Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some Thoughts on Warren and Obama

I sometimes am reluctant to really get personal on this blog. Yes, I post a lot of pics of my dad, but you know, that's just something that has been on my mind for a while now. I haven't actually posted much in the last year, mostly because no one reads my blog, so why should I post on the blog? Hmmm?

To me, that's a good question.

Anyhoo, it's my blog and I'll post if I like to. And thanks to the three or four of you out there who occasionally pops by. Thank you!

When I was growing up, living mostly between my father's bar and my mother's church with very few choices in between, I knew a man named Queenie. And she was magnificent.

Queenie was a non-operative transvestite and she, with his sash and strut, would come into my dad's bar. If I remember it right (my memory has been shot by a constant worrying mental stream of going to hell as a young one), Queenie was the best and funniest people in all of the world. I try not to remember the drunkenness and drugs, and I don't remember if I ever heard him say he'd been beaten, or rumors of such, but he would always sit at the end of the creamy purplish bar laminate with the black arm rests, at curved end of the bar curved near where the phone boxes used to be, before they were moved to the front, as the phones lost the box and became surrounded by plywood rests simulating privacy nearer the door, to be replaced themselves where the phoneboxes used to be by Pac Man and a pinball machine.

I wish I could remember specific stories. I could ask my mother, though dad would have told me tell me the real scoop. One thing I do know that from a young age, I have known a gay man and I remember him fondly. It was only later that I "realized" that gay people were bad. I never gave it one bit of thought, until the day I was told I should.

I learned that I should think about it from going to church. The church my mom was a member of was a part of the Apostolic community of churces, hard-core, dispensationalist, tribulationist, Rapture-ready warriors. And I grew up smack dab in the eye of its storm. I often say if it hadn't been for the bar, I would have gone completely mad.

I have a relative who is gay and has been out for a very long time. He went through hell for a long period of time and even now, I suppose, both demonized by family and trounced by life. I won't say much more than that.

I have often wondered myself if I were gay. Maybe that I don't date is not because of my first 20 years of life being told how horrible a person I was (primarily for just having been born a sinner), but that I was gay and being in my dad's bar with a bunch of fast-talking men and the women that they talked fast to had nothing to do with my aversion to dating and playing the game.
Ha.

I realized a long time ago that in fact, I was not gay, I just wanted to have been born a man. Men have a whole hell of a lot more fun and they get to rule the world. Don't get me wrong. I like being a woman mostly, but you know what, I'd much rather be the objectifier than the objectified. Got a problem with that?
Ha.

I guess the bottom line to this post is that I dislike the fact that Rick Warren is giving the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. As far as I'm concerned, this country is based on a God-free Constitution, where the rights of the people trump the rights of God. My spirit is dampened a bit by this decision, as if the wind has been knocked out of my sails. From a political point of view, I can see where this is coming from. However, Obama has alienated a wide swathe of his 'base' with this decision to appeal to those who still believe he's a Muslim or the anti-Christ or a Socialist or whatever. I hope this move works. Something is working, particularly when the likes of Pat Robertson, on CNN the other day, says that he's "remarkably pleased with the job that is Obama is doing." I fell off my chair, figuratively, of course.



Obama has come this far seemingly knowing what he is doing. It's difficult, I believe, for mixed-race people like the both of us to take a firm stand on moral issues at times. When you yourself were outlawed by dint of birth and the Bible is made to prove your blood apostasy, it's tough enough to attempt to bring everyone together around the dinner table, let alone around the world over long-standing issues such as abortion or gay rights. Compromises of a personal nature are made all the time to get along. Whether right or wrong, it's the way it is.

Obama has steadfastly been an advocate for pro-choice causes and he says he's for gay rights but not gay marriage. Warren (and Robertson) helps to legitimize Obama's presidency, and I can plainly see the wisdom of that. However, I hope that Obama, in trying to lure in the Religious Right, does not forget that the Vocal Left and Moderate Center are the ones that actually voted him into office and rallied continously and constantly by his side.

Oftentimes, black people of light-skin have been known to or accused of, abandoning their race and slipping into the white community because it's easier. I hope that President-Elect Obama does not slip into the Religious Right too readily because it's easy. They, like the left, will never make his life at president easy.

We'll see what the next four years brings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chicago is a Lucky Town

Now that the election is over, and I'm happy with its outcome (which, if you don't know, I won't tell you because you've been living under a rock and should possibly stay there), I came across this posting at the Obama/Biden Transition website, of a photo montage of President-Elect Obama and advisor and Transition Co-Chair Valerie Jarret heading out on the town and picking up corned beef sandwiches at a deli in Chicago. The headline, "President-elect Obama stops by Chicago deli," got me thinking a little bit about the fates of two towns: Chicago and my hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

My first thought was... yum, I like corned beef sandwiches. My second thought was that Chicago is a lucky town and that Chicago is reawakening America.

Being born and raised in Detroit, Chicago was always a distant, glistening, cold, cold place to me. I didn't go to Chicago much as a kid. Lake Michigan was a mystery to folks on my side of the Great Lakes (folks in Detroit, that is... we were lucky with Belle Isle). My family, prone to car trips (yea! cartrips!) always passed through as we went on past the Chicago landscape to visit family in Milwaukee. I never got a sense of it, really, growing up, except that it was cold and it was in the Midwest. I had to get out of the Midwest.

Anyway, we came East and went South a lot more than West growing up, and New York just grabbed my heart at a young age, just like it has grabbed other likewise crazy people.

I sometimes think that maybe I should have moved to Chitown instead of the Big Apple. While it's still a giant, tough, town, it is vastly more accessible than New York. And cheaper. Housing... wow, I could have a lovely place off Lake Michigan, freezing my ass off, but "What a view!" And of course, sadly, it's a billion light years beyond my beleaguered and beloved, Detroit.

I also find it fascinating that Chicago is also the site of an organized, community-based, and mostly spur-of-the-moment action that has pretty much summed up the current financial crisis: "We bail you out. You bail us out."

Now, Chicago has brought forth the President-Elect. Detroit still struggles with deep, deep, wounds, inflicted by both self and others in so many ways. It's heartbreaking.

Chicago is a lucky town. Don't blow it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bush and the Flag

If a Democrat had done this, there would be hell to pay:


Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Courage of a 1000 Dragons

Tibet Activists Stage "Die-In" Protest In Tiananmen Square (VIDEO)

1 hour ago - In Beijing's Tiananmen Square Saturday, four Tibet supporters lay motionless on the ground draped in Tibetan flags representing the bloodshed the activists claim has been perpetrated by the Chinese government on the Tibetan people. Students for a Free Tibet posted a video of the protest online and published the bios of the five participants. As one of protesters shouted with Mao's iconic…



Tiananmen “Tibet Die-in” Protest 080908 from Students for a Free Tibet on Vimeo.

