Monday, March 31, 2008

Phil Donahue: "The progressive voice is silenced in this country..."

If you double click on the video it will take you to the YouTube site for this video. Then you can access the other parts of this series through "related videos".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

This is simply BEYOND amazing

Oh my goodness. Please watch this. Then just try telling me that animals are not sentient beings or that they don't deserve rights that are protected by law:

You can find more elephant art right here.

Yes, this elephant was trained to do this. But some of the elephant art is abstract and done entirely on their own. The proceeds from this art goes to support the elephants who are out of work from the logging industry.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Let's do this, folks. It's tonight at 8:00. Get out those candles. Turn off the lights for one hour. It's the right thing to do.

UPDATE: I just thought I'd remind you again that the best way you can fight global warming is to become a vegetarian. Look at this:

Last November, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.

You can get tons of information about this at a page called "Meat Eating and Global Warming". Please. Do your homework on this issue!

Friday, March 28, 2008

More comic relief

I laughed so hard I seriously upset the dog!

Thank you, Keith Olbermann

Keep watching until you get to the bit about the radioactive cat. What can I say?

Today's CNN QuickVote

Once more with feeling: this election is ours to lose:

Will the ongoing battle between Obama and Clinton damage the Democratic Party's chances of winning the presidency in November?

Yes - 70%

No - 30%

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Cynthia Burgess
(Caption by Harriet!)

The war

I was just over on Alternet reading through a comment thread in which a lot of people were taking on a right wing troll. Said troll had, at one point, insisted that "there's no substitute for victory." Here's what one commenter replied:

First, there is a substitute for victory--it's called peace. Oh, by the way, are you familiar with 'pyrrhic victory'?

I like that. I like that a lot. In case you don't know what a Pyrrhic victory is, here you go:

Pyrrhic victory: A victory achieved at great or excessive cost; a ruinous victory.
A Pyrrhic victory is so called after the Greek king Pyrrhus, who, after suffering heavy losses in defeating the Romans in 279 B.C., said to those sent to congratulate him, "Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone."

Can you believe that the president of the United States has a degree from Harvard in history??? So, you'd think he'd know of the concept.


This is pretty disgusting:

To give you an idea how bad the Democrats are doing, in a stunning reversal, John McCain now 10% ahead of Hillary Clinton and 7% ahead of Barack Obama. And this is after Iraq, a recession, and no healthcare. Imagine how far ahead he’d be if the Republicans had actually done something.

- Jay Leno

As I've said before, this election is ours to lose and it looks like we're hell-bent on doing just that.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Secretary of Happiness

You'd think, since the idea of the pursuit of happiness as a human right is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, that the US would have something like this.

Oh well.

Hat tip to Paul at Byzigenous Buddhapalian.

A dfferent kind of comic relief!

Paul Rogers sent me this. Love it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Desmond Tutu's Statement on China and Tibet

I hope the Chinese will listen:

I wish to express my solidarity with the people of Tibet during this critical time in their history. To my dear friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama, let me say: I stand with you. You define non-violence and compassion and goodness. I was in an Easter retreat when the recent tragic events unfolded in Tibet. I learned that China has stated you caused violence. Clearly China does not know you, but they should. I call on China's government to know His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as so many have come to know, during these long decades years in exile. Listen to His Holiness' pleas for restraint and calm and no further violence against this civilian population of monastics and lay people.

I urge China to enter into a substantive and meaningful dialogue with this man of peace, the Dalai Lama. China is uniquely positioned to impact and affect our world. Certainly the leaders of China know this or they would not have bid for the Olympics. Killing, imprisonment and torture are not a sport: the innocents must be released and given free and fair trials.

I urge my esteemed friend Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Tibet and be given access to assess, and report to the international community, the events which led to this international outcry for justice. The High Commissioner should be allowed to travel with journalists, and other observers, who may speak truth to power and level the playing field so that, indeed, this episode -- these decades of struggle -- may attain a peaceful resolution. This will help not only Tibet. It will help China.

And China, poised to receive the world during the forthcoming Olympic Games needs to make sure the eyes of the world will see that China has changed, that China is willing to be a responsible partner in international global affairs. Finally, China must stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to non violence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace laureate.

