May 31, 2009

In Doctor Tiller's Name

Hey folks-- I was reading the Article at Huffington Post about the assassination of Dr. Tiller and someone made the suggestion of making a donation to Planned Parenthood in his name.

It sounded like a great idea, to me, so I went to the site and donated. It didn't offer a way to d
onate in the name of a particular person but I figure they'll probably get lots of donations today -- and they'll know why.

So, I just wanted to pass on the idea to everyone here. And please pass it on to your blogs and email address books, won't you?

May 29, 2009

Global Warming Rethunk

I just had an ‘Aha! Moment.’
For the last decade or more I’ve believed every word the scientists said about Global Warming. After all, the politicians immediately came out swinging, smearing the scientists and declaring their findings ‘pseudo-science.’
I mean, who would YOU have believed?

I just watched a documentary I’d seen before—but, this time, I noticed something that had escaped me the first time around.

I had known for many years about the Little Ice Age that began around the year 1000. It ushered in such innovations as chimneys, multi-roomed dwellings with staircases [the gentry lived upstairs where it was warmer] tapestry-hung beds, buttons on clothing, rotation of crops, an increase in animal husbandry as a result of the mass failure of cereal crops while animal feed crops were better able to survive the cold, etc. etc. etc.
The Black Death arrived about three hundred years later and preyed on a population already weakened by the change in climate.
The European mindset became paranoid. Surely, the Almighty was calling on the populace to clean up its act. The Church and governments turned on Jews and women and the witch hunts and purges of the Jews brought about thousands of violent deaths.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Vikings’ great experiment had been underway for several generations.
When they arrived, Greenland was a lush and green place—not the glacier-covered mass we’re all familiar with today. For the first century or so of the European settlement, the newcomers derived 80% of their sustenance from the land [goats, sheep and cereal crops] and 20% from the sea. After the Little Ice Age began, that ratio gradually reversed itself and the Vikings, who had never learned the technique of winter-fishing used to tide the Innuit over during hard times, died out.

This is the history of the early Little Ice Age. The earth actually began that cycle with a considerably warmer climate than we see today.
The part I hadn’t put together before was the length of the cycle we’re talking about, here.
The Little Ice Age didn’t last for two or three hundred years, as I’d always assumed. Its effects, in fact, were being felt when the Pilgrims arrived in the New World in 1620. They were still going on when George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. All that ice in the painting wasn’t included for effect. It was really there as diaries of the time attest.
In 1816, when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, ice imagery abounded in the novel, reflecting conditions outside as she wrote. In short, the Little Ice Age came to an abrupt end in 1850—probably fueled, at least in part, by industrialization.

The fact remains, though, that the earth has not, by any means, warmed to the level it was when the cycle began in approximately the year 1000—when Greenland was actually green and England harvested grapes every summer as a matter of course.
But, here’s why this whole argument [the ‘natural warming’ the politicians postulate] is irrelevant:
No matter the cause, we are faced with a major crisis or even series of crises as a result of the warming we’re undergoing at the moment.
After all, with Greenland locked up in ice for almost a thousand years, with the arctic and the antarctic massively larger than they were 1000 years ago, we’ve been building on coasts that have been dry for considerably less than that amount of time.
Whole cities have grown up on land that was covered by ocean before the Little Ice Age began [I live in one of them]. Therefore, it would behoove us to keep the Little Ice Age that we’re currently living in stable—or face violent social upheavals as the climate returns to the level that may be the actual ‘norm’ [assuming there is such a thing] and our coastal cities drown.
I guess my point is—if conditions that existed prior to the year 1000 were the norm—and we are currently living in a waning Little Ice Age which may, now, be drawing to a close—whether or not we are responsible in whole or in part for the warming—we may be fighting a losing battle as we attempt to stabilize the climate, no matter what we do.
If we’re lucky, we are the sole cause of the warming and we can slow or stop it if we clean up our acts [given our political situation, a pretty big IF.]
But, if we’re not lucky and the earth just wants to warm up, my guess is she’s gonna do it.
In a battle between us and Mother Nature—guess who’s going to win? And those of us who live along the coasts had better invest in swim fins.

