Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category.


The Fort Hood Shooting

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Uncategorized

Let’s not speculate on motive until we know more. All we know about the Fort Hood Shooting is that 12 are dead (as of now). Initial reports indicated there were multiple shooters, but only one has been identified, Army Major Malike Nadal Hasan, who is dead. Two other soldiers are suspects. Terrible news.

Update: McClatchy Newspapers reports the shooter may still be alive.

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American Prayer

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Uncategorized


Written by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Lyrics:

This is my American Prayer

This is my American Prayer

This is the time to finish what you started

And this is no time to dream

This is the room

We can turn off the dark tonight

Maybe then we might see

American Prayer

American Prayer

And this is the ground

That keeps our feet from getting wet

And this is the sky over our head

And what you see depends on where you stand

And how you jump will tell you where you’re gonna land

American Prayer

American Prayer

My oh my

Couldn’t get much higher

Lets not kick out the darkness

Make the lights brighter

And these are the hands

What are we gonna build with them?

This is the church you can’t see

Give me your tired, your poor and huddled masses

You know they’re yearning to breathe free

This is my American Prayer

American Prayer

American Prayer

When you get to the top of the mountain

Will you tell me what you see

If you get to the top of the mountain

Remember me

h/t COwoman

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Sweeps

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Uncategorized

I’m sorry to have been absent today. I’ve had a busy day.

Well, Obama swept the Virginia, DC and Maryland primaries, easily. Not even close. McCain likewise.

This should give Obama a narrow majority of delegates.

I’m watching MSNBC. Tweety just said that Obama’s speech gave him a thrill going up his leg. Gross.

Back channel, in various listservs, I’m seeing Hillary Clinton supporters complaining that Obamaniacs are culties who won’t support the party. But via my good friend Pastor Dan, the real world isn’t reflecting the paranoia. According to the Pew Center for People and the Press:

…Democratic voters remain far more enthusiastic than Republicans about the quality of their candidates, and the favorability ratings for both Clinton and Obama among Democratic voters are virtually unchanged over the past month.

Twice as many Obama supporters have a favorable, rather than an unfavorable, impression of Clinton (62% vs. 31%). By the same two-to-one margin (60%-30%), Clinton supporters express favorable opinions of Obama. This mutual appreciation on the Democratic side stands in contrast to the Republicans; McCain is the only remaining GOP candidate who is viewed favorably by majorities of supporters of his main rivals.

I’ll have more to say tomorrow. For now, I just want to point out some columns in today’s papers.

Bob Herbert writes,

“I’m worried,” said a major Clinton supporter in New York, who asked not to be identified because he did not want to be seen as undermining a sense of optimism in the campaign. Referring to today’s contests in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, he said: “She can’t afford to get blown out in all the Potomac races. After awhile, the momentum from all these Obama victories can become so strong it’s unstoppable.”

He added: “There’s already a lot of pressure being put on the superdelegates to go with his momentum.”

Well, she got blown out. We’ll see. I don’t think it’s over yet.

The perpetually clueless David Brooks argues that Democrats are more divided than Republicans. Among other things, imagine the uproar if a future President Clinton or President Obama actually tried to withdraw troops from Iraq!

As I said — perpetually clueless.

See also “The Doctor Evil Dilemma” by Eugene Robinson.

Update: John Dickerson writes,

With each previous Obama victory, the Clinton team tried to attach an asterisk. He won because the electorate had too many African-Americans or because the contest was a caucus where party activists dominate. These were attempts not only to explain away Clinton’s losses but also to suggest that Obama could never win in a general election in which broader coalitions are required. As he makes inroads into Clinton’s base, those asterisks fall away. If Obama wins the key general election swing state of Wisconsin, he’ll be in an even stronger position to argue that he can win among working-class whites. These victories give Obama ammunition for future sates because they show he can build a coalition across race, gender, and income for the general election.

After the Obama sweep, one Democratic strategist who backs him speculated (salivated) that a big-name Democratic official would call on Clinton to pack in her campaign. Do it for the sake of the party, such a pooh-bah might argue, so that Democrats can avoid an ugly and protracted primary fight and unite against John McCain. Such a person probably won’t be able to make the case. The party isn’t in peril—Democrats tell pollsters they’ll be happy with either nominee—and with Huckabee interfering with McCain’s cakewalk, the fear of an organized GOP offensive is diminished.

Update 2: Chuck Todd on MSNBC is saying that after tonight the math is working against Clinton. Even if she gets the Florida and Michigan delegates, even if she gets a majority of superdelegates, she’s going to have to win a majority of votes in the primaries going forward to get the nomination.