UPDATE:

Go to: Avaaz.org

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

So You're Telling Me....

...as Tweety is telling me right now... that in a national poll, 53% vs 33% of the country believe that McCain will protect us from terrorism. I ask you: Where you one of the 53% that thought that the last time around with our current President? See what that got us?

Time to think about terrorism, work some true diplomacy, and see anew our policy. You won't be encountering that, I think, from a McCain presidency (though sometimes I wonder just how Hawkish Obama could be).

I just hope that Senator Obama does not forget the Netroots. I really hope I haven't been wrong. That would be sad.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The First Big "Diss"appointment

The first disappointment is always the worse. Particularly when it's something you really believed in. Giving immunity to the Telecoms for not stepping up to the plate and saying no to a destructive President, ugh. I've longed been angered by this as I feel that the Telecomms knew exactly what the law said and knew it would be an issue down the line. I'm sure they were strongarmed, but I'm sure they also were eager for data experimentation as well. The House and possibly the Senate are going to reel in FISA but still let the Telecomms go free. Oh how I long sometimes for impeachment.

Anyhoo, Obama disappointed on this one. It may be that he's saving it for Bush, or it may be he has some plan down the line. Or he's just like, what I have always feared, like all the others.

We shall see.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

Dad at Niagara Falls, 1950s
1930-2006
Dad and Me, Detroit
Circa 1969
Another b-day without you. Very sad.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sometimes, You Need Some Straight Talk

After eight years, you finally get it:

Obama Press Conference, South Dakota, May 16, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tell Me

McCain in his own words, in 2006, on negotiating with the terrorist, but otherwise sitting and elected governmental body, called Hamas, in what is currently known as the Palestinian State at this point:



So, my anonymous commenter: why do you believe what the GOP says?

And while you're at it, can you please tell me why I should believe anything that the GOP says when it's obvious that its biggest and loudest cheerleaders don't know a damned thing about history? Give me ONE good reason. Just one... that's all I ask.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Half Liberty

Statute of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry
March 2008
Photo by Elderta

Friday, May 09, 2008

Colbert Gives Me the Verklempt

Stephen Colbert got all excited about talking with an astronaut from the International Space Station. In fact, he gets so excited he gives me the touch of the funny, too.

OMG! SPACE!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Wish You Were Here

There are two people I am missing tonight:

A) My dad would be one of the most proud men on earth just about now because of Barack Obama. He loved Bill Clinton but would be highly saddened by Senator Clinton's campaign because he believed in them more than not.

and

B) One my life heroes, a Loving of Loving v. Virginia, Mildred, died today. It was in 1967 that she sued the State of Virginia, in order to "legally" be able to wed the love of her life, Richard. She was black, he was white. They would have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the landmark case last year (he died in 1975) and recently, she advocated for homosexual marriage.

40 years ago, I was 3 years old. This happened in my lifetime. Do you understand? I don't hang on to it, but I feel it. And I wasn't even cognizant at the time.

Thank you, Richard and Mildred, for one of the greatest love stories ever told.

All I want to do is cry. And heck, I even went to see Iron Man tonight, and it was great. But really, the death of Mrs. Loving made me think of my dad and then that made me think of so many things.

BTW the way, Robert Downey, Jr. is hot. Wish you were here, too. But in a... different... sorta way. So, make that three people I'm missing tonight.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Take the Bush-McCain Challenge!


Really, the McCain of 2000 is not the McCain of 2008. First of all, he's eight years older and a bit more demented, if you ask me. Second of all, he is morphing before our eyes into our current President, and really, I would rather chop off my own foot and roast it over potatoes and fava beans than have Bush in office for another term. Thank God for term limits!!

Lastly, the Republican Party is mentally and spiritually bankrupt. They have sucked the country dry of money and sanity and it's really time to put an end to their rule over the hearts and minds of some of the American people.

WAKE UP OUT THERE! I'M TALKING TO YOU! GET OUT OF BED! WAKE UP! DON'T MAKE ME COME OUT THERE!!!

Ahem... anyhoo, so take this quiz (complete with those pesky things called FACTS), and see if you can tell the difference between McBush. Click on the image above or here. I was actually shocked that there IS a difference between the two... and that difference is...? McCain is even more batshit crazy than Bush. And that, "my friends," should wake you the frak up now.

**hattip, Maryel!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pop-Up Double-Talk: McCain/Katrina Edition

Speaking as someone who traveled to New Orleans for a conference and left exactly one week prior to Hurricane Katrina blowing in, McCain's atrocious Double-Talk Maverick Express photo-ops regarding New Orleans and the Hurricane left me speechless. This YouTube video made me furious:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wild Eyed: Nature Calendar in New York City

My friend, Erik Baard, has a new website out that discusses all things of an urban nature sort. I wrote a story for his "Wild Eyed" column that lets people post about their encounters with urban nature. I write about the time I came face to face with a powerful and beautiful, Peregrine falcon.
The Falcon and the Smoker
by Tanya Elder
The Riverside Church is located on Riverside Drive between 122nd and 124th Streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The gothic structure looks ancient, but it was actually built in 1928 with a modern-day steel skeleton under a layer of poured concrete and stone hewed in the gothic style. Thanks to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Church was built as a progressive place of worship, which has continued under influential pastors such as Harry Emerson Fosdick, William Sloane Coffin, and currently, James A. Forbes, Jr.

[snip]
Head to Nature Calendar for more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's What They Say...

And then Happycat met the Flying Spaghetti Monster...
However, the jury is still out for me on the whole dang thing anyway.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Backstage at the Bridal Show

The Bridal Show at Milk
New York City. iPhoto by Elderta


I occasionally work as a model dresser for high fashion runway shows. It's actually quite fun. The models and staff are usually nice, the designers friendly (though a little wound tight) and the clothes are super fantastic.

Believe it or not, but runway modeling is harder than you think. And don't worry, I know you won't believe it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Six Months and Six Months and Six Months



What where you doing six months ago? What will you be doing six months from now? And six months after that? And afterward?

If you elect Republican John McCain to be the President of the United States, how many excuses will be given for every six months he's in office?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tibet Out Of China Protest


Union Square Park, 6:30PM
New York, NY

A group of about 100+ Tibetans and non-Tibetans gathered in Union Square Park today in Manhattan to protest the Olympic torch being traipsed through Tibet and up to Mt. Everest ahead of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Before the sloganeering began (and it was extremely lively and well-planned), a group of monks (or I think they were monks) ritualistic cut their hair and flung it on the Olympic ring flag. Mind you, I didn't arrive to see this in time, but I saw the hair on the ring banner, and then I saw the group of men with chunks of their hair torn out.


