Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Headline of the year (IMHO)

Oh, my. Take a look at this one:

How Conservatives and the GOP Destroyed the "Traditional Family" They Claim to Treasure

Here's a sample:

The decade in which the GOP became synonymous with Christian Right “family values” groups like the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority was also a decade in which unions became weaker and many manufacturing jobs were lost. Organized labor suffered a major blow when President Reagan fired more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers in 1981, which was a victory for union-busting and proved terrible for American families. Steven Greenhouse, who has covered labor issues for the New York Times, summarized the effects perfectly when he said: “I remember in the 1980s when the air traffic controllers union was wiped out. For 15 years after that, employers all across the country cut jobs, cut pensions, cut health coverage and stepped onto workers' rights.”

Yeah, I remember that too.

Union busting is a very great evil. I've been on the receiving end of intimidation in that regard. (But that's a story that must await another day.)

Take a look at the rest of the article if you have time. A lot of it is common sense (or what ought to be common sense) but it's all spelled out rather neatly here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Headline of the day

Here you go:

Sarah Palin would be an ineffective president, say 6 in 10 Americans, according to new poll

You don't say?

However, I'm a bit concerned about the 40% who apparently don't see this clearly.


This is from a CNN poll. (Definitely not a majority.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Patriotism versus nationalism

Here's something that merits pondering, I think:

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.

-Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

Well now, here's a thought:

Take a look:

I don't think that most of these people who are yelling and screaming really care one way or another.

-- Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, saying on Thursday's Daily Show that he feels much of the arguing over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero is about gaining votes and publicity

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A sincere request

Hello, dear internet friends.

I want to ask your prayers and/or good thoughts (whatever it is that you do...) for my niece, Jane, her husband, Chris, and their newborn little boy. The baby was born last night and is now in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Virginia Medical School hospital. He will need heart surgery.

My brother says that it is possible that the baby can go home to build his strength up for a while before the surgery but they're not sure yet.

My deep gratitude to you all for your caring and concern.

Yeah, yeah; we knew all along...

This, I mean:

Ken Mehlman, former George Bush campaign manager and chairman of the GOP National Committee, has come out as gay, the most powerful Republican to ever do so. He is already being both praised for his courage and blasted for leading what has been called "the most homophobic national campaign in history."

If you've forgotten who this is, check out his picture here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Really worth thinking about

I wonder if any politicians have asked themselves this lately:

How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?

-- Harry S. Truman

Headline of the day

This one pricked my curiousity:

Faced with Mosque Madness, Democrats Invert Frederick Douglass’ Key Rule for Change

And what was Frederick Douglass' key rule for change you ask?

Here you go:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.

The article continues with a description of the typical spinelessness among Democrats about the critical issues of the day.

Click on through and read it, please.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ya think?

This is what I'm talking about:

We need better abilities and authorities to put in place these preventive controls and hold companies accountable.

-- Margaret Hamburg, FDA chief, saying, in the wake of the salmonella outbreak in eggs, that her agency is limited by law to a mostly reactive stance on food safety

All right all you pro-business Republicans. How's that free-market, de-regulation approach working out for you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Margret Hofheinz-Döring

Are we losing our collective minds????

Look what I just found:

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle once partook in a campaign against a local high school's use of black football jerseys, arguing that the dark color was ungodly and wicked...
It was Homecoming of 1992 and Nevada's Tonopah High School football was seeking to depart from their school colors, specifically in wearing black jerseys instead of the usual red and white. The uniform change was meant to be a display of solidarity...
Enter Sharron Angle and her color-crusading cohort.
"I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil," [news reporter Bill] Roberts reports. "Whichever argument prevailed, school administrators caved in and prohibited the Muckers from wearing the black apparel."

The black uniforms were then confiscated and held under "lock and key" by the administration, which refused to compensate the team for the money they had spent acquiring the jerseys.

I'm getting really disheartened by the fundamentalist mood that has prevailed in this country for some time now. Heck, it's not only disheartening, it's scary.

Just in case you've been living under a rock lately, Sharron Angle is the Republican challenging Harry Reid for his Senate seat.

I found the above story right here.

The pathetic legacy of Sarah Palin

Here's something that was said along with the above photo:

Promising not to quit is now a legitimate campaign pledge for Republican candidates in the state of Alaska.

