Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Friday, June 30, 2006


From all of us at Is America Burning

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Candidates to Avoid

Here, from Watch and Wait is a partial list of Republican candidates who have no business holding office anywhere.

Ralph Reed of Georgia leads the parade followed closely by an admitted Nazi from Montana whose own party has disavowed him and has thrown their weight to his Democrat opponent.

They have one thing in common - bigotry. Sometimes right out there, other times cloaked in "family values" but the swastikas and white sheets can be seen in the shadows.


Movie Time

When you have a chance, drop in on Sheanc and take a look at this video.

My other blog is functioning again once again.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Borrowing the Blog Briefly Again

My other blog is still down although we can leave comments on the June 22nd entry (8 days old now) that is visible and I'll get them. I can still post and it can be read on bloglines.

For my friends who don 't know, my husband was out of hospital for two days but I had to take him back earlier this evening. More chest pains and dizziness. I have to be home with the girls and I'm hanging out at the computer waiting to hear something.

I'll try to get back to the political front soon but I just zapped all my today's email and I'm picking up my news catch as catch can. Oops - not my personal email of course. Just didn't try to read all the news. It's been a busy few days.

Great news about Guantanamo and the Supreme Court. I tried to post it early this morning but blogger wasn't cooperating.


U.S. Panel Endorses Routine Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Girls - Cancer - MSN Health & Fitness

Granny recently posted on this vaccine, and the objections of the Religious Right claiming that removing the fear of cancer would encourage teen sexual activity. I do not think most teens even know about the virus and fear of contacting cancer would not be a deterrent to pre-marital sex. Pregnancy and STDs are very well known consequences of illicit sex and yet the knowledge of these possibilities has not eradicated teen sex.

This is a great break through for women.

Would you have your young daughter vaccinated?


The Religious Right and fellow radicals, including those in the White House and on the Hill in Washington, are wiping out gains made in Women's Rights the past few decades. Ostensibly promoting a program to reduce unwed pregnancies and STDs, they push the total abstinence practise. Realistically, they have a point: total abstinence is indeed quite effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs. But how do you enforce total sexual abstinence?

Why, by placing the burden on the "weaker sex", ofcourse. Since girls "do not like sex" and boys' sexual urges are "uncontrollable", it is up to the girls [and by extension, the women??] to avoid dress and behavior that might tempt the boys, and to maintain control of their interactions because the boys "can't help themselves".

So, if it is the girls' responsibility to prevent sexual urges from getting out of hand, is it then the girls' fault when they do, when there is assault, acquaintance or stranger rape? Will we hear once again a full fledged revival of that old attitude that still survives to a certain extent : what was she wearing? what did she say or do to bring this on? how did she lead him on? was she a p**** teaser? In other words, blame the woman, excuse the man.

This was the prevailing attitude when I was a young woman; when my mother was young; when my grandmother was young. After a brief few decades of granting men strength of character to control themselves, the radical Christians bring us back to it again. Evil Eve, poor little helpless, innocent Adam. Hims couldn't help his wittle self, him's urges were uncontrollable. By blaming the girls/women, it absolves boys/men of all responsibility and in effect, offers carte blanche for sexual predation. I say Bull Biscuits!! Men are not animals in rut; unlike animals, they have reason, will, moral standards, strength of character.

The radical Christians want girls to remain "pure" until marriage, as do the Muslims. Ultimately they want women to remain in the home, not in the work place. Hello, June Cleaver. Which is great if that is a mutual decision between husband and wife; it is a crock of it if it is enforced by the church or the government.

Read this article and pay close attention to the trend of the lessons they try to teach, the subtle way our young are being brainwashed, as the radical Christians move to place females under complete domination of males. Abstinence Double Standard Threatens Girls' Health

Help !! Update

I was trying to make one small change to granny a few minutes ago and must have zigged when I should have zagged.

Most of the blog disappeared along with most of the template code?

Anybody have any ideas?


One of my blogging friends from granny has restored it back through 6-22 so at least I can post and I didn't lose the blogroll. I don't know if he can save the archives. He's still looking at it.

Oops. I can't post. My posts will show up on bloglines I think but not on the blog.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There's Nothing I Can Add to This

Thanks to Pissed off Patricia. It expands on what I wrote yesterday and says it much better.

Lies, Deaths, and Hell

It’s not about Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s not about Conservatives vs. Liberals. It’s really about honest America. The truth is what every American should be fighting for today.

Yesterday the Democrats held a hearing about pre-war intelligence. C-span carried the hearing in it’s entirety early this morning and I became mesmerized by what I heard. Bottom line, it appeared to me, is that our worst fears and thoughts are true. This war was cooked up by the vice president and his neocon friends. I know, I know, we’ve been saying that all along, but now we know that it’s true. The evidence is ample and it stings like hell. Our country, America, is guilty of a deadly crime. I don’t know if laws were broken, although it would seem so, but I do know that an awful lot of people have lost their lives as a result of lies being told by the highest officials of our country. Yes, they knew they were lies at the time they told them.

Forget your party affiliation, forget about flag burning or gay marriage for a moment. Just sit back and think about what has happened to our country over the past five years. If you cuss or if you weep, then you know you see it all for what it has been. It’s all been lies and more lies. We have been pawns in the worst and most deadly chess game our country has ever participated in, in our lifetime.

May the gates of hell open wide and may all those who were involved in this tragic arena of lies and deception walk straight in. They deserve nothing less.


Monday, June 26, 2006

I Forgot to Title This

Normally I just post links but, in this case, I'm posting the article in its entirety.

Note: David asked for the link. I sent it to him, but also added it here. Click on the title.

I'm as guilty as the next at calling Dubya an incompetent (among other, less printable things) and I'll probably continue to do so. Nevertheless, this essay makes some points we'd all do well to remember.

Bush Is Not Incompetent

by The Rockridge Institute

Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush’s “failures” and label him and his administration as incompetent. Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush’s disasters — Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit — are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a failure of execution. Rather, they are the natural, even inevitable result of his conservative governing philosophy. It is conservatism itself, carried out according to plan, that is at fault.

by George Lakoff, Marc Ettlinger and Sam Ferguson
(c)The Rockridge Institute, 2006 (We invite the free distribution of this piece)

Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush's "failures" and label him and his administration as incompetent. For example, Nancy Pelosi said “The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader." Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush’s disasters — Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit — are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a failure of execution. Rather, they are the natural, even inevitable result of his conservative governing philosophy. It is conservatism itself, carried out according to plan, that is at fault. Bush will not be running again, but other conservatives will. His governing philosophy is theirs as well. We should be putting the onus where it belongs, on all conservative office holders and candidates who would lead us off the same cliff.

To Bush’s base, his bumbling folksiness is part of his charm — it fosters conservative populism. Bush plays up this image by proudly stating his lack of interest in reading and current events, his fondness for naps and vacations and his self-deprecating jokes. This image causes the opposition to underestimate his capacities — disregarding him as a complete idiot — and deflects criticism of his conservative allies. If incompetence is the problem, it’s all about Bush. But, if conservatism is the problem, it is about a set of ideas, a movement and its many adherents.

