Friday, November 16, 2007

"Evangelical Cancer" on the Military?

I saw this article by Col. David Antoon on Truthdig via Alternet. He talks about some differences that he's noticed from his time at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado as compared to what he and his son experienced at his son's orientation..........


"Instead, my son's orientation became an opportunity for the academy to aggressively proselytize this next crop of cadets. Maj. Warren Watties led a group of 10 young, exclusively evangelical chaplains who stood shoulder to shoulder. He proudly stated that half of the cadets attended Bible studies on Monday nights in the dormitories and he hoped to increase this number from those in his audience who were about to join their ranks. This "invitation" was followed with hallelujahs and amens by the evangelical clergy. I later learned from Air Force Academy chaplain MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran who was forced to observe from the choir loft, that no priest, rabbi or mainline Protestant had been permitted to participate.

I no longer recognize the Air Force Academy as the institution I attended almost four decades earlier. At that point, I had no idea how invasive this extreme evangelical "cancer" had become throughout the entire military, that what I had witnessed was far from an isolated case of a few religious zealots."


Col. Antoon goes on to remind us of the ties between the oft discussed Eric Prince and Blackwater USA and the Bush administration that are deeply rooted in religion..........


"As described by Jeremy Scahill in his book "Blackwater," Prince, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy, comes from a wealthy theo-con family, is a "neo-crusader," and a Christian supremacist. He has been given billions of dollars in federal contracts to create a private army. COO Schmitz, another Naval Academy graduate, is a member of the Order of Malta, a Christian supremacist organization dating back to the Crusades, and happens to be married to the sister of Jeb Bush's wife, Columba. And Cofer Black, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department and former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, who was quoted by the BBC as saying "Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice," brings his own skill set to the Blackwater team as vice chairman.

The Christian supremacist fascism first reported at the Air Force Academy is endemic throughout the military. From the top down, there has been a complete repudiation of constitutional values and time-honored codes of ethics and honor codes in favor of religious ideology. And we now have a revolving door between Blackwater USA, which is Bush's Praetorian Guard, and the U.S. military at every level. The citizen-soldier military dictated by our founding fathers has been replaced with professional and mercenary right-wing Christian crusaders in control of the world's most powerful military. The risks to our democratic form of government cannot be overstated. "


Unfortunately, many mainstream, well-meaning Christians will dismiss such things saying that anything involving Christianity can't be a threat to our nation and our freedom. But they will be wrong about that. If the United States is ever to be toppled, it will probably involve fundamentalist Christians with fear and hatred of people who are not of their exact beliefs. And their weapon of choice will be the Holy Bible.

The whole article is worth a read...........

Friday, October 26, 2007

Speaker Richardson, I've got one for you too.........


Before I start, I know this post won't be the most popular one I've ever entered into this blog. It's very true that I am the product of a man that looked at a Beta VCR and saw the future. As a result of those genes, I frequently find myself going against the grain.

Now, let's not kid anyone here. Even a part time glancer at this blog knows that I am against the death penalty. The reasons are many, and it's really not important to get into all of that right now. So you know where I'm coming from. What is important, is to point out the temerity of Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson.

Everyone remembers Brian Nichols. Not quite three years ago, he went on a courthouse rampage that left several people dead. Much of what took place happened in a very public way. There's no question about Nicholson's guilt or innocence. The only issue that needs resolving is Nichols' ultimate fate.

Understandably, many have clammored for the death penalty. Unfortunately, the Nichols case became a convenient talking point for politicians who favor such a punishment. In fact, last year, politicians from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Speaker Richardson made good use of it.
So when a plea deal on Nichols' behalf for life in prison without parole came up, the very idea of such a disposition didn't sit well with folks like the Governor and the Speaker.

Not surprisingly, every Superior Court judge in Fulton County recused themselves from hearing the case. Not out of fear or for some unreasonable excuse, but because they all knew the Superior Court judge and other court personnel that Nichols attacked and killed. Enter retired Senior Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller from another district to hear the case.

We have estimates of trial costs for Nicholson of upwards of $5,000,000 on both sides. Nicholson is being represented by public counsel. So in order to grant the Governor's and Speaker's death wish, this is the price that we must pay. The problem is that the defense has run out of money to mount a sufficient defense for a man that many want to see die. And before people get the idea that most of that money is going to the defense, it isn't. Prosecutors are mounting a huge case of over 300 witnesses that promises to keep Nancy Grace in business for quite a while to come.

In light of that, Judge Fuller has postponed the Nicholson trial several times. Fuller has also expressed his displeasure with the General Assembly for failing to appropriately fill the indigent defense fund coffers. Consider the General Assembly's cage rattled. Speaker Richardson wants a panel to probe Judge Fuller's actions.

In other words, how dare the judge point his finger at the very people who are responsible for the money shortage?

Apparently, Speaker Richardson feels that Brian Nichols is subhuman and not deserving of an adequate defense. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we all know that Nichols did it. And we all know how horrible the consequences of that terrible day have been for so many people. But Judge Fuller isn't the one to blame here.

Just imagine if Judge Fuller allowed this case to proceed with the defense attorneys not being given what they need to do their jobs. You should be able to smell the words "appeal" and "Supreme Court" and "retry" coming at this point.

Yet, Speaker Richardson's reaction isn't what I would expect it to be. Instead of working with the General Assembly and the Governor to find the necessary monies, he wants to have Judge Fuller impeached - impeached for nothing more than seeing that Brian Nichols is given his constitutionally protected right to an adequate and reasonable defense. You know, one of the bedrock principles that this country was founded on.

So Speaker Richardson, if you're so anxious to play judge, jury, and excutioner, go right ahead. But pay for it. Pay for your blood lust. We had a life in prison without parole deal on the table. But it wasn't good enough. You're getting what you want. So ante up!

I feel like picking a bone today.........

Okay, in a way, I do actually get a small kick out of watching three Republican governors finger point, call names, and go running to the White House to tell on one another. But, folks, the water crisis is serious. Despite water conferences between the three (Florida's Governor Crist is new to the fray) from Tallahassee to Bainbridge to Dothan, the states of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama just can't seem to share the water. So, we'll likely see things settled in a federal court. Hopefully, it will be a settlement that all three states can live with.

Yesterday's AJC contained a guest column by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley where he had this to say in response to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's assertion that Florida and Alabama are trying to take Georgia's drinking water:


"Contrary to some of the recent heated rhetoric emanating in Georgia, Alabama doesn't seek to cut off drinking water supplies to the Atlanta region. But Alabama cannot stand by and watch Georgia make a claim on the water in those reservoirs as if it belonged only to Atlanta. Downstream communities in Alabama and Georgia depend on the releases from those reservoirs to meet drinking water needs in times of drought as well as to support industry. If the water is not released, then the industries will be forced to shut down, and thousands of Alabama and Georgia families will lose their source of income."


Not to be outdone, Perdue offered a response criticizing the Corps of Engineers and suggesting that the amount of water Gov. Riley claims that Alabama needs isn't accurate in today's AJC saying:


"I will not stand for negligence when it comes to protecting Georgians' water supply. The Corps of Engineers' culpability grows every day. I will continue to seek a reasonable solution from the president of the United States, and by working with my friends in Alabama, but I cannot allow Riley's inaccurate assertions to go unchallenged."


Perdue won't stand for "negligence", eh? Well, former Georgia Democratic Party chair, Bobby Kahn weighs in over at Peach Pundit, and points out that Georgia's water crisis might at least be partially blamed on the Governor's own negligence (h/t Amy):


"Before Perdue was elected, Georgia was implementing a water plan. The Department of Natural Resources was looking to build reservoirs in North Georgia controlled by the state that would be used for drinking water. Currently, the lakes that supply the water to the Metro Atlanta region are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and have other purposes, including providing power and serving downstream environmental needs. That plan has been delayed for at least five years. As a result, Georgia finds itself fighting the Corps because we waited."



It seems that as Gov. Perdue postures and gyrates before the state's media, throwing in a punch or two to please the home folks, he himself has played a role in our water shortage. Considering that last year was a re-election year for the governor, it's disappointing that water wasn't a large issue between he and his opponent. Come to think of it, neither was transportation, nor the overdevelopment of north Georgia, which also contributes to our water problems. Consequently, south and western Georgians as well as Alabamians and Floridians are paying a price too.

