Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve Island

Every New Years Eve, I like to play a game. I think about where I would live, if I could choose anywhere outside the United States. Then I spend time trying to imagine living there. I find it's a good mental preparation for dealing with the new year ahead. No matter how the coming year shapes up here, I like to imagine how it would be in the foreign country I've chosen for that year, too.

Years past have yielded many nice mental excursions. Chile, Spain, Ireland, Malta and Tahiti were happily considered in prior times. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England and Switzerland are more current choices -- although Switzerland could never be more than a summer home for me (ditto Iceland). I try to be realistic about things like hurricanes (hence no carribean countries are on my list) and ease of fitting into the culture. Lately southern France has been on my mind, traceable back to seeing "SICKO" earlier this year. Once I fixate on a country, I have to select a likely region. So I decided, why stop at the southern shore of France? Why not head out INTO the mediterranean? Let me take you on a little tour of the French Region of Corsica:

CORSICA is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, located west of Italy, southeast of France, and directly north of the island of Sardinia. It is considered one of the 26 regions of France, although it enjoys powers slightly more important than other regions due to its territorial status. It has wonderful coastal beaches, but is so mountainous, I don't think global warming rising tides will do it much harm. It's a quick bunny hop to/from the French Riveria.

The island has a Mediterran-ean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The natural vegetation is forest, woodland and shrubs, and includes a national park which protects thousands of rare animal and plant species & is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to the island's pleasant climate, tourists seek out the beautiful mountains and breathtaking coastlines. However, the island has not had the same level of intensive development as other parts of the Mediterranean and thus remains relatively unspoiled.

Ever the realist, I must note there is much political violence in Corsica's long history which has not yet resolved itself peacefully. The island has had blood feuds that make the Hatfields and McCoys look like lovebirds. They invented the word "vendetta" and mafia activity is not unknown. There are several movements on the island calling for Corsican autonomy, generally focusing on preservation of their native tongue, more power for local government, and additional exemptions to their already generous exemptions from the notoriously oppressive french taxes. They opposed Nicolas Sarkozy in the last election, so they can't be pro-bush -- I should've realized that after learning this factoid: the constitution of the Corsican Republic, written in 1755, was used as a model for the American Constitution.

Here is a little Corsican villa on a private beach that accepts pets and is available to rent by the week or month. Not convinced? Here's more photos of "our" villa environs, similar to my idea of heaven.

I even know what we could do to support ourselves there, if we made it our home! You see, Corsica is a habitat for Cork Oak (Quercus suber), a valuable and protected resource. Now, I know about Cork Oaks. They don't grow just anywhere. In fact, they are confined to particular areas of southwest europe and northwest africa. I learned about them in researching flooring products. Not too popular (yet) in America, cork flooring has many desireable qualities. In my opinion, it is a perfect flooring material. Unlike hardwood floors, cork has a resilient/spongey feel & is easy to maintain. Unlike tile floors, cork doesn't freeze your feet (it is temperature-neutral) & it doesn't echo (it absorbs sound). There are cork floors in libraries that are 100-yrs old & have never cracked or needed much maintenance. And what's even better -- cork is a renewable resource. Yes! The bark of Cork Oaks is harvested without harm to the trees! After a few branches or partial trunk is peeled, a new layer of bark forms which can then be harvested in a few years. Since Cork Oaks live 150-250 years, that's a lot of cork bark harvesting. Now, the peeling of cork bark is a skill usually passed on through generations of cork growers, ALWAYS done entirely WITHOUT machinery, but there is NO reason a motivated person couldn't learn & thus find themselves in the vanguard of providing a rare renewable raw material for a useful housing product. Remember you heard it here first!

So Corsica is my choice this year -- an island of France that enjoys all the famous french social benefits without the onerous taxes, a mild climate, relatively unspoiled coasts and mountains, our own private villa, and if we're lucky, a grove of Cork Oaks that we can harvest for the rest of our lives in a manner that is easy on the environment. Anyone care to join me on my island?

It's not perfect: the language barrier might prove difficult. The people are mostly of italian descent, speaking a dialect known as Corsu, which is considered italianate, but sounds decidedly french (much the same as portuguese sounds a bit like spanish with a french accent to american ears). My italian is Godfatherish (with many hand gestures) and my french is neant. Quelle sinistre!

I have a sample for you! This YouTube is "Fields of Gold" sung by Sting and I Muvrini, a band from Corsica. Listen carefully to their Corsu accent. How easily could you pick up that patois and have a meaningful conversation? I'm already practicing. (3.6 minutes):

Consider this my New Years present to you, my blog friends! The scenery is stunning, the men handsome, the women gorgeous, the song reminiscent of the true meaning of Auld Lang Syne, and that big smooch at the end is much like a New Years Eve midnight kiss...10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1!!!! ... Happy 2008, Everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bring Them Home Now

I had a powerful waking dream today.

They were all back home, all the Fathers and Mothers, the Sons and Daughters, the Sisters and Brothers.

They were no longer the same as before we sent them away, but they were finally back home. We gave them a heroes welcome, even though some of them knew they weren't heroes. We treated the wounded in body as well as the wounded in mind and spirit. We promised them that their sons and daughters would never be sent and spent like this again, and we meant it. We gave the kind of love a caring society gives, the whole-hearted love that comes when people share a common dream. We had so much love, we held public funerals for the dead. Then we as a nation started to heal. And a funny thing happened. As we were healing, other nations also began to heal, even ones that had sworn enmity in their hearts. Pretty soon, the whole earth started healing. And it all started when they came back home.

Bring them home now!

Jefferson Airplane 1967 "Comin' Back to Me" ...
5.2 minutes:


This has always been a tearfully emotional song for me.
I close my eyes and listen with my heart.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Czar of the Year

Note: I'm not sure I should even post this. I started working on it a few days after after learning that the TIME Person of the Year for 2007 is Vladimir Putin. I had other thoughts about who should be Person of the Year, and wanted to post them along with appropriate profile photos & links. However, the news today of Benazir Bhutto's assassination has hit me hard. So hard, I thought about yanking this. Who cares about TIME's Person of the Year? But as I look it over, I feel it has some validity, so I'm putting it up, draft format, no photos, just a few added links. As you'll see, I thought Benazir Bhutto would've been a wonderful choice for Person of the Year. I still do ...

TIME's PERSON OF THE YEAR IS VLADIMIR PUTIN

Every year, TIME Magazine profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or worse has done the most to influence the events of the year". Many times this is a controversial figure, not an admirable person. Examples in the rollcall of the infamous are: Adolph Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 & 1942, Khrushchev in 1957, Richard Nixon 1971 & 1972, and The Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

There was massive public backlash in the U.S. over Khomeini as Person of the Year. After that, TIME began steering away from those generally viewed as having a negative influence on historical events. Still, even with this newfound sensibility, TIME named Newt Gringrich in 1995, Kenneth Starr in 1998, Geo W Bush in 2000 & 2004, and Rudolph Giuliani in 2001 (even though Osama Bin Laden, by all possible criteria, was the Person of the Year for 2001).

Last year, TIME named "YOU" (yes, YOU!) as the Person of the Year for 2006. This gave many people a grand sense of self-importance, and perhaps led to unreasonable expectations for 2007. After all, once YOU have been named as Person of the Year, I think it's pretty much time to retire the whole catagory, don't YOU?

