Until Monday, August 6 ...

A selection of past posts I hope you will enjoy (use "backspace" to return to list):

‘Night before we locked our doors’ – smackdown with a blonde intruder. LINK

‘Garry Owen’ – a post about heroes. LINK

‘Whiskey at the good-old-boys club’ – growing up girl in a man’s world. LINK

‘The elephant in the room’ – stating the obvious. LINK

‘Hot, but not my type’ – running across an old friend. LINK

‘They sang!’ – who got picked, and who got panned. LINK

‘Sphere of influence’ – that ‘secret cabal’ ain’t no secret any more. LINK

‘Those damn liberals’ – a day in the life of a grouch. LINK

‘A “do-nothing” Congress?’ – dispelling the myth. LINK

“The token coalition’ – splitsville. LINK

‘Tossed treasure’ – a Dodgers fan laments. LINK

‘Read or ignore, it’s your country!’ – how can such an obvious pattern be ignored? LINK


Crucio, you spoilers!

What’s a muggle blogger to do?

I’ve got problems. It’s hard to type with one finger on the remote “mute” button. It’s hard to blog when I cannot watch the news or read news sites or blogs.

You see, I am a Harry Potter devotee. There’s a spot on my bookcases waiting for book seven, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” to arrive. So, why would a person unable to read books order a book? To keep the other six company.

I read the first three books, “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban.” I listened to the next three on books for the visually impaired, “The Goblet of Fire,” “The Order of the Phoenix” and “The Half-Blood Prince.”

I have the first three movies on videotape, the fourth on DVD, and have watched them all, wonderfully described, on “movies for the blind,” compliments of the State Library.

What’s a devotee to do when she must wait for months on a “talking book” of the final installment of J. K. Rowling’s magical epic - all the while avoiding plot revelations?

My friend Shari offered to call long distance and read the book to me. Now, that’s a friend!

At midnight, the book goes on sale. Amazon.com has promised mine tomorrow. Yet, even now, because of leaked copies, every media outlet is trying to spoil things for me – and about a kajillion other fans.

Short of moving to a small Pacific island, how am I going to avoid hearing “The Deathly Hallows” ending, the characters who die, and Harry’s destiny?

There’s never a port key around when you need one!

The media nitwits who want to ruin this experience – this rite of passage which has lasted several years – could at least announce that a spoiler is coming.

Since Wednesday night, I’ve almost been broadsided with what might have been story details, but I’m quick on the draw with the remote.

We’re talking “dead serious” here! (No pun intended on the loss of a favorite character in the fifth book.)

Who would want to watch “Citizen Kane” knowing what “Rosebud” is? Who would want to know the secret of “The Crying Game”?

So, I’m beginning a self-imposed “news blackout” today – until the hype dies down.

Maybe faithful readers could email me if something really, really big happens, say Cheney is impeached and Bush resigns.

* “Crucio” - The Cruciatus Curse inflicts severe physical pain. One of the three Unforgivable Curses. The use of this spell against another human being is punishable by a life sentence in Azkaban.


Be afraid, Bill O'Reilly

The “blogosphere” is an emerging political force in America. It’s the new public square, the new town hall meeting, the new voice of democracy.

Liberal and progressive bloggers from across America will come together soon for a second annual convention. All that brainpower in one place apparently has Bill O’Reilly scared senseless.

“On Monday night, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly aired a segment full of misleading, inaccurate claims attacking the upcoming YearlyKos blogger convention, its namesake DailyKos, and one of the event's sponsors, JetBlue.

“In his ‘report,’ O'Reilly cherry-picked an extreme minority of reader comments and diaries from the hundreds of thousands on DailyKos, claiming them to be representative of the community Web site and the greater netroots movement that will be gathering in Chicago from Aug. 2-5, 2007, for the progressive convention.

“Calling the netroots ‘the radical left’ and DailyKos ‘hatemongerers’ (sic) like ‘the Ku Klux Klan’ and ‘the Nazi Party,’ O'Reilly compared YearlyKos to ‘a David Duke convention,’ calling it ‘one of the worst examples of hatred America has to offer.’

“O'Reilly's segment, which has been latched onto by his ideological allies in the conservative blogosphere, is an attempt to discredit a movement that ‘each day is having more impact on America's political discourse while helping to renew our democracy.’

