Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Responsibility, Not Rhetoric

I posted the following at Waldo's site where there was an interesting discussion about the ridiculous letter from Rep. Virgil Goode is posted. It was a late post to the discussion, so I thought I'd post it here, too.

I think that this country and our culture is strong enough to absorb any reasonable amount of immigration. Just like in every previous wave of immigration, what we don’t absorb and change in the first generation, we will surely in the second, and undoubtedly by third. Our language will not change fundamentally, but we will add new words and phrases to it. Because if there is one thing we know for sure, American’s are not going to learn another language. Children of immigrants will learn ours, even if their parents are incapable, and may act as interpreters just as it has always been. As long as we do our jobs and uphold our society as responsible citizens. Part of that job is insisting on not enabling alternate languages to take a foothold in business or government, lest we become a polyglot of babblers, unable to understand one another from one block to another. That is not racist or xenophobic, it is common sense.

However, we must keep in mind that the U.S. has never been overwhelmed with an UNreasonable number of immigrants solely due to immigration quotas and a certain amount of “weeding out” of undesirable persons, such as those with criminal records, etc. A policy which has never been proven more necessary than now as we face virtually unfettered illegal immigration over our borders, primarily latino. It is an unrefutable fact that this vast influx is having a severe effect on many levels in our society, and must be brought under control for the good of the society and the culture of the U.S., regardless of how we might empathize with the reasons for it. The illegal immigrants are not the problem or the enemy, as we can easily place ourselves in their positions. The problem is with the factors within our own society and government which is allowing it to continue, indeed encouraging it, at such an overwhelming rate to the detriment of our healthcare system, such as it is, our school system, such as it is, and our labor system, such as it used to be. The enemy is us. It is not a partisan issue, but one which must be solely placed upon the shoulders of each U.S. citizen to hold corporate and small business interests to account, and to demand appropriate action by our government. To oppose mass illegal immigration is not racism or xenophobia, but a desire to live in a productive, workable, fair society ruled by law rather than anarchy.

To attack thinking persons who are concerned with the welfare of our society as a whole, rather than only small percentages of the population, be them legal or illegal, simply out of sympathy for the poor and oppressed of the world is knee-jerk liberalism at its worst, which is arguably just as evil and absurd as blind, ignorant conservatism. Often, both have exactly the same results.

If the labor of latino immigrants is truly as necessary as proponents for illegal immigration attempt to make it out to be, then let them petition Congress to relax immigration quotas so that more may be allowed entry legally, while necessary measures are taken to uphold the relaxed quotas. Immigration quotas have often been relaxed in order to exploit the poor and oppressed for the convenience of business and government, which is in actuality what knee jerk liberals on this issue are blindly wailing for. Immigration quotas were relaxed to allow Chinese laborers in to build the railroads and for the Irish in to be drafted immediately into the Union army during the Civil War. They, however, had to come by ship and pass through ports and so were regulated. They could not tunnel from China and Ireland, for example. Since latino’s may, more stringent measures must be taken to enforce quota’s in this instance, particularly.

As for legal immigrants who profess Islam as their religion, they should be welcomed with open arms as long as they are willing to enter our society and adhere to our overall culture. A Morman may enter, assuredly, but not with 30 wives recognized by our society as legal partners. A Muslim may enter, assuredly, but not with 30 wives, nor even one who is allowed to be beaten, stoned to death, or otherwise oppressed in opposition to our laws and customs. Any Muslims may enter legally and participate fully in our society as long as they understand that at any time, an artist in our culture may paint a portrait of Mohammed in excrement and submerse it in urine and hang it in one of our national tax-payer supported museums and they can complain about it all they want, but they do not get to riot or disturb the peace in any way. Period. Because we are a free society, and they can either join in, or stay out. If that makes any particular Muslim want to bomb us for being the infidels we certainly are to one religion or another, at one time or another, due to cherishing and promoting free expression, then it is encumbent upon us to make sure that that Muslim is not one we freely let into our country and our society.

It is responsibility, not rhetoric, which is of dire necessity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown, A Bridge Over the Divide

James Brown was born in Barnwell, SC. He was one of us. He was one of South Carolina's own, just like Jesse Jackson and Joel Poinsett, both of whom were born in my hometown, and John Edwards, born in just the next county over.

Being a South Carolinian trumps all in the eyes, mind, and heart of all born and bred for generations in this state, you see. It is something ingrained in the natives of the one state that is the stalwart, legendary home of states rights. The state is still the main thing here, which is one reason why the Republican appropriation of the state so sticks in the craw of South Carolina Democrats. We are first and foremost South Carolinians, then Americans, then Democrats or Republicans, then religious affiliation, and then, and only then, whatever race we may be. Or that is how I've always seen it, how I've been taught, and what I have seen demonstrated throughout my life, but I was very young during the civil rights struggle.

Still, race is a great divide, and was so especially back when there were segregated toilets and water fountains, which I can still faintly remember, even though I was too young to fully understand their meaning. Later, I came to see just how much James Brown did to help us understand just exactly what they meant. Through his music and his actions, he helped to bridge that great divide. For when the civil rights struggle came to our hometown, in my recollection, the custom of segregation (for that is what it was, a custom) was quickly and rightfully seen to be wrong. Even insensible. It had simply always been that way and been unquestioned. Until it was questioned. And, once questioned, it was answered by those restrictions being lifted without much of a peep out of anyone where I lived. It was as if a different way had just never occurred to most white folks in my area and that black folks wanted it to change was a surprise, and quickly complied with. I know there was little to no opposition to it in my hometown, and what there was, came from the Bob Jones ilk, who had not secured their hold on the community at that time. They were scorned as bible-thumping, streetcorner preaching bigots then in Greenville, and still are amongst those of us born and bred.

It may have not been so out in the real world. It was that way in my world. We were a middle class family of Roosevelt/Truman Democrats who had little mixings with those of the Strom Thurmond types. We had one bigoted in-law in the whole of the extended family, whom we roundly scorned but tolerated for love of our blood relatives in his immediate family. My mother was a career woman. So, once a week, we had a beloved housekeeper who would come in and help her with the cleaning and ironing on her one day off a week, while she caught up with the shopping and bills and whatnot. Mother insisted on paying her more than she asked and showered her with gifts and whatever she might want. Carrie was a black woman who, with my granny, also mostly tended to us children on those days. She fussed at us, made us behave, made sure we ate properly, cleaned up our skinned knees, kept us from fighting, and did all the same things that our mom and granny did, and we loved her and were devoted to her. Yet, no matter how much we asked her to, Carrie would never sit at table with us. She always insisted on eating at the kitchen counter bar, while we had to sit at the table properly and mind our manners. It wasn't what we wanted, it is what she insisted on. Why, was a complete and total mystery to us. My parents couldn't explain it. All of which may help to explain why many white southerners were more taken aback by the civil rights movement than outraged by it. Those weren't the Southerners the media chose to portray, however. People forget that the media was just as interested in skewing the truth with sensationalism then, as now, and in some ways, even more so. People need to realize that Murrow was an anomaly.

I remember when I was a little girl, maybe 6, maybe 7, hanging out downtown with my older sisters during the summertime while my mom worked at the local premier department store, back when such retail stores were the epitome of elegance and class. Think "Miracle on 34th Street" on Southern overdrive. It was the early to mid '60's and life, in our experience, was idyllic. Even if mother insisted we not show our face downtown unless we wore dresses and patent leather shoes without fail, and even gloves, in some cases. Acting like a lady was a foregone conclusion.

My eldest sister was about 19 then, married several years already from an ill-fated, misguided, and wholly regrettable elopement to Georgia, and a big fan of Elvis and R&B. She was the rebel of the family, bless her. I remember how we used to go to Woolworths, the very same one that had been the site of sit-ins, inspired by those in Greensboro. Way back in the very back of the store, there were tables with boxes and boxes of 45 records stacked library card style, but in no particular order or classification. My sister would flip through them endlessly, finding her particular treasures and then sitting and showing them to us. I remember how tickled she was to find a James Brown record one day. Showing it off, I recall that someone asked her about it, questioning why she was buying a record by a negro, though in that time, another word was likely used, one we were not allowed to use, because while I cannot recall the questioner, I do recall the antagonism of the remark which is why it probably stuck in my young mind.