In contemplating a list of possible 2007 candidates for TIME Person of the Year, I must admit, I never even considered Putin. Here are a few possibilites I entertained (in no particular order):

BARACK OBAMA -- for capturing imagination & providing a bright ray of hope as the first african-american with a real chance to be elected president.

AL GORE -- nobel peace prize, academy award for a world-changing film, and (hello!?!) helping to bring the world's attention to bear on saving our planet.

GENERAL PETRAEUS -- for being the scapegoat and/or willing shill in the incredible months-long bush build-up to his flat squish of an assessment of the Iraq Occupation/War (complete with graphs & charts).

BENAZIR BHUTTO -- for risking her life in a self-appointed mission to return Pakistan to democratic government and dedicating her efforts toward a moderate Islam that would marginalize extremists.

THE MONKS OF BURMA -- for standing up & speaking out against a repressive regime, leading the people of their country to protest, even at the cost of their lives and torture of their bodies.

Nope, no Putin anywhere on my list. I guess I should be glad it wasn't Geo W Bush again. But truthfully, one person who scares me more than Bush is Putin. (note: to learn more about Putin, and why TIME selected him, click on above links for multiple-page articles, but I have to say, the more I learn about him, the more I dislike him.)

**** UPDATE: Click here to see the TIME runners up and People That Mattered. Am I nuts? I can't believe some of the names: Gates, Gonzo, Barry Bonds, Don Imus, B-B-B-Britney?!? (I'm speechless) ****


OK, What about YOU? If there is any validity to the concept, who did you think would be the TIME Person of the Year for 2007? Or, if you don't care about TIME and their criteria, which public figure would you say most influenced your events this year? In that catagory, I would nominate Keith Olbermann, for his "Special Comments".

It may not be everyone's cuppa, but I can't get this song out of my head today. The loss of Benazir Bhutto is a failure of humanity.

Monday, December 24, 2007

HOLIDAY WISHES

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all, whether you celebrate Christmas or not! Whatever you call the holiday season, this time of year has always been about family and friends. Reconnecting, sharing, finding an inner peacefulness ... it's all good.

And after seeing the mall parking lots full of cars & stores full of people not looking too happy today, I surely hope everyone has completed their holiday shopping. The Culture of Consumerism is alive and well in America!!!

My favorite Christmas poem/song/wish:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!

------by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Click here to read the complete poem. It's not all sweetness and light. Written during the civil war, there are two stanzas usually omitted from the familiar holiday song that are particularly dismal, but sadly applicable to our current global excursions. Expect more on that subject next year.

OK, now you know I can't leave it that way, not for Christmas Eve. I'm not that cruel! I had too much fun with this Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf vid (1.5 minutes). The look on the reindeers' faces at the end is priceless. I think Santa's sleigh must've landed on the big bad wolfie, which just goes to show ... Santa is not Dick Cheney.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Doll Story

She was the first Christmas present I really remember. I was 4 years old. She was a big doll, very similar to this photo, almost as big as I was. I don't know why, but I called her The China Doll. She really was not like those petite porcelain china princess dolls. No, she was a like a mini adult, with luscious dark curly hair and big blue eyes. In fact, she strongly resembled Patsy Cline! Now, you don't play games with a doll this big. She was more of a bedroom decoration, something to dress up and set on the dresser, or prop up in the corner next to the old 78-RPM record player. That personal record player was probably an earlier Christmas present, or maybe a birthday present. It was something for me to use in my bedroom to play my little children's records on ... songs that would drive adults crazy, like Bingo, Frere Jacque, London Bridge is Falling Down, My Darling Clementine, Old MacDonald, and This Old Man (knick-knack-paddy-whack, give a dog a bone & drive your parents absolutely nuts)!

We had this Christmas routine in my family: My brother, sister & I would all go to bed very early Christmas eve, so that we could wake ourselves up as early as possible and secretly open a few Christmas presents. Not Santa's presents. You see, I don't recall ever believing in Santa Claus. Later, for my youngest sister's sake, I went along with the Santa story, but for myself, I have no memory of ever believing in a jolly old fat man sliding down the chimney & therefore no shattering memory of finding out I'd been lied to.

For some reason, my brother & I were convinced that my parents waited until midnight to set out our Christmas presents. We never conceived that they would just wait until we were all asleep. No, to us, midnight was the magic hour. There was somewhat of a competition between us to see who could wake up shortly after midnight in order to be the first one out to inspect the goods. Whoever woke up earliest would sneak out & very quietly open a few presents. Extreme patience & stealth was necessary to peel back the wrappings without making too much noise. If you were the first one out, you could usually get a few open before anyone else woke up. Once all of us kids were out opening presents, the noise level rose appreciably, which brought the parents out. My mom would then order us BACK TO BED to wait until daylight to open the rest. Oh, we were greedy little ones, and we counted on the parents being too tired to make much of a fuss over our uncontrollable desire to quick-start Christmas Day.

I recall finding The China Doll near the Christmas Tree. She wasn't wrapped, but set up against the sandstone hearth & tagged with my name. I knew she was mine by the way she was looking at me. She was so big, she was really more like a friend than a little baby doll. She was the type of big doll a young girl could tell all her secrets to. She also guarded my bedroom at night, to make sure that no monsters could just waltz in & wreak havoc while I slept. She failed a few times, but I never held it against her.

For dolls to play with, my sister and I had the usual assortment of Chatty Cathy's and Betsy Wetsy's. For some reason, the idea of changing a wet doll diaper was highly desireable! We played the usual kinds of games with them ... like pretending the dolls were our babies, or teaching them school lessons, or setting up full place settings with tea & cookies to "feed" them & teach them table manners. We basically treated them like smaller versions of ourselves. I don't recall naming my dolls, but my sister named one of hers, "Sha-rue-ah", perhaps anticipating the whole Xena warrior phenomenon.

Now, don't tell me boys don't play with dolls. My brother played with our dolls! However, I must admit, his idea of doll "games" usually involved imagining new ways to "execute" them. Every one of our dolls was "beheaded" many times, usually preceded by an elaborate mock trial during which the doll was found guilty of some crime against humanity. They were accused of breaking various commandments, like hiding roller skate keys, or knocking over the dog's water bowl, or failing to replenish the toilet paper, sometimes they were spies-who-told-lies. The list was endless. Fortunately, the dolls' heads were removeable, so it was a simple matter to stage an "off with their heads" moment, complete with catsup on the headless neck. For my brother, I think these games with our dolls were an extension of his army men mock battles. We girls found it hilarious & used to giggle ourselves silly defending our dolls. Alas, none were spared, all received the executioner's sword. Our parents probably hoped we'd become lawyers or judges, hah!

So, what happened to The China Doll? She disappeared one year during a move! Whether my mom had decided that I wasn't really playing with her much anymore & therefore it was time to donate her to The Rez (a story for another day), or whether she was truly lost in the move, I don't know. I do know she had seen me through some frightening childhood nightmares by exerting a calming influence in my bedroom. But I quickly rebounded from her loss when I received a Barbie Doll for Christmas that same year. An original brunette 1960 in a zebra suit, just like this photo! Barbie was definitely an eye-opener, an all-american girl's dream. Hot-Cha-Cha! Never mind that no one except some freakazoid starving model can live up to that dream, Barbie made me wish fervently for a magic visit from The Boob Fairy. And Barbie was a doll that my brother NEVER messed with ... out of respect or intimidation, I'm not sure.