The idea that Bush is incompetent is a curious one. Consider the following (incomplete) list of major initiatives the Bush administration, with a loyal conservative Congress, has accomplished:

* Centralizing power within the executive branch to an unprecedented degree
* Starting two major wars, one started with questionable intelligence and in a manner with which the military disagreed
* Placing on the Supreme Court two far-right justices, and stacking the lower federal courts with many more
* Cutting taxes during wartime, an unprecedented event
* Passing a number of controversial bills such as the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Medicare Drug bill, the Bankruptcy bill and a number of massive tax cuts
* Rolling back and refusing to enforce a host of basic regulatory protections
* Appointing industry officials to oversee regulatory agencies
* Establishing a greater role for religion through faith-based initiatives
* Passing Orwellian-titled legislation assaulting the environment — “The Healthy Forests Act” and the “Clear Skies Initiative” — to deforest public lands, and put more pollution in our skies
* Winning re-election and solidifying his party’s grip on Congress

These aren’t signs of incompetence. As should be painfully clear, the Bush administration has been overwhelmingly competent in advancing its conservative vision. It has been all too effective in achieving its goals by determinedly pursuing a conservative philosophy.

It’s not Bush the man who has been so harmful, it’s the conservative agenda.

The Conservative Agenda

Conservative philosophy has three fundamental tenets: individual initiative, that is, government’s positive role in people’s lives outside of the military and police should be minimized; the President is the moral authority; and free markets are enough to foster freedom and opportunity.

The conservative vision for government is to shrink it – to “starve the beast” in Conservative Grover Norquist’s words. The conservative tagline for this rationale is that “you can spend your money better than the government can.” Social programs are considered unnecessary or “discretionary” since the primary role of government is to defend the country’s border and police its interior. Stewardship of the commons, such as allocation of healthcare or energy policy, is left to people’s own initiative within the free market. Where profits cannot be made — conservation, healthcare for the poor — charity is meant to replace justice and the government should not be involved.

Given this philosophy, then, is it any wonder that the government wasn’t there for the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Conservative philosophy places emphasis on the individual acting alone, independent of anything the government could provide. Some conservative Sunday morning talk show guests suggested that those who chose to live in New Orleans accepted the risk of a devastating hurricane, the implication being that they thus forfeited any entitlement to government assistance. If the people of New Orleans suffered, it was because of their own actions, their own choices and their own lack of preparedness. Bush couldn’t have failed if he bore no responsibility.

The response to Hurricane Katrina — rather, the lack of response — was what one should expect from a philosophy that espouses that the government can have no positive role in its citizen’s lives. This response was not about Bush’s incompetence, it was a conservative, shrink-government response to a natural disaster.

Another failure of this administration during the Katrina fiasco was its wholesale disregard of the numerous and serious hurricane warnings. But this failure was a natural outgrowth of the conservative insistence on denying the validity of global warming, not ineptitude. Conservatives continue to deny the validity of global warming, because it runs contrary to their moral system. Recognizing global warming would call for environmental regulation and governmental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regulation is a perceived interference with the free-market, Conservatives’ golden calf. So, the predictions of imminent hurricanes — based on recognizing global warming — were not heeded. Conservative free market convictions trumped the hurricane warnings.

Our budget deficit is not the result of incompetent fiscal management. It too is an outgrowth of conservative philosophy. What better way than massive deficits to rid social programs of their funding?

In Iraq, we also see the impact of philosophy as much as a failure of execution.

The idea for the war itself was born out of deep conservative convictions about the nature and capacity of US military force. Among the Project for a New American Century’s statement of principles (signed in 1997 by a who’s who of the architects of the Iraq war — Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby among others) are four critical points:

* we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future
* we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values
* we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad
* we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Implicit in these ideas is that the United States military can spread democracy through the barrel of a gun. Our military might and power can be a force for good.

It also indicates that the real motive behind the Iraq war wasn’t to stop Iraq’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, but was a test of neoconservative theory that the US military could reshape Middle East geo-politics. The manipulation and disregard of intelligence to sell the war was not incompetence, it was the product of a conservative agenda.

Unfortunately, this theory exalts a hubristic vision over the lessons of history. It neglects the realization that there is a limit to a foreign army’s ability to shape foreign politics for the good. Our military involvement in Vietnam, Lebanon, the Philippines, Cuba (prior to Castro) and Panama, or European imperialist endeavors around the globe should have taught us this lesson. Democracy needs to be an organic, homegrown movement, as it was in this country. If we believe so deeply in our ideals, they will speak for themselves and inspire others.

During the debate over Iraq, the conservative belief in the unquestioned authority and moral leadership of the President helped shape public support. We see this deference to the President constantly: when Conservatives call those questioning the President’s military decisions “unpatriotic”; when Conservatives defend the executive branch’s use of domestic spying in the war on terror; when Bush simply refers to himself as the “decider.” “I support our President” was a common justification of assent to the Iraq policy.

Additionally, as the implementer of the neoconservative vision and an unquestioned moral authority, our President felt he had no burden to forge international consensus or listen to the critiques of our allies. “You’re with us, or you’re against us,” he proclaimed after 9/11.

Much criticism continues to be launched against this administration for ineptitude in its reconstruction efforts. Tragically, it is here too that the administration’s actions have been shaped less by ineptitude than by deeply held conservative convictions about the role of government.

As noted above, Conservatives believe that government’s role is limited to security and maintaining a free market. Given this conviction, it’s no accident that administration policies have focused almost exclusively on the training of Iraqi police, and US access to the newly free Iraqi market — the invisible hand of the market will take care of the rest. Indeed, George Packer has recently reported that the reconstruction effort in Iraq is nearing its end (“The Lessons of Tal Affar,” The New Yorker, April 10th, 2006). Iraqis must find ways to rebuild themselves, and the free market we have constructed for them is supposed to do this. This is not ineptitude. This is the result of deep convictions over the nature of freedom and the responsibilities of governments to their people.

Finally, many of the miscalculations are the result of a conservative analytic focus on narrow causes and effects, rather than mere incompetence. Evidence for this focus can be seen in conservative domestic policies: Crime policy is based on punishing the criminals, independent of any effort to remedy the larger social issues that cause crime; immigration policy focuses on border issues and the immigrants, and ignores the effects of international and domestic economic policy on population migration; environmental policy is based on what profits there are to be gained or lost today, without attention paid to what the immeasurable long-term costs will be to the shared resource of our environment; education policy, in the form of vouchers, ignores the devastating effects that dismantling the public school system will have on our whole society.

Is it any surprise that the systemic impacts of the Iraq invasion were not part of the conservative moral or strategic calculus used in pursuing the war?

The conservative war rhetoric focused narrowly on ousting Saddam — he was an evil dictator, and evil cannot be tolerated, period. The moral implications of unleashing social chaos and collateral damage in addition to the lessons of history were not relevant concerns.

As a consequence, we expected to be greeted as liberators. The conservative plan failed to appreciate the complexities of the situation that would have called for broader contingency planning. It lacked an analysis of what else would happen in Iraq and the Middle East as a result of ousting the Hussein Government, such as an Iranian push to obtain nuclear weapons.