So I'm hoping that the armchair political QB's that spent 2006 defending the slimey tactics of the undynamic duo of Perdue and Mark Taylor, and being concerned more about winning the election than actually solving the problems of the state are now happy. Continuing to turn important races that should be based on a little thing called issues rather than Wikipedia entries or writing letters to the editor over sports section headlines.

And if you're reading this and feeling a finger poking in your eye, don't blame me. You can't fault us "idealists" for feeling this way.

You want a good dose of "realism?" Well, I hope you can drink this bit of reality. Whether it be mussel farmers, people paying higher prices for electricity, or those of us facing water rationing, someone is going to be hurting - at least for a while.

Somehow I doubt that the any of the three states are completely right about their arguments. But I know this much, Georgia (metro Atlanta anyway) has made some unhealthy contributions to this crisis that plagues us.

So for our part, I'd like to humbly apologize to our neighbors and friends in "the other Georgia" as well as in the states of Alabama and Florida. Try not to hold it against us all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ode to the Mullet


Since I blogged about Izzy's slow recovery from his surgery a couple of weeks ago, many of you have continued to ask me about him. I'm glad to say that Izzy is almost back to his old self. But notice that I did say "almost."

One thing that has been slow to change is that his hair hasn't grown back where it was shaved, right on top of his little head. Now that it is coming back in little by little, he looks like a dog version of Billy Ray Cyrus complete with a doggy-mullet!

Which reminds me of 1984, when I - yes, I - had a mullet. But wait, wait.......if you're old enough, you probably had a mullet too! When I look at pictures of my teen years, I sometimes see my hair short and sort of spikey on top and longish in the back with a curl around my left ear. And before you ask, no, I won't be posting pics of that. ;-)

I was 12 in 1984, and I thought I was cool. I mostly wore tank tops or muslce shirts to show off my lanky arms and skinny upper body. I even wore cut off blue jeans now and then. But I also had a fascination with Panama Jack. I think the other difference in me that year was that I carried a pocket knife in my front pocket. It was a gift that I hadn't asked for. Nevertheless I walked around with it, along with my plastic comb handle sticking out of my back pocket.

I was thinking of Izzy's doggy-mullet this week and telling this same story to a girl that is 20 years old. It suddenly saddened me to realize that my mullet PRE-dates her existance!

Okay, now that I've given you an unpleasant visual, and perhaps rekindled some memories for you, it's important to remind everyone that even celebrities and sex symbols wore mullets. Soap stars, movie stars, sports figures, pin up girls and hunks, you name it and they had it.

Even fashionable women like tennis champ Chris Evert had one. I remember when she cut her hair off, perm fried it, and dyed it blond in a trashy, vampy sort of look so unlike the previous pristine Prissy Chrissy look with the long hair in a pony tail complete with bow. It was a part of her 80's power look, which she came up with when she switched from a wooden racquet to graphite and took up weight training in order to catch her great rival (and fellow mulleteer), Martina Navratilova.

By 1987, Chris' mullet did something quite scary. It grew wings! She curled her bangs over her forehead and created a tall dome on top of her head that extended down to her shoulders. Exactly what kind of hair products it took to perfect that look, I have no idea. Thankfully, my mullet never looked like it could fly away or knock down low flying planes like her's did.

So thanks everyone for asking about Izzy. Know that he's doing well and keeping me on my toes. As I look across the room, he's lying in the sun on his back tanning his pinkish belly. He looks comfy, so I may go over and do the same thing. However, we won't be sharing hairstyles!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore shares this year's Nobel Peace Prize along with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate for their efforts to call the world's attention to global warming and the measures needed to fight it. The Nobel committee recognized Gore's early attention to the matter.

The committee's decision to also honor the panel was a smart one. Those men and women have made great contributions in taking out the politics of the issue out, and establishing validity to the idea that global warming is indeed happening, and that humans are contributing to it.

Of course, this will spur on more speculation that Gore might be talked into jumping into the 2008 presidential race. Personally, I'm just happy to see the guy finally getting the credit that he deserves on an issue that is affecting every living thing on this earth.

On MSNBC this morning, former President Jimmy Carter was asked to comment on Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. He said that he was extremely happy for Gore, and that he hopes that Gore will participate in another "political event."

Could he have been expressing his wish to see Al enter the race? I take it to mean that. Although he could've also been talking about a future run for president beyond 2008 as well. The Gores and Carters have always been extremely close, including several joint collaborations between Rosalynn Carter and Tipper Gore on mental health issues.

Contrastly, the relationship between the Clintons and Carters has never been friendly. Not only have they had policy disagreements, but personal ones as well. Even to the point of Carter refusing to attend the 1996 Democratic National Convention, and subsequent inauguration. As well as Hillary's snub of Rosalynn Carter at a late 90's event in Atlanta for Georgia Democratic women, in which Douglas Brinkely ("The Unfinished Presidency") quoted Mrs. Carter as saying was, "hurtful."

Although, it is important to remember that Pres. Carter did invite John Edwards to Americus, GA to speak earlier this year. So, I feel sure that he will actively support whoever the Democratic nominee ultimately is.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does the new "Bionic Woman" have fembots and cheesy sound effects?

Carter Slams Cheney; Al Gore Finally Getting his Due





Former President Jimmy Carter took another swing at our amoral Veep yesterday, saying that Dick Cheney, "hasn't been right on hardly anything." Carter went on to call Cheney a "disaster" with "undue influence" on the president.

I'm sure that conservatives and the whacko right will come down hard on Carter for his comments, as they usually do. You see, they can't refute what he says with facts. Because the facts rarely support their efforts to cover up for wayward Republican presidents and officials. Instead, they'll try to dismiss Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and go back to thinking of new and creative ways in which to spin the the unspinnable.

They'll also spout out some kind of hullabaloo about former presidents not speaking ill of the current administration. Which is always a hypocritical route to take considering that former President Reagan spent 8 years distorting the records of Carter and even fellow Republicans Ford and Nixon, just to deflect any criticism from him. I guess when Carter started firing back at Reagan they thought that they were entitled to some sort of presidential exception.

But frankly, I appreciate it when the former president calls upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to pass opinions - both good and bad - about how the current occupants of the White House are doing. It's not like he held his tongue when Bill Clinton was in office. So if Republicans stomp their feet and give in to their usual anti-Carter rants, just suggest to them that they should actually consider what he's saying. Because all Carter did was state the obvious.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore, 7 years removed from having the 2000 presidential election stolen from him, can feel a certain amount of gratification. Draft Gore launched their last best move in which to attempt to lure Gore into the 2008 presidential race. I more or less gave up any real hopes that Gore would enter the race during the summer. Since then I've operated on the assumption that I'm going to have to choose from the current crop of Democrats to support. If I voted my heart, I'd probably go with Dennis Kucinich. If I went with our best chance of winning in 2008, I'd vote for John Edwards. However, it would do my heart good to see Al step in this race, and step over Hillary and give us a real shot at changing the fortunes of this country.

Instead, we may have to settle for supporting Gore's chances for a Nobel Peace Prize. Still, it's great to see so many people embracing Al. He's possibly given more to us than we've given him.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hillary: First Iraq, now Iran?

For someone who says that she regrets voting to give Bush authorization to use force against Iraq, Hillary sure has a funny way of showing it. Last week, Hillary became the only candidate for the Democratic nomination for POTUS to side with Sen. Lieberman to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group. For a more informed read into exactly what the Bush administration has in store for Iran, thanks to the Hillary's and Lieberman's of the world, take a looksy at Seymour M. Hersh's New Yorker article, "Shifting Targets."

The only question is when do the bombs start falling on Iran?

Hillary's being roundly criticized for her support of Lieberman and Bush here, here, here, and here, and justifiably so.

h/t: Beyond the Clintons and BlueBloggin

Friday, September 28, 2007

My poor baby.........


My friend Izzy is 11 years old now. He's normally picky, vivacious, spoiled, fiercely loyal, hard-headed, affectionate, and plays like a puppy.

But yesterday, he had to have a large mass (benign, thankfully) removed and 4 teeth extracted. His poor little head is shaved, he has stitches in 2 places, and he's still feelings the effects of the procedures.

He's just so pitiful. He can't stop staring at me. And he wants to be no where else but in my lap - which he is right now. This isn't the Izzy that I've known and loved for so long.

