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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Torch Is Passed

Today, in a marathon session of the Democratic Rules Committee, it was--for all the sturm und drang--a simple decision. Having violated the rules, the Florida and Michigan delegations will be seated with half-value votes.

There were impassioned arguments presented by representatives of the Florida and Michigan Democratic Parties, by advocates for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and at the end of the day a compromise was fashioned that likely fully pleased nobody. But such is the nature of civilized people getting together in diplomatic fashion to negotiate a plan that all sides could live with, if not like...or accept.

Oh, there is that threat by Icky Harold that Senator Clinton reserves the right to drag this out to the convention in Denver. And there were the unseemly reincarnations of the Republican pinstrip army from Florida 2000. Funny how those folks were so willing to fight then...where are they in volunteering for BushCo's war in Iraq?

But enough of Republicans... today the Clinton performance with its amen choristers loudly demanding their way didn't work.

And there is the uncertainty about the scorched earth pray for disaster to strike Obama campaign strategy of the Clinton folks--which seems to be the only strategy they have left. They botched the rest, all the way back to Iowa.

But rather than looking backward, let us look forward, for come what may, there will be a new Democratic leader now. A new generation of Americans going forward. A new way.

Today, the torch is passed. And there is the promise of tomorrow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

First Responders


The visuals show rubble and destruction. The voice-over interviews on-scene are still uncertain of details in these first hours after the crane collapse in New York City at 91st Street and First Avenue.

But one thing is certain. The first responders are there. Emergency rescue, firefighters, police…the cogs in the mighty engine that is a civilization that works together for the common good of all.

We take them for granted most days. Maybe subconsciously aware if we live in large enough cities that the sirens are sounding in our heads like the undernote of a neverending symphony.

And yet, these are the folks who assure to our defense at home, just as their brethren go to foreign shores with the same noble purpose in their hearts.

Would that those who send them could say the same.

Homeland Security, overseen by a committee chairman, Joe Lieberman, who never oversees one of the most bloated political appointee-riddled BushCo welfare-filled monstrosities ever conceived. One. They have others.

But today is a day to pause and reflect on where we’d be without any of our first responders. If the small towns’ and big cities’ police and fire and rescue and responders had all been sucked into a phony war with its devastating consequences on lives, on limb, on our national honor…instead of the too-large percentages who’ve actually been taken via National Guard and Reserves. Too many to serve multiple tours and more than regular military. We cannot honor them enough for their sacrifice.

We’ve seen a Memorial Weekend pass. Juxtaposed with a president and would-be carrier forward of a third term wanna-be-president inveighing against Senator Webb’s 21st Century G.I. Bill. And a “news” media that pushes Iraq further and further back into the shadows because to do otherwise means that they, too, must look in the mirror of accountability and acknowledge their culpability in furtherance of the corrupt Iraq War of Team BushCo.

We owe our first responders so much better.

So let us be first responders, too, bringing America up out of the rubble inflicted by the barbarian rule of the last nearly eight years. Let us restore the common good, the rule of law, the order of responsible regulation, the honor of a civilized government. Let us Get Out the Vote. And Vote…as if your nation depends on it, for it does.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Navel Gazing...

and whoa, no, not me, not my fault, I'm not responsible spiraled skyward like a stray fireworks display as the establishment media types fell all over themselves Wednesday to proclaim that they were doing their job, why didn't you do yours, little Scotty McClellan?

Yes, do tell.

The viral reaction of the media to the incendiary charges in Scott McClellan's new book, confirming that Team BushCo lied us into Iraq, smeared those like the Wilsons who stood in their way, and alternately bullied and sweet-talked most of the media into going along with their propaganda shows just how touchy the "liberal" media are about their own complicity.

Shades of Ted Bundy. Ann Rule would have a field day with Bush, the Stranger Beside Scotty.

Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has some pointed thoughts about the Big Boys-and-Girl Club that is the establishment media. Please do give Glenn's commentary a read, and you'll meet a real hero of journalism, David Halberstam.

Speakin' of doing their job, there's the small matter of one Senator John McCain and his cronies on the lobby-love train that seems to've been lost in the scrambling, backpedaling, fingerpointing yesterday. Just sayin'....

And Mr. Brokaw...weaseling does not become you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prairie Postcard: Gramm's Fairy Tales

Last night, mainstream media in the program of Keith Olbermann's Countdown showed that true investigative journalism is alive and rarin' to go despite the best efforts of a tiny band of corporate overlords co-opted with Team BushCo to stifle anything that might discredit or otherwise expose the naked corruption of the Republican brand.

The short story: Former Texas Senator Phil-the-pill Gramm, who never met a regulation he didn't try to stomp into the dirt, was a paid lobbyist for UBS, a gigagantic Swiss bank with heavy investments deep in the U.S. mortgage market while also serving as John McCain's key economic advisor...and lobbying Congress for industry-friendly legislation.

Oh, the tentacles of corruption and cronyism they do run deep. While you're over at Keith's place, take a look at this picture and tell me if it doesn't make you think of the Brothers Grimm...and likely to get grimmer.

The moral of the tale: choose your friends wise, and your advisors wiser.... or you're liable to end up with: it's the economy--stupid.


This is one of three stories poppin' already today. Scotty McClellan's book release is stirring the pot about how Team BushCo lied us into Iraq. Obama methodically added another three superdelegates this morning.

Go ahead and cruise around the blogosphere. here. here. here. here. Read what the msm will be talkin' about...tomorrow...maybe....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prairie Postcard: Why Does Fox News Hate the Troops?

Over at ThinkProgress, they've a video up and commentary from those intellectual and moral "giants" at Fox News' Morning Show. Kilmeade, Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson, late of Minnesota beauty fame. In this case, beauty doesn't even seem to be skin deep...perhaps she'd like to share her views up close and personal with the families of Minnesota National Guard serving in Iraq?

Maybe she could visit some of Minnesota's home-grown finest at VA Hospitals where they're routinely struggling for decent health care.

Because they're volunteers, posit the Foxy Firebrands, they haven't earned, don't deserve and shouldn't get G.I. Bill education benefits.

We know that Fox News and everyone associated with it has totally compromised and whored out their moral integrity and ethics to Team BushCo, but this is low class even by their standards.

For shame.

Back in the U.S.S.R?

While the aging media are pursuing their long-overrun horserace on the Democratic side of the ticket, with occasional asides to note that they loves them some John McCain, the world is spinning on without us.

I won't say that for the past seven-plus years, thanks to Team BushCo and the corp media backup dancers, we have been as isolated from reality as North Korea, but... Well, let's just say I won't say it.

Meanwhile, perhaps there are signs that said media are actually looking out at the world again. The first is interesting. Fareed Zakaria has been signed by CNN to host a show on international affairs. May we say: long overdue!!!! [CNN's International Hour is far too small a slice of their broadcast pie] with a side of: please get rid of the Screeds: Dobbs and Beck.

The second is alarming.

Now, coming from the world of fiction, I'm a believer in foreshadowing, especially in real life. Yes, I tirelessly, even tiresomely, repeat that bite of Bush's: I don't care about dictatorships as long as I get to be dictator....

So the Breaking News this morning that the president of Belarus has named Vladimir Putin as his prime minister gives me pause.

Something tells me Minsk is not a place Rochelle, Rochelle is going to want to visit anytime soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Respect is not something you are given.

Respect is something you earn.

