Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Durbin apologizing for comments about Gitmo?
Nobody should ever have to apologize for telling the truth.
But we wouldn't want to offend Republican ears with something so offensive as the truth, would we?
I haven't watched CNN in quite some time, but decided to see what was up this afternoon.
They found the little missing kid in the Utah mountains, and as far as I can tell, CNN has been on the story for at least an hour and a half. Non-stop.
Don't get me wrong - I'm very glad they found the boy. I have an inkling of the sheer panic his parents must have suffered the last several days, and understand the crucial role of the media. But enough, already! There are a few other things going on in the world.
When my daughter was about 14 years old, I dropped her off at the little local library where she worked as a volunteer during Children's Story Hour (otherwise known as a Librarian's Worst Nightmare). I ran to the drug store to pick up a prescription, and returned to the library to watch the last of the festivities and bring my kid back home.
She wasn't there.
I searched every nook and cranny of the little library, growing more and more desperate by the second.
My sanity was slipping badly, but I managed to approach the head librarian and ask if she'd seen my daughter.
"Oh, she's over there", she said.
I looked in the direction indicated by Mrs. Librarian, at the gaggle of screaming kiddies clutching and climbing all over some poor person dressed in a Clifford the Big Red Dog costume.
"Clifford" managed to get a paw free and wave at me.
From the moment I walked back into the library until I saw that waving paw was maybe five minutes....the longest five minutes of my life.
With all sympathy to the parents who endure days of desperation, I suggest five minutes is plenty of time for CNN to spend on the story.
llegal immigrants accessed nuclear weapons facilityThat's quite a "two-fer" - illegal immigrants AND a security breach at a sensitive site.
Sixteen illegal immigrants gained access last year to one of the most sensitive weapons sites in the country, according to a report issued Monday by the Department of Energy's inspector general.
Who's minding the store?
Sunday, June 19, 2005
In a report to the council, Gelb was scathing about America efforts to train an Iraqi army. ''If you ask any Iraqi leader, they will tell you these people can't fight. They just aren't trained. And yet we're cranking them out like rabbits." As for plans to train a 10 division Iraqi army by next year, Gelb was scathing. ''It became very apparent to me that these 10 divisions were to fight some future war against Iran. It had nothing to do, nothing to do," with taking Iraq over from the Americans and fighting the insurgents.The old crystal ball and my tinfoil hat say - "invade Iraq, train their troops to take out Iran on our behalf".
(via Atrios and Boston.com)
Saturday, June 18, 2005
The House disregarded strong White House objections and voted yesterday to withhold up to half of the country's dues from the United Nations if the world body does not cut its bureaucracy, redirect its budget and tighten its accountability.What a splendid idea!
The bill -- one of the most extensive and specific congressional edicts to the United Nations -- requires the creation of whistle-blower protections, an independent oversight board with broad investigative authority and an ethics office to thwart possible conflicts of interest.
When the reforms are in place, perhaps the U.N. will teach the G.O.P. all that cool stuff.
April 20, 2005 Ameritrade loses customer account info
May 3, 2005 Time Warner employee data missing
May 10, 2005 Breach that hit Cisco wider than thought
June 2, 2005 LexisNexis acknowledges more ID theft
June 2, 2005 Advice for ChoicePoint victims
June 6, 2005 Info on 3.9M Citigroup customers lost
June 17, 2005 40M credit cards hacked
Friday, June 17, 2005
My Jedi mind powers were almost too much for him the first time (it took thirty questions), but he nailed me in fifteen on the second try.
Must study harder.
(if the above link doesn't work, copy/paste - www.sithsense.com)
Thursday, June 16, 2005
From Roll Call via Liberal Oasis -
Democrats remain divided - just as they have been for more than a year - on how to press Republicans and the Bush administration to end the conflict.To House Democrats, Senators, and all other potential candidates for any office whatsoever - here's your A, B, C, and D -
"Some within our Caucus want to go from A to D," said one Democratic Member, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "For many of us who supported the president's resolution, we have to go from A to B to C to D."
