Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricanes and God

All right. Remember how the right wingers insisted that Katrina was God's judgment on New Orleans because of the gay celebratory event scheduled to take place there at the time of the storm?

Now take a look at this:

-- The Republican National Convention will cut back most of its activities Monday because of Hurricane Gustav, Sen. John McCain said Sunday.

This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans. We have to join the 300 million other Americans on behalf of our fellow citizens. It's a time for action. So, we're going to suspend most of our activities tomorrow except for those absolutely necessary," said McCain, speaking from St. Louis, Missouri.

Campaign manager Rick Davis said Republicans would meet in an abbreviated fashion, conducting only what was necessary to constitute a convention, such as calling the convention to order, receiving a report from the credentials committee and adopting the party platform.

"Tomorrow's program will be business only and will refrain from any political rhetoric that would be traditional in an opening session of a convention," he said.

So, can we ask the obvious question? Is Gustav God's punishment on the Republican Party? Because I have an introduction to make: Ms. Goose, please meet Mr. Gander.

UPDATE: Oh, I hadn't thought of this! The timing of the storm could be interpreted as "karma's a bitch." I found the following comment that somebody sent to ABC News on the matter:

As the old people used to say, "God don't like ugly." "Christians" prayed for "torrential rains to fall upon Obama two minutes into his speech." Now their convention may be cancelled due to torrential rains. Folks, if you don't like Obama, so be it, but the hatred that is being spewed towards him is dangerous not for him, but for you!

Hmmm. The goose and gander slogan is still appropriate!

McCain now

John Aravosis from AMERICAblog said the following just a while ago:

It was creepy. McCain just spoke to the nation about suspending some of the festivities at the Republican convention this week, and he seemed mildly confused, repeated himself (he quoted the same quote by Haley Barbour twice in a minute, seemingly without even realizing it), and was somewhat comatose. It was simply creepy. He had no energy whatsoever. Exuded no confidence. It was as if he was a very bad actor reading a very bad teleprompter. Wow. He just plain looked old...

Keep in mind, Mccain voted against the Katrina Commission to hold the Bush administration accountable for their disastrous non-handling of the previous hurricane. He voted against extending unemployment benefits to Katrina victims. He voted against Medicaid for Katrina victims...

Very worrying.

Oh man. Just watch it.

Hat tip to Joe Sudbay at AMERICAblog.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on Sarah Palin

Erika Baker over on "Of course I could be on vacation" says the following:

I don't know anything about this woman but The Times informs us today that her children are called Track, Willow, Bristol, Piper and Trigg.

I think that alone disqualifies her.

Yeah, me too. (Groan.)

Then Fr. Craig says this:

pro-life, creationist, pro-gun... so much for playing to the middle. McCain must be nuts.

And I agree with him too. Mercy on us.

Great bumper sticker

Magdalena, who frequently comments on my blogs, sent the following bumper sticker:

I bet Jesus would've used his turn signal!

Maybe you have to live in Tulsa really to get it. Honestly, if you live here for long you'll think half the city has malfunctioning turn signals. It's annoying as all get outs.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

Defenders of Wildlife action fund speaks out

Defenders of Wildlife has released the following statement today:

WASHINGTON-- Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.

Of course, it has also come out that Palin is a creationist so it is not surprising she has no respect for science.

Breaking news

McCain has announced Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Look at this from Wikpedia:

She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.

Robert Arena on AMERICAblog says this:

This is a HUGE hail mary pass on McCain's part in an attempt to win over former Hillary voters. Pail is pro-life, anti-gay rights, pro-guns, and has only been Governor for a year and a half. Pat Buchanan just called it the biggest political risk in history.

Well, what can I say. It certainly is a surprise. (I was just sure it was gonna be Lieberman...)

UPDATE: Here's a comment I found on Alternet:

John McCain just blew the election. He must think we're all morons to have selected her for the VP slot! He really DOESN'T get it! Women who supported Hilllary know Hillary - for decades now - and Hillary was running for the Presidency - and some might reasonably argue that she's proven herself to be qualified for the position. This unknown, very UNQUALIFIED young, attractive woman is definitely NOT Presidential material and everyone (even she) knows it. What sane person will vote for John McCain now? He's 72 and chances are good that he might actually die while in office. Think about it - and then we get stuck with this very untested, unqualified unknown? Who would want her representing this whole great country? It just proves that McCain lacks good (or even sane) judgement. Talk about risky! Congratulations, Obama - this should put you in the White House for sure.

I agree with this person and I dearly hope he or she is right.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh wow. What a line.

This is all we really need to know:

America, we are BETTER than these last eight years!

-- Barack Obama

From Obama's speech tonight

It really flabbergasts me when people think we're "safer" under the Republicans. This is important:

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

Here's something else he's saying that's important:

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

You can find more excerpts on AMERICAblog right here.

Tonight should be interesting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I guess you could say I'm fried! :-)

Hello, friends.

