Tuesday, May 31, 2005




"Only a Sith thinks in absolutes."

- Obe-Wan (Ben) Kenobi


I am a fan of most kinds of rock music, but I have a particular fondness for progressive rock. During the past five or six years I was introduced to the music of Porcupine Tree, and that band has become one of my favorites. I became curious about Opeth when I noticed Porcupine Tree was opening for them on a tour during the last couple of years. Apparently PT’s leader Steven Wilson had been influenced by harder sounds, including some of those of Opeth, and it showed on PT’s “In Absentia” album.

When I realized Steven Wilson produced “Damnation” and provided assistance on keyboards, I immediately ordered the CD, and… it is simply one of the best discs I have purchased in a long while, including some of my Porcupine Tree CDs.

The songs smolder… something is bubbling beneath the surface in each and every number. Opeth has a reputation as a “death metal” band, and this album conveys a sense of quiet desperation, sometimes agony… but all the instruments have a “clean” sound. There is nothing fast, nothing sounds muddy, and there is no screaming. Instead, what you get is fairly quiet but tense album full of emotions that are barely concealed, ready to explode, with a band that displays remarkable patience in the musical arrangements. The crisp drumming and Wilson’s use of the mellotron (particularly on the album-opener “Windowpane”) make me think of those aspects of King Crimson’s sound in the Seventies. Mikael Akerfeld’s vocals are nothing short of incredible in that he can reveal so much emotion when he sings. He has a beautiful voice, wonderfully complemented by Wilson’s harmonies. The guitar-playing and bass-playing are solid, and the instrumental piece “Ending Credits” is outstanding.

While I wouldn’t say this is an uplifting CD, I think it a very organic work. There is strength to be found in the way all parts work together to create a whole. The result is a complete, mature, fully realized piece of art.

Now that I know more about Opeth, I intend to explore their louder side as well. It is good to know Wilson has produced other albums of theirs, too. Thanks to Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson for helping me discover a great new band!

Monday, May 30, 2005


I have been tagged by Matt of "Cerulean Blue"! (Check out Matt's weblog, it's in my links!) I was required, under penalty of something or other, to participate in this delightfully damnable exercise, and then tag three other folks I hold dear in the blogosphere in true chain-letter fashion. Here goes!

Your favorite band/artist:
1. Porcupine Tree
2. Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard
3. Warren Zevon

Your hobbies/interests:
1. My family
2. Playing in a band
3. Being outdoors

Things that scare you:
1. Heights
2. Deep water
3. large spiders

Your favorite fiction writers:
1. Philip K. Dick
2. Philip Margolin
3. Dennis Lehane

Your three celebrity crushes:
1. Sasha Alexander
2. Angie Everhart
3. Christina Ricci

What you are wearing right now:
1. Cheap Key West t-shirt
2. denim shorts
3. underwear

What you want in a relationship:
1. respect for my idiosyncrasies
2. reciprocation
3. time for myself

Your everyday essentials:
1. waking up
2. continuing to breathe
3. being conscious

Your drugs of choice:
1. my blood-pressure meds
2. coffee
3. love

So now I must tag J.Marquis of "Are We There Yet?", Donald of "Cancer of the Third Eye" and Sheryl of "A Thought Vacuum". Go to it, people! 8-)> Send this on to three people you want to know more about!

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Thanks to Joseph Seals, the New Oklahoma Democrat, for the link to http://web.infoave.net/~dennmac/reich-wing/antigoptaglines.html

on his excellent weblog http://thenewoklahomademocrat.blogspot.com/ !


8:00 am Morning Stretch: Arnold Schwarzenegger does squats while reciting passages of "Atlas Shrugged."

9:00 am Mr. Rogers' Segregated Neighborhood: King Friday sings "Elitism is Neat." The House Un-American Activities investigation of Mr. McFeely continues. Mr. Rogers explains why certain kids can't be his neighbor.

10:00 am Sesame Street: Jerry Falwell teaches Big Bird to be more judgmental. Oscar the Grouch plays substitute for Rush Limbaugh. Bert and Ernie are kicked out of the military. Jesse Helms bleaches all the Muppets white.

11:00 am Square One: A MathNet episode, "Ernest Does Trickle-Down." Jim Varney explains how cutting taxes for the rich & spending more on defense will balance the budget.

Noon Washington Week in Review: Special guest Senator Bob Dole, explaining why the current pension crisis, budget deficit, bank closings, farm foreclosures, S & L bailouts, inflation, recession, job loss, and trade deficit can all be blamed on someone else.

1:00 pm Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?: Guest detective Pat Buchanan helps kids build a wall around the U.S.

2:00 pm William F. Buckley's Firing Line: Guests George Will, Rush Limbaugh, John Sununu, Pat Buchanan, James Kilpatrick, Mona Charen, G. Gordon Liddy, Robert Novak, Bay Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Joseph Sobran, Paul Harvey, Phyllis Schafly, Maureen Reagan, and John McLaughlin bemoan the need for more conservative media voices.

3:00 pm Nature: Join James Watt and Charlton Heston as they use machine guns to bag endangered species.

4:00 pm NOVA: "Creationism: Discredited, But What the Hell?"

5:00 pm Newt Gingrich NewsHour: Clarence Thomas and Bob Packwood present in-depth personal reports on sexual harassment. Pat Buchanan says he's being shut out from national exposure.

6:00 pm Mystery Theater: Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, and Sherlock Holmes team up to investigate Whitewater.

7:00 pm Great Performances: Pat Buchanan is a guest conductor of Wagner's "Prelude to a Cultural War."

8:00 pm Masterpiece Theater: Ibsen's "A Doll's House." Phyllis Schafly adds to this classic with an added scene where Nora gladly gives up her independence while her husband chains her to the stove.