Another Wal-Mart atrocity


Wal-Mart sued this brain-damaged employee for $470,000.

Missouri Wal-Mart employee Debbie Shank used her Wal-Mart health care plan to pay her medical expenses after a tragic accident left her severely brain-damaged. Then, Wal-Mart sued her for almost $500,000. The court ruled against Debbie in 2006, the same year she lost one of her three sons in Iraq. Last week, the Supreme Court refused to hear her case. Debbie lives in a nursing home, requires 24-hour care and now owes Wal-Mart $470,000.


Jim Shank already works two jobs and doesn’t know how the family will pay Debbie’s future nursing home bills. The Shank family’s tragic story has been covered by the national media including CNN and the Wall Street Journal. This family has suffered enough. The largest company in the world with $11 billion in profits doesn’t need Debbie’s money.

Contact your local Wal-Mart store manager, or write to CEO Lee Scott at:

Lee Scott
c/o Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

To learn more about Debbie Shank's case, and Wal-Mart's employee health care policies, visit our website at:

1730 M St. NW. Suite 601
Washington, DC. 20036

Make sure they read the fine print of their health care plan.

(The above is the flyer that Wal-MartWATCH is asking people to distribute.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

About pigs

I've known for a long time that pigs are considered the fourth most intelligent creature on the planet. I've known that the conditions under which they are typically raised are unspeakably cruel and inhumane. And I've known that they are often alive and conscious when dropped into scalding water at the slaughterhouse. What I didn't know is what the pork industry does to make them overeat:

Pigs appear to have a good sense of direction and have found their way home over great distances. Adults can run at speeds of up to 11 miles an hour. Pigs have shown gentleness and forgiveness. Norwegian author Bergljot Borresen writes about a mountain farmer who mistreated his pig. The pig locked her jaws into his thigh but didn’t bite down. The farmer believed it was a warning not to treat her unkindly again. In her own way, she gave him another chance.

Author John Robbins notes that “unlike dogs, horses and humans, they will never dangerously overeat even when given access to unlimited food.” The pork industry, however, has wreaked havoc on this healthful habit with a drug called Hog-Crave, which causes pigs to overeat so that they will grow faster and will thus be more profitable to those who kill them.

Pigs have been known to save the lives of others, including their human friends. According to The Daily Telegraph, “a pet piglet called Pru was praised by her owner … after dragging her free from a muddy bog.” The owner said, “I was panicking when I was stuck in the bog. I did not know what to do and I think Pru sensed that. … I had a rope with me that I use as a dog lead and I put it around her. I was shouting ‘Go home, go home’ and she walked forward, slowly pulling me out of the mud.”

Like dogs, pigs have done many heroic deeds. Babe’s real-life counterparts have rescued human and nonhuman companions, stopped intruders in their tracks, and even saved themselves from slaughterhouses. In addition to the previously mentioned piglet Pru, who dragged her human companion from a muddy bog, there is also Priscilla, who saved a young boy from drowning; Spammy, who led firefighters to a burning shed to save her calf friend Spot; and Lulu, who found help for her human companion who had collapsed from a heart attack. A pig named Tunia chased away an intruder, and another named Mona held a fleeing suspect’s leg until the police arrived. A pig in New Jersey jumped off a truck en route to the slaughterhouse, while in England, a stone carving of a pig named Butch was placed upon a historic cathedral after Butch and his friend Sundance escaped from a slaughterhouse and roamed the country for several days before being captured. Fortunately, a national outcry against slaughter allowed Butch and Sundance to go to a sanctuary.

Please folks. Even if you're bound and determined to continue eating meat, consider giving up pork.

Well, THIS tells it like it is!

Definitely the wrong thing

Oh, man, do I ever agree with this:

You can count on this government to do the wrong thing. The Bush administration gives tax cuts to the rich when they should be soaking them, as Roosevelt did to help the nation climb out of the last depression. What we need is a new New Deal, putting people to work rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, instead of a stimulus package handing out $600 checks. The money will mostly be used by debt-loaded Americans for paying off overdue credit cards. No shot in the arm for the economy there.