A is for "admit". Go ahead and admit you supported the Mess In Mesopotamia. In this age of the internets, it's stupid to deny it or waffle about it.
B is for "browbeat". Go ahead and admit WHY you supported the Mess In Mesopotamia - the American people were browbeat into it. There are sackfuls of quotes from the Bush administration on mushroom clouds, stockpiles of WMDs, mobile chemical labs, and poison-spraying drones. Use their own words against them.
C is for "concoct". They were lying...say so loudly and angrily.
D is for "duped". Bush lied, thousands died, and you're not falling for their propaganda any more.
No more waffling - demand an exit strategy NOW.
Congratulations to Andantette, who leaves behind her teen years on Saturday.
She managed to navigate the oft-troubling teen years without getting pregnant or strung out on drugs or arrested or a grade less than a "B". Well, there was one "C" in algebra. Takes after her mother.
She volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters at a pre-dominantly black elementary school, donates blood to the Red Cross on a regular basis, doesn't drink or smoke, and can balance her checkbook.
Her parents were married when she was conceived and the marriage has survived the terrible twos, threes, fourteens, and nineteens.
She hasn't darkened the church door since kindergarten, had decent sex education information in public schools, has a gay male for her best friend, and parents who are card-carrying, loud & proud liberals.
Take that, fundagelicals.
And "happy birthday, baby".
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
There's been a good deal of discussion on the left and far too much whining on the right concerning the Democrat's inability to come up with a clear message and position on Iraq.
How about starting with this...."Democrats wouldn't have gotten into the whole sorry mess in the first place".
From there, we move to "Democrats believe in seeking the best, non-politically-tainted, uncooked intelligence possible before unleashing the dogs of war".
And include "Democrats believe we shouldn't make the situation worse by antagonizing the cultural sensibilities and showing disrespect to the rest of the world, friend or foe".
And any statement of Democratic message on Iraq should include - "Democrats believe America should set the example by upholding justice and human rights, regardless of nationality, race, religion, or creed."
Understandably, our elected Democratic representatives have an eye on the electorate and many of them are trying to pussy-foot through the proverbial Iraqi minefield.
But I don't see what's so hard about putting out the message that the Republicans BLEW IT, big time, and Democrats wouldn't have, won't in the future, and would conduct things much more in keeping with real American values.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Well, thank goodness the Michael Jackson trial is over - and lookee here, the media will have something else to chew on (all that torture, war, corruption, and lying is too icky and not too good for ratings) -
Schiavo Autopsy Report to Be Released
The medical examiner's office plans to release its autopsy report Wednesday on Terri Schiavo _ findings her family hopes will shed light on the cause of the collapse that left her severely brain-damaged 15 years ago.
Monday, June 13, 2005
With prices that run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the new biotech drugs to treat conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis are driving up health care costs for employers.The drug companies are just as guilty as the health insurers when it comes to ripping off Americans.
Specialty drug insurance costs will go up 22.5 percent this year, according to a study released Monday by Aon Consulting. General pharmacy costs, in which specialty drugs are included, will increase at a rate of 13.1 percent.
I took Pravachol for about a year - that one little pill kept my cholesterol very nicely in check.
Then I got a letter from my health insurer; Pravachol had become prohibitively expensive. I could continue to get it, but it would cost me four times as much - instead of $25.00 per month, it would cost $100 per month.
Reluctantly, my doctor switched me to another medication which wasn't as effective and had to be supplemented by yet another medication.
In the meantime, the news came out that the FDC was considering making Pravachol available over the counter.
The bastards were afraid Pravachol would no longer be a big moneymaker, so they scared patients into switching to something more profitable.
Every once in a while, you run across a company with outstanding customer service - a company that goes the extra mile.
