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Fresh food for thought served up any ol’ time by whim of Prairie Sunshine...do bookmark us and visit often. And share with your friends. And thanks for stopping by.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Hands

What better way to contemplate the beginning of a new era than to salute, as Fargo's daily has done today, the youth of the community as Forum Person of the Year.

Our kids are thinkers, organizers, fundraisers, workers, leaders...on many charitable endeavors in the community, including filling the Fargodome with food and raising some $70,000 for the Great Plains Food Bank.

Who knows, one of these, yep, community organizers just might grow up to be president some day.

We'll be in good hands.

Happy New Year, everyone!
(crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Stunningly Superficial"

When Zbigniew Brezinski delivered that scathing riposte to some Morning blather from Joe this a.m., he transcended the usual fodder of cable news talking before engaging brain, he delivered the punchline of the entire Bush era of selfishness, greed, blame-gaming, politicizing, warmongering, war profiteering, rightwing pandering, Rushian propaganda whoring, media enabling.... .

"Stunningly superficial."

21 days to go.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remember the Need

Greed's dominated this country too much and too long, and you don't need me to repeat the stories of the repercussions of that.

Instead, right now, please remember the need.

Food pantries are strained beyond their limits. Fuel assistance programs can use donations, too. You can find 'em in your hometown if you just take the time to look.

In Fargo, the Great Plains Food Pantry provides food for those in need statewide and in northern Minnesota. And SENDCAA helps people with emergency heating assistance. They're in the phone book.

I'll bet there are places just like 'em in your community and phone book, too.

This holiday season, open your hearts...and your checkbooks. No, I'm not giving you links. Part of this process is you...seeking out where you can make a difference.

And knowing that you're one vital voice in restoring the better angels of our America.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peace on Earth

Sometimes, the picture says it all....

Happy holidays, everyone.
photo credit: FL Morris, Star-Bulletin

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Did We Get Here?

In black and white on the printed or online page, that question "How Did We Get Here?", posed by still-President Bush back in September, says volumes about the total disconnect between this President's "deciderating" and his deliberate willful disregard of reality he doesn't want to hear and the consequences of his policies.

Well, reality's here now, and it's a picture right out of the darkest hours of Dickens.

In Fargo-Moorhead, at the height of the blizzard last night, parents lined up outside in the cold and snow for as much as eight hours so that they could get toys for their kids in the Toys for Tots program. [link pending availability]

There's more, lots more, if you'll step away from the shopping and unlike the woman on tonight's NBC Nightly News, not extol the virtues of how much more you can buy for the same dollars when things are 50, 60, 70% off. But rather, how much more you can do with your dollars and cents this year.

Reality's here now, and we'll all need to pitch in and open our eyes and our ears and our hearts. And yes, our strong stomachs, for the weeks and months ahead will be daunting. But we don't need to wait for January 20. Or New Year's Day.

We don't need to wait at all. Just remember your favorite charities extra generously this holiday season. Even if it means deciding to forego gifting yourselves. Hey, it's easy. Go ahead. Give it a try.

And in these cold, dark, stormy days of December, you'll find a holiday glow inside that will carry you through the challenging times to come.

So that next Christmas holiday season, we can look back on that question, "How Did We Get Here?" and be able to say we worked at it, we focused on how we could each own part of the restoration of the best of America, and we made progress.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Friday, December 19, 2008

In Ordinary Times...

Anybody else spew their coffee this morning listening to The Worst President In American History lecture and scold that "in ordinary times..." corporations should have to pay a price for their failures?

Well, at least Dumbya finally recognizes these are not ordinary times...tho' he still has to be dragged kicking and screaming into a bailout for the auto industry and American workers' jobs.

The irony of having to pay a price for failure seems to've escaped the Crown Prince of the Bush family political dynasty. But I digress....

There is a possible silver lining in what Boy George announced this morning, for all the angst of the chess match that's recently played out as politicians pontificated and postured of matters such as "organized" bankruptcies [huh?] vs. fears that this was all a strategerie to kill the unions, once and for all.

Big 3 Auto companies have until March to get their schiess together and come up with a viable business plan that matches the foreign car companies, scolds Bush. Oh, and don't blame me while I'm in legacy mode and kicking the can down the road to Obama's team.