Talk about irony

Oh, mercy! Look at this excerpt from an article entitled "Healthcare or Warfare, Time to Choose":

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is, by no coincidence, also the wealthiest nation in the world that does not provide its people with health coverage. About one in six Americans has no health coverage at all, and another two or three out of those six lack adequate coverage even though they pay more than enough to receive it and to provide it to those who lack it as well.

Millions of Americans, consequently, lack preventive health care, are deeply in debt for the expenses of emergency treatment, are forced to work longer hours to provide health coverage to themselves and their families, and suffer unnecessary illnesses and deaths. One result of this is that Americans have less time and freedom and energy to invest in civic life, including in peace demonstrations and lobbying of elected officials. If we had universal health care, we would be in a much better position to demand universal heath care. Isn't that how it always seems to go?

Now, our government is funded and heavily lobbied by the oil barons and weapons makers and disaster capitalists - the corporations who destroy and then pretend to rebuild. We dump at least half of every tax dollar into these immoral expenses. In fact, we spend as much on our military as do the rest of the nations of the world combined, and we call those expenses "defense" although they are used entirely for offensive wars, bombing missions, and the maintenance of a thousand military bases in other people's countries.

To contrast this gluttonous expense with our health care disaster can be misleading if taken to imply that the money should be moved from killing to saving. The fact is that, as a society if not as a government, we already spend enough on health to provide universal coverage and have money left over. But we don't use our government to create efficiencies. Instead as much as a third of every dollar goes into waste and bureaucracy and advertising for the private insurance industry. Eliminating those middlemen and simply providing everyone with health care, to be paid for by the government, would eliminate 90 percent of the paperwork. The health coverage would be public - as it should be. The health care would still be private. You choose any private doctor you want, just leave with no paperwork, including no bill. If this sounds too good to be true, remember that every other wealthy nation on earth already does this and gets more health care for less money than we do.

Please, please, please notice the difference between coverage and care. Health care would still be private. This is so simple and obvious. Why don't we do it?

Actually, I think the title of this article is wrong. The above paragraphs demonstrate that we can have universal health care with the money we already spend on health care. We don't need to choose. Of course, our approach to war is wrong entirely on it's on merits. But that's another discussion altogether.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Our disgusting Vice President

Oh this just makes me sick:

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked what effect the grim milestone of at least 4,000 U.S. deaths in the five-year Iraq war might have on the nation.

Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty.

Sure they volunteered. Because they had no other opportunity to make a decent living. And what about you, Mr. "Five-deferments" Cheney? What did you do when it was your turn to serve your country? Oh, right. I forgot. You told us. You had "other priorities."

Religious right nutjobs

Have you come across the commentary of Cenk Uygur? Here's a sample from a piece of his called "The Real Problem with Reverend Hagee":

John McCain was warmly endorsed by Rev. Hagee this past week. McCain said he was "very honored" and "very proud" of the endorsement.

Reverend Hagee is a Class A kook. Stark raving mad. He believes someone will unite the whole world together and bring peace to everyone -- and that person is the Anti-Christ. Yeah, God forbid we should have peace. So, Hagee prefers war instead.

He wants to preemptively strike Iran to start the festivities. So, will this bring peace later at least? No, exactly the opposite, it will bring Armageddon. Then nearly everyone will die -- which, of course, is a great thing because Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled and the few people who agree with John Hagee will all be saved and laughing their ass off in heaven. And the rest of us will be dead. Killed by Rev. Hagee's righteous God.

This is all very comical and patently absurd. I know it seems literally unbelievable that grown-ass men would believe something this childish and stupid. But I sat through a whole hour of the Glenn Beck show to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting what they were saying. You can watch it
here (it's in seven hilarious parts, which are all next to this clip on You Tube). By the way, Beck enthusiastically agrees and supports Rev. Hagee as he lays out the ravings of his lunatic mind. Thereby proving my dad right when he says in his heavy Turkish accent, "Glenn Beck is the crazy."
But like I said, this would all be an amusing joke, if it weren't for one thing. It's that these wackjobs have actual power in this country.

Yes, that is very worrying.