(I tried to post this earlier from my iPhone but had 'issues.' iPhone 'issues.')

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moses Passeth

Charlton Heston has passed.

No matter how I may have disagreed with Mr. Heston on issues, I acknowledge that there are a few great Heston movies.

My favorites:

The Greatest Show on Earth
The Omega Man
Planet of the Apes
The Three Musketeers (But not because of him. See Oliver Reed, Michael York, Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee, and Raquel Welch)
Midway (Ok, I like Toro Toro Toro, too. It's a WWII thing...)

My semi-favorites:
Earthquake
Airport 1975
Soylent Green

Rest in Peace, Mr. Heston. And thank you. For the movies at least.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dreams of the 1960s That Should Never Die

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I just got back from a trip to North Carolina. Of the Southern states I've been to, North Carolina and the city of New Orleans are the only places I'd seriously consider moving to in the South. I love the feeling of the Charlotte/Hickory/Shelby areas, where both sides of my parents families lived while they were growing up. (They are originally from Georgia and Tennessee.) My parents never much liked to talk about their family's roots. I never knew if it was because they didn't really know, wanted to break with the past, or didn't want to delve into it since I didn't find out I was adopted until I was 33. Probably the less questions asked, the better.

I remember always traveling down to North Carolina or Tennessee as a kid. I loved leaving Detroit, getting in the car and heading down home, though at times, when I had to take a wee wee, dad wouldn't stop. He was one of those kinds of "gotta test my limits to see how quickly I can make it to the destination with sleep or stopping" dads. You know the kind of dads I'm talking about!

I was in North Carolina in July visiting my father's relatives; this time, I visited my mother's relatives. July was a family reunion at a hotel, so we only went to visit one relative out of town; this time I saw three or four folks, mostly my mom's age, including one of my mother's grade school friends. At almost every home were photographs, or shrines, of sorts to five individuals: Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. These relatives were older African-Americans, one a Vietnam veteran. I remember during the 1970s and traveling down there that almost everyone had some picture of the Kennedys and King, at least, somewhere in their homes. I was surprised to find that 40 years later, they still do. It might be different relatives, but nonetheless, the same icons.



Mandela was imprisoned in 1963 and freed 27 years later; King and Bobby were killed in 1968; John F. much earlier in 1963; Malcolm in 1965. One by one, these dreams of the 1960s were picked off, as if a bullet or a jail could actually stop a dream. Boy, where the assholes who pulled these triggers and locked that cell door, wrong.

At times, I get pretty sick of the 1960s and the neverending struggle between conservatives and liberals from that decade constantly at war with each other. They never solve any problems, they just outshout and outdo, the other. I'm pretty tired of it. However, there are some dreams from the 1960s that should never die:

The dream of freedom for the oppressed
The dream of the poor being lifted from poverty
The dream that all men and women are created equal
The dream of human dignity
The dream of ending a meaningless war

Some dreams just can't be stopped with bullets. It might slow down the progress for a bit, but never stop it completely.

If you do just one thing to commemorate King's death, let it be this: take time to revisit the 23:00 minute speech that King gave in his opposition to the Vietnam War at my old work stomping grounds, the Riverside Church in the City of New York. It's powerful stuff and an excellent reminder that sometimes the pulpit is the only place to get a dream out (just ask the pro-lifers...). And sometimes, because no one is quite paying attention, you have to shout, "God Damn America" to get anyone to listen.

Of course, King didn't say those exact words, but he came pretty damned close.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Inner Frenchman

On another note, the wonderfully irreverent Jesus's General has asked me to blog occasionally at his website on weekends. So, while last Saturday's post was identical to the one I posted here (Veterans and McCain), I'm going to attempt to write individual content for the General. It won't be every weekend, but keep an eye over there! And thank you, General, for the opportunity!

Charlotte, NC and Family

Charlotte Over the Wing
Photo by Elderta
I had to go to Charlotte, North Carolina over the weekend. My mother's sister passed away, and my mom wanted me to fly down. I like Charlotte. It's spread out, but the people are nice, the downtown is pretty (it's those teeny tiny buildings sticking out from the ground), and it was nice seeing my mother's family. It's the second time in less than a year that I've gone to Charlotte. I was there in July or August for a family reunion on my father's side. Charlotte/Shelby/Hickory North Carolina is the family seat, if you will.

The visit in July also coincided with me seeing my father's sister, Aunt Helen, for the last time. She unfortunately passed away in January. I guess I'm at the stage in life where family passes away. It's very sad.

Africa Update

I read the BBC's Africa Today site occasionally and listen to the Africa Today podcast most every weekday it's on. I am not an expert in African affairs by any means, but I do my best to keep up with the continent. I've blogged recently about the elections in Kenya, but really, I know little of the internal workings of many of Africa's countries.

I brought to your attention during the political upheaval in Kenya, a blogger by the name of the Vigilante Journalist. She filed an update about the peace agreements orchestrated by Kofi Annan, but her analysis is not necessarily rosy. Please take a look at what she filed on March 15.

In other Africa news, the elections in Mugabe-torn Zimbabwe have taken place over the last few days and it seems that Mugabe might be out of power. Here is CNN's take, BBC New's perspective, and AfricaNews.com.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Veterans and McCain

War heroes are great, but war heroes change. War heroes become politicians.

My brain is exploding these days. I see Sen. John McCain cling to his military service. Yes, it was torturous, to say the least, and dude, I salute you for it; but it sickens me at the same people. Folks hail his traumatic events, but they vilify Sen. John Kerry's equally heroic events. And it makes me sick because John McCain has been forgetting soldiers since 2005.

Do not be fooled: John McCain is a Republican, no matter how he can reach across the aisle. It's the kind of Republicans any sane person would not want to be aligned with. These guys are masterful bi-triangulators of the spoken word, overlapping each other, shouting loudly, getting up and taking their toys home and swallowing the truth whole up until the truth is not only obscured, but plummeted senseless. In other words, they lie, and they lie right to your face.

Back in 2005, during Congress's incredible piece of insurance man love, known as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, the following amendment, introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il) was defeated:
U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress - 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

Vote Summary

Question: On the Amendment (Durbin Amdt. No. 16, As Modified. )
Vote Number: 13 Vote Date: March 1, 2005, 06:07 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Amendment Rejected
Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 16 to S. 256

Statement of Purpose: To protect servicemembers and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy, to disallow certain claims by lenders charging usurious interest rates to servicemembers, and to allow servicemembers to exempt property based on the law of the State of their premilitary residence.
Vote Counts: YEAs 38
NAYs 58
Not Voting 4
The amendment went down in flames. McCain and Hagel were in the Nay column; Kerry and Obama and Clinton, yea.