Starting with the outsize and outrageous executive compensation plans and other financial gizmos of Wall Street that suck the lifeblood from corporations to feed the financial vampires and restoring responsible productivity and profit models would be a good idea.

And putting the product back in the hands of the designers and the engineers instead of bean counters who've lost their beans so they actually develop a product people will want to buy without a bazillion dollars of glitzy media advertising to brainwash 'em, that would be a good start, too. I mean, who needs DVD players on every seat rest? Or those idiot shiny object tires? I want safety, fuel efficiency, universal design....

For starters....

Update: speaking of Wall Street gizmos, Josh at Talking Points Memo points the way to this Krugman column opining that all of Wall Street and the financial industry are Madoff now.... Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is must reading...and the comments he generates are must reading as well.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I Will NOT Be Ignored...."


Start the water boiling...here comes the press with the bunnies. Listening to the old guard media blathering on and on about the "distraction" of Blago and why don't the Obama team just spill their guts, one can only shake one's head.

The distraction is the creature of anachronistic media's effort to gin up a scandal. Hey, did you hear that Chris Matthews was seen entering a certain building in Washington DC that Elliot Spitzer has also entered? "Some say" that's fodder for hours of cable speculation....

Look, for all the dancin' around the issue, the fact is that Fitzgerald has said that no one on the Obama team is under scrutiny for the matter of Blagojevich's alleged effort to sell the Senate seat or whatever else Fitzgerald may be investigating Blago for.

What's going on here, asks Tweety?

Scandalmongering. That's what's going on here.

For ratings points. And sad to say, even Shieffer's not immune, with his "what if" Sunday morning. In these dire times, furthering the RNC's talking points isn't going to cut it anymore.

Spare us.


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Media in Vapid Vapors Mode

Watching the "journalists" on MSNBC immediately after Obama's latest, virtually daily, press conference in Chicago one can only wonder, what are they thinking?

Let's see, they're whining because they don't get to ask interminable question after interminable question about Blago, which Obama has clearly stated he cannot and will not discuss at the request of the U.S. Attorney. After the U.S. Attorney himself, at his press conference, said there were no persons on the Obama team under any scrutiny by his office.

Mark Whitaker pontificates about the role of the press—a role he and his colleagues apparently developed an eight-year amnesia about during the Dumbya years.

All in all a painful exercise in watching the likes of David Schuster, Chuck Todd, Jonathan Alter (the lone voice of reason I heard, as he pointed out the press has been staking out Rahm Emanuel's home of late) and the aforementioned Whitaker as they wrung their hands trying to make controversy and innuendo out of a typically "no-drama" grown-up press conference.

Albeit a short one. As each of the other nearly daily press conferences have been. Short, to the point, fact-based, not what-iffy—you know...what we voted for.

So grow up, "journalists"—you wallowed in W the last eight years and the onus is not on the president-elect these days. He's doing his job. The polling numbers show the public knows he is.

Now how about you do yours? There's still tons of unfinished business over at 1600 and the current administration. What about covering that?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kennedy vs. Reid


Lots of sturm und drang on the internets about whether Caroline Kennedy should be appointed to fill the Hillary Clinton/Robert F. Kennedy Senate seat from New York.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid is proffering his list of "acceptable" chairs for the Senate Committees.

Which leaves one question: why is there no discussion about "process" for who will be Senate Majority Leader of the next Congress? If this isn't insiderism, what is?

Oh, and, yeah, I'm still appalled that Lieberman holds the HSC chair.


Prairie's Short Take

Who is more delusional?

Rod Blagojevich?

Or George Bush?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prairie's Reading: McJoan on Christmas and family

For many, this Christmas will be a wrenching one, faced with the fallout of the failed economic model the country has followed since Reagan. My grandparents lost the family farm in the other Great Depression, so McJoan's commentary over at dailyKos about Roots and a family's difficult choice in these days resonated deep.

Take a moment this hectic holiday season to consider her words on what really matters about this country and our heritage.

You'll be enriched in the reading.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prairie's Reading: Media Scandalmongering is Back

Atrios posted this milemarker to Media Matters deconstruction of the return of media scandalmongering. Take a moment to re-visit the '90s and the Usual Suspects of breathless bloviating, and then take a look around. They're still here.

