Friday, January 30, 2009

RIP Izzy Finlay (1995 -2009)

Today, my wonderful Anatolian Shepherd (who was part of my life for almost thirteen years) died peacefully in my arms. She had just been diagnosed with bone cancer.

I made the decision many years ago that I would not let her deteriorate or go through any unnecessary pain when there was no hope of her getting better. So there was no inner struggle or conflict about knowing what needed to be done.

She was happy to the end - still guarding the house with vigor.

Izzy had an astonishing talent for friendship, was fiercely maternal and powerfully confident in her role as a guard dog - a job she took very seriously. She adored babies of any species: cat babies, dog babies, human babies.... it didn't matter. If she encountered a baby all she wanted to do was be with it and protect it and take care of it.

I want to say right here that I am grateful beyond expression to all the wonderful doctors and other staff members of Woodland Central Animal Hospital who loved her too, praised her lavishly and gave her the very best of care from the moment she was brought in as a rescue until she breathed her last.

Finally, to those who have been so supportive of me today through emails, phone calls, prayers and presence, thank you. I feel surrounded by care and compassion and sympathy in the very best sense of that word.

I'm going to rest for a while now.

With love to you all,

Let's hear it for the shoe thrower!

Frank Ford alerted me to this AP story:

When an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at George W. Bush last month at a Baghdad press conference, the attack spawned a flood of Web quips, political satire and street rallies across the Arab world.

Now it's inspired a work of art.

A sofa-sized shoe statue was unveiled Thursday in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described his fiberglass-and-copper work as a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people.

No comment necessary, I figure! I just wanted you to see it. :-)

Important authority principle

To all you people out there with leadership repsonsibilities, this is really something to think about:

Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others may receive your orders without being humiliated.

Dag Hammarskjöld

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The importance of questions

Here's an important story:

When Isido Rabi, the 1944 Nobel Prize winner in physics, was interviewed about his achievements, he said he owed it all to his mother. "When we got out of school, all the mothers would ask their children what they had learned that day. My mother would inquire instead, 'What did you ask today in class?' "

Rabbi Nilton Bonder

What a very wise woman indeed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why we need regulations

When I was about twelve years old or so I read a didactic and preachy old-fashioned novel about dogs and vegetarianism and tainted food and that sort of thing. I can't remember the title or the author but it had a big effect on me. Part of that story had to do with laws being passed to protect consumers from tainted and/or adulterated food. Now look at this story from CNN:

The maker of peanut butter linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella shipped tainted product it knew had tested positive for the bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

The FDA report said the Peanut Corporation of America's own testing program found strains of salmonella 12 times in 2007 and 2008 at its Blakely, Georgia, plant. The problem does not appear to have been resolved.

When FDA inspectors visited the plant this month, they reported finding still more salmonella contamination.

According to the
inspection report, posted on the FDA's Web site, the "firm's own internal microbiological testing" found salmonella in peanut paste, peanut butter, peanut meal, peanut granules and oil-roasted, salted peanuts.

However, it added, "After the firm retested the product and received a negative status, the product was shipped."

That's not the way it ought to have been handled, according to one expert. "They were lab shopping," said Tommy Irvin, Georgia's agriculture commissioner. "

They were trying to find a way to clear their product, so they can ship their product out," he told CNN.

He said proper practices demand that if any food product tests positive for salmonella and another test comes back negative, "you believe the one that is positive."

There's more if you want to click through.

We not only need regulations on the books but we need them to be aggresively enforced.

UPDATE: Oh my goodness. Against all odds I have just remembered the name of the book I read when I was so young. It is Beautiful Joe by Margaret Marshall Saunders (published in 1893). You can read the entire book online right here.

And I recommend that you read the Amazon reviews right here.

It's Palin again

Oh mercy!

Sarah Palin has now created a new political action committee - SarahPac. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t SarahPac sound like something overpriced in the handbag department at Neiman Marcus?

- Laugh Lines

Hat tip to Lisa at All Hat No Cattle

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On the subject of blame

You know, I started to put this on my meditation blog and then I decided that it really belongs over here with politics:

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.

Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument.

That is my experience.

No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.

If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

In the realm of politics, we blame poor people for being poor, desperate people for being deperate, and people who resort to violence (when they truly have no other recourse) for that too.

I think the "lettuce in the garden" is a wonderful metaphor. Next time I find myself getting upset with someone I'm going to remind myself, "Don't blame the lettuce!"


Somehow I just don't believe we humans were meant to have litters:

U.S. Woman Gives Birth to Eight Babies

Monday, January 26, 2009

White backlash

Oh, this is very, very disturbing:

President Obama may have smashed the ultimate political barrier to African Americans, but his presidency and the deepening economic crisis are creating the perfect storm for white supremacists intent on swelling their ranks.

Racist extremists have been energized by Obama's election, hoping to exploit an
Obama backlash among whites who resent having a black man in the White House.

Neo-Nazi David Duke says Obama will be a "visual aid" for angry white Americans and will provoke a backlash among relatively mainstream whites that will "result in a dramatic increase in [the] ranks" of extremists. Many other hate group leaders agree.

That backlash was evident in the aftermath of the election as scores of racially charged incidents – beatings, effigy burnings, racist graffiti, threats and intimidation – were reported across the country.

And, as some of you know, at least one racist crawled out of the woodwork and attacked me on my other two blogs. Really revolting stuff.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

There's a powerful lesson here

Many thanks to Carolyn Loomis for sending me the link to this video.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reality and fiction

You know, this strikes me as a very important observation about politics:

The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.

-- Tom Clancy

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday cat blogging!

Oh this is just too funny!

In case you've been living under a rock for the last five years, Gene Robinson is the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire whose election has been so controversial world wide. He offered a prayer for the opening Inauguration event Sunday evening and later appeared on The Daily Show:

Jon Stewart: Washington was so crowded today, there's so many people... You, as a bishop, are sort of doubly handicapped in that situation, only being able to move diagonally. How is that negotiating the crowds?

Bishop Gene Robinson: Jon, you have to understand...there's a queen on the board as well.

Rich. Just rich!!

Just because it's a darling picture!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is just sickening

Really. It turns my stomach:

Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by “a major American print publication” to offer a 400-word statement explaining his “hope for the Obama presidency.” He responded:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

I don't get it. I certainly didn't want Bush to fail. I wanted him to succeed in having his "Mission Accomplished" be for real in just a few short weeks (so that so many more thousands didn't have to die). I wanted him to succeed in responding to Katrina. I wanted him to succeed in pulling us out of a recession. He just wasn't competent enough to pull any of that off.

If Obama fails, America fails. How can Limbaugh possibly justify that desire?

For the math-o-philes out there

Too funny!! :-)

Quote of the week

It was selected by Sojourners and is taken from, of course, the Inauguration benediction:

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

- Civil rights veteran Rev. Joseph Lowery

So many reasons for gratitude

Oh, I just had to share this. Me too:

A well-placed Republican operative emails: "As I watched Biden take the oath of office, I thanked God that it was not Sarah Palin up there."

- Ben Smith

What some of us would like to hear

Please see Marianne's comment to the post "Obama retakes oath" below!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He's hit the ground running

Oh, this gladdens my heart. Look at the following from the New York Times:

President Obama moved swiftly on Wednesday to impose new rules on government transparency and ethics, using his first full day in office to freeze the salaries of his senior aides, mandate new limits on lobbyists and demand that the government disclose more information.

Mr. Obama called the moves, which overturned two policies of his predecessor, “a clean break from business as usual.” Coupled with Tuesday’s Inaugural Address, which repudiated the Bush administration’s decisions on everything from science policy to fighting terrorism, the actions were another sign of the new president’s effort to emphasize an across-the-board shift in priorities, values and tone.