I found it right here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Says something, doesn't it?

Love it, love it, love it!

This, my friends, ought to be the last word on the Dr. Laura issue:

Here is a simple rule: blacks can use the word "nigger" if they want to, whites can't. There is a rhetorical principle underlying this rule which is hard to explain, but not hard to illustrate.

You can use the word "fatty" to describe yourself and your almost-as-fat friends, but your husband and children can't. Thin friends can't. Thin competitors certainly can't. Your husband's mother absolutely can't.

Get it?

This was publised as a comment to an article over on The Smirking Chimp.

Too funny! (And very sensible.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday cat blogging!

Ha! Something to think about:

The flooding in Pakistan

So very true:

You can't just blame nature.

-- Ganesh Pangare, a coordinator with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, claiming the destruction of ecosystems exacerbated the impact of floods in Pakistan that have killed an estimated 1,400 people

Something different for Friday cat blogging

Trust me on this one people; cats are really like this:

Quotation found in a comment

And it's a good one, too:

No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person's enemies say about him.

-- Napoleon Hill

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Something I really respect

Sojourners shared this one:

The fishermen don’t want to make people sick. I wouldn’t feed that to my children without it being tested -- properly tested, not these 'Everything's okay' tests.

- Tracy Kuhns, a shrimp-boat owner from Barataria, Lousiana., explaining why she and her husband had not gone shrimping Monday despite assurances by federal officials that it was safe.

Refreshing, sensible AND funny

Okay, folks. I happen to be white and I was born in the Deep South in 1949. My home town is Vicksburg, Mississippi. My brother and I were taught early on that the "n" word is simply not used in polite society. I don't think my parents or teachers would have been at all moved by the argument that we ought to be able to use it since black people use it with each other. That would have been considered completely irrelevant. As members of the dominant class that historically were the oppressors, we simply could not ever justify using it.

Now, here's the thing: I never wanted to. It says something to me that a white person would even want to use that word and therefore try to find a way to justify it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unless you've been living under a rock lately,

you know that China now has the second largest economy in the world. So take a look at this:

A lot of other economies in the region are essentially riding on China's coat tails.

-- ESWAR S. PRASAD, former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division, at the news that China passed Japan to become the world's second-largest economy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That mosque issue (sigh)

Joe Sudbay over on AMERICAblog says the following:

I have to admit, I'm embarrassed. That building the mosque in Lower Manhattan has become the dominant issue in this country is just disturbing. It sounds like the kind of fight people might have had in the Middle Ages, not in the 21st century in a country that purports to espouse religious freedom and tolerance.
Many of our so-called "leaders" are stepping right into Bin Laden's propaganda again. They've turned this into an attack on Islam. Well played, Sarah and Newt, among others. Those two would have fit right in during the Crusades.

He also quotes Richard Clarke (security expert):

Osama bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' He had been saying this. This is part of his propaganda.

So what did we do after 9/11? We invade an oil-rich and occupy an oil-rich Arab country which was doing nothing to threaten us. In other words, we stepped right into bin Laden's propaganda. And the result of that is that al Qaeda and organizations like it, offshoots of it, second-generation al Qaeda have been greatly strengthened.

I'm just not up to commenting on this except to say that it's very disheartening.

Monday, August 16, 2010


So sorry for the lack of posting, folks. It's been a very full day. I'll be back tomorrow!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

Another headline that says it all

Here you go:

Our Only Existing Jobs Program Is the Military -- an Insane Way to Keep Americans Employed

And here's how the article gets started:

Over 1,400,000 Americans are now on active duty; another 833,000 are in the reserves, many full time. Another 1,600,000 Americans work in companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to utensils. (I'm not even including all the foreign contractors employing non-US citizens.)

If we didn't have this giant military jobs program, the U.S. unemployment rate would be over 11.5 percent today instead of 9.5 percent.

Feel free to click through and read the rest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday cat blogging!

Well, this is certainly refreshing

coming from a Republican:

If you are physically born in this country, you are considered to be a citizen. The only option there is to change the Constitution ... I don't think it's even possible.

