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