“For a long time now there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Mr. Obama said at a swearing-in ceremony for senior officials at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. He added, “Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
Advocates for openness in government, who had been pressing for the moves, said they were pleased. They said the new president had traded a presumption of secrecy for a presumption of disclosure.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an advocacy group that tangled frequently with the Bush administration over records. “For the president to say this on Day 1 says: ‘We mean it. Turn your records over.’ ”

There's a word for what's going on here. That word is "integrity".

Obama retakes oath

Well, as you probably know right now, the right-wingers out there have been having a field day with the fact that the presidential oath was flubbed. Naturally, they've been blaming Obama (calling him incompetent) and also have been claiming that he's, therefore, not "really" president. What they're not acknowledging, needless to say, is that it was Chief Justice Roberts who flubbed the oath. (That's why the above cartoon is so rich!)

Of course, according to the Constitution, Obama officially became President at 12 Noon yesterday - even before the oath was taken. But just to err on the side of thoroughness and caution, he took the oath all over again this evening:

President Obama retook his oath of office Wednesday after Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed while delivering it at Tuesday's inauguration.

The second oath -- also administered by Roberts -- took place at 7:35 p.m. Wednesday in the White House's Map Room. Roberts asked Obama whether he was ready.

"I am, and we're going to do it very slowly," Obama replied.

The do-over was aimed at dispelling any confusion that might arise from Tuesday's take -- in which "faithfully" was said out of sequence -- and erase any question that Obama is legally the president.

However, per the Constitution, Obama became president at noon Tuesday without taking the oath.

"We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday," White House counsel Greg Craig said Wednesday in a written statement.
Before Wednesday's do-over at the White House, Obama, waiting on a couch, joked that "we decided it was so much fun ... "

Now that remark is classy! :-)

Okay, wingnuts! I hope your minds are now put at ease.

Now for the reality

Now this is a beautiful picture!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The smile

(Dare I say it? Not a smirk!)

The President and his lady

On this day: Hope over fear

Oh my:

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth...
And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

-- President Barack Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Message to the World

My very dear friend, Walt Calahan, just sent me the following:

Dear World:

We, the United States of America, your top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding.


Love it, love it!!!

Our forward stride...

I so remember when these words inspired and gave true hope. I'm much older now. Much more cynical (or perhaps just "jaded" is more accurate). But I want to believe this. Oh, yes I do:

I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall Overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

May this day be a day of new strength for us all.

So why do we lay off older workers?

Here's something I didn't know about that plane that was so skillfully taken down on the Hudson river:

[T]he very experienced five-person crew... averaged 54.4 years.

Turns out the pilot was an expert on safety proceedures.

Here's just a little bit about him:

He received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and later earned a master’s degrees in industrial psychology and public administration from Purdue and the University of Northern Colorado. At US Airways, he received a formal commendation for his efforts to improve the maintenance of the MD-80 fleets and participated in NASA research into improving runway safety. He also was a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

And to think, the "conservatives" keep wanting more and more deregulation and loosening of safety requirements.

Quote of the day

Well stated:

Finally. Mercifully. Astonishingly. Incredibly. The insane adventure in national suicide known as the Bush administration is at last coming to an end.

--David Michael Green

It's from a substantial and well written article published by Alternet. You might like to click through and have at the whole thing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

HBO censors gay bishop

Can you believe HBO censored this? Check out the story here.

Now read this powerful prayer:

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic "answers" we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Amen, indeed. So be it.

UPDATE: Oh my God. It's even worse. Look at this from Crooks and Liars:

Although President-elect Obama did include gays in his mention of the various groups who supported him, HBO not only blacked out Bishop Gene Robinson's invocation at today's inauguration concert, they didn't introduce the Washington DC Gay Men's Chorus when they performed, nor did they identify them onscreen. I wonder who was behind that.

Words fail me. That is all.

It's Sunday; we need a little religion! :-)

That is true excellence! Definitely.

Now, just for fun, I want to steer you toward two other versions. One is by The Big Bopper. And the other is by (oh goodness!) a preacher named Rev Billy Harris and it is too funny for words. You MUST listen all the way through because the ending is priceless!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Helping - for just a little bit of time and trouble

Folks, I know a lot of us are hard up. But this is not the time to stop contributing to the non-profit organizations that need our help now more than ever.

