Friday, April 28, 2006

Tell me again . . . Who are the real patriots?

To contrast liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, I offer this list of the military involvement of party activists in the service of their nation.

Democrats:
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72
Al Gore: enlisted 1969; Vietnam 1971 army journalist 20th Engineer Brigade
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star w/ Combat V, Purple Hearts
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver & Bronze Stars, Vietnam. Paraplegic
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb: Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft and received #311
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg

That's a pretty impressive list of military service!

Now for the guys that like to accuse others of being unPatritotic:

Republicans:
Dick Cheney: did not serve
Dennis Hastert: did not serve
Tom Delay: did not serve
Roy Blunt: did not serve
Bill Frist: did not serve
Mitch McConnell: did not serve
Rick Santorum: did not serve
Trent Lott: did not serve
John Ashcroft: did not serve
Jeb Bush: did not serve
Karl Rove: did not serve
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve - Attacked Max Cleland
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve
Vin Weber: did not serve
Richard Perle: did not serve
Douglas Feith: did not serve
Eliot Abrams: did not serve
Richard Shelby: did not serve
Jon Kyl: did not serve
Tim Hutchison: did not serve
Christopher Cox: did not serve
Newt Gingrich: did not serve
Don Rumsfeld: 1954-57 Navy flight instructor
George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard commitment; assigned to Alabama in order to campaign for family friend running for Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, went AWOL & disappeared from duty
Ronald Reagan: WWII - making movies
Bob Dornan: Enlisted after fighting was done in Korea
Phil Gramm: did not serve
John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross
Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve
John M. McHugh: did not serve
JC Watts: did not serve
Jack Kemp: did not serve. Knee problem kept him out of war and in NFL for 8 years
Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve
George Pataki: did not serve
Spencer Abraham: did not serve
John Engler: did not serve
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer
Arnold Schwarzenegger: deserter from Austrian army
Sean Hannity: did not serve
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F)
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve
Michael Savage: did not serve
George Will: did not serve
Chris Matthews: did not serve
Paul Gigot: did not serve
Bill Bennett: did not serve
Pat Buchanan: did not serve
John Wayne: did not serve
Bill Kristol: did not serve
Kenneth Starr: did not serve
Antonin Scalia: did not serve
Clarence Thomas: did not serve
Ralph Reed: did not serve
Michael Medved: did not serve



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Thursday, April 27, 2006

UEFA Champions League Semifinals 2006

The UEFA Champions League is the current form of the European Cup. The competition sees the best clubs from all over Europe competing to be crowned Champions of Europe.

The first European Cup final was played in Paris 1956 and this, the fiftieth anniversary of the competition, sees a return to France's capital on 17 May 2006.

The semifinals concluded this week and in a few weeks Arsenal FC from England will play FC Barcelona from Spain.

We will see Henry, Ljungberg, Ronaldhino, Eto'o, Gio, Deco, Pires, Reyes and a remarkable supporting cast battle this year.

My week at work was brightened by following the two semifinal matches on the internet.

Villareal 0-0 Arsenal, at El Madrigal, 25 April 2006
Arsenal goes through 1-0 aggregate.

87' Worry is showing on the faces of the Villarreal supporters and players as they realize their UEFA Champions League fairy tale looks like coming to an end.

88' Jose Mari­a (Villarreal) was fouled in the penalty area by Clichy (Arsenal) Penalty to Villarreal. Clichy is penalised for a foul on Jose Mari­a and Villarreal have a chance to take the match into extra time.

90' Riquelme (Villarreal) missed the penalty saved by the goalkeeper. Lehmann dives to his left to block Riquelme's spot-kick and keep Arsenal in front. Unbelievable drama at El Madrigal.

90'+3'Riquelme (Villarreal) has a shot blocked. The Argentinian has another shot blocked, and surely Arsenal are in the final now.

The final whistle is blown.


Barcelona 0-0 AC Milan, at Camp Nou, 25 April 2006
Barcelona goes through 1-0 on aggregate.

FC Barcelona booked their place in the UEFA Champions League final as they held off the challenge of AC Milan to earn a goalless draw at the Camp Nou and defeat the Italian side 1-0 on aggregate thanks to Ludovic Giuly's first-leg goal.


Read more news and see highlights at the Champions League site.



Dick Mac Recommends:

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What Led To The War In Iraq?

Do you think this event of December 20, 1983, had anything to do with it?

Each Image links to a different article! Enjoy!










Have a nice war!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Keith Hernandez Is An Ass!

Another Republican shows us what he really thinks of women! "[He] love[s] you gals out there!" He just doesn't like you in the game of baseball!

Keith Hernandez reprimanded by Mets network for 'inappropriate' comments

April 24, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez was reprimanded by the team's television network for "inappropriate" remarks during a broadcast about a female member of San Diego's training staff.

The former MVP first baseman said women "don't belong in the dugout" when he spotted 33-year-old Kelly Calabrese, the Padres' full-time massage therapist, high-fiving Mike Piazza in the dugout after he hit a home run during New York's 8-1 victory Saturday in San Diego.

After Hernandez found out later in the broadcast that Calabrese was with the Padres training staff, he repeated that she shouldn't have been there. "I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout," he said.