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Shaming Ann Coulter

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Uncategorized

I didn’t think it was possible, but Rick Jacobs at the Huffington Post did the impossible. He spotted AC at a gay-owned restaurant, in LA’s pre-eminent gay district, West Hollywood. Not only that, he tried to talk with her:

…Clearly, Ann Coulter was caught in a lie. There she was, burbling like a fountain about her interview on Donny Deutsch’s show in which she says Jews should be Christians, completely at ease in the heart of the gayest city on the planet. She was a natural with the gay men who surrounded her. She enjoyed the fawning attention by her two not so masculine male escorts, clearly in her milieu.

I was therefore shocked that when we tried to engage her in conversation, she became embarrassed, turned away, nestling her head inside her long, blond hair, much as would an embarrassed school girl caught stealing the answers to an exam.

We wondered if she was comfortable in West Hollywood, in a restaurant where a large number of the patrons are gay, and where the gay owners make money off of her dining bill. Her response (physically, because she would not speak): “I am too embarrassed to talk to you.” Had we been able to see her high cheek bones, then averted and clutched in her hands to hide her shame, we’d have seen a red-faced hypocrite, caught living a lie…

Ann Coulter loves the camera, so we snapped a few with a cell phone. Her sturdy female minder said we were “molesting” her. Ann Coulter molested by having her picture taken? I guess she’s molested every day, then. She might want to check into rehab to deal with her addiction to such molestation.

When the manager came by with our check, he said, “Look, I’m sorry she’s here, but I have to serve her.” The staff were clearly appalled when they realized who was in their midst. Did Hitler eat kosher food even as he worked out the final solution?

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Oblivion With an Order of Fries

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Uncategorized

This is why Joe Bageant is becoming one of my favorite writers. Excerpt:

…But it is safe to say most Americans don’t give a damn about the rest of humanity, starving infants, the homeless and whatnot, so long as the unhygienic swarms stay the hell out of our yards and don’t bring up that tired commie stuff about our lifestyle being based upon sweatshop misery. In that way, we all test positive for the devil’s hickey.

Republicans may flaunt their hickeys like high school kids in the locker room, but guilt-plagued Democrats console themselves that they can banish it at the ballot box, if only they close their eyes and wish upon a star. Thus, their comfortable self-delusions that the Tiger Woods of the Democratic Party, the technically black, is somehow blessed with a melanin-based inner moral compass lacking in the rest of society, and therefore does not bear the damnable mark. Wiser souls, who are aware that Barack Obama possesses a net worth of several millions, a Harvard law degree and a career born in that venerable political whorehouse called Chicago, assume the mark is probably located where we cannot see it. Another political wish upon a star is that Hillary Clinton, a woman marked by so many hickeys she looks like a victim of massive subdermal haemorrhaging, will reform the brutal health care system without pulling up her skirt for the insurance industry. She says “there is no possible governmental solution that does not include the insurance industry”.

Well, of course not. Industry is America’s government. Voters merely decide which industries have front spots at the public trough. One’s home is the new debtor’s prison, a place where we sleep while we work off interest payments on the mortgage.

Meanwhile, out there in the vast looms of government-as-corporation, the fast food industry weaves the MacDonald’s Cheeseburger Bill, giving itself immunity to lawsuits as it fattens a nation of steers whose sole purpose is to consume, never to be butchered, except in the wars that protect the corporate cheeseburger. Even on the battlefront, it turns profit on millions of burgers and fries that are served to those who fight America’s oil and cheeseburger wars.

American consumers watch this on TV and see it as comfortably familiar. We cannot possibly be doing so badly in Iraq if a soldier can get a Red Bull energy drink and a Puff Daddy CD on the battlefield.

Right? Which is true enough, if you have been obliviously conditioned to see these as symbols of liberty and the utmost accomplishment of the republic – if you see it as “our way of life”. And indeed our way of life is rapidly coming to that: oblivion with an order of fries.

He loses me a bit with the riff on McDonalds, although I get where he is trying to go.

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Saturday Funnies

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Uncategorized

Some Saturday fun….

…and inspiration:

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Profiting from Polarity

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Uncategorized

From How to Win a Fight With a Conservative, by Daniel Kurtzman, comes a seven question, scien-terrific test, designed to show you What Breed of Liberal Are You? (don’t you like being told that you’re a breed?). I took the test and found that I’m a "Peace Patroller" – check out these nearly useless distinctions:

  • Peace Patrollers, also known as anti-war liberals or hippies—believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.
  • Eco-Avengers, also known as environmentalists or tree huggers—believe in saving the planet from the clutches of air-fouling, oil-drilling, earth-raping conservative fossil fools.
  • Social Justice Crusaders, also known as rights activists—believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.
  • Working Class Warriors, also known as blue-collar Democrats—believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.
  • Reality-Based Intellectualists, also known as the liberal elite—are proud members of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.
  • New Left Hipsters, also known as MoveOn.org liberals, Netroots activists, or Daily Show fanatics—believe that if we really want to defend American values, conservatives must be exposed, mocked, and assailed for every fanatical, puritanical, warmongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which they stand.

