Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Can't Keep Up

If you've been to any of the blogs in my blogroll, or pretty much any blog anywhere, you know that the Wilson-Plame affair has seemingly gotten traction in the minds of the mainstream news, the politcos and - just maybe - the public. Since this is just a part-time gig for me, I can't hope to keep up with the marvels of blogging that do it for a living or as an avocation.

But if you stop by here, at least for now, don't stay long. My comments are down, and you really should be reading some of the better bloggers on this subject. But don't forget to come back!

And start talking about this stuff. We're talking TREASON!

Go. Be informed!

Comments Down...

Blogspeak - the provider of my commenting service is down due to an unspecified virus. I've taken the code out of my blog to protect my readers and myself. Sorry for the inconvenience. I'll have it back up as soon as they say it's safe.

White House Felony

Lambert over at corrente lays out the "Shorter Valerie Plame Affair." Sure to draw Googlers. I'll just quote Lambert in order to increase the odds...

"White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony. White House felony."

This leaking of a CIA operative's/analyst's name to Bob Novak may just be gaining some traction with the mainstream media. It should.

And heads should roll.

Blog Find - Redux

So I got a couple of comments on my post about "Boots and Sabers." One from one of the bloggers - Jed.

Now, despite what I said about their blog - and I'm still not a fan of the uniforms - it seems that Jed and Owen, based strictly on their comment and on their post about my post, are pretty decent guys. No swearing or vowing vengeance or anything like that. Just some thoughtful commentary and a little humor.

Now, I'll never agree with most of their politics, nor with Owen's distaste for vegetables, but I take back what I said about them being "brown shirt fascists."

Can you feel the love?

Monday, September 29, 2003

Blog Find - Not for the Faint of Heart

You just really have to check out this blog; "Boots and Sabers."

Written by a couple of ex-Texas Aggies band-geeks (do I really need to say more?), this site leans to the right. How far right? Well, let me quote one of them, Jed: "I tend to be...somewhere to the right of "bomb them back to the stone age" on foreign policy issues."

If you've never seen the Aggie Corps' uniforms - well, let me say they were just made for us liberal bloggers. I'm sure somewhere you've seen reference to "brown shirt fascists"... well, go check out the site.

Take a barf bag.

Justice at a Glacial Pace

Interesting news from the Washington Post: The SEC has sued former Enron thief executive Kenneth Lay. The suit seeks to force Lay to hand over lots of documents that cover his actions while bilking his customers and investors of billions. Lay's lawyers are claiming the Fifth, but it may not fly.

Now there's a perp walk I know we'd all love to see!

Interest or Just News Junkies?

A CNN Quickpoll shows that 80% those reading the site today think that there should be an independent investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name as a CIA operative. See my last post.

When I checked there were a total of 68,692 votes.

Does that mean that this story will have some traction in the mind of the public or just that there were a lot of political news junkies on CNN today? I'm not sure... There was quite a bit of coverage on the networks, cable and Public Radio. But if recent history is any indicator, the public mind is just too busy with other things right now. I'm not sure what that could be as Madonna has not kissed Brittany again and there's no hurricane headed towards Washington.

More Sh*t Hits the Fan

Wilsongate, the Plame Game, call it what you will. A major shit storm that will make Hurricane Isabel look like a summer zephyr seems to be on the way. The White House is in full bunker mode with everyone misdirecting attention.

I've not followed it closely enough to write up the whole story with links and all; although my outrage grows with every article I get to.

Check out the blogs in my blogroll... those tireless folks have covered it well. Now if only the SCLM would do the same.

"Where is the outrage?"

"I'm a uniter, not a divider."

News Inspired Rant:

The Episcopalian House of Bishops appointed the first openly gay bishop this past summer; the Reverend Gene Robinson.

Anglican and Episcopalian churches around the country - and around the world - have denounced the House of Bishops for the appointment.

The Canadian Government has all but approved same-sex civil unions.