So the next time someone tells you that McCain loves the troops, tell them that you don't believe them. If he loved them so much, how come he did not break with his Party and vote for the best interests of the Armed Services?

The "reintroduction of John McCain," is already out there. Sure, there may be some good things here and there, but really, he's the same old same old.

It's the same mouth service. Voting for McCain is voting for Bush III.

DO. NOT. FORGET. IT.

Liberty


Liberty by iPhone.
Valentino Park and Pier, Redhook
Opening, New York City Water Trail
Photo by Elderta

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Presidents of the United States of America!

No, not the presidential candidates... the BAND, PUSA!!!

Back in the mid-1990s, the Presidents were rocking out with songs like "Peaches," "Tiki Lounge God," and "Kitty," and my friends and I always had a smashing good time listening to the band (and karaoking) to their songs. We saw them perform about 10 years ago at the Bowery Ballroom in New York and it was a fantastic concert then and even more fun tonight as we saw them again at the Ballroom. THEY ROCKED!

I feel patriotic just thinking about it.

PUSA has a new album that was released on March 11th called "These Are the Good Times People." You can check out the album on their site. They'll be touring through June and I highly recommend seeing these hilarious and talented "post-Grunge" rockers. The Presidents RULE!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mark This Number

Wright After 9/11

On this Easter Sunday, a reflection:

Consequentialism refers to those moral theories which hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence.


Some folks (I shall not call them "typical" for fear of getting into trouble, though the "typical" comes in many colors) are upset with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in regards to the sermons he gave at his Trinity Church in Chicago. This church is the home church of one Senator Barack Obama, candidate for president. Snippets of Wright's sermons have been cut up and put on the teevee in an endless loop, highlighting some of his more... uh... colorful... statements and indicting him, and by association, Obama, for his continued participation in the church. This kerfuffle over the past few weeks is really no more than an attempt to morph Obama from a "radical Muslim" to a "radical Christian." Everything, that is, except for a middle-of-the-road, middle-class American. He's got to reach up to a patriotism bar that not even Captain America could reach.

Of course, no one is paying much attention to the actual sermons; folks in the public sphere (or at least on the teevee and the Internet) are more concerned with painting a broad and tarred brush regarding Obama. Hey, you all knew something was strange about that dude, eh?

Several people have lately delved a bit more into the sermons themselves instead of the soundbytes. Andrew Sullivan posted the text of the two sermons of concern on his site and Roland Martin has the audio of the two sermons in question on his news blog at Essence.

Here's the complete 9/11 sermon audio clip. I double dog dare you to listen to the entire sermon.

powered by ODEO

I'd like to talk about this 9/11 sermon in particular. Chalk it up to me not going to church after 9/11. Is six years too late to attend a 9/11 sermon? Probably, but some 9/11 sermons we should be reminded of again and again, but not in the way this one is now being portrayed.

I want to make clear that I left the Christian church a while ago. I believe in an ecumenical and universal spirit, but I'm more of an agnostic leaning toward Buddhist beliefs of self-reliance, self-awareness and compassion. In regards to the Christian church, I think in 65% of sermons these days, Christian ministers go over the top in their rhetoric and the message: hellfire, brimstone, America is full of sin because of abortion, gays and your little dog, too. Others walk a thin line between the feel-good and salvation, and still others, it's all feel good or quiet contemplation. There are no scientific studies to back up what I've said above. I made it up. Just as a lot of folks these days do.

If you are looking for a champion of religion from this blog, you're not going to find it. In fact, I have a link in my sidebar to Theocracy Watch, which keeps an eye on the Religious Right and the Republican Party. I don't like religion, though I love worship. I believe that religion itself, as led by imperfect men, leads to more harm than good. If you take offense at my belief, I would have to say, like Dick Cheney would, "So?"

Now, I don't want anyone to think that I'm defending left-leaning churches; I'm not. What goes for the right can also go for the left. However, I do think that the basic message of Rev. Wright's 9/11 sermon is getting short-swiftboat-shrifted when it comes to its content. Are there crazy things in both sermons that are snipped and chipped over and over on radio and television? Yes. Are the sermons loud and dangerous sounding? Yes. Are there inflammatory juicy bits sprinkled throughout? Yes. Yes. Is there anything of importance that can be gleaned from the sermons? That answer, again, is yes.

Here is a portion of Rev. Wright's sermon after 9/11 that is of great importance. The question is, "What should our response be" after that day? I asked myself that question that day, didn't you? I'm sure millions of Americans asked themselves that question. Rev. Wright gives us an answer out of many possibilities:
[Gentle voice] Now, now. C'mon back to my question to the Lord, "What should our response be right now. In light of such an unthinkable act. I asked the Lord that question Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I was stuck in Newark, New Jersey. No flights were leaving La Guardia, JFK, or Newark Airport. On the day tht the FAA opened up the airports to bring into the destinations of cities those flights that had been diverted because of the hijacking, a scare in New York close all three regional airports and I couldn't even get her for Mr. Radford's father's funeral. And I asked God, "What should our response be?

I saw pictures of the incredible. People jumping from the 110th floor; people jumping from the roof because the stair wells and elevators above the 89th floor were gone-- no more. Black people, jumping to a certain death; people holding hands jumping; people on fire jumping. [plaintiff high voice] And I asked the Lord, "What should our response be?" I read what the people of faith felt in 551 BC [taken from an earlier part of his sermon regarding Psalm 137]. But this is a different time, this is a different enemy, a different world, a different terror. This is a different reality. What should our response be, and the Lord showed me three things. Let me share them with you quickly and I'm gonna leave you alone to think about the faith footnote.

Number one: The Lord showed me that this is a time for self-examination. [cheers] As I sat 900 miles away from my family and my community of faith, two months after my own father's death, God showed me that this was a time for me to examine my relationship with God. MY own relationship with God-- personal relationship with God.

[snip]

This is a time for me to examine my own relationship with God. Is it real or is it fake? Is it forever or is it for show? Is it something that you do for the sake of the public or is it something that you do for the sake of eternity? [voice rising] This is a time for me to examine my own, and a time for you to examine your own relationship with God -- self examination.
After 9/11, as I lived in my city with its heart ripped out, I thought long and hard about the decisions that were to be made by my government. I did not go to church, but I worshiped at the shrines of candles, at the shrines of places where people gathered to watch the Twin Towers site burn; I worshiped with a million people who were all examining what had happened, and maybe people wondered what would happen. If I remember correctly, I was full of hate, despair, anguish and concern and there were moments when I wanted to strike back and strike back hard. I was also full of momentary gratitude (for the first time in eight years) to Rudy Giuliani for telling me to get out the house and go shopping. (Luckily, I quickly remembered that Rudy was still a butthead, but that's a different story.)

