in a way that fully burdened those who could, and who must, be so burdened. But he included us all as brothers and sisters, and offered a vision, and an obligation, for us all. He acknowledged that we face an hour that is as fraught with peril as it is implicitly positioned for hope. And yet his vision holds out for that hope.

I am no fool. But I will vote for this man and I will pour my strength into securing the success he has dared us all to envision.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flickr Pics

At a friend's recommendation I started this Flickr account. I've loaded 120 photos to date. Some are good I think. The remainder are filler.

Northumberland Manor Window 2

July Sunset

Torri Del Benaco

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Visiting Swallowtail

This beautiful specimin visited our backyard two evenings ago.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Here is a very good opinion piece from the Philadelphia Daily News. Written by a conservative with a brain.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blogs | Tom Udall for Senate

Blogs Tom Udall for Senate


Yesterday's Senate vote on the FISA bill, which passed 69 to 28, was a very dissapointing blow. The vote didn't come as a surprise; the direction the wind has been blowing on this bill has been evident for some time. But that very wind direction is what is surprising. One would think that current public sentiment would be sufficient for this awful direction to change.

However, I am writing this not to complain about this horrid situation. I do that enough (and I'm not getting anywhere near quitting). I am writing to commend the Democratic Senator from my state, Jeff Bingaman, for his nay vote. Two weeks ago when Congress voted, the Democratic Congressman from our state, Tom Udall, also voted nay.

I have not considered New Mexico's Democratic Congressional delegation to be particularly progressive. But I am changing my opinion on that. Sure, Bingaman isn't currently up for re-election, but Tom Udall is running to replace Pete Domenici as our other Senator. So his nay vote was not without risk to his career.

I'm not often particularly proud to be a New Mexican (and we still have only a 40% Democratic Congressional delegation), but I am proud now. Viva la Revolucion!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Bonnie and I are watching a movie we got from Netflix. It's a very offbeat (and very well acted) film from Scottland called "Breaking the Waves."

We're on our second night of viewing this film. It isn't a fast moving thing and it takes some attention.

But here's the really cool part: I haven't heard the song "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen in decades. I couldn't have told you it was by somebody named Leonard Cohen. In all likelihood you couldn't have either. But the song is simple, haunting and beautiful. It's beautiful in the way Donovan songs were. It's over there on the right side of this blog now for you to hear.

Is it familiar?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Story Telling

I've been back at my story writing again. Here's a link to the latest. It's just for my amusement. Let me know if it amuses you too.

I should note that any story I write here (or there) may or may not (most likely the latter) be complete. So if you find yourself scratching your head and going "huh?" when you finish a story, it's more than likely simply that it's just not finished yet. Then again, there is the distinct possibility that I just did a damn poor job of getting my story told, in which case I am merely deluded in the notion that the story is done.

Friday, June 20, 2008

FISA Evesdropping Bill

No they can't!

Congress can pass all the laws they want to. Our Constitution trumps their mealy-mouthed simpering capitulation to corporate greed, bribes and threats. I will not allow anyone in this illegal trumped up excuse for a government, Republican or Democrat, to take away my Fourth Amendment rights. Over your dead bodies. That is my promise.

No you can't.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Shins - Phantom Limb

Im my early teens, an idiotic Beachboys-loving surfer dude stole my girlfriend. I thought Brian Wilson to be fatuous anyway, but that sealed the deal.

So I'm not sure just why I love this song.

But on the Lighter Side - Singaporean armpit sniffer gets jail and cane

It seems that repressive societies abound in pervisions. This includes "western" societies which have adopted a stiff-necked reserve in their advance of their economic prowess.

Read on...

Ireland - A Microcosm of People's Will

I don't pretend to understand European politics.

The EU (European Union) is attempting to ratify an EU constitution that will provide an EU president and an united military front. I'm certain this is a vastly naive oversimplification, but it the gist of what I have seen reported.

I am not going to attempt to speak to the good or ill of such a plan. However it seems to me that we are finding all around us today, and all over this blighted planet, an attempt to marginalize the voice of the people.

Ireland was the only one of 27 member states to put the concept of this constitution to a national referendum. All of the other 26 nations made, or are in the process of making, decisions without public involvement. "Representative" diplomats are making these decisions on their populaces' behalf.