I recently ordered memory cards for an upgrade to Andantette's IBM ThinkPad. I carefully searched the IBM website, noted the requirements for memory supported by the model, then scoured around the 'net for a good deal.
Comtread had the best price, and I placed my order...on Sunday. A few hours later (on a Sunday, mind you) a tech contacted me by e-mail, explaining that I had ordered high-density rather than low-density memory and the motherboard may not support my order.
I hadn't seen any such thing on the machine's documentation, so I replied to the technician with the make and model of the machine I was upgrading. Early this morning, I received a reply - and my corrected order has been shipped.
Time, hassle, and money saved by an alert customer service department. If you need memory, give Comtread a try.
Krugman, of course.
One Nation, Uninsured
...the time will soon be ripe for another try at universal coverage. Public opinion is already favorable: a 2003 Pew poll found that 72 percent of Americans favored government-guaranteed health insurance for all.The only people against single-payer are 1) health insurance companies afraid of losing a nickel of profit, 2) politicians on the health insurance lobby dole, and 4) right-wingers who are afraid one of their nickels might be used to benefit someone else.
The great advantage of universal, government-provided health insurance is lower costs. Canada's government-run insurance system has much less bureaucracy and much lower administrative costs than our largely private system. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured.
Krugman is exactly right - "We need to do this one right. If reform fails again, we'll be on the way to a radically unequal society, in which all but the most affluent Americans face the constant risk of financial ruin and even premature death because they can't pay their medical bills."
Seventy-two percent of the American people understand the problem, agree with the solution. We can't let the other twenty-nine percent pull a Harry & Louise on us again.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Compare and contrast:
Senator Bill Frist –
Although he considers it "morally wrong" to put off dealing with Social Security, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday he agrees with fellow Republicans that changes in the venerable domestic program can't be forced upon an unwilling American public. "What we need to do is really demonstrate the reality of the problem," said Frist, R-Tenn.Senator Bill Frist ably demonstrates the reality of the problem -
Hundreds of thousands of dollars Frist's supporters had given him to run for the Senate were dwindling at a rapid rate. Much of that money was lost in a stock market investment that experts say was out of line with the way candidates traditionally invest campaign funds. Frist's campaign also took on more than $1 million in debt so that it could repay Frist for interest-free loans he made to his campaign six years earlier.I don't want that man anywhere near my hard-earned dollars.
GOP Congressman Wants Troops Out of IraqThat 1,700 body-count line has been crossed.
A Republican congressman who voted for the Iraq war said Sunday that "we've done about as much as we can do" in the country and that the reason for invading Iraq has proven false.
Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina will be among the lawmakers introducing legislation this week calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq.
"When I look at the number of men and women who have been killed — it's almost 1,700 now, in addition to close to 12,000 have been severely wounded — and I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there," Jones said on ABC's "This Week."
And that would be Rep. Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones.
Friday, June 10, 2005
The Army also said Thursday that it will ease requirements for new officers by accepting older candidates and being more tolerant of past minor crimes.As another part of the Bush administration agenda for reform, an "officer and a gentleman" may be a thing of the past.
...and how the television networks could help fill the holes in the front lines.
The networks call this phenomenon a reaction against mean reality shows and in favor of ones on which good things happen to nice people (see also American Idol). "We started off in a cynical place," says Three Wishes executive producer Andrew Glassman. "We explored what happens when animals attack and human beings are treated like lab rats in a social experiment. But people seeing wishes and dreams come true will always resonate."Here’s the concept – let's call it "Uncle Sam Needs YOU!" -
...for viewers who like to see heartstrings tugged literally as well as metaphorically, next season The Miracle Workers will give away medical care. A man gets treatment for severe tics so he can hold his baby again; a boy gets cochlear implants to hear his mother for the first time. Says executive producer Justin Falvey: "There are thousands of people suffering enormously and unnecessarily out there."