I need a little break from blogging today.

Be back tomorrow or Friday!

Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

McCain Owes America An Alzheimer's Test

This came in an email from

While Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama were rocking the Democratic convention in Denver, John McCain made his 13th appearance with Jay Leno to joke about his age.

But McCain's age is no joke. He will turn 72 on Friday and would be halfway to 73 if elected and sworn in on January 20. That would make him the oldest first-term President ever, two years older than Ronald Reagan.

McCain is two years older than his father was
when he died suddenly of a heart ttack at 70. He is 11 years older than his grandfather was when he died of "sheer exhaustion" at age 61. The United States cannot afford the risk that McCain would die suddenly in the middle of an international crisis.

Nor can we afford the risk of dementia. 22% of Americans over 70 are affected by mild cognitive impairment, while 13% of Americans over 65 have Alzheimer's. Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 83, but early signs were evident during his first term. Britain's "Iron Lady"
Margaret Thatcher developed dementia at age 75.

McCain has never had an Alzheimer's test,
even though he has 6 of the 10 warning signs, including his inability to remember recent facts like the number of homes he owns, the $1M lawsuit he filed in 1990, or the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

John McCain owes America a thorough test for Alzheimer's and cognitive impairment long before Election Day.

I agree. You can sign a petition to that effect right here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two great one-liners

Ha! I hadn't heard these before:

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

--Abraham Lincoln

And this one:

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

--Winston Churchill

Communication and the candidates


Barack Obama first revealed his running mate choice by text-messaging the name to his supporters. John McCain absolutely refuses to announce his running mate by text message. He knows that when you send people telegrams they think somebody's died.

- Argus Hamilton

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Frank Ford sent me a web page that is a huge list of quotes about stupidity and ignorance. This one, I think, is my favorite:

It is occasionally possible to charge hell with a bucket of water, but against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.

-- Doris Fleeson

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

Maine Coon cat

Snarky limerick

Oh this is rich:

McCain is confused. Stop the presses!
And if stumped by a query, he guesses.
He’s not up to the task
When this question they ask:
Just how many homes he possesses.

-- Madeleine Begun Kane

Religion in this country

Here follows a long post. It is the entire speech deliverd by John F. Kennedy on the subject of church and state when he was a candidate for president. It lets me know just how much we've spiraled downward as a nation. In 1960 a candidate had to prove he would NOT be influenced by religion. Now a candidate has to prove that he will:

On the Separation of Church and State
By John F. Kennedy, 1960
(This famous speech was given to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960.)

While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election; the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida--the humiliating treatment of our President and Vice President by those who no longer respect our power--the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills, the families forced to give up their farms--an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.

These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues--for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.

But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured--perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again--not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me--but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish--where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source--where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials--and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim--but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end--where all men and all churches are treated as equal--where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice--where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind--and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe--a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendment's guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so--and neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test--even by indirection--for it. If they disagree with that safeguard they should be out openly working to repeal it.

I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none--who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require of him--and whose fulfillment of his Presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation.

This is the kind of America I believe in--and this is the kind I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we may have a "divided loyalty," that we did "not believe in liberty," or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened the "freedoms for which our forefathers died."

And in fact this is the kind of America for which our forefathers died--when they fled here to escape religious test oaths that denied office to members of less favored churches--when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom--and when they fought at the shrine I visited today, the Alamo. For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died McCafferty and Bailey and Carey--but no one knows whether they were Catholic or not. For there was no religious test at the Alamo.

I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition--to judge me on the basis of my record of 14 years in Congress--on my declared stands against an Ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools (which I have attended myself)--instead of judging me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948 which strongly endorsed church-state separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic.

I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts--why should you? But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or persecute the free exercise of any other religion. And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny their Presidency to Protestants and those which deny it to Catholics. And rather than cite the misdeeds of those who differ, I would cite the record of the Catholic Church in such nations as Ireland and France--and the independence of such statesmen as Adenauer and De Gaulle.

But let me stress again that these are my views--for contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters--and the church does not speak for me.

Whatever issue may come before me as President--on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject--I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come--and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible--when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith--nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.

If I should lose on the real issues, I shall return to my seat in the Senate, satisfied that I had tried my best and was fairly judged. But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser, in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people.

But if, on the other hand, I should win the election, then I shall devote every effort of mind and spirit to fulfilling the oath of the Presidency--practically identical, I might add, to the oath I have taken for 14 years in the Congress. For without reservation, I can "solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the help me God.
Kennedy said he would not disavow either his views or his church to win the election. But Obama did disavow his church. The fact that be believed it necessary to do so is simply tragic. And what bothers me about his efforts to prove he is not a Muslim is the strong implication that there would be something wrong with him if he were.

(Many thanks to Barbara Santee for sending this speech out on the Sacred Activism list.)