I know that what we did yesterday was for his own benefit. But I didn't expect him to be quite this way. Which makes me feel that I didn't ask enough questions before hand. I'm told that he should be "back to normal" in about a week.

Still, it's hard to watch him suffer. He whines and whimpers a bit from the pain. I give him the pills for pain that his vet prescribed for him. But only when he gets to that point.

So if you can spare a positive thought or two for Izzy today, please do so. Trust me, he deserves it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"........bad people with evil intent"

Wow, I hope that my Georgia readers and others will wander over to Lydia Cornell's blog and check out "Blackwater Takes Taxpayer Money." Lydia reminds us that Obama and Clinton are upcoming guests on Basham and Cornell Radio. Recent guests have included Kucinich and Edwards. Their interviews are available from their archives.

She also threw this in:

"Best selling author John Grisham is finally speaking out. He said the current administration is built around "bad people with evil intent" and contends President Bush played politics as thousands died in Iraq. "

She then includes an article by Corey Flintoff on Blackwater and its GOP and fundamentalist Christian ties.

Great read.......go check it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

AJC's "Life or Death" series

This week's AJC special series on the death penalty has made for some interesting reading for those of us that are interested in the topic. So far, lots of different angles have been covered by the AJC staff in terms of what kinds of cases get consideration, prosecutors and their personal feelings on the issue and what goes into their decision to seek or not seek the death penalty, concious and unconcious racism, jury perspectives, and the role of DNA in the acquittal of several residents of death row.

Regular readers of this blog might recall that I used to be in favor of capital punishment. However, over time, my position has changed. It has changed because I do not believe that the death penalty is a deterrent to crimes involving murder. Not to mention the fact that we now know for sure that there have been defendents found guilty of murder and sentenced to death who should not have been. Yes, the death penalty is fallible yet irrevocable once administered. Also, I don't think that I can morally justify the deliberate taking of life sanctioned by government, especially in light of such risk of getting it wrong.

More and more Americans are reaching the same conclusions that I have. The AJC's research shows that fewer prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, and fewer juries are willing to levy it. According to this Heather Vogell article in the AJC, here are some reasons why:


"Ten of the 38 death penalty states have put executions on hold — seven because of challenges that lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to state officials and the Death Penalty Information Center.

Exonerations of death row criminals because of DNA and other evidence have also heightened fear that an innocent person could be executed, experts say.

Scott Sundby, a law professor and death penalty expert at Washington and Lee University, said he believes better training and support for defense lawyers also explain the drop in death trials. Three U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 2000 have underscored that the court will overturn a death sentence if the defendant is not represented properly.

The cost of death penalty prosecutions has climbed as capital defense has grown more thorough. Sundby said those higher costs, the reduced odds of victory, and a perception that perhaps the public isn't demanding death as it once did may all be discouraging prosecutors from taking death cases to trial."



But, rest assured, there are "though on crime" zealots out there that are trying to reverse these trends in spite of what we are finding out about the death penalty and the social issues surrounding it. Vogell notes that earlier this year, a group of them tried to change the law requiring a unanimous decision to impose the death penalty be changed to make it easier to get more death penalty verdicts. Surprisingly, we even had a Democratic gubernatorial candidate pander to those zealots in 2006 by coming out in favor of applying the death penalty to cases not involving murder.

I've mentioned this before, but I grew up in a home that was located approximately 15 miles from the heinous 1973 Alday murders, committed by escaped convicts from Maryland on a joyride through north Florida and south Georgia. Not only that, but based on the accounts of several different books and a movie on the subject, the killers drove right past the turnoff for our dirt road, not even 2 miles from where we lived. They also stopped at the mom and pop grocery store where I was later to work during my high school years. I even worked with an attorney that was assigned to defend one of the defendents in the original trial held in Donalsonville.

One of the most shocking aspects of this brutal crime was that it was so random. According to my parents, we were home. I was a little over a year old. So I never experienced the full shock of the actual events. But it left the people of our small, rural community devasted. By all accounts, these murderers killed good, decent, hard working people who may have been of simple means (as we all were), but were valuable assets to their community.

While the others received jail sentences, ringleader Carl Isaacs got the death penalty. Isaacs became the longest serving resident of Georgia's death row as he spent 30 years filing appeals and eventually won a new trial. During those 30 years, he spent much of it calling the residents of south Georgia "rednecks" and mocking the survivors of his victims by saying, "The only signifcant thing the Aldays ever did was to get murdered by me." However, Isaacs did eventually meet his date with death in 2003.

Perhaps even more cruel is the fact that the Alday family and the residents of Seminole County continued to suffer the consequences of Isaacs' and his friends' actions. With all of the male members of the Alday family dead, their widows and children lost their farms. The county, being one of the smallest and most poor in the entire state, was financially strapped and unable to provide some services to its own residents because it was burdened by Isaacs' endless appeals and chicanery.

So if anyone ever deserved the death penalty, it was Carl Isaacs.

I go into such personal detail, not to pretend in any way that I could ever understand the 30 year nightmare of the Alday survivors. Because I can't. I do it because I want those of you that care to read this to know that I don't sympathize with people who do such horrible things. My sympathies lie with the victims.

But even having known some of the people involved in one of the most traumatizing events in the history of the state of Georgia, I think it's important for people who support the death penalty to look into and understand the complexities of the issue. There are problems - serious problems that cross racial lines, economic lines, and go right to the heart of our sense of right and wrong. It's something that we all should consider.

Monday, September 24, 2007

One and done baby!

Dawgs take it in OT in T-town! h/t Dawg Videos

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Radical Christian Conservative "Activists" Gear Up for 2008

First of all, if you haven't figured it out by now, if someone introduces themselves to you as a "Christian conservative activist," this is your cue to run away as quickly as you can in the opposite direction. Because these are people that are led by some of the most evil people on the face of the planet. It's not necessarily that they are evil people themselves. It's just that their fundamentalist "I'm right, you're wrong, and you're going to burn in Hell for all eternity" Sunday School brainwashing has prevented otherwise reasonably intelligent people from joining the rest of society in the 21st century where religion sits alongside science and reason.

I have said and will always believe that the downfall of the Republican Party was their late 70's marriage to the far right Christian evangelical radicals. President Reagan's alliance with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority paid short term dividends. Falwell dishonestly convinced Middle America Christians that President Carter wasn't a Christian at all, but a man given to secular thought and a supporter of immorality. And Christians went to the polls in droves to oust Carter and annoint Reagan, a man who didn't even go to church.

Meanwhile, Carter spends the rest of his public life dirtying his hands with things that Falwell never, ever did. Notice that Carter doesn't spend his time touring Europe, Japan, Australia, etc. vacationing in lavish hotels and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees, even though he could. Instead, he focuses most of his energy on helping people that are otherwise forgotten by most of the world - the sick, the starving, and poor people who have little control over their own lives. You know, the people that many Christians claim to care about but don't do anything for.

But those short term benefits are now long passed. Even many Republicans have begun to move away from radical evangelicals' dangerous fundamentalist philosophies while maintaing their own faith. However, someone forgot to tell President Bush about this trend. His adminstration is littered with quite a few of the dimmest minds of Falwell's Liberty University. Funny, I would've expected more accomplished people from places like Harvard, Duke, or Stanford.

These radicals have noticed the fact that they're losing their grip on mainstream politics. And they're meeting in Florida to rally the troops:


"In Tampa, most panels stuck to hot-button themes aimed at
getting Florida conservatives involved in politics: The Homosexual Agenda. Life Issues. Redeeming the Culture Through the Legal System. The Church and Voter Registration. Several speakers highlighted threats from militant Islam, an increased emphasis in the movement."


In other words, their tactics haven't changed. Preach and encourage discrimination and hate against the LGBT community, put the government back in control of a woman's own body and using the death penalty as a cruel and racist tool, misusing the legal system to enforce their rigid, fundamentalist, flawed beliefs, and refuse to seperate church and state. And if all else fails, ignore their own shortcomings by pointing out radicals of other religions.

One of the absolute few bright spots in Georgia politics in 2006 was the repudiation of Ralph Reed. For that to happen in a red state was a significant sign nationally. But that doesn't mean that these radicals have given up. They're obviously getting ready for another round of battles in 2008.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thank goodness for the Blogroll!

I didn't have a lot of time for posting last week. But I did do a lot of reading from the blogroll. Thanks guys and girls for keeping me informed..........