This past weekend, a same-sex couple from Canada were denied entry into the U.S. because they wanted to fill out a joint customs declaration (and, ironies of ironies, they were travelling to attend a Human Rights conference).

Remember Bush's quote - above - during the 2000 election circus? "I'm a uniter, not a divider." And yet, no president or administration in recent history has tried so hard to divide us; by race (Trent Lott, anyone?), by religion (Jerry Fallwell) and by sexual orientation ( Shrub, himself!).

Ah, those wonderful Fundamentalist Christians. Is there a more intolerant group on the face of the earth? Well, actually, yes. But they're a sub-set: Fundamentalists of all stripes.

They are so certain that they are right - on every subject - that it is literally impossible to have an intelligent conversation with one on any subject. Some conversations seem normal until you stray into some subject covered by their "holy book." Their book, whatever it happens to be called, contains all the answers to every problem ever conceived. No matter that these texts were typically written centuries ago when civilization consisted of small groups of herders or farmers in small villages and towns. No matter that it was before any technology more advanced than bronze and iron. No matter that it was before the ability to read DNA made us aware that we are all basically the same - to 99.9999% of our genetic material.

Their scriptures and their invisible friends (god, allah, jehova and thousands of others) assure them that they are the chosen ones and that all others are "infidels" or "sinners" or - well, pick your derogatory religious slur. You know all the words. And these "others" are to be conquered, converted, or if all else fails, killed. Over the centuries "other" has included people of other religions (of course), of other colors, of other countries, of other races, other villages...

But all this has been said, usually better than I have. What to do if you're a progressive and can't bear the thought of sanctioned intolerance? There are plenty of places to go to make yourself known and heard. See some of my links to the right. Write to your local, state and federal representatives. Write to your local paper. Spread the meme that we are all humans. Science, in the form of DNA sequences, has already proved that we are all the same. Now it's up to us to spread the word, to show by our actions.

I just wanted to add my voice.

Now add yours.

They Have Seen the Light?

"There were "too many uncertainties" in the outdated and inadequate information underlying a National Intelligence Estimate that the administration used to justify the war, the senior Republican and the senior Democrat on the panel said in a newly disclosed letter to George J. Tenet, director of central intelligence."

That "panel" is the House Intelligence Committee. And the fact that a Republican would put their name with such a statement could bode poorly for BushCo. and well for Democrats. The question remains whether or not this will pick up any steam in both Congress and the press.

That this story comes in the same NYT article in which they report that George Tenet, head of the CIA, is referring to the Justice Department for investigation the case of the revelation that someone in the White House revealed Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. This is, of course, a federal felony - and could be charged as treason if it could be traced to a particular person. That is, of course, if John Ashcroft deigns to act on the referral rather than find a way to continue covering his boss' ass...

So as bricks of their invincible facade fall around their ears we can only hope that the general public and the press begin to really force the issues; to talk about them; to write about them. The neocons are finally being revealed for the fascists they are - and the poll numbers are finally beginning to reflect that.

Stay tuned for more!

Friday, September 26, 2003


//I forgot it was "talk like Bill O'Reilly day!" But as I rarely watch him, well, I'll just borrow his most famous tag line for today.//

Shut up!

Fair and Balanced Charles2

80's Icon Robert Palmer - Dead at 54

So it's not the biggest story around, but I was still taken aback seeing that yet another relatively young rocker had died. I still consider his big MTV hits "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible" to be some of the best videos ever made. Okay, so really I loved the "Palmer Girls" and their semi-see-through tight black shirts and short-short skirts, but the videos were satisfyingly ironic and the songs definitely got stuck in your head.

Palmer never got caught up in the self-destructive aspects of rock and roll stardom and was, perhaps, the best dressed man in rock. He died of a heart attack at age 54. Sad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

One Man; No Vote

I continue to be - amazed isn't quite the right word, but will have to do - at how blithely Rethuglicans are willing to allow the disenfranchisement of registered voters.