9:00 pm Washington Week in Review: Guests George Will, Rush Limbaugh, John Sununu, Pat Buchanan, James Kilpatrick, Mona Charen, G. Gordon Liddy, Robert Novak, Bay Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Joseph Sobran, Paul Harvey, Phyllis Schafly, Maureen Reagan, and John McLaughlin discuss liberal media bias.

10:00 pm Adam Smith's Money World: "How to Profit from Ozone Depletion"

10:30 pm Nightly Business Report: Wall Street celebrates the end of all laws regarding anti-trust, consumer protection, work-place safety, environmental protection, minimum wage and child labor.

11:00 pm Insights of Dan Quayle

11:01 pm Sign-Off

Mark Harmon, Associate Professor, Texas Tech University


Thanks again to Joseph Seals for the link to http://web.infoave.net/~dennmac/reich-wing/antigoptaglines.html

on his excellent weblog http://thenewoklahomademocrat.blogspot.com/ !

Here are some fun quotes for you:

"If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." - Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965)

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moralphilosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification forselfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

The conservative credo: "Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hooveragain..."

"The Republican Convention opened with a prayer. If the Lord can see his wayto bless the Republican Party the way it's been carrying on, the the rest ofus ought to get it without asking." - Will Rogers, 1928"

Facts are stupid things." - Ronald Reagan

"I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964." - Ronald Reagan

"If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all." - Ronald Reagan

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" - Ronald Reagan

"I still think Nancy does most of his talking; you'll notice that she neverdrinks water when Ronnie speaks." - Robin Williams, _Playboy_, 1982

"Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it." - Henry David Thoreau

"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue." - RichardNixon

Friday, May 27, 2005


My daughter Kelly graduates from high school tomorrow. This has been a dream of mine since I was a young adult, seeing one of my children graduate. Now I can scarcely believe the moment is almost here. This is my little girl we're talking about!

I remember when she was a tiny baby, a newborn, and I held her in my arms. I remember changing her diapers, feeding her, helping her get dressed, taking her to daycare and picking her up, reading stories at bedtime, fixing "owies", playing with her and her sister at the playground, and stepping in to break up their fights. I recall the birthday parties, sleepovers, helping her with homework, and guiding her through her scoliosis surgery four years ago... Kelly has gradually become less dependent on her parents. Now she's heading out into the world, mostly on her own.

I feel like part of my life is dying, but at the same time I vicariously feel a sense of personal rebirth through Kelly, which makes this change a good one. Her life is spread out ahead of her, and at this point it's like a fantastic road trip. The map is there, but there isn't really a set route she has to follow. She has the freedom to make her own choices, for better or for worse, and to learn by her own actions. Kelly isn't anchored in life, she is basically free to roam and explore. There is a certain excitement to be found in the insecurity of young adulthood, and I believe she is prepared to face this time in her life with the necessary tools for success.

Kelly will live at our house this summer, and then she will live in a dormitory this fall. She will attend college here in town at the local university, so it isn't like we won't see her around during the coming school year. There will be times when she comes home to eat, get something she has been storing at the house, and hopefully just to hang out and visit. I hope she asks me for advice sometimes, just as I hope I refrain from advising her too much. Viewing her as an adult will not be easy because she has always been dependent. But this is a new phase in our relationship, and new phases often require readjustment.

While I know I will dearly miss having her around all the time, I know Kelly's life is her own to lead, and while I'm dealing with letting her go, releasing her, sending her out into a world that is often not kind to kind people... I am the one dealing with that more than Kelly is. She is young, excited, happy and full of wonder about what lies ahead. My heart is stretching in too many different directions right now for me to adequately describe my deep feelings of love, pride, hurt, grief and excitement for her and for myself. There are just too many emotions to sort out, but I know this is the way things are supposed to be. And I find comfort in that knowledge, that this is a rite of passage for both Kelly and me. It helps me to focus not just on me or on her, but on me and her, as father and daughter. Life is truly good today!

By the way, did I mention Kelly is a Democrat? 8-)>


This week I drove my dad to Boise, ID (about 2.5 hours drive from here) for heart tests. He has congestive heart failure and wears a pacemaker. We nearly lost him in February. This time the doctors said that while he has not made any improvement, his condition hasn't gotten worse.

Dad is definitely conservative, although he is an intelligent conservative (they do exist). We got talking about politics, like we usually do (and we usually disagree...) He was describing how happy he was that Dan Rather had to retire. I told him I thought that Bush did the same thing, that is, Bush either knowingly or unknowingly portrayed false information as truth, and therefore... should Bush lose his job like Rather did?

I asked my Dad "Should Bush be impeached?" We talked about it, and we both agreed that Bush isn't a particulary great president, and that it is Cheney that needs impeachment first. We both believe The Dickster is the one who really runs things, and that we would both love to know who was on his energy policy committee.

To hear Dad say "I liked the Bush's first four years o.k., but this last year hasn't been good at all, and I see nothing good happening during the next three years" got my attention. And to hear him say "I think Dick Cheney is evil!" absolutely made my entire week.

BushCo. has taken someone (my dad) who is normally fairly far to the right and turned him into a genuinely moderate Republican. Dad has looked at the way religion is taking over his party, and he has looked at all the breaks given to business at the expense of the rest of us. He doesn't like it. He doesn't like the way Bush is saying there is a Social Security crisis at the same time Social Security continues to get pilfered, to pay for other things.

Dad said that if the Democrats would nominate a candidate who can do a good job communicating with the people on matters that affect us every day, he would consider voting for a Democrat in the 2008 presidential election... but he's a Hillary-hater, so that probably shoots that idea. Besides I have doubts he will still be living by that time, and I think he has similar doubts as he comes to grips with his health problems.