I hope you didn't mind this little foray into christmas past. I realize Christmas isn't all about gifts, there's the religious aspect, as well as traditional celebrations with friends & family, even winter solstice recognizing that the days will now begin slowly turning slightly longer.
I'd like to show you the band of dangerous doll-beheaders in their prime, but those pictures are not digital. Here, however, is the gang in their current existence, this week, my dad & me sitting, surrounded by my sisters & brother. On Christmas morning, I'm sure my mom's soul will still be ordering us BACK TO BED until daylight. MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wexler Live on Blog Talk Radio tonight!

BUT FIRST, news from the sicko:

Oh no! I returned from the family pre-xmas trek late last night, feeling pretty sick. Probably something I picked up a few days ago, now manifesting as the flu from hell. All I know is by 2AM, I was thinking it would be so nice to just consign myself to a coffin somewhere. That was the fever speaking. Fever and stomach cramps. By 4 AM, when the fever broke & the tremors began (the kind where your whole body feels like a high tension live wire), I was a bit delirious. Becoming obsessive over the idea of a cool sip of water, I managed to part my clenched chattering teeth just enough for a couple swallows. A barfing bad idea! Now I know what a rabid dog must feel like. Finally fell asleep after 6 AM & woke up feeling like I've gone 10-rounds in a bantam weight boxing match. Bedrest and liquids (what I can keep down), and oh how I wish I could take an aspirin for this throbbing headache. But I don't want to tempt fate & have settled for a cool cloth laid across my brow. No one is allowed in my vicinity without a germ mask, I am TOXIC, I tell 'ya.

That's why finding this email from Rep. Wexler in my inbox today (copied below) was so important to me. It might be just the Rx I need. Wexler's call for impeachment hearings for Vice-President Cheney and the signatures he has received for his petition are an inspiration for all of us to keep pursuing justice and accountability. The media blacklisting of his efforts has not deterred him one whit. And tonight, Thursday Dec 20th, he will be live on Blog Talk Radio at 9PM (EST), 6PM (PST). If you haven't already signed his petition, click here to do so. I will be listening to him online tonight, coughing & sweating on the computer, knowing that while *I* will recover soon from this nasty flu bug, America may not find it so easy to recover from this administration's crimes and cover-ups. My thoughts about the program will be in the comments, if you're interested.

**********
**********
From: Robert Wexler; Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007; Subject: Reminder Rep. Wexler on Blog Radio Tonight 9PM (EST), 6PM (PST).

Email Message:

Tonight I will appear live on Blog Radio to discuss the tremendous momentum generated by your support for Cheney Impeachment Hearings. I will articulate our next moves and how we can translate this enthusiasm into concrete steps toward impeachment hearings.
Hope you can join me.

Congressman Wexler Live on Blog Radio:
WHEN: Thursday, December 20, 9:00 pm (EST)/6:00 pm (PST)
WHERE: Blog Talk Radio
if you have trouble with that link, you can click "Hear Wexler Live" at www.wexlerwantshearings.com
WHO: Rep. Wexler will appear live on Florida Progressive Radio with host Kenneth Quinnell of the Florida Netroots Caucus, Bob Fertick of Democrats.com, as well as Dave Lindorf, author of "The Case for Impeachment," and David Swanson with AfterDowningStreet.org.

With warm regards, Congressman Robert Wexler, PO Box 810669, Boca Raton, FL 33481

**********
**********

One final thought from the sicko (me). Dissent takes many forms. Props to the french translators who got this label through:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bush Countdown


YES, it's official! The backwards clock reveals that as of today, there are 400 days remaining to Inauguration Day 1-20-09. On that glorious day, the scourge endured for eight long years will officially end, and the hard work of rebuilding our country will begin! Or at least that's what the tea leaves predict.

Until then, there are still the 400 days to get through ... which reminds me of an old Francois Truffaut film. While the title literally translates to "400 Blows", the interpreted meaning is "Raise Hell". I'm sure Molly Ivins would agree that this is exactly what we need to do for each and every day of the 400 days remaining until January 20, 2009.

Here are a few interesting facts about the number 400: 400 is the square of 20 (note: the Mayans used a Base 20 system, the significance of which I will explore below). A circle is divided into 400 grads. 400 is a self number in Base 10 (the base system we use), since there is no integer that when added to the sum of its own digits results in 400. On the other hand, 400 is divisible by the sum of its own Base 10 digits, making it a "Harshad" number. That last fact brings up a fascinating relationship between numbers and our lives. The name "Harshad" is sanskrit for "Great Joy" -- as you can tell, I am taking great joy in contemplating what will occur 400 days from now!


Warning: for the balance of this post, I will become a "Woman of the Oak" otherwise known as a Celtic Soothsayer & issue stream-of-conscious revelations ... The ancient Hebrew alphabet had 22 letters; the FINAL letter was assigned a numerical value of 400. In Hebrew, that letter is called "Tav". In Ethiopic, it is "Tau". The final letter in ancient Greek is "Upsilon", which to us is the letter "U". Since that was their final letter, to represent what we would call "W", they would've used "U" twice. Is it a coincidence that the initial by which Bush is known is the official LAST letter of ancient alphabets, and that it was assigned a numerical value of 400, which is the number of days remaining until his LAST official day in office? As one of my sisters would say, Coincidence or Crap? Women who resembled the Celtic Soothsayer have been tortured to death for being "wise women". Their reputations were fueled by their phenomenal memories which reached back ... 400 years!

OK, now let's check the americas ... Meso-America! Mayans either invented the concept of zero or inherited it from the Olmecs (who disappeared circa 4th century B.C.). They perfected it in their calendars during 4th century A.D. (europeans eventually received knowledge of zero from the arab culture after 800 A.D. -- and yes, note all these appearances of 400 or multiples of 400). Zero was represented by the Cosmic Egg. Mayans believed that adding zeroes to any number imbued it with transformative change, intensifying the nothingness of death and the totality of life within the same circle (or egg).

Let's analyze what will happen 400 days from now as the Mayans would. As a new president is sworn in, we will embark on a new Life Path. The new path suggests "genius for planning, fixing, building & making things work". It also suggests "trustworthiness & practicality". Those are the positive aspects for the new Life Path which I fervently hope will materialize. Conversely, the Life Path just ending is characterized by "sheer stubborness & dogged beliefs". In addition, the intensification factor of TWO zeroes following the number 4 suggests that the Life Path just ending was "excessively obsessive and dogmatic, narrow-minded and repressive." Dum-de-dum-dum, sound familiar? Coincidence or Crap?

This is an image of the Cosmic Zipper, made up of a cosmic egg (or zero) with a rip in the fabric of time. I bring up this concept because the Mayans have a prophesy about cosmic cycles. Their long calendar predicts the current cycle ends in the year 2012 (Dec 21, 2012 to be exact), which also happens to be a presidential election year for us. They go on to predict the 4 sun years leading up to 2012 (that is to say, the years from 2008 - 2012) will be a time of accelerated change, both in the physical Earth and within human consciousness. Sounds like we have a lot in store for us during those 4 years (there's that number 4 again), all the more important to make sure our leadership and we personally are up to the task!