Hernandez, a former Mets star, then laughed and said: "You know I am only teasing. I love you gals out there -- always have."

"Keith Hernandez made inappropriate comments regarding the presence of a female massage therapist of the San Diego Padres who was in the dugout," SportsNet New York said in a statement Monday. "We immediately addressed the issue with Keith and reprimanded him, and he publicly apologized during Sunday's game."

Hernandez said Sunday that he was sorry if he offended anyone. He also said that baseball's rulebook allowed only the head trainer and assistant trainer in the dugout.

But a Major League Baseball memo previously sent to all clubs said that in addition to the two trainers, one member of the conditioning staff was permitted in the dugout during games. After Hernandez's remarks, MLB called the Padres and verified that, indeed, Calabrese was allowed.

Calabrese said Sunday that she was flabbergasted by Hernandez's comments.

"It's a little shocking but you know what -- it happens," she said. "He not only discredited me as a person, but he discredited women."

Padres chief executive officer Sandy Alderson also criticized Hernandez.

"Her competence and professionalism, not gender, are the important factors in her role with the club," he said Monday in a statement.

"Our society has made great strides in gender equity in recent years and that progress should be reflected as well in professional baseball," he said. "Keith's remarks were uninformed and were a disservice to Kelly and those women like her who have performed admirably in positions previously reserved for men."


I never liked Keith Hernandez and I am saddened that he will feel no ramifications due to his remarks. He will be allowed to continue earning far more than he deserves, mouthing-off in front of a camera. If the Mets had a modicum of decency (which they obviously don't), he would be terminated and never given the opportunity to work in the organization. Since, however, he likely represents the feelings of most baseball teams, owners, staff, talent and fans, he will be forgiven and allowed to spew his idiocy over the airwaves.

If fired, he (like all right-wingers) will claim freedom of speech and complain that unAmericans want him to be fired.

He is wrong.

He's an ass!

When will the federal government step-in and stop baseball? They are out of control with nobody to answer to. How many more insults must be spewed forth from baseball against the American way of life? They are against the free market, against enforcement of drug laws, anti-consumer, they are in violation of anti-trust laws, and want the unrestricted right to do anything they choose. They must be stopped!

With Hernandez as one of their spokesmen, it's a wonder that any woman or man of conscience would consume baseball as a product.

But this is America. It's unpatriotic to have a conscience!

Take me out to the ballgame!


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Jose Canseco





Monday, April 24, 2006

USA Ranked #4 . . . and this is AMAZINGLY GOOD NEWS!

"We're Number One!" might be the most American of chants. It is quaint now, when once it was so accurate.

From 1935 to 1980, America was number one in the technology, medicine, education, military, culture, societal contracts, business development, charity, foreign relations, and so much more. The entire world, including our enemies, envied us. And for good reason: we were successful, smart, and generous.

Then came the Reagan reaction followed by a string of conservative presidencies and a disastrous new American agenda. An agenda that has seen us fall from being the world's leading power to a marginally regional power.

Sadly, it is not true anymore that we're number one. Our children are stupid, our government is as dishonest as the most brutal dictatorships, our military is an embarrassment even though it is the most expensive, we lag in technological and medical developments, we are uncharitable and when we attempt to be charitable we attach strings to our donations that force underprivileged, under-developed nations to forfeit their sovereignty, even our allies hate us, we lag behind in everything we used to lead.

Oddly, in one area of our culture, we have leaped and bounded from a negligible position to being ranked the fourth best of 205 national soccer teams! That's right! We may be fifth in education, health care, medicine, technology, military, charity, foreign relations and sensibility; but we are FOURTH in soccer!

See the list at FIFA.


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Friday, April 21, 2006

One Child Left Behind!

The current administration's plan to ensure the education of white children might have it's first example of why this fraudulent program is so vital. There are stupid people! And not just the ones that voted for Bush twice, but simple, ordinary suburbanites like the idiot who allowed a man to enter her home, fondle her breasts and touch her vagina.

In the big picture, I see nothing wrong with touching breasts and genitals. Everyone should have their genitals touched on occasion.

What is odd about this story, however, is that the woman called the police and the man has been arrested for sexual assault.

The man, Philip Winikoff, knocked on the woman's door, explained that he was a doctor (which he is not) providing neighborhood health check-ups as a service of the local hospital. He offered her a free breast exam to check for lumps, and then offered to perform a cervical exam, to which the woman consented. The man touched her vagina, but we don't know yet if his fingers actually penetrated her. At this point, Miss Shit-For-Brains-From-The-Great-State-Of-Florida, became suspicious because he wasn't wearing rubber gloves!

She became suspicious not when a strange man offered to fondle her breasts or touch her vagina, but only when he failed to wear rubber gloves! I guess I know what to wear to her house when I visit!

She reported him to the police who arrested Mr. Winikoff a couple days later in a nearby housing development, offering his services to another woman.

What freaks me out about this story is not that Winikoff posed as a doctor to fondle breasts and vaginas (which is totally creepy), but that this woman welcomed him into her home and disrobed for him!

Where did this woman come from? Where did she go to school? What planet has she been on the past 30 years? Didn't anyone ever tell her that although strangers' candy always tastes best, it is best to not take candy from strangers?