Now I agree that the California recall has turned into a circus. I also think that some of the arguments, both pro and con for postponing the election were a little tortured. Although on balance, I think those for postponement were most compelling. What strikes me about the conservative blather about the matter is how easily they can ridicule "stopping an election (they refuse to use "postpone") in order to save democracy," while being completely oblivious to the fact that a delay would actually improve the democratic process by ensuring more votes are cast and counted.

Of course the obvious problem is that the votes that would be lost are in the poorer districts of California where they can't afford to upgrade to newer, more reliable voting machines. Those districts are most likely predominately Democratic, so... Well you can see where that line of thinking goes.

But the Repugs dismiss the whole process, the whole idea, as some minor impediment as opposed to true disenfranchisement. As the title of this post suggests, Republicans, it seems, would love to go back to the days when only monied, male "landed" gentry could vote.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The Most Dangerous Man in America?

Patriot Act II. This litany of legislative legerdemain just keeps providing ammunition with which BushCo repeatedly shoots themselves in the foot.

Ashcroft's latest defense of P.A.II revolves around alternately insulting, cajoling and threatening one of the least harmful, most beloved and most defenseless of groups; librarians. You can read about it in lots of places, not least of all here.

They've never used it - says Ashcroft (then why do they need it) - and if they did, they'd never tell us. And should any librarian want to complain about it, P.A.II makes it a crime to tell anyone that library records had been requested.

My suggestion is that everyone go to their public library as soon as possible - if you don't have a card, get one - then check out as many "subversive" titles as you can find there.

I guess the DoJ has never met a group they didn't want to bully. I wonder how many times John Ashcroft was sent to the principals office as a child for stealing milk money from a classmate?

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The Next Phase

Not content with - or perhaps not satisfied with the results of - attacks on American soldiers or the occasional Iraqi policeman or bystander, the Iraqi resistance has targeted a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. Although Al-Hashimi is in good condition after being shot in the abdomen, this attack seems to foreshadow a new level of activity for whoever is organizing the continuing attacks.

There seems to be no end to how ugly this can get. You'd think that killing fellow Iraqis would be a great way to alienate those responsible. But like everything else there that doesn't make sense, this only seems to inflame passions further. Of course being a part of that society and that history, these gunmen surely know that.

Can we finally just say that there was no plan for how to deal with the aftermath of our war? Not just that the planning was poor, or that we had no exit plan, but really, there was no plan. And nature hates a vacuum of planning as much as any other.

Friday, September 19, 2003

George W. - Just Mad

Via Eric at Altercation, this New Republic piece (registration required) by Jonathon Chait, hits the perfect tone and asks all the right questions about aWol and why he is so hated by just about everyone barely left of center. I can't recommend it enough.

Then go over to The Nation and read Eric's outstanding article on the same subject.

The questions are starting to be asked about Bush, his henchmen and his apologists. Are we near the point where the media and the general citizenry can be made to pay attention? I can only hope.

If you read this blog, if you read those two pieces above, don't just sit there. Print them out. Talk about them. Put them up on a bulletin board somewhere. Write your local newspaper. That's democracy at its finest.

The Storm After the Storm

While Isabel wreaked destruction along the mid-Atlantic coast, it was pretty much a washout here in Western NY. The center of rotation - no longer an eye - moved just west of here, but nearly the entire eastern side of the storm was dry. We had some pretty stiff breezes, but no rain. Earlier in the week the weather forecasters were predicting 5" - 15" of rain here. Then it went to 1" - 4". Last night they predicted maybe 1/4".

I was really hoping to have my weekend extended, but given the damage and loss of life so far, I'm glad it fizzled out.

However. It's time for my now habitual - although newly public - after-the-storm rant.