“O'Reilly's pre-emptive attack on the convention is a testament to the fact that the netroots are not a ‘nutroots’ fringe movement as critics would like to characterize it, but rather a snapshot of energized progressive activists agitating for change in America.”

- From The Progress Report, Center for American Progress, 18 July 2007. Read the full report: LINK

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga is not a household name, but his blog, DailyKos, is read by millions of Americans every day. At last year’s convention, Moulitsas said the movement has been miscast as a collection of young, far-left activists: "I think Democratic politicians - I don't know whether slowly or quickly - are realizing that we aren't these far-leftist, naïve and young political extremists, that we're actually a fairly representative cross-section of the Democratic Party, and we don't have an agenda other than seeking strong Democratic voices."

And, what did The Washington Post have to say about last year’s first YearlyKos convention? Maybe a little more reputable account than O’Reilly’s: “Bloggers’ convention draws Democrats,” 10 June 2006: LINK

So. why is O’Reilly so afraid? Alternative voices. Take a look at this year’s roster of YearlyKos convention speakers, which includes governors, U.S. senators and representatives, Gen. Wesley Clark, members of the MSM and a large number of political activists and bloggers who are energized and doing wonderful things with their lives: LINK



4:10 a.m. I’m enjoying the pallet party with the U.S. senators.

Hillary Clinton (D-New York) has the floor. She and Sen. Olympia Snow (R-Maine) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) have made such calm and reasoned arguments in behalf of the Levin-Reed Amendment, it’s difficult to understand that some just don’t get it.

The Amendment follows the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group and requires a reduction of U.S. troop presence in Iraq beginning 120 days after its passage.

Hasn’t got a prayer. First, it won’t get the 60 votes required to bring it to a vote, then Bush will veto it.

I feel very much a part of the process, though, having a front-row seat to the debate. I don’t have to depend on the morning’s soundbites.

There’s a lot on my mind as I listen now to Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) arguing that al Qaeda is going to take over the Middle East if we leave Iraq, that the result for the Iraqi people will be “horrendous.” For my money, it’s pretty horrendous for Iraqis and our troops now.

Today I got one of those emails passed around the world via the Internet, this one allegedly from an American sergeant, Eddie Jeffers, in Iraq. Apparently his letter to his father has made him the darling of right-wing Web sites: LINK

Some of his points:

* Demorats and liberals who oppose the war in Iraq are “anti-American” and do not support our troops.
* “I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about.” (Sheehan lost her son there and Franken has made many USO tours there to entertain our troops. They are hardly “ignorant sheep.”)
* Americans who denounce the war policy “are becoming our enemy.”
* He claims American soldiers kill Iraqis “in the midst of battle, and they are investigated and sometimes thrown in jail – for doing their job.” (This is not true. The killings investigated were not in the midst of battle; they are killings of innocent Iraqi civilians, the very people he claims to be fighting for and helping.)
* He singles out CNN, MSNBC and CBS viewers as being “obsessed with bad news.” (No mention, of course, of Fox News.)
* “(P)eople will not let up their hatred of President Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right.”
* He claims to be fighting “terrorists” to preserve our freedoms, at the same time making a mockery of these freedoms.

If this young sergeant is for real, no one wants him dead. We want him home.

Interesting juxtaposition while listening to the senators debate this same issue.

My friend Clara and I discussed the circulated email and one she had just received. Hers bore the title "Can a good Muslim be a good American?" “Then,” Clara writes, “it goes off on all this BS that's supposed to be in the Koran and how Barack Obama is a ‘radical Islamist’ who wants to be our president.” Clara is right to assume that most recipients haven’t read the Koran.

When there is a world of legitimate news at our fingertips, why do people continue to pass this vicious tripe around? Nine times out of 10 a search of Snopes.com reveals these emails are propaganda hoaxes.

They rarely carry sources or attribution.

The people who pass them around have been told by right-wing news outlets and pundits that Americans are their enemy, that the most trusted news sources are not to be trusted.

And, I’m certain these senators, debating through the night, attempting to remove our troops from harm’s way, from the midst of an unwinnable civil war, are “anti-American” and “the enemy.”

