The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Blasts Wright

I know my last post was sloppy. I blame fatigue and allergy medicine. The media keeps bringing up Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the Reverend can't seem to stay put of the lime light, and once again Obama has had to explain to people that he is not Jeremiah Wright he is Barack Obama. It interesting that when a black preacher spouts off controversial opinions and ranting it gets ten times the play when the Falwell, Hagee, and Robertson types spout off even more outrageous and convoluted garbage. I have listened to many of Jeremiah's speeches and frankly find little to be upset about, the man is entitled to his own ideas and perspective. It does make me sick however when whites suddenly feel they have a right to define what the black experience should be or how African Americans should feel about their own history. Suddenly some white guy reads a Wikapedia entry on Black Liberation Theology and they think they are a bona fide sociologist. Obama is trying to stay above all this divisive garbage but its getting more difficult. Here are some of Obama's words from today, hopefully we can move on, but who wants to talk about real issues, there are some any proverbial hairs to split.

I'm outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday. I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992 and have known Jeremiah Wright for almost 22 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but they also give comfort to those that prey on hate and I believe they do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church. They certainly do not accurately portray my values and beliefs. If Reverend Wright thinks that is political posturing on my part, he does not know me very well.

I have already denounced those comments that have come out of these previous sermons. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church, has built a wonderful conversation. They are a wonderful people and what attracted me has always been the ministries reach beyond church walls. But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions, that the U.S. government is involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Louis Farrakhan represents one of the greatest voices of the 21st century, when he equates the United States' wartime effort with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me, they rightfully offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. That is what I am doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That's in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That's who I am, that's what I believe, and that's what this campaign has been about...

... What I had heard is that he had given a performance and I thought at that time it would be sufficient to repeat what I said in Philadelphia. Upon watching it, what came clear to me was that it was more than just him defending himself. What became clear is that he was presenting a worldview that contradicts who I am and what I stand for. What particularly angered me was his suggestion that my previous denunciation of his remarks was political posturing. Anybody who knows me or what I am about knows that I am trying to bridge gaps and seize the commonality in all people.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Party Hats.

We have already started celebrating Sam's fourth birthday. I will have more to show as the week progresses. The changing weather is messing with my allergies. Baby is congested too harder for her to eat. Poor girl. It was cold today but no sign of any snow, so that was good. I probably have taken too much black and white need to get back to color prints. Watched Deal or No Deal for the first time ever just because it was a Star Wars special with Darth Vader. What a stupid game, it is all luck, just picking numbers. Its like watching someone play Keno with more flashing lights and a weird looking Howie Mandel. Anyway it was so boring we only watched the first half.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Wind Down

Spent the weekend celebrating our child's upcoming fourth birthday and talking politics with friends and family. Finished Judges finally, and moved onto the book of Ruth. Today is Orthodox Easter, have not been able to return to church yet. Finding truth in other places. Elizabeth Edwards wroth a great OP-EP about the Media's sensationalized and inept coverage of the presidential campaign. Check the link below.

Bowling 1, Health Care 0
from the New York Times

FOR the last month, news media attention was focused on Pennsylvania and its Democratic primary. Given the gargantuan effort, what did we learn?

Well, the rancor of the campaign was covered. The amount of money spent was covered. But in Pennsylvania, as in the rest of the country this political season, the information about the candidates’ priorities, policies and principles — information that voters will need to choose the next president — too often did not make the cut. After having spent more than a year on the campaign trail with my husband, John Edwards, I’m not surprised.

Why? Here’s my guess: The vigorous press that was deemed an essential part of democracy at our country’s inception is now consigned to smaller venues, to the Internet and, in the mainstream media, to occasional articles. I am not suggesting that every journalist for a mainstream media outlet is neglecting his or her duties to the public. And I know that serious newspapers and magazines run analytical articles, and public television broadcasts longer, more probing segments.

But I am saying that every analysis that is shortened, every corner that is cut, moves us further away from the truth until what is left is the Cliffs Notes of the news, or what I call strobe-light journalism, in which the outlines are accurate enough but we cannot really see the whole picture.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our Official National Day of Religious Supremacism

By Frederick Clarkson

Every year, there are controversies over the "National Day of Prayer," which has somehow become the exclusive province of the Dobson empire. This year it is being held on May first -- and the fireworks have already started.
But lest you think that this is an obscure bit of Bush administration taxpayer financed pandering -- note that even Democratic governors in blue states -- such as the Democratic governor of my state, Massachussetts, Deval Patrick -- are issuing proclamations as drafted by Focus on the Family. See for yourself here.