May 22, 2009

Oh, Yeah—We're In Danger of Forgetting What It Is!

Congressman Broun [R-Georgia] wants to make the year 2010 the Year of the Bible. This although Ronald Reagan did exactly the same thing back in 1983. If I had known about it then, I would have been every bit as against it as I am now.

Broun uses lies to justify his stance. He claims that our founding fathers were in favor of his plan. This although the very First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .”
Either he doesn’t care that anyone with the ability to read immediately recognizes his lie—or he is deluded.
Let me ask you this: Do you consider yourself a good Muslim/Jew/Buddhist/Christian/Wiccan/Hindu/Atheist/Agnostic? If so, when was the last time you lied in order to espouse your belief? That's what I thought.

Broun goes further, even, than that. He breaks the oath he took upon assuming office. You know, the one to Preserve, Protect and Defend that pesky piece of paper, the Constitution of the United States.

Hello, Congressman Broun, not all Americans hold the Bible as their holy book. There are those who follow the Tipitaka. There are those who study the Torah and the Talmud. There are those who read the Qur’an. There are those who read the Aranyakas and upanishats. I study ‘The Seth Material’ and ‘The Michael Teachings’. Where is the Congressional Resolution for those books?

By singling out any one book, you foster discrimination against all others. This is exactly what our founding fathers warned us against and tried to protect us from. They had studied European history. They knew what a state-fostered religion would lead to. Things like witch burnings, purges, crusades, murder in the name of God.

This is not something we want to return to—even if Broun would like to take us there.
Update—May 31, 2009
By the way, this was a rather timely post, wasn't it?

Today, we witnessed exactly that. Murder in the name of God.
Do you see, Congressman Broun, what comes of promoting one religion/viewpoint at the expense of all others?

Of course, you'll denounce the murderer. It's the politically correct thing to do and you'll do it. And it will never cross your mind that you had anything to do with his actions.
Wake up.

May 21, 2009

Gingrich: Pelosi Not Good Enough Liar to be Speaker -- by Andy Borowitz
Offers Congresswoman Lying Lessons
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lashed out today at the current Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, calling the congresswoman unfit to be Speaker of the House "because she's not a good enough liar."
Mr. Gingrich, in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," said that the ability to lie seamlessly is the most important qualification for the job of Speaker, adding, "I've been in the job and I should know."
The former Speaker issued the following ultimatum to Rep. Pelosi: "She needs to get better at lying, or step down."
Mr. Gingrich offered a brutal, blow-by-blow criticism of the House Speaker's lying technique, which he said consists of "pauses, ums and uhs, stuttering - all the hallmarks of an amateur."
In contrast, he said, "When I was in her chair my lying was as smooth as a baby's bottom."
He added that if Rep. Pelosi is serious about remaining in her position, he would be "more than willing" to give her lying lessons.
"Being a good liar requires practice," Mr. Gingrich said. "Fortunately for me, I had years of practice lying to my many wives."
Newt missed a bit, though. He forgot to mention hypocrisy.
Maybe he has conveniently forgotten the fact that he did exactly what Pelosi is doing nowto the FBI—while he was Speaker. Or the fact that, while he was calling for the impeachment of Clinton, he was having an affair with one of his aides.
You can subscribe and get your very own, free, Borowitz Report delivered daily to your emailbox here.

May 16, 2009


Believe it or not, back in 1969, Nixon did something right.
He didn't just launch the fiasco of the ‘War on Drugs,’ he started a treatment-in-lieu-of-prison option for those who were caught using drugs [though not those who sold them]. And he gave the treatment programs wide latitude to develop their own approaches to the ‘problem’.
The fact that he probably added the treatment option because, for the first time, lots of middle-class kids were running into the drug culture doesn’t change the fact that the funding of the treatment option did a lot of good. How much good depended, of course, on the effectiveness of the respective programs.

