Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh, my goodness; just watch it, please:

So much for civil liberty

This saddens me greatly:

It's an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat.


- President Obama, after he signed into law a four-year extension of the Patriot Act, post–Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists

Mr. President, what part of "The terrorists have won," don't you understand?

By the way, the so-called "Patriot Act" allows much more egregious violations of civil liberties than the ones mentioned above. But that's Time Magazine's description - not mine.
~~~

Ya think?

Good grief:

This is a blatant attempt to sexualize women.


-- Janice Forsyth, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, after it was ruled that women must wear skirts to play badminton at the elite level

Skirts???? For Olympic athletes? Required?

Absolutely ridiculous.
~~~

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

Tornadoes

Here's an Alternet headline I want you to see:

Killer Tornadoes: How Devastating Extreme Weather Is Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change

And here's one paragraph from someone being interviewed:

BILL McKIBBEN: Sure. Look, what’s happening is we’re making the earth a more dynamic and violent place. That’s, in essence, what global warming is about. We’re trapping more of the sun’s energy in this narrow envelope of atmosphere, and that’s now expressing itself in many way. We don’t know for sure that any particular tornado comes from climate change. There have always been tornadoes. We do know that we’re seeing epic levels of thunderstorm activity, of flooding, of drought, of all the things that climatologists have been warning us about.


Will we ever wake up and confront what is happening?
~~~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Definitely the quote of the day (last night)

This:

Kathy Hochul's victory tonight is a tribute to Democrats' commitment to preserve and strengthen Medicare, create jobs, and grow our economy," Pelosi said. "And it sends a clear message that will echo nationwide: Republicans will be held accountable for their vote to end Medicare.

-- Nancy Pelosi


~~~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Well, this is an eye opener:


Thanks to Rhonda S. for sending this in.
~~~

Monday, May 23, 2011

Taking America to a dark place

This morning I'd like to recommend a very brief article that I found over at Alternet. Here's the headline:


Here's a brief excerpt:

I want you to know that the fundamentalist political movement is the beginning of a cultural revolution that will take our nation to a very dark place. You have to understand that this has been methodically planned and is being carried out with the utmost vigilance. In accordance with their worldview, my old friends do not in the least care about what you think. They are against democracy, and they are seeking to end the rule of the majority in our great country.

They truly believe that if you have not been “saved,” you are living under a curse and are incapable of knowing what is best and that because of this you should be ruled over. You should also know they do not believe that even centuries-old Christian communities (Catholics, Anglicans, Greek Orthodox, etc.) are “saved,” only those who think like they do.

You might be thinking that a minority fundamentalist group of zealots can’t really take over the direction of a society. Just look at Iran, or the countless other places where people have allowed this to happen.

This is a message from the "inside" people. Others have told us before; this is just one more voice - a voice to which we ought to listen, in my humble opinion.
~~~

VERY clever:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Today's CNN QuickVote

Hmmm. Sounds about right:

Are you worried about the doomsday predictions?

No
95%

Yes
5%



~~~
Sad, really:

RomneyCare

The headline is from The Onion, okay? But still, it strikes very close to home:

Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People

Here's how it gets started:

Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people.

Romney, who signed the state's 2006 health care reform act, has said he "deeply regrets" giving people in poor physical and mental health the opportunity to seek medical attention, admitting that helping very sick people get better remains a dark cloud hovering over his political career, and his biggest obstacle to becoming president of the United States of America.


Now, lest anybody get all in a dither about this, it's satire, folks.

And it's making a powerful point all the same.
~~~

And it's the right thing, too

I refer to this:

Catholic Church in Florida Planning to Pray For Osama bin Laden

And, predictably, people are outraged.

I don't see how they can justify their objections, however. Take a look:

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

I'm quoting the Bible, folks.

It is a Christian imperative to love and pray for one's enemies. It just is. I don't care how outraged you are. The love of one's enemies is central to the Christian religion.
~~~

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Headline of the day

This article is by Frank Schaeffer and he knows whereof he speaks:

Insider: "The Christian Right is Aiming to Destroy All Things Public"

I don't understand this; I really don't.

Here's one paragraph toward the end:

The price for the Religious Right’s wholesale idolatry of private everything was that Christ’s reputation was tied to a cynical union-busting political party owned by billionaires. It only remained for a Far Right Republican- appointed majority on the Supreme Court to rule in 2010 that unlimited corporate money could pour into political campaigns— anonymously—in a way that clearly favored corporate America and the superwealthy, who were now the only entities served by the Republican Party.


I really recommend that you read the whole article. It's excerpted from Frank Schaeffer's recent book entitled Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--And How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. How's THAT for a title?
~~~

Monday, May 16, 2011

Predictable, really

This:

Ultimately ... business is my greatest passion, and I am not ready to leave the private sector.