The Interfaith Alliance, Jews on First!, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, (and probably others) are calling them out on this discriminatory, Christian nationalist vanity project that comes with the Congressionally mandated imprimatur of the people of the United States.

Jay Keller of the Interfaith Alliance wrote in an e-blast:

In 1952 President Truman called for "A National Day of Prayer" to unite Americans of all faiths as a way to achieve a vibrant national community. Today, it appears that religious conservatives lead by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family's founder James Dobson, have misleadingly hijacked the event as their own. Calling themselves the National Day of Prayer Task Force, they are excluding Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and even mainline Christians from National Prayer Day events scheduled for May 1, 2008, less than a week away.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force requires volunteer coordinators to sign a pledge stating: "I commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend." The coordinators must also sign a statement of faith that includes the following language: "I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God." This clearly aligns a government-sponsored event with a particular Christian denomination, in violation of the basic provisions of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Now, we ask you and activists across the country to participate in an Inclusive National Day of Prayer Campaign that exposes the discriminatory practices of this fundamentalist evangelical group. Please contact your governor today and ask them to issue a proclamation for an inclusive observance, and not an exclusivist task force covertly organized by Focus on the Family.

Our friends at Jews on First have set up a website dedicated to promoting inclusion in the National Day of Prayer. It has complete background on the National Day of Prayer and the takeover by the Christian right.

There, you'll also find links where you can learn if your governor has issued a proclamation, and a draft letter and a telephone script that you can use in contacting your governor. Please contact your governor's office now, and forward our message to friends.

Americans United stated in a press release:

Intolerant Religious Right groups are dominating observance of the National Day of Prayer and government officials should refuse to lend them support, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The congressionally mandated National Day of Prayer scheduled for May 1 this year has been largely hijacked by the Religious Right and is being used as an opportunity to promote a far-right religious-political agenda.

"In many cases, this event is more about politics than prayer," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "It's just another excuse for the Religious Right to attack church-state separation."
Many events around the country this year are being coordinated by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a Colorado Springs-based Religious Right organization run by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family Chairman James C. Dobson.

The NDP Task Force's Web site claims it is the "National Day of Prayer Official Web Site," but, in fact, the group has no official status. The Task Force states that its purposes is to "Foster unity within the Christian Church" and "Publicize and preserve America's Christian heritage." Non-Christians are usually prohibited from leading or speaking at NDP Task Force events.

The Dobsons require volunteer prayer coordinators to sign a fundamentalist statement of faith that declares that "the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God" and that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation."

In addition, the NDP Task Force Web site promotes "Drive-Thru History," a home-school curriculum produced by pseudo-historian David Barton that promotes the idea that America was founded to be a "Christian nation."

Despite its sectarian character, the NDP Task Force often draws support from elected officials. The Dobsons annually visit the White House for its NDP event, and public officials attend NDP Task Force events held at the U.S. Capitol.

Pastordan adds:

We have got to get serious about this stuff, though. The National Day of Prayer might sound like an irrelevant observance of no importance. But if people like Shirley Dobson have their way, their religion will choke out all others, leaving us with a weakened monoculture. It's not good for faith, and it's certainly not good for our politics.

The photo below is mine. I have always wondered how American's of non fundagelical faiths felt about this exclusive day of prayer and. I had similar feelings about See You at The Pole back in high school. And I can't count the number of time youth pastors would show up at our lunch hour, just to hang with us, or give a presentation on topics they had little knowledge on, other than the perspective of the church they represented. If we live in a country that has freedom of religion and separation of church and state why then do we require a National Day of Prayer? It is blatantly a Born Again Christian Day of Sectarian Prayer, heathens welcome to attend but not facilitate, that would go against God and most importantly Shirley Dobson.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCain on Equal Pay

Republicans hate the idea of citizens using the courts to file lawsuits, but they have no problem with corporate use and abuse of the court system that we pay for.

McCain fails to vote on defeated equal pay for women Senate bill

NEW ORLEANS — Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said Wednesday he opposed a Senate bill that sought equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits.

The bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 56-42.

The Senate had scheduled a late Wednesday vote on the measure, which would have made it easier for women to sue their employers for pay discrimination. Both Democratic presidential candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, left the campaign trail and returned to Washington to vote for the bill.

