Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Guys In Masks

Which are the good guys? Masked Iraqi Police Blindfold Prisoners

I thought that killers, guerrillas, criminals, and terrorists wore masks because they are bad guys and do not want their identity known. They need to remain secretive and anonymous.

In that vein, I thought that American soldiers and their allies (a/k/a The Good Guys) did not wear masks during operations or when plying the tools of their trade (guns) because we are on the side of righteousness and freedom.

Am I naive?

Why are Iraqi policemen wearing masks when arresting suspected bad guys? Maybe this picture shows that the Iraqi police that we have installed are not good guys and are not working for the good guys.

This is very suspicious. If the Iraqi police are The Good Guys, they should not be hiding their faces like garden variety terrorists. The Good Guys are not supposed wear ski masks while spreading good and delivering us from evil. This is a bad sign.

Some Yahoo! Courtesy of Associated Press.

Dick Mac Recommends:
America: Democracy Inaction
by Jon Stewart, et al.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Room At The Inn

No Jesus Necessary!

After millennia of guilt about having turned-away the parents of God one night long ago, the hotel industry has decided to make amends!

The British hotel chain, Travelodge has kicked-off the best Christmas promotion: Couples named Mary and Joseph will receive free rooms over the holiday! Just show identification proving your names and the room is yours!

Does a pregnant Mary get special attention?

DeHavilland Information Services Article

Friday, November 26, 2004

Powell Rejects Ukraine Election, Calls for Action

OK! This article seems like it should be published in The Onion! Oddly, it is a story from Reuters and published by the New York Times!

(Don't get me wrong, I think the NYT is a piece of crap. When CNN defended its practices by comparing itself to Comedy Central, I thought the mainstream media had finally admitted they are not reliable news sources at all, they are just poorly produced entertainment. Sadly, the New York Times thinks it provides journalistic services, in actuality they only provide a mouthpiece for those who would curb our liberty, deregulate our industries, and move all our jobs offshore.)

Colin Powell, a man involved in the most questionable election in American history (surpassing the 1960 Kennedy victory over Nixon by a long way) is suggesting that his regime (the second Bush II administration) will not recognize another nation's election (Ukraine) because he thinks it was not legitimate. How ironic! I wonder what the Secretary's position was on this issue in November of 2000.

Remember: War is Peace!

Powell Rejects Ukraine Election, Calls for Action
Published: November 24, 2004
Filed at 1:12 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday the United States did not accept the results of the disputed presidential election in Ukraine as legitimate and called for immediate action.

"If the Ukrainian government does not act immediately and responsibly there will be consequences for our relationship," Powell told reporters.

Pressed on what punitive action, if any, would be taken, Powell said: "At the moment we're not taking any action. We want to see what the ultimate results are."

Powell said it was time for Ukraine's leaders to decide if they were on the side of democracy and respect the will of the people in addressing problems from last weekend's election.

The former Soviet republic's electoral authorities declared Moscow-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich the victor of Sunday's presidential election run-off, which the opposition and international observers say was marred by fraud.

Tens of thousands of supporters of pro-western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko have marched in Kiev since the vote, accusing the authorities of staging mass fraud to deny him victory.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I'm Thankful, by Barbara Lewis

I'm Thankful (For What I Got)
(Barbara Lewis)

I'm thankful for what I've got
Don't pay no mind to what I've not instead
I'm thankful for what I've got
She's got herself a real life better
She's got herself a real life better

I ain't got enough time
To spend alone & feelin' sad
I ain't got nobody to aim for
But that's somethin' that don't really matter

I'm thankful for what I've got
Don't pay no mind to what I've not instead
I'm thankful for what I've got
I've got myself a real life better
She's got herself a real life better

There just ain't enough hours in one day
To sit & watch all my dreams come true
Every day is a sunshine day
I've got because I'm happy, not because I worry
& that is something I can surely be proud of
Now I've found how I've grown
All I really want in life for me
& it's not a dream, a dream come true
I've got the one I want & I've got the one I need
& I couldn't be more happy now, I really really mean it

(She's got herself a real life better
She's got herself a real life better)

I'm thankful for what I've got
Don't pay no mind to what I've not instead
I'm thankful for what I've got
I've got myself a real life better
She's got herself a real life better
I've got myself a real life better
She's got herself a real life better
Oh yeah...& fade

"Thankful For What I Got," from "Hello Stranger: The Best of Barbara Lewis" at amazon.com

After leaving the music business over twenty years ago, Barbara Lewis is returning to live performance, and for that I'm thankful. Hear her latest song "Donor" at the transweb site.

I hope you and yours have a safe and peaceful day.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Depressed Democrat's Guide to Recovery

Mark Fiore has created a short animation for the depressed thinking person:

The Depressed Democrat's Guide to Recovery

View his other political animations while you're there, and when you go to his home page, be certain to quickly roll-over all the links to see a real political fight!

Thanks to Tess for sending this along (I find it is often the Brits who will really help us in our time of need).

Monday, November 22, 2004

Lennon Is World's Top Music Icon

John Lennon is the greatest rock and roll icon of all time, according to music fans.

The former Beatle beat Elvis Presley and David Bowie to top the list of 100 best music icons voted for by readers of Q magazine.

In a special tribute, widow Yoko Ono said Lennon - who was assassinated in 1980 - was a "driven man. He changed people's awareness in an incredible way.

"He was not afraid to tell the truth and give us a clearer picture of what was really going on."

She added: "Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that there was a world before John and the world after."

Here is the top 20:

1. John Lennon
2. Elvis Presley
3. David Bowie
4. Keith Richards
5. Kurt Cobain
6. Madonna
7. Bono
8. Bob Marley
9. Joe Strummer
10. Bob Dylan
11. Morrissey
12. Paul McCartney
13. Johnny Cash
14. Liam Gallagher
15. Eminem
16. Freddie Mercury
17. Mick Jagger
18. Robbie Williams
19. Jimi Hendrix
20. 2Pac

Is your favorite music icon on that list? Mine is!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Finally, A Chance to Make the NBA Change

In the late sixties I was introduced to the NBA. The Boston Celtics were regular champions and it was relatively easy to get tickets. My dad often watched "The NBA On NBC," and the game was beginning to take root in the American consciousness as the marketing of Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar bore fruit.

In the early 1980s, my friend Ron had season tickets at Boston Garden, and he generously took me to games throughout the season. This was the Larry Bird era and tickets were almost impossible to come by.

I stopped following the NBA during the Michael Jordan era when the commissioner's office became an apology machine for the criminals the NBA was trying to market as heroes. This new breed of man bore no resemblance to Abdul-Jabbar or Russell , or Bird or Magic Johnson.

Charles Barkley, the Republican thug and Michael Jordan, the gambling thug (who probably also votes Republican) were just too much for my iron-clad stomach to embrace. I mean, I can take a lot of crap from superstars, but these two and the rest of their new breed of star baskeball players brought basketball to depths never imagined even by those who despise professional sports.