EU member states who's spokespersons have promised fidelity to this plan are calling for the isolation of Ireland. They are foisting the idea that Ireland is a maverick state and should thus be shunned.

How odd though that the only member state who considered it proper to poll its own populace has become the only viable holdout on this plan (and are now being systematically marginalized). I wonder (as I am sure millions of European citizens are beginning to wonder as well), if this referendum were more universally applied, if the nay vote might resound en masse.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, Dead at 58 - the End of an Era

I don't often tear up at the death of a public figure. Not even at their untimely death. Public figures are larger than life, and when they die, their largess continues to fuel the lives they left behind.

A few years back, I learned of a co-worker's death several days after it occurred. He was on a job site in Ireland and collapsed and died of a sudden massive heart attack. He had been a good friend in what were hard times for me. And my daughter, Brandy, loved him dearly. So when I learned, in an almost casual fashion, that he had died, I was stunned and hurt, and I came very close to tears in a public forum.

The announcement today of Tim Russert's death (as I learned of it while at work listening on headphones to Randi Rhodes) elicited a similar response from me. I'm not sure why. I didn't know Tim. My daughter wasn't his buddy. But it somehow felt the same way.

And it's not just because Tim was a recurrent guest in our living room, on our television. There are many such guests (though mostly they are of the serious sort - more or less - not frivolous celebrities).

Maybe it's because on Sunday mornings, Bonnie watches Meet the Press almost religiously (rather than attending a church service), and I (like the prodigal husband amid the church-going), occasionally sit in as well, and watch and listen to Tim as he serves up his brand of confession.

Maybe that's why I equate his loss with my friend's. Or maybe it's that both were Irish Catholic, and I the great atheist, still find an affinity with Irish Catholics. Don't ask me why.

I will miss you Tim. Bonnie will miss you as well. And to my modest surprise, Brandy knew you too, and she will also miss you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Into the Light

When I wrote the post below, last night, I was in a very dark place. No, I had my office light on; but my heart was dark.

I started out the evening with an unbroken, hour long rant. Poor Bonnie was my audience. When she finally announced that she could take no more and retreated to the bathtub, I proceeded here to continue the rant.

This morning, feeling marginally better about the world, I considered deleting the post I wrote last night. I decided against it because I had already received a comment and I didn't want to rudely wipe out that comment along with my post. And I also decided that I had made some salient points that needed making. I did, however, delete an identical post I placed on my Barack Obama blog.

Upon review, and in a better spirit now as I write this, I realize I said absolutely nothing in the previous post with which I now disagree. It's simply that I was writing in a state of despair last night, and while I think it's healthy for us to get in touch with our inner despair from time to time, we also need to examine things through the eyes of hope. And no, I am not going all Pollyanna on your ass. Hope is not, at least not necessarily, the equivalent of denial.

Pondering this today, I still seriously doubt we will ever regain the place we once held in this world. The key to that is the commercialization of our culture and the stupefying of our citizens. We have been molded as a society into the world's greatest consumers. We exist, the corporate Moguls have decided, to buy, BUY, BUY. And when our personal wealth dries up, as it is doing, it is our purpose to borrow, BORROW, BORROW, so we can continue BUYING.

Well it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that this purchasing sponge of a nation is going to lose its capacity to soak up the crap that is marketed to us. The chickens have already started to come home to roost on our borrowing habits. And we ain't seen nothing yet. Consumer debt in this country is going to bankrupt half the population in the next few years. It's going to get really ugly folks. No question about it. It breaks my heart in so many ways. We're going to experience something our soft lives have ill prepared us for. You think we have poverty in this country now? Boy are you in for a shock.

Enough of the doom and gloom. It's real, but it may have a thin silver lining. I was thinking out loud the other day about how nations like Portugal, Italy and Spain used to practically rule the earth. These days only Italy, among the three, has any world standing at all. And Italy's place in the international community is pretty back-seat for all that. But not a one of these three countries is exactly some terrible poverty-stricken place. They are all relatively quiet and unassuming countries where folks get along (OK, other than the Basques in Spain), where they have national health care systems that provide adequate, if not spectacular, health care for their citizens. They're OK.