McCain skipped the vote to campaign in New Orleans.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."

The bill would have overturned a Supreme Court decision limiting how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination.

It was named for Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s plant in Gadsden, Ala., who sued for pay discrimination just before retiring after a 19-year career there. By the time she retired, Ledbetter made $6,500 less than the lowest-paid male supervisor and claimed earlier decisions by supervisors kept her from making more.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 last May 29 to throw out her complaint, saying she had waited too long to sue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement blasting Senate Republicans following the defeat of the bill. "By obstructing a vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Senate Republicans have thwarted efforts to restore balance in the law and allow victims of wage discrimination to seek justice in the courts. In so doing, they have again stopped necessary progress for all Americans," read the statement, in part.

Democrats criticized McCain for opposing the bill.

"At a time when American families are struggling to keep their homes and jobs while paying more for everything from gasoline to groceries, how on Earth would anyone who thinks they can lead our country also think it's acceptable to oppose equal pay for America's mothers, wives and daughters?" Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney said.

McCain stated his opposition to the bill as he campaigned in rural eastern Kentucky, where poverty is worse among women than men. The Arizona senator said he was familiar with the disparity but that there are better ways to help women find better paying jobs.

"They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else," McCain said. "And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them.

"It's a vicious cycle that's affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least," McCain said.

McCain chose to visit the tiny hamlet of Inez, Ky., because it is where President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty. But McCain, contradicting President Bush by acknowledging the U.S. is presently in a recession, said Johnson's poverty programs had failed.

"I wouldn't be back here today if government had fulfilled the promise that Lyndon Johnson made 44 years ago," he said.

In recent weeks, McCain has proposed a series of tax breaks for corporations, government-backed refinancing for struggling homeowners and a summer holiday from gas taxes. He proposed another new program Wednesday: a tax write-off for companies that provide high-speed Internet access for underserved, low-income communities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This Modern World: The Clinton Strategy

By Tom Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton Wins Pennsylvania

...but not expected to get the nomination. Obama is closing the gap but I don't think he will be able to have a victory tonight. How ever it will be difficult for Hillary to get much further as she is out of money and still far behind on delegates.

From The Huffington Post:
The first round of the (notoriously unreliable) Pennsylvania exit polls show Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by 52-48. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is expecting an enormous 52 percent turnout tonight, compared to 26 percent in 2004.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Muppets and Pentagon Puppets

Glad the Pentagon is spending my tax dollars on bribing the media 'experts'. Did you hear the surge is working, we should have this wrapped up just in time for Armageddon.

The Pentagon's Corrupt Sock Puppet "Military Analysts" Exposed

by Gareth Porter

In Sunday's New York Times, investigative reporter David Barstow exposes television's "military analysts" on the Iraq War as sock puppets of the Pentagon who consciously peddle the Bush administration's talking points on Iraq while hiding their own vested economic interest in selling the public on the Bush administration's happy talk about the war.

This very long and very well-documented story lays bare the most blatantly obnoxious feature of the "Military-Industrial-Media Complex" which ensures that the airwaves convey the administration's major messages on the war day in a day out. The story should mobilize the blogosphere and news media figures who still have some integrity to demand immediate reform of a massively corrupt network system of covering military affairs.

For starters, the networks should be forced to fire every "military analyst" who has been recruited accepted all-expenses-paid trips to Iraq, uncritically mouthed the administration talking points while concealing their special relationship or maintained vested financial interests in Pentagon contracts through business relationships with contractors.

Based on 8,000 pages of email messages, transcripts and records, Barstow recounts a successful effort by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon to use retired military officers to create a "media Trojan horse" on the Iraq War. Not only did the "military analysts" routinely violate basic ethical standards of journalism by accepting trips completely arranged and paid for the administration; they were consciously participating in its strategy to manipulate public opinion by regurgitating the pro-war arguments they were given in top-level official briefings -- which they had to promise to keep secret.

But even worse, Barstow shows how they had a personal financial stake in parroting the administration's war propaganda. He reports that several dozen military analysts who appear constantly on Fox, CNN and other networks and invariably support the administration's line "represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants."

Even when they knew they were being fed Pentagon BS, these agents of the war system could not utter a critical word about administration policy. They were afraid of retribution from Pentagon officials who could affect contracts for which their companies were competing. One corrupted former television analyst told Barstow he refrained from even the slightest criticism of the Pentagon's policies because of the fear "some four-star could call up and say, 'Kill that contract.'"