Mel means business (even on Saturday morning) with this youtube clip that she posted over at Blog for Democracy. The recall of various Chinese goods has been on my mind all year long as my archives will attest. So I'm happy to see that Wake Up Walmart is focusing on this.

Larry is all over Blackwater USA. They just happen to be major donors of the Republican Party, and they also have contracts with the our government to the tune of $500 million. No bids are necessary apparently. Along those same lines, Beyond the Clintons posted a youtube clip all about "Blood for Oil." Give that clip a look. Bush definitely has some low friends in high places.

Over at Blue Bloggin', nytexan blogs about an odd quote from our illustrious Yale grad prez.

Christopher picked up CREW's list of this year's "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" list. Not surprisingly there are only 3 or 4 Dems on the entire list. So I felt the need to congratulate Georgia's own Rep. David Scott for being one of them. You read all about his "service" to the public here.

David Sirota talked about the "New NAFTA." I never imagined that I would be so disappointed with this Democratically controlled Congress. From weak leadership that allows a president with approval ratings in the 20's and 30's to run roughshod over them to a sellout of the American middle class, it's almost as bad as having a Republican controlled Congress again.

Flack attack puts the spotlight on Sadie Fields. Leaving 200K poor kids uninsured isn't very Christian-like. And neither is lying about it. She needs some knee pads for her nightly prayers, because she's got a lot to ask for forgiveness for.

And Birmingham Blues made some interesting observations about the "Jena 6" story. She asked the important question of why black students had to ask for permission to sit under a tree where white students normally sit in the year 2006. Unbelievable..............

Oh, and I wanted to do a posting about UGA vs. Alabama this week. These two used to be huge rivals for about 50 years. In fact, Alabama's fight song "Yea Alabama" includes references to three schools, two of which are UGA and Georgia Tech.

But when Georgia Tech and Tulane withdrew from the conference in 1963, the SEC did some badly needed revamping of the conference schedules. Unfortunately, the UGA vs. Alabama series ceased to be an annual game. Still, when the Dawgs and Tide get together, it's usually a great game.

So here's hoping that Richt and the boys can "hunker down" tonight in Tuscaloosa. But they'll have to do it without Larry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ditch the Electoral College?

Since Republicans are trying to move California away from a winner-take-all electoral state, perhaps it's time to seriously think about doing away with the electoral college altogether. This isn't a new question. There have been proponents of a move to deciding elections for POTUS by popular vote for as long as I can remember. But considering the popular vote would've spared the U.S., and indeed the world, a George W. Bush presidency these last 7 years, that idea sounds like one deserving of some thought.

Just think, Al Gore would probably be in his second term right now. Thousands of soldiers and possibly millions of Iraqi civilians who were alive in 2000 would still be alive today. Our country would be involved with peaceful, constructive plans of action for stability in the Middle East, and not the cause of further unrest. Millions of people around the world who either looked favorably towards the United States or at least were neutral would not look upon our country as the instigator of war and suffering. And thousands of people who have decided to devote their lives and the lives of their children to terrorism against the United States and its allies would likely be going about their business every day without giving us more than a second thought.

On the homefront, the city of New Orleans would likely be well ahead of where it is now in their recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina. We would've never seen thousands of mostly poor, African American faces wandering around on I-10 bypasses wondering why no one seems to care as their loved ones suffer from thirst and dysentary, and their homes lay under water.

There would've never been an Attorney General John Ashcroft, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, or a Patriot Act restricting the freedoms of average Americans, while giving their government overreaching powers that could turn freely elected leaders into tyrants and dictators. There would have been no Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to send our troops into action without all proper equipment and forms of protection. Corporations like Haliburton wouldn't have their own hotline to the Vice President giving them a very large say in our nation's foreign and domestic affairs. And maybe, just maybe the people responsible for 9/11 would be apprehended and dealt with long ago. Or maybe there would've never even been a 9/11? I don't know if that's fair to say or not. But an America led by Al Gore would not be in the quagmire it is today.

Yes, deciding the winner of the 2000 presidential election by popular vote sounds good indeed.

Every other elected office in this country is decided by popular vote. So why not POTUS? I understand the need for every state to ensure that it has some level of importance in deciding our leader. It should be a 50 state process with all 50 states getting to see the candidates up close and personal. But when you see how the polarizing tags of "red state" and "blue state" diminish the importance of some states by one party or another, I'm not so sure that we wouldn't be improving things by going to the popular vote.

I found the National Popular Vote website via BuzzFlash. According to them, these Georgians are amongst the hundreds of politicians nationally that support their effort.

My Common Cause bretheren have been supportive of this movement for a while too. Maybe it's time I considered joining them?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bush and China and the Death Penalty

Bush is in Sydney, Australia for the APEC summit. Yesterday, he spent 90 minutes with China's leader Hu Jintou. Amongst the topics for discussion were currency exchange, product safety, and North Korea. And Bush accepted an invitation to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

New York Democratic Senator and China critic, Chuck Schumer, wasn't satisfied with the results of what Bush called a " very constructive " conversation with the Chinese leader, saying:

``We need to get China to start playing by the rules on currency, safety of exports, and allowing American companies in key industries access to its markets,'' Schumer said in a statement in Washington. Bush ``has maintained a `talk softly and carry no stick' strategy for China.''

Given the close, mutually beneficial relationship between China and the Bush family that goes back at least to 1974 when former President George H. W. Bush was ambassador to China during the Nixon administration, we shouldn't hold our breath on Bush doing a darn thing towards China. Since then, the Bushes have profitted from a few business ventures with the Chinese (Tiananmen Square be damned). This would include Uncle Prescott Bush building China's first golf course. Wow, now there's something to brag about...........

"Neil Bush, the third of George H.W. Bush's four sons (George W., Jeb, Neil and Marvin), is the latest family member to hitch his fortunes to China.

In 1974, President Nixon named George H.W. Bush as his ambassador to China, a position he held for two years. In the 1980s, George H.W. Bush's brother, Prescott Bush Jr., began pursuing business opportunities on the mainland. In 1988, he teamed up with Japanese businessmen to build China's first golf course in Shanghai. He struck up a long friendship with former President Jiang, whose son is now a business partner of Neil Bush.

Prescott Bush Jr.'s Chinese ties generated their own share of controversy. He was criticized for meeting with Chinese business and government leaders just three months after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

The Shanghai golf venture became an embarrassment when allegations surfaced that his Japanese partners were trying to get business contracts by bribing Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. Prescott Bush Jr.'s ties to an American firm, Asset Management, were scrutinized in 1989 because it was the only U.S. firm able to skirt sanctions and import communications satellites into China.

When Asset Management later went bankrupt, Prescott Bush Jr. arranged a bailout through a Japanese investment firm later accused of having ties to organized crime. There was no evidence he was aware of the alleged mob connection."

The Chinese leader did seek to comfort Bush and Americans by saying that China was doing all it could do to ensure product safety. They did after all execute an official because over this earlier this year. I doubt that Bush even flinched over that considering his record on executions as Texas governor.

Speaking of China and executions, Amnesty International says that they continue to lead the world in executions. They are responsible for at least 91% of the world's known executions. This AI report says that it's impossible to know exactly how many people are executed in China each year because it's a "state secret." However, the "true number is believed to be as high as 8,000" executed in that country in 2006. There is also a report that Chinese school children were once a part of an audience of 2,500 attending the deaths of 6 men.

And I can't think about the death penalty without thinking of Troy Davis. Stay strong, Troy.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

UGA "Dawgties" Cowboys, 35-14



As expected, the 13th ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 35-14, yesterday to open the 2007 college football season. UGA controlled the game throughout, but the Cowboys were still in it at halftime, trailing only by 7.

But that's when UGA's much questioned young defense stepped up to the plate, made some adjustments, and shutout the Pokes in the 2nd half. OSU's offense was ranked in the top 10 in both yardage and scoring last year, averaging 500 yards of offense, including high powered showings vs. OU, Texas, a rout of Nebraska, and a win over SEC rival, Alabama.

UGA's other trouble spot, the offensive line, did a good job. They should continue to improve barring injuries. They only gave up 2 sacks on Stafford. And did well enough to spring Brown free for 2 TD's, and Southerland for another. Freshaman sensation Knowshon Moreno wowed the crowd with his moves and his speed.