1) Hurricanes, tropical storms, nor'easters perennially affect certain areas. Most of these areas are beautiful, coastal locations where people love to have everything from multi-million dollar mansions to weekend cottages and fishing shacks. A big storm comes along, washes away the houses (of all sizes and values), the government declares a disaster area, insurance companies pay out huge amounts of money, people re-build and the cycle starts over again. Ad nauseum. You'd think that either a) people would learn not to rebuild in storm damage prone areas or b) insurance companies would stop insuring properties in these areas or c) the government would close these areas to development to prevent loss of life, property and tax monies. Never happens.

2) Mandatory evacuations. The majority of people are smart enough to get out of the danger area when the local government - probably already being overly conservative about making it mandatory - issues the evacuation order. But there are always those few morons who will stay. And then call for help when the storm starts to get rough. It was a good start that some local authorities this time told people who ignore the evacuation order to make sure police had their next-of-kin information and to write their names and SSN on their arms in indelible ink. That was to make sure they could be identified when their bodies washed up after the storm. Unfortunately, as there always is, there was footage on ABC news this morning about police and fire rescue crews out in the worst of the storm trying to get to a couple who stayed despite the "mandatory evacuation" and needed help. These people should be left to be swept out to sea and have their bodies eaten by sharks.

3) Power outages happen with every storm - rain, snow, ice. And the utility companies keep stringing up powerlines on poles, near trees, tall signs and other things that could be blown or iced down into the lines or where the lines themselves can be damaged. I've lived in areas where all utilities must be buried. Yes, it's initially more expensive to bury lines. Unless it is well planned it can be more difficult and more expensive to maintain buries lines. But in those areas I've lived with buried lines, I've never had a power outage. Not once. The eventual cost in maintenance and restringing wires, year after year ends up being much more than the cost of installing buried cables. It's amazing. You'll see on TV, after Isabel has passed, utility crews from all over the nation coming in to help re-string the eastern seaboard and other areas hard-hit. Imagine the money that costs...

Okay, enough ranting. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Move along, there's nothing to see here...

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Those Who Do Not Learn From History...

Read this now.

Now That's a Powderkeg!

So, the Middle East is pretty screwed up. No arguments there. And people much smarter than me have tried to come up with a solution.

But never, not in the most fevered mind, did a Saudi nuclear arsenal ever make the list.

Despite what the PR flacks hired by the House of Saud have to say about their country and their leaders, or that the latest issue of National Geographic says they are "lurching towards democracy informed by their nomadic past;" this has got to be one of the scariest, most horrific ideas ever.

Choices, Choices... Follow Up

I said below that I thought Wes Clark was still a bit of a cypher to me. Since he made it official that he's running I've been to several of the web sites that were instrumental in drafting Clark into the race and I've been carefully through his offical site.

I've read the articles, the histories and the biographies. I'm tentatively sold. I knew from his background that he'd have the credibility in military and foreign affairs. What I didn't know were his positions on domestic matters.

Despite my concerns about the political environment of the military and especially the general officer corps, his stated positions are mostly just what a democratic candidate needs to take the nomination - and, I believe - the election.

Now the questions:
1) Can he raise the money he'll need to make a come-from-behind run at the nomination?
2) Can he keep up the fund raising to take him all the way to November?
3) Can he stand the public scrutiny and mud slinging he's sure to attract from both sides?

This is going to get really good.

And really ugly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Kicking Ass II

On the DNC web site there are plenty of opportunities to help the cause.

One I've taken is to become an ePatriot; establishing a small page on the Democrats.org page where you can send interested friends, family or blog readers (hint). The page is simple, with a place to make donations to the DNC and to send me an e-mail saying that you've done so.

See the button above my blogroll? Click on it, and give to the cause!

Boot Bush!

Kicking Ass!

The DNC has a blog up.

I've added it to my blogroll.

Go see. Go sign up. Go support them!

Thanks to Atrios for pointing this out.

Bush was Absent Without Leave (A.W.O.L.)

Maybe this will only be read by me; since, at least by the number of comments, I haven't had too many visitors here yet. But it has to be said. Maybe that also means I have to violate the dictum about things not to discuss in polite conversation: Sex, Religion and Politics.