Coincidentally, the next Solar Max for sunspot activity will be in 2012 & it will be the strongest in historical records. Click here for a graphic correlation of Sunspots and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. Heights of civilization are associated with strong sunspot activity. Personally, I don't like the idea of reaching a height in 2012, because that would mean the crash is that much closer. And besides, one civilization's height is another's cultural trough.

I hope none of this numerical speculation scared you away. I find it all endlessly fascinating & wish everyone had as much fun with it as I did putting it together. Sources are cited in the coments. Too bad we don't have a Mayan candidate running for 2008. Maybe in 2012?
Perhaps YOU have a coincidence about the Number 400 to share?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Steroid Nation



Please understand, I definitely do NOT approve of steroid use. But after seeing MSM sports steroid-humping news all day, I'm just wondering which is worse: BARRY BONDS or BLACKWATER juicers? Which has the potential to do more harm in the world? Why is the sports steroid story covered to death, when Blackwater steroid use increases likely deaths in Iraq and elsewhere? Many large corporations require their employees to provide random urine & blood samples; what about Blackwater? Who handles heavy artillery in a stressful situation: baseball players, corporate accountants, or Blackwater employees?

Blackwater's private army-for-hire (oops, "security force") is accused of failing to control steroid use [<--- nice, quick read] among its mercenary goons (oops, "contractor guards") which helps foster the culture of lawlessness (oops, "legal immunity") known as Order Number 17 [<---excerpt from The Nation].

Beyond the physical changes associated with steroid use, some of the troubling mental side effects are: increased aggression & anger ("roid rage"), hypomania (inflated self-esteem, psychomotor agitation, uncontrollable impulsivity), hostility, arrogance, paranoid personality disorders, and impaired judgment.

Any doubts? Watch this youtube Blackwater Psycho Killers (5.25 minutes) and tell me these guys aren't juicing ...



Or watch Jeremy Scahill who wrote the book on this Shadow Army.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Third Man

For deliberate obfuscation, you can hardly beat political polls. The latest one released today by CNN/Opinion Research is a national poll asking if ______ were the Republican candidate, who would you vote for? This question was asked about the top 4 republican candidates vs the top 3 democratic candidates.

Click to read the full CNN poll. Warning: reading polls can cause brain damage/death. I will save you the trouble by summarizing:

REPUB ...... vs ...... DEM
Guiliani = 45% vs Clinton 51%
Guiliani = 45% vs Obama 52%
Guiliani = 44% vs Edwards 53%

Romney = 43% vs Clinton 54%
Romney = 41% vs Obama 54%
Romney = 37% vs Edwards 59%

Huckabee = 44% vs Clinton 54%
Huckabee = 40% vs Obama 55%
Huckabee = 35% vs Edwards 60%

McCain = 50% vs Clinton 48%
McCain = 48% vs Obama 48%
McCain = 44% vs Edwards 52%

Now, I'm no statistical whiz, but there are a few things about these numbers that fairly JUMP off the page. All 3 dems beat Guiliani by about the same margin. All 3 beat Romney, but it is Edwards who destroys him (by 22-points). Same with Huckabee (Edwards whups his evangelical ass with an amazing 25-point spread there). McCain beats Hillary, ties with Obama, and loses to Edwards (by 8-points). Edwards does the best head-to-head against Republicans!

Does anyone recall The Third Man Political Theory? Edwards is losing ground in the democratic party right now, while Hillary & Obama vie for top place. He is "the third man". But in a national poll of registered voters of all parties, Edwards beats the opposition by greater margins than Hillary or Obama. The Third Man theory involves a scenario where the top 2 contenders are closely tied, but neither side can stomach throwing their support to the other. This stalemate enables the third man, as everyone's second choice, to win the day (although my preferred scenario would be for Edwards and Obama to join forces).

The margin of victory becomes extremely important in the General Election, because thanks to our new improved electronic voting system, in a close election, the ability to manipulate results almost guarantees a republican victory, regardless of the actual vote results. I'm sorry if this sounds pessimistic, but the democrats will need the strongest candidate to overcome electronic prejudice.

OK, I grant you the full impact of Oprah's endorsement of Obama has yet to be felt. He may emerge way out in front in the next few days. Now, I would truly be happy with Obama as my candidate. He's an inspiring man with a fine legal mind, and it would make me proud to see him in the White House. But there remain some issues on which I lean strongly to Edwards. How we achieve universal health care is one. Here is Edwards' current health care policy statement. Too long? Cut to the chase, which for me is the final paragraph:

"New Competition for Private Insurers: The Edwards plan creates new choices for American families. The new Health Care Markets will be available to everyone who does not get comparable insurance from their jobs or a public program and to employers who choose to join rather than offer their own insurance plans. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. The markets will include a new public plan similar to Medicare. If enough people choose the public plan, then the US will evolve towards a single-payer plan. As a result, private insurers will face new rules and competitive pressures to hold down their costs and deliver better coverage. "

Only Edwards and Kucinich have addressed the Single-Payer issue to my satisfaction. Another important issue difference for me is nuclear power development which I reviewed in a previous post about Yucca Mtn.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

War and Peace

This week one of the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Walls came through Utah. Husband E.K. and I have never seen the original in D.C. or a traveling replica, so we decided to attend. We weren't sure how it would affect us. E.K. served a tour in RVN as a Marine. He wanted to see the names of two particular fallen marines. They call it The Wall That Heals. Benches stocked with kleenex tissues bear testimony to the strong emotions evoked.

There are large binder displays to assist finding specific names on the wall (over 58,000 names) allowing searches under various criteria. We quickly located one name, the young marine who'd inspired E.K., by example, to join the Marine Corps College Officer Training Program in 1966. He died in Quang Tri 1968 at age 22 (before E.K. had even finished boot camp).

The second fallen marine proved a bit more difficult to locate ... so difficult, there was a discombobulating moment when E.K. wondered if maybe he had been mistaken all these years, if maybe his friend did not die afterall?!? For that brief moment, the emotions did run very high. However, we joined the lines at the computer where a quick search revealed his name was safely on The Wall. This marine volunteered to stay behind when the marines were deploying out of Vietnam in 1971. He was killed in country a year later when an enemy rocket mortar hit his tent. E.K. was in the last marine artillery battalion to leave Vietnam. It would be a few more years before we met & married.

We also spent time looking at the various displays. The Wall was very controversial when it was first built. Many people called the design a nihilistic black wailing wall, or a dark pit of despair. However, from its opening ceremony to today, it has become a powerful memorial as people quickly appreciated the opportunity to honor the soldiers' sacrifices, their service and courage, and draw from the experience lessons for today's life and life in the future. Was Viet Nam the precursor to today's oil wars? If so, as more people here stop supporting those wars, will they end the same sad way, with so many pointless deaths? Or are we at a point in our military prowess, with oil profiteers at the civilian helm, where the ending will be much MUCH worse? These are just a few of the real questions for our country to be thinking about, instead of whether Mitt Romney is a christian or Barry Bonds takes steroids.