Several of these officers told Barstow that even the "mildest criticism" would bring telephone calls expressing official displeasure within minutes of being on the air. When one analyst went so far as to say that the United States was "not on a good glide path right now" in Iraq, the Pentagon immediately "fired" him from the analysts group which had received privileged access to high-ranking administration officials.

In the most egregious cases, such as retired Air Force general Thomas G. McInerney of Fox News, "analysts" operated just like employees of the Pentagon. McInenery assured the Pentagon in an e-mail in late 2006 that he would use in his on-air appearances the latest talking points that he had just been given.

The story of the Pentagon's "media Trojan horse" should bring overwhelming public pressure for the immediate termination of any "military analyst" who has been compromised by links with the Pentagon and/or its business allies. The television networks should adopt transparent rules about who can and can't be hired as analysts on military issues that would keep out paid agents of the war system. Unfortunately the networks themselves appear to be such an integral part of that system that they couldn't care less about conflicts of interest.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dinosaurs of Patagonia

Took Sam to his first movie in a theatre. We saw a 3-D Imax film called Dinosaurs - Giants of Patagonia in 3D
it was quite educational and made Sam jump a couple of times, but he did not get scared. In fact se wacthed all 45 minuets of the film wich is a perfect length for a movie when you are with your kid.
Not only were the dinosaurs cool, but you get to see the majestic beauty of current day Patagonia. It is definantly on my top five places I hope one day to travel.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Small Animal Day

Took both kids to MSU for a tour of all the animals used for study and research by their school of agraculture. Thre was about fifty thousand other famlies there too but we survived without any meltdowns. Lots of cramming on buses and walking around but it was enough activity that everyone was sleeping by the after noon.
Got to go shopping at Lowes got some lawn seed and grub x, the moles and voles are tearing up my yard and my score with the traps has been zero two years straight. My cat has killed more voles than me.

I am hoping to do some serious work on the yard this year and start a flower garden. Going to grow some tomatoes too.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Anne and I recalled hearing a loud truck drive by the house early this morning, only latter during the day did we find out it was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake from Illinois. The only quake I ever experienced in my life and I hardly woke up.

John McCain is suggesting a national suspension of gas tax to reduce the burden of high gas prices. There is no problem these republican schmucks can not solve with a tax cut. Deficit: Tax cut! War: Tax cut! Poverty: Tax cut! Only it is never my taxes, its always for the wealthiest 1%, the people who do not invest in my community. At the same time the services that help my community end up on the chopping block. A gas tax cut in michigan would actually force many street utility workers into the unemployment line and then we can have even more pot holes. I know, I know, no one cares just give me my Tax Cut.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Scientist: Ben Stein's 'Expelled' should really be 'Flunked Out'

by Muriel Kane

Comedian and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein's new documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, will not open until this Friday, but it has already been widely blasted for its alleged dishonesty and looseness with the facts.

Stein has recently emerged as a prominent spokesperson for so-called "intelligent design," a pseudo-scientific gloss over the religious philosophy of creationism. Using film-making techniques clearly borrowed from Michael Moore, Stein set out to confront scientists and educators about their alleged persecution of supporters of intelligent design, whom Stein claims have been "targeted for retaliation and harassment."

However, the National Center for Science Education has performed an extensive investigation of the "martyrs" profiled in Stein's file and has found a consistent pattern of misrepresentation.

"We reviewed public records and reports on the intelligent design promoters who were supposedly discriminated against, and we discovered that the claims that they lost their jobs over intelligent design are unsupported," biologist Josh Rosenau explained. "That said, professors who aren't making advances in their field, editors who disregard their journal's established practices, and lecturers who repeat creationist falsehoods shouldn't be surprised if they have trouble holding jobs. These people weren't expelled; they flunked out."

The controversies over Expelled began last fall, when two supporters of evolution who are interviewed in the film, Professors Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, claimed that they were tricked into appearing by being told the film would present a serious debate about the "controversy that exists in America between evolution, creationism and the intelligent design movement."

"At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front," Dawkins complained. Stein countered, "I don't remember a single person asking me what the movie was about."

Myers recently noted that the producers of Expelled appear to have stolen some of their sequences from PBS and from a small animation company, XVIVO. Those producers have now counter-sued XVIVO, alleging that its claims are "part of an ongoing campaign attempting to discredit the film and its producers."