In 1972, I voluntarily entered one such program called Renaissance West [Rennis]. It was a ‘year-long’ program [people could graduate successfully anywhere from 6 to 18 months after entering—as assessed by the individual, the staff and the ‘family members’ within the program]. And the focus was not on drug use.
Instead, it concentrated on the fact that the lives of clients involved in the live-in, commune-like program were out of control and they had engaged in a form of self-medication in order to make their lives tolerable.
In-depth therapy was practiced and, in fact, the entire program, from house cleaning to meals to the development of personal support systems to the group therapy sessions themselves were used to address the issue of building more effective lives for ourselves.

A learning center was included and clients who wished to do so could pursue any courses of study they chose. I picked classes on astrology, creative writing and psychology. A student from the University of Missouri at Kansas City taught several pupils in the writing course and a professor taught the psychology class in which I was the only student.
After I graduated from Rennis, I wanted to go back to college. I had flunked out twice before and when I applied, UMKC refused me entry. I solicited letters of recommendation from the directors of the program and that psychology professor who had been teaching me for the last several months. In fact, I wrote the letters and they signed them. Based on those letters, I was accepted on probation.
I was the first graduate from Rennis to enter college and I felt the full weight resting on my shoulders. If I didn’t succeed it would reflect badly on the program and on the people who had helped me get in. I HAD to do well.
During the course of our history, if a White president did a bad job, he was judged as an individual. The next person we elected was also a White Male—because that’s just what we did.
But, things are different now. For the first time, we have departed from our standard operating procedure. We have elected a type of person who is ‘different’ from our norm. [No, he’s not really different, but he is perceived as different—and that’s what matters.]
Odds are, we wouldn’t have done this if Bush/Cheney had been even remotely competent. They weren’t and, as a result, the people of this country, collectively, made history.

And Obama is in exactly the same position I was in in 1973 when I walked into my first class at UMKC. If I did well, I opened the door for other clients of Renaissance West. If I did poorly, I slammed that door in their faces. It was that simple.

Obama is what? 48 years old? I was only 25 and I recognized the fact people who I might never meet but who might attempt to follow me from Rennis to college could be adversely affected by my actions.
Doesn’t Obama realize the plain reality that, if he keeps flip-flopping, reneging on his promises, alienating the people who elected him, screwing up generally, he will close the door of the Oval Office to any person who follows him who is not a White Male?
OK. Maybe it's not so bad.
I know I'm flip-flopping myself—in fact, I'm starting to experience whiplash.

Today I saw a clip of Obama's press release during which he said he will fight the publishing of the torture photos. I hadn't, before, heard the argument that releasing them might hamper future investigations of the torture and the people who instigated it as well as those who carried it out.

OK, then. That's an argument I can understand and believe in. If they might drive the whistle blowers back into the closet—keep the pics close to your vest. So long as the reason for withholding them isn't to keep the torture as secret as it still can be kept, I'm OK with that.

I just wish he had thought this argument through before he made the initial announcement that he would release them. If he keeps doing these switch-backs he'll do neither the nation nor himself any good.

May 14, 2009

Tonight I received an email from the **ahem** “” website asking for my thoughts regarding health care.

I had just finished writing the post below and was sitting here contemplating setting my hair on fire.
And, I had a thought [a dangerous undertaking, I know, but I’m used to working without a net]:
So, I went to the url included in my email, found the contact button and gave them a piece of my mind about the refusal to release the torture photos. I told them that, while health care is an important issue, it pales in comparison to transparent government—especially in light of what Obama promised while on the campaign trail. And I used the “if they’re not likely to listen to reason, give em shame” tactic. I compared his administration to Bush/Cheney.