FACT: George W. Bush was AWOL - and depending on how you read the law, perhaps even a deserter - during his time with the Air National Guard in Texas.

The reason I include the term "deserter" is that this occured during the VietNam War. And although his father's political connections got him a nice, cushy job in an AirNG wing flying aircraft soon to be retired (i.e. not eligible to be deployed to S.E. Asia), he decided to not show up for approximately a year. That year beginning with his refusal to take his annual flight physical (which always includes a blood test for drugs and alcohol.

I won't go into all the details, they are laid out at lots of other web sites and blogs. Just Google Bush AND AWOL and see what you get...

Why is this important? For lots of reasons - one that it should have resulted in him being court martialed and therefore, likely ineligible to hold federal office. Bust most importantly, in the upcoming election aWol, his cronies and their loudmouthed supporters on talk radio will be trying to trump the Resident's foreign policy prowess and military triumphs (not to mention splashing pictures of him swaggering on that aircraft carrier's deck in his borrowed flightsuit) while slinging the worst kind of mud on his opponents' records and military service. This cannot be allowed to stand unopposed.

Somehow, this is a story that has been buried by the SCLM since the 2000 elections. It's time it saw a little daylight.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


What a great word!
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin numin-, numen numen
Date: 1647
1 : Supernatural, mysterious
2 : filled with a sense of the presence of divinity
3 : appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense

It's that expansive feeling you get when you look up at a night sky on a clear, autumn night and the stars seem to pull you out into the universe. It's the sense of marvel you get when watching a seemingly perfectly engineered spider lying in ambush on her perfectly spun web strung with beads of dew. For me it's the feeling I get flying on a warm summer day.

It's a feeling that believers say that secularists, humanists, atheists, Brights can't have. It's the feeling they tell you can only come from "marvelling at the works of god." The quote I always use to counter that argument is one I remember reading years ago. I think it was Richard Dawkins who said, in reply to someone questioning how he could find beauty in science: "Just because I know how a rainbow is made, doesn't mean I don't find it beautiful."

It's probably mangled in my paraphrasing, but it seems to at least blunt their line of attack.

Anyway, what got me started on that was that tonight is one of those perfectly clear, cool, early fall nights. And out where I live there are few houses or outdoor lights around to block out the sky. The stars are... well I was going to use some tired old cliche about diamonds or something, but it just wouldn't do justice.

Numinous. Go find some!

Choices, Choices...

Unlike lots of other democrats, I just hadn't been able to really get fired up about any of the candidates. None of them really sparked any passion in me, despite desperately wanting someone who could beat Bush. Word came today that Wes Clark is going to enter the democratic field and that gives me some hope.

But despite the hype - and the hope - the guy's a cypher. What are his positions on the key questions? There are fragments out there, hints. He looks promising. And as an ex-military officer, I'm excited to see one of "my own" who's not a conservative. But I also know from experience, it's hard to be a liberal in the military, much less to survive the extremely, brutally political climb to general officer and then on to NATO commander. I have to admit I'm a little skeptical.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Reason 1, No 2, or Was it 3? We Invaded Iraq

Wasn't promoting human rights one of the reasons Bush gave for invading Iraq? It was right after WMDs, right?

Anyway, in today's New York Times we get this quote from an Iraqi woman - afraid to give her name:

"Under Saddam we could drive, we could walk down the street until two in the morning," a young designer told me as she bounced her 4-year-old daughter on her lap. "Who would have thought the Americans could have made it worse for women? This is liberation?"

The rest of the article is a complete indictment against BushCo's handling of the occupation of Iraq.

We could do so much better.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I Thought it Was Just Me

Ever since the U.S. economy started it's so-called "jobless recovery I've been wondering "how the hell can it do that?" I mean, I'm no economist, and ever since my one semester of college economics I still think those curves were all done with mirrors and wires.