-- DONALD TRUMP, real estate mogul, announcing that he would not run for president; he also said he "maintain[ed] the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election"

Gosh. So he manages to be both a quitter and an ego-freak at the same time.
~~~

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recent posting difficulties

Dear friends,

The Blogger program has been down the past couple of days and I have been unable to put up any new posts. It's now functioning again but, at the moment, I'm hard at work on organizing the Center's garage sale items. The garage sale is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) and so that will require all my attention as well.

I'll probably be back to posting on Sunday.

Sincere apologies for any political insight inconvenience!

Blessings to all,
Ellie

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Today's CNN QuickVote

Well, this is reassuring:

Who would be more likely to get your vote for president in 2012?

Barack Obama
70%

Newt Gingrich
30%




~~~

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Horrible, horrible man

I refer, of course, to John Boehner. First this:

It is off the table. Everything else is on the table.


- John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, referring to tax increases as a way of dealing with U.S. debt; he has spoken of the need for "trillions, not just billions" worth of spending cuts

Now take a look here:

[Monday], John Boehner outlined his list of demands for raising the debt ceiling, saying that unless the Obama administration and Senate Democrats accept trillions of dollars in Republican spending cuts, the House GOP would not increase the federal debt limit, even if that leads government default, a collapse of global financial markets, and another severe recession.

[Tuesday], the White House
compared his proposal to economic terrorism...


Now here's a little context:

Financial: The U.S. is spending more than $100 billion per year in Afghanistan
Human: 1,570 Americans killed, more than 10,000 wounded
More than 10,000 civilian Afghan deaths, 3,000 in 2010 alone


The above statistics are from an email sent out by Sojourners.

Solution: End these wars! It's preposterous that we choose to cut social services while maintaining expensive, unnecessary wars. Also morally reprehensible.
~~~

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yeah, probably

Look at this:

The American people, they're very simple people.


- Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of China, saying, in a rare interview on U.S. public television, that Americans have a limited understanding of China's "ancient civilization" and are generally drawn first to Europe
~~~

Monday, May 09, 2011

What a question!

This one:

GOP Assault on Truth: Why Do Conservatives Pretend They Know More About Science Than Scientists?

Here's how it gets started:

Earlier this year, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced legislation “repealing the...[EPA’s] scientific finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are endangering human health and the environment.” That’s right, politicians voted to repeal a scientific finding. It failed in the Senate. But if Republicans were to take control of the White House and Senate, the bill would undoubtedly become law.


Really. Do go read the rest of it. It's an eye-opener.
~~~

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Renoir

"America Is Shutting Down"

I strongly recommend that you read a short opinion piece entitled "America Is Shutting Down" by Thomas Heffner. Here's a snippet:

How could we be so careless as to let the the U.S. descend in so short a time from being a wealthy and productive nation to one controlled by lobbyists, living on imports, selling our companies to our foreign competitors and living on ever increasing debt.


The rest of it is truly worth reading and thinking about as well.
~~~

In honor of Mother's Day

This:

We have a beautiful
mother
Her green lap
immense
Her brown embrace
eternal
Her blue body
everything
we know.

- Alice Walker

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Indeed

What is the true threat of terrorism?

Here's something I just found and I think it is very well put:

Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage. The more we undermine our own laws, the more we convert our buildings into fortresses, the more we reduce the freedoms and liberties at the foundation of our societies, the more we’re doing the terrorists’ job for them.

--Bruce Schneier

~~~

The role of torture

I think this is an important headline:

Torture May Have Slowed Hunt For Bin Laden, Not Hastened It

And an important point as well.


Here's a little part of what it says:


"I think that without a doubt, torture and enhanced interrogation techniques slowed down the hunt for bin Laden," said an Air Force interrogator who goes by the pseudonym Matthew Alexander and located Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006.


It now appears likely that several detainees had information about a key al Qaeda courier -- information that might have led authorities directly to bin Laden years ago. But subjected to physical and psychological brutality, "they gave us the bare minimum amount of information they could get away with to get the pain to stop, or to mislead us," Alexander told The Huffington Post.


"We know that they didn’t give us everything, because they didn’t provide the real name, or the location, or somebody else who would know that information," he said.


In a 2006 study by the National Defense Intelligence College, trained interrogators found that traditional, rapport-based interviewing approaches are extremely effective with even the most hardened detainees, whereas coercion consistently builds resistance and resentment.



Let's give this analysis some attention, shall we?