I knew we were going to go to war. I knew we only looked at the situation from a one-side prism. I knew our leaders would not encourage teaching moments to understand how we got from point A to point B. I knew we didn't understand, as a country, the consequences of our past actions and the consequences of what we were about to do. And we still don't.

Rev. Wright's 9/11 sermon, after stating a slew of actions we have taken as a country, asked us to examine the consequences of our actions, our real actions as a country, our actions as a people. One of these actions that we could have taken (and which we subsequently did take), was revenge. Earlier in the sermon, Wright quotes the last verse of Psalm 137, a cry from the Israelites cast out of Jerusalem who long to seek revenge in order to return to their home. According to Wikidpedia, Psalm 137, "'...ends with violent fantasies of revenge, telling a "Daughter of Babylon" of the delight of "he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.'"

Wright says in his sermon:
Blessed are they who dash your baby’s brains against a rock. And that, my beloved, is a dangerous place to be, yet that is where the people of faith are in the 551 BC, and that is where far too many people of faith are in 2001 AD. We have moved from the hatred of armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents. We want revenge, we want paybacks, and we don't care who gets hurt in the process.
Actions produce effects. Effects produce consequences. If, as Rev. Wright suggests, you or I or we believe in God (or not), we have to examine ourselves and our actions. We have to self-examine, question, and form a rational basis for the next move. From Wright's Christian standpoint, and as talked about in the start of his sermon, he states outright that our actions as a nation have not been completely honorable. It takes a lot of verve to say that our actions have all been virtuous. It takes a lot of head-in-the-sand mentality to think we are perfect.

I ask you today: did you think of the consequences of that day? Did you self-examine your heart that day? Did you cry out to God for revenge? Did you feel the anger within your soul and what did you want to do with that anger if you did? Where you ready to kill without looking at the reasons behind that horrible day of September 11, 2001?

He goes on to say that we need to examine out relationship to our family, not only the blood family but also the Church family and in an even larger context, the world 'family.' He makes sure that all of his congregation turns to each other and says, "I love you" because it might be the last day they have to say it. Say I love you to your family everywhere, all the time, right now, because tragedy can take you in a heartbeat.

Lastly, he says it's a time for social transformation, a time of change of how we do things as an arrogant and yes, in some ways and some times, racist-seeming, empire. We can't keep taking actions like we have without blowback. Maybe, he says, we need to find the money to cure AIDS instead of rebuilding downtown New York and stuffing the pockets of the already wealthy.

And who, really, could argue with that?

I know there are some out there will say, "but... but... but... they want to kill us." Yes, they may want to kill us, but we want to take their stuff and conform to our beliefs.

Easter Sunday for Christians is a time of spiritual renewal. It is a time of reflection, a time of self-examination. I ask that you and me and we take a moment to examine our relationship to the Universe or God if you want to use that word, say "I love you to your family," and know that it's a period of social transformation as well.

Most of all, I would like you ask yourself: where do our our actions of now lead us in the future and what are the consequences of our own needs for revenge?

Friday, March 21, 2008

France Says "Thank You" to John McCain

On behalf of a grateful nation, France salutes John McCain!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain... did he really say that?

Oh boy... if McCain becomes President, I fear we will hear more uninformed double-speak like we've heard for the past several years. I find that I myself get confused over Shite and Sunni, but I've never thought for a moment that Iran would align with al Qaeda or that al Qaeda is the same as Hezbollah. But then again, I'm not running for President. This man is:


File this under "God help us all."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I hear...

... that the speech was great but I haven't seen it yet. I briefly scanned it earlier today but that's about it. Portions of it made me emotional.

Enough of that right now.

I also hear that we're in deep bank doo-doo, too.

Oy.

The race talk means little in the face of an imploding economy and lingering war.

We need to talk issues besides the color of our skin, folks. We know it's there, and we know we need to do something about it. If we don't have any cash in our pockets, that green color we all love is the only thing we'll be worried about.

I hear there's worst to come.

By the way, Obama is NOT the "black" candidate. Joe Scarborough, you're an idiot.
(Sorry, watching David Gregory's new show and Scarborough just called him "the black candidate." Oy. Idiots.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Half-White and High-Yellow Like Me

I'm the product of an act which was illegal at the time it was committed.

OK, first of all, it happened in Pakistan, so I'm sure it was illegal there (sex, that is), but when I finally came out of my birth mother's canal here in the United States, I was literally born illegally.

I am miscegenated.

Just like Barack Obama.

I am a miscegenated bastard out of Detroit.

(Michigan, luckily, repealed its anti-miscegenation laws in 1887 regarding the legal marriage of blacks, not necessarily births. The last anti-miscegenation law was repealed in 1967. I was born in 1964.)

I'm a house Negro. I'm the Master's girl. I'm the Oreo. I'm the toast (white bread, black burn). I'm the outsider.

Just like Barack Obama.

And all I really want is for America to live up to the ideals that it's suppose to believe, that are written in the Constitution.

But sometimes it's not so easy to do so.

At times the anger becomes so great. And my skin attracts that anger. And I understand every freaking drop of it.

And I can step away. Because of my skin.

If, of course, it was 1934 or 1959 or something and the movie was Imitation of Life.

But it's not, and I wouldn't turn my backs on my brothers and sisters for anything in the world.

But others have (and maybe I have at times, too) and so it's not so easy to trust. Anyone.

The other side of my miscegenated self feels all of the freedom in the world. It walks freely to the store, to the good neighborhood, the fancy restaurant, the Hermes store. Humph, who am I fooling? I've never been in a Hermes store. But I have been to Disney World.

There's a lot that my other side likes to do, but mostly it likes to get away from race. It would like to live in peace, above it all, but there's just so many different people in the world who aren't like me.

In America, there is no way to get away from race, no matter how hard you try.

I grew up in an African-American home with my wonderful, pre-Depression Era black parents. They were cotton and tobacco pickers. They were treated like dirt. Not poor dirt, but poor, Black dirt. They raised themselves up from nothing and obtained more things than either of them thought possible. They found dignity among their people, and were always wary of white people. And through it all, they did not hate white people, but they never could learn to trust them. And can you blame them?

I have heard everything from AIDs was a manufactured disease to OJ was innocent to God Damn America. And I have shaken my head and thought, how could anyone believe any of that?

Well, it's easy if you've been lied to time and again and you try to find some reason why bad things keep happening to you. It's easy if you try everything within your power to become fully human and you aren't allowed to. In fact, after a while you don't give a damn anymore and you stay within your community and say "fuck you."