My big sister's response? "Yeah, but he was born here! In South Carolina!". That was enough. That made it okay. He was one of us.

From then forward, I recall that James Brown was always looked upon by members of my family as almost an eccentric uncle or "Godfather". Whenever he was in trouble, again, or arrested, again, someone at sometime would comment, "Well, did you see that James Brown was (arrested, in trouble) again?", and yes, we would have, and we would shake our heads and sigh the sigh of amused disappointment, and then we would laugh, just like we would laugh at the antics of any one of our recalcitrant relatives. And someone would say, "I wish they would stop picking on him, you know he's just being himself! You know he probably did no such thing!", and again we would laugh. And sigh. And shake our heads. With love in our hearts.

Our recalcitrant, rocking, Godfather of Soul is gone now. We cannot laugh, we can only sigh. And shake our heads. With love in our hearts.

Bless him.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Miasma

Sorry for the recent dearth of postings. Christmas crush and whatnot. What with having reached the pinacle of achievement by being named (a) person of the year by Time Magazine, I mean, what the hell.

No worries. All will pick up again once all the happyhappycheercheer has faded and I can get back to my cynical self.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Night Cat Blogging

MamaKitty, the camera hog, and the tiniest kitty you ever saw, still babies her 3 huge sons, twice her size, making sure that they eat the good stuff first and are nice, clean and neat, and presentable.

Ruffling feathers

I'm declaring a moratorium on politics for the remainder of the year. Yeah, I know I said something similar before, but this time for real. Really. Okay, unless something particularly annoying comes up or I find something particularly special that I'd like to share.

Anyway, in my search for bright spots, I have found them mostly from the Brits, the Aussies, and the Kiwi's. Somehow, it seems they have managed to maintain their sense of humor. I see little of it in American blogs. Everything is just so damn depressing for us. So, I turn to our brethren.

Here is a particularly special creative post that I found compelling at Waffling up the Kiwi. A bit:

The bus caught up to the woman at the next stoplight, and I made a point of yawning and ruffling my feathers as she stood waiting for the light to change. She tried not to look – it’s so cute, they always try so hard – before turning and heading back down the street the way she came as the bus dieseled away.

I looked down at my watch, the display blank - yes I realize the irony of having a dead battery thank you – and thought about asking someone for the time but noticed that there was no one sitting within two seats of me. People choosing to break yet another commandment of bus riding by doubling-up rather than sitting near me. Whatever, you want to give me that much space? Fine. So I stretched out my wings completely spanning almost the entire width of the bus (“Dude…whoa…like…dude…I gotta get me some more of this weed man,” a guy a few rows behind me mumbled to himself.)

Blogging Claus

Found where Mr. Claus is keeping his diary. Thought you might want to check it out. Here is todays entry:

15 December 2006

I’ve got the elves working 18 hour shifts, I’ve got the elf kiddies in my little pony sweatshops. I’m cutting corners left right and centre (trust me, you don’t want your kids to get the chemistry set this year) and still it’s not enough.

Every year there are more kids and every year more people want in on the Christmas thing. What business have the fucking Hindus and communist Chinese got with Christmas? Christ know you don’t have to be religious to have me shitting presents down your chimney but in the good old days you pretty much had to be white, Goddamnit. They tell me its called globalization. I know where they can stick their globe.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Obama Christmas Carol

Found this over at Skeptical Brotha and thought it well worth sharing. I'm skeptical about Obama, too, because I haven't heard him say much of anything, although he has a hell of a way of saying nothing. Senator Clinton hasn't won my vote yet, either. The only potential candidate who has actually spoken to issues and has a voice out there is John Edwards, born just a ways down the road from me. A good little ways, but a ways. 'Bout half a county.

Like Obama, he's catching hell for not having served years in Congress, which is nothing but good news to me, as it is likely to be to most people. Both are very, very bright and that is exactly what we need. Smart people running the country, for a change. I'm pretty much thinking that an Edwards/Obama ticket might just be the victory team the Dems need. Clinton/Obama would probably proved to be just too too for the country, as much as it pains me to even think. Clinton/Edwards, yeah, I can see it. But, I don't see Clinton taking the second seat for anyone and good for her.

I was half listening to some dimwit on Chris Matthews a little while ago and he was making the argument that American's won't vote for someone they perceive as being too intelligent. Whaaaaaat? I'll tell you what. That's what we've got right now and if this is what you get voting for a good ol' boy drinking buddy, please let the people learn. If they don't, I'm moving to Switzerland. Where it snows. Which brings me back to:



Joy to the World

Joy to the world! Obama has come.
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room;
And consultants and pundits sing,
And consultants and pundits sing.
And consultants and consultants and pundits sing.




Joy to the world, our Savior Obama reigns
Let consultants his campaign employ.
While Whites and Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans
Repeat the Talking Points,
Repeat the Talking Points
Repeat, repeat, the Talking Points





Obama won’t let sinful Republicans win again,
Nor let Wingnuts infest the Congress;
He comes to make His blessings flow
And remove the curse on Dems,
And remove the curse on Dems,
And remove, and remove the curse on Dems.





He rules the world with platitudes and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His vacuousness.
And wonders of His hype,
And wonders of His hype,
And wonders, wonders of His hype.






Oh, gawd! I just heard Scarborough ask is America just not ready for a woman news anchor, intimating that is the reason Katie Couric isn't doing so well at CBS. Because she's a woman, you see. Not the format. Or the content. Not because she's a bit of fluff who never asked a tough question in her life. Like Scarborough. Who ostensibly has balls. As if it made a difference. So, I digress. Bite me.

Lower your heads!

Just as I blogged a week ago, just after the report on Iraq was first released, Bush has no intention of implementing the recommendations. He has made it clear today. He insists that we will stay until we "win", and the enemy is defeated.

As I have said many times before, win what and defeat what enemy?

Suppose you have two guys who are being held apart from fighting one another. You force the holder's to let them go. Then, you stand in between them and declare, I'm standing here until I win this fight.

First of all, as we say where I'm from, you don't have a dog in this fight. Second of all, you might not have started the fight, but you caused the fighting. Third of all, you can't win a fight when its between OTHER FUCKING PEOPLE.

All that's gonna happen is that the two are both going to turn on you, beat the hell out of you, toss you out of the fight you don't belong in, and then beat the crap out of each other. And, there is not one thing you can do to stop it. Except, maybe, go get their daddies and let them stop it.

It's way past time to go get the Daddies. Let Saudi Arabia support the Sunni's, Al Qaeda or not. It doesn't matter. What else should they do? Iran will, of course, support the Shi'ite's. They'll either fight it out, or agree to a solution.

All we can do is try to encourage them to do so and ask someone else to try to broker peace. We've blown it. We no longer have a place in this process because we caused it. It's time to relinquish this to some entity who can make progress, like the U.N. or some other country.

Personally, I vote for France. They have the big mouths. Plus, it's way past time they did something to pay us back for saving their country. Twice.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stephen, Jr.




Here is the link to the Hancock Wildlife website Stephen Colbert mentioned in tonight's broadcast. It shows "Stephen Jr." and how to track him.

Here is the comment post from Peter Sharpe, Institute for Wildlife Studies, informing the original poster of what he'd found:


Your photo is indeed bald eagle A-46 from Santa Cruz Island, California. It was hatched this year at the San Francisco Zoo from an egg produced by one of their captive pairs of eagles, placed in a release tower on Santa Cruz Island when it was 8 weeks old, and released when it was 12 weeks old. It has a GPS unit on its back that sends us data every three days as long as the battery gets charged by a small solar panel. The day length in British Columbia must have gotten too short to recharge the battery because the last data we received from this bird was on Nov. 6. This bird is also known as Stephen Jr., after the Colbert Report's Stephen Colbert. It has been featured many times on his program. You can track the bird (at least when we receive data) on our website at http://www.iws.org/ (under Interactive). I'd appreciate receiving any photos or sightings of this bird so that I can add it to our database.