What I have seen in Dad is a softening of various hard-right stances as he becomes more painfully aware of life (and of human existence) as experiences shared by all people. He has become less of a cynic about people, and more of a humanitarian in his outlook. I know he has always had a heart of gold and a love for the human race. He is always for what is fair, and although he tends not to like "liberals", he is genuinely saddened by the unfair GOP-generated things happening in our country.

Of course life isn't always fair, and there are always things with which we must come to grips in our lives. Our family has come to grips with the idea that Dad may not be around much longer. And I am coming to grips with the fact that I have underestimated him for most of the past 25 to 30 years when it comes to his political beliefs.

Thursday, May 26, 2005



Clarence Page
Chicago Tribune

At a time when America's children need to learn how to compete with India, Ireland and other countries to which we are rapidly losing jobs, some Americans would rather fuss and fret about whether man evolved from the apes.

That's what I imagine the master lawyer Clarence Darrow would be saying if he were around to re-defend Charles Darwin's theory of evolution against today's new version of creationism.
I'm sure Darrow would be amazed and amused at last week's events in Topeka, Kan. Eighty years after his famous defendant John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in Tennessee public schools, the Kansas Board of Education opened hearings in Topeka to hear new challenges to the teaching of Darwin.

School boards in at least a dozen states are grappling with this new movement, even though a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ended the forced teaching of creationism in tandem with evolution.

In keeping with the modern age of media spin, the creationists have reframed their arguments under a new-fangled banner: "intelligent design." The label sounds about as elegantly non-threatening as a Volvo ad, but beware before you buy into it.

Instead of insisting that the Bible's version of Creation be taught in schools, the ID argument merely asks that schools be required to mention that there are alternative theories to Darwinism. ID movement icons, like biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University, argue that the Earth must have been created through guided, intelligent events, since everything in the universe is just too complicated to have been created through random chance.

Since their theory only questions and does not actually state who the intelligent designer is, proponents of ID theory insist that their movement is not like the old-style creationists who cited the Bible to explain everything.

That's their story and they're sticking to it. As long as kids are taught that an intelligent design is behind Creation, you might think that the ID movement is completely, objectively and dispassionately neutral on whether school kids learn about the Creator-God of the Old Testament or some unseen, unnamed "force" like the one that empowers the Jedi knights in "Star Wars."

But it usually does not take long for ID proponents to reveal their inner urges to crack the wall of separation between church and state. "Part of our overall goal," William Harris of the Kansas-based Intelligent Design Network told the British Broadcasting Corp., "is to remove the bias against religion that is currently in schools."

Of course, when people talk about removing the "bias against religion" in schools or anyplace else, it almost always means that they want to impose their religious values on schools and everybody else.

But it is important to note that the scientific community does not reject religion. In fact, many scientists are quite religious. Unfortunately, the theories and evidence put forth by ID theorists have not held up under the rigor of peer review, publication in scientific journals and other standards by which the scientific establishment operates.

What, then, is the best way to deal with the teaching of ID? Most national and state science organizations boycotted the Topeka hearings in the belief that they were rigged against the teaching of evolution. But many other voices in the scientific community say that scientists need to understand the appeal of ID theory and help students sort out the questions it raises.

"For religious scientists, this may involve taking the time to talk to students about how they personally reconcile their beliefs with their research," says an editorial in the respected British journal Nature. "Secular researchers should talk to others in order to understand how faiths have come to terms with science..... When they walk into the lecture hall, they should be prepared to talk about what science can and cannot do, and how it fits in with different religious beliefs."

Indeed, sometimes the old ways are best. When I was growing up back in the 1950s, my teachers never seemed to have much trouble reconciling science with our personal religious views. Both science and religion were ways for us to understand the universe, they said. The questions that rational science could not explain, we answered with our faith.

We also learned that governments caused trouble when they used science as an excuse to trespass on the faith--or lack of faith--of others. That was not "the American way," we learned. I hope it does not become the American way now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005



Republican asks senators to reject Bolton
Ohio's Voinovich calls U.N. nominee ‘controversial, ineffective’

May 24, 2005

WASHINGTON - The maverick Republican who denied President Bush’s U.N. nominee a smooth sail through the GOP-led Senate asked colleagues Tuesday to vote against a “controversial and ineffective ambassador.”

The Senate is expected to vote on John R. Bolton’s nomination before leaving for a Memorial Day break, and Republicans said they are confident he will be confirmed.

The vote would end weeks of wrangling over whether Bolton mistreated co-workers or took liberties with government intelligence.

“In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation’s ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective ambassador to the United Nations,” Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, wrote to all 99 other senators. “I worry that Mr. Bolton could make it more difficult for us to achieve the important U.N. reforms needed to restore the strength of the institution.”

Voinovich first forced a delay in Bolton’s confirmation last month and then brokered an unusual compromise that sent Bolton’s nomination to the full Senate without the customary recommendation from a Senate committee.

Voinovich echoed Democratic objections to Bolton, saying his conduct and temperament make him ill-suited for a sensitive diplomatic post. Voinovich planned to make a lengthy case against Bolton on the Senate floor.

Republicans have expressed confidence that Bolton will win easy confirmation on the floor, where the party holds a 55-45 effective majority, but there were signs Tuesday that other Republicans may defect with Voinovich.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is undecided, spokesman Alex Conant said. It was the first time Thune’s name was mentioned along with about five other Republicans as a possible no vote.
Democrats said they have not ruled out a procedural tactic to postpone a vote, but several said it is unlikely.

“There is no desire for a filibuster,” Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Tuesday.

NBC News reported that Sen. Barbara Boxer had lifted her hold on the nomination of Bolton after conferring with Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. That move set the stage for a heated debate on the Senate floor that could start as early as Wednesday afternoon.