And yet Hillary supporters are going around right now demanding respect for her.

While she goes around blaming everyone else but herself for her appalling RFK assassination reference. A reference she has made multiple times. A reference that has now given license for the likes of Liz Trotta of Fox News to suggest that "knocking off" Obama would be just swell.

Let us dispense with the niceties.

I do not respect Hillary Clinton.

She has not earned my respect. She lies. She makes up facts. She tries to change rules after the game has been played. She pulls out meaningless scorecards...for example, winning the "popular vote." That is meaningless, because it has not been one single election in one time frame. No, it has been caucuses and primaries, votes among 2 candidates, votes among 8 candidates, votes among 7 candidates, votes among 6 candidates, votes among 5 candidates, votes among 4 candidates, votes among 3 candidates....

I do not respect Hillary Clinton because she bases her metrics not on herself, but on the likelihood of her opponent being struck by catastrophe. And since her oppo research team doesn't seem to be finding something sufficiently nasty to use, then has she got an alternate idea for you.

I do not respect Hillary Clinton because even now she is lying to us via her supporters who say this will all be wrapped up in mid-June after the primaries. If her supporters believe that, they're nuts. This woman has absolutely no intention of quitting...subconsciously or otherwise...she references back to 1968 because that campaign season was undecided into the convention. She intends to proceed there with a fight over rules or the floor or the price of the catered coffee.

She is "in it to win it..." and anyone who believes otherwise, well, let me introduce you to another politician who foreshadowed: "I don't have a problem with dictatorships, as long as I get to be dictator." How's that workin' out for ya?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We Honor


On this Weekend of Memorial, we honor those who have served and fallen in defense of liberty and justice for all.

From the founding of this nation by those brash young upstarts, our founding fathers and mothers and their families who sacrificed much, we remember the times of honor of this nation…and the not-honorable times, that leave a Trail of Tears which also must never be forgotten. Our own fathers and mothers served, too—in the War to End All Wars and the Greatest Generation and the bitter cold of Korea and the heat of Viet Nam.

We honor their legacy of service in defense of this nation.

Our sons and daughters serve today, too many fallen, too many maimed, too many home in body but not in spirit. We watch Arlington on CNN, but are mind-full of Walter Reed and rehabilitation centers in San Antonio, and Florida, and triage hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the great global hospitals like Reinsdorf and Tripler, where medical teams work relentlessly to stabilize the wounded so they may come home for healing.

The nation, too, is in sore need of healing right now.

This weekend, as more Americans choose what CNN has dubbed “staycations” instead of “vacations,” we are mind-full of the deep debt we all owe those who put life and limb on the line in service of this nation’s defense and their families.

We honor the Senators who put forth the 21st Century G.I. Bill, a modest “thank you” for those who give so much.

We reject and shun the mindset that says “we don’t need to do anything more” whether it comes to that education bill or payroll or… the mindset that says we must take great pallets of dollars and drop them in the pockets of Iraqis who turn around and turn those dollars into weapons to use against us. We reject those leaders who still stubbornly hold to their vote in support of this Iraq War.

We have squandered much in lives and national treasure on this current war. This weekend, take time to remember the honorable service of our troops, and honor them not just in words, but in deeds. Bring them home…alive and whole…now.

Call this a modest proposal in support of our troops and the security of the nation: Slow Down this Summer. Drive under 60. Go ahead, it won’t hurt you. After all, you’re cutting down your distance travel, so driving under 60 won’t take longer than you were willing to spend going farther away.

Since nobody else seems able…or lacks the will to cut the high cost of oil lest oil barons and sheikhs have to give up their gold-plated palaces, you be the change. It doesn’t have to be just politics, you know. We can start from the bottom up and accomplish honorable things.

Slow Down this Summer…the ‘roots way to support the troops…and stick it to the Greedy Oil Pushers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What was She Thinking?!?

That's the question making the rounds right now about Hillary Clinton and her intemperate reference to the assassination of RFK..."took place in June"... TPM has YouTubes here of her comments to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and her followup "revise and extend" remarks in a grocery store later.

Intemperate, of course, doesn't begin to describe the appalling depth of making this kind of reference. And it's beyond troubling to me that she exhibits in the followup clip all the emotional authenticity of Mike Dukakis' clinical response to a what-if debate question about his reaction if his wife were raped.

Maybe it's because I was in Los Angeles...in June...that night. Not working for RFK, but for Senator Eugene McCarthy, and I remember the visceral pain of that night for all of us.

But for Hillary Clinton to use that event in some glib justification for why she should keep on with her campaign just leaves me absolutely, well, not speechless. But certainly more determined than ever to do my part to elect Obama, and his sound judgment and judicious temperament, as the next President. And more and better Democrats across the land, in this election, and those to come.

What Was She Thinking? What is she saying?

I want no part of her. Not on the ticket. Not in any leadership position at all.

Is this Hillary's "macaca moment"?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How Many?

As the Democratic primary season drags on, enabled by the media lovin' the horserace ratings ad bucks narcissistic gasbaggery. As the presumptive Republican nominee McCain tries to distance himself from the fanatic fundamentalist Hagee. As the Current Occupant and his Rethuglican cronies try to stymie Jim Webb's 21st Century G.I. bill....

I have just one question.

To Hillary Clinton, John McCain, each and every one of their campaign surrogates, supporters and spokesmen. To Tim Russert, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and the rest of Faux News, George Stephanopoulus, Charles Gibson, Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Bob Shieffer, each and all of the print media who allowed themselves to be co-opted, embedded, spun, propagandized, b-b-Qued. To Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, the rest of your ilk.

How many of the lives sacrificed for Bush's Iraq bamboozlement do you take responsibility for? How many deaths in action? How many maimed? How many permanently PTSD-ed? How many suicides? How many who've been made monsters of torture?

How many? One? Ten? A thousand?

Because it's on all of you. Just as it's on me, and enabling, or blowing it off, or saying well, after November... just doesn't cut it. Cut the lies. Stop lying to us. Tell us the truth. So that we may clean and bind up our wounds as a nation, healed, but never unscarred.

And let us never forget. Never.
UPDATE: Was just steered to an interview on Democracy Now with Mary Tillman, mother of Pat Tillman. During that, a clip of Jessica Lynch was played, and she had this to say:

I’m still confused as to why they chose to lie and try to make me a legend, when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were legendary: people like Lori Piestewa and First Sergeant Dowdy, who picked up fellow soldiers in harm’s way, or people like Patrick Miller or Sergeant Donald Walters, who actually did fight until the very end.

The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals for heroes, and they don’t need to be told elaborate lies. I had the good fortune and opportunity to come home and to tell the truth. Many soldiers, like Pat Tillman, they did not have that opportunity. The truth of war is not always easy. The truth is always more heroic than the hype.

h/t to commenter LS at emptywheel

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hysteria in Hillaryland

Today Hillary and her followers didn't just jump the shark, they're starting to drown the bunny in the hot water.

There, I said it.

I am beyond fed up with the rants of "it ain't fair" coming from the Hillary camp.

I am beyond fed up with the posturing by Clinton and her surrogates trying to whip into a frenzy the Florida voters, the super delegates, the rules committee so that she can fulfill her own destiny.

I am beyond fed up with the threats that smack of BushCo style bullying and cheating.

Get over yourselves.

If you tell us you can act like one of the guys, toss back the shots, stand toe to toe, be a fighter, then stop with the below the belt kidney shots.