Expelled has also come under fire for its attempt to link a belief in evolution to Nazi genocide. When its producers offered a private screening to Scientific American, hoping for some sort of positive -- or at least newsworthy -- reaction, editor-in-chief John Rennie was withering in his criticism.

"We could simply ignore the movie," Rennie wrote. "Unfortunately, Expelled is a movie not quite harmless enough to be ignored. Shrugging off most of the film's attacks — all recycled from previous pro-ID works — would be easy, but its heavy-handed linkage of modern biology to the Holocaust demands a response for the sake of simple human decency."

Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer, who also appears in the film, expanded further on the Holocaust issue: "Cleverly edited interview excerpts from scientists are interspersed with various black-and-white clips for guilt by association with: bullies beating up on a 98-pound weakling, Charlton Heston's character in Planet of the Apes being blasted by a water hose, Nikita Khrushchev pounding his fist on a United Nations desk, East Germans captured trying to scale the Berlin Wall, and Nazi crematoria remains and Holocaust victims being bulldozed into mass graves. This propaganda production would make Joseph Goebbels proud."

Shermer pointed out in contrast that Darwinian theory has often been used as the unpinning for a belief in Stein's preferred doctrine of free market capitalism, a fact of which he found Stein to be "astonishingly ignorant." In fact, Shermer notes, Enron's CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, has said that his favorite book while at Harvard Business School, "was Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene ... a form of Darwinism that Skilling badly misinterpreted."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


so much going on in my personal life and in the news, most of it made up news sadly, I just escaping with my baby and listening to some of my current favorite tunes. Thought I would just share them with you.

I'm Looking over a Four Leaf Clover Bix Beiderbecke & Jean Goldkettle
Pictures of Matchstick Men Status Quo
Mirror People '88 Love and Rockets
Nightwatchman Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
On Parade Electrelane
Joker and The Thief Wolfmother
Revival Soulsavers
69 Faces of Love King Kahn & the Shrines
Drifter's Escape Jimi Hendrix
The Step and the Walk The Duke Spirit
Bill Murray Gorillaz
What Moves the Heart? Mudhoney
The Righteous Path Drive-By Truckers
Your Party Ween
I Walked with a Zombie Roky Erickson & The Aliens
Polk Salad Annie (live) Elvis Presley
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Stereo Version) Traffic

makes a great cd mix.

Monday, April 14, 2008


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

This is the latest Obama quote that Hillary Clinton and McCain are trying to use to boost their campaign. Is anyone suppose to be offended by what Barack said? There is nothing outrageous or "elitist" here. In fact I could not agree more. I m quickly losing any respect I had for the Clintons, it is shameful the way they are running on these republican type mudslinging tricks. Bush ran against Gore and Kerry with this same type of anti-intellectual, lets get the angry white man all excited about bullshit wedge issues, rhetoric. I expect more from a democrat. What would have benefitted Hillary is if she would have used this opportunity to talk about how 25 years of Reaganomics and neo-conservative driven corporate welfare has all but destroyed the working class and is quickly ending the middle class. A good book to read about the whole issue Obama is talking about is Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas Its time to get real about the "bitterness" of the angry white man and his angry white family. I am talking about the people who believe who feel they have no power over their own government and misdirect their anger at intellectuals, gays, minorities, migrant works, or whoever Fox News, the NRA, or the Christian Broadcasting Networks tells them they should be angry at. The anger and frustration needs to be placed on the policies and laws that have been sponsored and by multi-national corporations and do not invest in the welfare of the commons.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hanging with CG!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Daily show takes on Faux News

From Huffington Post by Rachel Sklar

The Daily Show's John Oliver put togther a stunning smackdown of Fox News on last night's show, punctuated by some damning clips showing egregious comments from some anchors (John Gibson, natch) and some — gasp! — flip-flopping on certain positions (like, say, executive privilege). Watch as Oliver tries to sneak into Fox HQ dressed as the Statue of Liberty, hosts a pundit shoutfest, and waves many flags. Featuring Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Chris Wallace, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Bill Hemmer, Megyn Kelly, Jim Pinkerton, Peter Hart, Newt Gingrich and the super-chipper Gretchen Carlson. Watch it below:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Evil Crane

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Petraeus Testimony

Summing Up Yesterday's Hearing on Iraq (Update)

(written by Max Bergmann with Ilan Goldenberg)

Here's a wrap up of the entire day of hearings. Only 14 hours til tomorrow...