Killing the UN

This is very, very, very alarming:

This story begins with a Republican presidential candidate who, despite the hype, doesn't seem to know much about foreign affairs. McCain recently talked at length about problems on the "Iraq/Pakistan border" - the countries are a thousand miles apart. Asked how to deal with Darfur, he mused about "bringing pressure on the government of Somalia". Uh - it's Sudan, Senator McCain. And he keeps expressing his desire to build up US relations with Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn't existed for 15 years.

But McCain does know one thing: he doesn't like the United Nations. He championed George Bush's appointment of John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN - precisely because Bolton scorns the UN as "irrelevant" and "a twilight zone". He even announced "there is no such thing as the United Nations". It was like appointing Marilyn Manson as ambassador to the Vatican. This is part of a long seam of thinking on the American right: they opposed Franklin D Roosevelt's spearheading of the United Nations as a fetter on American power, and have never been properly reconciled to it. Republican congresses have refused to authorise US dues to the UN - so there is now a backlog of $2.8bn (£1.5bn) outstanding.

Yet McCain cannot oppose the UN outright - because the American people support it so passionately. Contrary to the yokel-myth, a typical opinion poll - by Global Public Opinion - just found that 64 per cent of Americans think the UN is doing a good job, compared to just 28 per cent who support George Bush. Some 72 per cent of Americans want the UN to play a bigger role.

So McCain has decided to build up an innocuous-sounding alternative called a "League of Democracies". It would be an alliance of countries the US labels democratic that can be used to legitimise US military actions. Charles Krauthammer, the conservative journalist who invented the plan, says: "What I like about it is, it's got a hidden agenda. It looks as if it's about listening and joining with allies... except the idea here, which McCain can't say but I can, is to essentially kill the UN. Nobody's going to walk out of the UN. There's a lot of emotional attachment to it in the US. How do you kill it? You create a parallel institution." Gradually - over decades - McCain hopes it would make the UN wither away.

Okay. Here's the big question: Will climate change or a nuclear war do us in first? Because one way or the other, we're screwed.

How many houses do YOU own?

Now here's a comment I found on YouTube under this video:

This is a guy who graduated 894th in a class of 899. A guy who is receiving 100% from the government for service related disabilities, yet has continually refused to make public his military record. He would enter the Presidency at an older age than Reagan-who was losing his mind to Alzheimer's during the last 2 years of his term. His temper outbursts are Senate legends.

The real issue here is: Is this guy, who wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree to begin with, playing with a full deck?

And the Republicans are calling OBAMA elite? Sheesh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Carville's take on things

CNN has an article today by James Carville called "Why Obama has to get mad to win". Here's part of what it says:

With all of the vice presidential buzz in the air and the Democratic convention just days away, what's most important is what Sen. Barack Obama's campaign does following his speech to the masses at Invesco Field next Thursday.

Quite simply, he needs to create a more compelling narrative on change, use history as a context for the economy, and get mad about something.

First and foremost, Obama must bring a narrative to his position as a change agent. You can't simply seek change for change's sake.

The argument must be made that this is an election with two choices: the change-seeking good guys or the status quo-clinging bad guys. The campaign needs to brand every negative attack by the Republicans as just another desperate attempt of the status quo clinging to power.
Well, voters want to see a sense of urgency and outrage in their president: Outrage over our dependence on foreign oil; outrage over our increased cost of living, health care and education; outrage over declining incomes; outrage over an endless war and an idiotic foreign policy; and outrage over our country's loss of prestige over the last 7½ years.

To put it bluntly, Obama needs to get outraged over something other than "attacks on his patriotism."

I so agree. Democrats have got to stop being so nicey-nice if we're to have a chance of winning.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain was not tortured

Oh my. Look what Andrew Sullivan has to say:

In all the discussion of John McCain's recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?

According to the Bush administration's definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured. Cheney denies that McCain was tortured; as does Bush. So do John Yoo and David Addington and George Tenet. In the one indisputably
authentic version of the story of a Vietnamese guard showing compassion, McCain talks of the agony of long-time standing. A quarter century later, Don Rumsfeld was putting his signature to memos lengthening the agony of "long-time standing" that victims of Bush's torture regime would have to endure. These torture techniques are, according to the president of the United States, merely "enhanced interrogation."

No war crimes were committed against McCain. And the techniques used are, according to the president, tools to extract accurate information. And so the false confessions that McCain was forced to make were, according to the logic of the Bush administration, as accurate as the "intelligence" we have procured from 'interrogating" terror suspects. Feel safer?

I found it right here. (There's more if you want to click through.) And let's not forget that Andrew Sullivan is a conservative.

Map of Nations that don't use The Metric System

I've got one word for this: pathetic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lower the drinking age

Well, this is a suprise. But I think they're right:

College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.

The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age.

"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."

And in the comment section I found this:

There is no argument. If you can die for your country, and be competent for your actions in court, you should be able to drink. Lower the legal age, or raise the legal age to join the army and be charged as an adult.