I kept asking myself, if workers are getting more productive - and they, I mean, we are - but companies keep laying off workers, who's going to be able to afford to buy all that stuff we've so efficiently made? Here in the Rochester, NY area, XEROX, Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Delco and lots of smaller companies have layed off over 3,000 people over the past year or two.

Anyway, it was bugging me. I must have missed something in that econ course; some magical point on all those damn curves where jobs could disappear, the remaining workers would make more product per hour, and everyone could afford to refinance their house or buy a new one. As usual lately, I had to go to a news source outside the U.S. to get the answer.

This article in the Globe & Mail (Canada's newspaper of record) explains it all. To answer my own question, above: You can't. Not for long.

Why Am I Here?

This is, I hope, one of several posts I'll write to explain who I am and why I'm writing what I write here.

Who is Charles2? The tag line on my blog says some things about me, all of which are true. But that's not all there is. If any of you have followed a link here from my comments on other blogs you at least know some of my thoughts and positions. But how did an ex-Army officer (a West Point graduate, no less) wind up with such liberal views? Damned if I know, really. I've been a closet liberal since high school.

And not just a liberal; I'm also an atheist, a humanist, a skeptic... All brought on by lots of reading and thinking; things that have always been viewed as subversive throughout the centuries.

Not surprisingly, in the military I couldn't really talk a whole lot about my political or personal beliefs; they just didn't fit in with the gung-ho, ultra-conservative military people around me. (Think aWol, Cheney, Wolfowitz, but on steroids.) They were all (mostly) great people, and I lived, laughed and fought beside them gladly. But my ideas just wouldn't have been well received.

And so it is today, working for a very large transnational corporation. The viewpoints are the same, the clothes are just a little more colorful. I needed an outlet.

Then I discovered blogs. The first liberal blog I read was Altercation (see link to the right). Then I noticed Eric's blogroll and started exploring. My small blogroll is just a start and doesn't do justice to the number of blogs I read - although those are my most read. And I thought "hey, I could do that!" But I also know that writing is not as easy as good writers make it seem. So I started reading carefully and began commenting on my favorite blogs. I think the unwritten protocol in blog comments is to ignore the newbie until they are sort of established and have said a few semi-intelligent things. Eventually the regulars started commenting on my comments and I was hooked.

So... here I am. As of today there have only been a couple of comments on my very few posts. But like applause to an actor, it's got me hooked.

I'm not so naive as to think that I've got any regular readers yet. But I'm hoping. I'll keep posting; it's not only good practice for writing, but it's an outlet for my thoughts and rants. Keeps me from yelling at my coworkers. And since I can't really expect to make money doing this, well... I need my job.

I hope that those who discover my blog will take at least a little something away for the effort. And even more, I hope that those who visit will leave a little something as well. I am always willing to listen to reasoned discussion; always willing to learn something new. Oh, and I hope you'll come back!

To Be Continued...

Bush Lies

There's just no other way to say it.

David Corn, via Calpundit:

"the budget for next year boosts funding for elementary and secondary education to $53.1 billion. That's a 26-percent increase since I took office. In other words, we understand that resources need to flow to help solve the problems." [GWB quote to a Nashville elementary school]

A few things were untrue in these remarks. Bush's proposed elementary and secondary education budget for next year is $34.9 billion, not $53.1 billion, according to his own Department of Education.

Now, this is just the latest sheer confabulation from W & Co. But as Kevin at Calpundit notes, this was not an off the cuff remark. It was a prepared speech that must have been vetted "highest levels."

Go forth and spread the word.

What's This?

Okay, it was in the weekend Arts section, but check out Frank Rich in the New York Times: Top Gun vs Total Recall.

The first two paragraphs set the perfect tone: "Only in America could a guy who struts in an action-hero's Hollywood costume and barks macho lines from a script pass for a plausible political leader. But if George W. Bush can get away with it, why should Arnold Schwarzenegger be pilloried for the same antics?