With all this on my mind, I cannot shake the image of Dick Cheney, just two months before the 2006 elections, telling NBC’s Tim Russert, “We've got almost 300,000 Iraqis now trained and equipped in the security forces.” (whitehouse.gov)

When you cannot tell the American people what is really going on, when they won’t find out for themselves, try a little fearmongering, a little hatemongering – works every time.


Pieces of my heart

In 1983 when I left my newspaper job in the afternoons, I often stopped by Popeye’s for chicken livers. I was met at my front door each day by a big yellow tomcat, who loved takeout and answered to “Hey, boy.”

I did not know until I met his master some six months later, that the cat, “Curious,” could play the piano and talk.

When Mark, who became my husband, played the piano, Curious would stand beside him and pound on the keys. The first time this happened, I tried to lift him from the bench, but Mark said, “It’s OK, he’s playing in the right key.”

When Curious wanted to go outside, he clearly said, “Out.” And, when he wanted back in, he stood at the door and said, “Mark.”

I had always had dogs, but Curious taught me the mysteries of the cat.

In 1985, two weeks before we moved to South Carolina, Curious, then age seven, went missing. It was very painful to pull away from our home knowing he might come back and find us gone. We always wondered.

On the following Valentine’s Day, Mark came home with a tiny ball of fur tucked under his suede jacket. “Curious, Too,” a calico, was the smartest and most beautiful cat in what would become our family of amazing felines.

Next came “Cali,” a yellow male, “B.J.’s heart and soul;” “Tuxedo,” a huge black-and-white male so named because he wore one, complete with a black bowtie at his neck; Tux’s sister “Mama Cass,” a petite and fastidious version of her brother; and “Tempest,” who earned her name as a kitten putting the older cats in their place.

Each had his or her own distinct personality. Each loved and was loved in return.

I could write a book about my cats. But, not now, not here.

Years later, after Mark and I were divorced, my great-nephew came to visit. As we sat out on the porch all night, drinking peach wine and talking, a tiny kitten crawled into my lap and slept the night away.

“You’ll take him in,” my young visitor said. “No. There’s no way!” I replied.

That was seven years ago, and “Oliver” was named for Dickens’ orphan, “Oliver Twist.”

Oliver was different. He thought himself the center of the universe and liked to destroy Venetian blinds and window screens. He would do anything to keep me from sleeping. But, he had Susan Oliver eyes, a cute face and a look to melt your heart. And, he loved attention.

One by one I lost my precious pets. Curious died at age 10 after liver surgery. Cali and Tempest, both 10, were poisoned, probably by neighbors who stayed six months then moved on. I had to have Tuxedo and Mama Cass euthanized, at ages 14 and 18.

In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, 11 July, Oliver went out for his early morning play, and he hasn’t come home.

So, my time with cats has ended as it began, not knowing and always wondering.

Mary Tyler Moore, appearing on Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” was asked what she wants to hear St. Peter say when she gets to heaven. Her reply: “Let me take you to the animals you have cared for.” I have to believe I will be greeted likewise.

For the first time in almost a quarter of a century, there are no cats in my home. It’s really tough having no one to talk with.


A beautiful tribute to touch the heart of pet lovers: LINK


Gore and gallows

The right-wing is trying to hang Al Gore.

An Academy Award-winning documentary and possible Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding, anyone who disagrees with right-wing ideology comes under personal attack. Seldom do facts get in the way of the public lynching.

While perusing samples of right-wing reaction to the recent “Live Earth” concerts, I ran across an Investor’s Business Daily editorial. This downright sophomoric screed is just one example of lame debate hiding behind ad hominem. I include it below as “Exhibit A.”

Why is the right so afraid of grassroots movements?

Several years ago I began commenting on MoveOn.org’s “Great Goals” forum, having joined the online movement, formed to encourage the nation to “move on” following Ken Starr’s witch-hunt and the Clinton impeachment.

Those I met on the forum are intelligent folks who care about their country. Each of us have our own pet issues, but we came together to discuss these issues and explore what we could do to keep our democracy healthy and intact.

Perhaps I am a tad naïve, but I was unprepared for the vicious personal attacks from right-wing posters who came there daily for the sole purpose of interrupting discourse and creating discord.