The United States started out as an unassuming agrarian society. Throwing off King George's yoke made us big shakes in Europe for a bit, but if you wanted sophisticated world-class society, you generally avoided the States. It really wasn't until the Second World War that the US gained the foothold we have come to assume as ours' ever since. So maybe, after the dust of poverty settles and we have picked ourselves back out of the ashes, we'll just, more or less, end up back where we started.

Hell, as we sift through the debris, we might even discover that old Constitution beneath the dust and ashes. And we may shake it off and re-read it. And who knows, we might even work really hard to educate the whole populace so they understand it this time. And we could become the new Portugal or Spain. We may even become an Italy. And it may all be for the better. We could go back to being farmers and furniture makers and just mind our own business.

And our grandchildren may honor us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Change We Can Fantasize About

I finally got my Obama shirt in the mail yesterday.

I feel for Bonnie. I spent this whole evening haranguing her (and 99 percent of our culture) for our crimes against humanity. Every once in awhile, something snaps in me. I reach some maximum density of a sense-of-atrocity, and I enter into a meltdown. I did that tonight.

No. I guess it's been creeping up for a while. These things do. For instance, I have had my ear firmly placed against the cold (or often hot) train tracks for years now, and I recognized the face of this dollar/oil crisis months ago when it first started to gain public recognition as a new player on the stage. I knew it because its face has been described in detail for a long time if you knew where to look. This daemon is not the newcomer many in our culture imagine it to be.

In fact, our personal bogeyman, Osama Bin Laden, helped portend (and encouraged the hastening on the scene of) this monster. And yes, it will unquestionably be our downfall.

America's greatness was our Constitution and its recognition that all men are created equal. Note that 2/3-type people were not considered men, and certainly, neither were women. We had a partial solution to world peace and prosperity, but we forgot to include half the population along the lines of sex, and another 4/5ths along the lines of race. Our great promise to the world was never meant for more than one in ten.

And that, and the greed of those who saw ripe pickings in our depravity, has spelled our downfall.

We will never be great again.

Mr. Obama has my vote. I truly believe in his honesty and forthrightness. And I honestly accept that his visions, coupled with an active public, are what our country needs. But I don't believe for a moment, I am devastated to realize, that it will be nearly enough to return us to the place of moral authority, and of championing of the downtrodden, that we once held. The world has come to fear and despise us (not necessarily in that order), and they do so rightly.

Germany and Japan regained the world's trust after the second World War, by their nations' public contrition; by a national sense of shame and need for redemption. Germany occasionally makes our modern world nervous when neo-nazism starts to raise its ugly head. We remember too well how that country became evil personified.

Russia has failed to find any similar recompense in the world's eyes. Putin is a product of that country's lack of craving for atonement, not the cause of it.

I cannot see any societal yearning for redemption or sense of shame shaping America. I see pockets of it. I see strong pockets. But I don't see anything even approaching a public mood along those lines. I think Americans have lost the ability to even know that that is in order. We have forgotten our roots. We have forgotten the face of our fathers. Those who wish us to be gone from the earth are well within their rights.


How much longer can we continue to allow the madman in the White House to saber rattle and threaten countries who do not pose the harm he claims they do? This man must be stopped. Now. We will all be to blame if he attacks Iran. STOP HIM NOW.

Friday, May 30, 2008

McClellan's Been a-Tellin'

This is turning into a great week. Alright, I have to give the various former Presidential press secretaries their due when they complain of Scott McClellan's improprietous tell-all book. "He should have stepped down if he felt that way." "He should have waited until Bush was out of office." "He should have been more respectful." "Future Presidents may be less candid with their press secretaries."

Fine. Great points all. And thus, as John Dean, last night on Countdown stated, McClellan's future will forever be dogged.

But I really don't care how ol' Scotty goes down. I am, however, interested in the carnage he leaves behind. Yes, very interested.

And so is Congress. Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) has expressed a sincere interest in hauling McClellan in front of the House Judiciary Committee. McClellan was evasive in his response to Keith Olberman last night when pressed as to whether or not he would appear. I would think a subpoena would easily cure him of his hesitancy; any claim of Executive Privilege by the Whitewashed House would be meaningless at this point.

And Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, and Jessica Yellin -- currently a CNN correspondent who covered the White House for ABC News and MSNBC in 2002 and 2003, have all come out on the heels of McClellan's revelations with revelations of their own. They are beginning to reveal how the White House and Pentagon both manipulated information to the public via the press, especially in the run up to war and in the early prosecution of the war.

All this after just two days of the news "cycle." I'm really hoping that this is merely a sneak peak into the future. I'm hoping and praying to see it all come crumbling down. Ultimately, I want to see Bush, Cheney and Rove in handcuffs, briefcases ineffectively poised to conceal their faces. That's a big step from where things stand now, but this latest bombshell may finally be the one that gets things going. And avalanches build up steam at alarming rates. So I continue to hope.

And it's not about revenge. It's about a nation built on the rule of law. As I heard someone mention yesterday, if Nixon had been prosecuted for his crimes, and if Reagan had been prosecuted for Iran-Contra, we might not have seen the brazen disregard for the law by this administration. So if these guys are not prosecuted in this round, what future abomination of an administration might our children be faced with? This isn't about politics. It's about the preservation of our nation.

Here is a salient and revealing Salon article worth reading.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Blog - on Barack Obama's Site

I am posting on Barack Obama's site now. I have just one post to date. I will attempt to keep both blogs current.

Departed Gray Matter Too

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Brick ... and a Wall

Busy has been the word.

This past month, since Bonnie and I returned from Hawaii, we have been busy.

Did I ever tell you how much I hate the word busy? I mean, it is used to pass off so many forgetfulness's ("I'm sorry I forgot about your birthday, I was busy," or "I know I said I'd get that done, but I've been busy."). And the very act of being busy is referred to as busy-ness, or as we normally spell (and pronounce) it: business. But business does not invoke the empty-handed excuse that merely being busy does. Does it?

Soliloquy aside, the month of April found Bonnie and me neck-deep in the business of home improvements (and yes Bonnie and me is correct language usage). More specifically, we have been working on yard improvements.

As a child I despised anything that related to yard work. My dad was a farmer and always had a vegetable garden going. And we had an acre of lawn, half of which was on an extremely steep hill, which needed mowing constantly (this was in Hawaii which is still in its first growing season {think about it}). We had weeds that, left unattended, would grow to heights rivaling the great sequoias. As the oldest son, it was my constant job to mow the lawn (wearing crampons to prevent my fall into the abyss below), weed the veggie garden, and wrestle down the marauding army of weeds. I was provided weekday reprieve from these tasks during the school year, but my summers were an endless stream of yard work. Naturally, I developed a black thumb. Plants die just for being in the same hemisphere that I am walking through.

Or at least that's how it used to be. Bonnie has changed that for me. Her unabashed love of all things growing has somehow magically finally rubbed off on me. I'm not sure when this happened, but ever since we bought our current house (a bit over three years ago), I just can't seem to get enough of yard improvement. This started out as landscape architecture of one form or another, but has evolved to include the actual planting and nurturing of those little (and large) green things themselves. As I was working the soil last weekend, I actually found myself pondering that I finally understood why people talk to their plants.

My black thumb has turned green! Bonnie still performs the lion's share of the plant care around the yard, but I have become an integral part of that work. And I create spaces for plantlife to display itself in.

So our April workload consisted of three components: 1) Increasing the back-yard wall height from 4 to 7 feet high, 2) nurturing our winter sleepers back to life and planting new life for this season, and 3) preparing and planting a vegetable garden.

Item 1 was the most work intensive of the above. In fact, not since the great deck I built in Oregon, and for which my abandonment thereof I have been often and severely chastised, have I put as much effort and expense into an outdoor project. I have, however, redeemed myself for having abandoned the aforementioned deck. This is truly a work of art of which I am proud. I have photos sprinkled here, but just sitting in our back yard is the best way to enjoy it. I built it of redwood and then painted it. That description says fence, but I call it a wall. And it looks nothing like a fence, though one of the hobbits next door told me last night that I had built a "handsom fence." She is about 85 years old, and is thus forgiven.

Our veggie garden is small. We may or may not expand it next year. We'll see how it works out this season. We planted cilantro, squash (two types I think), tomatoes (also two types), some bell peppers, jalapeno and serrano peppers, carrots, sweet peas, string beans (or some such), and one or two others that don't come to mind at the moment. I love watering this little patch of earth. We planted it just a week ago, so we haven't had to start weeding yet, but that will ensue before long. I can't wait for the harvest.