When Edwards knew he couldn't win, when Dodd knew he couldn't win, when Biden knew he couldn't win, when Richardson knew he couldn't win...each in their turn had to suck it up, and step aside graciously.

But not Hillary.

There's a difference between "fighting" and wanting special circumstances...wanting the loophole...wanting the bending of the rules...the technicality...the unwinding of the process...the changing of the game at the end of the season.

Just say no to Hillary, Rules Committee. Just say no to Hillary, super delegates. Just say no to Hillary... like 54% of the voters always will to Hillary.

Put us out of her misery...leave the fuzzy math with the Republicans...after all, it hasn't done them—or the country—so good the last almost-eight years.

'cause sometimes life ain't fair...until it is.

The Company He Keeps

Judge a man by the company he keeps.

By that marker, Hamilton Jordan lived a life of integrity, intelligence, wit, grace, and good company.

The chief of staff for Jimmy Carter, Jordan was the political strategist who built a Georgia peanut farmer's rise to the highest office in America. Jordan's life was cut too short yesterday when the cancer he endured for 22 years finally claimed him.

In the sturm und drang of political spinning and campaigning and shouting and punditizing, it's easy to get distracted from the basic truths about the people who lead us. Or mis-lead us.

The greatest honor and respect we can pay to the legacy of Hamilton Jordan is to choose wisely now and this fall. Based on information, not fearmongering. Who walks the walk, not just talks the talk.

Hamilton Jordan walked with a giant's step in politics and life, and we honor his legacy...in politics and in public service.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Get Well, Teddy

Sending the warmest of caring wishes from prairie country to Mass General—for healing for Senator Kennedy, and for strength to his family and friends and colleagues as Teddy Kennedy faces this difficult challenge on life's road.

There is no one in this country whose life has not been enriched by the life's work of the Senate's Liberal Lion, and we wish him well.

Prairie Predictions

Prediction #1: There will be elections today in two more primary states for Democrats, Kentucky and Oregon.

Clinton will win Kentucky; Obama will win Oregon.

This championship season will continue.

Oh, we already know who's going to the World Serious general election [at least we think we do]—but there's still a few more games left in this season, and it honors democracy to play 'em out. So, teams, Play Ball.

'cause in the fall...the senior league, the ol' stale same ol' same ol's workin' on their strategy. Shedding players now, hoping to be major league players in the fall.

Prediction #2: Bob Schieffer briefly discussed with Imus this morning the news that he's re-signed with CBS. Joking that the gas prices alone would keep a person from retiring [my paraphrase].

Look for Schieffer to be back in the chair at CBS Nightly News sooner rather than later. I'm guessin' at least before the Dems convene in Denver.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It Can't Happen Here....

It can't happen here, in little ol' Fargo...until it does. How about your hometown?

After the debacle of Florida 2000 and the chicanery in Ohio in 2004, the issue of voting and voting rights has been a hot button for me. So I've read the reports of the Indiana picture I.D. and the Texas "voting fraud" and the proposed Missouri voting rights changes--all targeting likely Democratic constituencies--and been, well, too complacent about good ol' Fargo, North Dakota.

After all, our 80- and 90-year-old nuns don't have to worry about being denied the right to vote in North Dakota for want of a driver's license with picture i.d.

But it turns out, maybe they...and other elderly and disabled and economically disadvantaged persons do need to worry...about getting to the polls.

Here's the backstory: some months back, the powers-that-be decided to remove polling places from our neighborhood schools [homeland security, anyone?] and simultaneously consolidate all the polling places into larger multi-precinct voting centers.

In rural North Dakota, that can mean now-daunting distances for people to travel to vote. In Fargo, that may mean the polling places have moved just a few blocks, as is the case in my neighborhood.

But a Sunday letter to the editor, "Fargo's precinct changes unwelcome" in our local newspaper, The Forum, brought me up short. Bruce D. Brovold reminds that for some, a few blocks change [from the community room of the high rise for elderly and disabled to the Civic Center] can be as daunting as rural miles. [unfortunately, the letter is not available on the website at the time I write this]

"...once again the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the handicapped have to be put out in order to save a little money... To move the voting site to the Civic Center is not a long way for most people, however for the elderly, disabled and handicapped, it could just as well be 100 miles.

I would hope the election officials reconsider this move next year, after they discover the lost percentage of voters who will not vote in this year's election in this precinct, compared to past years."
I hope even more that whether we're seeing here the law of unintended consequences in action or the chicanery of partisan politicking to squelch voting groups, that those of us committed to progressive change recognize we cannot afford to be complacent. Not anywhere.

And that we can't just wait 'til Election Day in November to go and try to vote. We must ramp up now.

In Fargo, for example, heavily funded campaigns are pushing a big business agenda to elect, on June 10, a city commission candidate and to advocate for a sales tax to support "economic development." Once again the working class is being asked to subsidize the uberclass. Whatever the merits of the case for or against doing that, the real question is:

If a group of voters is disenfranchised,
is the "common good" for all of us being served?

If that matters to you, don't wait for election day and stroll into your voting center, join the process now. Work in the primaries, work in the city elections, work for the campaigns that represent your values. Talk up the candidates who deserve our support.

And every election day, don't just vote for yourself, help the other guy vote, too.

[Cross-posted today at North Decoder]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What Do You Do Now?

Senator Jim Webb had to answer that question time after time in his service to this country and all of us over the years, but the most poignant moment, the one he himself says stays with him to this day, was during his Marine Corps duty in Viet Nam.

From his new book, A Time to Fight, excerpted Sunday in Parade magazine and at Parade.com:
A gray-haired man in white pajamas, probably a grandfather, was dead, having wrapped himself around a small boy to protect him from the blast. It was clear that his final thoughts were of the boy. His shocked, opaque eyes and his still-curled body were the very definition of love and human sacrifice. The boy was still alive, although barely....

The doc put the boy on a wooden box next to our command post. Over the next half hour, as I spoke on the radio, the boy lay near me quietly, never making a sound, all the while watching me. Nor could I stop watching him. And as we stared at each other, he slowly died.
Webb sees the state of the nation today, but also issues a challenge to each and every one of us.

Our country is in the middle of a profound crisis. This crisis has many causes, but much of it has been brought about by poor leadership decisions at every level of government. In addition, our electoral process is dominated by financial interests that are threatened by the very notion of reform.
Be as shrewd and ruthless in your demands on our leaders as the wizards running campaigns are in their strategies to get your vote.
This past week we saw a ramping-up of the Politics of Smear by George Bush and John McCain in their tag-team attacks on Barack Obama. Attacks that backfired as Democrats justly rallied around the candidate, including his only remaining competitor for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton.

But this was an attack that goes beyond partisan politics. The history of the presidency itself has been smeared by Bush's craven desperation to inject himself into the campaign against Obama with his words to the Knesset. The best disinfectant and clean-up for such dirty politics is a good housecleaning... and that's going to take your vote.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cheat to Win


What does it say about a man, a team, that feels it must cheat in order to win?

HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel reported Friday evening on the Bill Belichek-New England Patriots cheating scandal, stealing signals by videotaping in advance, a practice that extended over seasons, not just a single game.

Senator Schumer’s askin’ questions. Punishment’s been doled out, but in light of the full extent of the prolonged cheating over seasons, the fines, the loss of a draft pick hardly seems sufficient.