But really, that's crass and boring. So crass, so boring. And it's a model that doesn't work anymore.

My other side has a model, too. Prior to Geraldine Ferraro's words recently, I never wanted to believe what I've read and heard regarding white liberals: they only care about you when you are poor and on the bottom. Once you reach a certain nadir, then it's time for them to put you back into your place. I know this is not the full truth, but if a black man who has obvious qualifications for the presidency of the United States (Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Review, State and U.S. Senator) is just lucky to be black and in the position of frontrunner to the presidency, then you've got to wonder about what you've heard all of these years.

I live in an incredibly poor neighborhood in the Bronx. It's not dissimilar to my hometown of Detroit. Here are some things I have wondered. I have often wondered why there is trash in the streets, why there are loud talking and rude children, why the houses are falling down and why it seems like no one is trying to pick themselves us.

I lived in Philadelphia for a few years. I have wondered why the Badlands are worse than portions of Detroit and the Bronx combined. I was in New Orleans the week before Hurricane Katrina blew into town. And I screamed at the teevee for five days after that Sunday and wondered why thousands of people were stranded in the hot, humid, flooded streets of downtown New Orleans.

And I realize that there are answers to these questions that are both false and true. And I don't know what to do about it. There almost seems to be no answer. No relief. No justice. No peace.

===================

You all just crack me up, America. You really do.

First he was a radical Muslim. Now he's a radical Black Nationalist Christian. Nevermind the Harvard. The career. The carriage. The words. Some people just think he's a house Negro. I'll leave it up to you to figure out who thinks that last one.

Yes, America, through it all, you do make me laugh.

When Obama gives his speech today regarding race in America, it's going to make one hell of a talking point for several days. But I wonder, will we finally laugh together? If we cannot heal this most deep and festering of wounds, how are we going to get through all of the other problems that face us?

I just wonder at it all.

Happy O'bama Day!

Beware of leprechauns!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bobby Kennedy in Indianapolis, April 4th, 1968


Thanks to irishamerican at Daily Kos for the video link.

This past weekend's events surrounding Senator Barack Obama and the issue of his minister's rhetoric were highly emotional for the country as well as for myself. The vehemence of Rev. Wright's text was charged, to say the least, and I'm sure highly offensive to many. And while saying that, I also believe that many people believe what he says. Whether it's rumors about 9/11 being planned or rumors about AIDs as a constructed and planned African plague, some people will believe crazy stuff no matter what the proof. These rumors are pervasive. Some religious and non-religious people also believe that gays are bad and bacon is too.

I have also noticed that while both people and press have been horrible on Clinton, Obama has had to walk a much hotter gauntlet then she has lately. She went through the wringer back in the day, and possibly misogynist and sexist overtures have clouded people's judgments now, but there are also quite compelling reasons not to fully back her for the presidential nomination, namely, her vote on the Iraq War "Authority to Use Military Force" and her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Act.

Meanwhile, Obama has had to walk not only the "he's a closet radical Muslim" Rollerball game, but now he's about to be made to fit into the "he's a closet radical Black Nationalist Christian" Running Man scenario. He's been alluded to as an Affirmative-Action Candidate doll (with With Amazing push-button Running of Dynamic Campaign Action!), but really, let's just say he's only where he is because he's lucky to be black. Oh, and he's lying about his house, too. He probably not only eats babies (as a Clinton supporter once said of her candidate in a fit of rage at how Obama supporters where treating her candidate) said to me, but probably worships the Angry God of All Black People, too.

Hey, I know that Angry Black God dude, and let me tell you, he's one angry Mofo. (Dude, you know I love you.)

So, I was dismayed, to say the least, at seeing the sermon of Rev. Wright when it hit the virus waves on Friday. Dismayed because a part of me believes them (a subset of affluent Americans, regardless of race, is determined to keep and hold onto power for the sake of money and control; while 9/11 wasn't an inside job, there were obvious miscues in the Bush administration regarding their wealth of information on possible al Qaeda attacks (see "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States.")). I have also said, a few times, at least, words similar to "God Damn America." Boo hoo. Live with it. 100% patriotism without a bit of anger now and then over these last eight years is asking for a whole heck of a lot from someone who so vehemently disagrees with the present administration.

Other sentiments professed by Wright, I have some harder issues with. While Sen. Clinton may have never been called the N-word, she has been called a host of other crude words. After all, there is a group of freakenoids (by way of Republican lobbyist and "I Scream at Spitzer" nightmare Roger Stone) who has created an anti-Hillary site that spells out the acronym: C.U.N.T.

Believe it or not. That crap hurts as much as being called a boy.

So, now, Sen. Obama has had to reject and denounce a host of people in order to calm the brows of the American people who have been once again stirred up by Race Fever. And now, it's at an emotional height instead of a "let's burn down the neighborhood" height. Well, thank the FSM for small miracles.

Luckily, Senator Obama, faces this explosion head-on. How? He faces it by sitting down with the Netroots first (Huffington Post), moves on to friendly teevee media (Keith Olbermann), and then proceeds to choppier waters: CNN and ultimately, the central hub of our Race Fever: Fox News.

If you haven't guessed it by now, I'm satisfied with my candidate, Senator Barack Hussein Obama for President of the United States of America. If he is 1/3 as good as I think he will be as President, then I'll be ok. I know that he is both progressive and centrist, with a healthy combination in between. (Of course, he could be more progressive for me, but then again, you should know that by now, too.)

So I was happy that Obama sat down not only with the press teevee outlets, but then he went one step further, to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday as well. Both newspapers have endorsed him in the primary and both have said that he needed to come clean about the Rezko / house buying allegations regarding possible influence peddling between him now indicted Rezko. So, a few days after his campaign issued a huge list of the earmarks that have been requested by Obama since he's been in the Senate, he spent over 1.5 hours with each of the papers individually. And the Tribune actually put the entire taped interview online.

I'm sure Sen. Obama will have to jump over a few more hoops before his final destination as the Democratic nominee, and that's ok. November, is, after all, a long way away.

Finally, Obama addressed a rally on Saturday in Indianapolis. Just prior to finishing his remarks and answering audience questions, he evoked a speech made by Robert Kennedy in the days after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. He reminded the audience that it was in Indianapolis where Kennedy gave his speech, and it is these words that I would like to hold onto as we continue down the road to electing Obama as president and hopefully producing some healing to not only internal American wounds but external wounds as well.

By way of Mother Talkers and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, here is the speech given by Bobby Kennedy upon the death of Dr. King:
I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black--considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible--you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization--black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we've had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.