Bonnie's floral array is beautiful this year. I dont' know what else to say. The photos speak for themselves. I think our yard brings us our greatest joy. It looks like a place of endless relaxation. In fact, it is a place of endless endeavor, as that is what is required to maintain the appearance of a haven of escape. But we both love the work. In fact, we had planned on getting out today (it's 5:15 AM at the moment, so don't give me shit for wasting the day just yet), but decided last night that there were sufficient chores here in our yard to keep us busy today. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and that speaks for itself (though this deserves its own blog entry - origins of Mother's Day and all - not just a Hallmark/1-800-SendLotsofFlowers holiday).

As noted above, our biggest April project was my wall. Then there was Roger Waters' Wall. Brandy and I flew up to Denver on the last day of April and saw the old Pink Floyd minstral live on stage. What a show! Ten days later, I am still reliving moments of the performance. It was a father-daughter moment that I will cherish for many long years.

As we entered the arena, we were all admonished not to bring in cameras or other recording equipment. Of course everybody had cellphones, and none of these were disallowed. The audience was awash with glowing cellphone screens throughout the concert, as revelers sought to capture snippets of scene or song in their flash memory. I attempted this myself, but Brandy is a better photographer and has a better phone (my sacrifice to her gods). The concert photos here are courtesy Brandy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No Country for Good Men

You know, I really don't mind that Hillary fights dirty. I just wish she wasn't so obviously a chameleon. I guess I should be glad that she has shown her true colors. Several months ago, I was ready to accept her, reasonably gladly, as our best hope. She has shown her stripes now. Now I know that a Hillary presidency would be a Bush presidency every bit as much as a McCain presidency would be.

Could anybody be more transparently fake? OK, bad question. Mitt Romney was much more obviously fake. The other twit from New York, what's his name, was nearly as bad. Hillary is fake in a more cleverly deceitful way (she had me fooled for months). I saw right through Romney and Whosis right away.

And she is going to fool bigoted Americans who fancy themselves Democrats and Liberals right into electing her president. Or lacking that, she's going to fool them into voting entirely against their own interests and voting in McSame just to satisfy their fears and hatreds. And she'll smile with robotic pretense, and wait four years.

People say they don't know Barak. But the truth is that Americans have no ability to judge character. The reasons are myriad. But the reality is unequivocal. We don't elect politicians with character because we couldn't identify character if our lives depended on it.

As may well be the case.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phony as a 3-dollar bill

After the Pennsylvania vote, Hillary says, "the tide is turning."

That's kind of like cheating on a test and telling dirty lies about the best student in class, and then strutting about proudly when you get an A and the other student gets an A-minus.

Why Obama Can’t “Close the Deal”

There’s been a lot of talk this morning about why Barak Obama can’t make this nomination his. There is valid concern that even though Obama leads in delegates, he wins some races and loses some races, and this doesn’t bode well for a race against McCain.

Nobody that I have heard has been able to pronounce a plausible reason for this apparent weakness in his campaign. Some point to Hillary as being such a strong candidate. They suggest that both candidates are great candidates, and that people are just torn between two greats. Give me a break. Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be little better than McCain in her tactics and rhetoric. Yes, she comes off as intelligent and experienced. But she’s down to saber rattling to get hawk votes, and that is simply deplorable. While I think there are probably some moderate Democrats who approve of the hawk talk, this is likely to disaffect even more Democrats. And her continued determination to turn all things Obama into questions of patriotism, and questions about his character (a tactic very absent from Obama’s own campaign), shows a despicable side that Democrats have come to associate with Karl Rove. That certainly isn’t what is causing the vote to turn as often as not to her over Obama.

So what is the reason? I’m afraid that the answer is simple and that it’s insidious. America is racist. I’m not saying that all Americans are racist (I’m not, and many of us are not). But America herself is racist. We have racist institutions and a racist economy. Our schools reflect our racism. Our prisons reflect our racism. It’s reflected in the service industries and in the food processing industries. Unfortunately, racism is a steaming cancer at the core of our nation. I sympathize with Reverend Wright’s sentiments. Not because I hate America, but because America refuses to face up to this fact. We put window dressing all around the ugly outbreaks of this disease, and we pretend we have solved our racism. We even argue that affirmative action is no longer necessary (if it ever was) because racial inequality has been eradicated.