If you're on the west coast and in a position to track the bird, you can find the good doctors contact info at the link, but I didn't want to post it here. You will also find a link to the Colbert Report for the video of Colbert's response at the IWS site, but I couldn't get it to work. You may have better luck. Seems to me like if Comedy Central is going to refuse to allow the clips on YouTube, then they should damn well make sure they have the technology to replace it. Obviously they don't. Ahh, the brains behind commercial TV. They were so raised on it and they reflect it's educational worth so well.

While I'm on Colbert, ColbertBalls has an article from Mass Media about his appearance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Business.

Strength, thy NAME is WOMAN

OK, now I'm pissed. I was surfing around, just to find, as usual, the same takes on the same stories on every liberal blog on the blogosphere....boring! Then a little something caught my eye. Now, it's certainly not what I'd call spectacular, but it stuck in my craw.

I'm on the fence about Hillary Clinton. I haven't made up my mind about her. I'm waiting to hear what she campaigns on. Being a Senator representing your district is a whole other kettle of fish than President, so I'm not going to judge her yet. I'll hold an open mind.

But, when I read this drivel over at Freakonomics blog, it sent me over the edge.


Why do women seem to be floundering? Democratic officials, according to Edsall, have a “working hypothesis,” which is that “female candidates were more vulnerable on the issue of immigration, viewed as more generous with federal aid and amnesty.” Also, it’s suggested that women aren’t tough enough to handle terrorism. Women, in other words, are seen as being too nice. (my emphasis)

Which all suggests that Hillary Clinton’s public persona—a lot of strength and only a little warmth—is calculated to negate an electoral bias against niceness. And it seems to be working. “Her campaign,” Edsall writes, “released a memo with recent data showing that 68 percent of voters describe Hillary as ‘a strong leader,’ and that 92 percent say they would vote for a woman for president — up from 52 percent in a similar poll in 1955.”


Are you freakin' kidding me? Is there really one person out there who really thinks women are "too nice" to govern? Allow me to illustrate, in no particular order:

Elizabeth I, Queen of England
Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia
Deborah of the Hebrews
Zenobia, Arabian Queen of Palmyria

savagely attacked Egypt, taking advantage that the Roman Empire was hard-pressed in Northern Italy by the Goths. By 269, she had secured most of the country; at the same time, Zenobia annexed most of Syria to her kingdom. Within a few years of taking control, she had carved out a vast empire for formerly tiny Palmyra; from Egypt in the south to the Bosphorus in the north. She then declared herself formally independent of Rome.


Aethelflaed
the political and military ruler of the Mercians. She built fortresses in western Mercia as defense against invading and occupying Danes. Aethelflaed led her forces against the Danes at Derby and captured it, and then defeated them at Leicester. Aethelflaed even invaded Wales.

Artemisia
ruled over the Halicarnassians, the men of Cos, of Nisyrus, and of Calydna; and the five triremes which she furnished to the Persians were, next to the Sidonian, the most famous ships in the fleet

Cleopatra
Eleanor of Acquitaine
Boudicca of the Iceni, England
Queen Victoria of England
Amalasuntha, Queen of the Ostrogoths
Theodora, empress of Byzantium from 527-548
Amina, Queen of Nigeria
great military leader, Amina brought most of the other Hausaland city-states into her orbit, and is credited with encouraging them to surround themselves with huge defensive mud walls. She also opened up trade routes to the south

Catherine de Medici
Mary, Queen of Scots
Hatshepsut
Indira Gandhi
Joan of Arc
Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetai, who defeated and killed Cyrus of Persia
Empress Suiko of Japan
Queen Brunhilde
waged 40 years of war agains Queen Fredegund (both Frankish)

Queen Isabella I of Spain
Golda Meir
Mbande Nzinga, Queen of Angola
organized a powerful guerrilla army, conquered the Matamba, and developed alliances to control the slave routes. She even allied with the Dutch, who helped her stop the Portuguese advancement. After a series of decisive setbacks, Nzinga negotiated a peace treaty with the Portuguese, but still refused to pay tribute to the Portuguese king.

Mary of Guise
Olga of Russia
Empress Wu Zetian, China, Tang Dynasty
Margaret Thatcher

Plus, all of these elected Heads of State and Government since 1900

I mean, really. Women are too nice to govern? Women are too soft to fight terrorists? Puh-leeze. Women led the Goths and Visigoths and Celtics and defeated Roman Armies. A woman defeated Cyrus of Persia, searched the battleground for his dead body, cut his head off, drained blood from the body, and soaked his head in it. A woman took Egypt and Syria, and dared the Romans to try to take it from her. It's about time that women's place in history is acknowledged, don't you think? I mean, after all, the first legendary woman ruler was
Ca. 4530-3240 Legendary Queen Eyleuka of Ethiopia

Also known as Dalukaha, and according to legend she was one of the rulers before the Antediluvian (the flooding). She succeeded king Borsa, who had ruled for 67 years, and she ruled for 45 years.


Don't you think that 6536 years later, the American people might deign to elect a woman president?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Impeachment

Much is being said these days about the Democrats not calling for impeachment as the first order of business. I want this president impeached. I want this president in a freakin' dungeon for the rest of his miserable days. However, in my opinion, they are doing exactly the right thing.

Why? Because if you go in with impeachment guns blazing you do yourself more harm than good. Not only do you rally the wingnuts to the Republican party when they are now split, not only do you give doubts to the American public about your seriousness about governing responsibly, not only do you chance a lack of credibility in a thousand different ways, you loose your most valuable tool for reigning in this most imperious President arguably in American history. And if you do that, then you deserve all of the above and then some.

Pelosi is correct in calling for hearings. Have the hearings. Make the bastards testify. But, hold onto that impeachment option. Make it a sword hanging above Bush's head. A sword of Damocles, if you will. Threaten him with it falling if he does not begin withdrawing the troops. Let it fall if and only if he removes that veto pen from his pocket when our bills cross his desk.

Use it in this way, and show the people how power, real power, is wielded with finesse. Let it fall and you only show the people how power is squandered, yet again, in the hands of Democrats.

Pretty much like I can make a mess out of similies and metaphors.

A Chimp and a Baboon

In exploring some of the sites which had linked to me recently (thanks Marc! And Jeff, too!), I found myself on a discovery mission related to part of my previous post.

Just why did my ancestor enlist to fight in the Confederate Army? He was no slaveholder. It's doubtful that he knew any slaveholders. Slave owners were quite actually few and far between in those days preceding the civil war, the war between the states. The (by far) vast majority of Confederate soldiers were no friend of slavery, nor friend to any who did not work his land with his own hands. My ancestors were hard working, self sufficient Irish, Scottish, and Scotch-Irish (there is a difference in all) and descendants of the Cavaliers, who had made a rough life in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They were no plantation owners, rather intermarried with the Cherokees and Catawbas, and no doubt took every man, black or white, at face value.

So, why? I know what I've been told all my life. States rights. Independence from the tyranny, oppression and invasion of the South by the Northern states. However, I've been subjected to the history which is, after all, always written by the victors.

I've also been peeved by the mold that some Democrats are trying to cast the South in, just because Republicans have been winning down here, often by margins of only around 10%. They are trying, for one thing, to cast us all as being racists, and apparently as being the last bastion of it. Which is pure, unadulterated bullshit. It's just not true. Southerners are no more prejudiced than other parts of the country and in many ways, less so, in that blacks and whites have led lives more intertwined and closer in the South than in most all the rest of the country. Are there Southern racists? Most definitely. But, I've lived in the west and I've spent a great deal of time in New York and New Jersey, and I'm telling you now that there is more racism there than in the most redneck areas of the South. Heck, one of the most rural, and redneck areas of upper South Carolina has a black mayor and in my town, the reddest of red SC, we have had a black Chief of Police since, like, forever, okay? (There, I'm using my Southern California valley girl accent.)