And I also want you to see what one person said in the comments to the above article:

Hey.. did you ever realize that all the really silly religions.. the completely animal crackers laugh out loud ones.. (Evangelicalism ,Mormons, Scientology) are all American?. Kinda weird.

Hey, it's enough to give you the heebie-jeebies.

UPDATE: I just had to show you another comment to the Cenk Uygur article:

These Evangelicals baffle me.

They believe in an omnipotent god, but believe that by arranging their little wars, they can manipulate god into conforming with their timelines.

They claim to be followers of Jesus, who was compassionate, but relish the idea of most of humanity going to Hell.

They rant about the sacredness of life of the unborn, but have no problem sending people to war and firmly believe in capital punishment (apparently life is sacred from conception until birth).

I don't think they're religious at all: I think they're psychotic. And dangerous. Psychotics do not know limits.

There seem to be two basic kinds of religion. One says, "Everybody's in and my job is to help people realize that and to serve them to the best of my ability." The other says, "Most people are out but I'm one of the few who are in and that's how I feel good about myself."

Just think about it:

Something to think about

Interesting observation:

I'm not the first person to point this out but Obama bashers seem more upset about what Rev. Wright said in a church than what hundreds of Catholic priests did to young boys under the cover of the church. I guess we can file this under holy smoke & mirrors.

-- Tony Peyser

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

So let us not despair:

If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. You can nail it to a cross, wrap it in winding sheets and shut it up in a tomb, but it will rise!

Friday, March 21, 2008

"I Knew Gene Kelly. The President Is No Gene Kelly."

This is the greatest smackdown I have ever come across in my life!

Re “Soft Shoe in Hard Times” (column, March 16):

Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president’s clumsy performances. To suggest that “George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly” represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker — particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing — would have sent him reeling.

Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.

Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

--Patricia Ward Kelly
Los Angeles, March 16, 2008

It's a letter to the New York Times.

Wow. Just wow.

Pelosi and the Dalai Lama

Well, now. This is impressive:

DHARMSALA, India - House speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the world Friday to denounce China's crackdown of anti-government protests in Tibet, calling the crisis "a challenge to the conscience of the world."

Pelosi, one of the fiercest Congressional critics of China, was greeted by cheering Tibetans as she arrived to meet the Dalai Lama. She is the first major official to visit the leader of Tibet's exile community since peaceful protests turned violent last week in the Chinese-ruled region.

"If freedom loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," Pelosi said before a crowd of thousands of Tibetans, including monks and schoolchildren.

America's hypocrisy knows no bounds. We invade Iraq because their leader is a tyrant and we do nothing while China tryannizes Tibet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Some really good snark

I found this on Daily Kos:

Democrat Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign for hiring prostitutes because he seemed to be such an upstanding public figure. Senator David Vitter, on the other hand, wasn't forced to resign for hiring prostitutes because, well, that's what America has come to expect from Republicans.

-- Bill in Portland Maine

Happy Spring Equinox!

Here's something to help you observe the day:

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Quote of the week

From Sojourners:

If you want to start investigating from here, you are most welcome. Check our various offices. They can examine my pulse, my urine, my stool, everything.

- The Dalai Lama, reacting to accusations by Chinese officials that he has had a role in fomenting pro-independence riots in Tibet in which scores have died. He has said he may resign as the spiritual leader of Tibet if protests are not nonviolent, though many accuse the Chinese police of committing the worst atrocities.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five long years

Is he lying, senile or just plain ignorant?

This is really disturbing:

Sen. John McCain has done it again.

For the third time in two days, the Arizona Republican has pushed the definitively false statement that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda was getting assistance from Iran, even though he was publicly ridiculed for the same false assertion on Tuesday.

This time,
in a statement from his campaign honoring the fifth year anniversary of the war, McCain wrote:

"Today in Iraq, America and our allies stand on the precipice of winning a major victory against radical Islamic extremism. The security gains over the past year have been dramatic and undeniable. Al Qaeda and Shia extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated."

On Tuesday, the senator, appearing in Israel, made a nearly identical assertion
that al-Qaeda was leaving Iraq to retool and regroup in Iran.

It was, he said, "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who was accompanying McCain on the trip, was forced to lean over and whisper in McCain's ear that it was Shiite extremists, not Sunni al-Qaeda, that was going to predominantly Shiite Iran.