In some 60 years I had never been so maliciously and vulgarly dogged, and I’m certain that could be said for most of the forum’s regular posters.

Sure, I believe in free speech, but, like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, false personal attacks seem outside the original intent of the First Amendment.

Nor was I prepared for the 3.5 million-member MoveOn.org to be demonized with such a steady drumbeat that its name became synonymous with “anti-American.”

Now, with even greater grassroots support, it’s Gore’s turn.

Global warming is not an issue bound by American partisan politics. Contrary to convictions of many on the right, there is a world beyond America’s borders.

Such a worldwide effort as “Live Earth” cannot be tolerated, according to the voices of the right, and none have been more vocal and visible than those of Fox News.

I remind my readers that on 5/11/2007 (LINK) I reported Rupert Murdoch had made a commitment throughout News Corp to reduce its “carbon footprint” to zero by 2010. In announcing the company-wide goal, Murdoch said climate change can have “catastrophic effects.”

Yet, Murdoch’s man Roger Ailes has permeated every program at News Corp’s flagship Fox News with anti-Gore, anti-environmentalist propaganda.

Why this mission to make a mockery of such a moral, yes, moral issue? How can News Corp do one thing, yet preach another?

Ideally, publishers and media moguls grant “editorial autonomy.” But, there’s a trend toward media suits becoming more involved in editorial content.

Shouldn’t Mr. Murdoch’s 4 billion viewers and readers at least be aware of his personal stand on global warming?

When did it become passé to care about our environment?

And when did personal attacks take the place of cold, hard facts?


The Investor’s Business Daily editorial (LINK):

Al Gore And NBC: Birds Of A Feather

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Politics: Was what Al Gore called "the largest global entertainment event in all of human history" also the largest in-kind political contribution? And where's the Fairness Doctrine when you need it?

Considering that here in the U.S. the Peacock Network's three-hour Gore infomercial on global warming lost out in the ratings to "Cops" and "America's Funniest Home Videos," Gore's claim may be open to question. Live Earth, in fact, may have been America's funniest home video. Ever.

But thanks in large part to the 75 hours of free airtime that NBC gave Gore on its various stations, starting with NBC and including CNBC, Bravo, the Sundance channel, Universal HD and Telemundo, Gore may now be the 800-pound gorilla this political season.

Gore insists he's not running for president. Yet, as we have wondered before, why would a man who insists that global warming is the biggest threat to mankind, bigger than nuclear terror, not want control of the reins of a major world polluter and chief resister to Kyoto?

Dan Harrison, an NBC corporate senior vice president, called the Gore effort "an initiative we believe in" — the "we" presumably including corporate parent General Electric. Yet he insisted: "I don't think climate change is a political issue."

From the other side of his mouth, Harrison opined: "If it's a political issue, it's whether the political will exists to address that change. We know we need to do something, and this is a way to heighten awareness."

So he considers it NBC's mission to generate that political will in an election cycle in support of a man who once ran for president.

NBC and GE have other interests in hyping climate change. Let's not forget GE is the parent of NBC and stands to make a wad of cash from selling alternative energy products from wind turbines to solar panels to those compact fluorescent bulbs containing mercury.

So when Gore prances on stage to demand we stop building coal-fired plants, that's music to GE's corporate ears.

NBC's Ann Curry certainly thinks global warming is a political issue. During prime-time coverage, she almost got down on her knees to beg the jolly green giant to run for the White House.

Interviewing Gore from the site of the concert in New Jersey, Curry gushed:

"A lot of people want me to ask you tonight if you're running for president. And I know what you're answer is gonna be, believe me. I gotta ask you though. After fueling this grass-roots movement, if you become convinced that without you there will not be the political will in the White House to fight global warming to the level that is required, because the clock is ticking, would you answer the call? Would you answer the call, yes or no?"

Certainly Gore thinks global warming is a political issue, appearing earlier this year before Democrat-controlled House and Senate committees pleading for action. During his opening statement before the House, he famously said: "The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor."

After Gore's testimony, a better course of action would have been to ask for a second opinion.

When a conservative appears on talk radio, liberals cry for the Fairness Doctrine. Seventy-five free hours for Archbishop Gore's Church of Climate Change? Not a peep.
(End of editorial)


I rest my case.