~~~

Something worth knowing about taxes

I refer to the following:

Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
...
The USA Today analysis shows that if tax receipts today were at the level they were through the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, that would eliminate “one-third of the estimated $1.5 trillion federal deficit this year.”


I found this information right here.
~~~

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday cat blogging!

~~~

Fifty years ago

This:

I didn't want to die, now, but I didn't have any fear of doing what I had to do. I knew what was happening was wrong. And I had an opportunity to do something about it.


- Catherine Burks-Brooks, 71, who, as a senior at Tennessee A&I State University, took part in the first Freedom Ride in May 1961
~~~

How the public is duped

(Hat tip to Lisa Casey over at All Hat No Cattle)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Please, please listen to this:

Necessities

Sometimes I think that if this is true, we're screwed:

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.


-- The Dalai Lama

On the other hand, maybe a base line level of love and compassion is hard wired into the human make up such that we've survived so far.
~~~

The question of justice

I agree with this:

Real justice and a real call for celebration would have been to treat the attacks of September 11, 2001 for what they were, a massive, international criminal act and then set about dealing with it as we would any massive international crime - using international police forces to identify suspects, apprehend them, charge them, try them and punish the guilty. And we could have secured more than justice.

On September 12, 2001, a grieving world stood in full sympathy alongside the U.S., ready to assist. America, looked up to by so many, could have led the world into a new day where nations work together to prove once and for all that war is not the answer...


The excerpt above is from an article entitled "Justice Has Been Done?" by Mike Ferner. It's a very short piece and I recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing.
~~~

Monday, May 02, 2011

Something else disturbing

This is from Reuters:

The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.

"This was a kill operation," the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.


I thought of this immediately. Why no attempt to capture? Wouldn't justice be better served by having a proper trial?
~~~

Is celebration really appropriate?

I'm disturbed by the dancing in the streets.

Here's something from the response of Veteran's for Peace that I read right here:

Imagine the propaganda that the U.S. media could make of video footage of a foreign country where the primitive brutes are dancing in the streets to celebrate the murder of a tribal enemy. That is the propaganda we've just handed those who will view bin Laden as a martyr. When their revenge comes, we will know exactly what we are supposed to do: exact more revenge in turn to keep the cycle going.


And let us not forget this passage from Proverbs 24:

Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
or else the LORD will see it and be displeased...


Some things to think about, that's all.
~~~

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday art blogging

Artist: Van Gogh
~~~

Presidential snark

It's from a CNN story:

President Barack Obama poked fun at everyone -- from his wife to Donald Trump -- during the annual White House Correspondents dinner, before ending his speech with a tribute to journalists who brave deadly conditions to get a story.
...
Obama then singled out an unsmiling Trump and credited him with making hard decisions -- such as firing Gary Busey over Meatloaf on an episode of "The Celebrity Apprentice" -- and succeeding in his push for the president to release his long-form birth certificate.

"Now, he can focus on more important matters like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?" Obama said, referring to Neil Armstrong's 1969 walk on the moon, the alleged UFO crash in New Mexico and the deaths of rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur.


Donald Trump roundly deserved it.

And, then there's this:

As is tradition, the dinner's featured speaker [Seth Meyers] didn't let the commander-in-chief off unscathed.

Meyers said the one candidate who could "definitely beat" the incumbent was the "2008 Barack Obama. You would have loved him."


Yes, we did love him. Mr. President, what happened?
~~~

Trump

I want to call your attention to a piece in the British newspaper, The Independent. It's by Johann Hari, whose work I've respected for some time now.

Donald Trump's Lunacy Reveals Core Truth About the Republicans

Take a look:

Trump is every trend in Republican politics over the past 35 years taken to its logical conclusion. He is the Republican id, finally entirely unleashed from all restraint and all reality.

The first trend is towards naked imperialism. On Libya, he says: "I would go in and take the oil... I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff." On Iraq, he says: "We stay there, and we take the oil... In the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation's yours." It is a view that the world is essentially America's property, inconveniently inhabited by foreigners squatting over oil-fields. Trump says America needs to "stop what's going on in the world. The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are sapping our strength." The US must have full spectrum dominance. In this respect, he is simply an honest George W Bush.


I hope that terrifies you.

And I really want to urge you to read the rest of the article. There's more.
~~~