In our current fever, I hope that there is a calm head amongst us to lead. I will try to be a calm head myself.

Here's to another week at the races and one more day closer to the White House.

The Fox Virus: Obama 2

Don't let them do it to you.

Don't.


hattip* NOI

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Once a year a day comes around that's all about celebrating yourself. It's your birthday! Woohoo!

Normally I really like celebrating my birthday, but this year, with no job or prospects, feeling low about the turn of events of the Democratic Party and the Governor of New York; and generally feeling a bit blue about the state of the world, it's just another day today and I'm going to try to ignore it as best as possible. (Which isn't true, I'm meeting some people from the Boathouse and we're going to have a planning meeting over drinks and food in my neighborhood.)

At 44, I feel like a gigantic failure at everything. Theater, writing, libraries, archives, relationships, the whole nine yards. I told some friends of mine at a part-time job I have that I'm pretty sure that my mom is actively praying against me (because you know, I'd like to blame it on Ma rather than on myself, really.) I can hear it in her voice. "Dear Lord," I imagine I hear her pray, "Please let my daughter know the power of your ways and let her bow down her head toward you, even if you have to bring her low so that she can cry out to you since I know that you will hear her voice and give her peace of mind and joy in her heart and fulfill all of her desires as long as she follows your ways forever." Of course, I have no idea in hell if she's actually saying this, but sometimes I feel it from her. There's really nothing else that we can talk about, or actually, there's really nothing I can talk about because she's always talking about how I should believe more and pray more. She's so worried about me going to hell that it makes me physically and mentally ill sometimes. A few days ago she even suggested that I could always come home if things get too rough.

It's always been like that, though. I get no words of support or encouragement, but a constant, "if only you'd believe enough." And then that makes me want to believe in myself more, but frankly, I keep making a mess of things anyway. Maybe I should just stop trying and getting a little apartment somewhere out in nature and never speak to anyone again. While she's trying to encourage me and I know part of her wishes I would believe in myself, most of the time, it just sounds like I'm a great disappointment to her and to God.

So. Happy birthday to me. Break out the teeny, tiny, violins.

At least I have a roof over my head, an Internet connection, and some family and friends who care about me. It's pretty much the only thing that keeps me chugging along, besides an overwhelming sense that this too shall pass, but really, I'm feeling about low as possible right now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eliot, Eliot, Eliot


My goodness, can Eliot Spitzer be more stupid? Hmmm... Don't answer that. I voted for the guy, so what does that say about my judgment? His hamhanded way of getting rid of the reprehensible Joseph Bruno up in Albany was... well, as reprehensible as Bruno himself. Spitzer has built his entire legacy on getting rid of criminals and trapping corporatists; well, all of that "legacy" goes out the window now. While I don't care that he had sex outside of his marriage, he spouts off so much about doing the right thing than turns around and pays $1500 AN HOUR for a total of $4300 for a high-class call girl. And he pretends like he's untouchable so he phones and texts the prostitution ring... as if nothing can touch him! Egads, I want him gone. Let Lt. Gov. David Paterson step into his position. Please. Now. I don't even want to see or hear from him again, and we have another three years to go in his term! I can't do it. I don't want to do it.

Please, just leave.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Why Do We Need Every 5 Minutes?

Why Do We Need Every 5 Minutes?
#6 Train, NYC
Photo by Elderta

Beats me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

And Closer To Home... Too Close...

Photo from the New York Times/Reuters/Chip East

A small bomb went off in Times Square last night at around 3:43AM, in front of the Armed Forces recruiting booth in the heart of the Square.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pop Quiz: Somalia

Raise your hands if you knew that the U.S. aimed a missile into Somalia on Monday.

Go ahead, let's see those hands.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bad Vibes Closer to This Continent

Meanwhile, down south, things are heating up between Columbia, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

Wow, it just never ends, does it?

Chávez Sends Forces to Colombian Border

Published: March 3, 2008

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela and Ecuador mobilized troops to their borders with Colombia on Sunday, intensifying a diplomatic crisis after Colombian forces killed a senior guerrilla leader at a jungle camp in Ecuador.

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, whose government has warm ties with the rebel group, threatened Colombia with war and mobilized tank units and fighter jets near the border between the two countries.

The killing on Saturday of 17 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Latin America’s largest insurgency, also generated a fierce diplomatic reaction from Ecuador and Venezuela.

Speaking on television Sunday night, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador called Colombia’s action a violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty. He expelled Colombia’s ambassador and withdrew his ambassador from Bogotá.

Mr. Chávez, meanwhile, said he was shutting down Venezuela’s embassy in Colombia.

[snip]

Heads Up: Israel / Gaza / Hamas / Lebanon / Eek

While the United States political bandwagon plays on, there's other things going on in the world, and believe me, they aren't pretty. I, along with a lot of others, have been lulled by the Presidential battle currently on display here. I will admit that at times my brain has turned off what is happening outside of the realm of the US elections. That's probably because I want a new president badly and truthfully, the world is continuing on its spiral Crazytown loop and I have consciously taken a needed breather from the rest of the world. Sorry dudes, sometimes, you're on your own.

However, I do believe that the next month is going to bring about additional and serious fighting in the Middle East that has nothing to do with Iraq and only minimally with our elections. Since the border wall that held economically strapped (and that's putting it lightly) Palestinians, was broken between Egypt and Gaza and millions of desperate and hungry folks came rushing over the border, new attacks in Israel from Gaza has locked Israel and Hamas into yet another battle of the Qassams. This cannot be good. The death toll in Gaza stands between 60-100 people now and it's bound to go higher if both sides insist on the current facedown.

I really don't see either side backing down at the moment.

Laura Rozen at War and Piece predicts (as noted by an article in the Israeli paper Ha'aretz) that a ground operation by Israel into Gaza is possibly coming this month.

Meanwhile back in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is urging its citizens to leave that country. According to MSNBC, Saudi Arabia issued this statement after one of the cars driving an SA diplomat was grazed by possible "celebratory" gunfire, though the article also mentions that the appearance of "U.S. deployed warships off the Lebanese coast...at a time of increasing international frustration at the political deadlock in Lebanon" may have something to do with it, too. The assassination of a Hezbollah senior member in Syria might mean an escalation of torment through both Hezbollah and Syria with Lebanon squarely in the middle. Accusations of his killing are pointing to the Syrian government on one hand to the Israeli Mossad on the other hand. No matter who killed him, he's still dead.

I understand how we sharply focus on the current Presidential race in order to change our leadership and hopefully make some positive action in the world. But you and I both need to keep our observing eye open. With this situation in particular, something bad this way comes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Good News From Kenya

Hooray for Kofi Annan's negotiations in the country of Kenya! Due to his efforts there has been a breakthrough in talks between the two parties and hopefully they will be able to work together to keep the country stable and strong. This is excellent news. The Vigilante Journalist shares some brief thoughts http://vigilantejournalist.com/blog/archives/362.