The repeated gaffes, which now appear to becoming something of a pattern, have already become fodder for McCain's Democratic opponents.

"Either John McCain is purposely playing politics with the facts on the ground or he doesn't understand the threat facing Iraq and our brave troops," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. "Either way, after five years of the Bush Administration's incompetence and deception on Iraq, the American people don't want four more years of a president who will cherry-pick the facts."

And speaking today, Sen. Barack Obama, used the misstatements as evidence that McCain's claims of foreign policy experience do not give him a superior understanding or judgment of the terrorist threat or Iraq policy.

Very worrying.

Here's what one commenter said:

Can you IMAGINE what would be happening right now if it were Obama that said this???!! It would be played on a continuous loop, all day long, for at least a week until they could make sure he dropped in the polls!

Yes, that's undoubtedly true.

Pilot death

Perhaps this has come to your attention:

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Vicki Van Meter, who made headlines in the 1990s for piloting a plane across the United States at age 11 and from the U.S. to Europe at age 12, died in an apparent suicide. She was 26.

Van Meter died Saturday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Crawford County coroner said. Her body was found in her Meadville, Pennsylvania, home on Sunday.

Her brother said she battled depression, but her family thought she had been dealing with her problems.

"She was unhappy, but it was hard for her to open up about that, and we all thought that she was coping," Daniel Van Meter said. He said she had opposed taking medication.

Undoubtedly she opposed taking medication because she would not have been allowed to fly while taking it. This is a horrible policy because it causes depressed pilots (and, by the way, air traffic controllers) not to seek treatment. This is from the FAA website:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are popularly prescribed for treating depression, but these antidepressants are not currently approved for use by U.S. civilian aviators.

But take a look at this finding reported in New Scientist:

Most air-safety authorities around the world ban pilots from flying while on antidepressant drugs citing safety reasons. Now the results of an Australian study suggests that taking the drugs does not increase the risk of accidents, while banning them could increase risks by encouraging depressed pilots not to seek treatment.
Unlike most air safety authorities around the world, CASA allows Australian pilots to fly while on antidepressant drugs, under tightly controlled conditions.

For example, the pilot must have taken the drugs for at least a month before flying. This is to ensure that he or she is not suffering side-effects such as fatigue or nausea that could affect performance. Depressed pilots are also not allowed to fly if they have suicidal tendencies, pathological anger, or abnormal sleep patterns associated with the disorder.

Vickie van Meter didn't need to die. This is so tragic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yeah, like it's even possible.

Good old Leno

Ha! This really describes it:

With all the bad news about the economy today, John McCain started distancing himself from President Bush. In fact, McCain was running so fast from President Bush, he ran into Barack Obama, who was running from his minister, and Hillary, who was running from Geraldine Ferraro. And they all just collided.

--Jay Leno

Monday, March 17, 2008

An Irish blessing for St. Patrick's Day

All right. These people are obviously not Irish! But this is the best performance of the song I was able to find. Listen and enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's happening to glaciers

This is ominous:

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- Glaciers are shrinking at record rates and many could disappear within decades, the U.N. Environment Program said Sunday.

Scientists measuring the health of almost 30 glaciers around the world found that ice loss reached record levels in 2006, the U.N. agency said.

UNEP warned that further ice loss could have dramatic consequences particularly in India, whose rivers are fed by Himalayan glaciers.

The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected, it said.

"There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine," UNEP's executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement. "The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice."

But will we? We don't seem to have that critical mass taking notice.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Send Bush to the front lines

My friend, Walt Calahan sent me a Slate article entitled Afghanistan Envy . Take a look at part of it:

If further proof were needed that President Bush resides in a dream world, he settled the issue on Thursday definitively.

Speaking by videoconference with U.S. military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan about the challenges posed by war, corruption, and the poppy trade, the president unleashed this

"I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks."

Go ahead, dear reader, pour yourself a stiff one before trudging on.

Someone with such a jaunty vision of war—concocted from who knows what brew of Rudyard Kipling, John Wayne, and sheer fantasy—has no business leading young men and women into real-life battle, no business serving as the armed forces' commander in chief.