Kurtzman also wrote a companion volume, How to Win a Fight With a Liberal, which astonishingly appeared at the very same time as his first book. It also comes with a seven question test of its very own. Clearly the guy is a genius, the kind that has a shrewd eye for opportunity (and that is not a slam, although it sounds like it). If it’s too hard to bring people together, we can instead find a way to profit from the Culture War. I’m not really condemning Kurtzman – I sort of wish I had thought of this, paralleling those moments when I wish I had come up with that famous icon of kitsch, the Ronco Vegematic.

On a more serious note, does anyone still feel the need for the kind of assistance the first book tries to provide? There was a long period of time when I felt beleaguered and overwhelmed by belligerant conservative behavior and rhetoric, but not any more. This receded due to the failures of conservative ideology and its politicians, and in the meantime, we libs have gotten stronger and more confident in standing these people down.

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Buy This Book

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Bush Administration, Uncategorized

A Tragic Legacy releases today, says Glenn.

Matt Stoller has a review.

You can read an excerpt here.

Buy this book for all the reasons Sean-Paul Kelly says. Except that if you click through on my site instead of his site, I get a tip from Amazon instead of him.

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Virginia Tech

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Uncategorized

ABC News:

At least 29 people are dead in what may be the biggest mass killing on a college campus in American history — and the death toll may rise.

Police at Virginia Tech, in Blaksburg, Va., said that the shootings happened at a dormitory and a classroom on opposite sides of the university campus.

I’ll add more information as I learn it.

Update: There are some reports as many as 32 people have been killed, but there seems to be some confusion.

CNN is calling today’s incident “the worst mass shooting in American history.” It isn’t, if you count incidents in which there was more than one shooter. Details later.

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Questions?

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Uncategorized

When I was ‘negotiating’ with Maha about trying myself at blogging, the timing of this unique opportunity was unfortunate. Maha was to be away in Las Vegas, and was willing to hand over to a ‘guest’ blog/neophyte at exactly the same time I myself am in the middle of doing a very big project: I am re-roofing my house, with only one other person to help [luckily, my helper has brawn and brains!]. Two other helpers who had agreed to come and help yesterday failed to show up.

The re-roofing project is awfully consuming, especially as my roof has seventeen different slopes [when one counts the dormers], two large six foot by three foot ‘sky windows’ near the peak facing south[which flood inner rooms with light] plus two chimneys and eight ‘regular’ skylights. If that doesn’t seem complicated enough, I have decided to ‘curve’ all fascia board surfaces with a view to ‘wrapping’ all eave and rake edges [hoping to achieve more of a ‘cottage look’].

Today, its ok to have a bit of a break: the big truck has come with its boom arm and delivered to the roof some big piles of materials, all places made bare by removal of the old material have been tarped, and, well, it is supposed to rain and possibly even gullywash in a few hours.

So, here I sit with time to open a blog post. Problem is that I have not been able to surf the news and commentary much. Soooo, I will ask a question which I consider relevant to an individual’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and therefore ultimately relevant to the world we share.

The question is, “What are some important questions to ask of oneself?”

Yes, I know that most blogging is all about thoughts and opinions which sweep widely and are probably much more fun. But, in a very real way, ‘what to do about what we all care about’ comes down to actions or inactions by ‘we’ individuals. A common lament in the blogosphere is the lament of ‘what can we do’ about this or that important issue. I personally believe that if I am right with myself, I much more likely to be in harmony with my neighbors and fellow citizens. Besides, it is basic and important work to understand how to deal successfully with one’s own goals before there can be successful dealing with shared goals. I will start this off by offering a couple of what I consider ‘important questions’.

I used to try to get more familiar with my deeper values by asking the following, “I’ll pretend I am on my death bed and am looking back at my life……..what is it I wish I had done differently? Or what is it I wish I had done that I never did do?

Probably the most relevant question I have ever asked myself is this: ” What exactly do I do ‘to live with’ what is unacceptable?” In trying to answer that question, I have encountered a number of ‘coping mechanisms’ such as going numb, going dumb, diverting my attention elsewhere, ‘explaining away’ the problem, trying to force another to change, and so forth. Funny thing is, once I got the focus on me by asking that question, I found myself much less likely to ‘just live with’ whatever was unacceptable. Plus, it’s pretty basic: I only have control over myself and my own actions. I’d be beating my head against a brick wall to demand change in others, rather than explore change in myself. Confession, I was ‘head against brick wall’ for awhile yesterday when those guys failed to show!

Well, I could go on a lot about ‘what questions’, but I want to stop here. How about it? Is this topic of interest? I would love to hear from any others who want to formulate good questions for oneself.

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