Today's NBA star subscribes to Charles Barkley's unAmerican position that "Professional athletes should not be role models." The not-so-erudite Barkley goes on (unfortunately) to say: "Hell, I know drug dealers who can dunk. Can drug dealers be role models too?" and "I am not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

Mr. Barkley and the rest of your NBA scum, you are correct there: we do not want you to raise our children. But you ARE a role model.

Being a role model is NOT elective. You are paid gazillions of dollars to be in the public eye and that king's ransom of a salary you receive requires that you assume the responsibility of being an appropriate role model for all children. You may shirk that responsibility with some claim that you do not desire to be a role model, but you are.

Now, the rest of the scum for whom Jordan and Barkley have paved the self-serving road of self-righteousness have brought us the debacle at The Palace in Auburn Hills.

So . . . what happened in the NBA this weekend? One jackass named Ron Artest, an idiot with a long history of violent and inappropriate behavior, committed a flagrant, violent, and unnecessary foul against another jackass named Ben Wallace.

Wallace then shoved Artest, the benches cleared, a brawl ensued, fans threw stuff, the players ran into the stands to beat-up fans, there was mayhem, and everyone is shocked. Shocked, I tell you, just shocked!

Now come Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal. These guys thought it was a good idea to attack fans in the stand. Their punishment? 30 and 25 game suspensions (respectively).

I like hockey's 'third-man-in' rule which states that if two jackasses are fighting and a third jackass jumps in, the third jackass is punished specifically for being the third jackass in.

How does this translate for Jackson and O'Neal? Third man in? Into what? THE STANDS!!!! These professional athletes went into the stands and beat-up customers. If Artest and Wallace want to beat the crap out of each other, so be it. None of them have the right to go into the stands. Ever.

If the NBA can't keep its talent safe on the court, then those athletes should work for someone else, or sue their employer, but they should not go into the stands after the fans.

Should Jackson and O'Neal be criminally prosecuted for assault and battery? Yes, but what's the point? If you send them to prison you will be putting them with their element where they are most comfortable and worshipped as heroes. What is the punishment? One thing only: life-long ban from the NBA. If you go into the stands you are banned for life.

Are the fans culpable here? Sure. They should not have been throwing cups of beer at the players. Can this be addressed? Yes! The owners of the team and the arena are responsible. This is handled successfully in soccer matches all over the world: if your fans endanger the players, the next game at which you host that opponent, the teams play in an empty arena. That's right! No ticket money for you, no concession profits for you, the broadcast companies will pull out, and the team owners lose a fortune until they get their fans under control. It's a good punishment for fans and owners.

Is television culpable here? Television was thrilled to air the mayhem in Detroit, and a TV station in Michigan actually interrupted broadcasting to beam live images of the riot. So, it is unlikely that ESPN would be interested in broadcasting a game without fans. If there are no fans there might be no excitement!

What to do? Nothing? Do we do nothing? Do we let another group of gazillionaires break the law, and trample on what little social and societal structure remains in these days of corporate whoredom?

When you have an industry of over-paid jackasses with no sense of society, their role in society, social grace, or simple decency, this is the inevitable result. And it is not as if a few bad apples are ruining it for the majority; the NBA employs an entire league of jackasses, from the commissioner's office, to the coaching staffs, and the talent. This is the second generation of NBA jackasses.

So were do we begin? What discussion needs to take place?

Who has responsibility here? The league will punish the perps. The police will arrest some people. Artest might even go to jail for assaulting fans. David Stern will be incredulous about the unacceptable events at the game. Psychologists will discuss the need for young men made instantly wealthy to be provided with guidance. Someone might even discuss the fraud that is the NBA's use of our nation's colleges as their farm system. But none of these actions or discussions will make a difference, because it is about money.

As long as ESPN gets a boatload of money from sponsors, they will happily broadcast any basketball game the NBA stages. As long as ESPN pays a boatload of money to the NBA for broadcast rights, the league will change nothing. As long as the league and the teams pay jackasses and criminals to perform like jackasses and criminals on television the players will not change.

As long as YOU buy the products of the company's that sponsor the NBA, they will have plenty of money to pay ESPN who pays the NBA who pays Ron Artest and encourages him to bring entertainment to America's televisions.

Ultimately, YOU are responsible for what is on television by which products you buy for your home.

If you object to what takes place in the NBA, then you should take action.

Write the NBA and tell them to enact a lifetime ban for any player that enters the stands. No excuses, no amnesty, you're gone.

Choose one NBA sponsor, and stop purchasing their products. Then write them a letter saying you plan to boycott them until they pull their advertising from the NBA. Start with Nike, they make crap products anyhow. Tell them that you object to them financing the criminal lifestyle promoted by the NBA.

I know, professional sports apologists (maybe you are one of them) will say it doesn't matter -- consumers can do nothing. These are generally people born into the Reagan era who do not know that America was filled with activism in the 20th century. They do not know that before Nintendo existed, you could take a political stand outside a voting booth. Ignore those people, these apologists. They have no experience being a part of the solution.

Take action. Become an American with some balls!

Now write to NBC and ESPN and tell them you plan to cease watching the NBA broadcasts.

The NHL and NFL both changed marketing strategies to gain larger market shares, the NBA can change, too. You can help them by taking action!

Nothing short of a lifetime ban for athletes who go into the stands will make a difference here.

NBA Commissioner's Statement
POSTED: 7:49 pm EST November 20, 2004

The following is a statement issued Saturday from NBA Commissioner David Stern concerning the fight involving players and fans at the Pistons-Pacers game Friday night.

"The events at last night's game were shocking, repulsive and inexcusable -- a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA. This demonstrates why our players must not enter the stands whatever the provocation or poisonous behavior of people attending the games. Our investigation is ongoing and I expect it to be completed by tomorrow evening. The NBA has taken the following actions, effective immediately:

Indiana players Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal are suspended indefinitely, the length to be determined upon completion of the investigation.

Detroit player Ben Wallace is suspended indefinitely, the length to be determined upon completion of the investigation.

Review of rules and procedures relating to altercations and security has been undertaken so that fans can continue to attend our games unthreatened by events such as the ones that occurred last night."

The video

Here's a parcel of bullcrap from Artest (probably written by his agents)

No Mercy: Artest Gets Season Suspension For Brawl, Union Vows To Challenge Punishment

Newsday article that discusses the Union's plan to appeal the action taken against Artest

A voice from Detroit

Line was crossed in Auburn Hills, by Jim Cleamons

Friday, November 19, 2004

Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag (version), and a Mencken Follow-up

Country Joe & The Fish was one of the many bands to perform at Woodstock, in 1969. I was twelve years-old when I got the Woodstock triple album and first heard them sing their "Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag."

I have taken liberties with the lyrics to bring them up-to-date.

Do you have an MP3 of "Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag"? I would love to have a copy of it!

Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag (version)
Original Words and Music by Joe McDonald

Now come on all of you big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in a desert land
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is a desert land;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance is here at last.
Gotta go out and kill ragheads —
'Cause the only good muslim is the one who's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is a desert land;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well come on Halliburton don't move slow,
My man this is war-a-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
Supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Let's hope and pray that they drop the bomb,
And blow 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is a desert land;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to a desert land.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send your sons off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is a desert land;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.


