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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Hope everyone has fun tonight, I know we will. I can't believe this election season is almost over. Strangely it has been both the most exciting and the most disturbing political season in my life-time. Things are looking good but I am to skeptical to find any comfort in any poll. Only four days left and I would like to submit one more article on the smear and fear campaign of the Religious Right.

Be Not Afraid
by Jim Wallis

In the final days of this election campaign, a new message has emerged. For the entire political year, the overriding theme has been change--with each candidate competing to be the real champion for a new direction. With 80 percent of Americans unhappy with our country's current direction, it seemed that no other theme could break through.

A new message has, and it is this: "Be Afraid-- Be Very Afraid." Most of that fear is directed at Barack Obama, the leading candidate with just days to go before November 4. Instead of being content to offer a competing policy vision to Obama's, the Right has now focused on the man himself in an attempt to stir the fears of the electorate that "he" is not really like "them." "Do we really know who Barack Obama is?" has been the refrain of partisan peddlers. A parallel and ugly national innuendo campaign stokes the fear. Is he a Muslim? An Arab? A pal of terrorists? Or maybe even a closet Socialist? Where did he grow up? Why such a funny middle name? Doesn't his support come from those parts of the country (and those people) that deep down inside are anti-American? And, of course, what has quickly become a campaign classic--guilt by association.

The fact that Barack Obama is the first black nominee of a major party for president gives all the fear a decidedly racial undertone. YouTube has quickly become populated with video after video of the dark underbelly of American fear and racism. The innuendos and rumors have brought to the surface latent fears and thinly veiled biases that many had hoped were gone from our country. The message of fear is the same: Obama may look okay on the surface, but we don't know what might lie beneath.

Regardless of whether one favors Obama or McCain, this development should be of concern to all Americans, and especially people of faith. There is now a new spiritual dimension to this election, and it is decidedly evil. Christians believe that "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear..." (1 John 4:18.) There are, of course, good and decent motivations to vote either way in this election. Strong people of faith will be marking different boxes on Election Day, but for people of faith there will be a spiritual decision to be made as well. Will we put our trust in the power of fear or hope?

Conservatism did this with the bright and hopeful theme of "Morning in America" with the Ronald Reagan years. I disagreed with most all of Reagan's agenda, but his appeal was to ask us all to choose hope, not fear. Similarly, the best of liberalism was seen in the power of John and Robert Kennedy's appeal to build a "newer world." Both conservatives and liberals can appeal to the better instincts of the American people, or to their worst--and each side has done both over the years.

Fear has always been the dark side of American politics, and we are seeing its resurgence in the campaign's final days. Demagoguery has come from both the right and the left in America, and the most dependable sign of it is the appeal to fear over hope. Facts don't matter when fear takes over. Fear covers over the debate on a candidate's tax plans, the wisdom of their foreign policies, their experience and judgment to handle the economic crisis. Fear attacks character and lies with false prophecies of what a candidate would do if they are elected.

Some of the worst fear-mongering has sadly come from leaders of the Religious Right who are worried about losing their control over the votes of the evangelical and Catholic communities, especially a new generation of believers. Their apocalyptic rhetoric has been among the worst and most irresponsible. When religious leaders sound so desperate and seek to stoke fear and hate, they have lost their theological perspective by putting too much of their hope in having political power. It is that loss of power and control which seems to be motivating the current campaign of desperation and fear now being waged by so many conservatives. Instead, scripture points to a better way:

For "Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter 3:10-15, emphasis added)

With that reminder that Christ is our ultimate hope, let us pray that, on November 4, the need for change will finally prevail over the appeals to fear. Pray that the voters will choose either Barack Obama or John McCain as the best agent of change, rather than submit to the tyranny of fear. It is always better to live (and to vote) in the light of hope than in the darkness of fear. It is always an act of faith to believe that, in the end, hope will prevail over fear. So pray, and vote.