-- MIKE HUCKABEE, former Republican presidential candidate, saying he would not support repealing the 14th Amendment

Really sickening racism:

This is what Alan Grayson from Florida is up against. And I've got just two words for people who think all terrorists are brown: Timothy McVeigh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the week

This one is from Sojourners:

We want to pay tribute to each of our colleagues who died, to their commitment to serve the Afghan people. Those who have known them and seen them at work can do nothing but pay the highest tribute to them ... In some news articles, the people on this team have been described as 'saints.' This is not how they saw themselves. They were basically selfless professionals willing to spend their lives and energy in a meaningful way.

- The International Assistance Mission, on the 10 members of their team killed Friday in Afghanistan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gosh, I love this man:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Municipal Land-Use Hearing Update
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Yup. He's absolutely right.

Take a look:

What we have to do is legalize the production, the sale and the distribution.

-- VICENTE FOX, former Mexican President, saying drugs should be legalized in order to disrupt the illegal markets and drug-related violence that have wreaked havoc on parts of the country

Another humdinger of a headline

Take a look:

The Right-Wing Hardliner Immigration Approach Would Create a Police State -- Is That What Those Supposed Freedom Lovers Want?

Do click through and read the article to learn what the very real implications would be from laws that would require people to carry papers proving that they're in this country legitimately.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ha! "The amateur left"

Okay, folks. You do know, don't you, that today Press Secretary Robert Gibb made disparaging remarks about the "professional left". (You know, the folks that actually worked like crazy to get the President elected.) Well, Keith Olbermann weighs in right here:

Another attention-grabbing headline

Take a look:

Days of Rage -- The Noxious Transformation of the Conservative Movement into a Rabid Fringe

For some time now, I've been trying to put words to what is so very disturbing about the overall political mood in the country today. That headline does it.

The article is worth reading. And so far, there are seventy-four comments by readers. It seems to have struck a nerve.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Obama image targeted in shooting game

This makes me want to throw up. Really:

A game called "Alien Attack" at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Big Time celebration in Roseto encouraged players to shoot darts at the head and heart of an image of a suited black man holding a health care bill and wearing a presidential seal.

You can read all about it right here.

Frankly, I think the Secret Service ought to investigate.

(Hat tip to Lisa Casey at All Hat No Cattle)
UPDATE: Oh, it looks like the Secret Service did look into it. I'm glad. You can read about that here.

An interesting question

Right here:

Should Democrats Use the Tea Party to Split the Right?

How about: Yes!


(However, the article suggestes that the strategy could backfire. Go on and click through for the details.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Gleb Alexandrovich Savinov

The non-negotiables

There's a post over on Democratic Underground entitled "It Ain't working" that includes the following:

Only in America would the slight improvement of health care insurance, giving people who already have jobs some money to buy a house or car could be considered a great improvements. Are our expectations that low?

The basic non-negotiable demands for all progressive should be simple. A job for everyone that wants one and health care for all. Anything less is nothing at all.

I think it's something worth pondering. Really.

Please listen, Mr. President:

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What he thought then

This was a few years ago:

Maybe the critics are right. Maybe there's no escaping our great political divide, an endless clash of armies, and any attempts to alter the rules of engagement are futile. Or maybe the trivialization of politics has reached a point of no return, so that most people see it as just one more diversion, a sport, with politicians our paunch-bellied gladiators and those who bother to pay attention just fans on the sidelines: We paint our faces red or blue and cheer our side and boo their side, and if it takes a late hit or cheap shot to beat the other team, so be it, for winning is all that matters. But I don't think so.

-- BARACK OBAMA from The Audacity of Hope

I wonder what he thinks now.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday cat blogging!

Let us remember the day

Here is what I mean:

Life is short, but memory is long.

-- BAN KI-MOON, U.N. Secretary-General, at a ceremony in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park to mark the 65th anniversary of the world's first nuclear-bomb attack

Why not to buy Chinese products

Look, I know it's hard. Some things you just can't find made anywhere else. But, really, we need to try. Here's why:

Yan Li spent his life tweaking tiny bolts, on a production line, for the gadgets that make our lives zing and bling. He might have pushed a crucial component of the laptop I am writing this article on, or the mobile phone that will interrupt your reading of it. He was a typical 27-year-old worker at the gigantic Foxconn factory in Shenzen, Southern China, which manufactures i-Pads and Playstations and mobile-phone batteries.