Anyway, I've found some interesting information about the civil war. Below are some interesting links that have educated me and should educate everyone. It is all in reference to "The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, a biography of Abraham Lincoln written by Loyola College economics professor Thomas DiLorenzo in 2002. It seems to have garnered much praise from libertarians, but criticized by Claremont Institute scholar Ken Masugi in the conservative National Review. Richard Gamble in Independent Review states that "The Real Lincoln... seriously compromised by careless errors of fact... is essentially correct in every charge it makes against Lincoln, making it all the more frustrating to the sympathetic reader." (Via Wikipedia) It has recently been reissued and addressed the careless errors. After all, the writer was not an historian (we tend to be very nitpicky about historical facts... I used to be when I could remember todays date longer than a milisecond), but an economist.

Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but H.L. Mencken correctly evaluated the speech, "It is poetry not logic; beauty, not sense." Lincoln said that the soldiers sacrificed their lives "to the cause of self-determination - government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth." Mencken says, "It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of people to govern themselves."

Unfortunately, the following is on WorldNetDaily, which appears to be a solidly wingnut site, and I don't care for some comments about Clinton, but the interview was very interesting, nonetheless.

I think the Whig Party was the party of empire. I think the Whigs, as well as the Republican Party, wanted to change government's role as a defender of individual liberty. I don't think the Republican Party was especially interested in the welfare of the black slaves in the South. They wanted the empire to be financed with high tariffs to protect Northern manufacturers, mostly, and Lincoln was a career-long protectionist.
....
Consider this: The tariff was the main source of federal revenue, and since the South was so dependent on importing things – they didn't manufacture much – they were paying about 80 percent or more of all federal tariff revenue. They had been complaining for decades that most of the money was being spent up in the North, although the South was paying almost all of it, and that's when the rate was 15 percent. The Republicans came in and said they were going to triple the extent to which the South was taxed and raised the rate to 47 percent. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln said, "It is my duty to collect all the duties and revenues and tariffs and save so that there will be no invasion."

Imagine an American president saying it's his duty to collect the taxes, and as long as you pay the taxes, he will not send the Army down there to shoot you. That's a pretty bold thing. But if you read the first inaugural, it's right there in black and white.

Certainly today's Americans need to know more about presidents like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and their thoughts on public-policy matters. They are lost completely, however, when it is all turned into an excuse for a minivacation.

Abraham Lincoln's birthday was also merged into this generic holiday, and his life, too, is important for Americans to study. Washington and Jefferson created the republic; Lincoln destroyed it. Scholars are at last beginning to dig out the real Lincoln from the layers of deification that were created by cynical men who, while he lived, had habitually referred to him as a "baboon" or an "idiot."

...he exposes Lincoln’s embarrassing views on race, his ambition for economic nationalism, his rewriting of the history of the founding of the nation, his cavalier violation of constitutional limits on the presidency, and his willingness to wage a barbaric total war to achieve his ends. DiLorenzo argues that Lincoln opened the gates of war and plunged his fellow countrymen, North and South, into four years of misery and death not to preserve the Union as it was or to free the slaves, but to advance his own, his party’s, and his constituency’s power. In many ways, The Real Lincoln is a sobering study in power and corruption.

But, all in all, I most prefer this quote: In 1831, long before the War between the States, South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun said, "Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail." The War between the States answered that question and produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day.

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, arrested perceived enemies and kept them under arrest with no trial, including newspaper publishers, thereby, suppressing or heavily influencing the media. He made mercantilism the order of the day. Business and government was just as cozy as under this Republican administration. In fact, the Bush administration could be compared to the Lincoln administration in many ways, and in no way could either be favored.

I think I finally know why granddaddy fought. For the same reasons I would be willing to fight today, if necessary.



Monday, December 11, 2006

Habeas Corpus

I am ashamed to my very core that SC Republican Senator Lindsay Graham is the key administration toady for the abolishment of habeas corpus, as was done in the 2006 Military Commissions Act:

Graham proposed that rulings against the detainees be appealed only to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (His legislation thus avoided the district court for the D.C. Circuit, which has generally looked more favorably on detainee claims than has the court of appeals.) In Graham’s view, the court of appeals is an adequate substitute for habeas corpus. “The way I read what the Supreme Court said was that, if there was no system in place to decide someone’s confinement status, you had to let them file habeas petitions,” Graham said. “But I think if you give them the D.C. Circuit, that’s enough. That’s a legitimate alternative. Arlen disagrees. He thinks it’s a constitutional right to file a habeas case. I think our statute gives you enough. That’s what Specter v. Graham is about.”

“That’s just ridiculous,” Specter told me, referring to Graham’s position. “Graham’s legislation does not allow the D.C. Circuit to make any fact-finding at all about what happened to the detainees and whether they are, in fact, enemy combatants. It’s not a ‘streamline’ review; it’s no kind of review at all.” The legislation will almost certainly come before the Supreme Court, but it’s impossible to know whether the Court will uphold it. “The D.C. Circuit would have to be an adequate and effective judicial remedy for reviewing the lawfulness of any detention, because that’s the basic definition of habeas corpus,” Gerald L. Neuman, a professor at Harvard Law School, said. “The law itself isn’t very clear about what the D.C. Circuit should do.”


The scene in the hearing room of the Dirksen Senate Office Building anticipated, in a small way, the spirit of rebellion that would animate the electorate seven weeks later. The session began with bipartisan expressions of outrage at the Administration’s (and Graham’s) plan. “It is inexplicable to me how someone can seek to divest the federal courts of jurisdiction on constitutional issues, just inexplicable to me,” Specter said in his introductory remarks. “If the courts are not open to decide constitutional issues, how is constitutionality going to be tested?” Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat, spoke next. “Today we’re addressing the single most consequential provision in this much discussed bill,” he said. “This provision would perpetuate the indefinite detention of hundreds of individuals, against whom the government has brought no charges and presented no evidence and without any recourse to justice whatsoever. That is un-American. This is un-American.” At that moment, a group of protesters wearing T-shirts saying “Shame,” “End Torture,” and “Save Habeas Corpus” rose from their seats and cheered.

....

The bill had originally applied only to alleged enemy combatants who were held at Guantánamo. The final version stated that any alien (that is, non-American citizen) who had been seized anywhere and charged with being an enemy combatant would be denied the right to petition for habeas corpus. The definition of “enemy combatant” was also expanded, to include not just those who took up arms but financial supporters of the terrorist cause as well. Accordingly, the bill made clear that aliens arrested in the United States and charged with knowingly giving money to an alleged terrorist organization would be forbidden to sue for their freedom.

Read the entire story in The New Yorker. It's a very good lesson on what has happened to our civil liberties in this country.

Democrats need to skewer Graham to the wall on this subject come his re-election. Educate Southerners about this bill, and they will send Graham back to the farm. Because there is nothing, nothing more dear to Southerners than their personal freedoms. Some may claim it a dichotomy, considering Southern history, but the South has always been a place of contradictions. According to my granny, my Confederate soldier great-great-granddaddy never owned a slave, never would have, and lived in the wild hills of western North Carolina, but he was be-damned if he wouldn't fight the Federal Government bossing around the Southern states. Things haven't changed all that much about that kind of thing down here.

(Forgive the digression, but: However, I always feel it necessary to state anytime that era is mentioned, that the South is not one wit more racist than Northern states. Our family has spent much time in New York, and we have always been shocked and appalled at the rampant racism we have been exposed to in those environs. Every time I see any mention of Schaller, such as in this piece in The New Republic, the post and comments contain such a rightous bias against the South as to make my stomach churn.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fathead Ann Althouse

Now, I'm very much a social libertarian, so I think the whole ban trans-fat issue is nothing more than another example of governmental intrusion on individual liberty. Plus, anything that might mess with Krispy Kreme doughnuts has to be the work of... SATAN!