At least Mr. Schwarzenegger is a show-biz pro. He never would have signed on for a remake of "Top Gun" without first ensuring that it would have the same happy ending as the original. He never would have allowed himself to look as scared as the abandoned kid in "Home Alone" while begging the nation for cash and patience last Sunday night. He would have dismissed B-movie dialogue like "dead or alive" and "bring 'em on" with a curt "hasta la vista, baby!"

Is the SCLM finally waking up? Who knows. But every article like this just hammers away at their credibility. "Bring 'em on!"

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Man in Black Moment

Okay, as I said before, while I remember listening to Johnny Cash as a kid and even have a few mp3s ripped to my iMac, it's not like I'm a huge fan. Anyway, while driving this afternoon, I was listening to the local college alternative station here.

I heard two amazing songs in a row (amazing in and of itself on radio today): the first was "Ring of Fire," a classic Cash song, covered by Social Distortion; followed immediately by the man himself covering... get this... "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails.

It was absolutely outrageous! And both of them were excellent. Somehow it was a fitting tribute. So if you can find either of them somewhere, give them a listen.

Lost in the Wilderness


So - as you can see in my side-bar - I've added my blog to several directories. Hopefully that will help. But if anyone's reading this, I'd still appreciate any advice you might have on getting word out about my blog. And, if you like my stuff, a link on your site wouldn't hurt either. End grovel. Thanks.

//End Update//

I know I've only been doing this for four or five days, but I don't know if anyone is reading this. I think - in the blogosphere - I need to practice my patience. It's not usually my strong suit.

If anyone comes across this and has some concrete ideas on how to get the word out on my blog, let me know.

Okay, enough self pity...

Yes, This Man STILL Has No Shame

//See my post from September 10, below.//

Well, I thought that Patriot Act II was going to be bad. And most anyone else who values their rights probably did too. But I didn't quite realize just how bad W and his cronies would want to make it. From Sunday's New York Times comes more details. The key graph being the following:

"But in a plan announced this week to expand counterterrorism powers, President Bush adopted a very different tack. In a three-point presidential plan that critics are already dubbing Patriot Act II, Mr. Bush is seeking broad new authority to allow federal agents — without the approval of a judge or even a federal prosecutor — to demand private records and compel testimony. "

So, any Bush or Ashcroft fans out there scared yet?

Unfortunately, the real question is "is anybody scared out there yet?" It sure doesn't seem like it.

This has got to be the worst assault on individual rights and freedoms since the suspension of habeus corpus during the civil war. Why arent there more outcries? Where is the SCLM on this?

Is there anyone awake out there?

Friday, September 12, 2003

R.I.P. John and Johnny

I suppose for someone like me there couldn't be two people I'd be less likely to miss. And yet, the new this morning made me sad.

John Ritter - "Three's Company" and "Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" - died of a heart attack at 54. I was never a huge fan of Three's Company in the 70's (although it was fun watching Suzanne Sommers sometimes), but I really was starting to like Eight Simple Rules. Ritter had some of the best "reaction faces" in the business.

Johnny Cash - "The Man in Black" and the only country music you'll ever hear coming out of my stereo or iMac - dead of complications from multiple things at 71. Cash was some of the first "rock and roll" I ever remember hearing when I was growing up. Sure we'd call it country now, (and did I mention I dispise country music?) but it was good drivin' rock and roll...

There are lots of stories out there about these two guys - go read them. They will be missed.

The Other Shoe

All day yesterday, I kept waiting. It was the same last year.

And when I woke up this morning and there were no pictures of smoke plumes or bodies or wrecked airplanes, I could finally relax. A little.

Here in Western New York, yesterday was a carbon copy of Septemeber 11 two years ago. Clear, blue skies, just a touch of the coming fall in the air. But somehow, not quite the same. Some bit of... what... innocence? was gone. Some little piece of something that was there that made that morning somehow more beautiful than yesterday's "carbon copy."

But today, two years and one day later, it's another beautiful day that's not quite as wonderful as it could have been.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

What Bush Was Thinking After 9/11

The stories have been circulating for a while now about "doctored" EPA reports on the danger of breathing the air in and around Ground Zero after the attacks. But the details are every bit as disturbing as the theories floating around on the liberal blogs...