Jim Wallis is the author of The Great Awakening, Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dobson's Fear & Loathing Campaign Part II

The political arm of Dobson's multi-million dollar corporate ministry is scraping out the bottom of their toxic fundamentalist ooze. In a desperate attempt to ignite more white Christian hysteria Focus on the Family Action has published a Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America . It reads like another popular piece of fundie-fiction, the Left-Behind series were Liberals in allegiance with Satan throw the country and world into turmoil, poverty, and, as always, the wrath of a vengeful God. This newest fear-sermon from the religious right reveals their own hopes and dream; a world where only "true" Christians govern and the role of government is the creation of a messianic military and the enforcement of theoratic laws that spread God's will to all and expose Liberals as godless enemies of freedom.
I think its a waste of time to list all the lies, half-truths, and superstitions presented in this hoax letter, but if Obama wins, and I am just starting to think he might, it will be fun to take another look at this in 2012.

All I know is a President Obama would have to work pretty hard to do worse than his predecessor.

Christian right intensifies attacks on Obama

Eric Gorski and Rachel Zoll

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts.

All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America," produced by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.

The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists who are trying to paint Obama in the worst possible terms as the campaign heads into the final stretch and polls show the Democrat ahead.

Although hard-edge attacks are common late in campaigns, the tenor of the strikes against Obama illustrate just how worried conservative Christian activists are about what should happen to their causes and influence if Democrats seize control of both Congress and the White House.

"It looks like, walks like, talks like and smells like desperation to me," said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston, an Obama supporter who backed President Bush in the past two elections. The Methodist pastor called the 2012 letter "false and ridiculous." He said it showed that some Christian conservative leaders fear that Obama's faith-based appeals to voters are working.

Like other political advocacy groups, Christian right groups often raise worries about an election's consequences to mobilize voters. In the early 1980s, for example, direct mail from the Moral Majority warned that Congress would turn a blind eye to "smut peddlers" dangling pornography to children.

"Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments," said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. "There's a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom."

But the tone this election year is sharper than usual and the volume has turned up as Nov. 4 nears.

Click here for entire article.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dobson's Fear & Loathing Campaign Part I

I see Palin was interviewed on Focus on the Family. Whenever there is a good old fashion Christian smear campaign going on, James Dobson is not afraid to get his hands dirty. According to Palin and Dobson, not only is Obama 'not like us' real americans, and a socialist that pals around with terrorists, but it is against God's will for him to become the next president. Dobson has also been notorious for blacklisting those in the GOP that do not promote his version of theocratic nationalism as reported below.

How James Dobson Drove Colin Powell From The GOP
By Max Blumenthal

After Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama on Meet the Press, Sarah Palin was interviewed by Christian right leader James Dobson on his Focus on the Family radio show. Though Palin did not mention Powell, she attacked Obama as a socialist by referencing his now famous encounter with Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.
"Joe the Plumber, you gotta hand it to him," Palin told Dobson. "He's the one who got finally Barack Obama to say what he'd do with redistributing wealth and raising taxes. And Joe the Plumber said that certainly sounds like socialism to him, and I appreciate Joe having the boldness to get out there and ask the question."
Powell's endorsement and Palin's appearance on Dobson's show are not entirely unconnected. Dobson has long been one of the banes of Powell's political life, and the right's warm embrace of Palin is part of what drove Powell away from McCain.

When Powell endorsed Obama, he offered a litany of factors, from Obama's "transformational" potential to "steadiness." But Powell, a military man and self-described "Rockefeller Republican," also declared his disappointment with the "rightward shift" in the Republican Party.

There is a little understood, rancorous subplot behind this vague remark: Powell's war with the religious right. That conflict began years before the current presidential campaign and, if Powell plays a role in an Obama administration, will almost certainly extend beyond it.

Over a decade ago, when General Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emerged as the Republican Party's most popular figure, James Dobson targeted him, fearing his political ascendancy might spell doom for the party's anti-abortion wing. Dobson's tactics ranged from threatening conservative movement leaders who dared to praise Powell's political potential, to devoting an entire broadcast of his top-rated radio show to attacking Powell's advocacy of condom use. Dobson and his minions laid the groundwork for Powell's castigation from the Republican Party. Yet by helping to force Powell into the wilderness, Dobson may have also provoked his momentous act of political vengeance....