However, as any intelligent person (not Ann Althouse) who has done the most basic research (not Ann Althouse), or even watched a news report in the last six months (not Ann Althouse), knows (not Ann Althouse) that the argument (not Ann Althouse) against trans fat is that it raises cholesterol. Trans fat will not make you any fatter than regular, run of the mill fat. Let me illustrate with good ol' southern cooking.

Say I want to fry up some potato pancakes. I need to fry them in some type of what we call grease down here. I can cook up half a pound of bacon and use the droppings to cook my potato pancakes. They will be delicious. They will be extremely fattening. No doubt, they will be generating all kinds of cholesterol in me when I gobble them up. But, those bacon drippings are not trans fats. So, according to the people who supposedly know, it would generate less cholesterol than if I had used Crisco (what we call lard down here, but it's not really lard as we had in olden times which was rendered fat from a pig, it's partially hydrogenated vegetable oil). That's my understanding, though I'm no expert. I only use Crisco to fry chicken. Because fat fat tastes so much better, unless you're making doughnuts and who does that when there's Krispy Kreme? (Oh, and remember, Yanks, Krispy Kreme was born and raised in the South, not Brooklyn).

I can assure you, however, from both personal experience (not Ann Althouse) and keen observational skills (way not Ann Althouse), you will most definitely get just as fat (probably Ann Althouse) from using non-trans fat fatback or bacon drippings (grease) as from using trans-fat Crisco (lard). Promise.

The not-so-inimitable Ann Althouse has a thoroughly unique, and completely fat-headed take on the entire trans fat issue. Not only does she go on to explain oh-so-carefully to us that fat people should be encouraged to be fat so they will die earlier and be less of a drain on resources, but that trans fat will make them fatter than fat fat and the war on trans fat is due to fat people being such an eyesore:

"I simply do not believe that the so-called health side is really composed of people who are solicitous about everyone else's health. I can't prove it, but my intuition is that all the strength on the "health" side of this war comes not from people who really care whether other people are healthy, but from people who don't like having to see fat people. They are concerned about their own aesthetic pleasures, and they think fat is ugly."

Isn't it a given that Ann Althouse couldn't prove herself out of a greasy paper sack? I gotta tell ya, I'd take a fat ass over a fathead like Ann Althouse any day of the week, even Fat Tuesday.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Oval Intervention

By MAUREEN DOWD

It is not a happy mood in the Oval Office.

Poppy is sobbing, his face in his hands, slumped in one of the yellow-and-blue striped chairs. Laura is screaming the words “Oscar de la Renta” and “rendition” into her cellphone, still seeing red after showing up at a White House gala in the same $8,400 red gown as three other women who did not happen to be first lady.

Bob Gates is grim-faced, but not as grim-faced as Barbara, whose look could freeze not only the Potomac but the Tigris and the Euphrates. Scowcroft is over on the couch, trying to nap while Kissinger drones softly in his ear.

And, of course, there is the Deprogrammer for the Decider, James Baker, perfectly suited in bright green tie and suited perfectly for his spot behind the president’s desk.

The Council of Elders had hoped this Apocalypto moment wouldn’t be necessary. They had assumed that the scorching Iraq Study Group report would have the same effect on Junior as the bucket of cold water that Mr. Baker’s strict father, a lawyer known as “the Warden,” used to throw on his face to wake him up as a boy.

But Junior is trying to wriggle away completely, offering a decidedly cool response to the attempt to yank him into the reality-based community. He rallied his last two allies — his English poodle and his Scottish terrier, Blair and Barney.

He is loath to give up his gunslinger pose to go all diplo. He cleaves to the neocon complaint that it is the realists who are now being unrealistic, thinking the administration can bargain with Syria and Iran, or that the Army can train Iraqi security forces (or, as they are known there, death squads) in a matter of months when they haven’t been able to do it in years.

The Velvet Hammer is undeterred. He’s doing an all-out intervention, locking Junior and Barney in the little study next to the Oval. To stress the seriousness of the situation, they don’t give the president his feather pillow.

The group gathers at the door of the study. “My boy,” his dad tells him between sobs. “We love you. We’re here for you. We’re worried about you. You’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting others. This is a safe place. No one’s judging you …”

“What are you talking about, Dad?” Junior snaps. “I just actually read 96 pages of your friends’ judging me in that cowpie report.” Barney woofs in support.

Barbara can be heard muttering from across the room. “We were right about Jebbie.”

Henry the K lumbers up to the door and in a low Teutonic rumble says: “It’s time we stopped taking care of you and started caring about you. Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

Junior is getting even more furious. “You all think you’re so realist. But you’re unrealist. I’m realist. Are you sitting at my desk, Baker? Get out of there! Everyone says you’re so Mr. Ride to the Rescue, but none of your surrender monkey ideas would work. Talk about Pretend Land — Israel giving up the Golan Heights? Yeah, right. And they call me delusional.”

Baker glides up to the door and says, in his most satiny drawl, “Son, I just threw a few D.O.A. ones in there for you to reject so you could preserve your manhood.”


There are sounds of feet stomping. “You say I can’t stay the course but I can too stay the course!” Junior yells. “I can! I can! You say I have to put the two trillion dollar war cost in the budget, but I don’t! You say we have to cuddle up to evildoers in Iran and Syria. Why do you hate the troops? Where’s Condi? I want my Condi!”

Realizing the president is getting hysterical, the group looks at Laura, hoping she can calm him down.

She approaches the door and coos in a soft voice: “Bushie? Listen, now, this is important. How do you get someone audited? Can’t we send Oscar de la Loser to Gitmo?”

Baker gently nudges Laura aside. “Now son, hear me out. We’ve disabled your enablers. Rummy has written his last self-serving memo. Dick’s got his hands full explaining his darlin’ new grandchild’s Two Mommies. Don’t bother calling for Condi. She’s at the bottom of Foggy Bottom. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

It’s not sinking in. “We must achieve our objective,” Junior sputters. “Our objective is success. To succeed we must have success. If we don’t win, we lose. We are the winners. We can’t let the … we’re in an ideological struggle and that’s why we have a strategy … AL QAEDA! We must help democracy in Iraq succeed because … ISLAMOFASCISTS! … that is the objective of a successful …”

Barney scratches at the door, trying to cut and run.

Hat tip Tennessee Guerilla Women. And MoDo, of course, one of my favorites, but I still refuse to pay to read NYT columnists online.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Elvis' Balls



For my Friday night catblogging this evening, I present Elvis. The only man in my life who still has his balls. And the clock is ticking...



Poor little Sugar, here a tiny kitten beside brother Spicey. He had the audacity to run out the door only days after Spicey had done the same and been struck by a car. Thankfully living, but costing me hundreds and hundreds of dollars.


Sugar came back limping, and within days had a huge abcess on his leg from fighting another cat during his prohibited escapade. So, I fixed him. No. I mean I really fixed him. Fixed his leg and fixed him good while I was at it. Well, I didn't exactly. The vet did. Another couple of hundred but that'll teach him.

Oh, sure. That'll teach him. Just like it taught Spicey after he did the same thing. It taught him so well that he still ran out again and got hit by a freakin' car!

What is with the male species? With or without their balls.
I've joined the BloggingChicks Blogroll. Check it out under Pink Power in my links list. It's a huge roll of women bloggers who range everywhere under the sun in their variety. Ahh, it's so nice being a chick. So much better than being a dick.

I've also joined a reciprocal link at RavenBlack's Perch.

Halfrican my ass

Via Media Matters:

On the December 4 broadcast of San Francisco radio station KSFO's Sussman, Morgan & Vic, in speaking to a co-host -- apparently Brian Sussman -- co-host Melanie Morgan referred to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as an, "as you call, 'Halfrican.' " Sussman responded, "Halfrican ... his father was from Kenya, his mother's white." He added that, "in my opinion -- 'cause my opinion is your average white guy," Obama "is not allowed to wear the African-American badge because his family are not the descendants of slaves, OK? He can't identify with the discrimination and the slavery and all of that that's gone into these black families for generations."