NBC News' Keith Strickland and The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Marie Cocco

Nothing has had the sex appeal of the St. Andrews junket.

News of a lobbyist-paid junket to the fabled Scottish golf resort finally made Tom DeLay a household name synonymous with scandal. The story that DeLay, his wife and a retinue of aides were treated to a 10-day, $120,000 trip to London and the fabled St. Andrews course in Scotland - with many expenses charged to lobbyists' credit cards - turned an insiders' furor over congressional ethics into a media frenzy. There's nothing so devastating to smarmy politicians as a story that appeals to the great American instinct for resentment. If we can't get someone to pay our way to posh hotels and picturesque links, then why should he?

Yes, the St. Andrews caper is what finally inspired the public to follow DeLay's tribulations. It forced the House Republican leadership to switch the rules for ethics investigations back to what they'd been before DeLay ordered outlandish changes to protect himself.

But the question arises: Is the pond hop to historic links the worst thing the Texas Republican has ever done? Hardly. There are many qualified candidates, but one stands out for its squalor. That's DeLay's personal campaign to ensure that garment industry sweatshop workers and sex slaves in the Northern Mariana Islands - a U.S. territory - were exploited in a system that resembled indentured servitude.

The story dates to the 1990s, when the Clinton administration tried to crack down on the importation of cheap Chinese labor to the islands and to ameliorate conditions under which the guest workers - mostly women - toiled. Brokers - traffickers, really, in human beings - brought thousands to work in sweatshops for as many as 70 hours per week. They lived in crowded barracks; some were locked behind guarded fences. And because the territory is a U.S. possession, garments bore this seal of approval: "Made in the U.S.A."

Some who failed to get work were forced into the sex trade, though they may not even have been paid for prostitution since they still owed the brokers.

By 1992 officials of the first Bush administration expressed alarm, and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who then chaired a House subcommittee on labor, held hearings. The Clinton White House tried to apply U.S. minimum wage and immigration laws to the islands. The effort had bipartisan support in Congress. Then DeLay, who by the late 1990s was House majority whip, stepped in to halt it. The Northern Marianas, DeLay said, was no haven for cruelty but a "perfect Petri dish of capitalism."

This dirty little drama has been known for years. It was prominently portrayed in "The Hammer," the 2004 political biography of DeLay by Lou Dubose and Jan Reid. The narrative perfectly fits the stories that now belatedly inspire public ire: The lobbyist trying to block reform was Jack Abramoff, the DeLay friend who is central to the ethics imbroglio. The price of DeLay's support was paid in the usual currency - junkets with aides and wives who managed to squeeze in golf, snorkeling and lavish dining along with their fact-finding.

The labor situation has improved since 2001, when a new governor was elected. A class-action lawsuit against garment makers - the sort of "frivolous" litigation DeLay abhors - brought monitors to the factories and an agreement by some to abandon use of the "Made in the U.S.A." label. Changes in the textile trade have made it cheaper for the Chinese industry to keep its work at home. Thousands of guest workers now are displaced; many are being deported. There is no happy ending to this story.

Yet, somehow it was insufficiently important to provoke an uproar when it came to light. We had our eyes wide shut. Because the island is distant or the workers Asian? Because DeLay was little known? Because the titillation of the Clinton sex scandal was more compelling than labor and sexual bondage indirectly condoned by our Congress?

At last the story is being retold. New twists are likely. Hundreds of documents have been released in Saipan relating to Abramoff's lobbying contracts; some detail his ties to the current White House. Our eyes are open now. But our willful blindness then enabled DeLay's rise at a cost to our own values, and not just to his ethics.

Monday, May 23, 2005


The following is from a story by Josh White, Washington Post, May 23, 2005

Former NFL player Pat Tillman's family is lashing out against the Army, saying that the military's investigations into Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year were a sham and that Army efforts to cover up the truth have made it harder for them to deal with their loss.

More than a year after their son was shot several times by his fellow Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have made them suspicious, and that they are certain they will never get the full story.

Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did," Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son's death. "The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."
Patrick Tillman Sr., a San Jose lawyer, said he is furious about what he found in the volumes of witness statements and investigative documents the Army has given to the family. He decried what he calls a "botched homicide investigation" and blames high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public.

"After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Patrick Tillman said. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

The rest of the sad story is at the Washington Post website.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


I took the Asshole/Bitch test. This is what it told me:

I am 25% Asshole/Bitch.: "You may think you are an asshole or a bitch, but the truth is you are a good person at heart. Yeah sure, you can have a mean streak in you, but most of the people you meet like you."

Whew! That's nice to know. You too can take the Asshole/Bitch test at http://www.fuali.com/test.aspx?id=dd4c0ca6-a554-4cbe-b0e7-bc17462a412e . Are you more of an asshole than Snave? If you are, he'd like to know! 8-)>


I took the Hippie Test. This is what it told me:

I am 42% Hippie.

"Step away from the tie-dye. You smell too good to be a hippie and your dad is probably a cop. Being a hippie is not a fashion craze, man. It was a way of life, in the 60’s, man."

This test is available at http://www.fuali.com/test.aspx?id=117e187d-5e57-485e-8d7e-77f0928bd71b . Are you more of a Hippie than Snave, or less?


I took the test. This was my result:

I am 9% White Trash. I was told:

"You, my friend, have class. You are so not white trash. You are more than likely Democrat, and your place is neat, and there is a good chance you may never drink wine from a box."

The test can be taken at http://www.fuali.com/test.aspx?id=35205d9c-5462-4324-926d-bc2d7ca95e98 .