The culture of cheating pervades these days.

But as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told 60 Minutes when it comes to another case of cheating to win, hey, it’s ancient history, get over it.

Pretty much sums up the sorry state we find ourselves in these days. Where punks with attitude in pinstripes can cheat with impunity and get away with it. Or can they? John Conyers has some thoughts on that in regard to the crafty Karl Rove. [Funny, every time he comes to mind I think of Charles Durning dancin’ through Best Little Whorehouse in Texas… despite that bit o’ dancin’ with David Gregory…]

The controversy over steroids in baseball has waned, never really did get into the role of the Current Occupant, himself a baseball owner back when the steroid usage was rampant. Guess nobody wanted to open that little door.

Interesting that cheating has been the mantle he’s worn all his lifetime. Cheating to get out of Viet Nam. Cheating to get those gentlemanly C’s—how else to explain the abysmal ignorance of the CO?

Even this week, we see the Current Occupant in a foreign country in a cheater’s play of the politics of smear, just before he headed off to ap-pease-please the Saudis like a beggar at the doorstep, with not even that much cred…Ap-pease-please may we have more oil oh you funders of the terrorists who struck us on 9/11.

Not soon enough the book will close on this administration. And we’ll be left to wonder, does cheating go totally unpunished? Does it get a wink and a nod from those it advantaged? Will the tide of history record the truth, or even try? John McCain seems to be trying to rewrite history already as he grasps at falsehoods in a tag team with Bush to try to smear Obama and Democrats.

Will the same old pattern of lies and cheating persist? Or, having placed us on the precipice of permanent third rate status, is the master of the gentlemanly C now simply going to pass the torch to more of the same?

Or will we regain what we once had? Honor. First nation leadership in the world. You can have a voice in changing that...if you choose. If you work for change. If you vote.

Slow to 60

You don't need me to tell you it's almost the weekend. The time to kick back, take life a little slower.

So here's my proposition. Take your time behind the wheel a little slower this weekend, too.

We don't need a government decree or big media blitz to do what we all can do on our own.

Slow down. Try driving 60 this weekend.

And do it for whatever reason you want--better for the environment, more efficient gas mileage, one person's way of stickin' it to Big Oil, a Not So Big use of the planet's resources, a contrarian way to wipe the stench of Bush from all things 60...

Or no reason at all.

Go ahead, give it a try, tell your friends. Who knows, maybe if we all slowed down we'd look at the world with a whole new perspective.

You'd be amazed at what you see when you just slow down.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mark of McCain

Today's blatantly orchestrated Republican scheme of smear against Barack Obama and diplomacy before war now leaves a clear trail in its wake. And it has the stench of a Rovian plan. Like the spoor of warthogs.

Maybe it's because the Republicans see the handwriting on the wall that their usual Southern Strategy ain't gonna work, so they've decided to switch to a tactic even more contemptible.

First Bush--the grandson of Prescott Bush, banker to the Nazis--cravenly uses the speech in the Knesset to attack those who don't go along with his shoot first, shoot style of global relations.

Then McCain--who CNN's Dana Bash described as having a twinkle in his eye as he quickly leaped on news of Bush's statements to assert that Obama is naive.

Then the rest of the Republican minions fall into place, from the White House press secretary to Arizona Senator Kyl.

So far, on CNN at least, it's being portrayed as a partisan Republican vs. Democratic firestorm. But it's so much more. This statement by Bush, in the setting he used, in the words he used, is an insult to all Americans and to his Israeli hosts.

Bush should be ashamed. McCain should be ashamed. Joe Lieberman should be ashamed. The minions who conceived and enable this smear should be ashamed. But they are not.

I am.

This statement by Bush was a giant turd in the celebration of Israel's anniversary. It should be swiftly rebuked, renounced, and tossed into the sewer where it belongs.


In yet another example of George W. Bush's total contempt for this nation and other nations, today he used the moment of an assembly in Israel in honor of that country's 60th anniversary to lash out with a partisan political attack on Barack Obama, calling the Senator's advocacy of diplomacy over guns "appeasement."

According to CNN, the White House has confirmed that even though he didn't name Obama, his "some" is indeed a direct reference to the Senator and likely Democratic presidential nominee.

We've long since learned that this president thinks with something somewhere south of his brain—I believe he took pains to emphasize it on the Mission Accomplished carrier.

We've long since learned that this president is quick to taunt and bluster and bravado with the lives, limbs and spirits of other Americans' sons and daughters...while he "gives up" golf.

We've long since learned that in the furtherance of Big Oil and the neocons' warmongering agenda this president is willing to wreck the rest of the American economy, our infrastructure, our homes, the food on our table, our healthcare, our "educational" system....

We've long since learned that this president is incapable of truth and feels neither remorse nor shame.

We've long since learned his return to the David Koresh wellspring of rural Waco is a fitting place that he cannot return to soon enough.

Just in case you don't already have it bookmarked: Barack Obama dot com

UPDATE: What about John McCain? At the same time as media are broadcasting Bush's intemperate attack on Barack Obama and diplomacy while outside the country in Israel, McCain is speechifying, decrying the "hyperpartisanship" of Washington.

We know that McCain's campaign staff consults daily with the Bush White House. That McCain had to get pre-approved his harsh words about BushCo's handling post-Katrina. So, did McCain know Bush was going to make these bombastic comments from Israel? Did McCain approve? Will he stop using Karl Rove as a campaign advisor?

Will McCain reject and denounce these remarks by Bush?

And if he does, will it all be part of a carefully orchestrated phony separation from Bush?

After all, "polls say" Bush is even more of an albatross around McCain's neck than you-know-who around Obama's.

UPDATE 2: Don't miss further thoughts from emptywheel, via firedoglake, on the grandson of the Nazi enabler and his intemperate remarks in Israel.

UPDATE 3: And there's this from Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars.

UPDATE 4: And Atrios links to this article from the Guardian UK: How Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power

UPDATE 5: And ThinkProgress gives further info on Bush's historic reference to a Senator who would have talked to Hitler...a Republican senator from Idaho.

So watch your media in the hours to come. There's plenty of information out there. Will the press report? Or steno?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Tuned into Hardball tonight for the first time in a long time, because I'd missed seeing live the endorsement of Obama by John Edwards. I expected that would be a reliable source for seeing the replay.

Unfortunately, what I also got was what Hardball has become a master of playing of late. The race card, courtesy the Tweety-Buchanan double-team. And cheap shots, courtesy Andrea Mitchell.

First the race card. They're really pushin' it at Hardball. Kentucky, it's all about Kentucky, because Kentucky is full of all those "you know"s. Evidently there are no hardworking Americans nor white people either in Oregon. One thing this campaign season has proven, it hasn't been just Hillary Clinton getting increasingly brazen and ham-handed about pushing the race card.

And then there's Mitchell, who brings up a fundraising letter sent by Edwards today to his supporters. Only after several minutes elapsed did she say "Ostensibly" it's about raising funds for college students. Caught with your ham-handed fist in your mouth, too, Andrea? One wonders who made the call that got the producer whispering into her ear piece sayin' you better clean up your mess, Mrs. Greenspan.

That's my scenario, and I'm stickin' to it. Here's the Edwards letter. Judge for yourself if it's "ostensibly" about fundraising for college students:


Students from Greene Central High School, Class of 2007 I want to begin by thanking each of you for all of your support and commitment over the last year. It has meant so much to Elizabeth and me. We have been very busy since January working on the causes that got us into the campaign in the first place -- helping to build the One America we all believe in.