Joe Biden recently said, “if I had known the president was going to be this incompetent in his administration, I would not have given him the authority [to go to war].” Had Bush actually been incompetent, he would have never been able to lead us to war in Iraq. Had Bush been incompetent, he would not have been able to ram through hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts. Had Bush been incompetent, he would have been blocked from stacking the courts with right-wing judges. Incompetence, on reflection, might have actually been better for the country.

Hidden Successes

Perhaps the biggest irony of the Bush-is-incompetent frame is that these “failures” — Iraq, Katrina and the budget deficit — have been successes in terms of advancing the conservative agenda.

One of the goals of Conservatives is to keep people from relying on the federal government. Under Bush, FEMA was reorganized to no longer be a first responder in major natural disasters, but to provide support for local agencies. This led to the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Now citizens, as well as local and state governments, have become distrustful of the federal government’s capacity to help ordinary citizens. Though Bush’s popularity may have suffered, enhancing the perception of federal government as inept turned out to be a conservative victory.

Conservatives also strive to get rid of protective agencies and social programs. The deficit Bush created through irresponsible tax cuts and a costly war in Iraq will require drastic budget cuts to remedy. Those cuts, conservatives know, won’t come from military spending, particularly when they raise the constant specter of war. Instead, the cuts will be from what Conservatives have begun to call “non-military, discretionary spending;” that is, the programs that contribute to the common good like the FDA, EPA, FCC, FEMA, OSHA and the NLRB. Yet another success for the conservative agenda.

Both Iraq and Katrina have enriched the coffers of the conservative corporate elite, thus further advancing the conservative agenda. Halliburton, Lockhead Martin and US oil companies have enjoyed huge profit margins in the last six years. Taking Iraq’s oil production off-line in the face of rising international demand meant prices would rise, making the oil inventories of Exxon and other firms that much more valuable, leading to record profits. The destruction wrought by Katrina and Iraq meant billions in reconstruction contracts. The war in Iraq (and the war in Afghanistan) meant billions in military equipment contracts. Was there any doubt where those contracts would go? Chalk up another success for Bush’s conservative agenda.

Bush also used Katrina as an opportunity to suspend the environmental and labor protection laws that Conservatives despise so much. In the wake of Katrina, environmental standards for oil refineries were temporarily suspended to increase production. Labor laws are being thwarted to drive down the cost of reconstruction efforts. So, amidst these “disasters,” Conservatives win again.

Where most Americans see failure in Iraq – George Miller recently called Iraq a “blunder of historic proportions” – conservative militarists are seeing many successes. Conservatives stress the importance of our military — our national pride and worth is expressed through its power and influence. Permanent bases are being constructed as planned in Iraq, and America has shown the rest of the world that we can and will preemptively strike with little provocation. They succeeded in a mobilization of our military forces based on ideological pretenses to impact foreign policy. The war has struck fear in other nations with a hostile show of American power. The conservatives have succeeded in strengthening what they perceive to be the locus of the national interest —military power.

It’s NOT Incompetence

When Progressives shout “Incompetence!” it obscures the many conservative successes. The incompetence frame drastically misses the point, that the conservative vision is doing great harm to this country and the world. An understanding of this and an articulate progressive response is needed. Progressives know that government can and should have a positive role in our lives beyond simple, physical security. It had a positive impact during the progressive era, busting trusts, and establishing basic labor standards. It had a positive impact during the new deal, softening the blow of the depression by creating jobs and stimulating the economy. It had a positive role in advancing the civil rights movement, extending rights to previously disenfranchised groups. And the United States can have a positive role in world affairs without the use of its military and expressions of raw power. Progressives acknowledge that we are all in this together, with “we” meaning all people, across all spectrums of race, class, religion, sex, sexual preference and age. “We” also means across party lines, state lines and international borders.

The mantra of incompetence has been an unfortunate one. The incompetence frame assumes that there was a sound plan, and that the trouble has been in the execution. It turns public debate into a referendum on Bush’s management capabilities, and deflects a critique of the impact of his guiding philosophy. It also leaves open the possibility that voters will opt for another radically conservative president in 2008, so long as he or she can manage better. Bush will not be running again, so thinking, talking and joking about him being incompetent offers no lessons to draw from his presidency.

Incompetence obscures the real issue. Bush’s conservative philosophy is what has damaged this country and it is his philosophy of conservatism that must be rejected, whoever endorses it.

Conservatism itself is the villain that is harming our people, destroying our environment, and weakening our nation. Conservatives are undermining American values through legislation almost every day. This message applies to every conservative bill proposed to Congress. The issue that arises every day is which philosophy of governing should shape our country. It is the issue of our times. Unless conservative philosophy itself is discredited, Conservatives will continue their domination of public discourse, and with it, will continue their domination of politics.


Public Education

I talk a lot about the sorry state of public education on this blog, on granny, and many other places, including my kids' parent teacher conferences. I could devote pages to No Child Left Behind.

Carissa, one of the visitors to granny, blew me away with her post about public education in Indianapolis. It could apply to much of the country and it's well worth reading. Much of her post concerns the drop out rate between the first and last yers of high school.

Coincidentally, while I was typing and listening to the local news, I heard that our Superintendent of Education (CA), wants to add $10,000,000 to the state education budget to help high school kids pass the exit exam.

Why is it all about the exams? What happened to teaching? For that matter, what's happening to education? My oldest granddaughter, then around 13, didn't know where Canada was and didn't know Utah was a state. Frightening.

Thanks Carissa.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Republicans Make Me Sick

Here, from truthout today is a plausible explanation for the Republican stalling tactics on renewal of the Voter Rights Act.

The article begins:

Greg Palast writes, "Don't kid yourself: the Republican party's decision yesterday to "delay" the renewal of the Voting Rights Act has not a darn thing to do with objections of the Republican's white sheets caucus. This is a strategic stall that is meant to decriminalise the Republican party's new game of challenging voters of colour by the hundreds of thousands."

and goes on from there. There are, apparently, no depths to which they will not sink in their attempt to maintain their stranglehold on government.

A plague on them all.



Single Sex Parents

I clicked on a "daddy blog" today while researching an entirely different subject and stumbled across this post.

It was especially interesting to me because it was written from the point of view of a heterosexual, married, father.

He writes eloquently and persuasively about his children's experiences and his own feelings. (His kids don't see single sex parenting as any big deal). Where my rants are usually against the Dobsons and Robertsons of the world, his come from the heart and from common sense. He's saying lighten up folks.


Baghdad Claims 50,000 Dead

Most agree that figure is much too low and that there is no way to provide an accurate count.

An article I posted a few days ago estimated at least 100,000. Whichever is closer, the majority were innocent civilians and it's far too many.

This article from Truthout today breaks down the numbers and how they were achieved.

But, as Tony Snow said so brilliantly when our death count reached 2,500, it's only a number. Right?