Speaking of Matthew Stafford, the UGA QB went 18 of 24 for 234 yards with 2 TD's and 0 INT's. The difference in his poise and control of the offense is like night and day from this time last year. His WR's did a great job of holding onto the ball, which was a problem last year. And it was great to see SR. Sean Bailey have a good game after missing all of last year with an injury.

And how 'bout Mikey Henderson's big punt return? He backpeddled to his own 5 and ran 70 yards down to OSU's 25. That return all but sealed the Cowboys' fate.

For a better recap of the game, here's what the Athens Banner-Herald had to say.

From a Cowboy perspective, here's one blogger's take on UGA, Athens, and southern football in general.

Next up: The South Carolina Gamecocks

Should we boycott the Beijing Olympics?

According to this Yahoo News article, Richard Gere thinks we should..........

"Why should the world reward people who are obviously so bad to their
own people, so bad to other people."


Here in Atlanta, we saw for ourselves what the International Olympic Committee is really all about. The IOC is filled with a werid mix of rogue, thuggish elites that think they're worthy of titles, such as, "your excellency." How the government of China treats its citizens is of no concern to them. Apparently as it was no concern to those that awarded Olympiads to Adolf Hitler and the peace loving USSR, who just months before hosting the 1980 Summer Olympics, invaded Afghanistan.

I love the Olympics and what they stand for. But I'm not for governments using them as a propaganda campaign to put on a friendlier face for the world. I suspect this is the only reason why China was ever interested in hosting.

And I say that as someone who was proud of Atlanta's Olympic effort to put on the largest games in Olympic history. Attending the 10 year anniversary celebrations brought back some wonderful memories. But thanks in part to the IOC, not all of our memories were good ones.

Gere has always been a champion of the Tibetan people, who have been abused by the Chinese, and serves as Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Dawgs vs. Cowpokes 'Tween the Hedges, Plus Predictions


It's time! It's time! Every August goes by so slowly, as if it knows that it's about to yield to the very best time of year. I know we have another month of summer. But when fall collides with college football, it just doesn't get any better than that. Especially if you're a University of Georgia fan. There is no more beautiful campus during the fall than the UGA campus in Athens. And when the red n' black assemble, there is no greater spectacle than to stand from Sanford Bridge and peer down onto the lush emerald green grass and let your eyes wander through 93,000 of your closest friends.

When the 2000 Sudler Trophy winning Redcoat Band takes the field and plays the "Battle Hymn," "Hail to Georgia," and "Glory, Glory," my heart will be pumping! Hopefully the Dawgs can take advantage of a late season surge that saw UGA become the only team in the country to defeat 3 consecutive ranked teams: Auburn, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech to finish 9-4. UGA remains one of the top 8 winningest programs in the country this decade.

The 2007 season brings us a new opponent right away. The Big 12's Oklahoma State Cowboys venture into SEC country to take on the Dawgs. UGA will return the favor in Stillwater, OK in 2009. However, this isn't our first meeting. UGA defeated the Cowboys in Athens, and then again in Stillwater back in the 1940's. But what happened 60 years ago will have very little to do with what happens on Saturday. OSU defeated Nebraska last year and gave their archrivals, the Sooners, a scare. Then they went to the Independence Bowl and defeated Alabama in a shootout. So we know these boys can play.

As usual, many of the national know-it-alls have predicted OSU to win in an upset. Much like they did against Clemson in 2003 (UGA 30 Clemson 0), South Carolina in 2004 (UGA 20 SC 16), and Boise State in 2005 (UGA 48 BSU 13). I'd say Richt's Dawgs enjoy proving the "experts" wrong.

Assorted rivals have been telling me all summer that UGA is going to start the year 0-2. Not an intelligent bunch, I know. But consider the schools involved. Almost all of them wear the unmanly color of orange. And, of course, the Gamecocks think UGA has lost too much for us to beat them. But that's what they say every August. How many years have we beaten them in a row now? 5? Who knows? Maybe this year will be their time to crow.

In other words, all they naysayers are the same cast of characters that have predicted UGA to falter every year since 2002. Oh well, I suppose if you keep predicting it every year, you'll get your wish someday. :-)

UGA, with all of its youth, needs to just weather the storm against Oklahoma State and South Carolina in the first 2 weeks. It doesn't have to be impressive, and doesn't have to be pretty. We just need to win those 2 games. By the time the Dawgs head into Tuscaloosa to take on the Tide in late September, we should be in better shape.

I think we'll have to win it in a shootout with the Cowboys as the young guys on defense get adjusted to their roles. So I'll go with UGA 34 OSU 24.

GO DAWGS!

---------------------------------------------

Here's a few 2007 season predictions:

The FSU/Clemson game could go either way Monday night. But even though they're both in the same ACC division, I don't think the winner of the game will automatically win it. Look for the Noles to improve with big time additions to their coaching staff. They still have Weatherford as the QB, which I don't know if that's a good thing. But the bottom line is the OL has to be able to block better. And they need to be able to run the ball to ease the pressure on whoever the QB is. I think we'll see them start to look like the FSU of old this year.

But I like Clemson (one of my favorite places to tailgate) to win the game. They're tough at "Death Valley" and have had a lot of recent success against the Noles. Their problem is that they can't finish a season the way they start it. Or at least that's the book on Clemson in recent years. I'll guess that Clemson will win the game, but the Noles will win the war.

Look out for Tech - yes, that's Georgia Tech - in the other division of the ACC. Our rivals don't get enough respect. Tenuta's defense is always good. And now the Tech offense has a QB capable of being a leader. Add that to RB Choice and the Tech offense could be dangerous. With that being said, look for Virginia Tech to avenge themselves vs. the Jackets and win the division. VT should win the whole conference. But if it's the Noles they're facing in Jacksonville, they seem to have a mental block against the team from Tallahassee.

Even though LSU struggled on offense a bit last night, VT will lose in Baton Rouge next week. And that will put LSU in the perfect position to earn a spot in the BCS national title game in January. That is, if they don't stumble somewhere. You never know in the SEC. And now that Saban is hanging his hat in Tuscaloosa, LSU vs. Alabama has taken on a whole new level of intensity. The Tigers are the SEC west favorite and I do think they'll hold off Bama and Auburn to win it.

The east is not so easy to predict. The big 3 - Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee all have some major question marks on defense. UGA has the added problem of an almost entirely new OL. Meanwhile, Florida has to hope that Tim Tebow can live up to all of the hype. But, lucky for him, he has all kinds of talent on offense around him. And finally, the Vols have the advantage of sporting a senior QB. As we've seen in the past, OC Cutcliffe can do wonders with QB's. But the question is can Ainge stay healthy? On the eve of the Vols' battle with Cal this Saturday, the main storyline is that Ainge is, once again, injured. With him, I think the Vols will win the east almost by leadership default. But without him, they'll fall apart as they did late last year. That could open the door for UGA, provided we restore order in Jacksonville. I know, I know..........Whoever wins the east, I don't like their chances vs. LSU. I'll go with the Ti-gaaahs as the SEC champs.

Other champs:

Big 10: Michigan
Big East: West Virginia
Big 12: Oklahoma
Pac 10: USC

BCS Title Game: USC vs. LSU

Monday, August 27, 2007

From the Blogroll: "Edwards is en fuego," Brzezinski Endorses Obama, Hillary Still Thinks She's the Best

As I perused my blogroll this morning, a few items caught my eye. First of all, Amy, who recently returned from a trip to Iowa stumping for John Edwards, is all smiles after this AlterNet article on John Edwards' rebuke of "Corporate Democrats." I've been very happy with Edwards' support of labor, and his criticism of some of his fellow Dems for walking the same corporate plank that we criticize the Republicans for using.

She also reminds us that Edwards will be here in Georgia Aug. 29th on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus. Also in attendence will be former President Jimmy Carter.

Remember all of the hubub surrounding Howard Dean's 2004 trip to Plains to attend church services with the Carters? It was said to be an unofficial endorsement of Dean. And it is true that Chip Carter worked in the Dean campaign. Could this be a signal from the Carters? I don't know if that's the intention or not. But I do know that they will not endorse who is quietly known to be their least favorite presidential contender.

Meanwhile, Christopher blogged about some good news from the Obama camp. President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, picks Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Brzezinski says that for all of Clinton's so called "experience," Obama has a "better global grasp"than Hillary.