It only compounds the insult to reflect that Bush, when he was younger and not employed anywhere, passed up his chance for a romantic fling with danger in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Yes, he really has some kind of gall making a remark like this. And Walt made a good point: "They always say, if you send the politicians to war there would be no war."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day!

Get it? It's March 14. 3/14

Check it out right here!

It's also Einstein's birthday.

Friday cat blogging!

Hat tip to Elizabeth Kaeton.

Bush and fairth

It was on Episcopal Café that I found a link to the Slate article "What Bush Believes" by Jacob Weisberg. Here's an excerpt:

When a Houston reporter asked Bush about the difference between the Episcopal Church he was raised in and the Methodist one he began attending after he was married, he replied, "I'm sure there is some kind of heavy doctrinal difference, which I'm not sophisticated enough to explain to you." His religion has often been best described as evangelical, but in various respects it appears not to conform to the definition. Unlike most other evangelicals, Bush blithely uses profanity and as governor would play poker. He doesn't tithe. He didn't try to convert others—one of the central obligations in most evangelical denominations—even before he resumed a political career. He didn't raise his daughters in his faith. On issues that divide evangelical Christians from nonevangelical Christians—and varieties of evangelicals from each other—Bush does not need to feign ecumenical neutrality. He isn't hiding his beliefs; he simply doesn't have many of them.

A better term for Bush's faith is Self-Help Methodism.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Great snark

Come on, Mr. Bush. How do you account for this?

Here's what happened, it was one of those sting deals. And they caught Eliot Spitzer, Gov. Spitzer, with a wire, recording him soliciting a prostitute. And I'm thinking, 'Holy cow, we can't get Bin Laden, but we got Spitzer. We got Sptizer.'

--David Letterman

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This grieves me so much. It's from an article entitled "House unable to override Bush's veto of waterboarding ban":

WASHINGTON -- House Democrats failed Tuesday to override President Bush's veto of a ban on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, and they castigated the administration for subjecting prisoners to torture in the fight against terrorism.

"We are on stronger ground ethically and morally . . . when we do not torture," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in closing the debate. "Our ability to lead the world depends not only on our military might but on our moral authority." The vote to overturn the veto, which required a two-thirds majority, fell short, 225-188.

Last night as I was taking my shower I got water up my nose. It was not fun at all and I imagined what it must be like to be waterboarded and not be able to do anything about it. I could feel the panic arising at the very thought. There's no question this is torture.

UPDATE: Well, at least the Episcopal House of Bishops (in its spring meeting right now) agrees. Here's a resolution they just passed this afternoon:

Resolved, that the House of Bishops expresses its dismay at President George W. Bush's veto of the bill banning torturous interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding." As followers of the One who said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:27-28, 31) we find this method of interrogation morally unacceptable and call upon members of Congress to override this veto.

This story gladdens my heart

Matt Hukulak sent me an article entitled "Dolphin rescues stranded whales". Here's the story:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A dolphin swam up to two distressed whales that appeared headed for death in a beach stranding in New Zealand and guided them to safety, witnesses said Wednesday.

The actions of the bottlenose dolphin -- named Moko by residents who said it spends much of its time swimming playfully with humans at the beach -- amazed would-be rescuers and an expert who said they were evidence of the species' friendly nature.

The two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, were found stranded on Mahia Beach, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital of Wellington, on Monday morning, said Conservation Department worker Malcolm Smith.

Rescuers worked for more than one hour to get the whales back into the water, only to see them strand themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea. It looked likely the whales would have to be euthanized to prevent them suffering a prolonged death, Smith said.

"They kept getting disorientated and stranding again," said Smith, who was among the rescuers. "They obviously couldn't find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea."

Along came Moko, who approached the whales and led them 200 meters (yards) along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea.
After the rescue, Moko returned to the beach and joined in games with local residents, he said.