Just a Bit of Silliness

The heat is probably getting to me. The following isn't new, West Wing even used a version of it in one of their episodes, but it's still funny. It came from lukku cairi, a commenter on Endorendil's blog,. Endorendil's description of the Ten Commandments is worth reading as well (along with the comments).

an open letter to Dr. Laura

J. Kent Ashcraft

May 2000

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sunset Commission Proposal is Back

Once more Congress is working to eliminate Federal programs that big business doesn't like.

Remember the Sunset Commission? If approved, it will be packed with industry bigwigs and will act in secret to dismantle one program after another.

The proposal may reach the House floor as early as next week.

Here's an excerpt from the Truthout article. The entire article can be found by clicking on the post title.

Apparently rushing to lock in a long-sought goal before the fall elections, GOP congressional leaders may bring to a vote within weeks a proposal that could literally wipe out any federal program that protects public health or the environment - or for that matter civil rights, poverty programs, auto safety, education, affordable housing, Head Start, workplace safety or any other activity targeted by anti-regulatory forces.



Mid-terms Coming Up Soon

The elections, of course. Our opportunity to take back at least one House, preferably to me the Senate.

I'm going to try to get a day away from the kids tomorrow and march in the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. My younger son is already there and my older son, his wife, and new baby have suggested using my larger vehicle (no it's not an SUV - just an extended mini), splitting expense and going down for the day. Sounds like a plan.

Our PFLAG chapter will have matching t-shirts for the occasion and the Fresno chapter will be using a bus if the entire parade route proves too much for this great- granny. The last time I marched was 15 years ago when I still lived in the city.

Then I'll come back here (Merced, CA) and try to help defeat a couple of local issues. I don't hold out a lot of hope but I can at least try. My city is growing without a plan and the results are all too obvious already. Our Mayor and all of the City Council are realtors. There is no competition for public office. It's a smaller version of Boss Tweed.

Which brings me to the mid-terms and this link to a Tom Paine article.

There are many reasons to dedicate ourselves to sending the bigots and the self serving morons into early retirement at our local, state, and federal levels of government. This is one of them. Here are a few others.

They defeated minimum wage once again.
They are trying to eliminate the Voting Rights Act.
Iraq - don't get me started on that one.
Women's reproductive rights? More of a state by state issue for now but the Federal government's stupidity isn't helping.
Education? A joke.
Family values? They don't know the meaning of the word.
The Constitution? Gee, what's that. They are turning this country into a dictatorship through their apathy. Even the Democrats believe that sacrificing our cherished liberty for some nebulous vision of "security" is acceptable.
Social Security, decent medical care, housing, the list goes on - and on.
Corruption throughout including the voting process

We could each make our own lists.

Keep writing. It can't hurt and it might help.



A Welcome Break From Politics and War

Marvelous photos of the creatures with which we share our planet.

Under Animal Tracks, click on "See Slide Show". Then click on #16 for adorable little creatures.

For more, scroll down menu in middle of page column; goes all the way to bottom of page. Numerous slide shows of animals.

AlterNet: Iraq's War Porn

Most Americans are against war in principle but they do not want to read about it nor confront the realities of it.

This post and the one following is a scathing expose of the war and what happens to some of our sons and daughters who are immersed in that environment. This is by no means a condemnation of our troops, but a condemnation of war, the horrors and brutality and its effect on young people exposed to it and to the brainwashing by the military to dehumanize the enemy.

For the record, I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, even as I am appalled by the actions of some.

Iraq's War Porn

We believe the war would end if the media showed more images of the human horrors in Iraq, yet we turn away when they're placed in front of us.

The Iraqi woman's injury from an IED posted at the end of was facetiously titled "toe popper" on the original site. Another photo (not posted) of a man burned so severely he looked like a human shaped log of charcoal was titled "Crispy Critter."

The sight of U.S. troops kicking the heads of decapitated Iraqis around like soccer balls made Army soldier Joshua Key desert to Canada. See: When AWOL is the Only Way Out.

We recoil in horror and ask "how can Americans do such things?" and then comfort ourselves by assuming "it's just a few bad apples." But is it? Ofcourse there are many, many of our troops who do not and would not engage in such callousness, but some do.

Tomgram: David Swanson on War Porn and Iraq

I recommend reading this entire article.

a project of the Nation Institute

Tomgram: David Swanson on War Porn and Iraq

The history of war-atrocity snapshots did not start with the Abu Ghraib screen-savers from hell. After all, photography itself came into being as the industrializing West was imposing its rule on much of the planet. That imposition meant wars of conquest; and such colonial wars, in turn, meant slaughter.
From the moment the wooden sailing ship mounted with canons took to the high seas and Europeans began to seize the coasts of the planet, technological advantage lay with them. When others resisted, as they regularly did, the result was almost invariably an unbalanced slaughter that passed for war. Even in the relatively rare instances when European powers, as at Adowa in Ethiopia in 1896, lost a battle, the casualty figures still tended to run staggeringly in the other direction. In 1898, at the victorious battle of Omdurman, the British, using Maxim machines guns and artillery, famously slaughtered perhaps 11,000 Dervishes, wounding many more, at a cost of 48 British casualties. ("It was not a battle," wrote one observer, "but an execution.")
With the one-sided slaughter their technological advantage in arms (and in the industrial organization of warfare)offered came the presumption by the Europeans, the Americans when they joined the imperial game, and the Japanese when they too leaped in, that there was some deeper kind of superiority -- racial, religious, or civilizational -- at work determining events. And so, above the repetitious fact of slaughter was invariably unfurled a banner with glorious slogans about delivering the benefits of "civilization" (in the French case, literally, the mission civilatrice; in the American case, "democracy") to the ignorant or benighted heathen and barbarians of the backward parts of the planet.
When against such obvious superiority and the benefits that went with it, native peoples "irrationally" resisted their own subjugation, when, against great odds and suffering terrible casualties, they refused to give in and were not wiped away, this naturally confounded expectations. It engendered an incomprehension, sometimes a fury in the troops sent to subject them, who had been assured that their task was an expression of manifest destiny itself. Then, of course, came frustration, resentment, rage, the urge for revenge, in short, the atrocity -- and against such inferior, irrational, inhuman types, it was increasingly something not just to be committed, but to be recorded.
How convenient that the camera was there and ever easier for any common marauding soldier to use. There is, unfortunately, no historian of the trophy war photo (as far as I know), but from the later nineteenth century on, these certainly begin to appear -- Europeans holding Chinese heads aloft after the Boxer Rebellion was crushed by an all-European expeditionary force; the photo albums Japanese soldiers brought back from their imperial (and disastrous) expeditionary campaigns on the Chinese mainland in the 1930s -- those "burn all, kill all, loot all" campaigns against resistant peasants -- with snapshots again of Chinese heads being removed, private records of moments not to be forgotten.
The principle was: Do the barbaric to those already labeled barbarians or "bandits," or "rebels," a principle extended, not surprisingly, to America's imperial wars.
When Vietnam descended into the famed "quagmire," for instance, it also descended into an orgy of atrocities. By the accounts of soldiers, the taking of ears, fingers, even heads was not out of the ordinary. As one soldier described the matter to author Wallace Terry in Bloods, An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, "Well, those white guys would sometimes take the dog-tag chain and fill that up with ears… They would take the ear off to make sure the VC was dead… And to put some notches on they guns. If we were movin' through the jungle, they'd just put the bloody ear on the chain and stick the ear in their pocket and keep going. Wouldn't take time to dry it off. Then when we get back, they would nail ‘em up on the walls of our hootch." Another told Terry that the fourteen ears and fingers "strung on a piece of leather around my neck… symbolized that I'm a killer. And it was, so to speak, a symbol of combat-type manhood."
And the camera, which anyone could use by now, was never far behind. Many of these scenes were snapped and undoubtedly kept, including, as journalist Michael Herr recounted in his classic account of the war Dispatches, shots of severed heads. Some of these photos were disseminated. I remember one of them appearing in the late 1960s in an alternative (or, as they were called then, "underground") paper, of a grinning American soldier holding up a severed Vietnamese head in what could only be called a trophy-hunting pose.
During the settlement and conquest of America and the wars with Native Americans, much was made of the barbarity of the "Indians" for taking scalps of the whites. However, some historical records indicate scalp taking was not a part of Native American culture prior to the wars with the white man, that scalp taking was a practise initiated by the whites. Some whites made tobacco pouches from the tanned, cured scrotal sacs of the Native Americans. Cruel tortures of captured whites was widely reported; the equally cruel tortures and murders of captured natives was kept quiet. Regarding the slaughter of native children we have the infamous remark: "nits make lice."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome New Blogger