A second brief post follows.

Money can't buy me love

Will Rupert Murdoch acquire Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal? Keep an eye on this Reuters story: LINK


The religion card

America is not a theocracy, yet religion continues to play a major role in national elections.

CNN’s Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reported yesterday (LINK):

“Religion is actually becoming a problem for both political parties, according to a new Time magazine poll.

“Last November, two-thirds of voters who said they never go to church voted Democratic. That's only 15 percent of voters. Nearly half said they go to church every week. Most of them voted Republican.

“Implication? Democrats better figure out a way to increase their appeal to churchgoers.

“Do voters see Republican candidates as more religious than Democrats? No.

“Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama top the list of candidates the public sees as having strong religious faith. Obama seems comfortable talking about faith, partly because of his African-American heritage.

“Quoting Obama, ‘My moral commitments to that vision of a - what Dr. King called a beloved community grows out of my faith.’

“Who do voters see as least religious? The two national front-runners, Democrat Hillary Clinton ...

“ ‘I come from a tradition that is perhaps a little too suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves, so, that a lot of the talk about and advertising about faith doesn't come naturally to me.’

“... and Republican Rudy Giuliani …

“ ‘For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now.’ “ (Giuliani joked as lightning hit his microphone while he was answering an abortion question at a recent presidential debate.)

Schneider continues:

“Many Americans see a downside to mixing religion and politics. The number of Americans who believe President Bush has used religion more to divide the country than to unite it has grown from 27 percent in 2004 to 43 percent now.

”So, it appears both parties have a religion problem.

“A third of voters and 30 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to support Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon. Now, Romney is dealing with the issue the same way John F. Kennedy dealt with the issue of his Catholic faith in 1960 - head on.

“Romney quotes Kennedy, who said he was not a Catholic running for president; he was an American running for president.”


There is, in my opinion, a defining line drawn in the sand between candidates with a moral compass and those who use their religious beliefs to attack and belittle opponents.

Update: See my friend Mr. Frodo's related commentary: LINK


My own gut feeling

Of all people, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, in an interview yesterday, became the first right-winger, to my knowledge, to suggest there might just be something to my “pattern theory.”

To wit, when there’s bad news for Bush, there’s another TERROR alert or story to keep Americans in a constant state of fear.

Tucker stated that, due to Bush’s slug-belly poll numbers, there might just be some “Machiavellian reason” for Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff’s “gut feeling” that there will be a summer terrorist attack in the U.S. of A.

Tucker suggested, and I paraphrase, that this might be a way of whipping Americans into submission with a little homegrown terror.


I can’t quite put my finger on it, Tucker, but I think there’s a lesson somewhere in the old horror flick, “Night of the Living Dead.”

Maybe it’s the line, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

Maybe it’s the classic line from the sheriff on how to kill zombies, “Well, there's no problem. If you have a gun, shoot 'em in the head. That's a sure way to kill 'em. If you don't, get yourself a club or a torch. Beat 'em or burn 'em. They go up pretty easy.”

Maybe it’s the dire and prescient warnings of the radio announcer.

Maybe it’s the horrific ending.

Or, maybe it’s just the idea that if we let fear consume us, we are the “living dead.”


For Keith Olbermann’s (“Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” MSNBC) outstanding recounting of such patterns, see my post, “Read or ignore, it’s your country,” 7 June 2007: LINK


'Take two aspirin and ...'

I had planned a post today on the state of health care in America, but now I have a headache.

Stayed up all night, caught up in reading transcripts of the “Health Care Wars” between CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Larry King and “Sicko” director Michael Moore and between New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

Then, after reading all that was said for myself, listening to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly lying about it all and scaring the hell out of his ignorant fans. I need an aspirin!

Thrown into the mix was Anderson Cooper’s CNN report on the testimony before a Congressional committee yesterday by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and Vice Admiral (Ret.) Richard Carmona, who until a year ago was surgeon general under George W. Bush.

Here is what Carmona told Congress about his days as the nation’s top doctor under Bush:

“The reality is that the nation's doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas.

“Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is often ignored, marginalized or simply buried.

“The problem with this approach is that, in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of the surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party.”