You may have heard me talk about one of those programs called College for Everyone -- a scholarship pilot project that Elizabeth and I started a few years ago in Greene County, North Carolina.

The program is based on a simple promise to students: make good grades, work at least 10 hours a week, and stay out of trouble -- and the program will help pay for your first year of college. Since we launched this effort in 2005, the percentage of Greene County high school graduates attending college has increased from 54 percent to 74 percent.

As I write you, 165 high school seniors in Greene County are set to graduate in May and 94% have been accepted into N.C. colleges and universities. Most of these young people are doing just what many of us did -- sitting around the kitchen table with their parents, wondering how they will pay for tuition.

Every parent wants to give their child the opportunity that comes with a college education. But for too many American families, the dream of a college degree is just that -- a dream. Now, I need your help to make the dream of a college education a reality for some hard-working students in rural Greene County.

That's why I need your help today -- with a tax-deductible donation of $10, $25, $50 or $75, whatever you can afford -- to bring us one step closer to our goal of College for Everyone. By contributing now, you will help fulfill the college dreams of deserving students in Greene County and show the world that if we work together on big and important issues, change is possible.

But change can only come with your help. Please contribute now and bring us closer to building One America where every child has the opportunity to go as far as his or her talents and hard work will take them.

Thank you,

John Edwards

P.S. Contributions made by Friday go towards scholarships for the students graduating in May.

The link takes you to Network for Good, not the Edwards campaign.

Shame on Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan and Andrea Mitchell...and Hardball and MSNBC and NBC.

Maybe I could watch to learn if they mend their ways, but why waste the time? Instead, I think I'll go read Evan Thomas' review article in the new Newsweek, "Divide and Conquer"--which tells us about Nixonland, "a stunning new book that argues that Nixon was also the grandfather of today's politics of hate."

And Nixon's philosophical grandchildren are alive and well on Hardball these days.

Mississippi Meltdown

The Very Important Pundits will be talking all about the West Virginia primary and its reasons for the quaking of the universe. Will Hillary knock Obama aside, will he be forced to put her on his ticket, well, you get the idea.

But the real story of yesterday is the Mississippi Meltdown, wherein for the third time a Republican seat turns Democratic.

While the VIPs may want to focus on the split between Obama and Hillary factions on the Democratic side, across the aisle the real split is growing to chasm level—between Republicans and the rest of America.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If It's Tuesday...

Another Tuesday, another primary....

Today it's West Virginia, where the vote for Clinton is expected to dwarf that for Obama. Lots of chatter around the edges about Hillary's base, those "hard working Americans." Christy over at firedoglake, herself a native West Virginian, gives a context and texture to the WV primary that the soundbite media doesn't pause to do between their Very Important Punditry and their commercials boosted by the enduring pace of the Democratic primary season.

Enough talk of Obama paying off Hillary's campaign debts. The media should. They were the ones who whipped up and sustained this horserace to the benefit of their own bottom line. Heck, $20 mil would be chump change for Rupert and GE and the Mouse. [We won't include CBS since they may well have their own upstart woman to settle up with sooner rather than later.]

On-the-ground reporting and context has been in short supply in many quarters this campaign season. So much more fun to bloviate amongst yourselves, VIPs. So much easier for getting back to the cocktail wienie Washington salons if you only need to gather in DeeCee teevee studios rather than actually go out and, ewwww, mingle with the locals.

So, although the subject matter is a troubling one—the brushes with racism that Obama's campaign field staff and volunteers have had to deal with from time to time—the Washington Post has done both due diligence and contextual reporting that we should see more of, instead of the cliched crowd shots and rope lines and.... crowd shots and rope lines....

In this year of change, we're seeing the best and worst of what America can be. And as we shift gears from the primary season to the general election, the contrasts between what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party offer the country and all of us could not be more stark.

My first political experience was similar to those I read about in the Post article...suspending college in order to work for Eugene McCarthy's campaign. First working stop: Indiana. And first memory [besides getting lost driving the Chicago interstate system] was the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King.

It's been a long time for the ugly stew of racism to keep on simmering in some hearts, fed by predatory fearmongering preachers of hate and their opportunistic political brethren. Long past time we put the fire out and build a stronger America together.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Welcome to America

Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.
Emma Lazarus

An old man, tired, weary, a Baptist minister, flees danger in Haiti and comes to America, seeking political asylum. Instead of freedom, America greets him with a detention center, and, when he falls ill, deficient medical care, and finally, hospitalization, where he dies alone.

His family here in America are not permitted to visit him.

A young woman from Somalia, fleeing a country where her family were killed, comes to America, seeking political asylum. Instead of freedom, she is detained and put on heavy duty antipsychotic medicine until a human rights group can arrange for her care and release.

Watching Scott Pelley's 60 Minutes report last night, the old man's niece recounting his last days, the frustration, and ultimately the sorrow, I wondered again, what have we allowed America to become?

60 Minutes collaborated with the Washington Post's singular genius reporter, Dana Priest, to report on the detention centers the Bush Administration has set up around the country to house warehouse immigrants seeking political asylum. They are not pretty places.

A middle-aged woman sits awaiting a life-and-death determination of whether she'll be deported. Since last August. Meanwhile, the lump in her leg continues to grow. From the Post:

Harvill is one of 33,000 immigration detainees in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, on any given day. They are locked up in a patchwork of out-of-the-way federal detention compounds, private prisons and local jails. This unnoticed prison system was built for a quick revolving door of detainees -- into custody, out of the country. But often, people linger in detention for months or years.

These detainees, like other prisoners, are by law and regulation entitled to medical services if they are sick. But Harvill's journey through immigration detention provides a glimpse into a medical system that often fails those who need it most. It is an upside-down world where patients have no say, doctors and nurses on site have little power to administer timely treatment, and a managed-care system in Washington operates from a rulebook that emphasizes what is not covered rather than what is.

Immigrants...detainees...the line is blurring as the bureaucracy and the social compact of this country breaks down under the combined weight of the Bush Administration/Republican way of governance, its policies and incompetence.

"You know that there are people watching this interview who are saying to themselves, 'Castaneda was an illegal immigrant. He had a drug conviction. The people of the United States owed him nothing,'" Pelley remarks.

"I'm sure there's people out there that think that," Doyle acknowledges. "But that's not what the law is. And that's not what a civilized society does. And you know, if it's true that you judge the degree of civilization in a society by entering its prisons, the United States has a long way to go on this particular issue."
It would be too quick, too easy to say "after 9/11, everything changed." Because really, 9/11 long since has ceased to be an event and instead become an enabling excuse. The Bush/Republican way of governance was etched in stone long before those Twin Towers crumbled that morning. That was just the shock and awe that gave Bush and his neocon Big Oil war machine cronies an opportunity to rape, pillage and plunder this country in a manner so brazen it is stunning.

Well, yes, but what does it matter, Prairie, if a few sick people who aren't even real Americans don't get medical care?

What does it matter, indeed. In a similar context, I wondered that earlier last week at the report that the Indiana voter fraud blocked a group of real desperadoes from voting—nuns in their 80s and 90s.

And another poem filled my mind:
They came for...

You know it. If you don't, google Niemoller, it's past time you did.

But after watching 60 Minutes last night, and musing on this whole business of Sundays, and Mother's Days, and then reading Dana Priest's first in a series "Careless Detention," another mother came to mind.