I am no fan of sexual assault, but neither am I a fan of stupidity.

This woman is stupid! Winikoff is creepy, but he is not a rapist. If Winikoff is imprisoned, I hope the victim is forced to return to the first grade and complete at least twelve years of remedial education.

Yeah! I hate stupid people!

But, wait! Did this woman allow him to do this because she has no health insurance? Are American women so desperate for free health care that they, like their second-world counterparts, must consider providing sexual favors for health care?

What is the real issue here? Is it sexual battery? Stupidity? Or the wealthiest nation in the world failing to provide health care for its tax-paying citizenry?

I wonder if I'd give it up for health care. I guess I would. But, I wouldn't have the doctor arrested afterwards!

Here's The Smoking Gun



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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Arsenal Dominates Villareal

I am a fan of Villareal; but, I am a Gooner, through and through. Arsenal invokes within me a passion I have never known as a consumer of professional sports entertainment.

Villareal is a Spanish powerhouse. They lack the seemingly endless supply of cash that maintain Barcelona and Real Madrid, and still they are extremely competitive in La Liga, the Spanish league.

Arsenal is in a rebuilding phase that sees them out of the top fur in the English Premier League, and facing the proposition of being excluded from next year's Champions League.

Yesterday brought the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Semifinal match between my beloved Arsenal and the Diego Forlan/Juan Román Riquelme led Villareal at Highbury, in North London.

Arsenal dominated the match front to end. Villareal struggled to keep apace and their scoresheet is littered not with goals, but yellow cards.

With Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes unavailable due toaccumulatedd bookings, Thierry Henry played alone on the left up front, with Freddie Ljungberg playing as an attacking midfielder in the center. Henry had a shot on goal in the eleventh minute, but the match remained scoreless until the 41st minute when Cote d'Ivorie defender Kolo Toure scored with a brilliant shot.

The second half brought no further score, but the frustration of Villareal showed as three cautions were issued to the Spanish side.

Arsenal skipper, Arsene Wenger was philosophical, critical and generous in his post-match interview as he spoke about the Gunners' 2005-2006 campaign:
"We want to keep a clean sheet in the second leg, and we have proved we can do that, but it is not enough to just go there and defend. We want to play our game and score goals.

"We have got Spurs on Saturday and then the second leg of the Champions League semi-final - so the next six days will define our season - but we are confident we can do it."

The Frenchman also spoke of his disappointment at Villarreal's theatrical antics.

"They were very tricky in their attempts to break our attacks down," he said.

"I remember Alessio Tacchinardi going down at one point and he looked up to see if his side were on the attack. When he saw that they weren't he went back down.

"Tactically, they are very astute, very mature."

Wenger's final statement about Villareal is quite true. They are a team to be reckoned-with, and if their presence in the semi-finals of the world's most prestigious club championship, I recommend you watch them over the next couple of seasons as their veterans become more wily and their youngsters begin to mature.

I suspect that the newly re-crafted Arsenal and the rising Villareal might see a lot of each other in the coming half-decade.

All of that said, I look forward to next week's second leg of this sem-final round, and Arsenal's final push to crack the top founr of the Premier League.

Read more at UEFA and BBC:

http://www.uefa.com/competitions/UCL/news/Kind=1/newsId=415215.html

http://www.uefa.com/competitions/UCL/news/Kind=1/newsId=415273.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/4915968.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/a/arsenal/4918834.stm

Go Gunners!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The New York Race For Governor

George Pataki steps down as Governor of New York at the end of this term, which means that this November brings election of his replacement.

The field of candidates is dominated by dullards from the one major party (Democrats and Republicans). The usual suspects: Eliot Spitzer, Tom Suozzi, John Faso and dreadfully enough, Bill Weld the former Governor of Massachusetts (one of the worst governors that great Commonwealth ever elected) prove that there is no hope for the future of working New Yorkers.

Those four alone are enough to make for the dullest election in American history.

Then . . . suddenly . . . ASSociated Press comes out with a news article about Malachy McCourt joining the race!

McCourt wants to be the Green Party nominee.

Voting for McCourt is a good idea! Read about his campaign here.
Author McCourt to Run for N.Y. Governor
By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Apr 18, 11:57 AM ET

Malachy McCourt, a writer, actor and brother of the author of "Angela's Ashes," says he plans to seek the Green Party nomination for governor of New York to end nuclear energy programs and revoke the death penalty.

"It is quite clear in the Bible 'Thou Shalt Not Kill,'" McCourt, well-known in New York City progressive politics, said in a news release.

McCourt plans to officially announce his candidacy Sunday. He was out of the country Tuesday and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

McCourt has appeared on public radio and numerous TV talk shows. His latest of eight books is "I Never Drink When I'm Sober," and he writes a newspaper column called "Sez I to Myself."

He also has acted in soap operas, in films including "The Molly Maguires," "She's the One," "The Devil's Own," and "Green Card," and in the HBO prison series "Oz." His brother Frank McCourt wrote the best seller "Angela's Ashes."

A Green Party spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Candidates seeking the job being vacated by Republican Gov. George Pataki this year are Democrats Eliot Spitzer and Tom Suozzi and Republicans John Faso and Bill Weld.
For those in the know, please note the biographical reference to Bill Wilson.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blame The Passengers

I found this at the New York Daily News website yesterday, and it made me think of how inequitably public transportation is managed.

Here we have the New York Transit Authority (a/k/a MTA) fining passengers who pay two dollars to ride a mismanaged system; but the private corporations who have been given tax dollars to maintain the cleanliness of tracks, stations, and rolling stock ignore their duties, underpay their under-staffed workers, pocket millions in profit and walk away unmolested.

I think it is the privatized services that are a problem for the MTA, not the passengers!

Walking fine line on the subway
Tix blitz for going between cars

BY PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


Police are slapping more summonses on subway riders who ride or walk between cars, statistics reveal.

The NYPD's Transit Bureau issued 590 tickets for such violations during the first three months of the year.

At that pace, nearly 2,400 straphangers will get ticketed for the noncriminal offenses by the end of the year - which would represent a threefold increase over 2005.

"There is a great potential for injury when walking or riding between subway cars. By targeting this behavior the NYPD is contributing to a safer system," Transit Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said.

"It's all part of ongoing crimefighting, and quality-of-life and safety enforcement, aboveground and below," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.

Riding between cars has long been a violation of the TA's rules of the rails. In December, the TA added walking from car to car to its list of prohibitions. Fines range from $25 to $100.

Martin Cruz, 16, who was crossing the cars of an E train last week was unaware of the rules. But the Bronx high school student said they have some merit.

"Some people might not have good balance and fall to the side," Martin said.

The Subway Entertainers, a group of four underground dancers, disagreed.

"I think it's unfair," group member Russell Steele, 30, of the Bronx, said on the E train. "If you're in a car and there are no seats, you should be able to walk to the next car, especially after work."

Transit officials point to sometimes deadly accidents involving people riding or walking between cars. From 1995 to 2005, 13 riders were killed and more than 100 were injured in falls from trains.

Police also are handing more tickets to riders sipping unsealed nonalcoholic drinks, like coffee and water.

Cops issued 64 such tickets the first three months of the year, compared with 17 during the corresponding time period in 2005. The beverage ban - which carries a $25 fine - has been on the books for years but is rarely enforced.

Overall, subway summonses are down about 20% this year, which some attribute to the increased police visibility during heightened terror alerts.

Originally published on April 17, 2006

As you read above, the reason people cross into another subway car is that one car is full and the other is not-as-full. Why would you fine somebody for taking a step that was better for everyone involved?

The "conservatives" who have had a stranglehold on our government for 25 years keep doing the same thing: blame the customers for the failings of the industry, then penalize the customers because the spotlight must be deflected from failed privatization and stolen tax dollars.

The problems on the subway are not the fault of the passengers!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

I loved this email at work!

As the writer of the below message clealy understands, a sense of humor makes for a happy workplace!
I just wanted to inform you that the tree designated for what is now known as the "new" area has been returned to it's rightful place where I expect it will remain going forward. It appears that removing the tree from its place and locating it in an "unofficial" area, played havoc with the watering schedule which caused a big scuttlebutt with all those concerned.

Watering staff were thrown off their schedule and were concerned that they would be blamed for the disappearance. Security personnel grumbled that they have better things to do than look for a missing tree. And, last but not least, all tree lovers were greatly concerned about the suffering that the tree might endure without its regularly scheduled watering sessions.

I sincerely hope that this mishap will not be repeated ever again. And of course, this goes for all plants in the area.

Thanks.


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Friday, April 14, 2006

Lest There Be Any Confusion . . .

As a sovereign nation, Iran (just like the United States) has the right to develop nuclear technology including nuclear weapons.

I know that the current administration cares nothing for the sovereignty of foreign states, but that does not preclude Iran's right to sovereignty, nor does it preclude Iran's right to develop technology.

It is scary to think of Iran possessing nuclear technology. It is frightening to think of any theocracy possessing weapons of mass destruction (the United States included). What we need to do to alleviate that fear is to negotiate with every nation openly and sincerely.

Our continued isolation of Iran and reference to it as a rogue state (especially since the United States has been more rogue-ish than any nation in recent history) only deepens the rift between us.

Peace must be waged throughout the world. It serves no purpose to return to the failed Cold War policies of the past.

Think.


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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Aliens

How are we supposed to treat aliens? How should Americans treat immigrants? Have any of the writings of civilization provided any guidance? Do the Jews, Christians or Muslims know of any lessons that have been taught about this issue?

In their hedonistic lifestyle, the "conservatives" and their cohorts in the federal government, need always blame others for the "conservatives'" refusal to obey God's commandments.

"Conservatives" are always throwing around bible tracts and Sloan School voodoo economic theories to prove something or another; but never are they open to examining themselves with biblical tracts or theories.

"Thou shalt not put strange gods before me."

American fundamentalists, their sheep-like followers who pretend to be "born-again," the televangelists who profiteer from the fears of po'white folk, the elected officials who wave the flags of the christus and the patriot, the avaricious suburban voters who put evil men in office, and the organized religions who support the entire wrong-wing movement with their silent acquiescence, always like to pretend they are worshipping God and following the Bible when they finance, manage and execute hostile and violent campaigns against the disenfranchised.

In reality, they have built a government that worships unbridled capitalism, they have built a lifestyle centered only on acquisition of money and goods, they have put the almighty dollar before their Almighty God.

Let's look at some of the socio-political movements of the last quarter century that built the foundation for and catapulted the wrong-wing into power, and let's see how they have used the Bible and God to further their hatred and capture America's money in the process.

Anita Bryant's campaign against homosexuals? She said she was following the Bible and doing God's work.

At this same time, the National Endowment for the Arts began to de-fund community arts programs within the gay and lesbian community. Stringent rules were put into place that made it difficult for any organization outside the mainstream to receive tax dollars.

The Reaganite movement to gut social welfare and re-write America's social contract? The apologists constantly quoted quaint biblical cliches (give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish . . . ) to prove that it was unAmerican and unGodly to help those in need.

We created a class of people completely unable to feed themselves. Contrary to the lies of the "conservatives," most of these evil people who were left without a safety net were single-mothers and their children, and the mentally, chronically and terminally ill.

Reagan actually defunded all programs for the mentally retarded! I'm uncertain that God wants the wealthiest people in the world to ignore the needs of their mentally impaired.

"Conservatives" have insisted that total deregulation of all industry is the only way to save America. History has now proven that this is a total failure and flies in the face of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic laws of charity and responsibility.

"Conservatives" have taken our tax dollars out of the mouths of the hungry and put them in the pockets of the wealthy. The result, a bankrupt nation that cares nothing for its own citizenry.

These few examples of America's "conservative" movement are overwhelmingly representative of the real "conservative" agenda. There is no consideration for anyone but themselves.

On the "conservative" agenda, there is always somebody to be targeted next. Since the agenda is morally and spiritually (and religiously) bankrupt, the "conservatives" must perpetually run media campaigns to vilify another group of disenfranchised people. If the networks can convince us to blame the poor, then the rich can have whatever they want.

Like gay marriage in 2004 and 2005, the "conservatives" have made immigration their cause du jour, their raison d'etre.

I was reminded of all this yesterday when reading the Quote of the Day at Left I on the News.

The quote was a tract from a favorite "conservative" book of the bible: Leviticus 19:33-34! The passage deals with strangers in our midst, how we are to treat them. I was surprised that the "conservatives" have conveniently overlooked this tract.

Then I was afraid that lefti was quoting a liberal interpretation of the tract, so I researched it and found many interpretations which all say the same thing:

33 "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."
New International Version at BibleGateway.com

33. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 34. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library

33When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. 34The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Oremus Bible Browser

19:33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
19:34 [But] the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.
Associated Bible Students of Central Ohio

19:33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
The Skeptics Annotated Bible

33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God
King James Version

33 When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him.
34 You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

So, everyone from the godless Protestants to the godless Catholics to the American neo-cons to the liberal skeptics all interpret this verse of Leviticus the same way: When a stranger makes his way to your land, treat him as your own.

How do the "conservatives" and the "christians" and the "jews" and the "muslims" rationalize the current movement against Hispanic immigrants? Do the people with guns at the border consider themselves Christian? Do they interpret Bible tracts to convince themselves it is OK to shoot strangers? Do they know anything at all about patriotism or charity?

And what of the media pubdits who have egged-on these people? Have they no decency?

Love your neighbor. Stop blaming Hispanic immigrants for our failures.


Dick Mac Recommends:

The Gospel According to St. Matthew
Pier Paolo Passolini






Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Continued Confusion Surrounding Medicare Part D

Since few people know how to make the right choices under Medicare Part D, I thought it would be helpful to reprint the President's past remarks. At a Q&A, the President clarified the new plan and its voluminous benfits. This is a verbatim transcript:
WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: "I don't really understand. How is the new plan going to fix the problem?"

PRESIDENT BUSH:"Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."


Dick Mac Recommends:
The Dictionary of Republicanisms
Katrina vanden Heuvel





Tuesday, April 11, 2006

America's Water Arrogance

United States aid to African nations averages about $3.00 per taxpayer. This means I spend less on helping the starving, naked, thirsty, sick and illiterate than most Americans spend for every TallGrandeVenti MochaTunaDecafSoyLatte.

There are 300,000,000 (that's three hundred million) Africans without access to drinking water.

Just to be certain we Americans make it clear we are at the top of the food chain, not only are we failing to assist impoverished nations gain access to drinking water, we are now marketing special water for our dogs!

K9 Water Co., Inc. is proud to offer you Toilet Water, Puddle Water, Hose Water and Gutter Water, the world's first vitamin fortified bottled water specifically formulated to provide your dog with essential vitamins that contribute to overall good health and provide the hydration your dog needs.

At two bucks a bottle, a dog-owner can spend two-thirds of his entire contribution to support water programs in Africa on a single bottle of beef-flavored Gutter Water for their canine cohabitant.

The world doesn't hate us because we are successful and powerful (they used to admire us for it), they hate us because we are cheap and vulgar and stupid!

See for yourself!

Thanks to popbitch.com for the tip.


Dick Mac Recommends:

Water Wars
Vandana Shiva



Monday, April 10, 2006

"Now you are fleeing him . . . "

Most thinking Americans (which precludes working people who vote republican) have known from the outset that 'fatih-based' and 'neo-conservative' are lies. Fabrications of an ambitious army of Rove-bots using the trickery of a christus-based religion to impose laws of commerce designed to drive America into the pockets of a very small number of avaricious men.

Now that so many American youth are dying as soldiers, Iraqi children are slaughtered by Democracy, the social contract that made America great is gutted, and our leaders are running from indictments on a regular basis, many TV conservatives and post-Reagan republicans are abandoning the Rove, er, Bush camp.

Jane Smiley offers the following:

Notes For Converts
by Jane Smiley originally posted on The Huffington Post, 3/21/06

Bruce Bartlett, The Cato Institute, Andrew Sullivan, George Packer, William F. Buckley, Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican voters in Indiana and all the rest of you newly-minted dissenters from Bush's faith-based reality seem, right now, to be glorying in your outrage, which is always a pleasure and feels, at the time, as if it is having an effect, but those of us who have been anti-Bush from day 1 (defined as the day after the stolen 2000 election) have a few pointers for you that should make your transition more realistic.

1. Bush doesn't know you disagree with him. Nothing about you makes you of interest to George W. Bush once you no longer agree with and support him. No degree of relationship (father, mother, etc.), no longstanding friendly intercourse (Jack Abramoff), no degree of expertise (Brent Scowcroft), no essential importance
(Tony Blair, American voters) makes any difference. There is nothing you have to offer that makes Bush want to know you once you have come to disagree with him. Your opinions and feelings now exist in a world entirely external to the mind of George W. Bush. You are now just one of those "polls" that he pays no attention to. When you were on his side, you thought that showed "integrity" on his part. It doesn't. It shows an absolute inability to learn from experience.

2. Bush doesn't care whether you disagree with him. As a man who has dispensed with the reality-based world, and is entirely protected by his handlers from feeling the effects of that world, he is indifferent to what you now think is real. Is the Iraq war a failure and a quagmire? Bush doesn't care. Is global warming beginning to affect us right now? So what. Have all of his policies with regard to Iran been misguided and counter-productive? He never thinks about it. You know that Katrina tape in which Bush never asked a question? It doesn't matter how much you know or how passionately you feel or, most importantly, what degree of disintegration you see around you, he's not going to ask you a question. You and your ideas are dead to him. You cannot change his mind. Nine percent of polled Americans would agree with attacking Iran right now. To George Bush, that will be a mandate, if and when he feels like doing it, because...

3. Bush does what he feels like doing and he deeply resents being told, even politely, that he ought to do anything else. This is called a "sense of entitlement". Bush is a man who has never been anywhere and never done anything, and yet he has been flattered and cajoled into being president of the United States through his connections, all of whom thought they could use him for their own purposes. He has a surface charm that appeals to a certain type of American man, and he has used that charm to claim all sorts of perks, and then to fail at everything he has ever done. He did not complete his flight training, he failed at oil investing, he was a front man and a glad-hander as a baseball owner. As the Governor of Texas, he originated one educational program that turned out to be a debacle; as the President of the US, his policies have constituted one screw-up after another. You have stuck with him through all of this, made excuses for him, bailed him out. From his point of view, he is perfectly entitled by his own experience to a sense of entitlement. Why would he ever feel the need to reciprocate? He's never had to before this.

4. President Bush is your creation. When the US Supreme Court humiliated itself in 2000 by handing the presidency to Bush even though two of the justices
(Scalia and Thomas) had open conflicts of interest, you did not object. When the Bush administration adopted an "Anything but Clinton" policy that resulted in ignoring and dismissing all warnings of possible terrorist attacks on US soil, you went along with and made excuses for Bush. When the Bush administration allowed the corrupt Enron corporation to swindle California ratepayers and taxpayers in a last ditch effort to balance their books in 2001, you laughed at the Californians and ignored the links between Enron and the administration. When it was evident that the evidence for the war in Iraq was cooked and that State Department experts on the Middle East were not behind the war and so it was going to be run as an exercise in incompetence, you continued to attack those who were against the war in vicious terms and to defend policies that simply could not work. On intelligent design, global warming, doctoring of scientific results to reflect ideology, corporate tax giveaways, the K Street project, the illegal redistricting of Texas, torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, the Terry Schiavo fiasco, and the cronyism that led to the destruction of New Orleans you have failed to speak out with integrity or honesty, preferring power to truth at every turn. Bush does what he wants because you have let him.

5. Tyranny is your creation. What we have today is the natural and inevitable outcome of ideas and policies you have promoted for the last generation. I once knew a guy who was still a Marxist in 1980. Whenever I asked him why Communism had failed in Russia and China, he said "Mistakes were made". He could not believe that Marxism itself was at fault, just as you cannot believe that the ideology of the unregulated free market has created the world we live in today. You are tempted to say: "Mistakes have been made", but in fact, psychologically and sociologically, no mistakes have been made. The unregulated free market has operated to produce a government in its own image. In an unregulated free market, for example, cheating is merely another sort of advantage that, supposedly, market forces might eventually "shake out" of the system. Of course, anyone with common sense understands that cheaters do damage that sometimes cannot be repaired before they are "shaken out", but according to the principles of the unregulated free market, the victims of that sort of damage are just out of luck and the damage that happens to them is just a sort of "culling". It is no accident that our government is full of cheaters--they learned how to profit from cheating when they were working in corporations that were using bribes, perks, and secret connections to cheat their customers of good products, their neighbors of healthy environmental conditions, their workers of workplace safety and decent paychecks. It was only when the corporations began cheating their shareholders that any of you squealed, but you should know from your own experience that the unregulated free market as a "level playing field" was the biggest laugh of the 20th century. No successful company in the history of capitalism has ever favored open competition. When you folks pretended, in the eighties, that you weren't using the ideology of the free market to cover your own manipulations of the playing field to your own advantage, you may have suckered yourselves, and even lots of American workers, but observers of capitalism since Adam Smith could have told you it wasn't going to work.

And then there was the way you used racism and religious intolerance to gain and hold onto power. Nixon was cynical about it--taking the party of Lincoln and reaching out to disaffected southern racists, drumming up a backlash against the Civil Rights movement for the sake of votes, but none of you has been any less vicious. Racism might have died an unlamented death in this country, but you kept it alive with phrases like "welfare queen" and your resistance to affirmative action and taxation for programs to help people in our country with nothing, or very little. You opted not to take the moral high ground and recognize that the whole nation would be better off without racism, but rather to increase class divisions and racial divisions for the sake of your own comfort, pleasure, and profit. You have used religion in exactly the same way. Instead of strongly defending the constitutional separation of church and state, you have encouraged radical fundamentalist sects to believe that they can take power in the US and mold our secular government to their own image, and get rich doing it. The US could have become a moderating force in what seems now to be an inevitable battle among the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions, but you have made that impossible by flattering and empowering our own violent and intolerant Christian right.

You have created an imperium, heedless of the most basic wisdom of the Founding Fathers--that at the very least, no man is competent enough or far-seeing enough to rule imperially. Checks and balances were instituted by Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest of them not because of some abstract distrust of power, but because they had witnessed the screw-ups and idiocies of unchecked power. You yourselves have demonstrated the failures of unchecked power--in an effort to achieve it, you have repeatedly contravened the expressed wishes of most Americans, who favor a moderate foreign policy, reasonable domestic programs, a government that works, environmental preservation, women's rights to contraception, abortion, and a level playing field. Somehow you thought you could mold the imperium to reflect your wishes, but guess what--that's what an imperium is--one man rule. If you fear the madness of King George, you have no recourse if you've given up the checks and balances that you inherited and that were meant to protect you.

Your ideas and your policies have promoted selfishness, greed, short-term solutions, bullying, and pain for others. You have looked in the faces of children and denied the existence of a "common good". You have disdained and denied the idea of "altruism". At one time, our bureaucracy was full of people who had gone into government service or scientific research for altruistic reasons--I knew, because I knew some of them. You have driven them out and replaced them with vindictive ignoramuses. You have lied over and over about your motives, for example, making laws that hurt people and calling it "originalist interpretations of the Constitution" (conveniently ignoring the Ninth Amendment). You have increased the powers of corporations at the expense of every other sector in the nation and actively defied any sort of regulation that would require these corporations to treat our world with care and respect. You have made economic growth your deity, and in doing so, you have accelerated the power of the corporations to destroy the atmosphere, the oceans, the ice caps, the rainforests, and the climate. You have produced CEOs in charge of lots of resources and lots of people who have no more sense of reciprocity or connection or responsibility than George W. Bush.

Now you are fleeing him, but it's only because he's got the earmarks of a loser. Your problem is that you don't know why he's losing. You think he's made mistakes. But no. He's losing because the ideas that you taught him and demonstrated for him are bad ideas, self-destructive ideas, and even suicidal ideas. And they are immoral ideas. You should be ashamed of yourselves because not only have your ideas not worked to make the world a better place, they were inhumane and cruel to begin with, and they have served to cultivate and excuse the inhumane and cruel character traits of those who profess them.

6. As Bad as Bush is, Cheney is Worse.

Jane Smiley is a novelist and essayist. Her novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992, and her novel The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002. She has contributed to a wide range of magazines, including The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The Guardian Sport Monthly, Real Simple, and Playboy. Smiley's latest book is Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, a history and anatomy of the novel as a literary form (Knopf).

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Reprinted without permission.


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Friday, April 07, 2006

Ethanol, Methanol . . . just serve it up with a twist!

Alcohol cloud is 463 billion kilometres long
Agence France Presse

Astronomers say they have spotted a cloud of alcohol in deep space that measures 463 billion kilometres (288 billion miles) across, a finding that could shed light on how giant stars are formed from primordial gas.

The vast bridge-shaped cloud of methyl alcohol has been spotted in a region of our galaxy, the Milky Way, that is called W3(OH), where stars are being formed by the gravitational collapse of concentrations of gas and dust, the discoverers said in a press release.

Methanol, an organic (carbon-based) molecule, is a cousin of ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages. Methanol is not suitable for human consumption.

The cloud was spotted by astronomers based at Britain's Jodrell Bank Observatory led by Lisa Harvey-Smith. Their work was to be presented on Tuesday at a meeting in Leicester, central England, of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

In 2004, methanol, also called methyl alcohol, was spotted for the first time in one of the disk-like clusters that form around nascent stars.

That discovery opened up a new area of debate in astrophysics, challenging the conventional view that interstellar chemistry could not provide the conditions for creating complex molecules, as they would be ripped apart by ultraviolet radiation from stars and other tough conditions.

Around 130 organic molecules have also been identified so far in outer space, fuelling speculation that these complex molecules may have helped to sow the seeds for life on the fledgling Earth.

The presence of methanol in space may lead to answers about the creation of Earth, but the presence of ethanol on Earth makes the existence of space bearable for so many!

Thanks to Gracie for sending this along!


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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

From the journals of Kenneth Tynan

January 11, 1974: Replaying an old Miles Davis L.P. I recall one of my encounters with the satanic elf. Some time late in the '50s I went to Birdland to hear him. Between sets he joined our table for a drink, and chatted in his rasping whisper quite amiably. Suddenly we were approahced by a timid white teen-aged boy with an autograph album. Nervously he asked Miles for a signature and as Miles obliged he said: "I've always admired you, Mr. Davis. I play trumpet in my high school band and I think you have a wonderful embouchure. How do you get an embouchure like that?" Miles said casually: "I got it from sucking off little white boys like you." The boy absolutely froze. We all did. The words were spoken without passion, but they taught me more about feeling towards whites than dozens of liberal fund-raising sessions with Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.

From Wikipedia:
Kenneth Peacock Tynan (April 2, 1927 - July 26, 1980), was an influential (and occasionally controversial) British theatre critic and author.

He was born in Birmingham, England to Peter Tynan and Letitia Rose Tynan. As a child, he stammered, but early on was in possession of a high degree of articulate intelligence, and by the age of six, was already keeping a diary. At King Edward's School, Birmingham, he had already taken up his lifelong smoking habit. (Read more . . . )

Thanks to Dickie for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Feeling Secure Yet? Feeling Stupid?

I'd like to watch you touch your homeland!

Homeland Security Official Arrested
By MICHELLE SPITZER, Associated Press Writer

The deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday for using the Internet to seduce what he thought was a teenage girl, authorities said.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, was arrested at his residence in Maryland on charges of use of a computer to seduce a child and transmission of harmful material to a minor. The charges were issued out of Polk County, Fla.

Doyle, of Silver Spring, Md., had a sexually explicit conversation with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he saw on the Internet on March 14, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The girl was an undercover Polk County Sheriff's Computer Crimes detective, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle sent the girl pornographic movie clips and had sexually explicit conversations via the Internet, the statement said.

During other online conversations, Doyle revealed his name, that he worked for the Homeland Security Department and offered his office and government issued cell phone numbers, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle also sent photos of himself to the girl, but authorities said they were not sexually explicit.

On several occasions, Doyle instructed her to perform a sexual act while thinking of him and described explicit activities he wanted to have with her, investigators said.

Doyle later had a telephone conversation with an undercover deputy posing as the teenager and encouraged her to purchase a web camera to send graphic images of herself to him, the sheriff's office said.

He was booked into Maryland's Montgomery County jail where he was waiting to be extradited to Florida, the sheriff's office said.

There was no immediate response to messages left on Doyle's government-issued cell phone and his e-mail, and he could not be reached by phone at the jail for comment.

Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke in Washington said he could not comment on the details of the investigation. "We take these allegations very seriously, and we will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation," Knocke said.

Doyle, who is the fourth-ranking official in the department's public affairs office, was expected to be placed on administrative leave Wednesday morning.

I am leery of so-called sex-crimes because it is often a ploy to discredit political opponents. This could be a real situation or not. That being said: I hope that eventually every employee of the Department of Homeland Stupidity is scandalized and it has to be shutdown. It is useless and a waste of money. It exists only to funnel tax dollars to Bush and Cheyney's friends; and worst is that the Department has done nothing positive, fruitful or productive during its entire existence. Everything they touch is worse because of them.

Republicans say they are against big government, but they continually create agencies for the sole purpose of profiteering. These agencies then destroy everything they touch.

If you are concerned about your tax burden, you should demand the closure of the Department of Homeland Security.


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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DeLay: Half Way

There are only two proper things to happen with Tom DeLay:

1. removal from public office/service; and
2. imprisonment.

According to a CNN report from yesterday, we are halfway there, because DeLay is to withdraw from his re-election bid.

DeLay should be exposed as an incarnation of evil. He has lied and cheated and hid behind God on his long journey for personal gain. He has usurped American justice, demeaned those with whom he disagrees, and used his position of power solely for the furthering of an insincere religious crusade and the monetary gain of himself and his friends.

"I feel that I could have won the race," he told Time. "I just felt like I didn't want to risk the seat and that I can do more on the outside of the House than I can on the inside right now."

This man should be barred from any involvement in the government and public service. He has betrayed everyone.

DeLay is the ultimate unAmerican. Everything that made America great is everything Tom DeLay is against.

No prison term he receives will be sufficient for the long-term damage he has done to our once-great nation.



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