"What I think many of us are concerned about is that we stumble into active
hostilities with Iran without having aggressively pursued diplomatic approaches,
without the American people understanding exactly what's taking place," Sen.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
What's probably worse is the fact that instead of eliminating terrorists, the Bush administration has inspired more acts of terror, as well as terrorists in-the-making. Now we find ourselves seemingly stuck in Iraq with Iran brandishing its potentially nuclear saber. According to Hillary, this just will not do. She tells him to "clean up" on his way out.
Of course, Dubya has different ideas. He doesn't want to "clean up." He'd rather build up, and send more young Americans into harm's way in a part of the world that resents our nation more and more every day.
As odd as it sounds, Iraq really isn't my biggest concern any more. That distinction now goes to Iran - a country that isn't monolithic, but is treated by the Bush administration treats as if it is.
The presidential election in 2008 cannot get here soon enough. The Democrats have an impressive and diverse list of candidates that would like to get to work in mending the fences we've destroyed in the last several years. Until then, George W. Bush reviews and tweaks his list of nations that he wants to "schock and awe."
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Before a sold out, raucous Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, the resurgent Georgia Bulldogs defeated their second straight top 25 opponent, LSU 57-54 today. The game was the third buzzer beater in the last 4 games for UGA, having won one at Arkansas and lost another one at Alabama last week. The Dawgs also went to overtime to beat national power Kentucky 78-69 last Wed. night.
This game stood out for a special reason. Before the game, the family of Kevin Brophy, who came all the way from Australia, was honored, and a scholarship in Kevin's name was announced.
Last July, Brophy, a member of the basketball team, was tragically killed in a car accident . Coach Dennis Felton's Dawgs have dedicated their season to their fallen teamate. The team wears "Do it for Broph" patches on their uniforms. The patch also appears underneath each goal stand at both ends of the court at Stegeman Coliseum.
Brophy played through a couple of Georgia's worst basketball seasons in recent memory. It's a shame that he's not here to celebrate the turn around that the Dawgs are experiencing. But according to the team and the coaches, "Broph" has indeed been here every step of the way.
Best of luck to her. And congratulations to all of yesterday's winners.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Perhaps we should remember this the next time a politician panders to the public at large by advocating the execution of rapists.
Don't think for a moment that I'm forgetting about the rights and the feelings of crime victims. But if we don't believe in prisoners' rights for any other reason, we should always remember the Pete Williams of the world.
May God bless Pete and reward him for the example he represents. And may we remember that there are likely other Petes out there in our prison system - maybe even on death row.
For other good reads on the release of Pete Williams and the Georgia Innocence Project, see Georgia Women Vote and Georgia On My Mind.
From HBO's synopsis:
During her journey, Pelosi also visits with Rev. Jerry Falwell, leader of The Moral Majority and chancellor and founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., who articulates a commitment to change the country and urges his congregation to "vote your values" in elections. "Evangelicals are the largest minority block in this country," he says. "It's not a majority, but I don't think you can win without them. John Kerry learned that. Al Gore learned that. And Hillary will learn that in 2008."
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
A quick google search shows that someone even made a cheesy google video dedicated to them, with Hector Berloiz ("The Shining," "Sleeping With the Enemy") sounding music in the background. Actually, when you view the google video, you'll also see references to other videos with the mysterious guidestones as their subject. It's also a target of John Conner's anti-New World Order site. I'm not much of a tinfoil hat person, but since this is located in Georgia, it's very interesting to me.
Wikipedia even has an entry for them. How did I miss this?
From wiki's entry:
A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the monument from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The message in English reads:
*Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
*Guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity.
*Unite humanity with a living new language.
*Rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason.
*Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
*Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
*Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
*Balance personal rights with social duties.
*Prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite.
*Be not a cancer on the earth—Leave room for nature—Leave room for nature.
A shorter message appears on the four vertical surfaces of the capstone, again in a different language and script on each face. The explanatory tablet near the Guidestones identifies these languages/scripts as Babylonian Cuneiform (north), Classical Greek (east), Sanskrit (south), and Egyptian Hieroglyphics (west), and provides what is presumably an English translation: "Let these be guidestones to an age of reason."