Say hi to Ingrid a stay at home mom and new blogger. Dimitri take note; she's originally from the Netherlands. She and I definitely have one thing in common. We both have a houseful of kids and have fallen a little behind on blogging lately. Oh, and we are both involved with two blogs.

She's currently living in Austin, TX which gives her a state, if not a city, in common with Worried American.

I read some of her posts and was hooked. I've added her to our blogroll. The link will take you to one of her blogs. Her other blog is listed in her profile.

When you have a chance, drop in and welcome our newest addition.





Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soldier's Blog from Iraq

This is a blog from a soldier in Iraq. His opinion of the situation.

You can access it at the following url:

My grandson in Iraq says the heat is around 110 to 122 degrees now and expected to go to 130+degrees as summer advances. So heat, sandstorms, attacks from insurgents and crapola from Washington, our military have a bad time which they endure with amazing fortitude. (To see a photo of my grandson and the area he is stationed, click on June archives. He is only one of many.)


To access the photo, log in to the site as : use password: seeitnow; click on login. Photo will be pulled up.
or you can join FREE, using your own email address and password

There are numerous photos available on this site, scroll to bottom and click on numbered pages. Click on any thumbnail to view. Also videos. Other services as described below url. Click on url to see photo One Last Time.


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

They're only numbers, right?

This article from Truthout doesn't need any embellishment from me.

What's in a Number?
By Charlie Anderson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 20 June 2006

One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.
- Joseph Stalin

Though hardly mentioned in mainstream media, this week the Pentagon released notification that three more American soldiers have died in Iraq, bringing the American death toll to 2,500. With the Bush administration's typical Stalinesque callousness, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow glibly dismissed the tragic milestone saying, "It's a number and anytime we reach one of these 500 benchmarks, people want something." To him and the administration, the 2,500 dead and 130,000 Americans currently serving in Iraq are just numbers, numbers that do not include any of his loved ones or the loved ones of anyone serving publicly in the administration. This flippant dismissal cannot lightly brush aside the pain, anguish and utter destruction brought by this war. If the administration truly believes this war can be reduced to mere numbers, perhaps we should consider some statistics left out of Mr. Snow's arrogant, insensitive and inflammatory remarks.

Mr. Snow makes no mention of the estimated 18,490 American troops wounded in Iraq, 8,500 of whom were not able to return to duty. Nor does he mention that this war has created a new medical term, "polytrauma," to describe troops who have been so horribly wounded that they require teams of doctors and scores of nurses to care for them. Mr. Snow makes no mention of the 30% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking mental health care. He makes no mention of the three VA hospitals that will be closed this year as the number of veterans eligible for services skyrockets. Mr. Snow's "number" does not include the 226 of the so-called "coalition of the willing" who have sacrificed their lives in this war, many from countries who have already realized that victory is impossible and disentangled themselves.

Chief among the "people who want something" are the Iraqi people, who have sacrificed more than 4,800 police officers in the line of duty. As many as 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in a war over which they had no control. Thousands more have died or contracted illnesses from the lack of electricity, poor sanitation, and dirty water created by this war. The statistical view also obscures the psychological impact of thirteen years of constant bombing, destroyed buildings, ruined homes, unemployment and utter despair felt by many Iraqis. The majority of Iraqis believe the occupation is destabilizing their country: 64% of Iraqis believe that crime and violent attacks will decrease when American troops are withdrawn, 67% of Iraqis believe that day-to-day security will increase when American troops are withdrawn, and 73% of Iraqis believe that the political process will be more cooperative when American troops are withdrawn.

On his second point, Mr. Snow is right: as Americans begin to feel the impact of this seemingly endless war, we want something. Recent polls show that nearly 50% of us want our troops withdrawn within the next year. Moreover, 72% of troops serving in Iraq believe the war should be ended by December of this year. Perhaps that is because the troops have spent significant time on the streets of Iraq, as opposed to Mr. Snow's one day photo op in the heavily insulated Green Zone.

Mr. Snow is correct - in the literal sense, 2,500 is just a number. But we must never glibly dismiss what that number represents. It represents hundreds of children who will grow up without a parent. It represents thousands of men and women who will not grow old with their spouses, and it represents thousands of grieving parents who will never spend another holiday with their children. It also represents a war that defies logic and ideas of responsible government, by even the most conservative standards. After enduring thousands of pointless deaths, the majority of Americans want what they wanted when the death toll was only 2,499: we want the war to end. The American people want the war to end, the British and other coalition countries want the war to end, the Iraqi people want the war to end, and we want it to end before Mr. Snow is dodging another tragic benchmark.


Charlie Anderson ( served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman with Marine Corps' Second Tank Battalion during the invasion of Iraq. He is the Southeast Regional Coordinator of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Monday, June 19, 2006

2006 - 1973 - Pentagon Takes Giant Step Backward

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexual as a mental disorder.

Now a paper has been uncovered showing that someone, at least, in the Pentagon disagrees. Somehow I'm not surprised.

From the Associated Press via Yahoo News today.

Labels: Re: Abortion Laws

worried american thought you would like to see this page from the web site.

Message from Sender:

They'll say, "Good! Serves her right! She shouldn't have killed her baby." That is the usual reaction of pro-lifers to any tragedy resulting from abortion. Their so-called compassion is reserved for an undeveloped embryo, not an existing person.