I agree.

What the conservatives are REALLY up to

Please take a good look at Thomas Frank's article "The Plot Against Liberal America". It is subtitled "Conservatives don't want to debate, they want to destroy their opposition." That's been obvious for quite a few years now and it's good somebody is spelling it out. Here's how the article gets started:

The most cherished dream of conservative Washington is that liberalism can somehow be defeated, finally and irreversibly, in the way that armies are beaten and pests are exterminated. Electoral victories by Republicans are just part of the story. The larger vision is of a future in which liberalism is physically barred from the control room -- of an "end of history" in which taxes and onerous regulation will never be allowed to threaten the fortunes private individuals make for themselves. This is the longing behind the former White House aide Karl Rove's talk of "permanent majority" and, 20 years previously, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's declaration to the Republican convention that it's "the job of all revolutions to make permanent their gains."

When I first moved to contemplate this peculiar utopian vision, I was struck by its apparent futility. What I did not understand was that beating liberal ideas was not the goal. The Washington conservatives aim to make liberalism irrelevant not by debating, but by erasing it. Building a majority coalition has always been a part of the program, and conservatives have enjoyed remarkable success at it for more than 30 years. But winning elections was not a bid for permanence by itself. It was only a means.

The end was capturing the state, and using it to destroy liberalism as a practical alternative.

Now go read the rest of it if your blood pressure can take it.

Dogs are so amazing

I want to call your attention to a CNN aritcle called "Dogs bust inmates using cell phones to carry out crimes". Here's part of what it says:

Chante Wright was set to testify against a career criminal when she was gunned down on the streets of Philadelphia in January. Investigators believe it was a hit ordered from prison, by an inmate using a cell phone.

Authorities across the country are trying to prevent similar crimes from occurring.

"We owe it to the victims to not allow inmates to continue to run their enterprises from behind our bars," says Maj. Pete Anderson, who commands a canine unit that sniffs out cell phones inside Maryland prisons.
"I first really wasn't too keen on the idea. I didn't think they'd be able to separate the odor of the phone versus a lot of the stuff that's in the institution," says K-9 trainer Lt. Rodney Jordan. But to his surprise, he had a dog trained and ready for duty in just six weeks.
Trainers say that every item has a unique signature scent that dogs can pick up, so they can distinguish the scent of a cell phone from the smell of a television set or other item.

The program has been so successful that Maryland officials say prison officials from several other states have contacted them requesting help in training dogs.

The three dogs being used are a Belgian Malinois, a German shepherd mix and a springer spaniel. In addition, corrections officers have 20 drug dogs and 11 patrol dogs.

We owe dogs so much. It's simply beyond me how anyone could abuse a dog or fail to try to rescue a dog who's in trouble.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hat tip to Byzigenous Buddhapalian.

Now, do check out

McCain's memory problems

You really must read Frank Rich's opinion piece called The Candidate We Still Don’t Know. Here's the part that disturbs me most:

Most Americans still don’t know, as Marshall writes, that on the campaign trail “McCain frequently forgets key elements of policies, gets countries’ names wrong, forgets things he’s said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused.” Most Americans still don’t know it is precisely for this reason that the McCain campaign has now shut down the press’s previously unfettered access to the candidate on the Straight Talk Express.

Can you just imagine how dangerous it would be for this country to have someone that cognitively impaired in charge?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Supressing dissent

The right to dissent is, without a doubt, what it means to be free. Please take a look at these passages from "Don’t Cage Dissent" by Amy Goodman:

The bulwark against tyranny is dissent. Open opposition, the right to challenge those in power, is a mainstay of any healthy democracy. The Democratic and Republican conventions will test the commitment of the two dominant U.S. political parties to the cherished tradition of dissent. Things are not looking good.

Denver’s CBS4 News just reported that the city is planning on jailing arrested Democratic convention protesters at a warehouse with barbed-wire-topped cages and signs warning of the threat of stun gun use. Meanwhile, a federal judge has ruled that a designated protest area is legal, despite claims that protesters will be too far from the Democratic delegates to be heard.
For now, the eyes of the world are on the Beijing Olympics. Sportswriter Dave Zirin is reporting on the suppression of protests that are occurring there. He has an interesting perspective, as he is a member of the anti-death-penalty group infiltrated in Maryland. He told me, “Our taxpayer dollars went to pay people to infiltrate and take notes on our meetings, and it’s absolutely enraging … a lot of this Homeland Security funding is an absolute sham … it’s being used to actually crush dissent, not to keep us safer in any real way.” The lack of freedom of speech in China is getting a little attention in the news. But what about the crackdown on dissent here at home? Dissent is essential to the functioning of a democratic society. There is no more important time than now.

There's something very sinister about infiltrating groups involved in perfectly legal activities. And we should have known that Homeland Security is really about keeping the American people in line.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

Savannah Cat

It's Jay again

Man, Leno was just handed this one:

Democrats are furious, they're going on record now saying John Edwards will not be allowed to speak at the convention because of this affair. Yeah, instead speaking in his place: Bill Clinton. You have to put your foot down.