One way to help without it costing any money at all is to take advantage of the many Click to Donate sites out there.

Here are some of my favorites:

Care2 sites

Free Kibble

Free Kibble Kat

The Animal Rescue Site

The Breast Cancer Site

The Hunger Site

The Child Health Site

The Literacy Site

The Rainforest Site

And, do remember that you can help St. John's Center (at no cost to yourself) by using the GoodSearch search engine as much as possible and/or by using GoodShop businesses (there's a ton of them!) when you want to order stuff on line. Just put our full name in the "Charity of your choice" field:

St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation

Then click "Verify". If your computer has cookies enabled, you won't have to type that in again. You can also easily add GoodSearch to your tool bar.

I access the above "click to donate" sites by running a search on them through GoodSearch and that way I raise money for the Center along with donating to the concerns listed above.

It is honestly true that every little bit helps. Since beginning to use GoodSearch and GoodShop about a year and a half ago, we have raised almost $1,000 that way. And we don't have very many people doing it, actually.

I would also recommend that you take a look at the Easy Donations site to find other ways of helping non-profits without it costing any money.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday cat blogging!

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009)

I well remember when I saw Christina's World - the real thing. Just a print is powerful, of course. But the actual painting is stunningly evocative. And unforgettable.

Wyeth, 91, died in his sleep Thursday night at his home near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to Lora Englehart, public relations coordinator for the museum.

The acclaimed artist painted landscapes and figure subjects and worked mostly in tempera and watercolor.

He was widely celebrated inside and outside of the art world. President John F. Kennedy awarded him a Presidential Freedom Award and President Richard Nixon held a dinner and a private exhibition at the White House, according to a biography on the Ask/Art Web site.

Wyeth, who lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and Maine, "has been enormously popular and critically acclaimed since his first one-man show in 1937...

May he rest in peace. He will be greatly missed.

(The above excerpt is from the CNN article.)

Unions - the real heroes

Please check out what I found on Fire Dog Lake:

They're calling it a miracle--the successful landing of a US Airways jet in the Hudson and subsequent rescue of all 155 passengers. They're detailing the heroism of all involved, starting with the pilot and including cabin crew, ferry crews, and first responders. What they're not telling you is that just about every single one of these heroes is a union member.

Here are some details:

On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to La Guardia, had made a command decision to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson...
One passenger, Elizabeth McHugh, 64, of Charlotte, seated on the aisle near the rear, said flight attendants shouted more instructions: feet flat on the floor, heads down, cover your heads.
As the first ferry nudged up alongside, witnesses said, some passengers were able to leap onto the decks. Others were helped aboard by ferry

There's more. Go read it.

Once more, with feeling. I'm a former union member (American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Musicians, National Teachers Association and, while teaching as a graduate student, the American Association of University Professors) and a current strong union supporter. It has to do with basic fairness (why should the wealthy be able to organize but not ordinary folks?) and basic safety (workers are on the front lines - so, of course, they're going to know more about what's safe and what's not - not to mention, care more.) Two things propelled me into the musicians union back in the day. One was the time I played a non-union opera job and my pay check bounced. I never recovered that money and I had no recourse. The other was (ha!) another opera job in which there was a dead rat in the truly filthy orchestra pit. (Hmmm. Better than a live rat, I suppose.) At that point I figured it was time to stand up for better working conditions!

Now, are you remembering this bit? All, that's right all, passengers and crew involved in that crash survived.

UPDATE: Just in case my point is misunderstood here: I'm not suggesting that these people were only heroes because they were union members. I am asserting that union members are not anti-American enemies the way some big business conservatives make them out to be. I'm also strongly asserting that good jobs with decent pay, decent benefits and decent working conditions tend to attract quality, responsible, dedicated people.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some stuff I'll bet you didn't know

Yesterday, Rich Fisher of Studio Tulsa interviewed David Cay Johnston on our local NPR station and I really learned some stuff that horrified me.