So, were we *personally* healed, did we find some peace, in our visit to The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall? I think the answer is partially yes, demonstrated by our conversation as we departed in advance of a big rainstorm:
E.K. : "What was the war for?" ... D.K. : "Nothing."
As E.K. nodded his head in agreement, I realized this is not how that conversation would have happened in years past. There would've been passionate analysis and much discussion of motives & details. However, just seeing all those names there, starkly etched on the long black wall, had said it all. The names of the fallen, those who died, now live only in our memories. So, the conversation ends, trails off .... the war was for NOTHING! Sadly, I foresee another generation repeating this same conversation in a few years.

People leave many things on the wall. Here are a couple (click up):











As This Old Brit reminds us, today, Saturday, December 8th, is the anniversary of John Lennon's murder in New York. For me, as the war in Vietnam drug on, he verbalized the rational anger we were feeling back home here in the states as our friends and loved ones were serving in SE Asia. I'd like to leave you with Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" which remains the message I felt then and still feel today (plus! check out footage of Callaghan Hall @ UC Berkeley) 5-minutes:


ps, our visit to the wall replica was very timely considering that Friday, December 7th, was Pearl Harbor Day, the event that propelled my father and his brothers into the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The Wall reminded me that soldiers serve where we send them. It's up to us to ensure they are always and only sent wisely. The alternative is what we saw in Viet Nam and are seeing today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Shell Shocked ?

Today's news has left me feeling a bit shell-shocked. Suddenly, I find out WWIII is not just around the corner, after all. Or is it? Certainly an administration that would ignore verifiable intelligence, promote faulty intelligence, lose important document trails, and rearrange facts to fit a desired scenario would not be hesitant to continue with their planned next level of terror just because of an inconvenient NIE report. So, while I may breathe a little easier tonight, tomorrow will still find the same neocons in charge, the same warmongers with the same global oil agenda. Maybe I should be grateful for one night's sleep, at least.

Now, this shell-shocked feeling reminds me that Naomi Klein's new book, "The Shock Doctrine", might make a nice holiday present. Her ideas are quoted on many blogs I read, like Proud Progressive and Dada's Dally and Tomcat's Politics Plus. You can read more about "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" on Naomi Klein's website, where you'll also find links to many of her recent articles.

Doesn't it feel like we've been in Shock'n'Awe since 2000? We're acting like a nation of shell-shocked soldiers who've been exposed to horrendous unspeakable acts. Regularly, we are subjected to new crises that seem deliberately planned and exploited. Our responses range from acute panic attacks to who-cares-anymore mental & physical paralysis. Those are typical symptoms of shell-shock. Other symptoms are depression & nightmares. Sound familiar? I hope Naomi Klein is correct in her assertion that we can work our way out of this mental morass once we recognize WHAT has happened and WHY it has happened. I look forward to reading her book.

Meanwhile, here's a little promotional video (6.75 minutes):


ps, a traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall replica is coming nearby soon. We've never seen one before and are not sure what to expect. Husband is ex-marine viet vet. I've heard it can be very powerful ...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Late Night Dreaming of Mtn Climbing

Dedicated to those of you who have had a very hard week, who have felt like you were struggling up a mountain, who did not know if you could hang on until the weekend, worrying about things that make sleep elusive. When you finally reached the end of the workweek, did you decide to try it again, this time without ropes or shoes?

Enjoy the great Patrick Edlinger in the Gorges du Verdon:


Yes, the latter part of this video is without ropes or shoes or gloves!

Patrick Edlinger, a native of Dax, a spa town in Southwest France, is one of the living legends of free climbing, solo, bare-handed & bare-footed, the dizzying cliffs of Verdon. He has distinguished himself in high-level cliff climbing and in competition. He continues to practice and live his passion.

Need inspiration for your weekend workout? Watch Patrick Edlinger "training" (3-minutes). Must be something in the water there in Dax, France!

Now, equal time for women! Here is Catherine Destivelle, another french climbing legend, solo climbing not too far from where I currently reside (and she's not even breathing hard at the end):

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mushie to Bush: A Scorned Lover's Lament


A tearful Musharraf shed his uniform today. I admit, I'm not much of a poet, but there is something so sad about the jilted lover aspect of this, I felt inspired to say it in verse. Consider it a follow-up to my Hi'Ya Mushie phone call post.


I Took it Off for You
A Scorned Lover's Lament

I took it off for you.
Now tell me what to do ...
When Benazir bites my ass,
And the Pashtoons give me sass,
While Waziristan waits in the wings,
And suiciders throw everything
At my pitifully reduced powers
Even now, in The Nuclear Hour.

What's a poor dictator to do?
I figured YOU'd have a clue,
Though it's true you're busy stalking
That nervy Iranian who's balking.

Oh, I'm feeling a little bare
Standing here in my underwear.
I took it off for you.
Now tell me what to do!!!

ps, send Condi my love and these slightly used black calfskin gestapo boots.


**** Now to get that bad taste out of your mouth, click HERE for the lovely Crystal Gayle: Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue ****

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Do we ever learn anything? a small sample ...

This little outburst of YouTube was inspired by Enigma's son asking what music did you listen to when you were my age. I listened to a lot of protest music, so these are a few protest songs I listened to as a teenager. The war in Viet Nam was raging & failing, yet many people seemed to be mentally stuck on sticking it out. Anti-war sentiment built up & spilled out into the streets. Have we learned anything since then? I used to think we might learn someday, but now I'm not sure. In viewing some of the updated video footage, I see I'm not the only one struck by similarities separated by 40-years. Ah, but I was so much older then ...


I feel like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag by Country Joe and The Fish:
as sung live at Woodstock, a good introduction to 60's war protest attitude



Untitled Protest by Country Joe (with updated video footage):
offered as proof that Country Joe and evocative anti-war music are timeless



Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire (updated video footage produced by Mickey Morris): "There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave"



The Chimes of Freedom Flashing by Bob Dylan:
"Flashing for the Warriors whose strength is not to fight, Flashing for the Refugees on the unarmed road of flight, and for each and every underdog Soldier in the night" ... this is for anyone who's ever had an epiphany during an all-out lightning storm.


For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield (video by Jordan Sharp):
"Something's Happening Here" ... classic scenes from back in the day



Finally, a soldier's poignant memories of war ... I wanted to leave you with this one because I was a devoted Tim Buckley fan. His songs & sad haunting voice live forever, despite his tragic early death. Here, then, is Once I was a Soldier:



Of course, there was much other good 60's protest music, but this is enough for one sitting. We had lots of other good music, too, but that's another post. Do you have a favorite protest song?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Tucker Carlson said today that a poll of which presidential candidates you would like to share your Thanksgiving meal with had HILLARY as the clear winner. I'm sure she has other plans, Tuck, but if she shows up at my house, I will treat her nicely until she starts criticizing my turkey. Anyone who criticizes my turkey is normally treated to a turkey leg up the nose and some giblet gravy smeared on their ass ...... Fair Warning, Hill.

The only thing worse than Hillary showing up for Thanksgiving, would be this guy with his styrofoam turkey ---------->>>>

ummm, tell me, corporal, what size slice of this here phoney bird would you prefer? Those nasty dems can try to cut back war funding, but I will always find some good turkey-shaped plastic for my troops. Howza 'bout some play-doh yams? Yummy!!!