--Jay Leno

Memo to Hillary

Frank Ford sent me a Salon article that is an open letter to Hillary Clinton. Here's part of what it says:

The question you must face is how to salvage what remains in the wake of defeat. The hour is getting late, but it is still possible to sidestep the pitfalls ahead instead of diving into them.

So let's leave aside for a moment the question of whether Barack Obama actually will win in November. Only fools claim to know the answer, but let's assume that what many of your close friends have reportedly been whispering lately is true -- that he cannot defeat John McCain.

With too many of your supporters, donors and advisors undermining Obama and threatening to mar the Democratic convention -- and with you and President Clinton still permitting doubt to linger about your own enthusiasm for the presumptive nominee -- such talk merely sets you up to be blamed for his defeat in November. Should Obama fall in an environment poisoned by post-primary malice, his supporters will not be quick to forgive -- and the most unflattering
caricature of your own motives and character will prevail.

I completely agree.

Today's CNN QuickVote

I must say, I'm surprised and troubled by the number of people who say "yes" to this question:

Do you believe creatures like Bigfoot exist?

Yes - 42%

No - 58%

Please read Voice of Reason: The Reality of Bigfoot.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Julia Child: spy

Did this come to your attention today?

WASHINGTON — Famed chef Julia Child shared a secret with Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg at a time when the Nazis threatened the world. They served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA created in World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives.

They were soldiers, actors, historians, lawyers, athletes, professors, reporters. But for several years during World War II, they were known simply as the OSS. They studied military plans, created propaganda, infiltrated enemy ranks and stirred resistance among foreign troops.
Walter Mess, who handled covert OSS operations in Poland and North Africa, said he kept quiet for more than 50 years, only recently telling his wife of 62 years about his OSS activity.

“I was told to keep my mouth shut,” said Mess, now 93 and living in Falls Church, Va.

I'm sure there's a lot we don't know about a lot of people. And a lot of government activities. It's amazing how people can keep secrets when they're motivated. Think about it.

Comic relief!

Bush, Congress and vacations

I found this on OpEd News:

Bush's dig at Congress for being on vacation is ironic, as he rivals Ronald Reagan for the title of "presidential vacation-time record holder." Some highlights of Bush's time away from the office: - Attended 95 sports-related events. - Made 74 trips to his Crawford ranch, for a total of 466 days. - Made 142 trips to Camp David, for a total of 450 days. - Attended 327 fundraising events for Republican candidates.

This comes under the "no shame" category, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Hello, friends!

No blogging today, I'm afraid. It's been a busy day and I'm kinda wiped out right now. But I'll be back tomorrow!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Man, I'm starting to like this lady

I've said it before: We're screwed

I want to steer you toward an article from The Guardian called "On a Planet 4C Hotter, All We Can Prepare for Is Extinction". Here's part of what it says:

We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Guardian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, “the end of living and the beginning of survival” for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.

Go read the rest of it, please.

Now read this from the comments section:

Stopping global warming goes directly against human nature. There are 6 billion people today and virtually all of them want more than they have. We do not have the capacity to stop ourselves. Even if some plague came along and wiped out 99% of us, it’d still probably be too late. It’s happening too fast and is going to hit humanity like a bullet.

It is simply beyond my comprehension that the very people who could turn this around (or who could have; it may be too late) also have children and grandchildren. And still they value short-lived profits over saving the planet. I simply don't get it except to hypothesize that humanity has a collective death wish.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cokie Roberts: Republican shill

Oh puh-lease:

…going off this week I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be at Myrtle Beach and if he’s going to take a vacation at this time. I just think this is not the time to do that.

-- Cokie Roberts

She is really a piece of work, isn't she?

Foreign? Exotic? Yes, you disingenuous, manipulative woman. Hawaii is a state. It can't be foreign if it's part of the United States of America. Since when does it look bad for a person to visit his GRANDMOTHER?????

Comic relief!

This is for all you opera lovers out there. Ha! Remember this?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What a quote; what a quote.

This moves me greatly:

Statistics are people with the tears washed away.

-- Sociologist Ruth Sidel


I found this on Crooks and Liars today:

Once you start treating it as a business, you know once you start turning over government operations to the market you’re not talking about democracy any more. What you’re talking about is plutocracy. Rule by the wealthy. Rule by the market.

-- Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank has written a book called The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule .

He was also on the Colbert Report. You can see it right here.

Integrity and government

This is worth remembering:

Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.