1) Astronaut - okay, what kid didn't dream about this one? But as someone who counts how many states and nations he has visited, being able to go somewhere that so few others have gone is enticing.
2) Beauty contest judge - well, I almost did this one. I was asked to do it, but laughed it off. My brother got into this for several years, and eventually got to do this for either Miss Georgia or Jr. Miss Georgia. I can't remember which - it was in Columbus, I do remember that.
3) Tennis umpire - when I realized that I wasn't good enough to get a college scholarship as a player, I briefly thought that it might be nice to be an umpire. Don't laugh, because these days, the pro umpires in tennis get paid well, travel the world, and hobnob with people that I would probably consider hobnobbing with.
4) Alaska crab fisherman - because I'm a sucker anytime that Reader's Digest or Discovery Channel does a special on these men and women. "The most dangerous job in the world" as its known. But these crusty, hearty folks can make a lot of money in just a few weeks of work.
5) University professor - I have a few friends that got into this gig. I, too, would like to be paid to run my mouth, research what interests me, and write articles and books. Since I always looked up to my teachers, this seems like a natural for me. In fact, I've been told that I missed my boat.
Hmmmm, I think I'll tag Eddie from Chicken Fat. Just because nothing he says will surprise me. Well, "shade tree mechanic" would surprise me. But only because of his neighbor. ;-)
Monday, January 22, 2007
First of all, for all of the criticism that he receives (sometimes, but not always deserved), UGA President Michael Adams and those involved with the planning of the event deserve a lot of credit for putting on a rare, first class and comprehensive look at a presidency that also included the general public. Dr. Adams, himself a former Republican fundraiser and Bush supporter, was extremely gracious and positively participated in all aspects of the conference. As many books as I've read, as many documents as I've reviewed at the Carter Library, and as many videotapes of speeches and appearances of the former president and first lady that I've either purchased or borrowed, I learned a lot from the weekend's panelists and discussions.
As the title suggests, the conference was a 3 day retrospective of Carter's term in office, its eventual affects on later presidencies, and drawing from those experiences what could be useful today. The conference was a bipartisan look that included former President Carter and Mrs. Carter and former Vice President Walter Mondale themselves, along with representatives from the Carter and Clinton administrations, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, former US Senator from TN and former Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker, and various members of the news media that covered the Carter administration including Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, and Judy Woodruff.
I have yet to see any of Friday's sessions. But from what I've seen, the highlights for me were the sessions on the Middle East and foreign policy and the session on the press and their relationship with the Carter administration as compared to subsequent administrations.
I saw Mondale, but never got a chance to hear him speak on any of the topics. But I did get to see and hear the thoughts of another key figure that I've long wanted to meet - Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
I've seen interviews on tv with Brzezinski, and I've read his 2004 book, "The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership." Although Brzezinski's writing style was a bit hard for me to read, I think it's an incredibly important book when trying to consider and gage our country's place in the world, particularly post fall of the Soviet Union and post 9/11. His book hits on a few similar themes as Noam Chomsky's books do, although in a way that is more academic and less offensive (some take Chomsky's view of America offensively), yet similarly critical.
Brzezinski still looks and sounds menacing with his Polish accent. But he comes across to me as more of a grandatherly type that's no-nonsense, but wise and hopeful for the future. He doesn't see a bogey man around ever corner. He remains optimistic about the future, even though he's clearly not an admirer of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the direction they are trying to lead the country.
As a southerner, discussions about how the Carters and people like Jody Powell, Hamilton Jordan, and Bert Lance were treated in Washington and by the press was very interesting. When I travel (to the northeast in particular) I sometimes get strange looks and a bit of condescension based purely on my accent. Apparently, it doesn't matter if you're the president of the United States. A southern accent brings up negative stereotypes for some people.
The townhall meeting for the general public, was largely like the ones they reguarly put on at the Carter Center in Atlanta. However, coming on the heels of Carter's book, "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid," there were some pointed questions from a few Jewish or pro-Israel people in the audience. One described himself as a member of the Polish resistance during WWII and one was a holocaust survivor. Considering the racism that Israelis have faced and continue to face, people like the ones asking questions have taken offense at Carter's use of the word "apartheid." Those moments were tense considering the emotions involved. But I thought Carter handled it well. Ultimately, I believe that Carter is trying to do for disenfranchised Palestinians what he previously has done for Jewish dissidents in countries like the former Soviet Union.