And then give this Newsweek commentary a look. Obama has been the reformer. Those who scramble to paint him otherwise, with word or innuendo, this time, must suffer the fate of fools. And that means all of us must hold them, and ourselves, to a higher standard.

So as the bloviating ratchets up about Blagojevich's "ties" to Obama...just remember. We've been here before.

Welcome to George Bush's Great Depression


When I first started [this blog] a year ago... one of the issues that I felt—and continue to feel—most passionate about was hunger and homelessness. Maybe because my own family history included my grandparents losing their pioneer farm.

I wrote "Let Them Eat Mud Cookies" about the dire straits of people in Haiti. And tracked down a Library of Congress photo of one mother by Dorothea Lange that still stands as an iconic image of the 1930s. You know her face.

But now, more and more, the pictures that are emerging are not half a century old, not from other lands. They are our neighbors. They are ordinary everyday Americans.

And they are hurting. We all are hurting as a nation. Hurtling into a destiny we may not be able to pull back from without grievous circumstances for far too many.

So I hope the folks who are using Blair House between now and January 15, the folks who worked to orchestrate the destruction of the auto bailout bill in the Senate, the folks who are pillaging and plundering the American economy from their cloistered towers of power...I hope all these people meet the ugly face in the mirror...

George Bush is merely the facade, a small man made even smaller by his cheerleaderating for the greediest, most rapacious and venal style of economic class warfare we have seen in generations.

And, lest it happen again in the forgetfulness of time, I hope that each and every one of those who brought this debacle about meets their own destiny at the hands of an empowered force in the Dept. of Justice tasked to right the wrongs of the last eight years.

There are two men from Chicago who could make it so.


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blair Which Project?


It started small enough. The Obamas asked about moving into Blair House earlier than the usual five days before Inauguration, so that they could have as easy a transition as possible for their young daughters' schooling.

But no, said the White House, no can do.

Seems that Blair House is all booked up before the fifteenth of January.

By whom?

No foreign dignitaries, according to the State Department.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Could it be that Team BushCo decided to turn Blair House into its official fundraising headquarters after seeing the uproar over the Clintons and the Lincoln Bedroom?

Will we ever know?

'cause the way the corporate media are shedding "journalists" these days, you have to wonder if there's anyone left to do actual ol' gumshoe reporting. If they were actually so inclined to tear themselves away from the desperate effort to somehow tie Barack Obama to Blagojevich's corruption.

Of course, the media stenos have given Team BushCo a pass for the last eight years. Why would they start doing actual reporting now?

I must remember to ask Dancin' Dave about that one....


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

What Did He Know and When Did He


The local Minneapolis Fox News station reports that Norm Coleman had a fancy-dancy home remo cost overrun coincident with when Kaseminy allegedly funneled money to Coleman's wife.

The media have had loads of fun the last few days playing gotcha games about Obama's possible links to Blago and the Senate seat. 'cause they don't want their pretty little heads muddled up by facts like Fitzgerald reported, absolving Obama and his team.

If I've heard "what did he know and when did he know it" once I've heard it enough to be ready for drinking game rehab... and then there's "ticktock"—Norah O'Donnell's new favorite word. The press lemmings are readin' their RNC scripts again....

Meanwhile, details that local Fox recounts about Coleman and his little home remodel start to sound downright Ted Stevens.

So where is the national press? Their giant barnacle-encrusted oil tanker selves apparently can't steer in any direction but what the Republi/corpse want them to cover.

And right now that's the Obama Senate seat controversy—but not to worry. Norah assures us the vast majority of Democrats "appear" to be supporting Obama. (Funny how that "emPHAsis" thing comes across, isn't it?)


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Workin' for the Man


Given the latest unemployment numbers...it probably comes as no surprise that a small number of dead-enders from the Bush Administration are still intent on hanging on to their jobs, despite the overwhelming public clamor for change from all things Bush, McCain voters and Obama voters alike.

Down in Florida, NASA obstructiveness is stirring the pot of a smooth Obama transition.

Meanwhile back up here in North Dakota, the public relations campaign for Drew Wrigley continues with today's op-ed laying out the case for retaining Wrigley. "More and more" favor it, opines rightwing talk radio host Scott Hennen. Okay. The Forum's editorial board. A coupla letter writers. Now the hometown Hannity. I guess that constitutes more and more. More and more conservative pot of ink owners and right wing talkers, that is.