-- Adlai Stevenson

Edwards and McCain and sex

Well, Edwards was really stupid, wasn't he? Did he really think he wouldn't get caught? Be that as it may, I really agree with the point of an article entitled "Media Salivate Over Edwards' Affair; Shrug Shoulders Over McCain's Alleged Infidelity". Here's a paragraph:

I personally don't care who any of these people are sleeping with (especially McCain). Marriage is a very complicated institution and I don't pass judgment on how others conduct theirs. I think this is all bullshit. But if the media has decided that even a failed politician who has no chance at the presidency can be subject to this kind of scrutiny, then they need to be a little bit more vigilant about pursuing someone who is the nominee of his party and has been very publicly linked to a specific woman by the paper of record, not the National Enquirer. If these are the rules, then this guy is a far more likely subject of scrutiny than Edwards.

But remember how it seems to work in this country: IOKIYAR (It's Okay If You're A Republican).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday cat blogging!

more cat pictures

The American Taliban

Oh goodness. A friend just sent me the link to a web page that is full of quotes by members of the religious right. And I don't mean just any old quotes. These will curdle your blood. Here's a sample:

The Christian community has a golden opportunity to train an army of dedicated teachers who can invade the public school classrooms and use them to influence the nation for Christ.

-- James Kennedy

And another one:

Yes, religion and politics do mix. America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.

- Beverly LaHaye

Just go look. If you have the stomach for it, that is.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Ah, that Leno!

Take a look:

The psychological profile of that government bioterror scientist who just committed suicide — you know, the guy that was going to be charged with the 2001 anthrax mailings, you know this story? Well according to the report, he had a history dating back to his college days of homicidal threats, actions and plans, and that he was a sociopath. Gee, you’d think that kind of background that would have disqualified him from something like, I don’t know, handling anthrax for the government!

- Jay Leno

Oh, yes. It's the predictable "lone nut". Riiiiight.

John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog posts the following that he labels "Oh please":

"US: Ivins solely responsible for anthrax attacks." And he just killed himself, so he really can't defend himself. How convenient.

I agree with you, John. I don't believe it for a minute. Not one minute.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hiroshima Day

Please watch this. It's only 90 seconds long:

(Hat tip to Charlotte Alexandre)

Meat and the climate

Well, the good news is that I'm seeing a lot more articles about this issue these days. The one I've found today is called "Eating Meat Is Worse Than Driving a Truck ... for the Climate". Here are just a few points that are made: pounds of corn equals one pound of beef; six-and-a-half pounds of corn equals one pound of pork; two and six-tenths pounds of corn equals one pound of chicken. (Meat industry estimates are lower but generally refer to the amount of corn necessary to make the live animal gain a pound, not the amount necessary to get a pound of food in the meat case.) Corn is a dietary staple in parts of the world like Mexico, but not here in the United States, where the answer to "What's for dinner?" is supposed to be "beef." Talk about feeding SUVs or people is deceptive, since it masks the intermediate step of feeding animals a whole lot of corn to get one steak dinner.
Internationally, two-thirds of the earth's available agricultural land is used to raise animals and their feed crops, primarily corn and soybeans, and the trend is accelerating as people in Latin America and Asia increasingly demand an Americanized diet rich in meat. The need to grow more animal feed and more animals has been devastating rainforests and areas like Brazil's Cerrado region,
the world's most biologically diverse savannah...
All those steer feedlots and factory buildings crammed with pigs and chickens produce immense amounts of animal wastes that give off methane. On an equivalent basis to carbon dioxide, methane is twenty-three times more potent as a greenhouse gas. When you add in the production of fertilizer and other aspects of animal farming (including land use changes, feed transport, etc.) livestock farming is responsible for nearly one-fifth of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions...

And don't forget the transportation of animals to slaughter and the energy costs of processing the meat the transportation of the meat (in refrigerated trucks) to market. The energy costs are huge.

Once more, for the 55th time: If you can't bear the thought of giving up meat, at least cut back. Keep one vegetarian day a week, then two, then three. Maybe you'll want to stop there. At least it's something. Truly that level of moderation WILL make a difference.

Cloned puppies

This saddens me so much. Take a look at the first part of an AP article entitled "Puppies mark birth of commercial pet cloning":

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A U.S. woman received five puppies Tuesday that were cloned from her beloved late pitbull, becoming the inaugural customer of a South Korean company that says it is the world's first successful commercial canine cloning service.

Seoul-based RNL Bio said the clones of Bernann McKinney's dog Booger were born last week after being cloned in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists who created the world's first cloned dog in 2005.

"It's a miracle!" McKinney repeatedly shouted Tuesday when she saw the cloned Boogers for which she paid $50,000. "Yes, I know you! You know me, too!" McKinney said joyfully, hugging the puppies, which were sleeping with one of their two surrogate mothers, both Korean mixed breed dogs.

There are so many homeless dogs up for adoption. The best way we can honor our beloved animals who have gone on to the next life is to take in another one who is languishing in a shelter or who would be put down otherwise. Think of all the homeless dogs who could be saved with that $50,000.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Okay. This is rich:

Yesterday, President Bush announced there are going to be some big changes in intelligence in the White House. Yeah, he's leaving.