Since Ronald Reagan is often times given full credit for the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Soviet threat, I enjoyed the personal story that Rosalynn Carter told about visiting the Soviet Union after Carter had been defeated for re-election in 1980. Because of Carter's contact with dissidents and political prisoners like Andrei Sakhorov, a group of students took her to a secret meeting of people who gathered to speak out against the Soviet government. Ultimately, these people credited Carter with doing his part to weaken the Soviet Union from within.
Carter ended the meeting with a rarely told personal story about how he persuaded Egyptian President Anwar Sadat from leaving the Camp David peace negotiations. His voice cracked as he described the tense, nose to nose, standoff as Sadat waited for his helicopter to take him back to D.C.
I know this won't be everyone's cup of tea. But I do recommend catching this on C-SPAN. Given President Carter's age, the next time such a conference on his presidency takes place, he likely won't be there to participate.
Here are some links to the Athens Banner-Herald's excellent coverage:
changing role of first lady
inflation and Carter's re-election hopes
During the week, I may go more in depth with some of the items I found interesting.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
One of the things I did get a chance to do while out and about was attend the book signing of Sandra Lee at the Alpharetta Costco. She's even more beautiful in person than she is on televsion - if you can believe that. Since I love to use a crock pot, especially during winter time for stews and soups, I'm sure I'll be enjoying her crock pot cook book for a long time to come.
I want so badly to attend The Carter Presidency: Lessons for the 21st Century at UGA this weekend. President and Mrs. Carter will be there along with former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, amongst others. I've heard and met each of the others before. But I've never had the chance to see Mondale up close. I feel that I should. After all, I almost got beat up in the 7th grade for having a Mondale bumper sticker on my bike and my trapper keeper. Maybe things will break for me so that I can catch at least one session.
Rusty, from Georgia Podcast Network and Radical Georgia Moderate, was kind enough to send a link to GPN's latest podcast. It happened to be about the Titanic exhibit at the Atlanta Civic Center that I blogged about last week. Rusty, Amber, and the gang from GPN produce high quality feautures and discussions on a variety of topics. Most of my Georgia readers will already by very familiar with their work. But some of you from Oshkosh, Yokohama, and Escondido might want to check them out.
I also want to hand out some linky love to 3 of my favorite bloggers. First, Rocky from Rambles by Rock has returned from his trip to Ireland. He's got some wonderful pictures from his trip. Take a moment to wander over there and give them a look.
Second, I can't remember ever highlighting Eddie's blog, Chicken Fat. Eddie's content is usually a lot different from mine - so maybe that's my excuse. But it only makes sense to call attention to him because Eddie is one of my favorites. He has the talent of story telling in the traditon of so many great southern story tellers. I think a lot of my readers are already readers of Eddie's. But in case you aren't, start now. His stories make me laugh and they make me think.
And last, but by no means least, Steve made a great entry on his blog, Aging Hipster, about kids in war torn countries such as Somalia going from orphans to killers with no childhood in between. I'm glad Steve blogged about this as we don't pay enough attention to what's going on in somewhat politically less conventient places like Somalia or Darfur. It also reminds me of why so many of our excuses for involvement in Iraq are such b.s. These things happen in too many countries every single day.
P.S. Griftdrift highlighted a neat new Georgia blog, Georgia On My Mind. Looks like the same proprietor as the one that does such a great job on History is Elementary. Check them both out. Eddie, I have a feeling that you and Ms. Elementary School Teacher will like each other's blogs a lot!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Penney disputes these claims saying that the animals from China that are killed to make these coats are actually "Asiatic raccoon" despite their canine lineage. They also point out the Federal Trade Commission approves of selling asiatic raccoon fur. Despite this explanation, Penney actually felt the need to pull these coats off the racks before Christmas because of pressure from animal rights groups and complaints from animal lovers. According to Koenig's article, the coats are back on the racks under the "St. John's Bay" label and have been reduced dramatically in price.