And, of course, the only thing worse than either Hillary or Bush showing up for my Thanksgiving turkey, would be .... you guessed it!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!

Hey, I'm saving BOTH turkey legs, just in case.

And I always have plenty of Giblet Gravy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Declining Empire

Watch Brit Tony Benn Beat Punk-Ass Bolton to a Pulp, 5-minutes of BBC fun! Why don't we see smackdown shows like this in America? Was that Benazir Bhutto sitting on the panel? The Zen of Benn:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Are you a potential Yucca Mtn downwinder? CNN bumps further discussion to cover the important diamonds or pearls for hillary issue ...

For me, one of the many disappointing things about the Nov 15th CNN Democratic "Debate" in Las Vegas was the exchange about Yucca Mountain, currently being constructed apprx 90-miles NW of Vegas. Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository is a planned one-stop nuke shit-site for our nation's nuclear waste. If it ever becomes operational, you will be shipping all your locally produced nuclear waste products thousands of miles by road & rail to be buried in the Nevada desert. You may think that once it is gone from your neighborhood, you are safe. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth ... because there is NO safe solution for nuclear waste!

Yucca Mountain is located within the Nevada Test Site, where almost 1,000 above- and below-ground nuclear tests were conducted between 1951 and 1992. The "sneeze map" above shows actual nuclear fallout as it escaped the Test Site during some of those years and entered the prevailing jet stream. And don't think you are safe in central California up through the Pacific Northwest just because you didn't get sneezed on during those years. The winds do not always blow west to east, as the recent California Wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds prove. This map only shows airborne fallout patterns. Any nuclear storage site will also be subject to leakage and seepage, both above and below ground, with contamination effects lasting over 24,000 years (to put that into perspective, we were painting wooly mammoths on the cave walls of Lascaux 20,000 yrs ago). Leaking containers, rotting structures, earth movement, subsidance, water table changes, floods, major climate changes, deliberate sabotage & terrorist magnets are only some of the problems that could compromise a storage site in a 24,000-yr timeframe. And that doesn't even begin to address the basic problem of shipping nuclear waste through America's small towns & big cities, the possible accidents along the way that could result in vast contamination areas.

I guess you can tell that I have a personal interest in this matter. Having grown up in Las Vegas and currently residing in SW Utah, I have some knowledge of the continuing problems faced by Downwinders. The atomic tests were a fact of life for me. Hey Mom, what's that noise, why is the ground swaying? Oh, they are conducting a test today, want to go watch the next one? Everybody is invited! You can read a few eye-witness accounts and resultant health nightmares from people who were considered "a low use segment of the population" in an excellent well-referenced article called "Killing Our Own" (warning: scroll thru the references, but it's still a lengthy article that you won't be able to stop reading). The photo at the beginning of this paragraph is the most infamous of the above-ground radioactive blasts, dubbed Dirty Harry, a 32-Kiloton device fired from a tower at the Nevada Test Site on May 19, 1953, as part of Operation Upshot/Knothole. See photos of other nuclear tests here. Such pretty pictures, such a deadly heritage.

Back to the CNN Blitzer-hosted "debate": What irritated me was the soft-nuke answers provided by the two candidates who actually were allowed to answer. Obama said "I don't think nuclear power is necessarily our best option, but it has to be part of our energy mix", later citing "solar, wind, biodiesel, clean coal and superior nuclear technology". Richardson, drawing on his Secretary of Energy experience, wants to "turn Yucca Mountain into a national laboratory ... to find a way to safely dispose of nuclear waste". Sorry, Obama and Richardson, I see NO solution to the disposal of nuclear waste; therefore, I do not think nuclear power or Yucca Mountain are options at all.

A little more pleasing was this exchange, in September, when Tim Russert moderated the Democratic Candidate's "Debate" at Dartmouth. From the 30-second lightning round:
Russert: "Mr. Edwards, would you be in favor of developing more nuclear power here in the U.S.?"
Edwards: "No."
Russert: "Period?"
Edwards: ... "in less than 30-seconds."
Russert: "Obama, nuclear power?"
Obama: ..."can't take it off the table ... have to store it properly & safely ..."
Russert: "Congressman Kucinich?"
Kucinich: ... "they never factor in the cost of storage, which continues FOREVER ..."

Well, I'm afraid we need much more dialogue than that! I'm afraid there is too much temptation to consider nuclear power as just another alternative energy source & possible solution to global warming. Many do not want to face up to the reality of the cost and technical challenges of waste disposal. We all need to understand that ill-thought out choices today will leave future generations with a legacy of nuclear waste that could even dwarf global warming issues.

America is certainly not alone in this situation. France keeps a low profile on its nuclear program, emphasizing only the positive aspect of independence from fossil fuels. However, France is no nearer than we are in deciding what to do, either with their own nuke waste, or other European countries' waste they were originally so eager to store. At least Europe is also investing heavily in solar, wind and biofuels. Russia and its former satellite republics have huge stocks of nuclear waste, most of it military. China? Well, call me dubious, but I don't trust a country that sends us lead-painted mercury-filled toys & goods produced in contaminated worker environments, to safely store their nuclear waste, either.

In my opinion, nuclear power is neither viable nor an option. No community wants to live near a nuclear power plant or deal with the waste. And attempting to route our nation's nuclear waste to Nevada is not a solution. Think of what is already in the Nevada ground and ready to be reborn should the Yucca Mountain project ever suffer an accident. Look at the sneeze-map again. Ah-chooh!

And, what if there is a radiation transportation incident in your area? Each state has its own program, but here is the Dick & Jane style three-point DHS and DOT (I'm-seriously-not-making-this-up) advice on how to limit your exposure:
TIME: Limit time spent around the radiation source.
DISTANCE: Increase distance from the radiation source.
SHIELDING: Increase shielding from the radiation source with protective barriers such as building walls ---------------------- D.K. note: that comforting advice sounds like, get into your lead-lined DeLorean & drive like a bat out of hell, BEFORE the radiation incident occurs, so you can get BACK! to the Future!!! Oh ho-hum, I suppose they will also raise the terrorist alert level to RED, which should help a bunch. What do you think?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Avatar

OK, so this is it. Hope you all like my orange hair.

I feel like a fortune-teller in that fussy headband with beaded embroidery and dangling gems. A ginger gypsy?!?

Thank you bloggers for staying with me through this long arduous process ... arduous for me, the non-blogger! Next task: a blogroll.

And thank you, Alphonse Mucha ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Alphonse Mucha


OK, so I'm still in a Retro mood. If you were around the hippy scene in the 1960's, you probably remember Alphonse Mucha. His art was on everything from Zig-Zag rolling papers to Moet & Chandon champagne. Posters of "Mucha's women" adorned the walls of many night clubs, record shops & clothing stores. His colorful drawings were incorporated into advertising promo pieces for cultural events. There was Mucha wallpaper, carpeting, book illustrations, magazine ads, etc. My memories of that era are forever colored by his art.


Mucha's women were beautifully healthy, clothed in flowing neoclassical robes & usually surrounded by flowers. Their innocence shines through, even when provocatively posed. Mucha's art was so pervasive & seemed such a perfect representation of the flower child era, I never realized at the time that this was a revival for Mucha, who had died in 1939. He was born in 1860 in Moravia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that eventually became part of the modern Czech Republic. He had the great good fortune of achieving early commercial success within the Art Nouveau movement, which his bio says irked him since he thought it frivolous & unimportant (art critics did not agree). In 1939, as a 79-yr old still-active painter of nationalist pan-slavic history, Mucha was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo & died in prison.