Did you know that some of the big box companies like Wal-Mart actually work out deals with politicians so that they get to KEEP the sales tax they charge? And you thought those taxes were going to pay for police protection and to pay the fire fighters. I had no idea this was even legal. Money that we think is a tax to the state government is actually pumping up these companies' bottom lines.

Also, more companies than I realized have "located" (on paper only) in the Cayman Islands so that they pay almost nothing in taxes whatsoever.

You can get a summary about all this by reading Johnston's short article in Mother Jones called "Fiscal Therapy". I really recommend it.

CNN Quickvote of the day

No comment necessary:

How will history judge President Bush?

Favorably - 22%

Unfavorably - 78%

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We really are in it together

Somehow this seems appropriate today:

No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood….

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The conservatives belief in himself or herself as a "self-made person" is truly a delusion.

"We are tied together in the single garment of destiny..." What a wonderful way of putting it.

For nostalgia purposes!

Well, you know I used to teach math once upon a time. And, heck, I loved those "trains traveling toward or away from each other" problems!!! :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh my. This is a relief.

Just look:

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to move swiftly to reverse executive orders regarding torture of terror suspects, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and other controversial security policies, sources close to his transition said, in dramatic gestures aimed at reversing President Bush’s accumulation of executive power.

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said he’s been informed that President Obama will support his proposed legislation to make public some opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which issued some of the Bush Administration's most sweeping claims of executive power. Obama also has promised to limit President Bush's practice of using "signing statements" to amend legislation.

"Every day we get indications that they're serious about reversing the abuses of the Constitution," Feingold, a harsh Bush critic, told Politico. Feingold said he thinks Obama is likely to issue executive orders rapidly reversing Bush policies, and others have indicate that those will likely cover the interrogation and detention of terror suspects, and keeping the records of past presidents secret.

Looks as if our next president has some principles.

Folks, it just one more week. A week from today we will have a new president. Deo gratias!

Did you know this?

That's an outrageous percentage.

Monday, January 12, 2009

To help you say good-bye...

Immature. Petulant. And he comes across as under the influence, actually.

Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame!

I know that nothing ought to surprise me at this late date but the following is truly beyond appalling:

In a classless move, President Bush snubbed Helen Thomas, the longtime Press Pool reporter covering the White House, and refused to take a question from her as she sat in the front row, waving her hand to him as he answered his final question from his last presser.

Classless. Rude. Ill-bred. A national embarassment.

CNN Quickvote of the day

Surprise, surprise:

How do you feel about the end of the Bush presidency?

Relieved - 86%

Saddened - 14%

Sunday, January 11, 2009

She just keeps on going

I refer to the amazing Helen Thomas, of course.

Here's the beginning of her latest entitled "History Cannot Save Him":

As he leaves office, President Bush is passing on to his successor two wars and a growing economic debacle. What a way to go!

Because of Bush's policies, the U.S. also is complicit in the Israeli attack on the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip by providing a "made-in-America" high-tech arsenal for the assault and blocking a ceasefire for nearly two weeks, a move intended to help the Israelis consolidate their hold.

Not to worry, Bush says he isn't concerned about how history will view his militant eight years in the White House, telling ABC News that he "won't be around to read it."

Well, they say that journalism is the first draft of history. So I am going to predict that those future historians will not deal kindly with the Bush presidency.

And then she explains why. Go on over to Common Dreams and read the rest of it. It's not very long.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sure seems like it...


It's a very short article. Just a few paragraphs. And here's the first one:

The Israeli attack upon the people of Gaza is against the Neurenburg Principles, the Geneva Accords and the United Nations Charter. It is unquestionably a war crime and the United States has participated . The U.S. has acquiesced, if not approved this war. It has supplied the planes and bombs that Israel uses to destroy the people of Gaza. In fact, it has supplied depleted Uranium (DU) armor-piercing bombs, even though the Palestinians have no armor! We are not only killing civilians of all sexes and ages, we are poisoning their land and their gene pool for generations.