China, who would like to hide its poor record on animal rights (amongst other things), will be hosting the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. I would urge people that are thinking about visiting that nation and spending money there to look into what's actually going on there behind those bright, sparkly, multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art sports venues being built. While the people of China are valuable members of the world community and have been known to be great contributors to civilization throughout history, the government of the People's Republic of China is not nearly so praise-worthy when it comes to human rights, animal rights, and the environment.
The AJC had several items that caught my eye today. They are continuing its "Hidden Shame" series on the terrible neglect and abuse cases that are all too common at Georgia's mental health facilites. I can't lay the entire blame at the feet of Gov. Sonny Perdue. But I do believe that his drastic cuts in state funding to these facilities since 2003 have probably worsened the problems faced by the facilities themselves, the employees who are under a great deal of stress, and most importantly the patients.
Also in the AJC, Richard Halicks features the new book by Chris Hedges, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America." Halicks also has a great Q&A with Hedges. Hedges isn't afraid to point out that Christian fundamentalists are every bit as dangerous as other religious fundamentalists. He uses examples of extremism from Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, and James Dobson who he says promotes the "theology of despair," an idea that rings true to me.
Hedges contends that while many of us laugh at someone like Hinn who claims that Christ will one day appear on his tv show and raise the dead, millions of us do not. He's taken seriously by many who are then encouraged to register to vote and then try and vote in right wing extremists that would like to govern this country, not as a democracy or republic, but from a hardline theocratic point of view.
For those of us who were raised as a Christian, we should not be afraid to read Hedges' book, which does not seem anti-Christianity at all. Hedges himself is the product of a Presyterian minister, and studied for theological degrees at Ivy League schools. He merely points out the dangers of mainstream Christian personalities that fly under the radar of scrutiny. Meanwhile, they give people who actually live by the tennants of Christianity a bad name.
Halicks articles are good reads. I will be adding Hedges' book to my reading list.
And lastly, I recognized the name of a very good Albany attorney with a social conscience who I had the pleasure of working with once a few years ago, James Finkelstein. I notice his letters to the editor in both the AJC and the Albany Herald from time to time. James makes a lot of great points in his letter protesting Bush's idiotic decision to send more troops to Iraq. And I very much appreciate his suggestion that Bush start by sending his and Dick Cheney's daughters first.
Friday, January 12, 2007
"When the order to take to the boats came he became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House Reception, so cool and calm was he. A dozen or so women became hysterical all at once as something connected with a lifeboat went wrong. Major Butt stepped to them and said: 'Really you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.'
"He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with gallantry. His was the manner we associate with the word aristocrat."
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Good stuff, Kathy!
Monday, January 08, 2007
Tina at Dorothea's List is spearheading an effort to make sure that every Georgia legislator is aware of the plight of the mentally ill in our state's facilities. Please consider volunteering to take the word doc letter that she has prepared and send it to your county's reps. and senators.
Six executions are slated for this January according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. This coming on the heels of alleged botched executions in Florida and California, and continued calls for a moratorium on the death penalty.
Closer to home, some of my friends and neighbors were affected by the January tornados that struck in Coweta, Gwinnett, and other parts of north central Georgia on Friday. Coweta actually suffered another tornado last night, and other areas are still under severe weather warnings. Hopefully it's as beautiful in those places as it is here this morning.
In better news, Georgia's first rural hispanic lawmaker is set to take office. Tony Sellier of Crawford County will be sworn in today. Unfortunately, Tony's a Republican. But I still recognize this as an important step forward for the political role of minorities in our state. I wish he and all of the other freshman reps. and senators good luck this year, along with all other elected officials.
On a personal note, regular readers know that I took a lot of time off from this blog during the holidays. And I thank those that checked up on me. I apologize for not having said so earlier, and I'm happy to know I was missed. Some important changes are in the works for me personally. So posting may continue to be light for a while. Check out my neighbors on the blog roll. They do a great job of keeping me and everyone else informed.
And I also want to remember the fact that January 8th is my father's birthday. He would've been 83 today. This October will be mark the tenth anniversary of his death. Moms, dads, and other guardians and caretakers are never perfect. But they're asked to do the most important jobs in the world. So I thank them all.
Happy New Year everyone!