A young girl, pregnant, unmarried, forced to travel from one land to another to be counted. And the child she bore. Oh, there are loads of self-righteous fauxes who call themselves "Christian" and "compassionate conservative" and.... And they rule this land right now, they're entrenched in the bureaucracy of the government and the tony addresses on K Street, and the gleaming white bastion of SCOTUS.

And their prisons and their detention centers define them. And the rest of us. Never forget that. They define us, too. As Barack Obama has noted, "the fierce urgency of now"...it compels us all to be better than we have been.

Because, whatsoever ye do unto the least of my brethren, ye do unto me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

For every Mom, young and old, of families large and small, of every nationality and ethnicity and color and combination, may your Mother's Day be like every other day...days of peace and joys bold and gentle. Every day days of serenity and song and sunshine.

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 10


Besides a certain wedding today, there is one other major event of note for May 10, and I am finally stepping out of the shadows to announce my complicity.

Yes, 39 years ago, May 10, the banner-headlined around-the-world Zip to Zap, started by a small but determined bunch of upstarts at one North Dakota college newspaper drew crowds from around the country. And network teevee cameras and global headlines. And the National Guard activated by the governor.

Ah, those were the days. But today too many of our Guard are over in Iraq. And a brief moment of spring exuberance is but a memory, albeit a fond one, to share during these times of remembering too many sad occasions, like Kent State. And making too many new ones.

Oh, but yours truly did sell enough tee-shirts for that day to pay expenses for a summer of interning in Washington DC addressing the Senator’s Christmas cards…to the whole state in an election-upcoming year.

A powerful reminder to moi of why it matters that we keep the new generations involved and inspired for a lifetime of activism…and voting.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rare Birds

Winter ended late in up here in tall timber country. Even if you drive from the Dakotas due East, it's still "Up North" and opening weekend of fishing season.

Been a good bit of talk hereabouts that the late April snowstorms that turned 60-degree days into 18-inch snow blankets were tough on the wildlife. Certainly the pines and birches took their share of damage. Broken branches, bent over tree trunks, some split and splintered beyond repair.

But it's spring, and spring can be a great healer.

Already, in just one day we've seen trumpeter swans, and a kingfisher, and evening grosbeaks and rose-breasted grosbeaks, and loons on the lake, with mallards and wood ducks, and scaups, and bluejays, and a downy woodpecker, and purple finches, and purple martins, and... and most are paired up. Romancin', looking for likely nesting spots.

Some are birds just getting established in the area, like the swans, ranging out from the Tamarack Wildlife refuge. And some are old friends we feared had gone away like the buffalo back in the late 1800s. But the evening grosbeaks are back, their brash, bright yellow makin' sunshine on this overcast spring day.

The natural world's got a parallel in the political world this crisp evening. Birds migrating north again...voters migrating back to their Democratic home. Some signing on and registering for the very first time in their lives. Inspired by a rare bird who's callin' hope.

Even the hummingbird is back from South of the border, drawn in by the bright red cap on the sunflower feeder, but lookin' for a little sweet sugar instead. We weren't expecting him so soon, but here he is, and already we've got the syrup simmering on the stovetop.

Spring's back at long last, and we're going to make the most of it, renewing the well, replenishing the feeders, planting the seeds...for the good harvest in the fall.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hysterical Hillary

In the end, it's not a pretty sight. The hysterical "you like me, you really really must like me" desperation that Hillary has displayed since Tuesday's election and ye-olde-butt-kickin' has been a process that is cringe-inducing.

Start with "the letter"--the demand letter to Senator Obama regarding Florida and Michigan delegates. She can't even be truthful there...why shade now? When the truth was that she, too, agreed to the terms the Democratic Party established when Florida and Michigan, despite warnings, moved their primaries ahead.

It's like the Bosnia sniper fire story: the truth--a First Lady going into a war zone--was impressive on its face. Why did she have to "embellish" events that never happened?

And then there was the mad dash into West Virginia Wednesday so that she could [and I heard her, in her own campaign words, on the radio even out here in the tall timber] talk about "electability" and "hard working people" "working class" "white"...as though, by implication, if you weren't white you didn't work, much less work hard.

For shame.

Playing the race card demeans the whole political process. The Republicans disgraced themselves enough with that, Hillary. Why would you stoop so low? Have you so little faith in yourself to win fair and square? Arguably your tactics are what have cost you this nomination.

Have you so little faith in Senator Obama, in the coalition of the people he's been building throughout this campaign? There's a lot of us who look a lot more like Claire McCaskill than Barack Obama who are enthusiastically supporting his campaign.

Have you so little faith in your fellow Americans?

We owe you nothing, now. Your victories, if they come, in West Virginia and Kentucky will have been purchased with the total public discrediting of your professed integrity...and yes, experience. Because the race card is one experience this country doesn't need any more of.

Make the World Go Away

Sometimes you just need to step back a bit and take a deep breath.

On this day when neighbor shoots neighbor in Beirut in a fresh eruption of uncivil war. When Myanmar generals first let their people die instead of letting in humanitarian assistance. When the Very Important Pundits play politics as though it's their personal set o'Legos. When yet another one of the family values, holier than thou, judgmentalist crowd shows he doesn't practice what he preaches [go ahead, pick. Vito? McCain? Hagee?...can't decide? Wait a day, they'll give us a fresh set of equally hypocritical choices. I'm thinkin' it'll be Santorum....]

When the din seems to just keep getting louder and shriller... then's when a little timeout from the same ol' same ol' reminds us that life doesn't have to be all conflict and combat and vitriole and hyperbole and hypocrisy.

Marking the passing today of an American Country music legend--Eddy Arnold.

Somewhere in America

Somewhere today, a family is planning a joyous family celebration, a wedding, lots of hoopla, maybe some barbeque. In the family backyard, designer gowns and lots of bridesmaids. The details are sketchy, so far. Intimate, private.

Somewhere in America today, a family is wondering how it will make the mortgage payment, put food on the table. The celebrations are few. Graduation from high school? Not happening in this family. Like too many, this family's child dropped out.

Somewhere in America today, a parent is learning the job they counted on is pink slipped. Hey, you're a statistic. One of a thousand. Laid off.

Somewhere in America today, a tow truck is coming to take away the car the family can no longer afford to pay for or put gas in.

But don't worry, things are looking up. The Very Important Pundits told me so.

Somewhere in America today, a political campaign is wearing on, and one candidate talks "electability" and I've got the working class white vote and points fingers at the other guy and works to make him "other" and refuses to see that dividing the working folks and those who need to work and those who need a government that works instead of always dippin' its beak for its cronies on the backs of the working class is the pathway to disaster in November again.

Somewhere in America today, a weary man sits back and begins to plan for the next long stretch of the road.

And somewhere in America today, a lost soul who needs an opportunity, a hand-up, not a hand-out, walks down the sidewalk to the Salvation Army for a free breakfast before heading to the day labor center to see if there'll be some work to get him through the rest of the day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Really Happened to Hill?

Did Laura Bush ruin Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes? Oh, I know, there are a plethora of pundits positing that Rush came to Hillary's rescue with his Operation Chaos.

But could it be the more meaningful factor was the Current First Lady doing in the Previous First Lady? Has Laura been secretly simmering ever since Hillary made that comment that "it takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush"?