Now go read the rest of it. I urge you to do so.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Oh my. Just watch it.

Friday cat blogging!

The president's accomplishments

Pathetic. Just unbelievably pathetic:

You know, President Bush keeps giving interviews about his eight years as president. Earlier this week, he said his greatest accomplishment ... was his effort to privatize Social Security, even though he never actually did it. That's President Bush. Isn't it? Your greatest accomplishment? Well, there aren't any. But if there were, by golly, here's what it would be.

--Jay Leno

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Quote of the week

From Sojourners:

Most people agree that Israel, like any other country, has the right to defend itself from outside attacks. However, in this unequal conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israel, as usual, has overdone it. When it comes to dealing with its enemies, Israel has a pattern of being extreme. “An eye for an eye” does not satisfy. It has to be more like one hundred eyes for one eye and one hundred teeth for one tooth.

- Alex Awad, dean of students at Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank of Palestine.

Why we do it

A series of articles called "Our Nation's Soul Sickness" by Roberto Rodriguez explains some things:

American Indian scholar, Jack Forbes writes about a disease that afflicts the West, an illness he refers to as: soul sickness. It's the belief that God has especially chosen Westerners to bring civilization and enlightenment to the rest of the world. While it permeates all of Western society, it appears to manifest most poignantly in the United States.
Under this superstitious belief system, Westerners have been authorized by God to eliminate infidels and heathens if they don't convert (because if they don't, the unbelievers may wipe out the civilized world). This traditionally has meant the right to take lands, colonize and enslave peoples and the right to invade, occupy and destroy nations. It matters little if one innocent person dies or a million, because they are not truly human. Conversely, the death of one Westerner or the threat to one, is "just cause" for war. Since Westerners believe God has anointed them to spread Judeo-Christian values, democracy & capitalism, all their military incursions are justified. This is why war is constantly waged, always obviating the need for laws and trials.
Accompanying these delusional ideas is the belief in the eternal right – with impunity – to freely exploit these nations, their peoples and resources.

The question before is this: do we have the humility, as a people, to see this sickness for what it is and to reject it?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The latest on Joe the Plumber

This is just pathetic:

TOLEDO, Ohio — Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook.

The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR'-zuhl-bah-kur) says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting. He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel's "'Average Joes' share their story."

Can you believe it?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Failed President

I really want you to see the Frank Rich op-ed from Saturday's New York Times. Here's how it gets started:

WE like our failed presidents to be Shakespearean, or at least large enough to inspire Oscar-worthy performances from magnificent tragedians like Frank Langella. So here, too, George W. Bush has let us down. Even the banality of evil is too grandiose a concept for 43. He is not a memorable villain so much as a sometimes affable second banana whom Josh Brolin and Will Ferrell can nail without breaking a sweat. He’s the reckless Yalie Tom Buchanan, not Gatsby. He is smaller than life.

The last
NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Bush’s presidency found that 79 percent of Americans will not miss him after he leaves the White House. He is being forgotten already, even if he’s not yet gone. You start to pity him until you remember how vast the wreckage is. It stretches from the Middle East to Wall Street to Main Street and even into the heavens, which have been a safe haven for toxins under his passive stewardship. The discrepancy between the grandeur of the failure and the stature of the man is a puzzlement. We are still trying to compute it.

Well, I don't think it's a puzzlement at all. I think that's only true for the supposedly intelligent people who were snowed by the propaganda and voted for George W. Bush in the first place. His incompentency was evident from the get-go to anyone bothered to look at his history or listen to how he expressed himself.


Many thanks to Paul Rogers for this!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Poppy Bush on Obama

Frank Ford sent me the following today:

On "Fox News Sunday," the first President Bush had kind words for the president-elect.

“But I'm impressed with him. I'm very impressed with his style on the campaign and his coolness and his articulate nature. I think he can give a sentence and it will sound like it's been thought out by Shakespeare or something," he said.

Oh, my goodness. What can I say? (Sigh...)

Well, with a son like "W", I imagine the contrast is quite remarkable.

Saturday, January 03, 2009