If you have a few unoccupied moments, you can pass them quite pleasurably at a website called Olga's Gallery which features about 120 Mucha paintings, not only his early work, but also the later more political canvasses. You may notice I picked up an avatar at Olga's. The image reduction is such that I'm not happy with the final product. Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

VOTE The Nation

Gore Vidal asked people to vote their choice of Democrat candidates, if the primary were held today, in a poll sponsored by The Nation. He likes Dennis Kucinich whom he compared to James Madison. Click on the VOTE link below to read the entire text. To check the results, click on the Cast your Vote link in the article. Hint: Hillary is NOT leading, not even close.

What do you think of this poll?

To read entire text, including articles about other dem candidates, click: VOTE The Nation

Here is a pasted snip...

THE NATION
Dennis Kucinich by Gore Vidal
online 11/8/07 for the 11/26/07 issue

If the Democratic presidential primary were held today in your state, whom would you support? Cast your vote in the Nation Poll.


For the past two years I've been crisscrossing the United States speaking to crowds of people about our history and politics. At the same time, would-be Presidents of the greatest nation in the country, as silver-tongued Spiro Agnew used to say, have been crowding the trail, while TV journalists sadly shake their heads at how savage the politicos have become in their language. But then, it is the task of TV journalists to foment quarrels where often none properly exist.

As I pass through the stage door of one auditorium after another, I now hear the ominous name of Darth Vader, as edgy audiences shudder at the horrible direction our political discourse has taken. Ever eager as I am to shed light, I sometimes drop the name of the least publicized applicant to the creaky throne of the West: Dennis Kucinich. It takes a moment for the name to sink in. Then genuine applause begins.


He is very much a favorite out there in the amber fields of grain, and I work him into the text. A member of the House of Representatives for five terms since 1997, although many of his legislative measures have been too useful and original for our brain-dead media to comprehend. I note his well-wrought articles proposing the impeachment of Vice President Cheney, testing the patriotic nerves of his fellow Democrats, but then the fact of his useful existence often causes distress to those who genuinely hate that democracy he is so eager to extend. "Don't waste your vote," they whine in unison--as if our votes are not quadrennially wasted on those marvelous occasions when they are actually counted and recorded. Meanwhile, Kucinich is now at least visible in lineups of the Democratic candidates; he tends to be the most eloquent of the lot ...

... I asked a dedicated liberal his impression of Kucinich; he wondered if Kucinich was too slight to lead a nation of truly fat folk. I pointed out that he has the same physical stature as James Madison, as well as a Madisonian commitment to our 1789 Constitution; he is also farsighted, as demonstrated by his resolute opposition to Bush's cries for ever more funding for the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More to the point, in October 2002 he opposed the notion of a war then being debated. For those of us at home and in harm's way from disease, he co-wrote HR 676, a bill that would insure all of us within Medicare, just as if we were citizens of a truly civilized nation.

... Gore Vidal is a prolific novelist, playwright and essayist, and one of the great stylists of contemporary American prose.

******************** Now for some serious fun, check out Pursey Tuttweiler's Big Impeachment Party currently in progress! *************

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sounds of Silence



I heard some talk yesterday about how this election is shaping up similar to 1968. Someone said Hillary is like Hubert Humphrey (the entrenched party favorite, long time insider), that Obama and Edwards are like Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy (you decide who is who). Those are the so-called top-tier Democrats. In the lower tier, we have, among others, the fearless Dennis Kucinich who always knows where he stands & is therefore released from trying to play the polls. We don't hear much about the lower-tier Dems; their messages are sounds of silence in the media.

All of this talk of 1968 has me remembering: Eugene McCarthy had done well in the early primaries. Bobby was being pressured to run, but wouldn't commit. Then LBJ announced he would not seek re-election, and I went downtown to volunteer at a make-shift RFK campaign office that sprang up overnight. He galvanized people like no one I have ever seen. The organizers held seminars for us; they wanted to make sure every volunteer knew where Bobby stood on the issues, so that we could represent him well. They arranged media blitzes & voter registration drives & amassed lists of people who would need to be prodded & even physically taken to the polls to vote in the primaries. We lowly volunteers handed out a lot of brochures, campaign buttons & other promo items. We made industrial-strength coffee by the gallon & provided donuts & cookies at public gatherings. We went to supermarkets & other public places, set up little tables with candidate info & attempted to engage with people about Bobby. I reasoned with republicans and democrats alike, pointing out where RFK differed from others & why his philosophy was better. We were told to never make personal attacks, to stick to the issues -- if anyone tried to get personal, we were to refer them to the campaign office people. It was a real grass-roots eye-opening experience for a skinny 16-yr old who wore too much make-up & ironed her hair.


The night Bobby died, June 5, 1968, I had stayed up late to follow the important California primaries. Then I stayed up some more to hear Bobby's victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. I remember being elated, but so tired, I could hardly keep my eyes open. As soon as he waved goodbye to the crowd, I flipped the TV off & trudged to bed. Early the next morning, my Dad tip-toed softly into my bedroom & said, "your guy's dead". I still can't explain how I even knew what he was talking about, but I immediately did know Bobby had been assassinated.


A few days later, I volunteered for McCarthy (I was "Clean for Gene"), but it was an empty effort for me. I was too young to go to the Chicago convention, even though I knew others from the campaign who did go. They went thinking mass protests would derail the Humphrey steamroller machine. They carried signs that said, "Dump the Hump". We did not want another political hack, an LBJ yes-man, to win the nomination. You've all seen the pictures from that convention, the heavy-handed police vs the mostly earnest college kids trying to make their voices heard.


End result: we got Hubert H. Humphrey, who ran a carefully crafted, but ultimately losing campaign. One of the key issues was his failure to differ from LBJ on continuing the Vietnam war. Oh sure, he wanted to do things differently, but he still maintained the goal of stopping communism in SE Asia, which meant the war would continue. HHH lost to Nixon. Vietnam drug on until 1975, eventually costing over 58,000 American lives & uncounted millions of Vietnamese deaths. You know the rest of the story.


Today, I am recognizing the similarities of 2008 to 1968. Are you? I'm afraid Hillary is the Humphrey of today, and that her unwillingness to state how & when she will end our military involvement in Iraq, no matter how slickly worded, is a losing position for the Democrats. I'm afraid she is the democratic candidate who will have the toughest fight in the General Election. I'm afraid she will lose, and we will end up with Rudy or Romney, and then heaven help us. I'm also afraid she will win, and we will end up with only a slightly different strategy, still going down the same road to hell. Tell me I'm wrong. Please.


Better yet, tell me if any candidate is speaking to you the way RFK did, with words like, "What's been going on in the U.S. for these last years, the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment, the war, that must end. We are a great country, a selfless country, a compassionate country & now we must work together. That is the basis of my candidacy."

**********

********** Enigma of Watergate Summer has a couple of inspirational posts up right now: "Mainstream Media" has another RFK video & asks us why the media isn't covering important issues & what we can do about it. Also see "Catching Light" with a Simon-Garfunkel video that captures Dennis Kucinich (in the clearing stands a boxer ....)