My dear friend, Celia wrote to me this morning:

I was looking at your blog -- here is the entire Mencken quote, which makes it even more interesting:

(From a www.snopes.com article verifying that the currently circulating quote is indeed Mencken:)

Writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920, in an article entitled "Bayard vs. Lionheart" (and reprinted in the book On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe), Mencken opined cynically on the difficulties of good men reaching national office when such campaigns must necessarily be conducted remotely:

"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre -- the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Thanks Celia.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Some Quotes:

"As democracy is perfected,

"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by an absolute moron."--H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Thanks to Henry for passing that along.

What does love mean?

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all even when his hands got arthritis, too. That's Love."
Rebecca - age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When hs Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

How do you know love when you see it?

This is my favorite: You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.

Thanks to Dave for sending that along.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Elections In America

I love to laugh about conspiracy theories. I have created and propagated some myself! In discussing elections in the USA, I am not putting forth any theories that the election was fixed, I do not believe the 2004 presidential election was any more or less tampered-with than any other presidential election.

Still, I think it is important that every republic that declares itself free and insists to the world that its processes are democratic, should be open to the notion that disinterested parties can monitor its elections.

Americans, of course, don't feel that way.

Pax Christi USA (according to their website) wanted to send election monitors to Florida and Governor Jeb Bush, one of the great articulates, said: "This is all part of some politically motivated thing that tries to scare people to somehow think their vote is not going to count," said Governor Bush. "That's hogwash, hogwash."

So, a Christian social justice agency wants to monitor the elections in their own country and an elected official refers to it as a 'politically motivated thing' and 'hogwash, hogwash.' (I guess it REALLY is hogwash if he says it twice.) Nice command of the language there, guvnah! What exactly is a 'politically motivated thing'? Is it like a politically motivated thingie? A politically motivated thing-a-ma-jig? It's scary that this is how the next American president responds and articluates (yes, I believe Jeb Bush will be president from 2008-2016).

According to USA Today at 6:43 A.M. on Election Day:
Election monitors ready to go: The Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe plans to have about 75 observers at selected voting sites across the USA. They will monitor the opening of the polling places, the voting and counting of ballots. The United States belongs to the OSCE and invited it to send an observation team. There has been some local resistance. Last week, election officials in two Ohio counties rejected a request for international monitors to be present at voting precincts because they said state law allows only poll workers, party representatives and police officers to be present.

Ohio didn't want their election monitored. Even though they will allow representatives of the political parties onto the premises, they do not want to allow disinterested monitors. What does the government of Ohio have to hide? Please note that the United States is a member of OSCE, and its current chair is an American. It's not as if a group of anti-American Europeans were coming to sabotage our democratic process!


The twenty-strong team includes David MacDonald, formerly Canadian Minister of Communications and Secretary of State, and Brigalia Bam, Chairperson of the South African Independent Electoral Commission. British representatives are Caerwyn Dwyfor Jones of Wrexham County Council and Terence Humphreys, Chief Executive of Electoral Reform International Services. The team has been invited by US NGO Global Exchange which has itself carried out election monitoring in Latin America and other countries.

In discussing the importance of a paper-trail in conjunction with electronic ballots, Mr. McDonald said: "people can know their vote is secure and will be registered and if there is a need for a recount it can be done."

In Mexico, which I know is not the United States (except when it comes to our need for cheap labor) the electronic voting machine failed 25% of the time. 48,000 votes were cast and 36,000 were recorded! Why do we trust that the American technology used in the Mexican election would be any more accurate when used in America?

Some organizations that provide election monitoring services will not even participate in an election that has no paper trail, because there is no real way to audit the vote tally.

Happily, the BBC reported that our election was "mostly free and fair" and "mostly met" standards for freedom and fairness

Election monitors have historically visited nations that expect to have a difficult election. They oversee the process to ensure that something resembling a democratic process transpires. To be eligible for the services of international election monitors, the host nation must meet minimum requirement for free and fair elections. These requirements include inconveniences like a paper trail that can be used to audit the vote, and voter registration procedures that invite rather than preclude citizen participation. Some states would not meet the minimum requirements for free and fair elections. Still, some organizations have agreed to participate.

The following article neither proves nor disproves that we have free and fair elections, but it sure is amusing!

Florida Decides Council Race by a Coin Toss

Fri Nov 12, 6:00 PM ET Strange News - AP
By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer
Reprinted without permission

GROVELAND, Fla. - Florida, the state that decided the 2000 presidential race with hanging chads and botched ballot designs, added a page to its history of electoral quirkiness Friday: a city council race that was decided by a coin toss.

G.P. Sloan, 77, and Richard Flynn, 75, each received 689 votes in the Nov. 2 election. Two recounts didn't determine a winner, so the candidates and three dozen supporters gathered Friday in the community center of this town of 4,400 residents located 25 miles west of Orlando.

"This is a very unusual occurrence in this day and age when we have such sophisticated mechanisms to vote on, such as a touchscreen computerized voter system," said Mayor Connie Fleetwood. "We've come down to a coin toss."

Later the mayor said she would have preferred a special election. "I think it's so primitive," she said of the coin toss.

Florida law provides that candidates "draw lots" to determine a winner in the event of a tie. The law has never been applied to a statewide race, although it has been used several times in local races, said Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman for the Florida Secretary of State.

County election supervisors can determine the method of drawing lots, and Lake County in the past has used a coin toss. Most recently, a coin toss determined a town council race in Montverde in Lake County in 1999.

Many other states have similar laws to settle a tie, said David Orr, clerk of Cook County in Chicago, who also is first vice president of the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks. In the 1990s, city council races in Nebraska and New Mexico were determined by drawing from a deck of cards.

"Courts and political systems aren't eager to have elections all the time so chance does its role," Orr said.

Sloan, a retired minister and Army veteran, and Flynn, a retiree who owned hardware stores in Maine before moving to Florida decades ago, said they thought the method for choosing a winner was fair.

"I would just as soon shoot an eight-ball or shoot balls from the foul line or have a game of hearts," Flynn joked.

During the campaign, the candidates took starkly different views on growth, an issue that has vexed this town in transition from an agricultural hamlet once surrounded by citrus groves to a bedroom community where many of its residents work in Orlando's hospitality industry. The town currently lacks a movie theater, a dentist, a pharmacy and a national grocery store chain.

Flynn, who previously had served on the city council and other civic boards in town, was considered the pro-growth candidate. Sloan, a first-time candidate and native of Groveland, had vowed to keep the city's small-town feel and protect the nearby Green Swamp.

They stood on either side of city manager Jason Yarborough for the coin toss, surrounded by a semicircle of television cameras.

Yarborough held a sealed envelope in his hands that had come from the bank. He ripped it open and took out the bicentennial dollar coin that had President Eisenhower on its face and the Liberty Bell on its back. Minutes beforehand, the candidates agreed that Flynn would make the call — heads or tails.