WTF is WRONG with these people? Are they missing some human genome or opposable thumb or something? Good God Almighty. There are members of my family who are half-black and the first one asshole who calls one of them Halfrican is getting two black eyes from me.

Forward Ho!

I'm getting quite a kick out of how close some of the blah-blah out of the Iraq Report and mouths of the administration mimics what I've already been saying:

Going forward = the way forward

conference with all middle east power brokers = bringing in all of the middle east into the peace process or similar blah

When will they learn? Just email me, I'll tell ya whatcha do, and I'll do it for you on the cheap, too. Just give us universal health care, dammit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Misogyny in the here and now

If you are living in a dream world where you truly believe that women are considered equal to men and that women who point out the insanely rampant misogyny in this society are empty alarmists, then I've got a little enlightenment for you.

Go here and tell me if you can read more than a dozen of the responses to a well reasoned and rational letter written by a woman at the University of New Hampshire without wanting to vomit. You might want to gear yourself up for it first by reading Twisty's comments. Going in cold to that level of abject hatred could be hazardous to your health.

Spend a little time with the absolutely superb post by Res at The Republic of Dogs about the situation at FDL which turned into what absolutely appears to be "a full-on sexist infestation at FDL". FireDogLake was once one of my favorite "big dog" blogs, but once I started reading some of the comments, I saw time and again that it was a place where you either agreed with the community mind-speak, or you were troll labeled out of existence. I've also noted a, shall we say, certain arrogance in many of Jane Hamsher's postings which left a bad taste in my mouth.

I haven't made up my mind what to think about the community there, but this episode, coupled with some others I've observed, give me reservations about the blog. I have a small group of readers, at this point, I know. Still, this blog is my baby and my blogroll is my personal honor roll. I don't add blogs there lightly and only do so once I'm convinced that it belongs. Which is why FDL is coming off, at least for now. Not that anyone cares or that it matters to anyone but me.

Wisdom

AOB has this excellent post:

Native American Proverb:

An elder of the tribe is talking with a young boy. He says to the boy "I am so very tired, because I have these two wolves inside of me and they are having a ferocious fight.

"The child looks up at him with eyes that are wide with fright and curiosity. "What are they fighting about?"

The elder says "One wolf is full of rage, humiliation, envy and violence because he feels he has been mistreated. The other wolf wants justice, nuture, love and prosperity."

The little boy is concerned for his old friend. He asks " Which wolf will win?"

The elder man replies "Whichever one I feed."

I ask the Presidents of all countries today..."Which wolf are you feeding?"

RAISE YOUR HANDS!

Who thinks Bush will implement the Iraqi Report in it's entirety, as a whole, as it is intended?

Anyone? Someone? Somewhere?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

I hope the moron lives just long enough to realize that his legacy is to go down in history as the worst President ever, minimal, and if there is any justice in the world, realize that his actions led to the demise of his political party and all of it's deplorable ideals, and no one even builds his library. Then that he dies as a disgraced, roundly despised, rotten old man, abandoned by friends and family. Maybe let him have one mean nurse who defrauds him of whatever he has left. He's despicable.
Angry Black Bitch

I stumbled over this blog while doing a search in Google and I love it so much it's going on my blogroll immediately.

Yes, I am a southern white woman and this is a southern-ish black woman and we speak the same language. We just might use a different vocabulary here and there.

Read it. She's awesome.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If I were the President

Sometimes, I like to play a little game I call "If I were the President". When I do, I usually go off on a tear in about 20 different directions, but for here and now, I am going to attempt to play "If I were the President, I would solve the problem in Iraq by:"

I would call every single power broker in the middle east, every single one, no matter what their position as long as they have real power, money, and influence (no figureheads or puppets) and tell them that I was sending Air Force Two to pick them up in the next 24 hours and they could either come or be shut out of the policy making and peace process for peace in the middle east and have no say on what would be decided in the meeting. If they come, they should come prepared. I know they could get to DC on their own steam, but I'm impatient and I want them to get to know each other on the flight and get used to talking amongst themselves. Plus, I want to be responsible for all security.

I would have them in Camp David or other suitable location with all living and able previous Presidents, and Congressional leaders, supported by fully briefed and prepared Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet, and NSA, CIA, along with the CEO of every major American and multi-national corporation doing business in the middle east or interested in doing business in the middle east, and one reporter from every major news outlet in the world, for three days.

I would inform them that the American people were going to be fully informed of every thing I was about to tell them.

I would announce to them that on the fourth day, the U.S. military would begin withdrawing and would be completely withdrawn from Iraqi territory by January 30th (or whatever date closest that is actually possible).

I would announce that all American based businesses currently doing business in every country would either shut down its operations immediately or I would ask Congress to withdraw all tax credits, price supports and whatever else I could find propping them up, if an agreement was not reached by the end of the three days.

I would authorize the oil reserves of our country to be released until further notice.

I would tell them that the past was not to be discussed, only the future.

The first day, each power broker would get one hour to put forth their individual ideas and committments on what they would be willing to do to stabilize the region and Iraq in particular in order for the U.S. to continue to do business with their country.

The second day would be discussions chaired by the panel of Presidents and Congressional leaders.

The third day, each power broker will be asked if they want to modify their stance or committments based on the discussions. Then we vote on which offerings are acceptable. Any power broker who has not stepped up to the table sufficiently for his offerings to be voted acceptable will be given 10 minutes to upgrade or lose their influence entirely. A second vote will be tallied. That vote will stand.

The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that will remain off the table is Israel's right to exist peacefully within it's own borders. Israel will have to bargain just like everyone else, for everything else. Land, wall, whatever.

Iraqi power brokers, the president, the mullahs, whoever, can discuss and either accept all accepted offerings or none by unanimous vote. Either way, the U.S. is leaving the country. The other middle east countries will either take responsibility for making the right kind of offers to stabilize their region or not. Iraq will take responsibility for accepting the assistance of their neighboring countries or not.

One way or another, it's in their hands. It is anyway. All entities who have made acceptable attempts will be given most favored nation status to the U.S., if they are a nation. If they are an entity, like a mullah or whatnot, they will be given favored status and the power that comes from the gratitude of the American people.

Should that entity gain ruling authority over any country, they will remain in our favor.

If they are stalwart in their determination to label our nation their enemy, then we will be their enemy, and no business based in the U.S. will be allowed to do business with them under any circumstances. None. Zero. Unless they want to change their minds. We will maintain diplomatic status with them up until the moment they either declare war on us or we on them. All channels of communication will be open.

If Iraq accepts the peace brokering, and it's middle east partners assist in stopping civil war and once Iraq becomes a stable sovereign country, U.S. corporations will be asked to rebuild their infrastructure, power, roads, schools, you name it, employing Iraqi citizens only, and will be given massive tax breaks to do so, and will be subsidized to do so to a limited extent. They will be expected to achieve solvency in their efforts. They will be required to finish in five years or all grants will be recalled and they will pay back the American people.

That will be the price the U.S. pays for it's mistake. That, and a heartfelt apology from me, the President of the United States, to the Iraqi people and all the people in the middle east for the arrogance and unbridled dicking with them by both the government and U.S. national and multi-national corporations.

It stops now. It's up to them.

For anyone who might think that it would be a huge gamble with the U.S. economy, oil security, etc., I remind you that it's only a gamble if you don't know that you have the winning hand.

We still hold the royal flush. It's in the suit of green and it's dollar signs.

Money talks or money walks. Historically, it has been our best offense and our best defense. Our business is our national security, and that is what Republicans have never understood. They think it's just a method of lining their pockets, when it is a tool of government more powerful than our military when used to the advantage of this country. American business interests exists by the good grace of the American people. The American people will use it to our advantage, or we can nationalize any individual corporation not willing to be a good citizen. Stockholders need to be reminded, and if corporations think they'll get more stability, more security, less taxes, more subsidies, less government interference, a freer marketplace, and survive in a world where their products are banned from the U.S., and probably our trading partners, they might want to start looking yesterday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows

Awesome, dude. Lifehacker via Kung Fu Monkey.