Here are the key components of the current agreement:

Its key points are:

* There will be a Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.

* The Prime Minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.

* Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a Deputy Prime Minister.

* The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers and the other Ministers. The removal of any Minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.

* The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.

* The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.

* The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

* The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution

Friday, February 29, 2008

Right Wingers are Easily Led by Idiots



Back in October I wrote about the stupidity of Lapel Pin Politics. Isn't it time for Republicans to start thinking on their own instead of being lead by idiots, particularly liars like Jack Kingston? Aren't you all sick of it already?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

19.... It's a Magic Number

According to the American Research Group, President Bush has acquired the lowest approval rating yet of his "career" as Commander-in-Chief. His approval rating has fallen to a dismal 19%.

N-I-N-E-T-E-E-N percent.

The ARG says:
A total of 78% of Americans say the national economy is getting worse and 47% say the national economy is in a recession. A total of 42% of Americans, however, say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, which is the highest level for this question in the past year. This optimism does not spread to improvements in household financial situations as 17% of Americans say they expect their household financial situations to be better a year from now, which is the lowest for this question in the past year.
Hmm, I wonder why next year? Maybe because Bush won't be in office next year? It's possible.

19%. What a joke. Who are those 19% of people who still think he's doing a good job? I'd like to have a word or two with them. What am I saying? I don't want to get near those 19%. Whatever flesh-eating disease they might have, I don't want to catch it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's There... If You Look For It

I'm getting a little tired of hearing that Barack Obama is just an empty media meme. So, here's a quick cull from the Internet, of some of Obama's accomplishments in the Senate.

First of all, thanks is owed to a diarist at Daily Kos.

Graph of Obama's legislation in the Illinois Senate.

A second Kos diary with links to bills from Illinois. My favorite? The bill he sponsored to make it mandatory that all interrogations of suspects be videotaped.

A third diary from Kos that compares Clinton's and Obama's records in depth and presents a list of both of their accomplishments in the Senate.

A 2006 article from Obsidian Wings.

More from Hilzoy, 2008

From an Internet comment:

Just a few things a doer (Barack Obama) has done:
• Passed a bill making Illinois the first state that required that interrogations and confessions be videotaped
• Passed Illinois' first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor
• Passed first Illinois ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years
• Co-authored, with Tom Coburn, the new lobbying reform law that requires lawmakers to disclose the names of lobbyists who "bundle" contributions for them
• Passed the Lugar-Obama Non-Proliferation Legislation, expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons and the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction
• Opposed the war in Iraq from the start and only Barack Obama established legislation that would, by force of law, begin a phased redeployment by May 1, 2007, and have all combat forces out of Iraq by March 31, 2008 (not passed)
• Co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to close a tax loophole that permitted hedge fund investors to pay levies on billions of dollars in profit at a lower rate than most income earners.
• Authored legislation with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to provide $20 million in emergency aid to African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Sudan that passed the Senate as part of a larger Department of Defense (DOD) spending bill to be signed into law by the President
• The AU is the only international force in Darfur working to prevent a further deterioration of a situation where 400,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes.
• Obama met with AU commanders in Eastern Chad where thousands of Sudanese refugees have fled from the violence that has engulfed their country," Obama said. "It quickly became clear to me that bolstering the AU mission is critical to short-term efforts to protect innocent civilians and allow humanitarian operations in the region. While we have so much more to do to stop the slaughter of innocents, this funding, combined with recent pledges of assistance from European governments, is an important step in the right direction."
 In late August, 2007 Senator Obama visited the Mile Refugee Camp, one of 12 encampments on Chad's eastern border. The camp is home to 15,000 refugees who crossed the Sudanese border seeking safety from Janjaweed militias who have been terrorizing ethnic African tribes in Darfur. During his visit to Eastern Chad, Senator Obama met with refugees from the Darfur region, AU military commanders, local Chadian officials, U.S. military officers, and U.N. personnel.
• Sponsored legislation that allows gas stations to receive tax credits for installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps.
• Introduced legislation along with Tom Harkin, establishing a National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard that would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in the short and long-term. The bill requires a reduction of about 180 million metric tons in emissions in 2020 - the equivalent of taking over 30 million cars off the road. The Obama-Harkin fuel standard embraces the growth of the renewable fuels market, including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel as a key component of fighting climate change, while incentivizing lower carbon emissions in their production. (May, 2007)
• Sponsored legislation, bill dedicated to pandemic flu preparedness
• Introduced Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006, a bill to improve access to and appropriate utilization of valid, reliable and accurate genetic tests by all populations
• Introduced legislation to better secure one of the most vulnerable gaps in our homeland security-chemical plants
• Passed amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would help speed the creation of regulations to protect our nation's children from dangerous lead paint poisoning
• His "health care for hybrids" bill
• An Energy Security Bill
• Various bills on relief for Hurricane Katrina, including aid for kids and a ban on no-bid contracts by FEMA
• A public database of all federal spending and contracts
• Legislation to raise CAFE standards
• Veterans' health care
• Making certain kinds of voter intimidation illegal
• Proposal to revamp ethics oversight, replacing the present ethics Committee with a bipartisan commission of retired judges and members of Congress, and allowing any citizen to report ethics violations. This would have fixed one of the huge problems with the present system, namely: that the members have to police themselves.
• Supports the Employee Free Choice Act, an act to restore workers' free choice to join unions
• Marched alongside striking hotel workers in Chicago last year

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 9, 2008 08:37 PM

Lawrence Lessig, he of Creative Commons and the Electronic Freedom Frontier, thinks his technology plans are the bees knees.

First the importantly balanced: You'll read he's a supporter of Net Neutrality. No surprise there. But read carefully what Net Neutrality for Obama is. There's no blanket ban on offering better service; the ban is on contracts that offer different terms to different providers for that better service. And there's no promise to police what's under the technical hood (beyond the commitment already articulated by Chairman Powell): This is a sensible and valuable Net Neutrality policy that shows a team keen to get it right -- which includes making it enforceable in an efficient way, even if not as radical as some possible friends would like.

Second, on the important: As you'll read, Obama has committed himself to a technology policy for government that could radically change how government works. The small part of that is simple efficiency -- the appointment with broad power of a CTO for the government, making the insanely backwards technology systems of government actually work.


Need more? What about 260 more reasons?

Just a few things to gnaw on. You don't have to agree with them all, as I'm sure a lot of folks won't. But it's time to put this "empty suit" nonsense to bed.