"Here we go," Yarborough said. "I don't want to miss."

He flipped the coin. Flynn shouted "Heads."

Yarborough caught it and flipped it on to the back of his hand.

"Tails it is," Yarborough said.

Cheers, clapping and whoops went up from the crowd. Sloan and Flynn shook hands and then hugged each other.

"There's nothing I can do about it," Flynn said afterward. "He flipped the coin and I lost."

I say we dispense with all the ballots and voting booths and Diebold Fraud Automation Machines, and simply have each election decided by a coin toss!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tampa Bay United? What About My Gunners? An English Football Update . . .

Glazer in Manchester United Takeover Bid

Malcolm Glazer, the owner of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a shareholder of Manchester United, the dullest team in England's Premier League. Manchester United is often referred to as ManUtd, or just United. I refer to them as ManUre.

How dull is ManUre? They have a marketing agreement with the New York Yankees. Yup! The dullest team in England is united with the dullest team in the United States. A perfect marriage; but, if that's the most creative marketing ploy you can manage, you deserve to be owned by an NFL franchisee!

My bias against ManUre began when I was living in London. ManUre were at the top of their game, winning everything, and had a team that seemed unbeatable.

Since I was living in London, I started following and supporting a London team. A friend had brought Mrs. Mac and me to an Arsenal match at Highbury, and I became an instant Arsenal fan.

When I started talking 'football' in my London circles, I was surprised to hear how many people in London (and from London) supported ManUre.

Being from London and supporting a team in Manchester is like being from New York and supporting a team in Pittsburgh! No matter how good the Pirates, Penguins, or Steelers might be, I can't imagine any of my friends from New York announcing themselves as a fan of those teams. Maybe I'm wrong (but I don't think so).

Anyway . . . the fans of ManUre are not happy about anybody taking over their team, least of all Malcolm Glazer! Maybe they would accept George Steinbrenner, but Glazer infuriates them. I don't quite know why, nor do I really care.

I think it would be wonderful if Glazer would buy ManUre. It is likely he would mortgage them to the teeth and run them into the ground, possibly even bankrupting them. Ooooooo! The thought gets me so excited!

A Fox Sports World article:
Manchester United supporters will take this as a declaration of war," said Sean Bones, vice chairman of the fan-based group Shareholders United.

Arsenal Beat Tottenham

(all images used without permission)
In Arsenal news, the Gunners barely beat Tottenham Hotspurs in last Saturday's North London Derby. Arsenal look like crap these days and were lucky to get out of White Hart Lane with a one-goal victory (4-5).

Why are the Gunners doing so poorly with such a fantastic squad? Laziness? Cockiness? One friend insists that it is because they have too many French players, so his opinion is that their problem is their Frenchness.

My thoughts:

Jens Lehmann has got to be replaced in goal. He's as consistent as David James without the good looks. Bring in an Italian.

(Jens Lehman)

Sol Campbell is needed in every match. Without Campbell managing the defense, Arsenal are mediocre in the back.

(L to R: Sol Campbell, Robert Pires, Jose Reyes)

Robert Pires must get back to full-game fitness. His starting position is now filled by Jose Antonio Reyes, the Spanish phenom, who is doing a splendid job and will likely replace Dennis Bergkamp up front in the next year or so. Pires needs to get his knee stable and return to a starting midfield position before the season gets too far along.

Until the goalkeeper is replaced, we get Campbell back, and the Pires/Reyes situation is sorted out, Arsenal are doomed to finish behind the even duller Chelski!

By the way . . .

(David James, Manchester City Football Club)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Amado Guevara: MLS Player of the Year. Season ends with new champions crowned.

Amado Guevara is my favorite soccer player in the USA. He is the star striker for my MetroStars and is a handsome, aggressive, passionate player. He is also the captain of the Honduran National Team.

Although the MetroStars was knocked-out of the playoffs, it was an exciting season for the Metros, and Guevara was the star the shone the brightest!

Thank you, Amado! Congratulations.

MetroStars midfielder Guevara named Major League Soccer's MVP

AP - November 11, 2004
(Reprinted without permission)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara was chosen Major League Soccer's most valuable player on Thursday.

Guevara, who helped his team to a second straight playoff appearance, led the MetroStars in assists (10) and points (30), while tying for the team lead in goals (10) during his second season in the league.

He also tied New England Revolution forward Pat Noonan for the league's scoring championship.

Guevara was presented with the Golden Ball award during a presentation at ESPNZone in Anaheim. He won over goalkeeper Joe Cannon of the Colorado Rapids and striker Jaime Moreno of D.C. United.

Guevara missed six games during the season, partly because of a red card suspension and his commitment to the Honduran national team's World Cup qualifying matches.

MetroStars.com Article from MLS.net

Some Yahoo!

D.C. United Crowned MLS Champs

First of all, what have D.C. united? The history of the team name "United" is rooted in events where multiple teams in a city or town merge to create a new club. MLS is nine years old, the District of Columbia does not have a team by the merger of existing teams. They are simply copying Manchester United, and that is beyond dull.

DC United employ Jaime Moreno, who when fat and useless was signed to my MetroStars for a season and did nothing but limp around the field and complain the entire term of his contract. He was shipped back to D.C. and he became their Player of the Year candidate. He is not worthy of any more ink than this: Jaime Moreno, you are worthless and should be forced to reimburse every Metros season-ticket holder at least half of their money for the 2002-2003 season, you piece of shite!

Still, D.C. totally outplayed Kansas City in the MLS Cup final, even when their side was reduced to ten men because of a deliberate handball in the box. They were unbeatable yesterday.

They won handily, and they deserve to have captured the MLS Cup in the one-game play-off.

Hats off, and congratulations D.C.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Do you think this would be a good solotion for a comments area?

I have increased the size of this page's Comments Box, but what do you think of this:
Dick Mac's Comments Idea Test
Please send me an email and let me know, or post on the regular Comments Box.

Boing Boing: Purple Haze

The post-election map showing the red states and the blue states is a rendering of how our electoral college voted. The flaw of the electoral college is that it doesn't really represent the people of the state. There is no RED state or BLUE state, per se, but are there purple states?

My friend Mark insists there is little or no blending in America. We are not so much purple as a collection of reds and blues.

Who's correct? Who knows? Likely, everyone is correct.

Reprinted from boingboing.net without permission

Purple Haze
Reprinted without permission
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Reader Jeff Culver in Seattle says:

"I was thinking today about how the 'red v. blue' states graphic is really misleading considering the slim margins that the candidates won some of those states by, so I sat down and created the map that's attached. In the dozens of hours I've been watching the news I haven't seen one like it, but thought that you and the BoingBoing readers might find it interesting. I think it definitely portrays our fellow states far differently than the extreme way we've been seeing to date."

Link to full-size image. Nod also to Siege, who also thought of this months ago and posted a similar graphic on his blog at Nerve.

BoingBoing reader Bill says,

"In contrast to your purple map, USA Today has published a country map broken down by county that shows where each party won. It's an even more depressing sea of red than the full US map, but clearly shows how the city folk liked the Dems and the rural folk liked the Reps this time around. Population difference is slight, land area difference is huge."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Vulgar and Inaccurate, But Hilarious . . .

This piece appeared on the internet earlier this week. I am conflicted about it because I know it has upset friends from the South. Not everyone from the South is stupid, or fundamentalist, or republican; nor is everyone from the North spryly intelligent, coolly agnostic, or democrat.

Though the article below contains some factual inaccuracies (LIES as one friend angrily insists), the spirit of the essay is hysterical. Why let a couple of minor historical facts get in the way of HUGE current-day laughs?

At the end of this blog entry, I try to discuss inaccuracies and facts, truths and lies; but because I must laugh about this and since I can't take it too seriously (even the parts with which I agree), my remarks generally deteriorate into poking fun.

This essay is anonymous, which disappoints me. The author should have signed her name, but I sure wish I had written it!

In this reprint, I have not provided the hyperlinks from the original, but you can click on the title below to see the original with all hotlinks intact.

Fuck The South

Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?

No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.

Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it's a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It's your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That's right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It's too easy, asshole, they're blue states. It's not your money, assholes, it's fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It's fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that's right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that's just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.

But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.

Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.

And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

Fact v Fiction: here is my analysis of truisms and falsehoods in this piece. First the falsehoods:

Cause we fucking founded this country - Everyone who founded this country is long dead. "We" did not found this country.

[The founding fathers] were fucking blue-staters - Some of them were red-staters. People from what is now called "The South" played an important role in the founding of this nation.

all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard - There are plenty of monuments to the founding fathers in red states.

What's more American than arrogance? - Generosity of spirit, maybe? Though I love that this author is using the right-wing hate-mongering attack methodology against them, I think most blue-staters are not generally this hostile. Still, I think it's funny to see it all reversed. We liberals and intellectuals in blue states have to ask if our methods of attempting dialogue and scientific analyses for the past two decades will ever work again; or do we need to stoop to this level to make our point? Do we have to act like Karl Rove to elect someone Karl Rove would hate?

"Let the Spanish keep [Florida], it's a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice. - I don't think this is even remotely true -- this is a lie -- because orange juice wasn't a popular beverage in that century and blue-staters probably had no opinion about Florida becoming a state.

Well this gravy train is fucking over. - Stupid people always get a lot of federal funding and red-staters will always be the MOST eligibile in that department. C'mon! They re-elected Bush: poor people elected the president who has done less for poor people than any president in our lifetime: THEY'RE STUPID!

Now the truisms:

We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. - Yes, maybe we should have let the existing red states secede in the middle of the 19th century! We probably would have gotten stuck with Indiana and Ohio, but we could have kept them happy with middle-class welfare and corporate subsidies. Though the Southern states did not have the right to secede, we should have thrown them out when slavery became a bad labor solution for the industrializing North while it remained a viable labor solution in the agrarian South. We learn from our mistakes.

[W]e had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. - The Civil War was the bloodiest war. It tore us apart. It was terrible. But, we won! The United States remained united. We could have just let the South secede. Then we could have marginalized and crippled them with economic sanctions, as we have done with Cuba. That would have forced them to abandon slavery, eventually (the British would have grown weary of subsidizing them). Then we could have annexed them as territories, like Puerto Rico. They would still be costing us a fortune, but their right to vote and participate in the federal government would have been limited; and the fundamentalists who make up a larger percentage of red-state culture than blue-state culture would have been without a Constitutional voice. This would be good, but there was no way to predict it.

All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? - Red-staters (and some blue state apologists), and their friends in the christian crusades forget that the Second Amendment is not really about packing heat and school-house slaughters (which seem to always take place in red states). It is about protecting self-determination (hence, the Civil War).

Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. - Am I willing to sacrifice the other four? As fundamentalists gain control of red states, those states become less vital to me. They'll all be cutting their taxes and eliminating services and then crying to the federal government that they need money to provide basic services. Red states bring little to our coffers, and little to our culture, no matter what people who used to be from those states might want to insist. Let's let them know who really pays the bills in America: not the four red states that were part of the original thirteen, but the blue states.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. - This is almost true and it is sickening. It is not a lie, but an exaggeration that tax dollars ALL come from blue states (just most). Red-staters who scream about cutting taxes get furious when you want to cut the programs in their states.

Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That's right, motherfucker, they're red states. - Can you imagine what would happen to corporate-sponsored right-wing political movements if corporate subsidies stopped propping-up all those industries that moved to the sun belt (red states) over the past forty years?!?!?! Those movements would die because they would not be getting liberal tax dollars from blue states!

[E]ight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It's too easy, asshole, they're blue states. - Blue states continue to see the cost of public transportation skyrocket while we pay to pave the roads and defend the health clinics in the red states! Let's stop subsidizing the red states! They stole all the industry with tax incentives, now can't run their own infrastructure with their crap tax-base, and want the federal government to bail them out.

It's not your money, assholes, it's fucking our money. - Let's start giving federal benefits to states in proportion to the taxes they pay!

Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It's fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. . . . 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast - Blue-staters and intellectuals are much more capable of providing stable homes and family lives than red-staters. Look at the statistics!

10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part. - Red-staters pretend to be so morally superior with all the Jesus in their eyes. They go on about christian morals but are wholly incapable of treating anyone (especially liberals and intellectuals) with even a modicum of Christian charity. As liberals get angry and lash out like this anonymous author, you watch how shocked they are.

No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. - Red-staters want to display alleged heavenly laws allegedly delivered to Moses by God; but they do not want to have a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., who changed Western Civilization right before their eyes. Did Moses exist? Maybe. Did God talk to him? No, God doesn't deliver messages to humans on stone tablets! Did Martin Luther King work to spread the love of God through the teachings of Jesus Christ? YES! We have films of him doing it. Idiots!

And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes. - Do school massacres happen in New York? Massachusetts? Minnesota? Oregon? Do they happen in states where the citizenry is interested in all ten amendments listed in the Bill of Rights? NO! School massacres happen in red states where people seem to think they have the right to stockpile arms that their children can use to kill others!

And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. You hate us. You really hate us. Leave us alone. We'll get tourism dollars from the French! You can have Disneyworld!

That's six falsehoods (or LIES) and 13 truisms. Verdict? Vulgar, but hilarious and more accurate than not.

I don't believe that Southerners are idiots; but I am beginning to think that most of the idiots are in red states.

It's odd to see that red-blue map, and I see how it would lead someone to write the essay in question. Are we really a red-blue nation? Or, are we a purple nation?

Tomorrow: The Purple Map!

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. If you are a veteran, THANK YOU!

And to all my readers: no matter what you think of war or peace, it is important to remember that there were times when men were sent to fight wars and they have had no choice, no other option but to comply, for sundry reasons. Some of these men became heroes they never intended to be, some have been scarred for life. They all deserve our thanks and respect. Today, thank a veteran for risking everything for you.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This is difficult to say . . .

Things That Are Difficult to Say When Drunk:


Things That Are Very Difficult to Say When Drunk:

British Constitution
Passive-aggressive disorder

Things That Are Downright IMPOSSIBLE to Say When Drunk:

Nope, no more booze for me.

Sorry, but you're not really my type.

Good evening officer, isn't it lovely out tonight?

Oh, I just couldn't. No one wants to hear me sing.

No, thanks -- I'm not much of a dancer.

Things that I am Absolutely Sure Never Passed My Lips (Even Once) When I Was Drunk:

You're absolutely right. It was a great call, and he was out at first.

Let me get this round.

Please! The language!

To each his own -- I like David Bowie and you like Eminem and we're both entitled to our opinions.

Say, why don't we call it a night? I have to get up for work in the morning.

I'd love to hear your views.

Oh, my job's nothing indispensable, really. I just work eight hours a day and do my best. Others there are much more talented than I.

Gee, that wasn't very nice -- you hurt my feelings. But I forgive you.

Of course I don't mind -- go ahead and have the last beer.

We really ought to quiet down; people are trying to sleep.

Thanks to Celia for sending this along!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

And this from England, our greatest ally . . .

When your friends talk about you like this, you (like a junkie) should really take a look at your life and examine all your options, because at this rate (like a junkie) the only friends you'll have are not very nice people.

The path we choose each day defines much about our character and our future.

The article below appeared in an English newspaper last week.


They say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.

This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation.

This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward towards the rest of humanity.

And for a few hours early yesterday, when the exit polls predicted a John Kerry victory, it seemed they had.

But then the horrible, inevitable truth hit home. They had somehow managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put before them. The Yellow Rogue of Texas.

A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy, whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and vanity.

A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's grip on the world's economies and natural resources.

And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another 9/11.
Why else do you think bin Laden was so happy to scare them to the polls, then made no attempt to scupper the outcome?

There's only one headline in town today, folks: "It Was Osama Wot Won It."

And soon he'll expect pay-back. Well, he can't allow Bush to have his folks whoopin' and a-hollerin' without his own getting a share of the fun, can he?

Heck, guys, I hope you're feeling proud today.

To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my commiserations.

To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?

Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores? How could you do this to yourselves?

How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to reject him?

Kerry wasn't the best presidential candidate the Democrats have ever fielded (and he did deserve a kicking for that "reporting for doo-dee" moment), but at least he understood the complexity of the world outside America, and domestic disgraces like the 45 million of his fellow citizens without health cover.

He would have done something to make that country fairer and re-connected it with the wider world.

Instead America chose a man without morals or vision. An economic incompetent who inherited a $2billion surplus from Clinton, gave it in tax cuts to the rich and turned the US into the world's largest debtor nation.

A man who sneers at the rights of other nations. Who has withdrawn from international treaties on the environment and chemical weapons.

A man who flattens sovereign states then hands the rebuilding contracts to his own billionaire party backers.

A man who promotes trade protectionism and backs an Israeli government which continually flouts UN resolutions.

America has chosen a menacingly immature buffoon who likened the pursuit of the 9/11 terrorists to a Wild West, Wanted Dead or Alive man-hunt and, during the Afghanistan war, kept a baseball scorecard in his drawer, notching up hits when news came through of enemy deaths.

A RADICAL Christian fanatic who decided the world was made up of the forces of good and evil, who invented a war on terror, and thus as author of it, believed he had the right to set the rules of engagement.

Which translates to telling his troops to do what the hell they want to the bad guys. As he has at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and countless towns across Iraq.

You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out.
These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one.

As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity.

Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets.

The self-righteous, gun-totin', military lovin', sister marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land "free and strong".

You probably won't be surprised to learn of would-be Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn who, on Tuesday, promised to ban abortion and execute any doctors who carried them out.

He also told voters that lesbianism is so rampant in the state's schools that girls were being sent to toilets on their own. Not that any principal could be found to back him up.

These are the people who hijack the word patriot and liken compassion to child-molesting. And they are unknowingly bin Laden's chief recruiting officers.
Al-Qaeda's existence is fuelled by the outpourings of America's Christian right. Bush is its commander-in-chief. And he and bin Laden need each other to survive.
Both need to play Lex Luther to each others' Superman with their own fanatical people. Maybe that's why the mightiest military machine ever assembled has failed to catch the world's most wanted man.

Or is the reason simply that America is incompetent? That behind the bluff they are frightened and clueless, which is why they've stayed with the devil they know.
VISITORS from another planet watching this election would surely not credit the amateurism.

The queues for hours to register a tick; the 17,000 lawyers needed to ensure there was no cheating; the $1.2bn wasted by parties trying to discredit the enemy; the allegations of fraud, intimidation and dirty tricks; the exit polls which were so wildly inaccurate; an Electoral College voting system that makes the Eurovision Song Contest look like a beacon of democracy and efficiency; and the delays and the legal wrangles in announcing the victor.

Yet America would have us believe theirs is the finest democracy in the world. Well, that fine democracy has got the man it deserved. George W Bush.

But is America safer today without Kerry in charge? A man who overnight would have given back to the UN some credibility and authority. Who would have worked out the best way to undo the Iraq mess without fear of losing face.

Instead, the questions facing America today are - how many more thousands of their sons will die as Iraq descends into a new Vietnam? And how many more Vietnams are on the horizon now they have given Bush the mandate to go after Iran, Syria, North Korea or Cuba...?

Today is a sad day for the world, but it's even sadder for the millions of intelligent Americans embarrassed by a gung-ho leader and backed by a banal electorate, half of whom still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

Yanks had the chance to show the world a better way this week, instead they made a thuggish cowboy ride off into the sunset bathed in glory.

And in doing so it brought Armageddon that little bit closer and re-christened their beloved nation The Home Of The Knave and the Land Of The Freaks.

Well . . . That's a nice article from our strongest ally.

I particluarly like this line " . . . an Electoral College voting system that makes the Eurovision Song Contest look like a beacon of democracy and efficiency . . . "

OMG! It's true: American electoral politicis has become a reality television show with a $2,000,000 grand prize distributed in four annual payments, a driver for life, bodyguards, and entry into all the best clubs, like so many Survivor survivors or Apprentice apprentices!

Well, I guess Saudi Arabia is now our strongest ally. They fund alQaeda and the Taliban with their oil profits and have very close ties to the House of Bush, so maybe England isn't our strongest ally after all!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Poor Elton, Poor Mick, Poor David, Poor Freddie, Poor Rod!

Generally speaking, I do not use the word 'poor' when discussing multi-millionaire rock stars. These guys are some of the wealthiest men on the planet, so using the word 'poor' is so often inaccurate.

Elton John has always been the most culturally entertaining of this lot, because he is not afraid to be in the public eye and spout his opinions. Elton is an activist. He uses his fame and fortune to change the world. I learned in 1979 that Elton was personally responsible for funding the gay liberation movement in London. An impressive commitment. Elton's AIDS foundation work is without equal, and his outpouring to Ryan White in the 1980s was a beautiful thing. His commitment to making the world a better place can not be questioned.

Rod is rather a dullard, and I suspect a bit too conservative to be acting-out in public at his age. Anyhow, he can't decide if he's Rod Stewart or a Tina Turner clone, so it's all for the best that he remain out of the public eye. He is an amateur football player and is alleged to have had a try-out with a top-flight English team in his youth.

Freddie was quite a character. Though Queen released more sports/rock anthems than any other rock band, they have not enjoyed the enshrinement that these others have in the pantheon of rock gods. I don't know why, but maybe it's an American thing. I think Queen (not THE Queen, but Queen) is held in higher esteem by Brits than Americans. For good reason! Queen was amazing and Freddie was quite a guy. Did you know he experimented with heterosexuality?

Mick is a god. Mick can do anything. Screw girls from the convent, go to jail for drugs, father children around the world, sing racist/misogynist songs that women and people of color actually like, he can flirt in public with men, be knighted, attend PTA meetings at posh boarding schools, marry and divorce wealthy and famous women, and nothing seems to penetrate his standing as one of the world's supreme rock gods.

David . . . well, I can't say enough about David Bowie. His music and art changed my life. There is no rock god more deserving of accolade than David Bowie. No other person in the entertainment industry has crossed so many lines and pushed the envelope further than David Bowie. Even his most boring work is leaps and bounds ahead of most work produced in that industry. He's a painter, a writer, an actor, a singer and musician. He is a devoted father and husband, and an innovator non-pareil. The American media could be kinder to Bowie, but I suspect he is happy as things stand.

So . . . now that I have gone on my rock star love fest, what the hell is my point? I think I forget . . . hmmmmmmmmmm . . .


Sadly, Elton John is developing his own sitcom about an aging rock star and the people around him. The show is not necessarily based on him, but the character is a combination of Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Rod Stewart.

Oh well.

Let's hope he makes a ton of money on it and (unlike the others) uses it to make the world a better place for those unable to defend themselves.

Below is some press about it.


Elton John Developing Sitcom
(from WNBC)

Legendary singer-songwriter Elton John is helping to develop his own sitcom about an aging rock star and the people around him.

John tells Variety that the rock star wouldn't necessarily be based on him, but would be a combination of Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Rod Stewart.

John has already written a song for the show, "Him and Us."

The song will also be on his upcoming album "Peachtree Road."

Elton John to become sitcom superstar with 'Spinal Tap'-style TV comedy
(from Yahoo!)
Fri Nov 5, 3:44 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Elton John's life is a sitcom. Or it soon will be, as the singing superstar is planning to produce a television comedy show based on the life of an ageing rock star, industry reports said.

The colourful 57-year-old British musical icon is helping develop a show for the American ABC network that pokes fun at himself and his superstar rock pals, industry bible Daily Variety said.

But, John said, the lead character would not necessarily be based on his own frequently stranger-than-fiction life, but on a composite of "male divas" such as Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Freddy Mercury and David Bowie.

"It's not about me, but about everybody we've encountered over the past 30 years," John told the daily.

"We've met every star and seen every misbehavior. And it's about the people around the star, who have to put up with them. It's an upmarket 'Spinal Tap'," he said.

"Spinal Tap," a 1984 spoof documentary which was directed by Rob Reiner and has become a cult classic, told the exaggerated tongue-in-cheek story of a fiction rock band that took itself far too seriously.

The weekly half-hour show, the brainchild of John and his longtime business manager Bob Halley, will revolve around the relationship between a veteran rock star and his eccentric entourage, Variety said.

The show is expected to draw on John's own unusual household includes his longtime boyfriend David Furnish, a valet, a hairdresser and SWAT-style bodyguards.

"I think it will be one of the funniest things on TV in a while," John said.

The planned show's five executive producers are assembling a full history for the lead character that includes a back catalogue of his music dating from the 1970s to the 21st century, Variety said.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Fear Not! The tide always turns!

It is important to remember that the most patriotic of American patriots have always been intellectuals: writers and businessmen, inventors and scholars. The men who forged this nation and laid the groundwork of freedom (the freedom that is such an inconvenience for today's christian fundamentalists) faced difficulties in their political lives and objected to some of the laws passed by our Congress. They were insightful people, not emotional people. They were thinking people, not religious zealots.

One of them was Thomas Jefferson, and he spoke-out when the Sedition Act was made law:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. . . . If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1798

Thanks to Brian for sending this along.

Another great man in American history who was a thinking man AND a Christian worked diligently for the freedom of all Americans until he was cut down by an idiot Southerner who didn't think people with brown skin should be treated the same way as people with pink skin. He offers:

"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thanks to Dave for sending this along.

It is time for Americans to turn to their hearts and souls and question their motives and ideals.

I must ask: "What is important to me? What can I do to make this world, and my nation, a better place?" Then I need to act. I need to ensure that the beliefs I hold are defended at every juncture.

The wrong-wing did not grab our government by the throat overnight, nor have they done anything to defend it, or provide for its protection. The wrong-wing has never fought the great battles, won the difficult wars, or spread the joy of American democracy through the world. They have failed America at every juncture in efforts to keep our nation safe and free.

The wrong-wing slowly took hold of our great nation by starting in the grass roots. From Anita Bryant's hateful attacks on homosexuals and the Midwestern book-burnings of the late seventies, to the dismantling of the Bill of Rights with the recent passage of the Patriot Act, the wrong-wing continues to turn America against itself.

The wrong-wing has somehow convinced the stupid people of America that this is a Christian nation that should be governed by the tenets proffered in biblical writings. It is not. They are wrong.

This is a nation of many peoples. This diaspora is what has made America great.

The time is here to take action. To protect ALL Americans: Christians and christians, and Jews and Mulsims and atheists, and families and widows and spinsters and homosexuals and homeless children and the mentally ill.

We used to take care of our citizens.

We used to care.

Let's do it again.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Four More Years

Updated at 12:00 Noon

The current American president was finally elected President.

His actions after his appointment in 2000 have been frightening. Now he will proclaim a mandate. He will proclaim that he is the great uniter and he will ask all Americans to get behind him for the sake of unity.

He will expect us to enjoy a major shift towards christian fundamentalism, appointments to the judiciary of those willing to further not jurisprudence but a political agenda, a gutting of civil liberties begun with the Patriot Act and to be followed by a sequel, the further conglomeration of communications and media, deep tax cuts for the wealthy, more and more jobs moving offshore while corporations are offered tax breaks for no apparent reason, privatization of our water supply, pension fund, transportation systems, military specialists, police forces, and education.

We will see an elimination of funding for non-religious-based social service agencies, a total ban on abortion, the re-criminaliztion of homosexuality and proscription of all sexual activity, morality requirements for school teachers, the end of union protection for government employees, a restriction on passports, major hurdles to immigration and emigration, rewards for companies willing to include morals clauses in their employment agreements, and a return to HUAC-style investigations of those who do not publicly support administration mandates.

Our children will be drafted into the military not to defend our nation, but to procure the natural resources of nations unable to defend themselves. Those resources will then be given, free of charge, to corporate distributors who will gouge the American taxpayers with high prices. This war will be financed by gutting what is left of education and social services because the tax cuts for the wealthy have bankrupted our treasury. When our children return home from war they will find a mere ghost of the G.I. Bill providing them no chance to better their lives, no health care for war-related injuries, nothing as a reward for sacrificing their moral fiber for profiteering.

The current American president was finally elected President. And as you can see from the Comments Board on this site and blogs around the web: his supporters are gloating. They have been given a mandate to blame everyone else for the world's problems and mistakes, and they now will take heart in treating other tax-paying Americans as second-class citizens.

The current American president was finally elected President.

God bless us all.


We have been given a mandate . . .

I have been given a mandate, as have all American liberals, to make the world a better place in spite of our government's policies. It is now my job to comfort those less fortunate than me. It is time to promote that most American of all values: the lost art of volunteerism.

It is time to turn off our televisions and stereos, to turn away from the media, talking heads, and pop icons who so repugnantly ignore intellectualism, thinking, and ideas. It is time to take action: to put our money where our mouths are.

It is time to work at food pantries and homeless shelters and nursing homes. It is time to cultivate charity and knowledge.

It is time to work for peace.

I challenge liberals across America to take action, to get involved in their communities, to change the world as we did in the past.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Dear Senator Schumer:

I sent this email to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.

Dear Senator:

I am a life-long democrat, and I have always voted the Democrat ticket.

It has been my intention to vote for you tomorrow. As an American, a patriot, a taxpayer, a father, an activist, a husband, I am concerned about your continued support of our failed military campaign in Iraq.

Iraq was never a threat to the United States until you personally allowed the current American president to invade. I may still vote for you tomorrow, but I might not. If I vote against you, it will be because of your hawk-ish position on the war in Iraq.

Also, I hope you have taken time to read The Patriot Act you so enthusiastically supported. It is a bad law and I expect you to work to repeal the more repugnant parts of it. I also expect you to take the lead in addressing this attack on our Constitution.

I am not impressed with your voting record since 9/11/01 and I do not see how you have helped anyone but yourself.

Best of luck in the campaign.

Yours truly,
Dick Mac

Schumer won, and that is good for the citizens of New York in some small way, but it is bad for humanity because he is a war-mongerer who supports an illegal presidency and an immoral war.

I would rather have Schumer than either the Republican or Conservative candidates; but, that is the lesser of three evils.

Schumer might prevent the president from removing funding from New York, but he will not win us any new support. He failed to get us needed funds from the Homeland Security budget, money that went to places like Florida and Montana. Money that was promised for the rebuilding of downtown New York and improved security. Still, he has his nose firmly planted in the anus of the Administration.

Congratulations Senator Schumer! Please do something good for New York over the next six years.

I voted for Dave McReynolds of the Green Party.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"I'm voting for John Kerry because I'm a Christian."

Finally, a Christian is stepping forward to talk about how the current American regime's policies are completely unChristian. Wonderfully, the speaker is the current American president's second cousin!

I am voting for John Kerry today. I hope you will, too!

"Jeanny House (Wisconsin): I'm voting for John Kerry because I'm a Christian. I know that my second cousin, George Bush, claims that he is the anointed leader of the American people and that God told him to run for office. I believe he may even believe that. I don't.

"My Christian faith leads me to a concern for the poor and the marginalized, yet Bush's actions in office have repeatedly cut funding for health care, aid to failing schools, jobs programs, after school programs, Head Start, and many more services that provide real help and hope to those living in poverty. Under the Bush administration, over a million additional people have dropped below the poverty line. 1.2 million more have gone into "deep poverty," which is one-half the $18,810 for a family of four that defines "poverty."

"My Christian faith leads me to a concern for the health and welfare of all of God's people, yet 45 million people in this country have no health insurance. The Bush administration, working hard to protect the interests of large, rich insurance companies, has done nothing to address the real health care crisis.

"My Christian faith tells me the peacemakers are the blessed ones, yet George Bush wants to resurrect the Crusades, one of the most shameful experiences in Christian history. I fail to understand how lying to the people of the United States about any of the many justifications they have used for going to war in Iraq can be considered in any way, shape, or form a remotely Christian activity. Yes, Jesus once said, "I come not to bring peace, but a sword." He was talking about liberating his OWN people from within, not invading an oil-rich country out of purely selfish motives, then claiming it was for the liberation of others. The only true liberation comes when the oppressed claim it for themselves. This is something George Bush and his Imperialist cabal will never understand.

"My Christian faith moves toward greater inclusiveness and acceptance, George Bush moves toward punishment, division, and exclusion. My Christian faith seeks to bring people into the circle of decision-making, George Bush seeks to keep them out. My Christian faith seeks to afford equal rights and responsibilities to all, George Bush seeks to reserve more rights for the privileged few.

"My Christian faith is not looking for a new Messiah named George Bush.

"I am, however, looking for a leader. I believe that leader's name is John Kerry."

AMEN, sister!

The Bush Relatives For Kerry website is wonderful. Unpretentious and direct, it is published by a group of people speaking-out against the evil that is the current American president and his empire of fundamentalism!

If you won't vote for Kerry, please vote against the current regime.

Mrs. Mac says VOTE!

For our New York friends, Mrs. Mac provides this information for finding your polling place. It is imperative that we all vote, and sometimes polling places are moved. Call now to confirm the location of the polls for your precinct!

Toll Free: 1.866.VOTE-NYC (1.866.868.3692)
Outside of New York City: 1.212.VOTE-NYC
TDD: 1.212.487.5496

The Rabbi Predicts

Read The Rabbi's Predictions.

I voted!

At 10:15 A.M. I voted John Kerry for President, on the Working Families Party ticket. It's good to vote. I hope you will vote to remove the current American president from office.

Monday, November 01, 2004

"Hijacking Catastrophe"

The neo-cons, the fascists controlling the Executive branch of our once-great government, are liars. They lie about everything and have been doing so since their great hero, Ronald Reagan (the biggest liar of them all) took office in 1980.

They lie. They always lie. And then they scare the shit out of you to prove you need them. You do not need them. They are religious whackos seeking to profit from your fear.

Please turn this scum out of office. Maybe the following will help you decide:

As its web page explains: "Hijacking Catastrophe is powerful, understated, straightforward and educational. In a single meticulously organized hour of evidence and analysis, viewers are treated to a thoughtful explanation of modern American empire, neo-conservatism as a driving force for the current Bush administration."

Watch a ten-minute clip from Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear, and the Selling of American Empire.

The Hijacking Catastrophe home page.

Mrs. Mac says VOTE!

For our New York friends, Mrs. Mac provides this information for finding your polling place. It is imperative that we all vote, and sometimes polling places are moved. Call now to confirm the location of the polls for your precinct!

Toll Free: 1.866.VOTE-NYC (1.866.868.3692)
Outside of New York City: 1.212.VOTE-NYC
TDD: 1.212.487.5496