Is that why the usually publicity-reticent Laura the Librarian abandoned her customary backstage role to appear in the White House Press Room and give the smackdown to the generals of Myanmar? Did Laura launch into the Politics of Screed in a cleverly contrived effort to foreshadow what it could be like with a woman president stopping by the press room to bully the pulpit?

Or was it really that Bushie had no cred at all to talk about Myanmar given Katrina...and no cojones at all to face the press so he sent out Laura instead?

Hey, after an evening of hearing what the Very Important Pundits inside the Beltway have been pontificating about the presidential run, I figure one more opinion can't make it any more yadda, yadda....

h/t to the incomparable Froomkin at the WaPoo

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Great Derangement

If you haven't seen it yet on Youtube, give yourself a treat...and good thinking...this day.

The Great Derangement

And another author gets squelched from appearing on MTP.... This looks to be exactly the book the entire country needs to read before we head to the polls and pick our candidates.

Oh, and A+ to the publisher's marketing team on this one...
Taibbi starts this day on Imus, and if the WABC marketing team has any savvy, they'll have the link up pronto [we'll update when they do]. Meanwhile, don't miss the Youtube spot.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Small Town Thinking

Much being made in today's media about Bill Clinton's "small town" tour to drum up votes for Hillary.

I'll save for another day deconstructing the mindset in small towns...is it "bitter," or "set in its ways" or that other b-word, "bigoted...."? [Answer: none of the above...depending on who's doing the framing...or twisting it for their own advantage.]

Instead--from the perspective of small city living in Fargo, and weekending in such exotic locales as Park Rapids and Walker, Minnesota, and considering that our wee cabin in the woods was one of the first in the country to have satellite teevee...

And from the perspective of listening over time to people like Russet, and Tweety, and Snuffy, and Cokie, and Wolfie, and ... well, you get the idea. I've come to the conclusion that the "small town" most in need of exposure to the great big world outside the bubble and the cocktail wienie circuit and the incestuous revolving doors that are K Street and Congress and Big Media and Congress and Military Contractors and Congress and political consultants and.... is the rarified and isolated little burg of DeeCee.

The posturing portion of the population of DeeCee probably adds up to the size of yer everyday small town out in the boonies. The kind of small town where the satellite trucks are clustering these days breathlessly touting "once in a lifetime" visits. But at least we, in the boonies, actually check out what's going on in the rest of the world instead just pontificating for the mirror or the teevee camera... oh, wait, that's pretty much the same thing, these days, now isn't it.

And when the satellite trucks pack up and follow the parade of candidates and the very important pundits and "journalists" who follow in their wake, we'll consider how it's just like the good ol' days when the circus came to town, and there was a lot of hoopla and folderol and then the wagons headed on down the road and all that was left was a few pleasant memories and a whole lotta dung to clean up.

We're looking to clean up this election year...now if we can just get those big city folk to stop thinking that we're rubes for backdrops and tellin' tales to, "once in a lifetime," before they all pack up and head back to their cozy salons in DeeCee.

Garbage Truck Wisdom

Source unknown for this on the toobz, but here's a bit of the kind of philosophy we could use a little more of as we contemplate the week. Whatever the outcome of the weather forecast or the big game or the final exams or the proposal or the...oh, what's that you say?...a couple of important primaries tomorrow?

Yeah, doesn't hurt to remind ourselves from time to time...garbage in, garbage out. And a special hat tip today to all the folks in blue collars who haul away the garbage and take on the dirty jobs that keep this country hummin' along.

Here's the lesson learned in the back of a New York City taxi cab sixteen years ago:

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!
The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you.

When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did."

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck."

I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People."

Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more Garbage Trucks pass you by?

Here's what I think. You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so....Love the people who treat you right. Don't worry about the ones who don't. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, TAKE IT! If it changes your life, LET IT! Nobody said it would be easy....They just promised it would be worth it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What's Right with America

Fed up with the gasbag shows, the punditocracy, the focus on what's Wright instead of...?...welll, pretty much everything takes a backseat if you rely on Russet or Snuffy or the rest of the Sunday morning "elites."

So instead, I'm going to recommend some better viewing for you: The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton and the rest of, the best of, America.

Values worth lauding--perseverence, faith in family and self, gettin' back up when life knocks you down.

Leave the Wright stuff to the gasbags, gimme The Right Stuff any day.

More Must Reading

To yesterday's weekend list, add Frank Rich, the uber columnist of the New York Times, writing about McCain's pastor Hagee.

For the media, it seems so far, it's the hypocrisy, stupid.

And Tom Friedman's back from book leave asking Who Will Tell the People? Maybe instead of focusing on the candidates, he ought to direct his question to his media colleagues who yet today persist in push-pastoring the pastor-who-shall-not-be-named.

And what's the what Tom wonders "who" will tell? Hey, while we've been cowering under our desks between shopping trips to the mall, the world's passed us by. Oh, we ain't North Korea, but we sure's heck ain't what we used to be, either.

So, what's the scorecard to be by the end of the day? Which Sunday pundits will have justified their existence? And which will have delivered just more of the same ol', same ol'? My money's on Schieffer.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Spring cleaning time in Prairie Country, so we'll probably be light on content hereabouts. But we do want to steer you to some "musts" this weekend.

Bob Herbert's column in today's New York Times on what Jon Stewart dubbed the Reverending Story. Herbert's pretty pointed: can't we get back to the issues?!? Would that the Sunday morning punditocracy actually reads and heeds, because Herbert speaks for a lot of us who are absolutely fed up to the hair follicles with the push-pastoring. Enough.

Arianna Huffington visits Firedoglake 's Book Salon this afternoon to discuss her new book, Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe. [5 pm ET to 7 pm ET] If you've never "met" Arianna or visited Firedoglake, what better time to start.

And we've learned that 60 Minutes will be reporting on the Pat Tillman story this Sunday night. Mary Tillman speaks out, saying the government still has not told the truth about her son's death. 60 Minutes has been bringing their A game of late to reporting. We'll definitely be watching.

Oh, and have we mentioned that Senator Obama will spend an hour with Tim Russert Sunday morning live on Meet the Press? We'll be watching. Won't take long to tell whether Russert's read Herbert's column...or just the McCarthyist screeds from Blumenthal and the Clintonistas and McCainiacs.

Snuffy will be questioning Hillary Clinton Sunday morning. We saw his idea of "tough, but fair" in the ABC-sponsored debate. We'll be looking for "tough, but fair" when he questions Hillary. Substance, not shiny objects. And tough but fair follow-ups, too.

We'll be watching.

Friday, May 2, 2008

On the Street Where They Live....

uch is made these campaign days of the candidates and their surrogates meeting the public in venues grand and small.

Tonight NBC's Chris Jansing reported on a place none of the candidates have gotten to, yet.

The back of the van that Scott and Kay Bishop live in these days.

In the hyperventilating pace of the campaigns and, if it's possible, the even more hyperbolic realm of the punditocracy which is pushin' pastor and horserace and polls and....

it all really comes down to folks like Scott and Kay Bishop. Who had a modest home, and now don't even have that anymore.

This country is so far in the ditch too many don't even recognize the depth to which we've fallen. Too many are vulnerable and too many are more than happy to prey upon that vulnerability.

Big Oil, Big Pharma, the banking and credit card industries and their wholly owned subsidiaries in Washington on K Street and in the Beltway Bubble media and in the Congress and most notably in the White House. Their greed and avarice is second nature so entrenched they don't even see it.