1. Petraeus and Crocker refuse to tell us what our long term strategy is in Iraq, holding to the weak excuse that they can't make predictions into the future. But they have no problem making scary predictions into the future about what will happen if we withdraw. Contradiction? We think so.

2. Senator Biden made Crocker admit that the threat from Al Qaeda central along the Afghan-Pakistan border is a higher priority than Al Qaeada in Iraq.

3. John McCain still seems to be confusing his Shi'a and his Sunnis. He seems to have this recurring problem and if he becomes President and does this in some international forum it will be REALLY REALLY bad.

4. Iran is the new Al Qaeda. A large portion of the questioning from Martinez, Lieberman, Graham was based on trying blame Iran from what happened in Basra. But as Senator Jack Reed pointed out the Iranians are actually supporting all of the various Shi'a groups in Iraq, including those in league with the central government.

5. Petraeus and Crocker repeatedly quoted Osama Bin Laden and his deputies that Iraq was the central fron in the war on terror. But as Senators Bayh and Feingold pointed out we shouldn't take our marching orders from Al Qaeda, as their strategy is to bleed and bankrupt the United States in Iraq.

6. Ryan Crocker continues to present a rosy picture of what happened in Basra last week, saying that it has strengthened Maliki's hand. But news on the ground today seems to undermine this claim with Sadr actually picking up support from various religious leaders.

7. When asked by Senator John Warner whether Iraq was making us safer Petraeus kept hedging and stated that it would ultimately be up to history. Not very comforting. And for those who argue that it's not his job to answer that question. The President has made it his job, but ignoring the advice of other more senior military leaders and going straight to Petraeus.

8. Crocker claims that there has been a "diplomatic surge" by the United States. But as Chuck Hagel pointed out these claims are "thin." A real diplomatic surge would entail Rice, Gates, or a special envoy - people from the highest levels of the government - reaching out to Iraq's neighbors and being able to talk not just about Iraq but all regional issues.

9. Petraeus and Crocker can't tell us if political reconciliation, the whole point of the surge, is actually happening.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

10 things to know about McCain

A few of these may seem petty but most are very important issues and concerns for me. Apparently radio host Ed Shultz is under scrutiny for calling McCain a War Monger. I understand that McCain is a 'war hero' but so was Kerry but the right was allowed to continuously attack his patriotism and trivialize his service. McCain will hopefully not endure the same attacks, but it is fair to point out his current political beliefs, poor understanding and confusion on the complexity and diversity of the situation in Iraq and Iran, and all the war profiteers and chicken-hawk cheerleaders that are backing him. He is just one of a party full of war and fear mongers.

from MoveOn

For all the coverage this week of Senator John McCain's background, there are some important things you won't learn about him from the TV networks. His carefully crafted positive image relies on people not knowing this stuff—and you might be surprised by some of it.

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws. (a)

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi." (b)

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban. (c)

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned." (d)

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill. (e)

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations. (f)

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." (g)

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates. (h)

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."(i)

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.(j)

John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be. Please help get the word out—forward this email to your personal network. And if you want us to keep you posted on MoveOn's work to get the truth out about John McCain, sign up here:

a. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

b. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

c. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

d. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

e. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

f. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

g. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

h. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

i. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

j. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Bush Lawyer's (Yoo) Memo Hints at Bush's Secrets

The Pentagon’s declassification of a five-year-old memo authorizing military interrogators to use brutal methods to extract information from prisoners at Guantanamo Bay sheds new light into the dark corners of the Bush administration’s legal theories that put the President and his subordinates beyond domestic and international law.

read more | digg story

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston

ROBERT BERKVIST at The New York Times: Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60-year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84.

I am no fan of his leadership of the NRA or the political convictions of his later years, but can't help missing the old curmudgeon. I feel like watching Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green.