Carmona told Cooper many past surgeon generals had been forced to forego science in the face of ideology, theology or politics. Health issues such as abortion, contraception – the Bush administration has an abstinence-only policy – AIDS and embryonic stem cell research could not be explained adequately, in a scientific way, to the American public. LINK


Maybe I’ll get my thoughts together on the nation’s health-care problems another day – maybe after the Dark Ages.


'Morning Joke'

Few shows on cable news, with the exception of Fox’s “Red Eye,” are as awful as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

At least with “Red Eye” most folks are mercifully in bed at 2 a.m.

Waking up to Joe Scarborough, the self-anointed pseudo-guru of pop culture now manning MSNBC’s morning slot, is, in a word, unbearable.

Joe’s the one in the middle, the one who does most of the talking. He’s flanked by two excellent journalists, John Ridley and Mika Brzezinski.

Noted author, filmmaker and socio-political commentator Ridley has much to offer morning viewers, but is invariably engaged by Scarborough in petty racial badinage that reduces him to nothing more than the show’s “token black.”

Mika, the daughter of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski and sculptor Emilie Anna Benes, first caught my attention on the early morning news show, “CBS Up to the Minute.” This woman of class and sharp wit is the show’s news reader and can only work in the occasional cutesy comment. Thanks to “Morning Joe” she is now the darling of the blogosphere for refusing to report on Paris Hilton.

Three hours of constant early morning chitchat, in the worst sense of the word, is mind-numbing.

Scarborough feigns fairness while spewing conservative drivel. His constant flow of silly sarcasm is confusing. In short, he is full of himself, monopolizing the show’s discourse.

As an interviewer, he is no Don Imus.

For the first 10 minutes of this morning’s show, viewers were treated to Joe’s assessment of the “Live Earth” concerts – how nobody wanted to watch such “awful music groups” and “listen to Al Gore telling them they are going to burn in hell.”

Folks, the dumbing down of America is almost complete.

Postscript: MSNBC will be checking the political pulse of Americans throughout the day.


'I'm awake. Are you awake?'

Watched the London and NYC “Live Earth” concerts and, IMHO, the standout performance was Melissa Etheridge’s 20-minute solo and sermonette, “Wake Up!”

The woman rocked the house, and if she doesn’t rock you, check your pulse. Lucky you, here’s the video: LINK


Two posts today, read on.

Bush's self-fulfilling prophecy

From the closing chapter, “My Life” by Bill Clinton:

“ … President-elect Bush came to the White House for the same meeting I had had with his father eight years earlier. We talked about the campaign, White House operations and national security. He was putting together an experienced team from past Republican administrations, who believed that the biggest security issues were the need for national missile defense and Iraq. I told him that, based on the last eight years, I thought his biggest security problems, in order, would be Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, the absence of peace in the Middle East, the standoff between nuclear powers India and Pakistan and the ties of the Pakistanis to the Taliban and al Qaeda, North Korea, and then Iraq. I said that my biggest disappointment was not getting bin Laden, that we still might achieve an agreement in the Middle East, and that we had almost tied up a deal with North Korea to end its missile program, but that he would probably have to go there to close the deal. He listened to what I had to say without much comment, then changed the subject to how I did the job. My only advice was that he should put together a good team and try to do what he thought was right for the country.”


Ironically, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, Bush was right. That “experienced team from past Republican administrations” – known as neoconservatives – has made Iraq our number one security problem.

And, Bush is dead set on the missile defense system, earlier known in the Reagan administration as “Star Wars,” and once astutely described by a politician as “trying to hit a bullet with a bullet.”

Interestingly, aside from the cost and ineffectiveness of such a missile defense system, the new warfare Bush claims we are facing doesn’t do much to sell his proposal. Such a program is hardly effective against IEDs and suicide bombers.


Seven and Seven

Sign the “Live Earth” Pledge! There is a link to read the SEVEN points of the Pledge. Do your small part to save the Earth, and you will save on energy bills in the process! LINK

Popular Mechanics rates the new and improved CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) and provides all the information you will need to know about them: LINK


Tonight the “New SEVEN Wonders of the World” will be revealed. I gave you an opportunity to vote on these several months ago. The ceremony, which features Academy Award-winning actors Hillary Swank and Ben Kingsley, will be available via live streaming from Lisbon, Portugal: LINK


Inmate #28301016

That was his number, already assigned. He was that close.