Barak Obama tried to address this a month ago when the Reverend Wright “story” broke. I put “story” in quotation marks because it wasn’t a story. It was a deliberately placed distraction. And it was itself, a play of that famous “race card.”

The Republican Party may openly underwrite racism, but it’s not a phenomenon limited to conservatives. I listen to liberal pundits on the radio fairly regularly, and the folks that call in to those shows are by and large liberal themselves. Yet I have heard them time and time again say that Obama shouldn’t run because “America isn’t ready to elect a black man President,” or even, “America will never elect a black man President.” I am beginning to worry that this may be true. But to state that as a reason for Obama not to run, is racist itself. Yet I’m sure those folks wouldn’t consider themselves racist. As I said, it is insidious. This morning on the Bill Press radio show, a caller actually suggested that Obama ought to accept Hillary's offer to "ride in the back of the bus." He was referring, of course, to Hillary's offer of the Veep position to Obama, but the expression was clearly racist. Bill Press not only did not chastise the caller for the expression, he repeated it himself!

Barak Obama is so much more a candidate than any I have had the opportunity to vote for in my lifetime. With regard to the state of American politics, this man is more honest than any viable Presidential candidate I have ever seen. Instead of fighting as dirty as Hillary, he attempts to raise the discussion. But Clinton and the media insist on pulling it back down into the dirt. And it’s not merely to destroy Obama, but much more importantly, it’s to destroy the vision. American politics as usual, and the corporate interests it serves, cannot afford to tolerate a vision of hope. They cannot allow people to control their own destinies. They have us all by the short hairs and that suits them just fine. Hillary is totally sold out to that reality, as surely as John McCain is. Obama is the only hope we have going. And any time his populist message begins to raise his numbers above the fray, all that is needed is a subtle reminder to our dark hearts that he is after all, black.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Photos from Paradise

As promised, here are more photos from Bonnie's and my recent trip to Hawaii. Specifically, the photos below are all from our stay on the island of Kauai.

Sunrise, from our porch on our first morning. This photo has not been modified. But my heart was as I watched this unfold.

Looking across the property on which our little bungalow, "Taro Patch Hale," was located.

A small tributary stream of the Hanalei River, running adjacent to Taro Patch Hale's "yard."

White ginger. I remember the fragrance of these flowers as sweeter than perfume. Alas the loss of my sense of smell.

Also on the Taro Patch grounds, I don't know the name of these dainty blossoms.

Lichen on the trunk and branches of a plumeria tree.

A small sampling of our host's Zen hobby.

Our Taro Patch Hale accommodations.

A longer view of our "hotel."

Later that afternoon; Kiluea Point Lighthouse, a few miles East of Hanalei.

This is the trail Bonnie and I took on our second day on Kauai. The trail, after eleven arduous miles, finds its way to Kalalau Valley (see the last two photos below). We hiked just the first two miles to Hanakapiai Valley. The terrain you see here is a very good example of what this trail is like. Four miles (two each way) is a workout.

A view along the way of the world famous Na Pali Coast.

Another coastal view en route.

I wish I remembered the name of the orange flowered tree (Mary would remember). The foreground tree is named Lauhala.

And I don't know what this little guy's name is, nor if he is a native. But he sat so patiently for me, just a few feet away from my camera.

More mountain splendor along the Na Pali Coast.

These are wild orchids, just growing without fanfare along the edge of the trail.

At last, our first view of Hanakapiai beach.

A deceptively tame looking wave on Hanakapiai beach. With severe rip tides and undertows, these waters claim the lives of many who are foolish enough to enter them.

Wonderfully colored rocks at the mouth of the Hanakapiai Stream.

A sand piper strolls the white wash on the beach.

A red crested cardinal sitting in an ohia tree in Kokee, two days after our hike.

A view of Kalalau Valley from the lookout 4000 feet above sea level.

And one of the most photographed views in the world. This is the east side of Kalalau Valley from the same lookout. It is to this valley the trail we took two days earlier eventually leads. I completed the hike when I was 19. I would give my eyeteeth to hike it again.