"Some say," though, that relying on the guy who chortled with Cheney about waterboarding doesn't exactly burnish your argument.

"More and more" say that we're seeing the same meta-strategy from outliers and dead-enders like NASA's Mike Griffin and ND US Atty Drew Wrigley that we've seen all along from Team BushCo: public relations strategy instead of substance.

Guess they didn't get the memo.


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fight for Heroes

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund fights every day to give our wounded military a chance to rebuild their lives. Until you walk in their shoe, you cannot know the sacrifices they've made. But you can help.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury, lost limbs, serious burns. So great the sacrifice.

Right now the UFC is hosting a telethon and fighting in the Octagon to raise funds.

But you don't have to be a fighter. Or a hero. Or a celebrity. Or anything other than what each of these people were until called to serve...ordinary people. Joining together in commitment to a common purpose.

This holiday season, you can be part of that common purpose...and the greater goal of bringing home our troops. Whole. Or on the road to healing.

Please help out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dorgan's Energies

Okay, I admit to a wee bit o'bias. But when I read in our hometown newspaper that Senator Byron Dorgan's name has been taken off the shortlist of those under consideration for Secretary of Energy, my first reaction was:


Keep North Dakota's junior senator right where he is in the Senate seems to be the mutual, wise take of both the Obama team and Dorgan's constituents.

We love him dearly. And he clearly loves North Dakota. His re-election campaign in red state North Dakota in 2010 should be a virtual lock, based on the long-standing high regard Dorgan has earned through his career of public service in ND.

Even if the guy running against him should be the current Governor John, um, Jo..., what's his name now? Current governor Hoeven's main claim to fame hereabouts seems to be his virtual nonentity-ness. The best cred he's got is a Scandinavian surname in this wee state.

Nevertheless his name is being bandied about as an opponent for Dorgan in 2010. Although I see an emerging other potential contender in current US Atty Drew Wrigley, now in the process of almost weekly staged campaign-style press events designed to pump up his name recognition. Right outa the Rovian playbook of Team BushCo. All of a sudden, since the election, he's popping up everywhere.

So there's much to play out in the next two years. But there's one other thing that could play out. Call it my Christmas wish from Santa.

Obama—and we in North Dakota—value the strong integrity and leadership of Senator Dorgan. So I'm thinking maybe Dorgan should be considered for another post...by his colleagues in the Senate.

Majority Leader Dorgan. Has a nice ring to it, doncha think?


crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's Afoot Among USA's?

One's an occurrence, two's a coincidence, are there more?

Ever since the election, I've been watching something brewing in my home state, North Dakota. A letter to the editor here, another coming from there, all pushing the argument that the North Dakota USA, Drew Wrigley, should be kept on by the incoming Obama Justice Dept.

Most recently, an article in the local paper, front page, above the fold, touted the, what, P.R. campaign to keep Wrigley on? And noted his insistence that he stay on until the Dru Sjodin case was finished. Well, her killer has already been convicted.

But reading that Dru's mother is part of this budding crusade complete with Facebook page, to keep on Wrigley really raised my political radar antennae.

And the skeptical side of me started to think, how disgusting. To be so self-aggrandizing and cynical and conniving and self-serving that you'd manipulate the emotions of a distraught mother of a crime victim to perpetuate your own agenda.

Yeah, I know, describes the Bush DOJ modus operandi to a T.

And young Mr. Wrigley is considered one of the up-and-comers in ND Republican circles. How better to fluff his vitae than a continuation into the Obama administration for a Red State USA where all our national congressional delegation are Blue.

And then I ran across ThinkProgress' blogpost about the USA in Pennsylvania. She, too, according to her, is indispensable....

And couldn't help but notice her connection to this woman that digby reminds us of, too.

And now I'm wondering. Any other USAs around the country firing up their PR campaigns to stay on? Kinda amusing if you think about the USAs the Bushies' minions were so quick to dispense with—from their own team.

And then you think about the activities of the Bush administration, in and out of DOJ, and maybe it's not so funny after all. Maybe it's a cancer trying to stay within the body politic that needs radical and thorough and complete excision come January 20. No exceptions.