Clinton, who seemingly believes in the Bush administration's failed diplomatic policy of not talking to our enemies, has criticized Obama for his lack of experience and for being "irresponsible" in some of his comments about who to negotiate with, and about hypothetical foreign policy situations in Pakistan. Seems as though Brzezinski feels it's Hillary who is mistaken saying, "Being a former First Lady does not prepare you for being president.........."

And finally, Sid blogged about Hillary's controversial comments about Republicans and a potential terrorist attack before Nov. 2008. While I don't totally disagree with what she is saying, she says, once again, that she would be "the best" at dealing with Republicans in that situation.

Earlier, Hillary told us that she's the Democrat to look to when trying to fight Republican dirty tricks. After all, she and her husband were the principle targets of many of them in the 1992 presidential election and during the Clinton administration itself.

But what really disappoints me about Hillary and her claims about "dealing with the Republicans" is that she herself has moved so far to the right that she almost looks like a Republican. Over the course of her senatorial career, she's drawn wide praise from Republicans for her help in getting many of their bills passed. While I'm all for a spirit of bipartisanship when it's warranted, Hillary's crossed that proverbial centrist line too many times on several issues important to me.

Trying to make yourself look more like a Republican isn't what I call "dealing with Republicans." It's called joining them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Progressive Daily Beacon: The DLC and their "Perfect Tempest"

From the Progressive Daily Beacon:

"The consultants and right-wing DLC have convinced Congressional Democrats that they shouldn't aggressively confront Mister Bush's failed Iraq War or move forward with impeachment proceedings. The Democrats have foolishly heeded this outrageous advice and as a result, they have lost the support of their Progressive and Liberal base and, too, a growing number of Independent voters. The latest polling placed Congressional approval at an all-time-low --- 18 percent."

and.........


"The big problem, however, is that Congressional Democrats, the
consultants and the extremist DLC haven't merely isolated the Party's base; they've lost them for years to come. True enough, Hillary Clinton will, without significant support from the base, become the Party's Presidential nominee. But how will she win a general election without support from the Party's base? She can't and she won't. So, in the end, the consultants and DLC will have gotten what they wanted, but it'll be the Democratic Party that pays the price.


Here is the devastating flaw in the consultant class and Republican-like DLC's plan: In November 2008, the Democratic Party's base will
stay home. That likelihood will probably result in the Democrats losing control of Congress. Even if they should somehow manage to hold onto the House, the Democratic majority will be too small and prove useless. Still, regardless of the Congressional outcome, Hillary will be defeated by the eventual Republican candidate. Hillary and the Democrats are going to get hit with a double whammy: The Progressive and Liberal base won't be going to the polls and, sweet irony, soon as Clinton is made the Democratic Party's nominee, the Republican evangelical base will be whipped into a rabid frenzy."



I shamelessly c&p'd half of the article. But you should read the whole thing. Considering the general dissatisfaction with the DLC and it's performance, it makes sense. And I think it explains a lot of problems troubling the Democratic Party.

Think we don't have problems? We had an election stolen from us in 2000. We lost in 2004. We swept both the House and the Senate in 2006, yet those bodies have even lower approval ratings than a lame-duck, proven wrong, jackass in elephant's clothing president. And once again, we seem to be following the familiar path to defeat laid for us by the DLC.

Considering the dismal performance of the Bush administration, we should be upbeat and on top of this thing. But first we've got some housekeeping to do before the primaries.

Scottsdale, AZ Prefers Al Gore Too

Christopher spotted this blurb about a poll of Scottsdale, AZ Democrats. Last week, the majority of 400 Michigan Dems polled said that they wanted Al Gore as their nominee in 2008, 36% to 33% over Hillary Clinton. Scottsdale Dems like Gore even more and Hillary even less - 51% to 14%.

Should I or anyone else really put a lot of stock in these hypothetical polls? I don't know. Hypotheticals sometimes produce different results from real situationsl. But Christopher suspects that it reveals a "weak-as-water" level of support for our current front runner. I think he's right, and that's bad news. Not only is it bad news for Democratic presidential hopes in Nov. of 2008. It's also bad news for Democratic hopes to keep their majorities in the House and Senate. We already know that a Hillary nomination for POTUS will all but kill hopes for electing more Democrats in Georgia and other red states. Hello another term for Saxby. :-(

But I think these two polls do have some significance in one sense. States like Michigan and Arizona aren't necessarily blue states or red states. They are true battleground states. They are potential swing states for one party or the other. If likely Democrat voters in states like Michigan and Arizona are not crazy about Hillary, don't expect the majority of voters who probably claim to be Independents in those states to vote for her in a general election.

I know, I know.......it's early. Lots can still happen with any number of Democratic and/or Republican candidates. I'm just sayin'......................

Sino-Russian Empire?


Even though our last three presidents have called Russia and China "friends" of the U.S., I'm glad that others are paying more attention. I don't necessarily feel compelled to label either nation as an "enemy" of the U.S. per se. But I hope it was just the vodka talking when Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 professed nothing but love and honorable intentions from those two former enemies of each other turned allies.

As we seem to have trouble sorting through the murkiness of post Cold War relations with certain nations, Bush 2 hasn't exactly made us the great "nation-citizen of the world" that most of us would like to see. That's why the selection of our next president may be of extreme importance in how the rest of the world views us for decades to come. Either we're still a major player and a nation for others to turn to, or Russia and China (particularly China) will continue to position themselves as our replacements.

It's true that the Russia of Vladimir Putin is not the Soviet Union of Brezhnev or even of Gorbachev. Back then, the Soviets were a known entity. However, Putin seems to enjoy popularity at home and credibility around the world despite rumblings of what's going on inside Russia herself. We're still not far removed from the poisoning of an ex Russian spy and critic of the Putin regime that's soured British and Russian relations. And now that former chess star Garry Kasparov is being harrassed by police and government officials because he's challenging Putin. If that's not enough, Putin has told Russian history teachers to gloss over the crimes and legacy of Joseph Stalin and make a hero out of him.

Then there's China. It's not every day that a general from a nation regarded as a "friend" threatens a nuclear strike against the United States. "Friends" also don't send tainted goods to be consumed and then warn the media not to make a big deal out it. And yet, somehow, Bush 2 has managed to bungle Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and his entire foreign policy so badly that a signficant part of Europe and the rest of the world now are looking at China (a nation where human, animal, and environmental rights violations are atrocious) as a reasonable voice.

I have criticized China a lot in the past. I don't even want to go to the Olympics in Beijing next year, fearing the Chinese will use them for propaganda purposes just as Hitler did in Berlin in 1936. But I don't criticize the Chinese government as much as I want because we, ourselves, have been so poorly led. After six and a half years of Bush 2, I feel almost hypocrtitical for critizing any other nation too much on most anything.

This is not an attack on the people of Russia or China. Those two nations are home to citizens that have made wonderful contributions to world history in all sorts of areas of knowledge and art. I, too, want to live in peace and harmony with those people and the rest of the world.

But we've created such an economic and diplomatic mess in our own back yard, that I'm afraid we aren't perceived to be as great as we once were. And I don't think it's wise to lose track of the fact that other nations, like Russia and China, have noticed this too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Take this Job and Ship it"

Last year, North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan wrote a book about the outsourcing of American jobs to sweatshops in foreign countries. Take this Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America, takes a look into how average Americans have been weaseled out of their jobs, and how we've been cheated out of tax revenue from the more than profitable corporations, who are working with certain politicians very hard against the American middle class. Trade surpluses to trade deficits, good manufacturing jobs being sent to China for 20 cents per hour wages, and phony tax haven Caymen Island offices are all discussed in this book.

Just the other day, Basham and Cornell interviewed Sen. Dorgan and discussed his book. If you'd like listen to the interview, press this. You can scan to the middle for the Dorgan interview.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Michigan prefers Al Gore


Draftgore.com is all abuzz with a Detroit news poll of 400 likely Democrat and 400 likely Republican voters and their preference for our next POTUS. It revealed that Michiganders aren't completely happy with their choices for their respective party nominations for POTUS. 36% of the 400 voters likely to vote Democrat said they wanted Al Gore. Meanwhile, only 32% said they wanted frontrunner Hillary Clinton. And get this, he even led amongst women 36-33.

"Pollster Ed Sarpolus of EPIC-MRA said Gore and Thompson do well"because they have better name recognition and they are more well-liked."