Louisiana, Mississippi and South Dakota Should Follow South Africa
by Andrea Lynch

The South African Health Department released some encouraging, but not necessarily surprising, statistics on Thursday: since 1997, when abortion was legalized under broad circumstances in South Africa, deaths from unsafe abortion have gone down an encouraging 91.1 percent. It's a fitting reminder that making abortion illegal doesn't make it stop, it just makes it unsafe. The South African Health Department should send the study to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who have all signed or pledged to sign bills that would all but outlaw safe and legal abortion in their states.

click on "read more" for remainder of article: - A Common Sense Christian Approach to Sexuality

worried american thought you would like to see this page from the web site.

Message from Sender:

FINALLY!! A different Christian approach to sexuality and spirituality!! Demonstrates that not all Christians follow the rabidly radical Christian Coalition, Religious Right, or the Christian Reconstructionists.

Overcoming Religiophobia
by Debra Haffner

The Rev. Debra W. Haffner is the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing.

Rev. Debra HaffnerI went into the ministry following a 25-year career as a sexologist. People are often surprised when I introduce myself as a minister and as a sexologist. But I believe that our sexuality and our spirituality are intimately connected, and that at its foundation, my work in the sexual and reproductive health field, and now my work as a minister, share a common moral vision - to teach people how to treat each other with love, dignity, and respect.

People in the SRH field come to work each day because of our values and because we want to make a difference. In theological terms, we are called to tikkun olam, to save the world - to heal the brokenness that so many suffer around unintended pregnancies, coerced and exploitive sexual experiences, attacks on bodily integrity, soul-numbing denial of one's sexual or gender identity, violence against women and sexual minorities, and children who are not loved or wanted. We believe that injustice and suffering in the world are intolerable and that the work we do empowering people to make and live healthy decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health makes a difference.

Click on link "Read More" for remainder of article:

Top Ten Conservative Idiots

Thanks to Democratic Underground for this list (updated from time to time in their journal).

My only question - how do they limit themselves to ten?


Sunday, June 18, 2006

New Address

Our friend Krupo has moved. He can now be found at

A Counting School

I've updated the Blog Roll.

Update: You must register to comment.


Happy Father's Day

I join Worried American in wishing a Happy Father's Day to all.




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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Federal Minimum Wage

How many of us could raise a family on $5.15/hour? Around $230. gross a week and less than $1,000/month. Before taxes and Social Security. The tax wouldn't be much but Social Security is a killer. It's usually hard, thankless, work for an income below the Federal poverty level.

That number hasn't gone up in ten years while housing costs, including utilities, have skyrocketed. So have the salaries of most CEO's. Depending on the state, these families may or may not be eligible for food stamps and medical care. How do they survive? Many of them don't.

How can this administration talk about "family values" with a straight face?

The Senate will be voting once again next week to raise the minimum wage. Here is a letter I received from John Edwards this morning asking all of us to contact our Senators. My state's minimum wage is higher than the Federal standard but that's not true of many states and some manage through loopholes to avoid even the $5.15 Federal requirement.

Please call or write your Senators (or all of them if you're feeling terribly ambitious) and ask them to support Senators Edwards and Kennedy.


Looking for a Job? Try the CIA

According to Slate today the CIA is actively recruiting in some peculiar ways. Makes sense when I think about it. Peculiar and the CIA belong in the same sentence.

It's an interesting article with links to the CIA websites for adults and children. Yes, I said children.

Who knows. My child could grow up to be the next Maxwell Smart.

Summers with three girls out of school are very busy and I've fallen down a little bit here.

I haven't given up but the 3:00 a.m. nights were beginning to get to me somewhat.

To all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day this Sunday.

And to my husband Ray as well who is the most patient person in the world as he sits and watches me type.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Fwd: Excellent Interview On Depleted Uranium & ABANDONMENT Of Soldiers

An edited email from Chris Gupta. A timely and important interview. WA wrote:
Subject: Excellent Interview On Depleted Uranium & ABANDONMENT Of Soldiers
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 16:59:32 -0400

ADDICTED TO WAR Los Angeles Screening

War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler - Free book on the net

"With 700 military bases around the world, it is no wonder that the biggest employer in the US is the Military. To maintain their hegemony it is imperative that only jobs left (aside form the menial service jobs) be those for the military..."

Extracted from: Fighting Globalism with Common Law

Remember when you support this war machine you are a unwittingly plundering the poor and defenceless! It does not take rocket science to see that they only fight the poor and defenceless and ignore the powerful.
Hi Folks,

Below is a notice regarding an excellent interview on Depleted Uranium and its effects - and the DENIAL of the military, and the ABANDONMENT of the soldiers suffering life-threatening health destruction.

Note: This is the health-hell to which Harper is condemning Canadian military personnel when they are assigned to Afghanistan. They will pay for their stint of "duty" with their lives because they will all return suffering from radiation-induced health devastation from the Depleted Uranium contamination of the entire area.)
[This is written regarding Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan but applies equally to American as well as Canadian troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq....WA]

If you have the computer equipment, download to a CD/DVD and circulate to the politicians, medicos, and educate your friends and acquaintances. This curtain of secrecy must be lifted - and it will only be lifted if WE do it. Every bit of exposure helps - any and every thing that you do HELPS get the word out. Each person can inforn/educate in his/her own circle.



The Piper Report

Wed., June 7, 2006:

Christopher Bollyn speaks with Doug Rokke, and Leuren Moret about the military's use of Depleted Uranium in munitions. Mr. Rokke is the former Director of the US Army Depleted Uranium Project. Ms. Moret is a geophysicist specializing in atmospheric sciences, a nuclear activist, and a former scientist and whistle blower at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.

For the audio go to

Anti-Enlistment Video for Our Children

Is America Burning has posted several times about the government keeping data bases on our school children, setting up military recruitment desks at schools and colleges(they like to sign them up when our sons and daughters are inexperienced and naive). Everyone has seen the recruitment advertisements on TV and they are enticing. The following video is an anti-recruitment song and visual for young people.

I must admit that at my age it is definitely NOT my kind of vid and I had difficulty understanding some of the lyrics, but a test run on a grandson elicited a "Cool, Grandma" seal of approval. (OK, so I'm showing my age). My enjoyment of the vid is not necessary. The important factor is whether or not it dissuades even ONE young person from going like a lamb to the slaughter house of Iraq; if it accomplishes that, I'll say "cool" also.

This is an edited message from Chris Grupta. I usually delete Gupta's emails but this one has merit. Following the vid is a hauntingly beautiful anthem for Vietnam Soldiers by Rita Morrison, with photos from Iraq - affirming that Iraq is today's Vietnam and a timely message. After that is a brief series of statements from Vietnam Vets. An African American vet speaks of calling the Vietnamese "gooks" and he came to realize that "gook is the same thing as nigger". The military continues brainwashing our troops to dehumanize the enemy by calling them derogatory names. The Iraqis suffer a number of insulting names, including "animals". wrote:
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 16:59:32 -0400

Here is a tacit example of "use 'em and spew them" motto that the military, all under the pretense of protecting us continuly feeds us. The unconditional trust by most in the authorities, makes all these deceptions a piece of cake for them. Especially if you have children going gu gu ga ga over careers in the military. Children who have been deluded by the authorities on the real hidden agendas of the war on terrorism. See:

ADDICTED TO WAR Los Angeles Screening

War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler - Free book on the net

What if everyone refused to fight?

