Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Music Blogging

With a special dedication going out to Barack Obama...

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Does Barack Obama have a shred of dignity left?

2) Nice touch. In front of a room full of children, too, and have you ever noticed how he starts this whole "gangsta rap" rhthym when he's talkin' 'bout Hill? Like he be Will Smiff or sumpin' sumpin'? And to think everyone got all rowdy when Biden be callin' him "articulate," an shi'likedat!

3) Disgraceful. Simply disgraceful.

4) In the past six months, Citigroup has lost more money than the budgets of several large states!

5) Yet, Obombers look like they're trading in the stock market: total disconnect from the reality of American life.

6) Lose $21 billion or so in less than a year, and your stock goes up.

7) Just in case you think America is safe, just look up New Madrid Fault.

8) Maybe God's angry at Barack Obama for being such a jerk to His people?

9) And will someone finally reconcile Obama's comments about religion as a crutch or drug and his adult-life-long love affair with a hate-mongering preacher whose church he attended full time????

10) Speaking of religion, the Pope is in New York, thus answering the life long question, "Yes, the Pope shits in the woods!" He apparently also skateboards.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The major gripe among the blogosphere today: ABC News spent way, way too much time drilling Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama about their stumbles on the campaign trail instead of focusing on policy issues.

Bloggers at the liberal Daily Kos (which has a heavy Obama following) dedicated the most electronic ink against ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, the debate moderators.
One of the writers, Hunter, went so far as to say their handling of the debate was “so deeply embarrassing to the nation that it will be pointed to, in future books and documentary works, as a prime example of the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless, into self-celebrated vapidity, and into a now-complete inability or unwillingness to cover the most important affairs of the nation to any but the most shallow of depths.”
Admittedly, I did not watch the debates last night (Go Rangers! Go Mets!), but how many debates have we had on the issues since December of 2007? 20? 30? 300?

Have any of them drawn any type of sharp contrast between the two candidates?

No. So what's the point?

The debate was clearly structured to try to draw some drama out of the proceedings, to put both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the hot seats about something and to let people see how they handle the stresses and strains of the campaign trail.

In that respect, it was a bit of an eye-opener, from nearly all accounts: Hillary Clinton handled herself like a pro, while Barack Obama could barely contain his frustration and contempt.

Guess maybe he knows now why a typical white person in Pennsylvania might cling to his religion and his guns, huh?

The only reasoned critique I've read of the debate comes from Will Bunch:
You implied throughout the broadcast that you wanted to reflect the concerns of voters in Pennsylvania. Well, I'm a Pennsylvanian voter, and so are my neighbors and most of my friends and co-workers. You asked virtually nothing that reflected our everyday issues -- trying to fill our gas tanks and save for college at the same time, our crumbling bridges and inadequate mass transit, or the root causes of crime here in Philadelphia. In fact, there almost isn't enough space -- and this is cyberspace, where room is unlimited -- to list all the things you could have asked about but did not, from health care to climate change to alternative energy to our policy toward China to the deterioration of Afghanistan to veterans' benefits to improving education. You ignored virtually everything that just happened in what most historians agree is one of the worst presidencies in American history, including the condoning of torture and the trashing of the Constitution, although to be fair you also ignored the policy concerns of people on the right, like immigration issues.
Fair enough.

So let me ask the journalists involved, and the bloggers and even Mr. Bunch: what have you been covering for the past seven months?

How many blogposts, columns, news analyses, prime time segments, have been devoted to any of the issues that Bunch delineates?

Not nearly as many about the debacle in Afghanistan over the past year, I'd wager, as have been written over Obama's "bitter" comment in just these past five days.

Even Bunch, later in his column, points out how many column inches have been devoted to Reverend Wright, and the Bosnia trip and Obama's foot-in-mouth disease...does anyone else wonder how an eloquent man can have so many "misspokes" and "inartful phrasings"? What kind of scam is Obama running on us?... but one wonders why so many column inches haven't been devoted to, say, the PTSD problems of returning Iraqi and Afghani vets?

I picked that topic because, you know, Katrina and I at Simply Left Behind have both been all over it these past four years. I'd bet not many other blogs have been.

It's kind of disingenuous to whine about ABC's debate format when in fact, they are merely responding to the vox populi: all of us, myself included, have harped on these niggling issues at the expense of the larger stories around us.

For myself, I claim a lack of time and an interest in increasing my hit counter.