Li was known to the company by his ID number: F3839667. He stood at a whirring line all day, every day, making the same tiny mechanical motion with his wrist, for 20p an hour. According to his family, sometimes his shifts lasted for 24 hours; sometimes they stretched to 35. If he had tried to form a free trade union to change these practices, he would have been imprisoned for 12 years. On the night of 27 May, after yet another marathon-shift, Li dropped dead.

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us. Li had never experienced any health problems, his family says, until he started this work schedule; Foxconn say he died of asthma and his death had nothing to do with them. The night Li died, yet another Foxconn worker committed suicide -- the tenth this year.
It's the human equivalent of battery farming.
The political practices of Maoism were neatly transferred from communism to corporations: both regard human beings as dispensable instruments only there to serve economic ends.

But there is some possibly hopeful news emerging:

An epic rebellion has now begun in China against this abuse -- and it is beginning to succeed. Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely.

Of course, whether or not this movement manages to succeed is yet to be seen. It may, of course, end up being thoroughly crushed by the Chinese government.

You can read the whole article right here.

In the meantime, let's all do our best to buy goods that are manufactured where workers are treated decently. One good way is to buy used items from flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores. True, the items may still have been originally made somewhere unsavory but at least your dollars and mine will be helping people trying to make it as entreprenures or supporting non-profits organizations. Those dollars will not then be going into the pockets of the big corporations that exploit people.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I guess this is one way of looking at it (sigh):

Wolves protected again

And thank goodness for it:

A federal judge on Thursday reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho, saying the government made a political decision in removing the protections from just two of the three states where Rocky Mountain wolves roam.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said in his ruling that the entire Rocky Mountain wolf population either must be listed as an endangered species or removed from the list, but the protections for the same population can't be different for each state.
Defenders of Wildlife, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and other wildlife advocates sued the federal government after the Fish and Wildlife Service decision in April 2009.

The above is from an AP article.

I'm happy to report that I have made contributions to Defenders of Wildlife for a long time now. They do good work, as you can see.

Definitely a win for freedom

Here it is:

Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

-- VAUGHN WALKER, a California federal judge who on Wednesday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that the voter-approved Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional

(Found right here)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Well spoken, Mr. Mayor

Here's what he said:

We would betray our values ... if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. To cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists.

-- MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, New York City mayor, speaking in favor of building an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero

Very moving:

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Even the dogs...

This grieves me more than I can say:

She'd withdrawn from society as a whole.

-- ERIC HAYNES, kennel master at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, on Gina, a German shepherd that returned from Iraq with posttraumatic stress

(Found right here.)

Monday, August 02, 2010

An act of decency

Here's a "quote of the day" from Time Magazine:

Only God gives life, and only he should take it away.

-- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's President, offering asylum to an Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning following her conviction for committing adultery

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Something really intelligent:

The union bench product is a contemporary seating design that significantly enhances the public and urban experience. With Union it is self-chosen, depending on the state of mind, whether one wants to interact with other or to be on its own. Design by “I do design”.

I found this on the Oddee site right here.

The immoral stupidity of our health care system

I want to call your attention to an article entitled "Nation Fails to Honor, Protect 9/11 Heroes Again" by Donna Smith (who is a community organizer for National Nurses United).

Here are a couple of snippets:

For nearly nine years the 9/11 rescue workers have labored to have access to healthcare to treat the injuries sustained when they worked at ground zero on September 11, 2001, when planes slammed into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan. And the bill that would finally have granted those sick 9/11 rescue workers some help failed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
An estimated 10,000 workers who spent time working at the site are still suffering in the aftermath of that horrific day. If we had a single-payer, Medicare for all type health system in this nation, these brave rescue workers would have had and would still have access to care.

But because many became too ill to work following their 9/11 service and many lost their health insurance benefits as a result, many went without care at just those moments when it might have made the most difference.

Ruthless individualists that we are, our system forced thousands of rescue workers to prove their disabling conditions but left them broke and battered and without income or any benefits at all as they fought either workers compensation claims or Social Security appeals. We asked them to do this while they were ill. We sure treat heroes like less than heroes, eh? None of them ever asked to see who could pay with which plans when they raced in to the towers to help, did they?

What is wrong with us? Really?