Then see this eye opening, well-done clip about saying no to being a soldier in the war machine. click on “click here to start” at the bottom and if you agree, send this to everyone you know. There are extra clips at the end - be sure not to miss.

Chris Gupta

To subscribe / unsubscribe:
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Council Member: Friends of Freedom - Article: Disaster relief firm's 9/11 fraud not prosecuted

Disaster relief firm's 9/11 fraud not prosecuted Once-secret documents obtained by The Associated Press detail how a company went unpunished for Sept. 11 thefts after the government discovered FBI agents and other government officials had stolen artifacts from New York's ground zero.

Even Rumsfield. The government could hardly prosecute him, could it?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 Article: Justices: Cops with warrant don't have to knock


Justices: Cops with warrant don't have to knock Police can use evidence collected with a warrant even if officers fail to knock before rushing into a home, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

And there is no recourse if they erroneously break into YOUR home, handcuff your family and tear your home apart looking for what isn't there. __________________________________________________
Better read this quick. MSN archives quickly as a rule, and their archives are sometimes difficult to access. You might access the archives and type in your search very carefully and succintly, yet their computer comes back with, "Du-u-hhh, I don't know what you're talking about." Frustrating.

So Who's Destroying the Institution of Marriage?

*Subject:* Heterosexual marriage is sacred???

Ronald Reagan - divorced the mother of two of his
children to marry
Nancy Reagan, who bore him a daughter only 7 months
after the marriage.

Bob Dole - divorced the mother of his child, who had
nursed him through
the long recovery from his war wounds.

Newt Gingrich - divorced his wife who was dying of cancer.

Dick Armey - House Majority Leader - divorced

Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas - divorced

Gov. John Engler of Michigan - divorced

Gov. Pete Wilson of California - divorced

George Will - divorced

Sen. Lauch Faircloth - divorced

Rush Limbaugh - Rush and his current wife Marta have
six marriages and
four divorces between them.

Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia - Barr, not yet 50 years old,
has been married
three times. Barr had the audacity to author and push
the "Defense of
Marriage Act."
The current joke making the rounds on Capitol Hill is
"Bob Barr...WHICH
marriage are you defending?!?

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York - divorced

Sen. John Warner of Virginia - divorced (once married
to Liz Taylor.)

Gov. George Allen of Virginia - divorced

Henry Kissinger - divorced

Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho - divorced

Sen. John McCain of Arizona - divorced

Rep. John Kasich of Ohio - divorced

Rep. Susan Molinari of New York - Republican National
Convention Keynote
Speaker - divorced

So ... homosexuals are going to destroy the institution
of marriage?

The Republicans are doing okay all by themselves.

A friend sent me this list and asked me to circulate it; all Republicans of course although in fairness I recognize a couple of moderates among them. It isn't the number of marriages that bothers me; divorce is common and cuts across party lines. I've been married more than once and we could probably compile a similar list by going through a list of Democratic politicians.

It's the hypocrisy. For better or worse, divorce is an epidemic. Why don't we hear more about that? Where is the outrage? Why isn't there an outcry from the religious right for a Constitutional Amendment?

Because the politicians and other public figures would have to look at themselves first. It's far easier to score points with the religious right by supporting an Amendment they know won't get past the Senate. And it's certainly easier to attack a minority. We've had lots of practice with that.

The FMA is dead and will probably remain that way. The religious right knows that. Our fight now is in the states. Domestic partners laws don't go far enough, even in California and we're in danger of losing even that.

It may not be the first item on many of our lists but for me it goes right to the heart of individual freedom and rights. And of course they won't stop with homosexuals. They're much more ambitious than that.


A BRIEF BREAK FROM WAR, POLITICS, SCANDALS the wonderful world of animals. Even though these are predators, they are "honest" predators, simply obeying the law of nature in procuring food; there is no evil in them, unlike the various types of human predators that plague us.
This 23 foot alligator was killed near Athens, Texas. The officer walking behind it is reported to be 6' 5" tall. The local populous was alarmed at the creature strolling about human habitats. Normally, such animals are captured and released in the wild. However, this one proved uncapturable and had to be killed. A pity, but we can understand the necessity of protecting human children, adults and pets from this enormous predator. As you can see, this animal was capable of taking down the adult human behind it. As was this one:
A news helicopter flying over Lake Conroe spotted this 'gator swimming off to lunch on a full grown deer. Lake Conroe is in Houston's back yard and is the site for water recreation: swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, etc. Do not have stats on 'gator's size, but the fact it took down a full grown deer gives an idea.
Texas has enormous alligators; Florida has 'gators AND pythons!

Florida's Python Problem

Note to the public: Do NOT release exotic, non-native animals into the wild. That includes fishes, snails, scorpions, spiders, and hissing cockroaches, all of which have caused ecological damage in the U.S. Many native species have been decimated due to non-native creatures introduced into their environment. In the case of predatory snakes, alligators, and crocodiles, they grow quite large , invade human areas, eat pets and present a danger to people as well as the prey victims in the wild. How would you like to find in your pool or patio someone's former reptilian pet now grown in excess of 20' and outweighing you? The animals do not know that humans and pets are not on the approved menu; to them, it's just lunch, tasty morsels. Bush's Blind Embarrassment

Legally blind journalist takes presidential comment in good grace. The President chides in public; apologizes in private.

Bush's Blind Embarrassment - brief video

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

IT'S HURRICANE SEASON AGAIN.-Hurricane news next 4 posts. Be Sure to Check Out Granny's Post Below These For a Positive Blog!!

It's that time of year again and Florida just dodged the bullet as Alberto opened the season with a small salvo. Those of us in the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard states are not deceived, however. We wait, warily.

West Coasters, California and the Pacific Northwest do not experience hurricanes. The waters along that coast are too cool to nuture those storms. Southern California has received remnants of hurricanes moving northward from Baja California; in 1976 Kathleen dumped 6" - 12" rain in California's central and southern mountains, virtually destroying the town of Ocotillo by flooding.

However, our West Coast citizens do not escape devastating storms. They merely are not tropical in their formations. Ann and our other California bloggers can attest to the intense rain storms and subsequent flooding they experience, often accompanied by destructive land slides, a terrible sight to watch on TV.

The Eastern or Atlantic seaboard catches more than their share of hurricanes, although the cold waters past New England are not friendly to these storms. An unusual Category 5 hurricane did strike New England in 1938; but compensating for the dearth of warm water hurricanes, our northerly cousins have their Northeasters ( as in The Perfect Storm, a real wooly booger).

New York City is very vulnerable to terrible flooding and destruction if a major hurricane strikes it directly and storm surge moves into the harbor and inland.
All states bordering the coastal areas and even far inland are subject to severe weather and flooding even after the hurricanes have lost strength. The humid air pushed before them spawn thunderstorms and tornadoes.

A changing climate affects the formation and strength of all these storms and it is possible that they will increase in severity. Lest our Midstates feel left out, remember, climate also affects the tornadoes and vicious thunderstorms you experience.

The weather people predict an increase in hurricanes and in their severity in the coming years, and their predictions for the 2006 season are not encouraging.

So even if you do not live in a coastal area, weather and climate still affect you.
It's time for a cautious heads up, just in case. Remember the Boy Scouts' motto: "Always Be Prepared". Better to be prepared and not need it, than to need it and not be prepared.

New Orleans Becomes Less African American and More Hispanic

New Orleans Becomes More Hispanic
CBS News Online

I have no objection to decent, hard working folks traveling to where jobs are available. For many years my husband traveled to far off lands to work in the petro-chemical industry, so going to different locations to work is a familiar thing to me.

My only objection are the illegals coming here when our own citizens need the work and cannot get it because of outsiders, as the african-american man said in the article. Our people have suffered enough, their homes destroyed, businesses where they used to work destroyed, no way to support their families, and when work becomes available, they cannot get hired on because of illegals.

Some of the refugees were located near my eldest daughter's home and she became acquainted with them. One of the men had a station wagon so several of them pooled their scant funds to go back to New Orleans for work when the cleanup and construction opened up. They planned to live in the station wagon if necessary. After 10 days, their money exhausted, they returned. They said the same thing the african-american man said above -- hispanics were hired over them. People along the devastated areas whose jobs were destroyed complained of the same thing. That is NOT RIGHT!!

I sympathize with people south of the border who want to earn more than they can in their own countries, but OUR POOR and DEVASTATED CITIZENS NEED JOBS TOO!! Inlanders have no concept of what our Gulf Coast citizens have suffered and continue to suffer. I believe in humanitarianism but I also believe we must take care of our OWN first.

Immediately after the catastrophes, Bush burbled about suspending the minimum wage act and inviting hispanics to come and work ---thus allowing contractors to up their profits by paying immigrants a lesser wage, exploiting the hispanics, and kicking hungry citizens in the teeth. He said the job of restoring New Orleans might take up to five years. If a people stay in one area for 5 years, they aren't likely to leave; they will have put down roots.

Too many of New Orleans black citizens cannot return; their neighborhoods will not be rebuilt. As one loud mouthed Republican jerk in our community said, "Wa-a-all, the Big Easy got rid of most of them sorry ass welfare niggers, so now they can get some hard working Meskins instead." Seems like some of the want-to-be- hard working "niggers" get the short end of it again.

So it goes. Corporate Fascism is alive and well in America and citizens can just suck it up.

Rita-hit Texas town has nothing left to lose

Rita-hit Texas town has nothing left to lose There's not much left for another hurricane to destroy in Sabine Pass, Texas, nine months after Rita plowed into the community of shrimpers, port hands and refinery workers.


Sabine Pass represents dozens of other small Gulf Coast towns and hamlets basically left out of the loop for Federal Aid post- Katrina/Rita destruction. They feel abandoned by the government -- and they are. There is no help for the working poor and the elderly who could not afford home insurance and are left with no resources to rebuild. Now the ones who did get FEMA trailers as temporary housing are faced with losing them, as "tick-tock, time's up" from FEMA. What will they do? Where will they go? How will they survive? Who gives a damn? Not BushCo; they have wars to waste money on and can't be bothered by citizens' needs.

After all, according to Bush, God blesses the good and does not bless the bad. Therefore, the good are blessed with riches, and the bad are not blessed, so are poor. Ergo, the poor are poor because of their own bad character and it is up to them to take care of themselves. The YOYO policy : You're On Your Own.

God Bless America. Article: FEMA fraud paid for football, vacations, erotica

FEMA fraud paid for football, vacations, erotica The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found. __________________________________________________
FEMA personnel are not entirely to blame. Due to the magnitude of the Katrina/Rita catastrophes, there were insufficient trained personnel to handle the tremendous workload associated with the various aspects of relief work. So FEMA contracted with civilians to work for them and handle caseloads. These people received a few hours or a day's training at most and were sent out to process claims. Many were simply too ignorant of procedures to process correctly.

Many legitimate hurricane victims complained bitterly about being denied aid. But as the above article reveals, all too many fraudulent claims were granted.
But while investigating frauds perpetrated by citizens, how about investigating the frauds and abuses perpetrated by businesses and corporations? Some of the no-bid contracts were awarded to (you'll never guess) Haliburton, Fluor, and Bechtel.

Corp Watch: Big Easy Iraqi-Style Contracts Flood New Orleans
US NoBid Contracts Win Katrina Work

And then, what happened? It is no surprise. Same thing happened in Iraq

(The CBS url posted here previously is no longer valid. This site has the same article)
That's taxpayer money, folks, YOUR money, into their pockets. What is surprising is that this originally came from mainstream media, CBS !

Army Corps Admits Design Flaws in New Orleans Levees

"...[Katrina's] power over the Gulf of Mexico had created the largest ocean surge to ever hit North America... ."

"The surges along the Gulf Coast reached 28 feet, and waves of 14 feet came on top of the surges, creating a 42-feet wall of water. The ocean level was uplifted by a drastic fall in the barometric pressure... ."

42 feet is higher than a 4 story building. Can you imagine seeing that wall of water bearing down on your city, your town, your hamlet? Aside from an outpouring of compassion, in-landers do not worry much about hurricanes. You should. Even though hurricanes lose strength as they move inland, they often carry destructive rain storms far inland, spawning floods and tornadoes.

Hurricanes carry huge amounts of very humid air far inland to feed heavy rain storms and destruction. One Texas hurricane followed evacuees into central Texas, on to Oklahoma and northward. Another Gulf Coast hurricane went north with a vengeance, spawning storms all the way to Maine. Atlantic Coast hurricanes carry rain storms inland, flooding and tornadoes.

Hurricanes and severe storms and their fallout are no respecter of state lines nor geographical locations.

Army Corps Admits Design Flaws in New Orleans Levees

Its report says the defects were to blame for most of the flooding and damage from Katrina.

By Ralph Vartabedian
Times Staff Writer

June 2 2006

NEW ORLEANS ; The Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged Thursday that design defects in the levees protecting New Orleans caused the majority of flooding during Hurricane Katrina and that the disaster would almost certainly trigger reforms in how the federal government protected the American public.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,3385244.story

And just where are those reforms today? No-bid contractors get richer on self serving jobs and New Orleans, one of the nation's most important port cities, lies un-reconstructed and still vulnerable to even a small hurricane, far less another massive one like Katrina. And yet, most climatologists aver that more destructive hurricanes will be a continuing pattern.

Nero is alleged to have fiddled while Rome burned. It is a fact that our government plays war and international corporate enrichment while America burns. A thousand fires beset our nation and AMERICA IS BURNING.

Visit at http://www.latimes.com______________________________________

How did it happen?

ANATOMY OF CATASTROPHE - interactive graphics . click on to start. Give graphics time to develope.A window of text opens explaining the events. Some slides have 2 windows, so wait for them. Click forward arrow to advance to next slide.


So now with a new season upon us, what else is in store?