See the MSNBC story here.

The money quote: "The report charges that the White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced “the information EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.” The report cites “reopening Wall Street” and “national security” as reasons for the spin.

As if there weren't reason enough to be sad and angry today.



America's Weight Problem

Did you know that Americans consume $4.5 billion in ice cream per year? In terms that might be more "visualizable:" that's 1.6 billion gallons, or - worse - 23 quarts per person every year!

Is it any wonder why so many people look like beach balls?


Go read Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo (link to the right).

"Department of Homeland Security.

36 billion dollars ...

Current Projected Cost of War-fighting and Reconstruction in Iraq.

241 billion dollars ...

Having a president who's got a friggin' clue.

Priceless ...

-- Josh Marshall "

Beating the Same Drum

In today's Wall Street Journal's editorial page, the shills on the editorial board are doing W's bidding again.

In defending the Resident's $87 billion (stopgap) spending request, the editors again link terrorism on home soil to the qWagmire in Iraq.

"We know what $87 billion is intended to buy: Support for American troops who are taking the battle to terrorists on their own turf and trying to build a stable, pluralistic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East."

Remember: 9/11 = Iraq. If you say it enough times it sticks in your head. Go ahead try it.

Later in the piece, they compare the current mess in Iraq with the Marshall Plan. Sure. Do the research. Then tell me how similar they are.

In Memoriam

New York, Washington, Pennsylvania.

Flags at half staff, memorial services and too many horrible memories.

The mastermind - still walking free, spewing hate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Yes, This Man Has No Shame

The current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will exploit 9/11 in any way he can to foist the neocon version of 1984 on all of us. The New York Times is reporting that W is using the memory of September 11 to further expand the powers of search and seizure - already made overreaching by Patriot Act I (with the sequel soon at a theater near you!) and to increase the use of the federal death penalty.

Ashcroft and the emperor in chief are pushing hard to make the U.S. a police state in the name of the "Never Ending War on Terror". Unless... unless Congress gets off its ass and performs its constitutional duties of oversight. Can anyone say "checks and balances?" And of course Congress will not act without pressure from other than the usual deep pocketed suspects. See the link over there to the right: Tell your congressperson to Vote to Impeach Bush.

Go. Go now.

Are you still here?

Boys and Their Toys

The coolest gadget in the world right now.

I want one!


And to anyone reading this (is there anyone reading this yet?) who scoffed at the computer company the above link points to, well... read it and weep!

The (In Too) Deep South

It was strange enough to hear of a Republican governor in Alabama - Bob Riley - proposing not only tax increases, but also updating the antiquated tax code and getting more money to education. But then to have the people of the state overwhelmingly vote down all of this...

But what really pisses me off to no end is that the Alabama Christian Coalition opposed Gov. Riley's plan to "help the least among us." Seems a pretty "christian" thing to do, no?

Getting Settled In

As I'm getting started I keep thinking of things that I've forgotten or need to do to make this a "real" blog... like more links, a way to comment on my posts, etc. This is kind of like moving, everything you do reminds you of something else you need to do.

Not that anyone's reading this just yet. But if you do stumble on to this, spread the word.


Welcome to "The Fulcrum"

If you're wondering about the name, it was inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Archimedes: "Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth!"

Hopefully, as I post more here, this will be a place for discussions on many fo my favorite topics - which can change from day to day or even from moment to moment. Watch for politics, religion (I'm a secular humanist - or "Bright"), flying and anything else that catches my attention.

In the links section, you'll find some of the blogs that have inspired me to begin my own. I won't claim to be anywhere near as good as the people who create these wonders, but they have given me the courage to give it a try. It would be my sincere hope to contribute enough to make it onto any one of their links sections.

So, again, welcome to The Fulcrum. While I don't think that this blog will really ever "move the earth," I hope it will nudge it in the right direction.