And so what does that tell you, all of you who are complaining about ABC's dismal performance? People aren't going to read about oil prices. People are going to read about Obama's bigotry and Clinton's prevarications.

End of discussion. Now shut the hell up about it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

Need glasses?

Bitter Herbs

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
- Barack Obama, April 6, 2008, said in response to a question about why he is not connecting to working class voters in Pennsylvania
Even in context, this is a very unpretty comment.

An Open Letter To Barack Obama

Let's look at these people you so off-handedly poo-poo as "bitter" and unable to see progress, Senator.

First, they genuinely like the Clintons, because under the Clintons, they saw real progress. They saw their communities improve, their lives lift, their salaries start to climb. They felt more in touch with their government than at any point in the past 40 years, as if someone was listening. They saw progress: less crime, less teen pregnancy, more education, more intelligent governance. The Feds worked with communities to provide more, all while cutting spending and trying to shift the tax burden back on those who have gotten the most out of the bounty that is America.

I'm more fixed on the people themselves, because frankly, everyone did better under the Clintons than under the Bush I and Reagan administrations. Who are these folks? Who are these "bitter" people?

Their names are Ed, Flo, Sally, Herb, Jack, Red. They are the farmers that actually drive a tractor. They work the third shift at the cheese factory. They are the nurse practitioners at the local hospital. They ring your sale up at Wal-Mart.

That's if they're lucky enough to have regular jobs. Sometimes, they run the ski lifts in winter, then rush off to another job serving coffee at the Gas-N-Go so you can make it home awake from the mountain, or serve beer at the local tavern, Duffy's, to the visitors staying behind. In the summer, they pick up your trash at the mountain lake. They do odd jobs to make a few bucks here and there, and might hold a few part time jobs packing groceries or painting houses in the off-seasons.

They bowl, too, and while they chuckle that you bowled a 37...I mean, come on! If you throw a straight ball down the middle of an alley, you can't score less than 50!...they get that bowling isn't big where you grew up.

But it is for them. See, it's about community. Bowling brings the neighbors together.

So does church. Maybe not everyone attends every Sunday, but I'd lay long odds that the church is pretty full by 11, and that these folks still bother to get a bit dressed up in their "Sunday Finest".

They don't see religion as a crutch, as if religion was some drug you take when things get tough. If you truly believe that, one has to question your own "religion on a sleeve," your seemingly sincere protestations during the Rev. Wright debacle about him nearly being family. How troubled, then, was your adult life, Senator, that you needed that church and that reverend so often and so close by?

These folks view religion for what it is, a tie that binds their community: the church picnic, the ice cream social, the Christmas party. A place to celebrate births, weddings, and mourn those who pass from their midsts, whose loss truly is a painful subtraction from their community.

They pay the lion's share of taxes to this great and proud nation, and all they ask in return is a fair deal, a fair shake, an assurance that they won't get left behind because someone else gets ahead on their sweat and pain.

Those taxes paid for your education, Senator. They paid for enforcing the laws that allowed a man born of a white mother and a black father to be treated as equals to his white friends. They ask little in return, just your gratitude, and a highway without potholes.

Oh. And a fair chance at making a life for themselves, and leaving one for their kids. The same education that you got, give or take. The promise that the government will try to make their kids' lives better than their own.

They raise their flags on the Fourth, on Memorial Day, on Labor Day, and yes, on flag day, because they know that the flag represents something greater than just a bunch of fabric sewed together made of pretty colours. It means community. It means opportunity. It means all those myths that you find so quaint sitting in your drawing room in Chicago, sipping a brandy while listening to Shostakovich.

They believe in them and they wonder if you do, since you refuse to show even the smallest bit of respect for those myths.

And when things get tough for them, when the factory closes down or a fire or flood devastates their homes, they don't tuck tail and run, like some Senators I can think of, hiding behind a wall and sniping jibes at anyone who points out what a bonehead he was for saying what he said.

They dig a little deeper. They dig deeper into their hearts and their wallets and they make a path for themselves, and their neighbors. Do they get bitter looking around and seeing the CEO of ____________________ (fill in the blank) getting off with a slap on the wrist and a $100 million golden parachute for screwing with the law and a company's books?

Maybe a little, but they figure that's none of their business, that the government will take care of that problem and fix it.

Do they get frustrated when it happens again and again? Sure. But they aren't whipping out their Remingtons and polishing them on the porch like some metallic masturbatory orgy that somehow calms them. Those guns in small towns aren't for show.