Matt made the point that if this doesn't make the case for animal rights then he wonders what does. I completely agree.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Comparing Guantánamo to Nuremburg

I want to recommend a very short article on the Common Dreams website called "Guantánamo Trials Fail the Nuremberg Test" . Here are a couple of excerpts:

With preparations begun for the first military-commissions trial for detainees at Guantánamo — six “high-level” prisoners who could get the death penalty — the customary attacks on the fairness of the proceedings there are mounting here and abroad. Adding to the discord is the refusal of Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, legal adviser for the military commissions, to exclude any evidence against the defendants that has been extracted through waterboarding.

Particularly troublesome to the Bush administration’s continued insistence that there are careful standards of due process at Guantánamo Bay was the resignation last October of Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo. In an article for the Los Angeles Times (Dec. 10), he wrote he had “concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system.” Precipitating Davis’ act of conscience was the supervisory appointment over him of Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes, long criticized for having been instrumental in authorizing what are euphemistically called “coercive interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, some of which are purportedly torture.
In Sen. Christopher Dodd’s superb book, “
Letters from Nuremberg: My Father’s Narrative of a Quest for Justice” (Crown, 2007), he quotes his father, Thomas Dodd, who became the No. 2 prosecutor in the American team at Nuremberg: “Those of us who were privileged to serve at the Nuremberg Trial are proud of the entire proceeding. … Every right of the defendants was scrupulously observed. They were given every possible opportunity to make every explanation and every possible defense.

“Witnesses were obtained for them merely at their request. Documents were made available, library facilities were at their disposal, and throughout every hour of the trial they were afforded every opportunity to answer every charge.” As others and I have reported, the procedures at Guantánamo — by glaring contrast — are the very opposite of those at Nuremberg.

As a nation, we lost the moral high ground quite some time ago. I wonder if we will ever get it back.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I recommend that you take the time to read an article entitled The World As It Is by Chris Hedges. I found this poem within it:

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom
evil is done
Do evil in return.

-- W.H. Auden

Why is this basic reality so hard for people to comprehend?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dry bones

For those of you who attend liturgical churches, you know that one of this morning's readings was about the Valley of the Dry Bones!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The two Democrats

Please read this about Clinton and Obama:

We need both of these candidates on the ballot in November. I don’t care which one is which, we need them both to inhabit the executive branch and the presidency of the Senate. We need them both to cut it out now and to come together by the end of this month. Deciding it by tossing a coin and winning the election in November is preferable to the self-destructive campaign that is going on now. If you are scandalized by that suggestion, would having McCain in the presidency, with whatever Republican from the Brown Shirt wing of the party chosen to “balance” the insane war-monger wing that McCain represents, be more beneficial for democracy in the United States?

We need these two Democrats to support each other. This is their chance, they shouldn’t bother thinking about future elections. They won’t be forgiven in four years if their personal ambitions end up giving us four more years of disastrous, Republican piracy.

I think I agree.

It's today, everybody

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday cat blogging!


Comic relief

Oh, my, this is good. It's the Helsinki Complaints Choir. Enjoy:

Tip of the hat to Echidne of the Snakes.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Today's CNN QuickVote

I'm really concerned about this:

Will the Democrats' extended fight for the presidential nomination help or hurt their party?

Help - 29%

Hurt - 71%

This election is ours to lose and it looks like that's what we're hell bent on doing.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The media

I found this on an Alternet comment:

Henry Kissinger is an evil old toad, but he is known to speak the truth now and again, as when he said "I only watch the media to see what is being fed to the American people."

Please, please, people. Don't get all your news from the mainstream media. Explore alternative sources. Read newspapers from overseas. Read Media Matters for fact checking and bias exposure. Don't be gullible!

Sounds like the honeymoon is over

Go on over to Alternet and read an article entitled "Here Come the Media Attacks on Obama". Here's how it gets started:

With Sen. Barack Obama now emerging as the Democratic front-runner, clear signs suggest that his press treatment will soon change and that the media will fall back into their routine of viewing -- and critiquing -- leading Democrats through the eyes of Republican spin.

Just last week, we saw how a single line from a Michelle Obama speech was seized upon by conservative partisans,
led by Fox News, to suggest she is not patriotic, and how that attack was given a wider airing in the mainstream press. (CNN casually raised questions about Barack Obama's patriotism, as well.) We've also seen the media-manufactured narrative take root that Obama is the leader of a cultish following (more on that below), which dovetails with the creeping media meme
that Obama is a phony.