Click here for entire Article

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Other Endorsement

This morning Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President and discussed the current political climate on Meet the Press. I was moved by the words and image that I posted below.

"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star - showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn't have a Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life."

Photo by Platon for the New Yorker

Saturday, October 18, 2008

No Sense of Decency at Long Last.

In the past month the GOP has gone from a convention tinged with nationalism, to klan-like chants and racist characterizations, and now down right calls for black listing of liberals, socialists, or any non-conservatives. Palin recently talked about Pro vs. Anti parts of America and now we have this human paraquat dressed as a congresswoman calling for an investigation of the patriotism of liberals and other non-conservatives. I love my country but I am not 'wild' about the fascist state Bachmann, Plain and others are romanticizing.

See below.

Michelle Bachmann Channels McCarthy: Obama "Very Anti-American," Congressional Witch Hunt Needed
by Sam Stein
Huffington Post.

Update: A campaign to censure Rep. Michelle Bachmann over her remarks has been launched.

* * *
In a television appearance that outraged Democrats are already describing as Joseph McCarthy politics, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann claimed on Friday that Barack Obama and his wife Michelle held anti-American views and couldn't be trusted in the White House. She even called for the major newspapers of the country to investigate other members of Congress to "find out if they are pro-America or anti-America."

Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball, Bachmann went well off the reservation when it comes to leveling political charges against the Democratic nominee.

"If we look at the collection of friends that Barack Obama has had in his life," she said, "it calls into question what Barack Obama's true beliefs and values and thoughts are. His attitudes, values, and beliefs with Jeremiah Wright on his view of the United negative; Bill Ayers, his negative view of the United States. We have seen one friend after another call into question his judgment -- but also, what it is that Barack Obama really believes?"

Goaded by a Chris Matthews to explain exactly what she was talking about (at one point Bachmann seemed to imply that liberalism was anti-Americanism), the congresswoman waded deeper into the mud.

"Remember it was Michele Obama who said she is only recently proud of her country and so these are very anti-American views," she said. "That's not the way that most Americans feel about our country. Most Americans are wild about America and they are very concerned to have a president who doesn't share those values."

Matthews later pressed her to name a single member of Congress other than Obama who she thought was anti-American. Bachmann, who initially wouldn't budge, called for a major "expose" into the matter.

"What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America," she said.

There were additional nuggets here and there. But the whole episode was a sight to behold. It is hard to imagine how this type of message actually helps the McCain campaign. For starters, there has been a relatively respected rule to leave candidate's wives out of campaign attacks. Moreover, there is already a deep resentment towards the severity of the political attacks McCain and his surrogates have launched against Barack Obama. Having a like-minded member of Congress essentially call for a witch hunt within Congress isn't the practical-minded message that the Arizona Republican wants out there.

What makes the incident even more bizarre is that Bachmann is in a close congressional race and just this past week offered warm words to the Illinois Democrat. "If the presidency would somehow go to Barack Obama, I would welcome him to the 6th District as well," she said after a debate. "As a matter of fact, I would put my hand on his shoulder and give him a kiss if he wanted to."

A Democratic campaign official emailed that Bachmann's Democratic opponent has raised at least $23,000 online since the Hardball segment aired.

After Bachmann's appearance, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel labeled the comments McCarthy

17 Days Left.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Proposal 2 Discussion Group in Grand Rapids

This month Dr. Merritt Taylor, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Grand Valley State University, will be presenting on “CURRENT ISSUES IN EMBRYONIC, TISSUE-SPECIFIC, AND ADULT STEM CELL RESEARCH: THE SCIENCE AND PROPOSAL 2.”

About Our Presenter:
Professor Taylor served as research fellow in Sean Morrison’s lab at the Center for Stem Cell Biology and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan before joining the GVSU Biomedical Sciences faculty in 2007. Dr. Taylor and his undergraduate researchers are working to determine how neural stem cells differentiate into specific cell types during development. In particular, Taylor’s lab is using mouse and chick models to determine which downstream effectors and co-regulators of Rbpsuh are responsible for stem cell differentiation into glia cells.

The Science Cafe meets on the third Tuesday of each month. A science cafe is a place where “anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.” The format usually will involve a speaker who will briefly introduce the subject (15-20 minutes) followed by discussion (30-45 minutes or even longer). It is an opportunity for citizens to become better informed about advances in science and technology and the numerous issues these advances raise for society. Citizens expect to listen and participate in a conversation while in a cafe. The aim of the science cafe is to bring science into conversation and make the conversation more meaningful for our culture. There are more than 200 science cafes/cafe scientifiques throughout the world including one in Muskegon and one in Lansing. More information concerning science cafes can be found at

Additional Details

To learn more about Science Cafes, visit

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It gets uglier.

I am not surprised by the vitriol spewing from the mouths of McCain/Palin rally attendees. I survived nineteen years in the reddest part of a blue state before spending another four years in the bluest part of a red state. I am a cautious observer of the radical mouth foaming right, but never have I seen such forced and celebrated hysteria from a presidential campaign in my lifetime. McCain and Palin are whipping the GOP base into a racist and religious fervor. The video below proves it is not just a few isolated incidents. Yes there are left-wing nuts too, but I will take a washed up hippie 'terrorist' who was responsible for blowing up toilets during 'NAM over any flag waving jackass who beleives and promotes superstitious slander and traditional bigotry.

Oh, just another note for those who watched the last debate: If you have the ability to purchase a company that has an annual net profit of a quarter million or more, you are not an 'average joe' plumber you are a venture capitalist.

Al-Jazeera: Palin supporters fear 'blacks will take over'

Supporters of Sarah Palin attending a rally in St. Clairsville, OH on Sunday were not shy about displaying their racist attitudes and their ignorance about Barack Obama -- along with their very real fears and insecurities -- to al-Jazeera reporter Casey Kauffman.

One white-haired old lady said frankly to Kauffman, "I'm afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over." She then added more shrilly, "He's not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country going to end up like?"

Another woman stated, "Obama and his wife, I'm concerned that they could be anti-white, that he might hide that." A third suggested, "I don't like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash -- because we're not."

A young man holding a baby told Kauffman, "He seems like a sheep -- or a wolf in sheep's clothing -- to be honest with you. And I believe, Palin, she's filled with the holy spirit."

St. Clairsville lies just a dozen miles west of Wheeling, WV, in largely-white southeastern Ohio, which was a Bush stronghold in 2000 and 2004. One Daily Kos diarist who commented on the video wrote, "I am originally from a small town 30 miles away from St Clairsville, and seeing this clip reminds me of what it was like to live there. St Clairsville is actually sort of a metropolis in this rust belt region. To many farmers, steelworkers, and coal miners who live in the surrounding countryside, it's known for being 'where the WalMart is.'"

A few days earlier, a blogger had interviewed audience members at a McCain-Palin rally in Strongsville, OH, in the northern part of the state, and reported that "this is the most strange, ignorant, uninformed, angry, up-to-no-good, and gullible group of people I’ve ever seen at a political rally."

Although ABC News described Palin as having toned down her rhetoric a notch on Sunday, the Kos diarist quoted her as telling the crowd, "We know who the bad guys are, OK? We know that in the war, it’s terrorists, terrorists who hate America and her allies and would seek to destroy us, and the bad guys are those who would support and sympathize with the terrorists."

Palin's supporters clearly took those remarks as refering to Obama, with several of them saying to Kauffman, "He's related to a known terrorist" or "He's friends with a terrorist of this country" or "He must support terrorists."

However, not all St. Clairsville residents are Republicans, and another Kos diarist, who reported on a well-received Joe Biden rally in the same town two days later, made it clear that "Ohio and WV Democrats don't like Sarah Palin at all. Much of the conversation before the rally was about her. And you might be surprised to know that a lot of people that you might not think are internet savvy are hip to Palin's ties to the AIP and are horrified by it."

The al-Jazeera crew interviewed one St. Clairsville Obama supporter who, they report, has been "shocked at the names he's been called by his own neighbors."

"I've been called the n-word," this man stated. "I've been called a Muslim, I've been called a un-American." He went on to say, "The tension's getting thicker and thicker. People like that, it's starting to scare me. ... I'm afraid some of these people might try to hurt Obama."