--Jay Leno

Assault on birth control

Please take a look at an article from The Nation entitled "Stealth Assault on Reproductive Rights" by Katha Pollitt. Here's how it gets started:

When pro-choicers accuse anti-choicers of being anti-contraception they’re often taken as crying wolf — even though no anti-choice organization explicitly endorses birth control and despite the prominent anti-choice role of the Catholic Church, which explicitly bans contraception. After all, goes the complacent point of view, most women, and most couples, use some form of birth control. Opposition to it seems like something out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel whose futuristic vision of women’s subjection to rightwing Christian patriarchs no less a shrewd social critic than Mary McCarthy found preposterous when she reviewed it in the New York Times Book Review in 1986.

The Bush Administration seems bent on giving Atwood material for a sequel. Last month, Health and Human Services issued
a draft of new regulations which would require health-care providers who receive federal funds to accept as employees nurses and other workers who object to abortion and even to most kinds of birth control. This rule would cover some 500,000 hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities– including family planning clinics, which would, absurdly, legally be bound to hire people who will obstruct their very mission. To refuse to hire them, or to fire them, would be to lose funds for discriminating against people who object to abortion for religious or –get this — moral beliefs.

This represents quite an expansion of health workers’ longstanding right not to be involved in abortion. And, incidentally, this respect for moral beliefs only goes one way. A Catholic hospital has no corresponding obigation to hire pro-choice workers or accomodate their moral beliefs by permitting them to offer emergency contraception to rape victims or hand out condoms to the HIV positive; a “crisis pregnancy center” would not have to hire pro-choice counsellors who would tell women that abortion would not really give them breast cancer or leave them sterile. Only anti-choicers, apparently, have moral beliefs that entitle them to jobs they refuse to actually perform.

I read The Handmaid's Tale some time ago and it gave me cold chills because I could easily see the religious right taking us in that direction.

What can I say? I'm so glad I'm 59 years old and well past child-bearing age. But what about younger women today? These are perilous times in so many ways.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Okay. This is the situation.

No kidding:

As we meet, our country is in the sixth year of a two-front war. Our economy is struggling. Our planet is in peril. These challenges, and many others, demand new leadership.

— Preamble to draft of the 2008 Democratic Party platform

Why liberalism is opposed so fiercely

Clark Shackelford sent me the following quotation this morning:

Liberalism is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded in this planet. It announces the determination to share existence with the enemy; more than that, an enemy which is weak. It was incredible that the human species should have arrived at so noble an attitude, so paradoxical, so refined, so acrobatic, so anti-natural. Hence, it is not to be wondered that this same humanity should soon appear anxious to get rid of it. It is a discipline too difficult and complex to take firm root on earth.

- Jose Ortega y Gasset

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Republican slime

Please go read an OpEdNews article entitled "McCain is the Candidate Who Snubs Our Troops, Not Obama". Here's how it gets started:

John McCain seems to be turning a classic Rovian tactic on its head. In the past, Republican candidates under Rove's influence attacked their opponents on the opponents' strengths. For example, George W. Bush and his surrogates went after John Kerry, a war hero, for his service, mocking him with purple band-aids. McCain seems to be attacking Barack Obama on his own (McCain's) weaknesses.

McCain's strong opposition to the new GI bill is still fresh in my memory. Senator Jim Webb's work in securing educational benefits for veterans was nothing less than heroic, and in an election year, few Senators dared vote against it. But McCain claimed that expanded benefits for vets was too nice, arguing it might encourage too many troops to leave the military to cash in on their benefits--despite research showing that the GI bill would balance any losses from troops leaving the military with the new recruits it attracted.

And take a look at this paragraph:

McCain's critiques metastasized once Obama reached Germany, when he charged Obama with going to the gym instead of visiting wounded troops because he was not allowed to bring cameras along. This is a blatant lie. A Pentagon policy prohibited Obama from going as it would be viewed as a campaign trip, and reports say there was no evidence Obama intended to bring cameras. What's more, McCain was denied visiting a military base under the same rule in April.

And, of course, the McCain campaign was planning to criticize Obama if he HAD visited the wounded troops by accusing him of using them for campaign props

McCain should be ashamed of himself. I say it's slime and I say to hell with it.

UPDATE: Double bind: "a dilemma in communication in which a person receives two or more conflicting messages and one message denies the other, a situation in which the person will be put in the wrong however they respond, and the person can't comment on the conflict, or resolve it, or opt out of the situation."

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Quote of the year as far as I'm concerned

Take a look:

The best definition of evil I've ever heard is that it is simply the absence of empathy.

-- Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

Friday, August 01, 2008

What a curse!


I've had my mind on Cassandra today - the prophetess who was cursed by Apollo by being given the gift of foresight only never to be believed.

I identify with her - have for a long time.

Someone apologized to me this morning. Eight years ago I predicted pretty much everything that has happened with the Bush administration and this person did not believe me - in fact, thought my warnings were really psychiatric symptoms!