Are you more or less White Trash than Snave? 8-)>


By Jim Hightower


George W loves April. Not because the cherry blossoms are in bloom, but because April 22nd is Earth Day, which means he gets to put on some Khaki pants, a plaid shirt, some hiking-type boots – and then gets to ride on Air Force One to some national park where he can pose as Environmental Man all day long.

But this year, Mother Nature (damn her) messed up George's day. He was fully outfitted and had been flown out to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where a horde of TV cameras, photographers, and reporters were going to record him working with a gaggle of volunteers to help restore a trail in the park. George loves being depicted as a regular worker guy, and Karl Rove had carefully screened the volunteers so no pesky Democrats or Sierra Club kooks would interrupt his scripted moment with some nasty remark (you know, like pointing out that George has broken his promise to eliminate the $4 billion backlog on repairing our deteriorating park system, and instead has actually increased the back log to $5 billion.

It was to be a swell day – but Mother Nature (damn her, again) whipped up a thunderstorm, and poor George had to give his environmental talk inside a cold, dank hanger at the airport, speaking to his own aides and some military personnel. This made him a bit grumpy in his brief talk: "In the park, had I been there, I would have reminded people today is Earth Day, a day in which we recommit ourselves to being good stewards of the land."

Then George flew back to Washington to continue pushing for policies allowing oil drillers, clear-cutters, and strip-miners to plunder our national parks and pollute our environment. But he did make one sensible suggestion while in the park – he encouraged Americans to save our environment through volunteer action.I agree. Please volunteer with your local Sierra Club or other grassroots environmental group to defeat George's corporate assault on Mother Earth.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


All these great stickers are available at http://irregulartimes.com/index.php Enjoy!!
















SOCIAL SECURITY IS UP FOR SALE! and other fun stuff

At least it was... it was on eBay. Check it out here: http://billionairesforbush.com/ebay/index.html

Also worth looking at:
Swift Yacht Vets For Bush!


I may not always agree with everything this man writes, but I do enjoy reading what he has to say. Zinn isn't afraid to say what he believes. He is the author of "A People's History of the United States": http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060528370/qid=1116742687/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-8935141-2782562

He also writes for The Progressive, a very good magazine which can be found at http://www.progressive.org/ I subscribe to this one and read it cover to cover!

Read with an open mind, and enjoy:

by Howard Zinn

I cannot get out of my mind the recent news photos of ordinary Americans sitting on chairs, guns on laps, standing unofficial guard on the Arizona border, to make sure no Mexicans cross over into the United States. There was something horrifying in the realization that, in this twenty-first century of what we call "civilization," we have carved up what we claim is one world into 200 artificially created entities we call "nations" and armed to apprehend or kill anyone who crosses a boundary.

Is not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking--cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on--have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica, and many more). But in a nation like ours--huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction--what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early. When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession."

When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women, and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day."

It was our "Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence," an American journalist declared on the eve of the Mexican War. After the invasion of Mexico began, the New York Herald announced: "We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country."
It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to war. We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, "to civilize and Christianize" the Filipino people.

As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our Secretary of War, was saying: "The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness."

Nationalism is given a special virulence when it is blessed by Providence. Today we have a President, invading two countries in four years, who believes he gets messages from God. Our culture is permeated by a Christian fundamentalism as poisonous as that of Cotton Mather. It permits the mass murder of "the other" with the same confidence as it accepts the death penalty for individuals convicted of crimes. A Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia, told an audience at the University of Chicago Divinity School, speaking of capital punishment: "For the believing Christian, death is no big deal."

How many times have we heard Bush and Rumsfeld talk to the troops in Iraq, victims themselves, but also perpetrators of the deaths of thousands of Iraqis, telling them that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for "liberty," for "democracy"?
Nationalist super-patriotism is not confined to Republicans. When Richard Hofstadter analyzed American presidents in his book The American Political Tradition, he found that Democratic leaders as well as Republicans, liberals as well as conservatives, invaded other countries, sought to expand U.S. power across the globe.

Liberal imperialists have been among the most fervent of expansionists, more effective in their claim to moral rectitude precisely because they are liberal on issues other than foreign policy. Theodore Roosevelt, a lover of war, and an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Spain and the conquest of the Philippines, is still seen as a Progressive because he supported certain domestic reforms and was concerned with the national environment. Indeed, he ran as President on the Progressive ticket in 1912.

Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, was the epitome of the liberal apologist for violent actions abroad. In April of 1914, he ordered the bombardment of the Mexican coast, and the occupation of the city of Vera Cruz, in retaliation for the arrest of several U.S. sailors. He sent Marines into Haiti in 1915, killing thousands of Haitians who resisted, beginning a long military occupation of that tiny country. He sent Marines to occupy the Dominican Republic in 1916. And, after running in 1916 on a platform of peace, he brought the nation into the slaughter that was taking place in Europe in World War I, saying it was a war to "make the world safe for democracy."

In our time, it was the liberal Bill Clinton who sent bombers over Baghdad as soon as he came into office, who first raised the specter of "weapons of mass destruction" as a justification for a series of bombing attacks on Iraq. Liberals today criticize George Bush's unilateralism. But it was Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who told the United Nations Security Council that the U.S. would act "multilaterally when we can, unilaterally when we must."

One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on September 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What makes our nation immune from the normal standards of human decency?

Surely, we must renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation. We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

The poets and artists among us seem to have a clearer understanding of the limits of nationalism.

Langston Hughes (no wonder he was called before the Committee on Un-American Activities) addressed his country as follows:

You really haven't been a virgin for so long
It's ludicrous to keep up the pretext . . .
You've slept with all the big powers
In military uniforms
And you've taken the sweet life
Of all the little brown fellows . . .
Being one of the world's big vampires
Why don't you come out and say so
Like Japan, and England, and France
And all the other nymphomaniacs of power.

