Wednesday, August 09, 2006

David Van Os VS Your Apathy: Who Will Win?

David Van Os will be here tomorrow--Thursday--at 10:30 in the morning. He's doing one of those old style whistle-stop stump speeches on the steps at the Kendall County Courthouse.

His race for the Attorney General's office is an uphill one. Kinda like Ned Lamont's uphill race against 2000's Democratic Nominee for Vice President, Joe Lieberman. If you've been out of touch for the last 24 hours, know this: internationally-known several-time incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman lost to an unknown so-called pencil-necked geek in Connecticut.

Well, David Van Os isn't a pencil-necked geek. Besides being smart and passionate, he's a good guy. You really should give your apathy a quick kick in the butt, and show up tomorrow morning. Be an American! Go listen to a politician on the courthouse steps tell you why he deserves your vote! It'll make you feel good again!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bill Moyers--Does It Get Any Better?

Moyers is fearless. He takes on the big boys--from chemical companies all the way up to the President of the United States. He simply doesn't care about the ramifications because what he says needs to be said.

And the thing about Moyers is that he understands that to say what no one else is saying and to say it well, honors both the truth, and art. Few people have that combination of passions, talents and tastes.

I'm not a religious man, but I thank God for Bill Moyers.

If I haven't yet made it clear, I'm a rather large fan of Moyers. And the following excerpt from a Huffingtonpost article is testimony to why. Ostensibly it's about Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff, but really, it's about the state of political affairs in Washington. He maintains that corruption has gotten way out of hand, and we need to do something about it. The article is a rallying cry, and we would all be wise to heed its call:

"Something can be done about it. Organized people have always had to take on organized money. If they had not, blacks would still be three-fifths of a person, women wouldn't have the vote, workers couldn't organize, and children would still be working in the mines."

"Our democracy today is more real and more inclusive than existed in the days of the Founders because time and again, the people have organized themselves to insist that America become 'a more perfect union.'"

"It is time to fight again. These people in Washington have no right to be doing what they are doing. It's not their government, it's your government. They work for you. They're public employees - and if they let us down and sell us out, they should be fired. That goes for the lowliest bureaucrat in town to the senior leaders of Congress on up to the President of the United States."

So as you think that the Republican machine is too finely-tuned, too entrenched, too devious, remember that the proposition we face now has always been this way. In fact, probably much worse in times past.

Very powerful people look after their power with great care. It's only through time, a massive effort, organization, creativity and guts that we will overcome the odds. What I'm talking about really, is securing the tenets of our Democracy. The stakes are that high.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

While TV Was Playing the Dean Scream a Million Times...'s what Dean was saying in the leadup to the Iraq war.

"The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled. We have been told little about what the risks will be if we do go to war."

"Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms."

"Anti-American feelings will surely be inflamed among the misguided who choose to see an assault on Iraq as an attack on Islam, or as a means of controlling Iraqi oil." "There are other risks. Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms."

There's a full URL below with more. The point here is that television news made an absolute FOOL out of Howard Dean by playing the Dean Scream constantly instead of a speech like the above one. What an amazing disservice was done the American public by this kind of stupidity.

As you can see, everything Dean warned against has transpired, and nearly all the predictions by the Administration have turned out to be wrong. Who looks the fool now?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Peace. A Recurring Theme

It's been pretty close to two months since I've blogged. Part of me feels so bad about this because I know there are a dozen or two people at very least who check in from time to time to see if my blather is of interest. To you I apologize.

Regarding politics, my thoughts have been pretty dark of late. In the last two months we've had further revelations on the Katrina disaster. The Vice President shot a hunting companion, and kept authorities away for 12 hours while they made sure everyone's story added up (got sober perhaps?). Have decided to give a large measure of control over several American ports to the UAE. They've installed another right wing Supreme Court justice. We've discovered that the government may be spying on a goodly number of us (hi there, if you're working for the gov!). The Vice President's revealed he has the power to classify, or de-classify secrets (which could in work as a defense if he's found to be the reason Valerie Plame was outed [a shame the CIA didn't know about his de-classification]). Then of course there's the Jack Abramoff scandal.

That's all in just less than two months. I know I've missed a scandal or two. Or three. And this is the gang of thieves who said they were going to clean up the way Washington DC runs things. Do you really need me to point out that...well, someone's definitely cleanin' up allright!

I gotta be faith in the American people is measureably on the wane. After these scandals in the last two months (piled onto all the other scandals of the last 5 years) what in the hell do Americans need to lose faith in the so-called leadership of George W. Bush? His popularity still hovers at 39-40% when common sense tells you he should have been tarred, feathered, and run out of Washington quite some time ago.

Yes, I understand. The Republicans have control of everything right now, so the chances of an impeachment are far-fetched at best. Nonetheless, Americans are free to answer poll questions honestly, and 39% of them honestly think GW Bush is a good President. That's enough to make me want to jump off a really tall building.

Instead though, I've been making some more stained glass. Pictured above is my Peace window, designed and built for my daughter. When the politics of this world make little sense to me, the concept of peace still does. I kind of like my daughter, too. So before you get too burned out on the politics, don't forget to get back in touch with whatever makes this wacked-out world make sense to you. And then be sure to vote on March 7.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Story of the Year...That Disappeared

It's Jeff Gannon.

If the details are a little sketchy for you, let me give you a quick re-iteration: it was revealed on a liberal blog that a reporter in the White House Briefing room was not the Jeff Gannon he claimed to be, but Jeff Guckert.
--Turns out that not only was this reporter there under a name that wasn't actually his, he wasn't actually a reporter. No journalism degree. No experience in reporting.
--Turns out the organization he worked for (Talon News) was created by a right wing Texas Republican looking to get the GOP view more airplay. It wasn't actually a news service.
--Turns out that Gannon/Guckert didn't have a standing White House Press pass, as do most reporters, but was issued one on a daily basis.
--Turns out Gannon started appearing at the press conferences about a month before Talon News Service even existed.

Let me repeat that last part: before the fake news service for which non-journalist Gannon/Guckert even was created, Gannon was given press passes to get into the White House Briefing Room.

There's no way around the fact that this is a construct of someone within the White House. That is a hardcore, big time scandal. Unfortunately, it came and went without a congressional investigation, which would have revealed exactly who rubber-stamped his appearance at presidential briefings.

But wait! There's more. Turns out Gannon/Guckert owned three web sites promoting gay escorts, including none other than himself. There were many pictures of him as an adult wearing every bit of the clothing he was born in. He bragged on being "8 inches cut" and the pictures I saw back then appear to underscore that.

I don't care one bit if someone's gay or not, but what it boils down to is this: a gay escort posing as a journalist was allowed into presidential press conferences to lob softball questions to the president representing a news service that was actually a PR firm. Besides being a movie plot too outrageous to sell, this could not have been done without high-level complicity. How does one get beyond the FBI clearance screenings? There had to be someone there saying "let this guy through." Who?

This whole gay prostitute scandal comes from an administration which vowed to clean up the White House, to restore dignity and to make America proud again. My irony meter is now broken by the sheer bizarrity of it.

So where did this story go? Why is there no congressional investigation? Why is the President no longer being asked for an investigation on this matter? Congress is controlled by Republicans (who are more concerned with keeping power than their duties as promised to the people) and a complicit, or at least lazy press. Asking tough questions is hard, and it can jeopardize your place at these conferences. Ask Helen Thomas.

My renewed outrage over this story was fueled by my daily visits to crooks and liars. Crooks and Liars is an excellent liberal web site offering up videos that you really should see--and see again. Today a retrospective on the whole affair is there, and I highly recommend a viewing. Go to crooksandliars and look for the headline
Blast from the Past: Jeff Gannon retrospective in Video
Your sense of outrage will be fueled too, I suspect. There's also the great line from Bill Maher, referencing Gannon where he says
"Now I understand what Bush meant when he said he had a mandate..."

Friday, December 09, 2005

More Stained Glass

I am just in a stained glass jag. I've made four windows in the last month and a half, and it's been about as much fun as I've had in a long time. Here's the one I posted nearly done a while back.

It's almost six feet tall and has thirteen beveled diamonds, two beveled stars, and a fleur de lis.

It now resides in Austin, where it soon will be installed in a door. I've made a dozen or so doors like this in the past, and hope to be making more in the future.

It's a pretty plain design, but sometimes, that's exactly what a design should be.

The window on the right is my last window, and tends to elicit fairly positive--and pretty negative responses. People tend to like it, or really not like it.

I just love it myself. I call it "Hoit It On The Grapevine" since the pieces and parts are so wrapped around one another.

I'll get back to political ranting and raving before long. Right now though, I'm just in this stained glass thing...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What the Republican Leadership Needs for Christmas:

A clue.

The degree of these folks' incompetence is staggering. The near-constant parade of mistakes by the Bush administration and the Republicans who support it are baffling. Yet their bravado is unabated. Perhaps you noticed that former FEMA Director Michael Brown has started a new business: A Disaster Preparedness Consulting Firm.

'Scuse me? Should we expect OJ Simpson to open up a butcher shop?

The Republicans may be clueless, but they've got cojones the size of beach balls. Will Michael Brown's counsel be "do not do what I did, and you should be okay"? Here's the recent quote which just about breaks the irony meter:

"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses...then I hope I can help the country in some way."

These are the words of a man who couldn't be bothered to help the country when it was in the throes of its worst natural disaster. More of his words in an e-mail early on Aug. 29--the day Katrina hit New Orleans, acknowledging a colleague's compliment about his clothing:

''Are you proud of me?" he wrote. ''Can I quit now? Can I go home?"

But wait...there's more. On Aug. 31, in response to a message detailing how people are being ''kicked out" of New Orleans hotels and that food and water had run out at the Superdome, Brown responded

''Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"

People were dying at the Superdome, and that's what he had to say. And what did your President have to say about Brown's response to Katrina? "You're doin' a helluva job, Brownie."

Moving beyond the pick-yourself-up-off-the-floor-in-shock words of the President, and back to Michael Brown, the quotes cited above are not just the words of a man who isn't actively engaged in his job. His words show a fabulous inability to empathize.

I have to put this in bold type: The FEMA Director is without empathy?

You can run the Department of Transportation, you can be the Secretary of State, you can run the Department of the Interior and not have to be terribly empathetic. But FEMA? The notion of there being a FEMA Director incapable of empathy is beyond my ability to express outrage over. That's about as bizarre as Ohio Representative Jean Schmidt calling former Marine John Murtha a coward. Yet both it seems, are quite true.

So if you're buying for a Republican this year, you might seriously consider getting him this.