What can I say?


Just sigh.

(By the way, if you really want to understand Cassandra, read The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I recommended it to a priest friend in South African who gave a copy to all her female priest colleagues. The book powerfully explores what priesthood is all about and the special difficulties women face in the vocation. Bradley was actually a wonderfully astute theologian although she is seldom credited as such.)

Wal-Mart tells workers how to vote

Ha! As if you need another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart. I got this email today:

Today marks a new low for Wal-Mart. No, not low prices; low and dirty anti-worker tactics. We’ve known for years that Wal-Mart has violated labor and anti-discrimination laws and ruthlessly fought efforts by its workers to form unions. And now, according to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart is so intimidated by the very possibility of a unionized workforce that its supervisors have been holding mandatory meetings essentially telling employees to vote against Democrats and Sen. Barack Obama this November.

Wal-Mart is taking this outrageous step because the Democrats and Barack Obama have committed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain for fair wages, health care, decent working conditions and a real voice on the job. All of America’s workers have the right to freely decide whom to vote for independent of employer pressure and intimidation.

Tell Wal-Mart to stop intimidating workers TODAY!

Wal-Mart’s reported actions are just one piece of a large and well-organized effort by corporate America to continue exploiting America’s workers by preventing them from forming unions. With our economy struggling and workers’ wages stagnant, it is critical that we fight workplace intimidation and other heavy-handed corporate tactics. CEOs and Big Business already have too much influence in our political system and telling their employees whom to vote for is simply unacceptable.

Corporate giants like Wal-Mart have been suppressing workers’ wages and passing along health care costs to hardworking taxpayers like you for years. Wal-Mart executives are getting rich, while we’re being left behind. They understand what is at stake in this election, and so do we—a real voice at work for:

* Fair pay;
* Health care for all;
* Equal treatment;
* Safe workplaces; and
* A secure retirement.

And Wal-Mart is ready to use its incredible corporate power as America’s largest private employer to corrupt the political system to safeguard its profits.

Thanks for your support.

In solidarity,

Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO

P.S. For more on Wal-Mart’s workplace intimidation, check out the AFL-CIO Now blog and our friends at Americans Rights At Work.

I am beyond outraged by this. For those of you who don't know, I am a former member of The American Federation of Musicians, The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Thank God I had my unions to stand up for me when I was in the music business and the teaching profession. (Heck, if there were a union for nuns I'd sign up in a heart beat!)

Friday cat blogging!

Photo by Cynthia Burgess
(Cynthia's blog is here.)

The evils of "free trade"

I want to call your attention to an article called "Do You Want Free Trade – or Fair Trade that Helps the Poor?" that is published today on Common Dreams. Let's face it: Free trade benefits the rich and hurts the poor. And how people with even a rudimentary conscience can justify that is beyond me. Take a look at how this article gets started:

Whenever the world trade talks begin to seem like a coma-inducing bore-a-thon, I am jolted back to consciousness by the throat-stripping smell of rubbish; miles of rotting rubbish. A few years ago I found Adelina - a skinny little scrap of an eight-year-old - living in a rubbish dump, where this stench made her eyes water all the time. It is this smell - and her sore, salty eyes - that hung over the corpse of the Doha trade talks this week.

Just outside the Peruvian capital of Lima, there is a groaning valley of trash, and, inside it, hordes of children try to stay alive. Adelina spends her days picking through the refuse looking for something - anything - she can sell on for a few pennies. Then she returns to the few steel sheets she calls home to sleep on a crunchy carpet of cans. She has never left the rubbish dump; its walls are the walls of her consciousness. She told me three of her friends had recently died by falling into the rubbish, or being pricked by fetid needles, or slipping on to broken glass. I asked her how often she eats, and she shrugged: “I don’t like to eat much anyway.” She will be 10 now, if she has survived.

When we juggle the dry, dull statistics of world trade, we are really asking if Adelina will remain in her rubbish dump - and if her children, and grandchildren, will live and die there.

The way we - the rich world - organise the world trading system today traps Adelina. But it just broke. This week, in Switzerland, the poor countries of the world refused to play along with the Doha trade negotiations. The mass movement of ordinary people demanding our governments Make Poverty History that rose up in 2005 needs urgently to reconvene.

To help Adelina, we need to start with a basic question: how do poor countries turn into rich countries? The institutions that dominate world trade - especially the World Trade Organisation (WTO) - have a simple answer: all markets, all the time. They tell poor countries to abolish all subsidies, protections and tariffs that protect their own goods. If you fling yourself naked at the global market, you will rise. If the poor countries disagree, they are cajoled to do as we say.

There’s just one problem: every rich country got rich by ignoring the advice we now so aggressively offer. If we had listened to it, Britain would still be an agrarian economy manufacturing raw wool, and the US would be primarily farming cotton.

Do click through and read the rest of the article. Very illuminating.