Or rather, they are hoped to be for show, but when your 911 call is answered in the county seat, thirty or forty or a hundred miles away, you learn to make the call then do what you can for yourself until help arrives.

These folks are the volunteer fire department, donating what precious little free time, after stringing together a few part time jobs on top of the third shift at the factory, to training "just in case" and sadly "just in case" happens frequently enough.

Why do they do this? Because that's what neighbors do. Neighbors talk to each other and they learn to care about each other and that forms a community. Yes, they talk about guns, and they talk about NASCAR, and football and they talk about who's moved in, and are they nice, and they may get a little anxious when a stranger passes through, but they suck it up and go out of their way to welcome him or her in, and learn about that person. And if it turns out he or she fits in, they give the shirts off their backs.

I know this, because I was that stranger once. I've never seen this in the big city.

One final thing I'd like to point out, Senator. It's a biggie.

You claim to oppose the invasion of Iraq, even if you have never ever cast a single vote against funding the war or in favor of withdrawing one single solitary soldier.

Those soldiers, Senator, come from these folks. These families are, as Michael Moore puts it, "the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up to defend us. They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us."

Forget the guns, forget the church, forget the taxes, forget the bowling. Forget the Presidency, Senator. You owe these people a lot more than your condescension, contempt, and contumelies.

You owe these folks your freedom, because even in a war that no one truly understands, they sent their kids off to fight, to try to win, to protect America in whatever sense this invasion serves that purpose.

For that alone, sir, your comments paint you an ungrateful bastard.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lt. Commander Michael Diaz, Hero

"A Tale of Three Lawyers"

Scott Horton
Harper's Magazine

"Matthew Diaz served his country as a staff judge advocate at Guantánamo. He watched a shameless assault on America’s Constitution and commitment to the rule of law carried out by the Bush Administration. He watched the introduction of a system of cruel torture and abuse. He watched the shaming of the nation’s uniformed services, with their proud traditions that formed the very basis of the standards of humanitarian law, now torn asunder through the lawless acts of the Executive. Matthew Diaz found himself in a precarious position—as a uniformed officer, he was bound to follow his command. As a licensed and qualified attorney, he was bound to uphold the law. And these things were indubitably at odds."

Take note of the retribution exacted.

Why did we hear exponentially (geez, I typoed expoonentially at first!) more about bj's in the Oval Office than we hear about TORTURE and the discussions, demonstrations, and retributions surrounding it's practice in SAME OFFICE??????? Why??????


I seem to have missed a rather large story from the campaign trail whilst away. I will get back to it, as I have pretty strong feelings about it, and about the idiot who created an unneccessary storm.

I want to thank Katrina for stepping in literally on no notice and filling up the blog admirably. I try to encourage her to speak more when I am posting as well, but I guess maybe she feels intimidated. I can suck the air out of a room, to be sure.

It's been a very difficult year and a half, to be sure. When I add up all that's happened, from my asthma attacks to the death of my father to my encounter with cancer, and the two IRS difficulties in between, it's a wonder I haven't cracked up.

And that's not counting the myriad other insults and injuries I've suffered just this year alone.

So I took an opportunity and removed myself from the fray. I stayed away from the TV, the phone, the Internet. I did read the newspaper on occasion, but focused on the sports pages.

I couldn't sleep at night for all the stress and medical restrictions, but I did manage to doze in the day time. I took five days for myself, and it was worth it. I still haven't slept for almost two months now, except the odd hour here and there, but my mind is recharged and I'm ready to battle with life again.

So...what else did I miss?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vet's Issues

I'm sure the majority of you are already aware of these resources, but I thought
I'd take this opportunity to put a few of them in one place.

VA Watchdog
There is so much great information at this site. Stuff you rarely see anywhere.
Which is a shame.

GI Bill
You can make your voice heard here.

Don't help vets with their disability paperwork? Go figure.

Iraq and Afghanistan Vets
are also doing great work.

What Would You Buy?

Go on a $3 trillion shopping spree.

In other nudes--
Ranti Rhodes is back on the air.
Great stream, even on my li'l dial up.
Nova M Radio.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Documentary Americans Won't Ever See

I'm a big fan of the Organic Consumers Association.
I think there is a vicious cycle between Big Food and Big Pharma, and
a few other 'Bigs', but don't get me started.........
To me, buying local and organic has become a political act. Of sedition.
Like knowing the stuff in this documentary:
The World According to Monsanto