This video is from YouTube and was uploaded October 13, 2008.

Only Nineteen Days Left.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some new B&Ws.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tens of thousands illegally denied voting rights

If you live in a battleground state and are planning to vote on November 4th, and I hope you are,it is a good idea to check with your registration office and make sure you have not been illegally purged. People with polling places are in lower income neighborhoods are the ones being targeted, but everyone should be aware of this and check up on their registration, even if you voted as recently as the last primary. Know your rights and make sure you have not been purged. Please check out Brad Blog for up to date and accurate information.

In Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina, eligible voters were taken off rolls, and new registrations were blocked, illegally.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Tens of thousands of voters in at least six battleground states have been removed from election rolls or have been illegally blocked from registering to vote, according to an investigation by the New York Times published Thursday.

The anomalies, which are violations of US federal law, are largely bureaucratic mistakes in record keeping, and "do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules," said the newspaper.

The states affected -- Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina -- are among the most crucial states that could swing either way in the November 4 presidential election between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

While neither party appears to have been guilty of violations, the Democrats will most likely suffer the most because more Democratic voters have newly registered this year than Republicans.

As such, "the heightened screening of new applications may affect their party's supporters disproportionately," the newspaper reported.

The Times also suggested the problems could keep up until election day, when people who have been removed turn up and expect to vote "only to be challenged by political party officials or election workers, resulting in confusion, long lines and heated tempers."

The newspaper identified the root cause as the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which allows states to remove from the rolls names of voters who should no longer be listed because they are dead, have moved out of the state or have been declared unfit to vote.

"For every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two," the newspaper reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an influential association for civil rights, said in a statement Thursday that the Department of Justice should compel states to comply with federal law.

"These purges are in violation of federal law, including the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits such purges of voters 90 days before a federal election," said the ACLU statement

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Open Letter to Gov. Palin

I am not one to fire Bible verses at someone, but since Palin and the religious base of her party (her biggest supporters) boldly claim to hold the "Word" close to heart I think this petition from Cross Left has some valid points.

Dear Gov. Palin,

As fellow Christians we ask you to stop bearing false witness against your brother Barack Obama. You recently made the insidious claim that Sen. Obama "...was palling around with terrorists." All unbiased observers have noted that the claim is patently false. We the undersigned ask you to stop these false attacks and rather to raise the level of discourse to discuss the issues that matter most to Americans: the economy, the environment, education, health care, the war.

As Christians, we must remember that Jesus told us to love our neighbors and more importantly our adversaries as ourselves. Your recent stump speeches enters territory that are not only adversely affecting our civil discourse as a nation, but diverge from basic Biblical teaching.

The Ten Commandments state the case clearly: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

Proverbs 6:16-19 states, "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers."

Proverbs 19:9 states, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish."

Jesus affirms in Mathew 19:18 reiterating his commitment to the Ten Commandments, "You shall not bear false witness."

And since Obama is one of us as Christians and as Americans, Obama does think like us. We believe that each of the candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, have the best interests of the country in their hearts and minds. We may agree or disagree with the positions of either candidate, but we should not question their patriotism or their character.

We call upon you to issue a retraction and an apology and to refrain from further instances of bearing false witness against your brother, Barack Obama.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Going Beyond Negative.

"Patriotism is the last vestige of a Scoundrel"-Samuel Johnson

While the stock market and the economy continue to tank, the McCain campaign has started a desperate smear campaign. At a Sarah Palin rally today audience member called out "Kill Him" and a McCain rally they were calling out "Terrorist" both in reference to Obama. The reason elections get to this level of stupidity, pettiness and down right hatefulness is because Joe Sixpack and his Walmart Mom do not care to have a discussion about the issues and ideas. They love a dirty fight and they want to see blood.

Tomorrow, Obama needs to call McCain out on this garbage.

From By SilentPatriot at Crooks and Liars
Now that the McCain campaign has made abundantly clear that their only shot at salvaging this election is by going full-bore negative against Barack Obama with despicable, disgraceful and dishonorable smears, Keith responds with another great Special Comment.

"The Governor of Alaska wants to start calling people terrorists -- and insisting of Senator Obama that quote "this is not a man who sees America like you and I see America" -- and whose rhetoric like that and the "pallin' around with terrorists" line were rightly described by the Associated Press yesterday as a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing kind of way of slipping racism into the equation because it's a nifty trick to remind the white folk that (psst) Obama is black.

But overriding this sleaziness -- and dog-gone it, the Governor of Alaska has got to be the sleaziest politician working the stage at the moment -- there is the sheer blessed stupidity of letting herself become the bomb-thrower when her own life is full of domestic terrorists.

Governor -- Bill Ayres? Your hubby was in this secessionist hate group for which you recorded a video.

Governor -- Jeremiah Wright? That pastor you credit with helping you become Governor, is either a con man or a psycho who believes he can tell which woman in the village is the witch and which is the governor."

Full transcript

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Goat Bridge & Pond at the Country Mill

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Country Mill 2008

Long day and my legs hurt. I canvassed for Obama again today and then we took our annual trip to the Country Mill. Picked apples and hunted for some Halloween pumpkins. Sam and Adele have awesome costumes this year, even-though they are not homemade, can not wait to show them off.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Boring & Right vs. Exciting & Wrong

Palin met expectations of being well rehearsed, but no talk about any policy McCain changes and no clear answers. After this debate the word Maverick is officially an empty description. Someone who fails to acknowledge or understand the causes of the economic, environmental, and geo-political disasters we are facing now is not a Maverick, that person is ignorant. Sarah Palin comments about expanding the role of VP shows she either does not understand or she does not respect the division of powers and the constitutional role of the Vice President.
Biden, like most members of his party bogged us down with facts and numbers, so he will of course receive the label of boring. While Palin lied to us she did do it with a wink and a barrel full of folksy little quips. Joe or Jane Six Pack will continue to support her because she delivered that razzle-dazzle and 'by golly she is average just like us, she can lead this nation'.

There is plenty more to discuss but its too late so one last thought..

Ending the occupation is not a 'White Flag of Surrender' (the not so new republican buzz phrase uttered by Palin tonight). There is no victory in an unwelcome and illegitimate occupation of Iraq. The surge is no measure of progress, its a measure of failure. For the most part the violence in Iraq has dropped some because of five years of ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, and now total segregation.

Biden did more than win the debate, he provided a sharp contrast to his opponents and peeled away a thin veneer of trumped up rhetoric the republicans hide themselves and their failed policies behind.

Goodnight and Good Luck.

McCain Lost the VP Debate Too
By Robert Shrum

Sarah Palin has experience being a runner-up -- which will come in handy in November. Tonight she barely kept up. In advance, the commenteriat almost unanimously agreed on a false measure of this debate. Judging by "expectation" meant that pundits could conceivably award a faux victory if she was half-coherent and modestly informed after a cram session in Arizona. But voters apply an absolute standard, not a low water mark of expectations: With America facing two wars and economic disaster, Americans ask if a candidate is up to the job.

By any rational assessment, Palin wasn't tonight -- and hasn't been any time she's not reading a teleprompter. President Palin-- the nuclear button, recession, the health care crisis, global warming (which she doesn't believe in, as she believes in creationism) -- well, it simply doesn't compute. A part in Fargo, yes -- that office in the West Wing, no.

Everybody wondered how Palin would do. At least as important, or more, was that Joe Biden did a superb job. He deftly stopped Palin from distorting Obama's views. He won the tax cut argument-- Democrats usually don't. He won the health care argument; Palin just gave up. She wouldn't -- couldn't -- answer the questions; she wanted to talk about energy, which she's supposed to know something about, but she even lost on that . Often she didn't know or couldn't say what McCain's policy is. And on foreign policy, she must have been staring out the window when she sat down with Henry Kissinger. She "loves" Israel but can't discuss mideast realities in one inch depth. She can't even articulate basic conditions for the use of nuclear weapons.

Palin relied on topline phrases and had little command of facts. Why, she even memorized the name of the President of Iran. But it was mostly blah, blah, blah. At the end, the Obama-Biden ticket is far ahead on the big issues -- and Palin's a parrot repeating memorized phrases, not a plausible vice-president. Biden called her on it every time.