So—I’m asking anyone who reads this: Please go to this website and yell at them about the torture photos. And urge others to, as well. If O & Co. get enough of these change-the-subject messages, they just might sit up and take notice. It’s worth a shot, anyway.
It is just slightly possible that this is more of the same scenario I postulated on 4/21:
Back then, Obama stepped on the Justice Department's toes. And roused a protest from Holder.

Today, he stepped on the toes of the 2nd court of appeals that, in fact, just came out with the exact opposite opinion of what Obama was saying today.

So maybe, just maybe, this is all a political game. Maybe, if he steps on enough toes and gooses enough departments and branches of government, someone somewhere will grab the ball and run with it and Obama can look like the helpless bystander.

I know. I'm reaching again.
But, he gave me hope last year and I'm loath to let go of it—at least, not yet.

Turley Said It Best

Today, Obama repealed his own policy.
No more transparency—even if it has to do with crimes committed by the previous administration.
Obama has flip-flopped on releasing the pictures of torture. You know, the pictures he promised to make public on May 28? Those pictures.

There is speculation that Obama’s administration fears the pictures will be associated with it instead of the people who actually authorized the torture. WTF? Do they truly think that?
I can tell them right now—just in case they’re wondering: The people who already hate them. The ones who call him a socialist. The ones who are still demanding to see his birth certificate. The ones who hope he [and thereby, the country] fails.
Those people will say, “See? We knew Obama tortured! We knew everybody does it!” But, no one else will.

On the other hand, those of us who used to think he was on the right track, those of us who believed him when he talked about transparency, those of us who are not among the 12% of the population who identify as Republicans, are deeply, deeply disappointed. And we’re heading toward rage.

So, here we go yet further down the slippery slope:
He asked Rick Warren, a gay-bashing-bigot, to pray at his inauguration.
He has maintained Bush’s policies in regard to “Faith Based Initiatives”—even down to allowing discriminatory hiring and proselytizing before dishing out the soup and handing over the cot.
He hasn’t repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as he had promised. Gays continue to have their military careers ruined.
And he talks out of both sides of his neck when it comes to torture.

Tonight, on Rachel Maddow, Jonathon Turley, a law professor at George Washington University said, “It’s perfectly Orwellian.”
And, “What the president said today is diametrically against the Federal law.”
And, “If he succeeds, instead of having a transparent government, he would create this opaque government where you could virtually see nothing. The government could say, ‘This is going to be embarrassing. So, whatever is embarrassing to us injures national security.’”
And, “It’s just more evidence that this administration is becoming the greatest bait-and-switch in history. He is morphing into his predecessor.”

Rachel asked if these hundreds of new pictures suggest that there was an overall pattern that obviously reaches much higher than the ‘few rogue operators’ as both administrations have labeled them—and if that is the case, the whole thing will have to be investigated. And THAT is what Obama does not want to do. Turley agreed that that is exactly how this whole charade is beginning to appear.

The ACLU said it for me: When these photos come to light, “the outrage will focus not only on the Bush administration but on the Obama administration’s complicity in covering them up.”

Remember how much worse Watergate became after the cover-up started? Apparently, Obama doesn’t remember that little history lesson. And we all know what they say about those who forget history.
There is one [as Rachel would say] “teeny, tiny, tinee, teeeeeneee” little sliver of hope here.

Turley came up with virtually the same idea that I wrote about on April 21: that Obama is secretly hoping that he will be forced to release the photos—but that, for political reasons, he can’t just do it.

That COULD be the case, of course, but the more he plays these political games, the worse he looks to us hicks out in the sticks. To my mind, he’s choosing to mollify the wrong people.
Really, Obama, Cheney and Rush can't be any nastier to you than they're already being. Remember who put you where you are. Quit appeasing the criminals and start paying attention to the rest of us—or risk losing your head three-and-a-half years from now.