Meanwhile, in Sunday's New York Times, Obama was
twice described as being overly effeminate: He's an "elusive starlet" who prefers "playing the tease," while espousing a "feminine management style." Compare that to the media's portrayal of Republican Sen. John McCain as sort of a man's man, and it's obvious where those competing narratives are headed.

Writing at, John Dickerson
announced he's had enough of the Obama euphoria: "Isn't there a natural limit to our enthusiasm for to this kind of sweeping phenomenon?" By "our," I suppose Dickerson meant voters, but my hunch is he was likely referring to journalists and how they had reached their "natural limit." I'm not sure this foreshadows a full-fledged media backlash against Obama, but it certainly suggests a fundamental shift is on the horizon. The pendulum is swinging.

This was so, so predictable. I hope the Obama people are truly prepared for the nastiness that's coming.

Personally, I think either Clinton or Obama would make a fine president. What really bothers me about Democrats, however, is our lack of party discipline. We should not be tearing each other apart during the primaries which is only giving free ammunition to the Republicans. Heck, I'm starting to wish that our party's nominee was secretly chosen by people in a smoke-filled room.

UPDATE: Here's someone's comment I found on AMERICAblog:

Anybody remember the Twiglight Zone episode called "The Shelter"? The two sides of this Dem campaign are acting like the insane mob who are willing to do anything to get into the only bomb shelter available, including battering the door down and thereby making the shelter useless. I sure hope we can all stand to look at each other when this is over. I'm afraid the experience may detroy us all.

I think the writer has a really good point.

Tuesday hope blogging

Monday, March 03, 2008

Leno on Prince Harry

I hope this snark has come to Bush's attention:

Here's a story that was leaked to the press today. You know, Prince Harry, God bless him, serving his country. He's in Afghanistan on the front lines and he's been there before. Of course, it's been a huge secret. But he's been serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. Of course, President Bush was stunned when he heard this, and he said, 'His dad couldn't get him out of it?'

--Jay Leno

So when are the Bush twins signing up?

A quote I just found

More cynicism for today, I'm afraid!

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.

How's this for cynicism?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Jon Stewart WARNED John McCain about the fundies

This was broadcast April 4, 2006.

Is it me or has John McCain really aged over the past two years?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Bush Tragedy

Sorry about the commercial at the beginning of this. It's worth wading through!

This is what we're in for:


I want to give you two excerpts from some articles sent to me by Tulsa Peace Fellowship.

Here's the first and this happened right here in Oklahoma:

A recently divorced airman who served with distinction in Iraq chased his ex-wife out of military housing with a pistol before killing his two young children and himself.

Tinker Air Force Base officials on Wednesday identified Tech. Sgt. Dustin Thorson, a military computer expert, as the killer in the shootings Monday.

His former wife had filed an order of protection against him last year, saying he had threatened to kill 4-year-old Dylan and 9-year-old Jourdain if she filed for divorce.

Thorson had been under the care of a mental health professional, Brig. Gen. Lori Robinson said. She would not say whether his mental problems were related to stress from his crumbling marriage or his experiences in Iraq.

Now take a look at this:

A few months after Sgt. William Edwards and his wife, Sgt. Erin Edwards, returned to a Texas Army base from separate missions in Iraq, he assaulted her mercilessly. He struck her, choked her, dragged her over a fence and slammed her into the sidewalk.

As far as Erin Edwards was concerned, that would be the last time he beat her.

Unlike many military wives, she knew how to work the system to protect herself. She was an insider, even more so than her husband, since she served as an aide to a brigadier general at Fort Hood.

With the general's help, she quickly arranged for a future transfer to a base in New York. She pressed charges against her husband and secured an order of protection. She sent her two children to stay with her mother. And she received assurance from her husband's commanders that he would be barred from leaving the base unless accompanied by an officer.

Yet on the morning of July 22, 2004, William Edwards easily slipped off base, skipping his anger-management class, and drove to his wife's house in the Texas town of Killeen. He waited for her to step outside and then, after a struggle, shot her point-blank in the head before turning the gun on himself.

I don't think I want to comment on these events. Let's just think about them.