"Michigan Democrats are more satisfied with their choices,but they still don't have a lot of love for Hillary or Obama. They do love Al Gore," Sarpolus said."

On the Republican side, Fred Thompson, who has yet to officially announce his candidacy, led the pack with 22% to Rudy Guiliani's 19%. Newt Gingrich picked up 15%, which was more than Mitt Romney's paltry 12%. Not that this is very important. I wouldn't recommend voting for any of those people.

Gore has said on several occasions that he would not be running for president in 2008. But he hasn't ruled out a return to politics. If he's listening to the over 200 "Draft Gore" groups that have sprung up around the country (Atlanta, Canton, Fayetteville, and Rome all have Gore groups) and the hundreds of thousands of signatures on "Draft Gore" petitions that have been sent to his office in Nashville, perhaps he can be persuaded to reconsider.

Amongst our current choices for the Democratic nomination, I like almost all of them in some way or another. I respect the knowledge and the resumes of Joe Biden and Bill Richardson, but both have faltered recently during forums. Dennis Kucinich probably best represents me and my views, but he has no chance. Barack Obama definitely has the makings of a political leader that I could follow. But he's someone that I would probably look to more in 2012 or 2016. And I supported John Edwards in 2004, and would not hesitate to do so again in 2008.

Obama and Edwards can't be written off yet. But Hillary seems to have things well under control. That spells trouble for the Democratic Party and for America in general. After all, I don't think we could take another 4 to 8 years of Republican "leadership." Likewise, I don't think America should be asked for another 4 to 8 years of the Bush-Clinton stranglehold on the Oval Office that has now lasted for 18 years. This country doesn't belong to them, and frankly deserves better.

If things stay as they are, about the only thing that could save us is if Al Gore entered the race in the fall. Forget about the poetic justice of righting the wrongs of 2000. That's in the past. I want this to be about our future.

For my .02 worth, I want someone that Democrats and Independents in both red states and blue states can rally around. Someone that Democrats running in red states wouldn't have to disassociate themselves from. And I want someone who isn't consumed with power and the drive to obtain more for personal gain. Hillary does not fit that bill. In fact, she's the exact opposite. However, Al Gore makes a much better fit. I guess it will come down to whether or not he wants to go through the nonsensical gauntlet that a presidential bid has become.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Why wasn't Hillary treated the same as Edwards at HRC?

I came across this from John R. Bohrer at Huffington Post today. At the HRC candidate forum last night, John Edwards was asked about a comment credited to him in Bob Shrum's book No Excuses. The comment Shrum says Edwards made was, "I'm not comfortable around those (gay) people." Edwards denied having ever made the comment.

But according to Bohrer, there's another gay rights tidbit in Shrum's book concerning the husband of another presidential candidate who was also in attendance at the forum. However, Mrs. Don't Ask Don't Tell was given a free pass. I wonder why?

Shrum's book alleges that President Clinton advised Senator John Kerry to support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage during the 2004 election. Clinton's office denies that Clinton ever made this suggestion to John Kerry. But, of course, while president Clinton himself did sign the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). John Aravosis of AmericaBlog does a little investigating suggesting that it would be quite Clinton-esque for him to have advised Kerry to "throw gays under the bus." A charge that a senior spokesman in the Kerry Edwards campaign says is true according to Aravosis.

Considering that President Clinton is Hillary's top political advisor, why wasn't she asked about an allegation made from the very same book that John Edwards was questioned on? After all, this is someone who said last night that she thinks that states should decide questions of marriage.

As Christopher said, that's quite a scary thought that in 2007 we have the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for POTUS copping out by calling gay marriage an issue for individual states. Watching MSNBC last night, it was quite surprising to learn that even conservative talking head Tucker Carlson is more pro gay marriage than Hillary is. Folks, that's even scarier.

How shockingly unprogressive, even for Mrs. Don't Ask Don't Tell? No wonder Rupert Murdoch of Fox News loves her.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My girl? I don't think so

So last night at the AFL-CIO Democratic Candidate Forum, Hillary pounds her fists on her platform and declares, "I'm your girl!"

What an odd occasion for her to choose to make that declarative statement! The AFL-CIO? Mrs. NAFTA telling labor advocates that she's their girl?

The woman whose husband, as president, ushered in possibly the two most destructive pieces of legislation ever to the American middle class, NAFTA and WTO. Even the old goat from Texas told us we'd be hearing a "giant sucking noise" with good American industrial jobs going to sweatshops overseas. On this, he proved to be right.

NAFTA and WTO allowed corporations to, once again, give the middle finger to the heart and soul of its operations - their employees. Big business said these people made too much money and their unions were too difficult to deal with. It would be much easier and cost effective if they sent these jobs to countries where people can be bullied and threatened for a few pennies an hour. We also shouldn't forget another side affect, the substandard goods being sent to us by China. Yes indeed, what an odd time for Mrs. NAFTA to declare she's our girl.

But I also can't forget that this is also the same Hillary that "took on" the drug companies and healthcare industry in 1993 and 1994. You know, her highly public failure that was so costly to the Clinton administration that they clipped her wings, and all but banished her to the White House living quarters until after the 1996 election.

"Our girl" says she's still fighting drug companies and the healthcare industry. Yet, she's taking millions from them in campaign contributions. She says the right things about healthcare. It's just hard to know whether or not she actually means it. After all, when someone is stuffing millions of dollars into your pockets, it's a pretty safe bet that they'll want something in return. So is Hillary really going to be our girl? Or will she be doing the bidding of the many, many corporate donors that have given her such a cushy lead in money and the polls?

So, I'm sorry Mrs. NAFTA, Mrs. Corporate Calendar Girl, Hillary..................you're not my girl. Not now and not in Nov. of 2008. You may have all of this sewn up. But that doesn't mean I have to give you my vote.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is Georgia about to execute an innocent man?










From Moni Basu of the AJC..............


"She never spoke openly about the murder of Savannah police Officer Mark
Allen MacPhail. Not with her friends, not with her family. Only years later did
she tell a cousin, who nudged her to "do the right thing" and step
forward.


Seven of nine key witnesses who implicated Davis in MacPhail's
murder have recanted their testimony since the 1991 trial. Others, like Johnson, later made sworn statements that shifted the blame away from
Davis.



Some say they lied initially or withheld vital information. They were
young then, as fearful of the police as they were of neighborhood thugs. Some
were in trouble with the law and say they acted out of
self-preservation.


Johnson is still scared of retaliation from the man she thinks really
killed MacPhail. But over time, she felt the risks were worth taking, especially
after her cousin promised to protect her."



-----------------------------


If you were responsible for someone going to prison and being sentenced to death, would you change your story and try and help the convicted if it wasn't the right thing to do?


Hopefully Gov. Perdue will do the right thing and stay the execution of Troy Anthony Davis set for Tuesday night. Because it sure sounds like the people of the state of Georgia are about to commit murder.


Take a moment to think about it, and consider helping Rep. Hank Johnson and Rep. John Lewis to see that justice is done for Troy.
Tuesday is the day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Check your Chinese-made tires

The list of tainted and defective goods imported from China grows. Seems like there's something new every week. This week it's tires.


"Although Hangzhou Zhongce disputed the assertion its products
were defective, the case broadened an ongoing controversy over Chinese imports in the United States. Recent cases include the widely publicized problem with pet food ingredients as well as recalls of toy trains and toothpaste.


"China has been asleep at the switch when it comes to safety inspections," Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat,
said.



Unfortunately, it's not just tires, toy trains, and toothpste. It's also pet food, fish, and cosmetics. Now there's some rumblings about honey imported from China.

All these goods used to be readily made in the good ole USA. The production of such goods provided decent playing jobs and benefits for thousands of American workers. But now we've outsourced those jobs at the insistence of corporations.

I'm all for businesses running as lean as possible. But not at the expense of American jobs and American families. And certainly not at the expense of the safety of ourselves and more imporantly our loved ones.

Why isn't this getting more attention? Probably because China owns most of our national debt.

Friday, June 22, 2007

AJC's David McNaughton: "China is poisoning trade with the United States"

Such is the opening line of his op ed on the recent rash of unsafe food and goods made in China appearing on U.S. store shelves. Fish, toys, cosmetics, pet food...............what's going to be next?