May 10, 2009

Absolute Denial
From the Washington Post--by Carlson
This morning on The McLaughlin Group, a poll by AP was presented:
31% of those polled identified themselves as 'conservative'. I don't remember the exact percentage of that 31% — but it was substantial — refused to identify themselves as Republican.

Eleanor reported another poll by The Washington Post in which 21% self-identified as conservative. There was no breakdown by party identification reported.

So, McLaughlin asked, reasonably enough, if the elephant is becoming extinct.
No one admitted to believing this to be the case. I agree. The same question was being asked about the Democrats just 4 years ago. [The Democrats, however, did not provide the hilarious entertainment that the Republicans are now dispensing. As a matter of fact, the Dems were, so I understand, wracking their brains trying to figure out how to appeal to more people—not fewer.]

During the ensuing discussion, Pat Buchanan accused the Democrats of gloating. Outside of blogsville, I don't believe that's true. Certainly, within the MSM, all parties are pointing to steep declines by both parties in the past and predicting a comeback.
And, let's face it, we bloggers are, for the most part, amateurs. We're not obliged to hide our snickers behind our hands. And it's a good thing—or I would bust a gut!

But here's the kicker:
Pat also declared, in a no-nonsense fashion, the Republican Talking Point, "This nation is a Right-Leaning nation!"

Amazingly, no one refuted his statement. Are the other people on the panel afraid of him as so many fear Rush?
My question to Pat is this:
How can the numbers 31% [AP] and 21% [WaPo] be construed as a majority? Those are the people who declare themselves as "Conservative"— although many of them run, screaming, away from the label "Republican."

Either Pat is lying [while the figures are right up there on the screen in front of us] or he doesn't understand how percentages work.

So, which is it, Pat? Are you a liar or an imbecile?

May 3, 2009

WHAT Were They Thinking?

I heard this tidbit on Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! this morning and, if I didn’t know the producers of the show are absolutely scrupulous about getting their facts straight, I wouldn’t have believed it.

This week it came to the attention of the Obama administration that FEMA had put out a coloring book for small children. Entitled, “A Scary Thing Happened," it was included as a pdf file on the children's page on the FEMA website.

When they discovered the coloring books the new admin ordered the book pulled from the site. They declared the subject matter inappropriate for children. Duh.

The subject of the coloring book?
Can you guess?
I’ll give you a hint:
On one of the pages, the children were invited to color a picture that featured 2 airplanes flying into the side of a tall building.

Yep. This coloring book, designed for four to eight-year-olds, depicted the details of the happenings on September 11, 2001.

The book was published in 2003—about the time that things were starting to get back to normal in most communities across the country. Well, our government couldn’t have THAT!
I suppose it was decided that one way to keep the fear in the consciousness of the public was by attacking our children. After all, if the children are having nightmares, their parents will be reminded to be afraid—be very afraid. And let the government do whatever it wants to do in the name of keeping us safe.
Here's one of the pictures the children were invited to color:

May 1, 2009

As I’ve moaned about before, I’m appalled that Obama wants to “move on” from torture.

I watched McSame last Sunday—on Face the Nation, I think—saying, “We shouldn’t do it again. We won’t do it again.”
Then he accused Democrats of playing politics with torture.

I saw Newt on some other show saying, “I think this is something we shouldn’t do,” while saying he doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture or not.

I’ve listened to Pelosi when she said: “I didn’t know about the waterboarding.”

And, Monday night, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who is on the Select Committee on Intelligence, kept telling Rachel, “As soon as I found out what happened. . . ,” “We don’t yet have all the facts. . . ,” and, “The memos were offensive.”
Other than Pelosi [how could she not have known? _I_ knew!] the Democrats are being somewhat more skilled in their dancing around the issue.

But, the fact remains, they’re dancing. In some ways they remind me of the “danse macabre” of the middle ages. And the denials throughout Europe [and here] after World War II.

Keep dancing, politicos. I’ll keep taking notes and keeping score. And, come November, 2012, I’ll remember. So will lots and lots of other people. You remember that.