Henry David Thoreau, provoked by the war in Mexico and the nationalist fervor it produced, wrote: "Nations! What are nations? . . . Like insects, they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable." In our time, Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle) places nations among those unnatural abstractions he calls granfalloons, which he defines as "a proud and meaningless association of human beings."

There have always been men and women in this country who have insisted that universal standards of decent human conduct apply to our nation as to others. That insistence continues today and reaches out to people all over the world. It lets them know, like the balloons sent over the countryside by the Paris Commune in 1871, that "our interests are the same."


Rev. Flip Benham baptizing Norma (Jane Roe) McCorvey

Flip Benham is the director of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America. Their site is at http://www.operationsaveamerica.org/ if you are interested in checking it out. Personally, I don't care for their website, as I believe Benham and his cohorts are Dominionists.

"Operation Save America unashamedly takes up the cause of preborn children in the name of Jesus Christ. We employ only biblical principles. The Bible is our foundation; the Cross of Christ is our strategy; the repentance of the Church of Jesus Christ is our ultimate goal. As the Church changes its heart toward unborn children, God Himself will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and bring healing to our land. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only answer to the abortion holocaust. It is upon our active repentance in the streets of our cities that the Gospel is visibly lived out. We become to the church, to our city, and to our nation living parables which rightly represent God's heart toward His helpless children.

"There are no cheap political solutions to the holocaust presently ravaging our nation. Like slavery before it, abortion is preeminently a Gospel issue. The Cross of Christ is the only solution."

What do you think, dear readers?

Thursday, May 19, 2005



Wednesday, May 18, 2005


(Thanks to friend Joe for the cartoon and article.)

By Paul Krugman
Helena Independent Record

Hell hath no fury like a scammer foiled. The card shark caught marking the deck, the auto dealer caught resetting a used car's odometer, is rarely contrite. On the contrary, they're usually angry, and they lash out at their intended marks, crying hypocrisy.

And so it is with those who would privatize Social Security. They didn't get away with scare tactics, or claims to offer something for nothing. Now they're accusing their opponents of coddling the rich and not caring about the poor.

Well, why not? It's no more outrageous than other arguments they've tried. Remember the claim that Social Security is bad for black people?

Before I take on this final insult to our intelligence, let me deal with a fundamental misconception: the idea that President Bush's plan would somehow protect future Social Security benefits.

If the plan really would do that, it would be worth discussing. It's possible - not certain, but possible - that 40 or 50 years from now Social Security won't have enough money coming in to pay full benefits. (If the economy grows as fast over the next 50 years as it did over the past half-century, Social Security will do just fine.) So there's a case for making small sacrifices now to avoid bigger sacrifices later.

But Bush isn't calling for small sacrifices now. Instead, he's calling for zero sacrifice now, but big benefit cuts decades from now - which is exactly what he says will happen if we do nothing. Let me repeat that: To avert the danger of future cuts in benefits, Bush wants us to commit now to, um, future cuts in benefits.

This accomplishes nothing, except, possibly, to ensure that benefit cuts take place even if they aren't necessary.

Now, about the image of Bush as friend to the poor: Keep your eye on the changing definitions of ''middle income'' and ''wealthy.''

In last fall's debates, Bush asserted that ''most of the tax cuts went to low- and middle-income Americans.'' Since most of the cuts went to the top 10 percent of the population and more than a third went to people making more than $200,000 a year, Bush's definition of middle income apparently reaches pretty high.

But defenders of Bush's Social Security plan now portray benefit cuts for anyone making more than $20,000 a year, cuts that will have their biggest percentage impact on the retirement income of people making about $60,000 a year, as cuts for the wealthy.

These are people who denounced you as a class warrior if you wanted to tax Paris Hilton's inheritance. Now they say that they're brave populists, because they want to cut the income of retired office managers.

Let's consider the Bush tax cuts and the Bush benefit cuts as a package. Who gains? Who loses?

Suppose you're a full-time Wal-Mart employee, earning $17,000 a year. You probably didn't get any tax cut. But Bush says, generously, that he won't cut your Social Security benefits.

Suppose you're earning $60,000 a year. On average, Bush cut taxes for workers like you by about $1,000 per year. But by 2045 the Bush Social Security plan would cut benefits for workers like you by about $6,500 per year. Not a very good deal.

Suppose, finally, that you're making $1 million a year. You received a tax cut worth about $50,000 per year. By 2045 the Bush plan would reduce benefits for people like you by about $9,400 per year. We have a winner!

I'm not being unfair. In fact, I've weighted the scales heavily in Bush's favor, because the tax cuts will cost much more than the benefit cuts would save. Repealing Bush's tax cuts would yield enough revenue to call off his proposed benefit cuts, and still leave $8 trillion in change.

The point is that the privatizers consider four years of policies that relentlessly favored the wealthy a fait accompli, not subject to reconsideration. Now that tax cuts have busted the budget, they want us to accept large cuts in Social Security benefits as inevitable. But they demand that we praise Bush's sense of social justice, because he proposes bigger benefit cuts for the middle class than for the poor.

Sorry, but no. Bush likes to play dress-up, but his Robin Hood costume just doesn't fit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


"During my six years as majority leader of the Senate, Republicans, then in the minority, often used filibusters to achieve their goals. I didn't like the results, but I accepted them because Republicans were acting within the rules; and we were able to work together on many other issues. There were 55 Democratic senators then. We had the power to take the drastic action now being proposed, but we refrained from exercising that power because it was as wrong then as it is now."

-- former U.S. Senator George Mitchell

Ah, how times have changed... !


... get screwed.