Permanent tax cuts, anyone? Grandpa Charlie? George Bush? John McCain? Bueller?

Some people call you the rich and powerful, I call you my base....

Not so funny to folks like Scott and Kay Bishop. Not so funny to anyone with an ounce of integrity.

In the hurly-burly of the campaign season, as candidates stage gas tax events by hopping out of their SUV caravans. As an ex-president whose ego seemingly can't stand a younger man of color upstaging him so he's doing "outreach" to rural communities. As the Republican talks gas tax holiday with no clue of the hundreds of thousands of people who'll be frozen out of their jobs on infrastructure... there's been too little time for what's real amid the posturing.

So consider the back of Scott and Kay Bishop's van. And ask yourself, how far away am I from that fate? And then, vote as if your country depended on it. Or, at the least, the very least, as if your neighbor depended on it.

War Games...redux

Last night, this blog took the unprecedented step of publishing a preview of the upcoming day's lead blog post. We felt so strongly that the issues discussed [you'll see them in the post immediately below] demand airing and denouncing and condemning. And now is none too soon.

We have an administration sabre-rattling war on another country, while our own country writhes in the economic maelstrom these wars have brought upon us.

We must demand of the media and the candidates...enough.

These are not games. And the mutually assured destruction is not just one candidate or one political party. It is democracy itself. And the time to stand down is now.

Hillbillery? Ball's in your court.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

War Games

The politics of campaigning is getting darker and darker on the Democratic side. And you thought it was bad in the run-up to Pennsylvania.

Thursday morning on the Imus Show, Carl Bernstein, author of the Hillary biography, told Imus that there's talk of Hillary and her campaign engaging in McCarthyism against Obama. And that it was interesting given her own background, which had far more association than Obama with the left. Bernstein added much detail regarding the law firm she worked at after graduating from Yale, and more. You can listen to the interview here. [the meat starts at about 4:15 mins in]

Then there's the swirling rumors of some of Hillary supporters growing increasingly distressed by the tactics her campaign has been and continues to use. Distancing and defections have already begun. There are the big names: Richardson, Reich. Now Joe Andrew, the former DNC chair from Indiana, saying the Clintons are destroying the party.

And Peter Dreier, in a lengthy commentary at Huffington Post, recounts the barrage of emails ongoing for months now from Sidney Blumenthal and the Clinton campaign attacking Obama by associations.

So what's the story? Is a desperate, driven Clinton campaign going to any lengths and beyond for the ultimate "win now, fix it later"? Or is this Hillbillery trying to inoculate herself against similar attacks coming at her if she's in the general election? Or is this Hillbillery setting out once again on a me-first crusade that damns the Democratic party as they did in the '90s? Or being willing to destroy Obama if he's the nominee so she can run again in 2012?

We want answers. And we can handle the truth.

It would be refreshing, in fact, if we'd actually get that truth--instead of smirking, smarmy TweetyKristolRushRoveRussetopolous spin knowingly enabling smear and innuendo in the furtherance of newsertainment.

Instead of the media enabling BushCo going to war on Iraq. Instead of the media enabling the Pentagon with their cozy conversations with propagandizing generals. Instead of the media enabling McCain's campaign with their hands-off "see no nothing" Sgt. Schultz scrutiny of McCain.

The media rushed to embed themselves in BushCo's Iraq war and enable the lies and corruption and torture and all the other horrors this war has inflicted on America. The media rushed to enable whatever the guy you most want to have a beer with had to say. And now, they are enabling Clinton and McCain--birds of a feather in their headlong rush to give us four more years of entitled elitist Bushism.

And a pox on the media.

'cause it sure as hell ain't enabling democracy.

advance preview of Friday 5/2/2008 blogpost

Let's Play....

Word is, Barack Obama will appear on Meet the Press with Timmeh Russet this Sunday morning.

So I have a proposal for Senator Obama. If Timmeh jumps out of the gate with a barrage of Wright questions, I suggest you lean forward, look him right in the blood-shot blues and say, "you wanna play guilt by association, okay, let's play...."

Then turn the game around on him, go right to his gut...certainly an ample target... show that you have the steel inside your temperate demeanor.

Enough's enough.

Associations...everybody has 'em: Clinton, McCain, Russert, the rest of the media.... maybe it's time to push for their accountability moments, too. Six degrees of separation is a bi-directional road. But more importantly, it's past time the media start focusing on substantive questions of policy and issues, not horseraces and gotchas and push-pastoring.

Give 'em hell, Barry.


Here's a link to tell Meet the Press what you'd really like Russert to ask Barack Obama.

How Many More Years?

Minutes ago, I posted this as a comment to a blog post by looseheadprop over at firedoglake. I hope you'll stop by FDL and read LHP's posting that prompted me to write:

...today on local radio they are marking the return of the remains of an 18-year-old soldier from Wahpeton, to the south of Fargo. The Patriot Guard motorcycle group will accompany him from the Fargo airport 60 miles or so down the highway, past the grade school and high school sites he left behind long ago.

He was 18. He was MIA. He died in Korea.

How long must this war’s families of soldiers bear such burdens? When is enough enough?

This war grinds on, and wears us down. I remember another soldier's return with such an escort for this war early on. We lament, we blog, we comment, we rail, we weep.

And still the war goes on.

And those in positions of leadership and power seem caught in some kind of stasis that keeps them from bringing our men and women home. Groundhog Day. Twightlight Zone. Mission Accomplished writ large this 5th anniversary--a shocking word to describe the passage of time and this event, for there is no celebration in such an occasion.

Just posturing and pontificating and pointing fingers. And slip-slidin' away from "The Buck Stops Here...."

And still the war goes on.

Last Sunday I heard Barack Obama respond to Chris Wallace how much he misses hugging his little girls. And I thought of the troops, so many parents among them, serving tours of duty, long and multiplied. And how much they must miss hugging their little boys and girls.

And as much of a grind as it is...this campaign season, it seems to me, must have one outcome. Because I see only one candidate who understands what it means to be away so long and wanting to be home to hug his little girls.

UPDATE: The good folks at FDL helped me track back to this comment about another soldier coming home. April 3, 2007, Christy at FDL blogged A Requiem at Twilight:

Prairie Sunshine left a comment a couple of nights ago that I want to elevate today, so that everyone will have a chance to read it. It is a poignant reminder that in the small towns, and rural farms, and urban landscapes -- wherever it is that we each live, there is a high probability that someone near you has been touched by the cost of conflict. And once in a while, something brings that very personal, very difficult cost home for the rest of us:

Had a really poignant drive into town. Turned on the Fargo radio for weather and road reports. Right at the freeze mark and rainy dismal white-knuckle driving all the way back. Then the radio mentioned a motorcade for the Frazee soldier’s remains which were arriving in Fargo and asked people to come out to honor him. Just west of Hawley we started seeing pickups and SUVs at the ends of driveways. Flags flying in front yards. By Dilworth, the fire dept trucks were all out along the road. As we drove into Moorhead, the police escort led the way for their group. My God, I had tears running down my cheeks. Flashing our lights seemed such a small gesture. All those fatheads on the Sunday shows and cable news with their strolls and photo-ops and posturing. And it’s all about this. One 28-year-old kid coming home for the last time.
And still the war goes on....


Thought to start your day:

"No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

Lily Tomlin .