Sunday at MSU

What a great weekend, I don't know if its the weather, but I had a ton of energy, got so much done around the house, and still had time to spend most of today outside. We all went to MSU campus and nosed around. Tried to feed the ducks but they were too busy "wrestling". It is springtime.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Power Plant

Spring is finally here so we spent most of the day outside, took Sam to a park near the city power plant. Anne and Adele did their patriotic duty and when shopping. Cleaned my car out, planted some sunflowers too. Hope they grow better this year. Boxelder Bugs are already out and will soon be crawling all over, could do without them. Have not seen our first robin yet.
Watched The Darjeeling Limited last night, I liked it much more than I thought I would. A Chaotic plot yet still finds a strong focus on the effects of death on a estranged family, and the ongoing search for meaning in life. Actually reminded me of some of my experiences at work. Great set design and cinematography, as always from Wes Anderson. I give it a B+.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Martin Luther King's Death: 40 Years On

From Media Mouse

On the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, we urge folks to reflect on King's actions and the challenges that remain. Forty years later, racism--both institutional and otherwise--is still at the core of American society. Moreover, the other evils of the United States government identified by King--materialism and militarism--continue to oppress people within the United States and around the globe.

Below is King's "Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" speech in which he outlined his opposition to the Vietnam War:

We also urge folks to read King's final speech, "I've been to the Mountaintop" to help understand the evolution of King's thought. While the media and our history books present a sanitized version of King, the reality is that by the time of his death King was challenging the economic structures on which the US is built and attempting to develop a multiracial movement across class lines for economic justice.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fundamentalist Ministries At US Basic Training Facilities Promote "Theology Of War"

By Bruce Wilson at Talk2Action
As detailed in recent reports from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a 501c(3) nonprofit organization which fights for freedom of religious and philosophical belief in the US military, fundamentalist Christian ministries promoting what can be described as a "theology of war" have increasingly been invited onto US military basic training facilities such as Fort Jackson in South Carolina, and Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base (both based in Texas), with the apparent endorsement of commanders at those bases.
topic: All Topics
[note: although I've written at length about MRFF related news there's been little coverage, thus far, on the distinct nature of the ministries that have been targeting, unconstitutionally and in violation of Department of Defense regulations argues MRFF, US military members. The following is a short introduction of that theme. ]

The most prominent of these ministries is the `Military Ministry' of the immense, 1/2 billion dollar a year Campus Crusade For Christ, a global nonprofit evangelical organization founded in 1951 with the financial help of key John Birch Society funder Nelson Bunker Hunt. In the 1970s Campus Crusade's founder evangelist Bill Bright, whose political views have almost totally escaped media scrutiny called his group a "conspiracy to overthrow the world", and a 1998 book Bright co-authored declared the Theory Of Evolution to be a fraud. Bright was one of the signatories of an October 2002 letter sent to President George W. Bush, along with Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Chuck Colson, D James Kennedy, and others, asserting that the Bush Administration's intended war with Iraq would fall under traditional Christian "just war" theory.
Materials discovered by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, on the web site of Campus Crusade's Military Ministry at Fort Jackson, include pictures of US soldiers-in-training holding both assault rifles and Bibles (provided by Campus Crusade), and a promotional flier for the Ft. Jackson ministry's Bible study course, entitled "God's Basic Training", features a drawing of a Roman Legionnaire holding a sword and a shield emblazoned with a Christian cross. Frank Bussey, director of Military Ministry at Fort Jackson, has reportedly told soldiers at the base that "government authorities, police and the military = God's Ministers."

Another Campus Crusade ministry, the Washington DC based "Christian Embassy", evangelizes in the Pentagon and recently became embroiled in controversy because of a promotional video, filmed in the Pentagon, in which top Pentagon officials in uniform were filmed providing glowing testimonials to the work of "Christian Embassy". A Pentagon Inspector General report subsequently concluded some of those appearances violated Department Of Defense regulations concerning the endorsement of religious groups. The recent MRFF findings included discovery of a similar promotional video, filmed by Campus Crusade at the United States Air Force Academy, in which USAF officers in uniform praise the work of Campus Crusade at the Academy, also in apparent violation of DoD regulations concerning the endorsement of religion, and a Campus Crusade employee ministering at the Academy declares that cadets are "government paid missionaries" by the time they graduate.

MRFF has received, according to founder Michael 'Mikey' Weinstein, thousands of complaints from active duty US military personnel who describe being persecuted and harassed for their religious and philosophical beliefs, and 90 percent of those complaints have come from Christians.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

R.E.M Accelerate

Its April Fools day but I don't have any fake-out stories for you. I did get the new REM album that came out today. Finally an R.E.M album that sounds like R.E.M. As much as I love their last three releases Up, Reveal, and Around the Sun there has been something missing. As Stereogum, reports in a recent review the energy that continues to be present in their live performances has returned to the album format. These new songs fit well with my favorite era of R.E.M.-Automatic for the People, Monster, and New Adventures in Hi-Fi.