Thanks to friend Joe for the following article:

Op-Ed Page
Maysville Ledger

The man didn't look very happy. Neither did his wife. She was inside the SUV, craning her neck and watching the dial on the gasoline pump. It was spinning like a slot machine at Harrah's. At another pump, a teenager hopped out of an old clunker and squirted some gasoline into the tank. It wasn't a very big squirt. Enough to get home or maybe to work.

Gasoline prices have eased a little -- but get ready to duck. The so-called "peak driving season," generally beginning Memorial Day week, is almost there. We will hear many reasons for the sudden spike in prices at the pump.

— Supplies are tight.
— Demand is at an all-time high.
— China and India are using so much fuel there isn't enough to go around in the U.S.
— Production costs have increased.
— It's Bill Clinton's fault.

George Bush apparently is looking for a magic wand and can't find one. That's what he said the other day. "I don't have a magic wand." He excoriated Congress for not having an energy policy. That's why, before a national TV audience, he advanced his own energy plan.

Allow me to say this with some degree of accuracy: The president has been in office for four years and a little more than three months. And I don't believe it's partisan politics to ask if it took him that long to realize we didn't have an energy policy. It would be partisan politics to ask if Dick Cheney just told him last Tuesday, but I would never do that.

So, in the end, let us point the finger of suspicion -- or downright blame -- where it belongs: Big Oil.

Consider these things:

The best stock performers over the past 12 months were oil and gas operations. The 52-week total return was 50.5 percent.

The most profitable stock sectors over the past 12 months were oil and gas operations. The return on equity was 20.1 percent.

The oil and gas sector, with 99 of the world's largest 2,000 companies, had the most sales. The number cannot be calculated: $2,309,000,000,000.

Of the world's most profitable companies, Big Oil places three in the top ten.

ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell ranked one-two. ChevronTexaco was number seven.

Four oil companies ranked in the top 10 in sales. BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron were second, third, fourth, and 10th, respectively.

If all of this doesn't add up to a smoking gun I've never seen one.

There is more.

Yes, production costs have increased. But so have petroleum industry profits.
Dramatically. U.S. oil company profits are up $50 to $80 billion from the 1995-1999 time period. This year is on track to earn more of the same.

In the 1990s, there were 34 major oil and gas companies. Now, because of mergers and consolidations, there are 13. In the 1990s, there were 15 refineries. Now there are seven. So much for competition and price restraint.

In addition to importing vast amounts of oil, the U.S. also imports one-tenth of all the refined gasoline we use. To add insult to injury, it's been 25 years since a new refinery was built in this country.

All this said, and to be fair, we Americans are part-and-parcel of the problem. We live on Excess Road in the USA. We use more energy than any other country in the world, and it doesn't look like we'll back off any time soon. We're addicted to air conditioners and gas guzzling SUVs and monster trucks. We're addicted to things big and energy inefficient.

Other than that, $2.39 gas, $2.29 gas, $2.18 gas and $2.11 gas can be attributed to one thing and one thing only.

It's called price gouging.

Friday, May 13, 2005


No, that's not my IQ!

It's how I fared on the "Are You a Republican?" quiz found at http://paulkienitz.net/republican.html via Paul's weblog at http://bethat.blogspot.com/ !

I am:
"The Marxists are too reactionary for you. With people like you around, America collectively thanks God for John Ashcroft."

Are You A Republican?


Once upon a time there was a female brain cell, which by mistake happened to end up in a man's head. She looked around nervously but it was all empty and quiet.

"Hello?" she cried, but got no answer.

"Is there anyone here?" she cried a little louder--still no answer.

Now the female brain cell started to feel alone and scared and yelled at the top of her voice, "HELLO, IS THERE ANYONE HERE?!"

Then she heard a very faint voice from far, far away...

"We're down here!"



In This Case, Dobson is NOT Chicken Little... !


Dr. James Dobson vs. Petition Number 2493

Netlore Archive: 2003 email variant of decades-old petition expressing outrage over alleged attempt by atheists to force a government ban on religious broadcasting in the United States

Description: Email petition
Status: False
Circulating since: March 2003 (this version)
Analysis: See below

Email example contributed by N. Visser, 17 March 2003:

Subject: FW: Christian Response to CBS Please send out to more people if you agree with this message

CBS will discontinue "Touched by an Angel" for using the word God in every program. Madeline Murray O'Hare, an atheist, successfully managed to eliminate the use of Bible reading from public schools a few years ago. Now her organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC.
Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America. They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday worship services being broadcast on the radio or by television will be stopped. This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs and Christmas carols from public schools!!
You as a Christian can help! We are praying for at least 1 million signatures. This would defeat their effort and show that there are many Christians alive, well and concerned about our country. As Christians we must unite on this. Please don't take this lightly. We ignored this lady once and lost prayer in our school and in offices across the nation.
Please stand up for your religious freedom and let your voice be heard. Together we can make a difference in our country while creating an opportunity for the lost to know the Lord.
Please press "forward", CLEAN UP THE MESSAGE, and forward this to everyone that you thinkshould read this. Now, please sign your name at the bottom (you can only add your name after you have pressed the "Forward"). Don't delete any other names, just go to the next number and type your name and state. Please do not sign jointly, such as Mr. & Mrs. Each person should sign his/her own name.
Please defeat this organization and keep the right of our freedom of religion. When you get to 1000 please email back to:
"Lisa Norman" electric_yello@hotmail.com

Comments: The unauthorized addition of Dr. James Dobson's name to this misguided, pointless petition is only the latest of many attempts over the past three decades to make it seem legitimate, which it is not.

"Petition 2493," supposedly an effort by atheists to ban all religious broadcasting in the United States, doesn't exist. "Touched by an Angel" isn't in danger of being canceled — it's already off the air (for completely unrelated reasons). Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair is dead, and has been for many years. There is no campaign afoot to remove the word "God" from television. See the links below for the full story.