Gather together a group of contestants, and let them tell their personal hardship stories to the television viewing audience. Following the “American Idol” model, establish a special phone number for each so the public can vote for their favorite.
Contestant number one
Radio talk show host asks for help getting his butt-boils cured so he can enlist and join in the fun at the Abu Ghraib fraternity house.
Contestant number two
Rightwing talking head asks for the services of a full-time nanny and the funds necessary to keep his family in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed so he can serve his country in the manner to which he isn’t accustomed.
Contestant number three
Flamethrowing author and speaker requests a sex change operation so she can join the Army, bomb all swarthy types, and convert them to Christianity.
As the winner of the competition, the lucky draftee will be granted the dream job of a lifetime with the military on the front lines in Iraq, a hefty almost-five-figure salary, and an attractive but rapidly diminishing package of benefits.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
TV Land's 'Happy Face' On Homosexuality Masks Tragic Lifestyle
A pro-family website is warning television audiences that TV Land, a cable network that advertises a schedule of well-known, classic, family-friendly television shows, is airing a special that promotes the homosexual agenda this month. A recent e-mail alert from OneMillionDads.com notes that the show called "Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink," which celebrates homosexual undercurrents running through television history, is airing on TV Land throughout June.….and let’s just ask WHY a gay “lifestyle” might be “tragic”?
Could it be because of bigoted jackasses like Governor Goodhair Perry of Texas?
Texas Governor to gay veterans returning from Iraq: "Move out of Texas!"
Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that gay veterans unhappy with the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment should move elsewhere.And it might have something to do with the Christian Coalition, which Condemns Howard Dean for Racist Remarks Disparaging 'White Christians' while they sit on their Jeebus-lovin' butts as veterans - gay and straight - put their lives on the line every day to protect their lily-white, sanctimonious asses.
"I'm going to say Texas has made a decision on marriage and if there's a state with more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's where they should live," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Perry said Sunday.
Perry's comments were in response to a question during a news conference about what he would tell gay war veterans returning from Iraq.
Then they join the White Christian Party.....excuuuuuuuse me....the Republican party and do everything in their power to undercut the troops, minorities, the poor, the middle class, seniors, the disabled, women, the mentally ill, small businesses, the health care system, the intelligence services, the Constitution, the separation of church and state, the diplomatic corps, and national security.
Did I leave anything out?
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Nice to see the Army finally got all those May recruitment figures together -
After Lowering Goal, Army Falls Short on May RecruitsMemorable moment from my last trip to a movie theater - a big, splashy commercial for the Army came on the screen. The audience responded with laughter.
Even after reducing its recruiting target for May, the Army missed it by about 25 percent, Army officials said on Tuesday. The shortfall would have been even bigger had the Army stuck to its original goal for the month.
On Friday, the Army is expected to announce that it met only 75 percent of its recruiting goal for May, the fourth consecutive monthly shortfall in the number of new recruits sent to basic training. Just over 5,000 new recruits entered boot camp in May.
But the news could have appeared worse. Early last month, the Army, with no public notice, lowered its long-stated May goal to 6,700 recruits from 8,050. Compared with the original target, the Army achieved only 62.6 percent of its goal for the month.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The administration announced last month that it had overturned the Clinton-era roadless rule, opening up 58 million acres of roadless land in the West (6.9 million in Montana) to road building. That is, unless governors petition otherwise. Governors now have 18 months to make the decisions on these lands, a responsibility that does not sit well with Schweitzer.Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana isn't a happy camper and expresses his frustration with the Bush administration very well -
"“It’s just another unfunded mandate. ‘They say ‘you’re responsible but we’re not helping and we’re taking away your assets,’” he said. “This is an administration that has it all backward. Remember Truman? … This administration says ‘by the way, I’m passing the buck to you.”(Link via Kos
Tell it, brother!
The weather is stifling here, and a nice little breeze would be welcome. Not so a draft.