UPDATE: Today, the hometown Forum editorializes that the Rethug USA must stay...that it's a test of Obama's postpartisanship. Blithely blows off Wrigley's close ties to Alberto Gonzalez, while tugging the emotional blackmail some more on the Dru Sjodin case. Add the Forum editorial board and its heavy-handed collaboration in the pr drumbeat to preserve Wrigley as USA to the list of the craven. I restate my conclusion of Friday: thorough and complete excision come January 20. No exceptions.

crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette and North Decoder.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Car Deal

There will doubtless be much muttering about Nancy Pelosi "caving" to George W. Bush on the bailout for the big 3. Caving's supposed to be George's speciality. But I guess that only applies to his idiotlogical neocon diehard lobbyists determined to rip the gold teeth outa the cadaver on its way to the grave....

(Anybody else think that if the car guys, the politicians, the media and all the rest of the great chatterati had called this a loan package instead of a bailout, the sell would have been easier?)

Anyway, back to Nancy. Did she "cave"? I guess if you call recognizing that you're dealing with an arrogant, stubborn, stupid, willfully ignorant idiotlogical zealot for the have-more's, so you bow to reality thinking we'll do the best we can till this bozo goes back to Texas and then we can try putting the economy and the rest of the country back together again....then yeah, I guess she "caved."

I choose to think of it as recognizing reality and thanking God he's going to be Laura's mess-only soon, not the rest of us. And good riddance.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Still Hiatusing

Still kickin' back.

Have you read Tales of Beedle the Bard? Go ahead. Give yourself a treat.

(No, there's no link. I'm on hiatus, remember?)
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllllllllll, it was nice while it lasted....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On Hiatus

We're takin' a little break from blogging in Prairie Country. Stepping out into the Real World. You know, the place that's there when you step away from the keyboard.

A Real World where amid all the dire news—pick yer poison yerself, I'm not linking to any of it right now, not even the shameful KBR who should all get lumps of coal in their stockings...in their hometown hoosegows—still there are moments of warmth and hope.

Where college kids freeze their buns off even with their snowmobile suits collecting supplies and clothing for the local women's shelter in single-digit temperatures in the grocery store parking lot today.

Where the bell ringer inside said grocery store is an old friend from long ago. And the chatting is cheery while tucking money into the slot.

And a bag-full of pet food and medicine goes into the bin at the local Petco—a bin already brimming.

And despite the raw winds of the Real World, smiles build. Go ahead, go out there with a giving heart and give it a try. I guarantee you'll smile, too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NYT Says, So It Must Be So


The New York Times finally jumps on yesterday's blogosphere bandwagon to chime in that David Gregory is the likely host of Meet the Press.

And, according to the Times article, it's all about the Today Show.

Yep, that's right. The long-standing gold standard of Sunday morning gasbaggery has been relegated to stepping stone to the Today Show.

And ol' twinkle toes is being catered to bigtime lest he leap to ABC GMA.

Which leaves me with questions:

The Today Show is a news show? Since when is infotainment "news"?

And, why not Lester Holt?


Prairie's Reading: Taibbi on Rightness

Rolling Stone's genius writer Matt Taibbi recounts why McCain and Palin, yes, and even the brush cutter, have done everything in their power to restore what's right with America.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vapid Insipid Press Strikes Again


The media's Clinton Derangement Syndrome was on full display again this morning during the Obama presser to introduce his National Security team.

When the second "reporter" [Did all these people go to the Sarah Palin School of Journalism?] asked Barack Obama another booga-booga you said bad things about Hillary in the campaign, how you gonna get along question, I turned off the teevee and ventured out into the real world.

By the time I returned a couple hours later, hoping for change, instead I got the predictable CNN bobblehead asking Carl Bernstein, oooh booga-booga, what's this gonna do to Hillary's chances to run for president again.

Good grief, M$M, shape up! No wonder people are turning you off.

Meanwhile, in between, I caught a bit of Michele Norris' show on African American oratory on NPR and listened to the voice of Fannie Lou Hamer reaching out from the 1964 Democratic Convention to talk of civil rights and justice and "sick and tired of being sick and tired."

And oh, my, wouldn't she have been proud today to look at that National Security team entrusted to protect us and represent us to the world. Black and white together, diverse in age, three men, three women joined in service to our new president-elect and vice-president-elect...and the United States of America.

That was a story.

And I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of the way the vapid insipid press dumbs-down momentous occasions with the banal and inane.

(crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette)