Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you

My good friend skippy has this about the passing of Molly Ivins:
sadly, molly succumbed to her illness at 62 years of age. msnbc:

more than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist-toned humor. ivins’ illness did not seem to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

“i’m sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person,” she said in an interview with the san antonio express-news in september, the same month cancer claimed her friend former gov. ann richards.

Sadly, he also has this:
slightly-related but disgusting: oh those hate-filled liberals in the blogosphere. why can't they learn how to be civil, like the conservatives. here's just a few of comments found on the message board at msnbc's piece on molly:

i'm glad she is dead. that "thing" did nothing but spew the same old worn out left wing slogans.

the world is now a better place. oh when will cancer take care of hillary?!?!

a sad case -- she couldn't help being ugly and stupid, but she could have kept her mouth shut and her fingers off the keyboard. good riddance.

all that liberal anger and rage against those not like her neocommunist self decayed molly from the inside out. hate kills.

you see molly, when you are so full of hate, the cheap way you attacked the president, no wonder you got cancer.

the world is a better place without this vile witch!sorry that she died of cancer, but i'd have to make the observation that there is now one less whining, bleating liberal.


I dare anyone, anywhere, to find this level of hate anywhere in the loberal bloggersphere. This is what passes for snark in the Right-Wing world. This kind of shit!


To read Molly at her best, read this:

You think you've got the right, but I think you've got it wrong

Mickey Kaus gets it right:
the Matthews producers seem to think that gathering five journalists who all agree about Bush, the "surge," and pretty much every other topic makes for a lively dialogue. ...

But then sadly, he gets it wrong:

Unionism Is Too the Problem: Labor costs--and specifically work rules--are part of what's killing all the unionized auto manufacturers while their non-unionized competitors thrive building cars in the U.S., according to CNN Money. The famous $1,400/car health care burden is only a piece of it:

Other labor costs add to the bill. Contract issues like work rules, line relief and holiday pay amount to $630 per vehicle - costs that the Japanese don't have. And paying UAW members for not working when plants are shut costs another $350 per vehicle.

Some of the U.S. automaker's problems may be because of this:

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally vigorously defended on Thursday the automaker's decision to consider giving salaried workers a bonus based on their accomplishments in 2006.

The move came under fire after Ford posted its worst annual result and is struggling to execute its Way Forward restructuring plan.

Why not compensate values executives? Because they are idiots. This is dated today:
The head of Ford Motor Co.'s money-losing North American operations on Thursday told employees that he had given up use of a corporate jet for personal travel, an expensive benefit that had come under fire.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, had been granted personal use of a company jet under the terms of an employment contract signed when he took over responsibility for Ford's restructuring in late 2005.

So only after the greatest losses in company history does the president give up his Lear jet.

From the same article:
Ford lost $7 billion during the first nine months of 2006 and further losses are forecast in the October-December period quarter and beyond.

By Ford's own estimate, its North American unit will lose money until 2009 and run through $17 billion cash in the next three years.

Yet the workers are penalized.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!

Hillary finally gets it almost right:
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton blamed President Bush on Saturday for misusing authority given him by Congress to act in Iraq, but conceded "I take responsibility" for her role in allowing that to happen.

About damned time.
"There are no do-overs in life," Clinton said. She says Congress received bad information going into the vote and that she would have voted differently given what she knows now.


Come on all a'you big strong men, Uncle Sam needs your help again

My favorite Right Wing Nut lays a big one today. First comes the bait:
I was too young for the May Day protest against the Viet Nam War held in Washington, D.C. in 1971. My friends and I talked about going for weeks prior to the event, seeing ourselves as something as a cross between Che Guevara and Abbie Hoffman.

(April 1967 war protest rally)
. . . Those not alive at the time cannot fathom the depth of feeling engendered by the anti-war movement. It was magical, powerful, uplifting, and joyous. We thought we were changing the world. We thought we were ushering in a new era of democracy.

But now comes the switch:
What we didn’t know was that the gimlet eyed radicals who were really in charge of the anti-war movement could have cared less about us, about the United States, or about the war for that matter. They wanted to use the anti-war movement to sweep the old guard from power and install like minded socialists in government.

. . . I know what I would do if I actually believed the United States was in danger of slipping into some kind of authoritarian, anti-Constitutional nightmare. And it wouldn’t be sitting at this keyboard trying to come up with cleverest way to skewer my political opponent. And I know I wouldn’t be alone either. The fact is, the left is not blessed with any special insights into what evil George is trying to do to the Constitution. They are a small, pitiful minority of paranoid, self aggrandizing mountebanks who are courageous when it comes to calling people names but abject cowards when it comes to actually standing up for their beliefs and putting iron behind their words of change.

What a load of crap. "I was against the war before I was for it"!

First, no one on the right is doing any street action at all. Maybe there are still a few über-patriotic misfits standing on a few corners waving "Support The Troops" signs. But nothing of any significance.

(CNN/AP image)

But because we don't shout loud enough to satisfy your perverse sense of proportion, we are "unserious". Because 75% of the electorate sides with us, we are "unserious". Because everything your guy has done, supported by the entirety of the Republican Pity Party hasn't worked, we are not worthy.

The logic fails, your ideals fail, you utterly fail in an attempt to paint us as weak:
As it stands now, you’re all just a bunch of intellectual exhibitionists with as much commitment to ending the war and saving democracy as my pet cat Aramas.

And since you don't believe " the United States was in danger of slipping into some kind of authoritarian, anti-Constitutional nightmare", you do just sit in front of your keyboard and write oh-so-serious crap like this.

You would hate and have no respect for the left no matter what we did, whether we blogged, or protested in numbers large enough to meet your flexible standards for importance.
And I know I wouldn’t be alone either.

Dude, other than your brethern and cistern(intentional sic) in the Right Wing Wankosphere, you are pretty much alone.

Bastard. Poor, deluded bastard.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Shining star for you to see

From ¡El Gato Negro! at Online Blogintegrity, here is the latest in the Spocko v. Disney kerfuffle, set in Star Trek scenes with Alexander Courage's famous theme:

You better learn to play guitar, Part 1

It's all TRex's fault. He posted a piece at Firedoglake tonight using lyrics and music from John Mayer, and that got me thinking, as I commented over there.

I was pretty ambivalent about Mayer until I saw him on the Grammy's a few years ago (full disclosure: I'm a voting member of the Recording Academy). He did one of his songs 'unplugged', just voice and a small body Martin guitar. I said "Holy crap, the kid can play".

The thing is, there are and have been several well known singer-songwriters who are less well known for excellent guitar chops.

Here's Vince Gill showing state-of-the-art Telecaster skills:

And here's Mayer with Brad Paisley, another stellar country player:

Here's Paisley in concert:

As long as we're in a country mode, here's a great player that may surprise some of you-Glen Campbell:

Glen again. This really shows his guitar technique:

But it isn't just the rock and country players, it also the jazz greats. Anyone remember George Benson? He did much more than "Breezin'" and "Masquerade":

And here's George playing Brubeck:

More later, in part 2.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Life is secure with lady jane

Our friend Jane is, as she says, back in the blog saddle today, and in great spirits.

Some of us bloggers here in L.A. have organized some pretty well attended get-togethers, including one that Jane and Pam & I organized at our house in Aug., 2005 that Jane called Kobepalooza.

This picture is from a party at Brian (Ain't No Bad Dude) Linse's house. L to R are: Jane, the back of RJ (Nightlight, HuffPo, skippy & C & L) Eskow's head, David (Fablog) Ehrenstein, Janet Eskow's head, the amazing Leah (Corrente), and Jillian "Cookie Jill" (Cookies in Heaven, skippy) Johnson. And of course, front and center is Kobe the Wonderpooch.

Friendships were established and nurtured, and a sense of community was felt. We all learned from the experience of sharing ideas with really talented and bright writers, and other great folks. From these and other meetings, several of us became front pagers at other blogs: Jane, RJ, John Amato & I at HuffPo, RJ at C & L, me at Corrente, and many more. True friends were found and cherished, and together and separately hopefully we can help change the world.

This is a belated New Year's Wish of hope & joy to blog friends, other friends, and friends I haven't met yet.


While my guitar gently . . .

Growing up in the '50s, my family was conservative, Eisenhower conservative. Decent, hard working folks living the American Dream.

So exposure to rock'n'roll and solid body electric guitars was pretty minimal. We watched Your Hit Parade:

Your Hit Parade was a popular American radio and television program, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes and broadcast from 1935 to 1955 on radio and telecast from 1950 to 1959. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups.

We also watched Lawrence Welk:
Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, bandleader, and television impresario. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music."

It was on Welk's show that I was first exposed to the magic new world of the solid body electric guitar. Rickenbacker, Bigsby, Les Paul, & Fender all had a hand in its development. But Fender made it a household word:

Fender is particularly important because of its role in bringing solid body electric guitars to the masses. Fender offered the first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar, the Telecaster (originally named the 'Broadcaster', 'Esquire' is a single pickup version); the first mass-produced electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass); and the enormously popular Stratocaster (Strat) guitar.

Here are Buddy Merrill & Neil Levang of the Lawrence Welk Show rocking on Fender Stratocasters:

Here's another satisfied solid body user:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

This boogie man will get you

Actor Isaiah Washington is in trouble over words:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Isaiah Washington, who does the healing as a doctor on "Grey's Anatomy," is the patient now.

He's in therapy for his use of an anti-gay slur against a castmate.

"With the support of my family and friends, I have begun counseling. I regard this as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again," Washington said in a statement Wednesday. "I appreciate the fact that I have been given this opportunity and I remain committed to transforming my negative actions into positive results, personally and professionally."

Washington took a break from filming Tuesday to meet with gay rights activists and offer help in educating the public about the cruelty of such words, an offer the activists called sincere.

Whether Washington was receiving outpatient counseling or had entered a facility was not specified, and the statement did not indicate whether he would miss work on the show.

I'm sure he remembers this word:

The Spanish word negro originates from the Latin word niger, meaning black. In English, negro or neger became negar and finally nigger, most likely under influence of French nègre (also derived from the Latin niger).

In Colonial America, Neger (sometimes spelled "neggar") prevailed in northern New York under the Dutch and also in Philadelphia, in its Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch communities. For example, the African Burial Ground in New York City was originally known as "Begraaf Plaats van de Neger."

In the United States, the word nigger was not always considered derogatory, but was used by some as merely denotative of black, as it was in other parts of the English-speaking world. In nineteenth-century literature, there are many uses of the word nigger with no intended negative connotation. Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad (who published The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' in 1897) used the word without racist intent. Mark Twain often put the word into the mouths of his Southern characters, white and black, but did not use the word when speaking in his own voice in his autobiographical Life on the Mississippi.

I'm just saying . . .

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The chains are locked and tied across the door, Part II

Here's an update about the First Congregation Church in Long Beach, CA, that I wrote about a few days ago:
LONG BEACH - It's become something of an annual rite of winter. The temperatures drop and homeless residents bed down near the First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach.

For each of the last two years, the city has warned the church at 241 Cedar Ave. that it is a violation of municipal and penal codes to allow the homeless to camp out on church property and asked it to "abate the nuisance" or face the possibility of daily fines of up to $1,000 per day.

Last year, the church acquiesced.

This year, however, Rev. Jerry Stinson has decided he will not comply, arguing the city is trying to abridge the church's ability to fulfill its mission and practice its faith.

"The real issue isn't the homeless; it's a state and church issue," Stinson says. "Administering to the homeless is a vital part of our religion."

. . .

"I didn't intend for this to be about homeless people," Castillo said. "I'm trying to make things better for everyone."

Stinson is not convinced. He says there have been no crimes committed on church property and that custodians clean the area daily. He added he is willing to discuss installing portable toilets in an unobtrusive location on church property.

However, he doesn't plan to stop allowing the homeless to camp out.

The church has a history of working with the homeless and the poor downtown.

In 2004, the city's winter emergency homeless shelter was housed in the basement of the church. In past years, the church has also housed a "rainy day shelter" during inclement weather and each week the church hosts a Sunday drop-in center and feeding that 150 to 400 homeless attend.

Parishioners at the church back Stinson. On Jan. 7, Stinson delivered a sermon about the issue in which he vowed to fight the city and was greeted with a standing ovation, according to the church secretary.

Excellent work, Rev. Stinson.

Here's how Rev. Stinson ends his greeting on the church web site:

The First Congregational Church is a vibrant and exciting faith community located in the heart of downtown Long Beach. There's a place for you here. Come and join us.


Jerry Stinson, Senior Minister


Sunday, January 21, 2007

The chains are locked and tied across the door

In the effort to fight the homeless problem, Long Beach, CA, authorities have gone after a Congregational minister for trying to . . . fight the homeless problem:
Inviting a confrontation with city officials, the senior pastor at a venerable Long Beach church vowed Friday to defy a prosecutor's order that he block homeless people from sleeping on the steps and grounds of his church.

Failure to disperse the 15 to 20 people who camp between the sidewalk and the First Congregational Church of Long Beach's walls may result in a fine of $1,000 a day, Deputy City Prosecutor Sayge Castillo warned in a recent letter.

Leaning back in a couch in his church office Friday, Senior Pastor Jerald Stinson shook his head and said, "The city's threats are ludicrous. We're not going to do what they want us to do. Allowing these people to sleep on our property is, for us, a religious act."

Nice going, Long Beach. Here's more about The First Congregational Church:
First Congregational Church of Long Beach, United Church of Christ, is a community of seekers, covenanting to support and care for each other as we explore what it means to be people of faith. We embrace a liberal theology and we are deeply committed to social justice – working to bring about God’s realm of peace, love and goodwill to our world.

Obviously a suspect group, and likely home to terrorist sympathizers, since the mention "liberal" and "peace". But seriously, folks...

Understanding of cause and effect is in short supply today, especially in politics. Right wingers, who are coming around to viewing the Iraq war as a disaster, blame liberals, especially bloggers, for the failure of what was solely GWBush's undertaking. We didn't cause it, we just predicted what would happen, but had no effect on the outcome.

And this is also true about the homeless problem, certainly here in California. And what many seem to have forgotten was how Ronald Reagan was in large part responsible for the current homeless situation in California:

Before Reagan, people sleeping in the street were so rare that, outside of skid rows, they were almost a curiosity. After eight years of Reaganomics - - and the slashes in low-income housing and social welfare programs that went along with it -- they were seemingly everywhere. And America had a new household term: "The homeless."

. . .the single most powerful thing Reagan did to create homelessness was to cut the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by three-quarters, from $32.2 billion in 1981 to $7.5 billion by 1988. The department was the main governmental supporter of subsidized housing for the poor and, combined with the administration's overhaul of tax codes to reduce incentives for private developers to create low-income homes, the nation took a hit to its stock of affordable housing from which it has yet to recover, they contend.

During the same period, the average family income of the poorest fifth of the American population dropped by 6.1 percent, and rose 11.1 percent for the top fifth, according to "Sleepwalking Through History," the best-selling assessment of the Reagan years by Haynes Johnson. The number of people living beneath the federal poverty line rose from 24.5 million in 1978 to 32.5 million in 1988.

And the number of homeless people went from something so little it wasn't even written about widely in the late 1970s to more than 2 million when Reagan left office.

"His HUD cuts were the main factor in creating homelessness, and we said that throughout the 1980s, but Reagan and his people never listened," said Stoops. "Reagan, very similar to Herbert Hoover, did not believe the federal government had a role in addressing poverty, so he resisted any legislation or programs that did that.

"Besides, how could he help the poor when he didn't even know who they were?"

Of course, in 1967, Reagan signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. From Wikipedia about Reagan:
Reagan promoted the dismantling of the public psychiatric hospital system, proposing that community-based housing and treatment replace involuntary hospitalization, which he saw as a violation of civil liberties issue. The community replacement facilities have never been adequately funded, either by Reagan or his successors.

So his responsibility is multifaceted. It was promoted as a Patient's Rights law, but was actually designed to cut budgets for health care services.

Cause and effect. We're now dealing with the latter.

Rev. Jerald Stinson knows who the poor are. If you want to contact the church, to offer any support, here's the email: firstchurchlb@earthlink.net

Saturday, January 20, 2007

She's a rebel, And she's dangerous

I just got home from visiting my friend Jane Hamsher in the hospital, and I have to report that all things considered, she looked great!

Smiles abounded, attitude was wonderful, talked about going to DC for the Libby trial, podcasting, and blogging to save the world.

She also was pretty tired, a little sleepy, and that's good. But she's definitely in great spirits, and that's a really good thing.

Nurses that I spoke with seemed very competent and attentive, and the place seems pretty efficient, and has a great reputation.

Go light a candle for Jane here: http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=JaneH

(Jane & Pam [Mrs. Audio])

Updated for link and content

Oh the reflex what a game he's hiding all the cards

From our friend Mark Kleiman's Same Facts, we find this by Jonathan Zasloff:
It was only a matter of time before John McCain's support started cratering: his whole appeal was his independence, so when he sacrificed that, it figured to erode his standing. Combine that with his uber-hawkish position on Iraq, and it's no surprise that he is rapidly losing popularity.

Who fills the gap? Not Mitt Romney: his flip-flopping on social issues will, I believe, seriously injure him both in Republican primaries and with the GOP elite. He's damaged goods. Not Rudy Giuliani, who at least is more honest than Romney about his positions, but as Stuart Rothenberg persuasively argues, kills him with the Republican base.

Who does that leave?

Meet Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor. He's a Baptist minister, conservative enough for the base, outsider enough for the electorate, and he carries the argument that he can work across the aisle. He's an outstanding politician, and will be able to make the outsider argument better than anyone else in the field. Put another way, he's the George W. Bush of 2008. In fact, I think his whole argument will be about changing the tone in Washington.

Interesting. That's this Mike Huckabee:

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee depleted the governor’s office emergency fund in the final weeks of his administration in part to pay for the destruction of computer hard drives in his office.

That left Gov. Mike Beebe, who replaced Huckabee on Jan. 9, with no emergency funds for the last half of fiscal 2007.

Documents that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, describe the destruction of the computer drives, as ordered by Huckabee’s office, and Huckabee complaining strongly about his cell phone and Blackberry not working.

A memo dated Jan. 9 from a state Department of Information Systems official to Huckabee told of the “disposition of data maintained” by the department “for the office of the governor” during Huckabee’s tenure.

Why would as Republican leaving office order such destruction of data? Data, I remind you owned by the constituents of the state?

One can only speculate that he had something to hide. In fact, to quote crazy dolphin lady Peggy Noonan:
Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.

More from Wikipedia:
Huckabee has also received criticism for his apparent interest in positioning himself for national office, which has caused him to be out of the state more often than normal. Huckabee has used an airplane, a Beechcraft King Air turboprop, owned by the Arkansas State Police to travel to and from destinations outside of the state more than thirty times during 2005, according to flight logs reviewed by the Arkansas Times.[10]

Furthermore, Huckabee has been criticized for his support for the teaching of creationism in the science classes of Arkansas public schools. He was quoted in July 2004 on "Arkansans Ask," his regular show on the Arkansas Educational Television Network: "I think that [students] also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism." Huckabee also stated "I do not necessarily buy into the traditional Darwinian theory, personally."[11]

Sounds like perfect Republican Presidential material to me.

Oh, and he seems to have Michelle Malkin's support:

Friday, January 19, 2007

quiet chords from my guitar

More guitar music...

Sometimes 'shred' is necessary. Because sometimes prodigious technique is needed to serve the music.

Too many people play Bach as a romantic, which allows one to hide all sorts of flaws. One can just 'hang' onto that one note a little longer to allow the fingers of the left hand to find their place for the next few notes. To the listener it sounds like music played in Rubato time, speeding up and slowing down for expressiveness.

But here is a great example of Bach played right. The constant meter doesn't trap one into a metronome-like performance, but instead creates the growing tension that is finally released in the final chord.

OK, I'll shut up. Here's a very young John Williams playing the Prelude To Unacompanied Cello Suite no. 1:

I'm taking what they giving 'cause I'm working for a livin'

While I'm pretty sure he won't be a President anytime soon, I'm pretty sure John Kerry is still a very active Democratic Senator:

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said today that he would immediately work with Senate and House leaders to secure additional funding for the disaster loan program run by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Kerry said that legislation he introduced earlier this year would help prevent the SBA program from running into problems in future years, primarily by pushing the agency to develop a more transparent budget by forcing regular updates on funding levels. Kerry made his remarks following news reports suggesting that the loan program, which is critical in parts of the country that are weathering storms or floods, may run out of funding before the end of the year.

“There is no excuse for allowing such a vital program to fall into disarray,” said Kerry. “I want to make sure we provide sufficient funding for the disaster loan program to keep it running this year and more importantly, to make sure that we don’t run low on funds in future years.”

Earlier this month, Kerry reintroduced the bipartisan legislation with Sens. Olympia Snowe (R- Maine), Mary Landrieu (D–La.), and David Vitter (R- La.), which Snowe and Kerry first introduced during the last Congress. It would require the SBA to report to Congress on the fiscal status of its well-worn Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan program. In addition, the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act of 2007 (S. 163) would require SBA to report to Congress:

· Monthly on the fiscal status of the disaster loan program, including how long funding for this program will be available
· Daily on lending activity for any major disaster that is declared by the president
· By May 1st on the agency’s progress developing a comprehensive hurricane response plan

Sounds good to me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

To be a guitar picker in Nashville

Anyone who visits here or knows me know I really like to post about guitarists.

Shred, a term used to describe a rocker possessed of advanced technique, can often be used in a pejorative sense. It's can be assumed that a "shred" player might value 'chops' over musicality or soul.

For some hair band metal monsters that may be true: the number of tapping divebomber licks you can fit into the first 4 bars of the solo, regardless of how the solo tells a story, was thought to be ultra-cool at one time.

But there are plenty of guitarists who had technique to burn. I posted here and at HuffPo some time ago about Django Reinhardt, who used his vast technique to overcome a handicap and become arguably the 20th Century's leading jazz virtuoso.

But here is another 'cat', actually a couple of 'cats' who had flawless technique as well as a lot of soulful music to play, from the Grand Ol' Opry TV show of the late '50s:

(Note: embedding disabled. Clicking on image will take you to YouTube.)

Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls

Bill, Bill, Bill, are you just too lazy to even phone it in? Crooks and Liars has the video, but it's just so . . .weak. I mean, blaming the victim. That's for 2nd tier wingnuts like Nancy Grace, not a Peabody Award winning journalist like yourself:

O'Reilly is a lunatic, plain and simple and yes Bill, this is a personal attack. He has the nerve to attack one of the kidnapped victims (Shawn Hornbeck) because he didn't try to get away. Something along the lines of 'he didn't like school so he stayed with his assailant.'

Bill: The question is why didn't he escape when he could have? There are all kinds of theories about that…

video_wmv Download (1018) | Play (709) video_mov Download (593) | Play (511)

He doesn't buy the Stockholm Syndrome…..What a surprise….No thought that this very young boy of eleven could have been manipulated at all. There is a reason why we have laws on the books involving minors. You'd think O'Reilly could grasp that simple fact especially since he too was…cough, cough—a teacher.

Conservatives usually attack the media as being liberal for obvious reasons, but Bill attacks victims of child abuse—because? Please, tell me. It's unbelievable. And we're learning that the nut, Michael Devlin, probably has harmed other children as well. That's why we call them child predators…

Even the birdcage liner Free Republic has this news-worthy tidbit that seems to counter O'Reilly's ass-ertion:
The captor who held Shawn Hornbeck for more than four years kept him from fleeing by threatening to kill the boy and his entire family, investigators said Monday.

That helps explain why Shawn, 15, freed Friday when police tracked a second kidnapped boy to an apartment in Kirkwood, did not seize ample opportunities to run or summon help, according to the investigators.

Bill, can I call you Bill? Whatever. Bill, had you even looked into your Inbox (not that box, you idiot! The one for email!) you would have seen the Free Republic update you get everyday. It might have saved you some embarrassment.

On second thought, would have made no difference.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I want to be the one to walk in the sun

(Jane and Kobe at the 10/05 L.A. blogger's Party)

Everyone has to have a hero or two. You know, someone who just does it better than anyone else. Or maybe someone who does what we wish we could do, if only we were braver, or more committed, or . . .

Jane Hamsher is a hero of mine. For all the things the public sees, and for all the things I've seen in her personally. She's a gutsy broad (I use that term lovingly) who says what she feels and damn the cost, a proud patriotic American who calls bullshit where she sees it, and a committed presence in the netroots who is making a difference in our world.

For that, and more, I wish her all the best in her newest fight:
In mid-December I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time. It's a bit more serious this time and treatment is going to have to be more extensive. I owe a huge debt of thanks to all the folks on the blog who have stepped in and allowed me time to investigate treatment options with many physicians and make an informed decision on that front. In addition to regulars like Christy, Pach and TRex who have taken over many of my duties, I also need to express my thanks to commenters like Scarecrow, Looseheadprop, Peterr, Hugh and Oilfieldguy who have done incredible work posting so that I could take this time off. Guest posters like Taylor Marsh, Swopa, Steve Gilliard, Watertiger, Howie Klein and others have also pitched in, and no amount of words can thank the incredible RGB, our site administrator, who has taken it upon himself to coordinate all these disparate elements on the fly. It's been a daunting task and he has managed it spectacularly.

So. Pray if that is your need. Send good vibes if that works for you. And if you have an extra few bucks in your pocket, send it either here:

Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

or here:

Chao Family Cancer Research Center

Good places both.

Update: Or you can send a few Dollars, Pounds, Euro, Shekels, Gold Grickels, or whatever your local currency is to the Firedoglake fund drive.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Misunderstanding all you see

In the best tradition of the Right Wing, we have this from Protein Wisdom:

According to Crooks & Liars:

Chuck Hagel Smacks Lieberman: Questions his competency

There’s irony for you. Hey, speaking of competency, I hear that Tim Johnson’s improved--a little.


Hagel (with solid right-wing cred) questions the war, and the assumtion is that he is mentally challenged, like a guy who had a brain bleed.

Clever, classy, utterly idiotic.

And mean.

There's your Culture Of Life.

Here's where it gets interesting. From commenter Robert:
Re Johnson comment: not nice, and I wish you hadn’t said it.

And in a remarkable misunderstanding of basic English communication, Protein Wisdom author Dan Collins responds:

So, it is one thing to question someone’s competency on national television because he differs from one’s opinion on the war, and another to question one’s competency because he’s suffered a severe brain hemorrhage?

Short answer: Yes.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

We shall overcome some day

Here's yesterday's preview of John Edwards today at the Riverside Church about Martin Luther King, and escalation:

Forty years ago, almost to the month, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at this pulpit, in this house of God, and with the full force of his conscience, his principles and his love of peace, denounced the war in Vietnam, calling it a tragedy that threatened to drag our nation down to dust.

As he put it then, there comes a time when silence is a betrayal -- not only of one's personal convictions, or even of one's country alone, but also of our deeper obligations to one another and to the brotherhood of man.

. . .

If you're in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel. Silence is betrayal. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war - use it.

And to all of you here today - and the millions like us around the country who know this escalation is wrong - your job is to reject the easy way of apathy and choose instead the hard course of action. Silence is betrayal. Speak out. Tell your elected leaders to block this misguided plan that is destined to cost more lives and further damage America's ability to lead. And tell them also, that the reward of courage … is trust.

What John said.

Everybody gets their time, Little David when he picked up his pebbles...

(Somewhat provocative image from InternetWeekly.org)

In the last post, I alluded to email from David Horowitz. Of course, any contact with this creep makes one want to take a decontamination shower. But some insight is still helpful.

I visited FrontPageMag, Horowitz's web site, back in July, after seeing him on TV whining about the NYTimes publishing a puff piece that might lead one to Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home.

Here is what David wrote at FrontPageMag:
In an apparent retaliation for criticism of its disclosure of classified intelligence to America's enemies, the New York Times June 30th edition has printed huge color photos of the vacation residences of Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, identifying the small Maryland town where they live, showing the front driveway and in Rumsfeld's case actually pointing out the hidden security camera in case any hostile intruders should get careless: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/06/30/travel/escapes/30michaels.html

Make no mistake about it, there is a war going on in this country. The aggressors in this war are Democrats, liberals and leftists who began a scorched earth campaign against President Bush before the initiation of hostilities in Iraq.

Right. Of course the far Right Wing in this country had long called any media outlet who doesn't support their every utterance on any given day "traitors", and the NYTimes takes a lot of this heat.

David's commenting setup is blind, meaning that comments are seen only by moderators, but I left one anyway:
The Western White House, aka Casa Pacifica, and Reagan`s Ranch, were both well-known locations.

So I guess, by your logic, Cheney & Rumsfeld are more important than St.
Ronnie and Tricky Dick?

I was completely surprised a few days later to get the following email from David:
These houses are vacation "White Houses"; and we are in a war with terrorists which as the President said "changes everything." Thnk about it.

Misspelling aside, I did think about it, and felt he hadn't really responded to my point, except by invoking the cliched "...war with terrorists". So I wrote back politely:
Thanks for the reply.

The thing is, we've known about Presidential retreats for years. The use of Camp David, used by Roosevelt starting in '42, was a direct result of Secret Service concerns about the visibility of his yacht that had previously been his getaway. But the location of Camp David was known to all. And we certainly were at war, with a real declaration from Congress at that time. Security was tight at and around Camp David, but still, the location was known. And we were concerned with potential terrorist attacks, since we interned Japanese-Americans.

Are you suggesting we somehow un-ring that bell, or perhaps the POTUS, VPOTUS, et al be spirited away to some undisclosed location for the duration of the GWOT? Hardly seems an American thing to do.

Also, as has been mentioned in some media, the Washington Post previously published an article, with Rumsfeld's permission, that gave locations of Rumsfeld's home and the soon to be purchased Cheney home.

And NewsMax, hardly "liberal Media" had also already published the same information. I have yet to hear anyone on the right demand the WaPo and NewsMax be branded as treasonous.

Thanks for the opportunity to have this dialog.


Nice and polite, right? Well, I was even more surprised to get the following stupid response:
First, these are not presidential retreats. Second, this is the most divisive war America has fought since the Civil War, and it is a war with terrorists. Consequently, the potential for crank attacks on American leaders is much greater.

OK. So the fact that they are NOT Presidential retreats makes them more important? Huh? and "this is the most divisive war" is, in my opinion, exactly because tools like Horowitz keep dancing with fallacies and ideology, rather than facts.

Still, I wrote back again:

First, these are not presidential retreats. Second, this is the most divisive war America has fought since the Civil War, and it is a war with terrorists. Consequently, the potential for crank attacks on American leaders is much greater.

I don't dispute that point. The problem is that Rumsfeld gave permission for the photos to be taken. And both his and Cheney's vacation homes in St. Michaels had already been discussed by NewsMax, who published the information, so it was in the public sphere long before the NYTimes article.

So again, I ask, why single out the NYTimes as the villain, when others were complicit, including Rumsfeld when he agreed to have pictures taken.

It seems to me that the real agenda is not the safety of leaders and cabinet members, but the smearing of the NYTimes.

Again, thanks for the opportunity to discuss this with you, I appreciate it.


And finally, David responded with the money quote:
I think I have answered these points already in my blog. The NY Times is singled out because it is a paper with great authority and has been abetting the enemies of this country since the Vietnam War.

Indeed. That is the full quote copied and pasted from the email from David. Let's read that one part again:
The NY Times is singled out because it is a paper with great authority and has been abetting the enemies of this country since the Vietnam War.

So. No real security damage was done. This was just an admitted opportunity to rail against the NYTimes. With critics like Horowitz, who needs a free press?

For some background on his conversion to Right Wing wanker, wikipedia:
Other events that Horowitz cites as being influential in his conversion from socialism were the impacts of the US loss in the Vietnam War on the peoples of Indochina,

Makes sense. Because a horribly wrong war was waged by both the Democrats and Republicans, he sides with the Republicans who, under Nixon, finally conceded the futility of the war and disengaged. Kinda like wanting to join the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after last season.

And this:
Horowitz believes that the far left turned a blind eye to such atrocities (Khmer Rouge killings) because the ideological vision of the Communists was one which they shared. To see it went wrong was to admit that there was something wrong in the ideal itself.

Yeah. Those of us on the left who opposed Viet Nam were all dancing in the streets supporting Pol Pot, 'cause he was so, you know, cool. Idiot!

Of course, David's beloved Right Wing saints have never, ever, supported a mass murderer or tyrant, have they?

Ah, forget it. This kind of insanity is incurable.


I support the left, but I'm leaning to the right

I'm not sure how it happened. But it must have. I suddenly became a conservative.

What else would explain this email I received:

Dear Conservative Leader,

As you may know, Section 220 of S1, the lobby reform bill, would effectively silence many grassroots organizations by subjecting them to onerous registration and reporting requirements which actually exceed what is required of the big lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

Now, Senators Robert Bennett (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have co-sponsored Amendment 20 to S 1, which would remove Section 220 from the bill.

Please call both of your United States senators and tell them to support Amendment 20 to S 1, to delete the regulations on grassroots communications from the lobbying reform bill. Here’s what you can say when you call:

I oppose efforts to regulate my First Amendment rights and to silence critics of Congress.

Please vote for Amendment 20 sponsored by Senator Bennett and others to remove Section 220 from S. 1, the lobbying reform bill.

OK. Well. And who is this from, the person who is calling me a "conservative leader"?
Richard Viguerie.
The man who helped found the "Moral Majority", who wrote the book pictured above, the man who:
In 1977 he worked on a project to raise money for Sun Myung Moon's Children's Relief Fund, which reportedly only received 6.3% of the $1,508,256 raised. $920,000 went to Viguerie according to New York State charity auditors.[2][3]

yet has the balls to say:
Viguerie's comment on the Mark Foley scandal: "This isn't an isolated situation. It is only the most recent example of Republican House leaders doing whatever it takes to hold onto power. If it means spending billions of taxpayers' dollars on questionable projects, they'll do it. If it means covering up the most despicable actions of a colleague, they'll do it.

Dude, looked in any mirrors lately? Oh, wait, you probably won't see anything.

I'm not sure how I got on his email list. I even emailed my good friend Brad Friedman with the shocking news of my apparent conservative conversion, and found out the he also got the same email! Pretty weird.

First David Horowitz, now Viguerie. Jeez, it gives me the creeps. But it also gives me some additional insight into the dark world of the movement conservatives trying to take over the country, so I guess, forewarned is forearmed.

Oh, and look who the co-sponsors of the amendment mentioned are: Kyl, Cornyn, McConnell. there are some fine minds.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Just gimme some kind of sign girl

(image from darkblack, apropos of nothing, just a wonderful picture. Oh, and Louis knew bullshit when he heard it.)

My personal favorite Right Wing Nut Job has issued a challenge:

Michelle Malkin and Bryan Preston (of Hot Air) have made it to Baghdad and are currently embedded with a unit that appears to be at the center of the action:

My Hot Air colleague Bryan Preston and I have been in Iraq, embedded with an incredibly dedicated Army unit in Baghdad tasked with training Iraqi security forces (both Shia and Sunni) conducting counterinsurgency operations, and carrying out civil affairs work. Yes, there is danger and chaos and unspeakable bloodshed in parts of Baghdad. Sectarian violence—compounded by everyday street crime and tribal conflict—is rampant. Corruption, incompetence, and apathy infect the Iraqi government. You’ve gotten endless news coverage of all that. But there are also pockets of success and signs of hope amid utter despair. I’ll give you more details of our embed unit after we get home. We have much to report and will be publishing a multi-part video and audio series, blog posts, and op-eds on security conditions, media malpractice, and the big picture on the war next week. Having met, watched, and interviewed a broad cross-section of our troops during our brief but fruitful travels, my faith in the U.S. military has never been stronger—but I will not sugarcoat my skepticism and doubts about decisions being made in Washington.

First of all, I speak for (almost) everybody both left and right when I wish them good luck and pray that they stay safe.

I say “almost” everyone because if the past is any guide, there will be sneering contempt from some lefty blogs – criticism that drips with racism, sexism, and a a jaw dropping kind of obscene hate. I plan on posting the reaction from the left to Malkin’s trip to Iraq because these people must be exposed as the ignorant racists they truly are. Ignoring their hypocrisy only makes them believe they are clever rather than pond scum.

Criticism of Malkin and Preston is not the issue. It is perfectly acceptable to criticize what they write and their impressions of what is going on Iraq. But the rancid way in which some lefty bloggers will personalize their criticism will not be tolerated by me or, I imagine, a host of others.

Feel free to leave links from lefty blogs in the comments who you feel step over the line. As news spreads of the Malkin/Preston embed, I should have plenty to write about this afternoon.

(emphasis mine)

So certain, so sure, so manly, so . . . wrong.

First, when was this written? It says:
By: Rick Moran at 8:21 am

But it's dated:

In my time zone, that makes it 8:21 am, Thursday, 1/11/2007.

Problem is, I read the piece last night, and commented on it:
SteveAudio Said:
2:29 pm

Interesting to see how many hate filled posts were linked here…none.

No one on the left wishes Malkin any harm, we just wish she would use some sense once in a while, and think before she speaks.

Unlike American Digest last week, who made fun of Jane Hamsher being a cancer survivor.

Excapt I commented on it last night, around midnight. So the clock on his blog is screwed up. All that means is that the post has been up longer than it appears, which makes my point even, ahem, funnier:

No one has responded with any evil leftist ranting. No. One.

In fact the harshest thing there, after my comment, was this:
kender Said:
3:18 pm

The “wink wink death wishes” from the left will come. Steve Audios words aside, many on the left are childish and hateful enough to wish harm on those that oppose them ideologically.

To which I responded:

SteveAudio Said:
3:06 am

Proof, dude. Show me some proof.

Having said that, I hear death wishes from righties all the time. In fact, a certain San Francisco radio station is getting the Mouse in a little bit of hot water on that very topic.

So poor Rick's shout out the the monitors of leftie hate has sputtered to a dismal failure.

Sad. So sad.

And just for competeness, here's a picture of the aforementioned Ms. Malkin:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Time has come today, and my soul has been psychedelicized

The Chambers Bros. are really much greater than their current visibility would indicate. Fusing '60s soul and funk with guitar-driven rock, they were pretty unique.

I played in a Top-40 band in '68 called Summer (yeah, I know) and we played "Time Has Come Today". It was my freak-out piece, I took a 10 minute guitar solo, thrashing my Les Paul, bouncing it off the stage and generally acting like a fool. But it was fun.

I always thought the lyric "and my soul has been psychedelicized" spoke to the '60s white rock audiences embracing the music of Hendrix, Sly Stone, etc., as something they had just discovered instead of music that had developed organically and naturally while they weren't looking.

Regardless, "Time Has Come Today" is pretty special.

And migawd, the vocal! Damn!

Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand

From Joke Line over at his brandy-new Time blog called Swampland:
I love it! First day of Swampitude and the left-wing blogosphere--which is overpopulated by illiberal leftists and reactionary progressives--is already attacking me: 24 mostly mingy comments about my Left Behind post, many of which seem to be steaming off a post by Greg Sargent, who writes a blog called The Horse's...Mouth.
The illiberal left just hates it when I point out that the Democratic Party's naivete on national security--and the left wing tendency to assume every U.S. military action abroad is criminal--just aren't very helpful electorally.

Aw, that's so cute! But before the fisking begins, note this statement:
...24 mostly mingy comments...

Whew. 24 whole comments! Here's the thing though. The header for the piece looks like this:
19:34 pm
Now that I have your attention
7:34 pm on Monday, Jan. 8th, we can assume that the gnomes who moderate the comments have been way too busy polishing Joe's beard to free those missing comments.

Oh, and another point: If you're going to be all cool, hip, and international by using 24 hour time, please note that that eliminates the need to PM/AM suffixes. 19:34 means nothing other than 7:34 PM.

Onto serious issues: The Democratic Party's naivete on National Security is a myth, promoted by left-haters like you and Mickey Kaus (Mickey is a really nice guy, and can handle a debate). The Democratic Party did pretty well in WWII, for one example. But they have had exactly zero input into anything related to policy since '94 when Newt and his Contract On America came into power. Newt was swept away by scandal and hubris, but the Meme has stuck.

But here's a little idea to ponder, oh wise man of Washington: If the Left, who largely opposed the war had had control, we would not have lost 3000 American soldiers, and would not be facing civil war in Iraq and a maturing radicalism in Iran chafing at the bit to take on a weakened Iraq and Middle East in general.

Oh, but wait...had we followed that course, we would have been criticized by you for not taking decisive action. Wrong, but decisive action.

And this:
...left wing tendency to assume every U.S. military action abroad is criminal...

Proof, dude. Show me anyone on the left, with the exception of Kucinich, who protested attacking Afghanistan after 9/11. That's Limbaugh-speak, not honest debate. And that's only one example.

Face it, Joe. If you say things which are immediately disproveable, you're going to take some heat. Deal with it.

...illiberal leftists and reactionary progressives...

What the hell does that mean? No points for coining phrases that are just stupid.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

And I fell out of bed, hurting my head from things that Id said

I read them so you don't have to. From the Right-wing fever swamp:

I haven’t written anything about Iraq recently and there’s a reason for it; I’m waiting until we hear from the only guy who counts – the Commander in Chief.

I'll remind him about his obeisance to authority the next time a Democrat is President.

Protein Wisdom:
Does it not matter to you—or Greenwald—that the political opinions of Americans are being formulated based on uncorroborated reports or outright propaganda printed uncritically by the AP and other outlets?

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler:

Police plan to set up checkpoints beginning Wednesday to help curb a crime wave that has claimed nine lives since the start of 2007, …

Mogadishu perhaps? Beirut? Kabul? Gaza City?

… Mayor Ray Nagin said, …

Yep. Good ol’ Nawlinz, Looseranna. A place run by The Party of People With A Plan™ for well over 100 years.

…stopping short of imposing a curfew on this tourism-dependent city.

Stopping short of actually solving any problems by actually doing something that might actually, you know, “work“.

Ace of Spades:

The left has been expecting Santa to bring them all ponies for Christmas.

The Democratic Party now has to walk a difficult line, keeping their lunatics believing in Santa, but also letting them down gently: "Sorry, Nelly, no pony this year. Maybe Christmas 2009. If you're a good little activist."

But if Santa is all-knowing and all-good and all-powerful, how can he stand idly by while millions don't get their ponies?

Noted theologian Andrew Sullivan is expected to cover this perplexing question in his next bestseller seller, The Liberal Soul: How The Democratic Party Lost It And How You Can Stop Oppressing Me And Let Me Marry A Feller.


The reality is this ... Bush has the authority to tell these feckless liberals and democrats to get lost. Send the troops, let's see them cut the funding off then. The weak, ineffectual bastards won't get elected to anything in 2008.

And if they won't defend this country and come to terms with the genuine global threat we face today, including in Iraq, then it's getting close to time to start a war with them. Taken as a whole, they are more dangerous then your average car load of jihadists. They won't even fight for America, the cowards would rather just give it away.

Quote of the day, from Eric Alterman:
Bush is like a man who is dealt two kings in blackjack (after 9-11) when the dealer is showing a three, doubles down instead of playing his winner hand, gets two twos, and continues to double down over and over and over until he loses his family's life savings and insurance policy. Kristol, Krauthammer, and Kaplan, et al, are like the Vegas floozies with fake boobs telling him what a big man he is the whole time, stroking his thighs while picking his pockets ... (Oh, and John "Maverick" McCain is the long-suffering wife ...)

Damn. I wish I'd said that.