I wholeheartedly agree with Steve -
We were unable to stop a repeat of the Vietnam war in Iraq; the least we can do is block the parallel resumption of the draft.Where are those latest recruitment numbers? Is it a trick of my failing memory, or were they supposed to be released last week? Something tells me they aren't very positive.
So, what can you do to draft-proof yourself or your loved ones?
According to the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) -
We are often asked what can be done now to protect you or your children from being selected in the event of a draft.In other words, the Bushistas can pretty much set whatever limits they want.
Because there is no draft today, no one can say exactly what the rules and procedures would be. However, it seems safe to assume that a future draft would not call up persons who are currently unqualified or unacceptable for military service.
So what a person can do now is to create a file documenting any problems or restrictions, so if the draft returns they would have necessary paperwork ready and complete on short notice.
The FCNL has some excellent suggestions on how to prepare, but I'm afraid the business of not calling up "persons who are currently unqualified or unacceptable" may not wash.
In the meantime - you, your children, grandchildren or loved ones should follow FCNL's advice and document, document, document. Confide in someone trustworthy such as a doctor, minister, etc. who could be called as a witness, if necessary.
Reinstating the draft would be political suicide for the Republicans, which makes it tempting to call for it - but we can't afford to maim another generation.
Monday, June 06, 2005
My opinion for the day is that it is far too hot and muggy to have one.
See how easy this blogging thing is?
Vote for this (or any other photo by Jerry Wolford) as "Photo of the Week" here.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
I have no problem with couples “adopting” embryos, but if the right-to-lifers really want to make a difference, there are plenty of already-born kids that could use a family.
They may not be little cuddly white babies, but on the scale of needy children, they are off the charts.
From the Charlotte Observer (free registration required):
Ex-foster children struggle to survive
Housing, food, lifestyle choices prove to be huge hurdles for some
Fred Kelly, Staff Writer
At 18, Tasha Johnston lives from place to place, calling anyone she knows for help or shelling out $35 for a room at an extended-stay motel in north Charlotte.
Her goal to bankroll an apartment from her job as a restaurant cashier, which pays $6.50 an hour, is a long shot.
"I'm scared," Johnston said.
Four months after "aging out" of North Carolina's foster care system, she knows she runs the risk of becoming another statistic.
Nearly 500 young people from ages 18 to 21 were released from the state's care in 2004. About one in eight is now homeless, a survey shows.
A recent national study of 603 former foster care youths by the University of Chicago found that one-third of them had not graduated from high school and another one-third suffered from mental illness.
Researchers from the Center for Child and Family Studies at the University of South Carolina interviewed 191 former foster care clients.
They found that 14 percent of them said they needed help buying food or clothing.
It mirrors a national trend, experts say.
About 20,000 people age out of foster care annually in the United States.
Between 25 percent and 33 percent will experience homelessness within four years of leaving the system, said Philip Magano, director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Some intentionally get arrested so they can go to jail, where they are guaranteed shelter and food, Magano said.
Others turn to prostitution to pay for housing, he added.
A recent study by the University of Chicago on young adults in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa who recently exited foster care found that they did not fare well. Here are some of the results:
• 13.8 percent had been homeless.
• 18.6 percent did not have enough money to pay rent.
• 7.4 percent had been evicted.
• 17.4 percent did not have enough money pay for utilities.
• 11.5 percent sometimes or often do not get enough to eat.
Source: Chapin Hall Center for Children at University of Chicago
Down here in the South, there is a church on every corner and a couple in between.
If just one couple from each church would foster or adopt one of these older children and the church would help with food, clothing, education expenses, tutoring, mentoring and so forth....the Culture of Life Warriors would be doing much, much more for their community, state, and nation than the adoption of a few embryos.
The problem here is that many of these children aren't white and/or have physical and/or mental disabilities.
I can understand the reluctance of potential parents to take on a handicapped or minority-race child; many moons ago before the birth of our own child, we explored adoption possibilities. I had absolutely nothing against adopting a child of color, and would have done so in a heartbeat if we lived elsewhere.
I'm glad we have our own child now, but also ashamed that I didn't take a deep breath and say, "Yes - give me the child who needs me most".
In the meantime, it's expensive and exhausing to adopt or foster a child. The states are too hard-pressed to offer more funds; it's time for those who think "faith-based" charities can do a better job to step forward and put their money where their mouth is.
"Adopting" an embryo and raising a little golden-haired, blue-eyed, healthy white child is a piece of cake; if the pro-lifers want to make a real statement of family values and commitment to life, they should turn their efforts to rescuing these lost children.
Friday, June 03, 2005
The Pentagon on Friday released new details about mishandling of the Quran at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects, confirming that a soldier deliberately kicked the Muslim holy book and that an interrogator stepped on a Quran and was later fired for "a pattern of unacceptable behavior."Well, thank goodness nobody flushed a Quran down the toilet.
In other confirmed incidents, water balloons thrown by prison guards caused an unspecified number of Qurans to get wet; a guard's urine came through an air vent and splashed on a detainee and his Quran; and in a confirmed but ambiguous case, a two-word obscenity was written in English on the inside cover of a Quran.
I'm reminded of the CBS-Dan Rather business - the substance of the allegations (Bush was AWOL) was correct. The devil was in the details - and oh, how the wingers love to lynch someone over the details.
Speaking of Andantette, if you are a fan of Kylie Minogue or her sister Dannii, you might want to check out my baby's site. She's revamping everything, but the Dannii portion is available now.
And speaking of my baby...did I mention she got straight A's again this semester?
Here she is (on the left), receiving a leadership award from the Assistant Dean of Students....
Needless to say, she got her brains, good looks, and good sense from her mother. :)
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Of course, every time we start talking about raising the minimum wage, critics chime in and say it's bad for business and will cost jobs. So now is a good time to repeat what we know: several studies have shown that the kinds of increases in the minimum wage we are supporting do not lead to higher unemployment. In fact, since 1998, small businesses in states that have increased their minimum wage have created jobs faster than small businesses in states where the minimum wage has stayed at $5.15.Sadly, it doesn't matter how many studies come up with the same results - Republicans go ballistic if they think something threatens their personal pocketbook or a corporation's profit.
Follow the above link and scroll down the page for much more. Five posts in three days - not bad for a guy who is "not able to get online as much as I'd like". And it's good to know Elizabeth is finished with her treatments and doing well.
Disastrous recruiting numbers?
No problem! The Bush economy to the rescue!
Planned job cuts soar 42% in May
Employers announced 82,283 job cuts in May, compared to 57,861 in April, according to a monthly report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.The Bush administration - working harder to make the military the country's biggest employer.
May job cuts rose 12 percent from the year-ago period. So far this year, 427,278 job cuts have been announced, 4.6 percent more than the five-month total of 408,392 last year, the report said.
From 2003 -
President Bush called on Congress on Thursday to impose stringent restrictions on medical malpractice lawsuits as a step toward curtailing escalating health-care costs, a key goal in his domestic agenda.Today -
"Excessive jury awards will continue to drive up insurance costs, will put good doctors out of business or run them out of your community," Bush told health-care professionals and administrators at the University of Scranton.
Rising doctors' premiums not due to lawsuit awardsEven a financial nincompoop like me could see this coming.
Study suggests insurers raise rates to make up for investment declines
Re-igniting the medical malpractice overhaul debate, a new study by Dartmouth College researchers suggests that huge jury awards and financial settlements for injured patients have not caused the explosive increase in doctors' insurance premiums.
The researchers said a more likely explanation for the escalation is that malpractice insurance companies have raised doctors' premiums to compensate for falling investment returns.
The Dartmouth economists studied actual payments made to patients between 1991 and 2003, the results of which were published yesterday in the journal Health Affairs. Some previous studies have examined jury awards, which often are reduced after trial to comply with doctors' insurance coverage maximums or because the plaintiff settles for less money to avoid an appeal. Researchers found that payments grew an average of 4 percent annually during the years covered by the study, or 52 percent overall since 1991, but only 1.6 percent a year since 2000. The increases are roughly equivalent to the overall rise in healthcare costs, said Amitabh Chandra, lead author and an assistant professor of economics at the New Hampshire college.
If Bush weren't so intent on following the money into his own pocket, his family pockets, or his friend's pockets, he could probably see it, too.
If you wonder why health care costs are so high, look no further than our health insurance companies with their high overhead, profit margins, archaic record keeping, and lousy investment records.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Being Poor is Expensive.
I would just add that it's always been expensive to be poor - these days, it's getting more and more expensive to be anything but wealthy.
Translation: The war will conveniently end just in time for the next Republican presidential candidate to proclaim only a Republican president can stop the war.
Monday, May 30, 2005
I've struggled all day with the idea of Memorial Day, and cringe whenever I hear someone talking about "those who died for our freedoms".
Certainly many have died for that purpose; those who serve or have served deserve (and have) my respect and gratitude for their willingness and devotion to duty.
Somewhere around 1,660 troops have died in Iraq; thousands are maimed physically and/or mentally. More than 58,000 died in Vietnam and over 300,000 were wounded.
Alongside my gratitude, I can only feel rage at those who send men and women into danger for less than worthy causes.
The best memorial - the only real memorial - for those who have sacrificed everything, regardless of the cause, would be to take the power to wage war from those who pervert it.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
I’ve been immersed in a project of refurbishing six older computers and spreading them around amongst my family and friends. A pretty ambitious thing to do, especially for someone with no “book larnin’” on the subject.
I’m not quite through, but I’ve learned a lot and thought it would be extremely nice of me to share my experiences with those in the Bush administration who think they can wave a wand and make wonderful things happen.
***The best intentions in the world often have to be adjusted for reality.
***Having all the necessary parts available before you begin will save a lot of time and trouble down the road.
***It will cost more than you think.
***Components that work fine in one environment have a way of getting corrupted or not working at all when placed in another.
***You can’t expect something to work efficiently – or at all – if it doesn’t have the correct resources to draw upon.
***Going back to the drawing board and rethinking aspects of a project is not a weakness but a necessary virtue..
***Cheerleading from bystanders is fine, but offers of assistance are even better.
***If smoke is billowing, elements are screaming, and flames are visible – it is NOT progress.
Back into the fray....
Friday, May 27, 2005
Bandit the Brave
Guardian of the Back Yard, Defender of the Deck, Bane of Mail Carriers and Meter Readers everywhere, Bravest of the Brave....
...except when it's bath time. It's amazing how many small places chihuahuas can find to hide.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
As Karrie reminds me in earlier comments, North Carolinians are doing their part to keep up with the Republican "onward, Christian soldiers" scorched-earth march to theocracy.
A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south reads "The Koran needs to be flushed," and the Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display.
As the Rev. Lovelace explains -
"About Friday or Saturday we will have a new sign," he said. "It should state to some effect 'Where are your treasures? Are they at the flea market or are they in heaven?'"So, is it okay to flush a Bible as long as you attend a Christian church? Or okay to burn an American flag if you pay U.S. taxes?
Lovelace said that he does not have anything against the flea market that recently opened up down the street from the church.
"I enjoy a good flea market, but if people can be down there at eight o'clock why can't they be at church at 11," he said.
Update - I'll see your flushed Koran and raise you three burning crosses.
Yet another update The Rev. Lovelace has indeed removed the sign and issued a written apology -
Lovelace issued a written statement May 25, according to The Daily Courier and Baptist Press, saying he "did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran - that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible."Maybe he finally heard the voice of God, and not just the voices in his head.
"Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it, I have chosen to remove the sign," he said. "I apologize for posting that message and deeply regret that it has offended so many in the Muslim community."
Nice apology. What ticks me off about most winger apologies is that "IF what I said/did offended anyone" business, like it's the fault of the offended person that they felt that way.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Helen Thomas quizzes Scottie on current events:
Q The other day -- in fact, this week, you said that we, the United States, is in Afghanistan and Iraq by invitation. Would you like to correct that incredible distortion of American history --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, we are -- that's where we currently --
Q -- in view of your credibility is already mired? How can you say that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, I think everyone in this room knows that you're taking that comment out of context. There are two democratically-elected governments in Iraq and --
Q We're we invited into Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: There are two democratically-elected governments now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments, and we are there today --
Q You mean if they had asked us out, that we would have left?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, I'm talking about today. We are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments --
Q I'm talking about today, too.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we are doing all we can to train and equip their security forces so that they can provide for their own security as they move forward on a free and democratic future.
Q Did we invade those countries?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve
Number of millionaires hits record
The ranks of Americans worth $1 million grew 21% in 2004; the $5 million club grew even faster.Poverty spreads
The number of Americans living in poverty jumped to 35.9 million last year, up by 1.3 million, while the number of those without health care insurance rose to 45 million from 43.6 million in 2002Middle class barely treads water
Millions of middle-class families can no longer afford to live on two incomes.******
A generation ago, a typical American middle-class family lived on the income of a single breadwinner. In recent years it has taken two working spouses to live the modern middle-class dream. Now, it seems even that is not enough to survive the skyrocketing cost of housing, health care and college while saving for retirement and shouldering growing debt loads.
Got the kid's college financial aid package today, and guess what's missing this time around? Federal grant money. And I assure you we aren't one of those new millionaires.
So, what else is new in The Wonderful World of Bush?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Howard Morris, who played rock-throwing, poetry-spouting, Barney Fife-infuriating Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show is dead at the age of 85.
For North Carolinians, this qualifies as the death of a near relative. Take the day off.
You can play the Ernest T. Bass "Rock Throwin' At Spaceships" game* here
Maybe I'm just a selfish, America-hating liberal but I find it hard to get worked up about "homeland security" when my bank account may have been illegally accessed and my cholesterol medication causes more kidney problems than the FDA wants to admit.
The hits just keep coming, don't they?
I've been immersed in old-computer-refurbishing projects lately, but resurfaced long enough yesterday to go see Revenge of the Sith.
If you're a huge Star Wars fan, you've probably already seen it; most likely at the first midnight showing. If you're a mild fan, you already know what's going to happen, but seeing it laid out before your eyes should be at least a mild satisfaction. If you're not a fan, don't waste your money. Lots of strange critters, lots of strange gadgets.
I kept looking around the theater during the 1:30 p.m. Monday showing, looking at the people; most were my own age, some slightly younger. So, why do middle-aged folks take the day off to see another Star Wars movie?
As we left the theater, I told my almost-twenty-year-old kid I felt sorry for her and anyone who hadn't experienced the pure joy, thrills, excitement and wonder when the "first" Star Wars appeared in 1977. There hasn't been anything like it since, and probably never will be.
My guess is most of those middle-aged folks in the theater were just like me - they recalled their own love affair with that 1977 original, and wanted to recapture the feeling.
Revenge of the Sith doesn't come anywhere near recapturing that feeling, though it's a better movie by several degrees than The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. There's no victory, no happy ending, no sense of "wow!", no swashbuckling smuggler-types, no spunky princesses, no wide-eyed heroes.
But it DOES make one recall a time long ago and far, far away when the term "Star Wars" meant something wonderful - not a deadly and wasteful ideological tool.
And it makes you want to see the original again; the way it should be seen, on a big screen with a big box of popcorn and a child by your side.