The right-wing talking points were already in hand, and most involved Bill Clinton.

By contrast, I had just finished Clinton’s chapter in “My Life” about the right-wing power trip which lead to his impeachment - in the wake of 70 percent public opposition to impeachment and support for Clinton from the legal community and many foreign heads of state.

One right-wingette, Republican strategist Karen Hanretty, appearing on “Anderson Cooper 360” takes the prize with her defense of the commutation of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term: “Few Americans even know who he is.”

Bush claims Libby’s 30-month sentence is “too excessive.” Even Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, quiet and low-key, couldn’t let that one pass, issuing a statement that the sentence is not excessive and reflects federal guidelines.

The obvious is being overlooked: this effectively removes the best incentive for Libby to cooperate with investigators.

Like so many of you, I have followed the CIA leak investigation since day one. I have seen the right-wing deny that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA covert operative, despite CIA verification of her status. At every turn, they have insisted there was no criminal case involved, there was no misconduct involved, and, therefore, “Scooter” should never have been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

At the heart of this matter was revenge – getting back at Ms. Wilson’s husband Joseph, former ambassador to Iraq and several African nations.

At the black soul of the matter are lies which lead this nation to war in Iraq.

“Scooter” was the human shield blocking any investigation of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Bush himself – as Fitzgerald put it, throwing sand in the eyes of investigators.

As Queen Latifah vamps in “Chicago:” “Got a little motto always sees me through … you take care of Momma, she’ll take care of you.”

In other words, “If it doesn’t fit our ideology, the law be damned.”

That has been the mantra of the right-wing in this country long before the 2000 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore.

It was Kenneth Starr’s playbook. It became the rallying cry of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and Dick Army. And, it has been standard operating procedure in the Bush White House.

Now, where is that number? Ah, here it is. 202-456-1414. The White House switchboard.



“What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” Joseph C. Wilson IV, op-ed, New York Times, 6 July 2003: LINK


Text of Bush’s statement, 2 July 2007: LINK


The perfect storm

Thanks to NBC for highlights of the concert the British princes sponsored to celebrate their mom’s birthday and benefit charities.

Worth the hour to hear Rod Stewart’s “Wake up, Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you.”

Boy, did I get a wake-up call this weekend.

A reminder of how one’s words can be interpreted – or misinterpreted.

My last post drew an interesting range of responses from friends.

One, concerned about “broken borders” and “illegal immigrants” believes I have called him a “racist.”

Another emailed: “Whew!
Sure hope you have the energy to read this after all that heavy lifting saving the world for truth, justice and the American way all by your lonesome, Superwoman.
Actually, you are not the only enlightened one around doing something. It's just some of us like to keep it on the "Mission: Impossible" Q-T side, say no more, say no more.”

Yet another sent me a chart I couldn’t see – with the subject line: “What they are doing to us.” I couldn’t even tell who “they” are!

A couple of days ago, in a comment, it was suggested, tongue in cheek, “Can’t you do more frivolous stuff?“

God knows I try.

Over to your left, in my “blog description,” I state: “This is not a site for readers of cereal boxes and USA Today. People who make up words from the letters of the brand name on their cigarettes will be baffled. This is a site for the naturally curious, the politically engaged and constant learners.”

As I sat down to the keyboard this morning, I started a frivolous and funny post titled, “Love letters from the sewer.” But, I’m just not in the mood for frivolous or funny.

Last night I was doing a little channel surfing en route to Tim Russert’s 10 p.m. rerun on MSNBC.

Fox Newss’ Sean Hannity stopped me in my tracks, in the final 12 minutes of his show, calling Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” a piece of trash, citing a scientific study debunking Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and linking Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez via South Carolinian actor Danny Glover.

So, I typed the title “Hannity’s America.” But, my heart wasn’t in it.

Maybe, I thought, I could write about how awful MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” is, but I’ve already filled my rant quota for the year.

Or, how about cable news three-day blast of hysteria? Nope. My faithful readers already know my thoughts on fearmongering.

So, I thought I would just write about my feelings this morning.