Interesting...

I found this interesting, though I hardly have the brain cells today to read it entirely or comprehend it marginally. Still, I suggest it as a fresh viewpoint and salient. Creek Running North is always a breath of fresh air.

A bit light

You may have noticed that my postings have been a bit light lately. I'm in the midst of another episode of my illness right now. That, coupled with a temporary lack of patience on my part, and substance in political discourse, if not actual events of import, and the ever more imminent arrival of the holidays accounts for it.

Not that you, dear reader, or anyone else, would be interested, but I have been posting to a blog I set up just for my illness. It helps me get things off my chest, so to speak, without bothering or boring my friends and relatives, or allowing it to taint this blog. If you'd like to know more about living with a rare disorder that is so unusual, the medical establishment is at a loss, for the most part, (and with no insurance coverage), read me over at Mastocytosis. It has such an uninspiring title, because I hope to open it up to other sufferers to post their experiences.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

All are punish'd

There is a disturbing trend in political discourse in the country. Let me name it the "either or" trend.

One example is the search for who to blame for the debacle that is Iraq. The best description I've found is at The Carpetbagger Report, which briefly touches on the situation, then goes on to decry that it's not appropriate to blame the American people.

"For the last several months, as conditions in Iraq have deteriorated, we’ve seen the emergence of a parallel debate that runs alongside the general question of what we’re supposed to do about this mess. It is, of course, the who-deserves-the-blame question.

You’re no doubt familiar with the list of suspects. For the reality-based community, Bush is near the top, followed by Cheney and Rumsfeld. In DC and in the media, some prefer to blame some combination of al Qaeda and Iran. Others argue the Middle East is to blame, because, they say, the region is not ready for democracy. In a variety of places, you can also hear blame go to Iraqis, U.S. troops, and the media.

But as
Josh Marshall noted, Roll Call’s Mort Kondracke has nominated a new scapegoat: the American electorate."

It's not the American people's fault. Alone. But, the people of this country allowed it to happen and have, by their acquiescence, bear their fair share of the blame.

The truth is that it is not EITHER the American people's fault OR the Iraqi people's fault. It is not EITHER Iran's fault OR Al Qaeda's. It is not EITHER the media's fault OR the administration. Or the blogosphere. Or the wingnuts. Or any combination of any of the above or any other entity that did anything other than question, complain, act or speak against the war from the beginning. They are the only blameless, and even they can be held to account for not being strident enough, or loud enough, or active enough.

EVERYONE IS TO BLAME. EVERYONE BEARS THEIR OWN SHARE OF THE FAULT.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: A plague on all your houses. ALL YOUR HOUSES! ALL are punish'd. All are punish'd.

That one entity might share more blame than another is a given. And it is irrelevant.

The past, history, that is, is good for one thing and one thing only. To learn from. It is not a weight on an non-existent scale in relation to what is to be done in the present, other than to teach us not to repeat mistakes. It doesn't tell us what to do, but rather what not to do. And no amount of finger pointing is going to solve the predicament in front of us at this moment.

In technical analysis, we call this a "going forward" event. Going forward means that regardless of what we were doing before, we must now do this instead.

It's the instead that must be solved. We must look at the operator's error, and, going forward, not allow it's repetition. Sometimes that means taking the program down another pathway, sometimes it means shutting down the program and re-writing the whole damn thing.

In my humble opinion, I think we have a fatally flawed program, and our client is recalcitrant and unwilling to suspend its operations long enough to allow for new specifications to be written and implemented, nor is its management in a position to provide enough input for the re-write should the user's become able to stand by. Since the cost is now being paid not only by us in time and expenditure to constantly adjust a fatally flawed program, and by the client in chaos and bloodshed, it is time for us to withdraw and allow the client to seek internal or external remedy from another source.

However, Iraq is not the only issue where the EITHER/OR trend in discussion is hampering solution.

Take illegal immigration, for example. The solution is not EITHER amnesty OR no amnesty and deportation instead. There are many viable solutions, all of which have merit and all of which must be applied for the problem to be resolved. Polarization on this issue along partisan lines will result in no resolution. Every available option that is feasible and contributory to the desired result must be implemented.

My humble opinion is that immigration quota's and restrictions should be loosened to allow more legal immigration.

Illegal immigrants who have proven themselves good potential citizens over a long period of time should be allowed amnesty but be penalized in a way that is not merely punitive but beneficent. For example, they may purchase work visa's good for five years, during which time they may apply for citizenship and be given it if they take and pass the test within that time frame and demonstrate a working grasp of the English language. The fine should be substantial but not backbreaking, such as $5,o00, payable over the five year period. The fine should go into a trust to provide scholarships to college for the deserving (meaning good GPA's at high school graduation) children of legal immigrants, which they will be once they pass the citizenship exam. Additional prerequisites should include that they be gainfully employed or legal business owners, have health insurance coverage, pay income taxes and file federal and state income tax returns.

Those who are married, with American born children, or single mothers of same, may request and be given the same amnesty if they can meet the same requirements and be sponsored by 5 U.S. citizens, 2 of which must be native born citizens.

Illegal immigrants who have been in the country less than, say, 5 years, and have no legitimate American born children, must be deported. They may apply for legal immigration.

As of the date of the enactment, all children born to parents who are both illegal immigrants will not be granted citizenship status. One parent must be a citizen or a verified legal immigrant.

Employers of illegal immigrants with no work visa's must be heavily fined for each illegal immigrant worker. Every employee must provide a valid Social Security number and either birth certificate or work visa.

Domestic, farm, and private maintenance workers must be licensed and must produce the same legal documents to the government licensing agent in order to be employed.

Developers and home builders who contract with companies for construction or similar work must be as liable as the contracted companies.

Visa's (or green cards) must be redesigned and printed in the same type methods reserved for U.S. dollars so that they may not be counterfeited.

Illegal immigrants caught crossing at the border must be confined for six months. During that half-year, they may petition the government if they qualify for amnesty under the same conditions. If they do not qualify, they must be deported at the end of the period. If they are caught a second time, or found to be living within the borders at a later time, they must be imprisoned for one year and will be ineligible for amnesty or petition for legal citizenship or work visa for 5 years, regardless of circumstances. A third offense will be a 3 year imprisonment and lifetime ineligibility. A fourth offense will be a federal offense and a 10 year prison sentence with no parole.

Borders must be made as secure as possible, and include fencing and heavily patrolled.

Those are just what I can think of off the top of my head. Surely, our elected officials could come up with an even better comprehensive solution, if they ever tried.

Humorlessness

I don't know if it's just my mood of late, or what, but I'm finding most of the political discourse on the blogosphere so redundant and humorless that it bores and depresses me. Of course, what really bores and depresses me is what is actually happening in the country.

I may simply have to take a respite from commentary unless I find myself unable to withhold myself. However, in my quest to find something, anything, that is optimistic or amusing, at the very least, I will not forget to post it here forthwith.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Night Catblogging


I would be, but BetaBlogger is being BetaBloggerish again and not allowing me to upload any images.

This is very tiresome. Very, very tiresome.

A happy return

Altmouse is back. Yeah! I've been missing her. I'll have to add her to my blogroll, but I have many others to add too, when I feel like it, so this will have to do for now.

So funny. I used to have a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

With kind regards

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Oh, no, I know you dint!

With kind regards

Dear President Ahmadinejad,

Oh no, you dint!

Just 18 more years

Damn right, O'Reilly. It's our new, secret plan to grow the Dem base. Birth'em, nurture'em, grow'em, and vote'em.

It's what we're doing with all those aborted fetuses. We freeze them, ship them in a test tube to a clinic in an undisclosed location, then our mad scientists thaw them and re-implant them in specially chosen Dem single women.

Oops! Wasn't supposed to let that out. What a way you have in getting secret info, Bill. Just like the secret, private medical files of Kansas women. Oops! The clinics are NOT in Kansas. Just want to make that clear.

Freeway Blogging


This is FABULOUS!!! Check it out and then go find your nearest freeway.