McNaughton heeps scorn on the inability or unwillingness of Chinese officials to guarantee the safety of their products:


"No country has an unblemished record on food and consumer
product safety.
China's manufacturers are more careless,
callous or unethical than other trading partners.


Poisonous diethylene glycol, which was detected in toothpaste
made in China, has been used more than once as a cheap substitute for a safe medical ingredient. Mislabeled diethylene glycol produced in China killed dozens of children in Haiti 10 years ago and more than 100 people in Panama in 2006.


This year, every one of the 24 kinds of toys ordered recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission were made in China, The
New York Times reported last week. The FDA rejects food imports from China at 25 times the rate it turns back products from Canada, according to The Washington
Post."


Look and think before you buy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What Has "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Done for Our Country?

Christopher highlights a youtube video pointing out a few statistics and the possible rammifications of Hillary's husband's gift to gays, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Please sign the petition.

The Vatican's Ten Commandments of Driving: Does this apply to Atlanta?

This news item out of the Vatican caught my eye. Considering that the metro Atlanta area is one of the worst places on Earth to drive, I thought I'd share it.

Here is the Vatican's "Drivers' Ten Commandments." How does it apply to your home town?

1. You shall not kill. (I've seen this one before, on Easter no less.)

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

(Ain't much communion or fellowship going on down on I-285, but plenty of harm.)

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events. (It will also get you flipped off by the person behind you.)

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents. (We do have a Good Samaritan law don't we?)

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin. (Please, the power of a man's engine and his willingness to use it can make up for a receding hairline, protruding belly, or lack of penis size.)

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so. (You mean like when they're 16?)

7. Support the families of accident victims. (Does this have anything to do with insurance premiums?)

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness. (It's called small claims court. I don't recommend the experience.)

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party. (I did this once for a lady with a flat as she was trying to get over to the right shoulder. She almost 911'd me.)

10. Feel responsible toward others. (I don't feel the love around 8am and 5pm.)



I didn't notice anything in there about affixing makeup, cell phones, tailgating, reading the paper while driving, or travelling in the left lane. To much of metro Atlanta's relief, that must mean it's okay. Uh huh, you know who you are................

Friday, June 08, 2007

What is it with China and our consumer goods?

First it was pet food. Now you need to be careful about your toothpaste. Toothpaste made in China contains DEG (antifreeze). Chinese officials don't seem to be worried about it as they claim that DEG is in a lot of the goods that their own citizens consume. Isn't it comforting to know that so many of our consumer goods are made in a country where the government cares so little about the health and well being of their own citizens?

There's even some concern about fish imported from China's sewage-contaminated aquafarms and lead quantities found in makeup and even toys made in China. What's up with this? Is anything safe anymore?

When I read about news like this, the first thing that comes to my mind is how Wal-Mart has pushed so many formerly American-made products into the hands of the Chinese who are obviously having problems with quality control. Hey, anything to get the lowest price for Wal-Mart's customers................

Don't look for any Republicans to make too big of a fuss with the Chinese. That might make Wal-Mart mad. And we all know why Republicans don't want to make Wal-Mart mad.

Don't get me wrong. The fact that many a monied Chinese citizen paid for a night in the Lincoln bedroom during the Clinton administration isn't lost on me. In fact, I agree with Dave Sirota in his opinion that too many Democrats have been just as complicit as the Republicans in selling out our own workers and consumers to the Chinese.

So who's looking out for us?

Given our own problems in this country with recalls on items like peanut butter and spinach, the FDA seems to be short on manpower and resources necessary to effectively judge what Americans are consuming both here and abroad. That is, until people and animals start getting sick and dying.

Bush Comparison of Iraq to South Korea Called "Ignorant"

In this morning's AJC, there is an op ed by Dr. Han S. Park, who is director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia. Dr. Park is recognized as an expert on Korean and Asian geopolitical issues. And he's often consulted and featured in programming by the History Channel, Discovery, numerous educational and political forums, as well as articles in various print media in his area of expertise.

As President Bush flails around trying to convince anyone that will listen that we need to continue a prolonged military presence in Iraq, Dr. Park takes exception with his latest attempt at justifying his policies by comparing the situation to America's military presence in South Korea.

Dr. Park leaves no doubt as to how he feels about the latest Bush excuse:

This idea once again shows the desperation and recklessness of
the Bush administration, as well as its deplorable ignorance of political and historical reality. The differences between the two cases are so drastic that analogizing Iraq with Korea is absurd and untenable.


and:

Our involvement in Korea was directly tied to an unambiguous
security interest for the United States, and indeed for the rest of the free world, in containing the expansion of the Soviet bloc. With Saddam Hussein long out of power, and with the administration sensibly ruling out the notion of a religious war against Islam, we are still left with tough questions regarding what we are fighting for, and for whom. Iraqi freedom? Or our own oil interests? Are the oil fields the "front line" we are defending?


and further:

Even in South Korea, after three long years of massive
destruction, great loss of American and Korean lives and our protracted stationing of troops for more than 50 years, we still do not have peace, let alone a victory. Since the armistice agreement (in actuality only a temporary cease-fire) in 1953, U.S. troops on the order of 30,000-35,000 soldiers have remained and will continue to remain in South Korea for an indefinite period of time. Thus, applying the South Korean model simply implies that our troops will stay in Iraq for decades, rather than years.


Dr. Park asks some great questions about why we're still in Iraq, a nation that we broke and now must help fix, as former Sec. of State Colin Powell once warned Bush before invading. But they are questions that are usually deflected by the Bush administration and the relatively few hardline Republicans still supporting them. The nation, our military personnel and their families, as well as the Iraqis themselves deserve an answer to those questions. Instead, we're usually force fed another heaping helping of apple pie (one would figure the "mission accomplished" debacle would've sufficed) and some drivel about "fighting them over there instead of fighting them here" (see open border, Ft. Dix, JFK, and terrorist camps in South America).

Bush's "ignorant" comparison of Iraq and South Korea smacks of a president desperate to excuse his policy decisions. They seem to do more for the interests of an industry that he, his family, and his friends like Prince Bandar (Bush) bin Sultan have well documented ties to than for the nation that he has the priviledge of leading.

Remember in 2008, America deserves better than this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dogfighting? What's the problem?

I haven't blogged on the open investigation into Falcons' QB Michael Vick's possible involvement in dogfighting. Even though it sounds bad, I thought I'd wait to see if any charges would be filed against Vick first and go from there. But Washington Redskins RB Clinton Portis and Tackle Chris Samuels changed that.

As I was driving home from the NCAA tennis championships in Athens last night, I heard a clip of an interview that Portis and Samuels gave to a Norfolk, VA television station yesterday. When asked about the Vick investigation, Portis said if Vick were convicted of dogfighting and went to jail, that Vick would be "put behind bars for no reason."

According to this MSNBC report, he went on to say:


“I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not,” Portis said in
the interview. “But it’s his property; it’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”


As he was speaking, fellow Redskin Chris Samuels was in the background laughing and making jokes about "Animal Planet."

The good thing for Portis is that he has agents and representatives from the Washington Redskins to come in behind him and clean up any mess that his ignorant ass happens to make in public. The Redskins issued a statement for him supposedly clarifying his feelings on dogfighting, saying that Portis doesn't "condone" dogfighting.

Yeah right. His original statement was clear enough for me.

After the clip was aired, there was an interview with an official from the national Humane Society. He estimates that there are over 20,000 animal fighters in our country alone. And there are breeders that breed dogs for dogfighting purposes and ship them to other countries.

So if something good comes out of all of this, hopefully it will be more public awareness about
animal fighting. Tougher laws need to be enacted along with tougher punishments for those that take part in animal fighting, own paraphanelia, or breed for these purposes. And it needs to be started right here in Georgia.

But the Redskins and the NFL could make a real statement of their own and get the message to Portis, Samuels, and any other idiot in their league that thinks dogfighting is funny.

Oh, and Mr. Blank, I wonder what's going through your mind, as well as the social conscience of the Atlanta Falcons organization? **Because, as it is, there are reports that scores of dogs found on Vick's property in Virginia will have to be euthanized or treated for injuries and malnutrition. The people of Atlanta and the entire country are watching to see just what you're going to do about this.

**P.S. May 26th's edition of the AJC contains an AP article quoting Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter as saying that earlier reports saying that dogs found on Vick's Virginia property were injured and malnourished are "erroneous." No charges have been filed in the case yet.