The last two Democratic VP nominees fell short in their debates; Lieberman was routed and never even fought back. Biden did the job for Democrats while Palin sounded like Kozinski's Chance the Gardener mouthing empty phrases. In successive sentences she said "there you go again" and "doggone." She talked about ordinary people; Biden eloquently showed he actually cares about the middle class. She was essentially phony and tin-eared after Biden spoke emotionally about his family -- and about raising his sons as a single father after their mother was killed and they almost died in an auto accident -- she spouted pol-talk cliches. He has a real emotional IQ; she sounds like an Ozzie and Harriett script (a reference which shows my age -- and a phony folksiness that reveals her inauthentic authenticity).

Today McCain pulled out of Michigan; the economic news worsened. The electoral map is smaller; the economy is smaller; and the odds on McCain are longer and longer. The press probably will give Palin credit for not falling down on stage. She couldn't deal with many of the questions directly or most of the facts, so she bloviated according to plan. She winked at us; the voters won't wink back at her. Pat Buchanan thinks she won. I think people still have a bullshit factor-- and that means she survived even as she met the low expectations she's created. McCain gained nothing; he was the loser -- in the first presidential debate, and the vice-presidential one.

Read more reactions to the Biden-Palin Vice Presidential debate from HuffPost bloggers

Obsession with Fear and Lies

At times overtly devisive and questionable material arrives in my mailbox usually from so called non-profit organizations like Focus on the Family's monthly magazine, but toaday I recieceved Obsession an "anti-terrorism DVD" from a right-wing Israel-based group trying to help the Republican presidential candidate John McCain. This is a clear violation of campaign law, since foreign nations are not allowed to attempt to influence American elections. It is equally offensive that they did not have to pay postage for this garbage because they are using the guise of a non-profit organization. Is it a coincidence that the day Obama visits my local area this crap arrives is the mail? I do not think so.

If your recieved this tripe too please contact the Federal Election Commission and request an investigation. This kind of cowardly fear mongering needs to end.

Clarion Fund: Pro-McCain Non-profit Group Fueling Politics of Fear

Exactly who or what is the Clarion Fund?

The Clarion Fund is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that apparently supports Senator John McCain for president. Why "apparently"? The Clarion Fund is responsible for paying newspapers around the United States to distribute an anti-Islam documentary as a supplement to their Sunday editions. The Huffington Post reports that the Clarion Fund has sent 28 million DVDs to at least 70 newspapers in swing states to place at the doorstep of newspaper subscribers. The Huffington Post also calls the Clarion Fund "shadowy," because the non-profit organization's financial backers are unknown.

The DVD is a 60-minute expose of militant Islam called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" and is ideologically slanted toward painting Muslims as evil and bent on the destruction of the United States. It was nationally premiered on Fox News during the 2006 mid-term elections. Labeled highly divisive by many mainstream religious groups, "Obsession" shows Islam as a radically dangerous religion bent on the destruction of Western civilization, interspersing incendiary commentary with images of Nazis and suicide bombing indoctrination.

You might not agree with Senator Barack Obama's political ideology, but a point he has brought up in the past several weeks is not only relevant to this issue but a blatant truth as well. At several speeches Senator Obama has made mention of the Republican propensity to play distraction games during the campaigns and elections. Obama speaks directly to the GOP tactic of fearmongering, or the politics of fear.

It seems that Republicans have a lock on national security. Why is that? According to Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us To Death, Democratic presidents have been just as likely to go to war or promote a military conflict as Republican presidents. So why are the Republicans seen as more hawkish?

More information in links below.

Is front group for Israeli organization trying to influence November election?

'Obsession' DVD a Well-Planned Con

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


You can find anything on the internet. Back in 2006 they tore down the building that was once Grandville Junior High School. Not many fond memories of the place, but I never like it when a piece of my history is erased.

I stole the photo from Jim Hulsebus Photography.

Some thoughts on Palin: If you majored in Journalism shouldn't you be able to name one News Paper?

Don't cha' miss the debate tomorrow.