I had an attack from eating shrimpcakes today and am sick, sick, sick again for who knows how long. I'd probably die if I tried getting near a freeway, but this little puppy is going in my windshield!!

If you post a sign to a freeway after learning about it here, please send me a pic. I'd consider it an honor.
Thanks to Colorado Bob!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stop Cannabalism!

I'm very confused about the terms being bandied about in the Party. I don't understand the usage of the words "Centrist", "Liberal", "Progressive", "Left", "Right of Center", and on and on and on. On a number of influential blogs, "Centrism" seems to be attacked on every level and with a vehemism previously reserved for Republicans.

I think it's sad, really. The Democratic Party seems genetically engineered to attack and destroy itself. We should have one opponent, the other Party. I don't expect to agree with every other individual in the Democratic Party and I don't expect them to agree with me. I refuse to attack them for it, though I will state my disagreement when I find it appropriate.

Overall, I believe the Democratic Party's duty is to impose an attentiveness to the good of humanity on capitalism. I don't believe in absolute communism. I believe capitalism is the best route to a just and healthy society but must be tempered, sometimes severely, but by and large benignly, if carefully guided and supported by the will of the people. I believe that some socialist-inspired programs must be provided by the government, for the welfare of the people as a whole. This would include Social Security, public education, and universal health care. Inasmuch as this may curtail capitalism interests, so be it.

I actually took a test at The Political Compass and was surprised to find that I was a Libertarian Leftist, being left on economic issues and libertarian on social issues. I always considered myself to the epitome of the center. I was pleased, however, to be placed in the graph in nearly the exact position as Gandhi, and extremely close to Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. So, I must be doing something right.

Still, there has to be a middle road with elements of almost every political philosophy incorporated into the path to avoid society swinging too far towards any single one political philosophy. History has proven them all to be unworkable in their extreme manifestation.

To me, that has always meant centrism and pragmatism.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm)
n.
1. Philosophy A movement consisting of varying but associated theories, originally developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James and distinguished by the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences.
2. A practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems.

cen·trist (sntrst)
n.
One who takes a position in the political center; a moderate.
adj.
Marked by or adhering to a moderate political view: "The deep pool of centrist opinion in the country, that essential guarantee against violent political upheavals, is being dangerously shaken" New York Times.

cen·trism (sntrzm)
n.
The political philosophy of avoiding the extremes of right and left by taking a moderate position.
hm();Sources=Sources 2;

As someone who had read three dictionaries, one set of encyclopedia's and the complete works of Shakespeare by age 12, (not that you'd ever know it now having had so much sucked out of my brain by this disease) I've tended to stick with the legitimate definitions of words. However, reading in message boards, I've learned that Richard Perle has somehow tinged the word "pragmatism" beyond all acceptance by self-described liberals (not sure how), Centrists are empty headed, and Centrism is vacuous compromise for the sake of compromise.

I don't know. I just don't get it.

I would like for the new Congress to get all the things done that I want them to get done immediately, like (and in no particular order) universal healthcare, overturning the Military Commisions Act, reinstate posse comitatus and habeas corpus, raise the minimum wage substantially, ensure the greatest generation gets every and any damn thing it pleases in reward for saving the world, increase tariffs to impose fair trade, fully fund superior education for every student regardless of age, race, location or any other damn thing, stop the genocide in Darfur and every other damn place immediately, completely revamp election laws and procedures, abolish money donations from lobbyists, secure our ports and our borders, increase immigration quotas, solve the ILLEGAL immigration problem by engaging all possibilities such as citizenship for some with penalties, deportation for some with no questions, and fines for corporate exploiters, free the country from oil dependence, develop smarter methods of providing domestic security, abolish domestic surveillance without warrants, engage in the peace process in the middle east, rebuild the Gulf Coast, and, last but absolutely not least, withdraw from Iraq and establish a reasonable and workable foreign policy.

Oh, and impeach Bush after he blocks all of the above.

That's what I'd like to happen. And probably more. But, you know what? I live in reality and I know that they cannot do it all by January 30th. I know that compromises will have to be reached. I won't get everything I want. Other Democrats won't get everything they want. Some of us won't get anything we want. And some things we might get only if we take the White House and maintain our lead in Congress come the next election. Or the election after that. Or the one after that.

Compromise IS in the Constitution. Compromise IS the Constitution, insofar as the establishment of the three branches of government is in the Constitution.

I understand that some elected Democrats might seem like weasels to me, or backstabbers or traitors, or like downright idiots. Even so, the most disagreeable Democrat is preferable to me to the most agreeable Republican. Because, at core, I know that despite some evidence to the contrary, that Democrat is more likely to believe that corporate interests must be reigned in to some degree, even if a minor degree, for the good of the people. And I know that the Republican believes that all business, any business, is good business and good for America. I want that Democrat to do whatever he has to do in his elected position to please his constituents, the people in his state or district who cast their votes for him. I don't expect the good Democratic congressman from, I dunno, Kalamazoo, Michigan, (if there is one) to please me down here in Greenville, SC. I want him to please the folks in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Even if what he does makes me sputter and flush with frustration and irritation.

Grow up, Democrats. Quit whining. Quit name calling. Quit alienating every other Democrat, elected or not, who disagrees with one or more of your pet concerns or your preferred method of meeting an objective. Unite. Stop navel gazing and simultaneously attempting to find the splinter in the eye of your fellow Democrat while ignoring the log in your own, to paraphrase a well known book. Unite and fight the good fight and know when to compromise to achieve an achievable and reasonable move forward. But, above all, unite. Unite. Unite. Unite.

Or as my Daddy would say in his day, quit flapping your jaws. You're stirring up a hurricane.

Foolin' around

I am finding current events far too depressing these days.

Thanks to Ivan the Terrible, I was playing with the P.G.Wodehouse quote generator and I kept getting quotes about dogs. Don't know if they were Yaller Dogs, but here they are.

He uttered a sound much like a bull dog swallowing a pork chop whose dimensions it has underestimated.

I was sauntering on the river bank with a girl named something that has slipped my mind, when there was a sound of barking and a large hefty dog came galloping up, full of beans and buck and obviously intent on mayhem. And I was just commending my soul to God and feeling that this was where the old flannel trousers got about thirty bobs worth of value bitten out of them, when the girl, waiting till she saw the whites of its eyes, with extraordinary presence of mind opened a coloured Japanese umbrella in the animal's face. Upon which it did three back somersaults and retired into private life.

These were my favorites of a few minutes, though.

South Kensington ... where sin stalks naked through the dark alleys and only might is right.
Service With a Smile, 1962


He had the look of a frustrated tiger whose personal physician had recommended a strict vegetarian diet....

Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoi's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboars, only to find the vodka bottle empty.
Jill the Reckless (1921)

Message Delivered

Charlie Stross has some thoughts regarding the Litvenenko poisoning recently, but then, he has astute observations on many things. The man has enviable skills.

The Daily Show referenced a story tonight about a gentleman possibly involved who was a judo expert with a slight limp who spoke English and Portugese fluently. I'm still trying to find the reference.

Somebody tell me it's just a rather engrossing spy novel. John le Carre', where are you when we need you?

Hat tip to Brad DeLong.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Celebration

Finally, YouTube has it's kinks worked out for Blogger Beta. But, it will be down for maintenance soon and who knows after that. Blogger is down for maintenance over and over again, then its hinky as hell afterward, like now. So, if I don't post much, you'll know why. Turn up the volume. Love the tune!

THANK YOU,

KEITH OLBERMANN

Add your atta-boy!

Patton's Plan (A Parody)

Great vid!!

Some of my best friends are American

Found this very funny vid in the very funny comments of the very funny blog Chase me ladies, I'm in the Calvary.

Here is one of those very funny posts I couldn't resist copying here. Thanks to David C.

I think of all its current expeditionary hijinks, the mission to Mars is the one with which America stands by far the greatest chance of establishing a representative, secular democracy.david c 28.11.06 - 8:26 am