********** And don't let the media also silence news about Pakistan: Bhutto arrested, but vows to go ahead with protest rallies today, 11/9/07. Follow the news ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hi'ya, Mushie!

Bush is taking heat today for not personally calling & talking to his good friend, Musharref, about the State of Emergency declared in Pakistan. I, for one, am glad he has not. Otherwise, CNN might have to report this conversation:

Bush: Hi'ya Mushie, how's it going?
Mush: Great! We are having wonderful success in controlling our terrorists.
Bush: Fantastic! which terrariss exactly are ya controlling?
Mush: So far, we are having best luck with students, activist groups, journalists, attorneys & judges, and vocal members of the opposition party & their familes.
Bush: hmmm, those are surely bad terrariss. What methods ya using?
Mush: We have removed them from society so they will not pollute our patriotic citizenry.

Bush: How ya gonna keep the patriotic citzenry from contamination by any sneaky terrariss you have not removed yet?
Mush: We have shut down all forms of mass communication, such as telephones, TV, radio, newspapers, graffiti & the internet.
Bush: Let me know how that internets thang goes down. Hey, what about satellite dishes, sneaky terrariss will surely use those to broadcast their messages of unpatriotic hate.
Mush: Good point -- today we have outlawed satellite dishes.

Bush: Well, it seems like ya done a heckuva job there, Mushie!
Mush: Thank you, Mr. Bush, Pakistan is feeling so much more secure now. Why, I have not heard one disparaging remark about myself since declaring a State of Emergency.
Bush: Darnit, I sure do wish I had me some of those State of Emergency powers. Oh, almost fergot! Condi wanted me to ask you to remove your uniform.
Mush: If I remove my uniform for anyone, it will be for Condi.
Bush: Awww, she'll be so pleased to hear that.
Mush: Well Mr. Bush, I am seeing some terrariss, errr terrorists, needing my controlling right now, so I'd better go ...

Bush: Wait, wait! Cheney wanted me to ask, how'd ya like to come over here & help me control my terrariss, after you're all done controlling your own, of course?
Mush: Would I be able to keep my uniform?
Bush: Mushman, you are one tough negosheeator! I'll have to ask Big Dick & get back to ya. He's the only one who can override Condi since he works outside the executive branch. Maybe they can figure out a diplomatic shared uniform arrangement. Meanwhile, you jest let me know if them terrariss you're controlling begin overflowing your jail accomodations. We got some Black Site Detention Centers just begging for a little controlling experience.
Mush: I don't think that will be necessary. We have plenty of soccer stadiums at our disposal....

Pakistan Locked Down

click to read more

stay on top of it

Monday, November 5, 2007

Keith Olbermann 11/05/07

This 11-minute Special Comment is a must-see. Keith was in fine form tonight. The subject is: Waterboarding.

Assuming Torquemada Bush watches Countdown, I wonder what the Whitehouse Laundry will encounter in the pants that our "Mock President" was wearing tonight? Then again, perhaps they are used to applying heavy-duty solvents in cleaning all his clothing. I mean, he has crapped all over our country & constitution, why would he spare his own trousers? By now, his rock-hard boxers, after years of industrial-strength detoxifiers, must really chafe. As he attempts to pull on a fresh stiff pair tomorrow, Laura will hear him squeal, "aaaack, this is torchure, 'Merica dudint torchure, 'speshly not da prezzynads 'nads". She will sigh, as she does every morning, reaching for the Febreeze Tenderizing spray and muttering, "I gotta get a lockout key for Keith's show".

Waterboarding is torture; torture is illegal; Bushco has authorized & condones it; let the criminal court trials begin! Many retired JAGs will be happy to testify.

But don't worry, Mr. Pissy-Pants and your pukey pals, I believe Paraguay is still one of the countries that you have convinced to exempt themselves from the International Criminal Court. [note: link concerns US pressure to expand exempted countries] ... Buh-Bye, SonOfaBush!

Lions for Lambs



Robert Redford's new movie, "Lions for Lambs" will be opening at theatres this week. It's about post-9/11 politics, education & the press. Redford plays a Vietnam vet professor. Tom Cruise plays a Republican Senator spinning military strategy for the network news. Meryl Streep plays a TV reporter. The movie concept intrigues me. May it generate some sorely needed dialogue.

I've always liked Mr. Redford's unorthodox style. He earned a college baseball scholarship, but was expelled from the Univ of Colorado in the mid-1950's for drinking. He has said his real education began as he traveled around Europe & met other young people who were smartly political. He eventually landed in New York, where he studied Art before turning to Acting.

No one doubts where Redford stands as a longtime crusader for social justice & activism. He loathes this "stupid war" in Iraq & laments a "press that has rubber-stamped" this administration's agenda. He expresses "frustration with what we've lived with for so many years now" and sadness over "the losses we've experienced at the hands of this leadership". But he is also distressed by a generation that has buried itself in video games. America would be a very different place right now had there been a draft in effect for the war in Iraq, he says: "For one thing, this administration would be toast by now" because "students would have paid a lot more attention to this war".

Redford says he hopes "Lions for Lambs" will be a catalyst to provoke thought. The film invites viewers to weigh the choices that elected officials, journalists, academics and soldiers make in the morally swampy era of Bush administration foreign policy.


Here are some excerpts from a Times Online review of "Lions for Lambs": The story unfolds in real time, during the course of a single day, and explores many of the issues that are dear to Redford’s heart via three separate strands – the role of the media (how, in the present climate, can it step away from being the Government’s propaganda machine?), the politicians’ justification of the War on Terror, and the losing battle of educators (Redford plays the anguished professor) to prevent students retreating into a torpor of cynical lassitude because they feel helpless to effect change.

The power of the film is the juxtaposition of two injured soldiers – former students of the professor – waiting to be killed by the Taliban on the snowy mountains of Afghanistan, while in the safety of lecture rooms and living rooms and White House offices, politicians, professors and students, reporters and editors, argue about how to end this war.

Redford is not at all optimistic about the future: “The bottom line has taken over everything, including journalism. It’s surprising, frankly, that the studios would take a chance on this film. There has been so much damage to our country ... and there’s such a negative impression of America throughout the world, and for these people to be talking about democracy while practising policies that are so undemocratic …..................”
... “You know, what I can’t forget or forgive is that we were asked to give up our freedoms and let them do what they needed to [after 9/11], and we zipped our lips and gave up challenging the election because they had a difficult job. And it sure was good timing for them ....................."

{quick note: sorry for the interruption, but D.K. wishes to thank Bob for the shortened understatements above, realizing that had he completed his thoughts, we would now find ourselves on a short bus whose next stop is ... Twilight Zone Det Camp #9 ... let us now resume Redford's Times Online interview quote} ...

“We gave up criticising the administration and our president, and we all saluted and marched in lock-step in support, only to be lied to and cheated, and send young people in harm’s way to unnecessarily risk losing their lives. That made me angry ... now I’m past anger and in a state of mourning ... Freedom of opinion, freedom of debate and dissent, that’s what democracy means, but it’s all been shut down now."


Lions for Lambs opens nationwide on November 9.

Watch the movie trailer released to international audiences, 2-1/2 minutes: