Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. Seizure. Two and counting . . .

John Roberts, the neo-con Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, had a seizure yesterday.

This is the second seizure this man has had, the first in 1993.

We can only hope the seizures will become more regular and his untimely death after the next election will lead to a better (that is, morally better, as in a good person) judge taking his seat.

According to AP:
Doctors called Monday's incident "a benign idiopathic seizure," Arberg said. The White House described the January 1993 episode as an "isolated, idiosyncratic seizure."

I dare you to describe the difference between "a benign idiopathic seizure" and "an isolated, idiosyncratic seizure"!

Both seem to be double-speak designed to make us think this hideous American is healthy and in control of his mental faculties. However, if he has chosen neo-conservatism, he is either mentally ill or mean-spirited. I fear it is the latter, but can hope it is the former.

This from AP:
Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a seizure at his summer home in Maine on Monday, causing a fall that resulted in minor scrapes, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

He will remain in a hospital in Maine overnight.

"It's my understanding he's fully recovered, said Christopher Burke, a spokesman for Penobscot Bay Medical Center, where Roberts was taken.

Roberts, 52, was taken by ambulance to the medical center, where he underwent a "thorough neurological evaluation, which revealed no cause for concern," Arberg said in a statement.

Roberts had a similar episode in 1993, she said.

Doctors called Monday's incident "a benign idiopathic seizure," Arberg said. The White House described the January 1993 episode as an "isolated, idiosyncratic seizure."

This quote includes a link to the Reuters article:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital on Monday but a neurological evaluation showed no cause for concern, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said.

"Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. took a fall about 2 p.m. today near his summer home in Maine after suffering what doctors describe as a benign idiopathic seizure," court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement. Read more . . .

As a Christian, I know that Roberts is bad for America and bad for humanity. I pray for his quick demise.

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Monday . . .

. . . you slither down the greasy pipe, so far so cool, no one saw you hover over any freeways. . . .

Just returned from a trip to New England that included a concert by The Police at Fenway Park, an automobile incident caused by a dead alternator, and an extended drive to Brooklyn that included a five mile back-up in Connecticut where a crew was trimming a tree along the Merritt Parkway and the standard life-long construction on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. What would civilization be without construction on the BQE?

My daughter DID NOT get carsick and I only whined a little -- so it was a successful trip home.

I will get back to regular posting tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Favorite Dog

I am not a big fan of dogs. I have nothing against them, but I am allergic to them. I don't like being around them and I dislike taking the drugs needed to be comfortable in their homes.

Still, I live with it. It's not the end of the world. It's not the dogs' fault that I am allergic to them.

Some dogs I have liked more than others.

My allergy developed as an adult. As a child, I lived with a series of dogs. The first dog was Sugar. A terrier. Then there was Laddie, the shepherd-collie mix that I adored and lived with us for many years. Then there was Patches who was taken from his litter too young and was always a little wacky.

Laddie was quite a dog. Handsome, loyal, fun.

Across the street from the projects, between the municipal pumping station now owned by Wentworth Institute of Technology and Howard Johnsons, lived a junk-yard dog. A doberman who was mean. He barked a lot and the owner never let him run free for fear he would devour someone or something.

One day he got out and made his way into the projects. We lived on McGreevey Way, which was the next block up from the dog's home on Ward Street. It didn't take the dog long to make his way to the front of our building, and when he did, Laddie stood front and center. As the frightening-looking and frightened doberman made his skulking way towards us, Laddie began to growl. The doberman was walking in a crouch close to the ground growling back and before you knew it the dogs were a mangling heap of violence. Blood spewed, kids cried, mothers screamed, I yelled and yelled at Laddie to kill the doberman.

It seemed to go on for hours, but the fight was over in less than two minutes when the doberman's master arrived and pulled the dogs apart.

The doberman had blood all over its face, coming from its mouth, running down its legs. Laddie was covered in blood, too, and the conversation instantly went to the logistics of getting him to Angell Memorial Animal hospital three blocks away. It didn't take long, though, for one of the neighborhood mothers to notice that Laddie was not bleeding, that the blood on his coat was all from the doberman. She carefully wiped him down, and we found no cuts at all. He looked very proud and was calming down. I was so proud of him.

The dogfight was exhilarating and my dog won.

Until recently, I never wondered how I would have felt had Laddie lost the fight.

Recently, however, I learned that NFL quarterback Michael Vick killed dogs who lost dogfights. Seems a bit extreme to kill the dog because it lost a fight.

I never would have killed Laddie.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Excellent Sides Of Swamp Dogg Vol.1
Swamp Dogg

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lawyer Joke

Q: What do you call a lawyer with an I. Q. of 50?
A: Your honor.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Best Lawyer Jokes Ever

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Are you stupid or evil?

Yesterday, in South Carolina, the President of the United States said:
Our top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said that al Qaida is "public enemy number one" in Iraq. Fellow citizens, these people have sworn allegiance to the man who ordered the death of nearly 3,000 people on our soil. Al Qaida is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people; al Qaida is public enemy number one for the American people. And that is why, for the security of our country, we will stay on the hunt, we'll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand.
See the full text here.

Nobody denies that al Qaeda is in Iraq, Mr. President. What everyone except your minuscule support base and your handlers have said is that al Qaeda was not in Iraq before your invasion. Our invasion has established, in your words the "third world war . . . . "

Osama binLaden is thrilled with your actions and the longer we fight pretend enemies and bogey men in fairy tale war zones, al Qaeda will use our idiocy to build a fundamentalists movement that could make the Crusaders blush.

Yes, Mr. President, al Qaeda is in Iraq. They are funded by your friends in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other sheikdoms; oilmen whose families benefit from international destabilization, just like you and your family.

Yes, we are now fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. But they weren't there until you made the killing fields that Iraq is today.

You have to be liar, Mr. President; because I know you are not stupid.

And those of you still supporting him, especially those of you who pretend that supporting the President is somehow connected to supporting our troops, are either the as evil as him or the stupidest people on the planet. I'll let you choose!

If it's the former, then you can change your standing in the world by calling for an end to the War. If it is the latter, then you are a traitor and an embarrassment to America, patriotism and freedom.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Support our troops! Bring them home!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Democratic Presidential Debate

CNN and youtube.com sponsored and hosted a presidential debate last night. The questions were posed via youtube.cim video by ordinary (or, extraordinary) citizens.

This is the most innovative debate since the Nixon-Kennedy debates were televised. Subscribers to youtube.com created video questions to be posed to Democrats hopefuls. See the video questions here.

Mary and Jen, of Brooklyn, NY, asked about gay marriage. Only Dennis Kucinich answered the question correctly:

Or view the video at youtube.com here.

Since Kucinich seems to be the only candidate smart enough to understand the Constitution and its role in ensuring dignity for all Americans, he is the early front-runner to get my endorsement for the Democratic nomination.

Visit the Kucinich website here and send him money.

It's a good idea to let citizens use the internet to ask questions of the candidates.

I hope it continues for a few weeks. Eventually, conservatives like Clinton and Obama will figure out methods to co-opt the process, but it will be an important process until then.

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

Monday, July 23, 2007

Obituary - Tammy Fay Bakker Messner

It's difficult when a bad person dies.

Should you be happy? Seems wrong to relish another's death.

Should you quietly stand by while others lionize the newly-deceased?

Televangelists have a special spot in this world, and it is my sincerest hope that they have a special spot in the next world, too. A very unpleasant place.

This in last night from Deatwatch Central:

Televangelist Tammy Fay Bakker Messner dies

By Carey Gillam

Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, a former televangelist who helped lead a huge television ministry before its collapse in a sex and corruption scandal, has died, her Web site reported on Saturday.

Messner died on Friday at age 65 after a long battle with cancer. CNN's Larry King, who interviewed Messner on his "Larry King Live" talk show on Thursday night, said her family had asked him to make the delayed announcement of her death.

"She died peacefully," King said on CNN's Web site.

"I believe when I leave this Earth because I love the Lord, I am going straight to heaven," Messner told King in the interview.

On May 8, Messner, who recently moved to the Kansas City area from Charlotte, North Carolina, posted a message on her Web site, www.tammyfaye.com, saying she had withered to 65 pounds and that doctors had decided to stop treatment, leaving her fate "up to God and my faith."

Messner was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996 and announced in 2004 it had spread to her lungs.

In a "final note" posted on her Web site on Monday, Messner said: "I have times when I feel good and times when I feel really bad. But, I have learned one thing about feelings. They have nothing to do with faith in God!!

"He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. That is what the Bible says and God's word does not lie ever."

With her former husband Jim Bakker, Messner became a household name in America through the PTL organization ("Praise The Lord" or "People That Love") that he founded in 1974.

Their television evangelical empire brought in close to $130 million annually at its height in the 1980s and reached 13 million homes daily.

Messner was a fixture of her first husband's ministry, her heavy mascara running riot as she tearfully beseeched TV viewers to open their hearts to Jesus and their wallets to PTL. The ministry's empire included Heritage USA, a Christian theme park in South Carolina.


Finance and sex scandals brought it all crashing down after the Internal Revenue Service started investigating whether the Bakkers were using their tax-exempt ministry to pay for an opulent lifestyle that mushroomed to include several homes, servants, luxury cars, jewels and an air-conditioned doghouse.

Before the investigation was finished, Jim Bakker resigned from PTL on March 19, 1987, admitting a 1980 sexual encounter with Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary in New York who later sold her story and posed nude for Playboy magazine.

As Bakker's troubles multiplied, PTL was taken over by rival preacher Jerry Falwell, whom Bakker blamed for the ministry's eventual collapse.

Bakker was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison but the term was reduced to 18 years in August 1991. Tammy Faye, after countless declarations of loyalty to Bakker, subsequently divorced him and later married Christian construction magnate Roe Messner.

In a statement on Saturday night, Bakker said his former wife "lived her life like the song she sang, 'If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade."'

Messner admitted the demise of PTL and her marriage were a challenge to her faith.

"I was so disappointed that God would allow all that to happen," Messner told the online magazine Salon in a 2003 interview. "But after the fact I realized that He allowed it for my good."

She also denied there had been any wrongdoing at PTL.

Tammy Faye LaValley was born in International Falls, Minnesota, on March 7, 1942, the eldest of eight children.

She met Bakker while they were students at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis and, after marrying, they went to work on evangelist Pat Robertson's television show in 1964.

Her heavy makeup became her trademark and she told Salon she had had eyeliner, eyebrows and lip liner permanently tattooed on her face.

Many thanks to Deathwatch Central for posting this obituary

Messner, in her incarnation as Mrs. Bakker, promoted hate in America. Hate that led to the discomfort, harassment, battery, and death of many homosexuals. There is nobody in the televangelist community who is not complicit in America's violent anti-gay culture. Tammy Fay Bakker Messner is guilty of crimes against humanity for participating in that homophobic industry.

We can only hope that her life was an unpleasant one, and that her suffering included at least a fraction of the pain experienced by homosexuals who are all too often victims of violent attacks because of people like her.

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

Friday, July 20, 2007

Humor - Father/Son Joke

Father: Son, what is the difference a penis and a loaf of bread?

Son: I don't know.

Father: Then remind me to never send you to the store for a loaf of bread.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri

Thursday, July 19, 2007

China Plans To Control Weather With Rockets

China has entered the market economy with guns blazing: poisoned meat, fish and poultry, avian flu, a total disregard for intellectual property resulting in bootlegged movies and music, tainted toothpaste, slave labor, etc.

China's government is a repressive state bordering on fascism. China is a nuclear power that treats its citizenry worse than any other major world power. Western nations have no business doing business with such a regime, but since they are the largest nation in the world, it is impossible to pass-up the opportunity to corner them as a market. So, we let them get away with murder . . . literally.

As a world power, China cannot be trusted to do anything correctly. Sadly, American marketeers encourage this bad behavior and seek only to garner a share of the profits generated.

Now, China plans to screw with the weather in hopes of having a more profitable Olympiad.
China to zap rain clouds with rockets
Mon Jul 16, 9:57 PM ET

China will fire rockets into the sky to scatter any rain clouds ahead of next year's Beijing Olympics to ensure perfect weather, state media said on Tuesday.

China has already guaranteed perfect weather for the August 2008 Games, but until now had not said how it would make sure its forecast comes true. More . . .

This is the worst idea ever to come out of this ridiculous nation.

If the weather is altered over Beijing, how does that affect the weather over New York?

I don't want to know.

Would somebody please start speaking-out against this hideous, dangerous nation called China?

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Neo-Con Plan To End The War: "Let's Have A Sleep-Over!"

Not only have the Democrats failed to make any progress in ending our nation's most immoral war, but they have decided to capitalize on it with a publicity stunt that would have made the Reagan Administration blush with envy.

The Democrats, instead of shutting-down the government and refusing to make any appropriations until the war is ended, are hosting a slumber party in the Senate.

As an until-recently lifelong Democrat, it's hard to accept that I agree with Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who said:
Our enemies aren't threatened by talk-a-thons, and our troops deserve better than publicity stunts.

Now I agree with McConnell not because I think he has a better plan than the Democrats, but because America DOES deserve more than publicity stunts. Unfortunately, no American should expect the neo-cons the control the Democratic Party to do anything terribly different than the conservatives running the Republican Party.

MoveOn.org, an organization I once thought of as progressive, is supporting this neo-conservative action with events around the country to coincide with the Senate sleep-over, which is supposed to pressure Republicans into a final vote legislation to end the war. Moveon.org are now the most vociferous apologists for Hillary Clinton and her neo-conservative movement. If you are a thinking person, you should delete moveon.org from your list of bookmarks and be certain to remove yourself from their mailing list. They are not going to change anything, they just want a Clinton in White House so they can get paid-off for supporting Bill in his time of need.

Neither moveon.org nor the Democrats are going to end the war.

The Republicans are not going to end the war.

There is too much money to be made by supporting it. The Democrats are incapable of ending the war, because they are only interested in taking-over the government so they can get their share of the money being spent. In order to do this, the Democrats must behave like Republicans, which they are doing. The Democrats don't want to end the war, which is why they will fail to maintain control of the Congress. If Congress is going to be controlled by a party interested in keeping the war going, then why would we choose a bunch of incompetent boobs like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton?

The Republicans are much better at conservatism and war-mongering -- we might as well have them in power; and America now knows it! So-called moderates are not going to vote for the Democrats in 2008 if this war is still going. It was the moderates and the soft-right-wing that gave the Dems control of Congress and they know that the Dems have done nothing with it. Sadly, we now see that they are incapable of doing anything with their majority.

And what is the Speaker of the House doing while the leader of the Senate is having a slumber party? Nancy Pelosi is participating in a seance across the street . . . well, they are calling it a candlelight vigil; but when humans are dying in Iraq right this moment, I don't see much of a difference between a seance and a vigil. Do you?

America doesn't need a slumber party or a seance. We need a political party and a political movement that will bring change -- real, meaningful change. We know the Republicans won't do it, and the Democrats are incapable of doing it, so it is time to give someone else a shot. I say we start voting Green.

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Gimme an 'F' . . . "

Country Joe & The Fish perform "Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag" at Woodstock:

Or see it at youtube.com.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Sometime in New York City
John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Mothers

Monday, July 16, 2007

New York Congestion Pricing

I think Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the right idea when he discusses his plan for congestion pricing. I believe he is sincere in his desire to make New York a better city and to make New York a "greener" city.

Following London's 2002 plan of charging money to drive your car into Central London, the most congested part of the city, Bloomberg thinks an eight dollar fee will help raise funds to make New York greener and prevent drivers from entering lower Manhattan (that is, below 86th Street).

Bloomberg uses the rhetoric of public transportation as a solution for New York's commuter woes. He is right to do this. Despite the best efforts of conservative apologists for America's failed market system, urban public transportation still exists. If it was funded per capita at the same levels as airports, highways, war, or corporate subsidies, our transportation systems might be the envy of the world.

Sadly, however, conservatives and market apologists running America (from Hillary Clinton to George W Bush from Michael Bloomberg to Mitt Romney) see development of public transportation not as an opportunity to make our nation better, cleaner, and stronger, they see it as an opportunity for profiteering by friends who will place them in paying positions on the boards of their companies. They see it as an opportunity to bilk the taxpayers out of billions.

Bloomberg constantly talks about the subway being a viable alternative to driving in New York. Bloomberg has clearly never tried to get from an office in Manhattan to an apartment in central Brooklyn after seven in the evening; he has never tried to go to the opera or theater from an outer borough and then get home before dawn; he has never seen the filth in which the subway operates since all the cleaning contracts were privatized. If Bloomberg were forced to use the subway to get around town, I think he would be singing a very different song about it being a viable transportation alternative for New Yorkers.

If Bloomberg sincerely wants to make public transportation work, I beg him to try these experiments for three months before sitting with a bunch of suburbanites and chauffeured officials to devise a plan:

Commute from Bay Ridge to the Citigroup Building at E 53rd Street & Lexington Avenue five days in a row.

On the Tuesday of that week, work until eight o'clock in the evening and then commute home.

On Thursday of that week, arrive at the office at seven in the morning for an early telephone conference.

On a Saturday evening, take your date from Borough Park to Lincoln Center for the opera. Include dinner and a drink afterwards and then go home.

On a Friday night, stay in the city after work, meet friends for dinner, drinks and a rock show in the East Village. When the band has finished, have one more drink, then take public transportation home to Ozone Park.

On a weekend morning, take public transportation from an address in Queens to visit a friend in Riverdale. Get back to us on how long that takes.

Leave an apartment in the Upper East Side to attend a birthday party in Brooklyn, then take the public transportation home again, and post the total time it takes as a Comment on this blog.

Get from any borough, including Manhattan, to an address in Travis, Staten Island, only using public transportation.

During any of these trips, please pay special attention to the following: the filth on the subway cars, the climate control on the buses, the filth on the subway platforms, the "strawberry" room deodorizer used to mask the filth that nobody has cleaned, the lack of announcements, the manners of the token booth workers, the driver, conductors, and inspectors, and then publish those findings n the Times.

Do all of this without your press handlers, and transit czars, and lackeys who make New York City work for you.

You see, Mayor, the City has gone to crap under your reign. I like you and I want you to succeed, but the City is filthy and the trains aren't running properly. Your ideas sound lovely, but you should get New York City to work properly before you start to "improve" it with a congestion tax.

Get out on the streets (and into the subways), your honor, without your handlers and get an idea of how the city really works.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Sometime in New York City
John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Mothers

Friday, July 13, 2007

The NCAA and The Student Athlete

In 2003, I discussed one of my favorite topics: Amateur Athletics and the manipulation of student athletes by athletic directors and universities across the nation.

There may be no greater exploitation of American youth than college football and basketball programs.

Universities hire young men to play sports, pay them nothing, pretend to give them an education, hold them to ridiculous social, moral and intellectual standards, prevent them from earning a living while in school, then discard them without any education after a few years.

Of course, we blame the athletes, because we can't blame the schools; but the schools are at fault.

The NCAA is in cahoots with the NBA, NFL and television networks. Nowhere, in no industry, is avarice and exploitation so obvious. Even the pornography and sex-worker industries have more integrity than college sports. Pimps are more honorable than athletic directors. Pimps aren't pretending to do anything more than exploit their staff, while athletic directors pretend to be providing an education.

As I said in the article linked above, all universities who want to participate in sports for profit should be required to establish a college of sports that can teach the athletes how to get a job and survive outside of their sport.

The NCAA, in all its wisdom, has not promoted this.

They do, however, promote the penalization of athletes who want to switch schools.

Mike Wrathell, a member of the bar and a graduate of Michigan, presented his alma mater with a challenge to treat their student athletes a little better. Read about it at AmericaJR.com.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Assault On Reason
Al Gore

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Obituary - Lady Bird Johnson, 94

"Company coming up, Lady Bird. Beautify yourself," was a line I heard on a comedy record about Richard Nixon's election as president. The comic was David Frye and the skit involved Dick and Pat Nixon coming to visit the White House late at night while Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were still the inhabitants. Lyndon called up the stairs to warn her of the Nixons' arrival.

Picture of unknown origin used without permission
The line was meant to poke fun at Lady Bird Johnson's campaign to beautify America through the Highway Beautification Act, primarily designed to work for the removal of billboards along the nation's highway.

The Highway Beautification Act was exactly the sort of campaign a First Lady of that era would undertake.

Lady Bird died yesterday.

PBS produced a documentary about Lady Bird and there is a nice website about it here.

This leaves Betty Ford, possibly the First Lady with the most impact on American culture due to her candid discussions of previously taboo subjects and her public battles with cancer and alcoholism, as the longest living First Lady.

The picture of Lady Bird Johnson is of unknown origin and used without permission

Dick Mac Recommends:

I Am The President / Radio Free Nixon
David Frye

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Thousand Posts

This is the thousandth article on this blog.

A thousand posts.

It seems impossibile.

Here are some of my faves:

The article that started it all, my trip to Morocco:
White City Old City Red City Cold City

A pre-blog article about luggage and manners:
Sighs Matter

My view on amateur athletics:
Amateur Athletics

An article not about e-Begging:

A pre-blog article about status:

An article about advertising and aging:
Lust For Life

An article about my childhood neighborhood:
The Projects – Part One

An article about the NBA:
Finally, A Chance to Make the NBA Change

An article about a male escort in the White House:
Prez Uses Services of Male Escort In White House

An article about my commute:
Riding The Subway

Dick Mac Recommends:

Un Chien Andalou
Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New York Times Editorial Calls For Withdrawal of Troops

Believe it or not, the New York Times actually published an editorial calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq!

The same New York Times that supported Bush's plan to invade Iraq.

It's a good editorial that discusses the failings and the crisis, and the civil war, and the nations involved and affected. It's worth the read.

It would be good if these hypocrites could make up their mind about which side their on, but I guess this is a step in the right direction, and possibly a real turning point.

July 8, 2007


The Road Home

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit. . . . Read more . . .

And on another front, Reuters reports that in a recent USAToday/Gallup poll more than seventy percent of Americans believe we should withdraw our troops. I think the only people continuing to support the war are the military contractors, their families and staff! Read this at Yahoo! and draw your own conclusions.

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Speaks Out

When the Democrats won a majority in Congress last year, I remarked that "if there was anyone who could screw-up the Democratic majority, it's the Democrats."

Having been handed the world on a silver platter and being mandated to make all the changes they deemed fit, the Democrats have done nothing.

There is no end to the war in sight, there are no articles of impeachment being discussed, there is no regulation of energy or petroleum being mentioned, nothing about global warming, reproductive rights, gay marriage, or any other social issue facing America today.


The Democrats have proven themselves to be as useless as the right-wing has always insisted.

I was a life-long Democrat. My family is a Union family. We are social, political and community activists. We are involved in the world. We are proud Democrats. I have broken ranks. In last November's elections I voted the Green ticket, straight down the ballot. I want the world to change and the Democrats have nothing to offer.

A twenty-something Dem activist who called my house the week before the last election, insulted me when I told him I was not voting for the Dems, and had I been wavering on that day, his pompous, insulting remarks would have pushed me right over to the Greens. Fortunately, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer had already pushed me to the Greens, so I took this young man's insult in stride with all the other insults hurled at America by people in his party with much more authority.

I am watching the presidential wrangling with amusement. The Dems have put forward little worth consider supporting. All a bunch of neo-cons. Yes, including Obama, whose homophobic position on the rights of gay men is so patently insulting that he almost makes Hillary look pro-gay.

But, it's the war really, that has me most upset.

In six months of controlling Congress the Democrats have done nothing about ending the war. Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in the American government, has been charged by her constituents and all other Americans with ending the war. What has she done? Had lunch with the President is about all she's done. She's done nothing. She is a useless hack. She might actually be worse than Hillary Clinton, and that is saying a lot.

Fortunately, one of America's living folk heroes is as disgusted as I am and Cindy Sheehan is discussing an election run against Pelosi and announced:
Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership. We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money.

Sheehan is correct. The Democratic leadership has betrayed America, and should be held accountable. If the government is going to continue it's right-wing move towards destroying our market-based economy, wrecking our schools, destroying our planet, and killing our children, then we might as well have the Republicans do it, because at least they are honest about their plans!

I might support Sheehan. I might send her money. Anybody would do a better job than Peolosi, because Pelosi has done nothing. Nothing!

The following AP article was published at Yahoo! and is reprinted without permission.
Sheehan considers challenge to Pelosi
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 8, 7:40 PM ET

Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to seek House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional seat unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group's war protest site near Bush's Crawford ranch.

"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."

Messages left with Pelosi's staff were not immediately returned. The White House declined to comment on Sheehan's plans.

She plans her official candidacy announcement Tuesday. Sunday wrapped up what is expected to be her final weekend at the 5-acre Crawford lot that she sold to California radio talk show host Bree Walker, who plans to keep it open to protesters.

Sheehan announced in late May that she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said that she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured smear tactics and hatred from the left, as well as the right. She said she wanted to change course.

She first came to Crawford in August 2005 during a Bush vacation, demanding to talk to him about the war that killed her son Casey in 2004. She became the face of the anti-war movement during her 26-day roadside vigil, which was joined by thousands. But it also drew counter-protests by Bush supporters, many who said she was hurting troop morale.

Sheehan, who has never held political office, recently said that she was leaving the Democratic Party because it "caved" in to the president. Last week, she announced her caravan to Washington, an undertaking she calls the "people's accountability movement."

"I didn't expect to be back so soon, but the focus is different than it was before," Sheehan said Sunday. "Instead of talking and making accusations, we're going into communities and talking to the people who've been hurt by the Bush regime. We're finding out how we can help people."

Sheehan, who will turn 50 on Tuesday, said Bush should be impeached because she believes he misled the public about the reasons for going to war, violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, and crossed the line by commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spying program and the "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina.

Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing justice in an investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity.

Sheehan said she hopes Pelosi files the articles of impeachment so Sheehan can move onto her next projects, including overseas trips for humanitarian work. But if not, Sheehan said she is ready to run for office.

"I'm doing it to encourage other people to run against Congress members who aren't doing their jobs, who are beholden to special interests," Sheehan said. "She (Pelosi) let the people down who worked hard to put Democrats back in power, who we thought were our hope for change."

Pelosi was elected to the House in 1987 and became the first female speaker in January.

Sheehan said she lives in a Sacramento suburb but declined to disclose which city, citing safety reasons. The area is outside Pelosi's district, but there are no residency requirements for congressional members, according to the California secretary of state's office.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Keith Olbermann Commentary

Now here's a commentary that makes the Fourth of July a valuable experience.

God bless Keith Olbermann!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Best of "Pitagora Suicchi"

This might be the most entertaining thirteen minutes on the web, especially if you are a fan of Rube Goldberg and his wonderful inventions:

PythagoraSwitch (Pitagora Suicchi) is a Japanese television show and these snippets are shown between segments and at the beginning and end of the broadcast.

See the Wikipedia entry here.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"When I Grow-up I Want To Be A Good American . . . "

Fox News has released the transcript of an essay they purchased from Scooter Libby's sixth grade teacher. At the end of the year, this teacher asked each student to write an essay about the future. Libby was amazingly prescient as a child. Read his essay:

"When I Grow-up I Want To Be A Good American"
by Scooter Libby

I want to be a patriot!

I want to serve my government by working with the people who know that God's intention for America is to abandon spiritual notions of trusting God, taking stock of myself, and serving humanity, because we can convince television-watching Americans that God really wants America to be a profit-driven cash machine for a tiny number of people.

When I grow-up I want to serve these men with diligence and do anything they say and protect them from any criticism. I want to be asked to stand-up for what they believe is right and I want to lie with impunity.

I want to manipulate the media and use its power to smear the men who disagree with us and then I want to teach them a real lesson by endangering their families. I particularly want to hurt their wives, because that's what a real patriot does.

I want to violate some of the most sacred and sometimes unspoken rules of international diplomacy all in the name of profit, irrespective of the ramifications. I want to hurt my nation as deeply as I can, because that's what a patriot does in the name of money.

I want to swear on a Bible that I will tell the truth about bad things that have happened and then I want to lie to the jurists who keep the United States safe and free. A real patriot knows that people don't want to really know the truth, they want to be lied-to and I will be the guy who can help!

I want to be the fall-guy for racketeers who run the world's most-established military contractors. I want these military contractors to be in business with our enemies in Arabia, and I want to help protect them because I will be guaranteed money and a plum position on a board when I leave the service of the government. I want that government to be in a shambles when I retire, because that's what a good patriot does to America.

I want to stand in front of television cameras and insist I have done nothing wrong, and I want commentators who know better to defend me. A good patriot manipulates the media effectively, and I want to be a good patriot.

I want to be convicted of the crimes I've committed and sentenced to prison, because I know I am protecting America by covering-up for the racketeers destroying my country.

After I help destroy my nation, like a good American, I want to be rewarded by the men in cahoots with our enemies. A real American knows that service to the United States should be done only for profit, never for the betterment of our nation.

I want to be sentenced to a long prison term, because I know the ring-leader will spring me before I spend even a moment behind bars. A good American respects and trusts that the President will take care of his own, and I want to be a good American.

I want to laugh all the way to the bank while my nation's Constitution is trampled upon, ignored and treated like a mere inconvenience.

That's what I want to do when I grow-up: I want to be a good American.

Next . . . "What I did on my summer vacation," by Scooter Libby.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

American Film Institute Lists Top 100 Movies Of All Time

The American Film Institute released their 10th Anniversary Edition of the best movies ever made:

AFI's Best Movies List

Their list differs from mine:

Dick Mac's movies to watch again and again

My list needs updating, I think; but it will give you an idea of the movies I like! Maybe I should make mine an annual list, too. Until then, you will have to enjoy my existing list. Mine also includes as Orson Welles film in the top slot; but, mine is the film noir classic "A Touch Of Evil."

America's Best Flick Remains 'Kane'
Wednesday June 20 10:19 PM ET

The years have been kind to "Citizen Kane," including the last decade.

The 1941 Orson Welles classic the story of a wealthy young idealist transformed by scandal and vice into a regretful old recluse was again rated the best movie ever Wednesday by the American Film Institute.

In the CBS special "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition," "Citizen Kane" held the same No. 1 billing it earned in the institute's first top-100 ranking in 1998.

There were notable changes elsewhere, though, with Martin Scorsese's 1980 masterpiece "Raging Bull" bounding upward from No. 24 in 1998 to No. 4 on the new list and Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller "Vertigo" hurtling from No. 61 to No. 9 this time.

Charles Chaplin's 1931 silent gem "City Lights" jumped from No. 76 to No. 11, while the 1956 John Ford-John Wayne Western "The Searchers" took the biggest leap, from No. 96 all the way to No. 12.

"The ones that made the huge jumps are really, really fascinating," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, chief executive at AFI, which has done top-10 lists every year since 1998 showcasing best comedies, thrillers, love stories and other highlights in American cinema.

"I'd like to think this entire series has had a real influence on what people think about a film like `City Lights,' `The Searchers,' `Vertigo.' Gotten them talking about these films and going back to watch them again, and if they've never seen them, to go watch them for the first time."

Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 epic "The Godfather" ranked No. 2, up one notch from 1998, switching places with Michael Curtiz's 1942 favorite "Casablanca," which dipped from second-place to third.

Both 1967's "The Graduate" and 1954's "On the Waterfront," which ranked Nos. 7 and 8 respectively in 1998, fell out of the top 10, "The Graduate" coming in at No. 17 and "On the Waterfront" finishing at No. 19.

The other five films in the new top 10 also were among the original 10 best, though they shuffled positions: 1952's "Singin' in the Rain (No. 5 now, No. 10 in 1998), 1939's "Gone With the Wind" (No. 6 now, No. 4 in 1998), 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia" (No. 7 now, No. 5 in 1998), 1993's "Schindler's List" (No. 8 now, No. 9 in 1998) and 1939's "The Wizard of Oz" (No. 10 now, No. 6 in 1998).

The top-100 were chosen from ballots sent to 1,500 filmmakers, actors, writers, critics and others in Hollywood from a list of 400 nominated movies, 43 of which came from the decade since the first list was compiled.

Of those newer films, only four made the top-100: 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (No. 50), 1998's "Saving Private Ryan" (No. 71), 1997's "Titanic" (No. 83) and 1999's "The Sixth Sense" (No. 89).

Older films that did not make the cut on the 1998 list broke into the top-100 this time, led by Buster Keaton's 1927 silent comedy "The General" at No. 18. Others included 1916's "Intolerance" (No. 49), 1975's "Nashville" (No. 59), 1960's "Spartacus" (No. 81), 1989's "Do the Right Thing" (No. 96) and 1995's "Toy Story" (No. 99).

Some silent-era classics and other old films may have fared better this time because they are more readily available in good quality restorations in today's DVD age as opposed to the VHS days.

Films that dropped out of the top-100 this time included 1965's "Doctor Zhivago," which had been No. 39 on the 1998 list; 1984's "Amadeus," which had been No. 53; 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," which had been No. 64; 1990's "Dances With Wolves," which had been No. 75; and 1927's "The Jazz Singer," which had been No. 90.

"Close Encounters" director Steven Spielberg had the most films on the list with five, while Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Billy Wilder each had four. James Stewart and Robert De Niro were the most-represented actors with five films apiece.

In interviews for Tuesday's special, filmmakers and others in Hollywood told AFI they loved the behind-the-scenes story of "Citizen Kane" as much as the film itself, said Bob Gazzale, who produced the AFI show.

It was the first movie by Welles, who bucked studio and storytelling conventions to craft a landmark film about the rise and fall of a William Randolph Hearst-like newspaper publisher.

The film was ahead of its time, a dark tale whose brooding design, murky lighting, overlapping dialogue and ripped-from-true-life Hearst connection created an unnerving sense of realism.

"No one disputes it's a great American film, but what you hear from the great artists of our day is the love they have for this ideal of a young maverick making a movie like this, that a 25-year-old Orson Welles changed the fabric of cinema, and that that ideal still holds today of this jewel everybody reaches for," Gazzale said.

"It's not only the movie, but the embodiment of the man who broke all the rules to tell his story."

While AFI officials have not decided if they will continue the annual lists in coming years, Firstenberg said the institute will do a new list of all-time best American films every 10 years as a guide to changing tastes in future decades.

"With this new list, it became clearer the value of this program was to have five lists to chart rather than one 50-year-old list," Gazzale said. "It's not only celebrating the films again and driving people to see them again, but we get to see what's gone up, what's gone down."

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