Sources and further reading:
Petition 2493: Still a FakeFocus on the Family magazine
Madalyn Murray O'Hair vs. Religious BroadcastingNetlore Archive, 5 May 1999
FCC: Religious Broadcast Rumor DeniedFederal Communications Commission factsheet




In regard to the following: all apologies from me to those who have had to go through an abortion, to those who have had difficulty obtaining an abortion, to those who are concerned abortion may become outlawed in the US altogether, and to Monty Python's Flying Circus. The following is based on the "Argument Clinic sketch from "Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words, Volume 2", episode 29.Methuen, ISBN 0-413-62550-8 (hardback).

A reception desk in a sort of office building.

Receptionist: Yes, Ma’am?

Woman: I'd like to have an abortion please.

Receptionist: Certainly, Ma’am, have you been here before...?

Woman: No, this is my first time.

Receptionist: I see. Do you want to have the full abortion, or were you thinking of taking a course?

Woman: Well, what would be the cost?

Receptionist: Yes, it's one pound for a five-minute abortion, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.

Woman: Well, I think it's probably best of I start with the one and see how it goes from there. OK?

Receptionist: Fine. I'll see who's free at the moment... Dr.Du-Bakey's free, but he's a little bit unsympathetic... Yes, try Dr.Pat Robertson -- Room 666.

Woman: Thank you.


Dr. Robertson:(from within) Come in.

The Woman enters the room. Dr. Robertson is sitting at a desk.

Woman: Is this the right room for an abortion?

Dr. Robertson: I've already aborted your fetus once....

Woman: No you haven't.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I have.

Woman: When?

Dr. Robertson: Just now!

Woman: No you didn't.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I did!

Woman: Didn't.

Dr. Robertson: Did.

Woman: Didn't.

Dr. Robertson: I'm telling you I did!

Woman: You did not!

Dr. Robertson: I'm sorry, is this a five minute abortion, or the full half-hour?

Woman: Oh, just a five minute one.

Dr. Robertson: Fine. (makes a note of it; the Woman sits down) Thank you. Anyway I did.

Woman: You most certainly did not.

Dr. Robertson: Now, let's get one thing quite clear... I most definitely aborted your fetus!

Woman: You did not.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I did.

Woman: You did not.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I did.

Woman: Didn't.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I did.

Woman: Didn't.

Dr. Robertson: Yes I did!!

Woman: Look this isn't an abortion procedure.

Dr. Robertson: Yes it is.

Woman: No it isn't, it's not even an argument, it’s just contradiction.

Dr. Robertson: No it isn't.

Woman: Yes it is.

Dr. Robertson: It is not.

Woman: It is. You just contradicted me.

Dr. Robertson: No I didn't.

Woman: Ooh, you did!

Dr. Robertson: No, no, no, no, no.

Woman: You did, just then.

Dr. Robertson: No, nonsense!

Woman: Oh, look this is futile.

Dr. Robertson: No it isn't.

Woman: I came here for an abortion.

Dr. Robertson: No you didn't, you came here for an abortion.

Woman: Well, an abortion's not the same as being “pro-life”.

Dr. Robertson: It can be.

Woman: No it can't. An abortion is a connected series of procedures intended to disestablish a definite pregnancy.

Dr. Robertson: No it isn't.

Woman: Yes it is. It isn't just contradiction.

Dr. Robertson: Look, if you ask me to abort your fetus, I must take up a contrary position.

Woman: But it isn't just saying "No it isn't".

Dr. Robertson: Yes it is.

Woman: No it isn't, an abortion is a medical process... “pro-life” is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the “pro-choice” person says.

Dr. Robertson: No it isn't.

Woman: Yes it is.

Dr. Robertson: Not at all.

Woman: Now look!

Dr. Robertson:(pressing the bell on his desk) Thank you, good morning.

Woman: What?

Dr. Robertson: That's it. Good morning.

Woman: But I was ready for an abortion.

Dr. Robertson: Sorry, the five minutes is up.

Woman: That was never an abortion just now!

Dr. Robertson: I'm afraid it was.

Woman: No it wasn't.

Dr. Robertson: I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to do any more procedures on you.

Woman: What!?

Dr. Robertson: If you want me to go on with the abortion, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.

Woman: But that was never five minutes just now... oh come on! (Robertson looks round as though Woman was not there) This is ridiculous.

Dr. Robertson: I'm very sorry, but I told you I'm not allowed to abort your fetus unless you've paid.

Woman: Oh. All right. (pays) There you are.

Dr. Robertson: Thank you.

Woman: Well?

Dr. Robertson: Well what?

Woman: That was never an abortion just now.

Dr. Robertson: I told you I'm not allowed to abort your fetus unless you've paid.

Woman: I've just paid.

Dr. Robertson: No you didn't.

Woman: I did! I did! I did!

Dr. Robertson: No you didn't.

Woman: Look I don't want to argue about that.

Dr. Robertson: Well I'm very sorry, but you didn't pay.

Woman: Aha! Well if I didn't pay, why are we still talking about an abortion... got you!

Dr. Robertson: No you haven't.

Woman: Yes I have... if we’re still talking about an abortion, I must have paid.

Dr. Robertson: Not necessarily. I could be talking with you about abortion in my spare time.

Woman: I've had enough of this.

Dr. Robertson: No you haven't.


While I definitely do not have "abs of steel", I surely must have at least a cast-iron stomach, because I was able to read this whole letter without vomiting. I certainly don't doubt James Dobson's sincerity and the degree of his concern... but the guy is so full of fear it makes my skin crawl. And he has millions of followers, who have probably read the following letter and increased their fear as a result!

See if your constitution is strong enough for you to read this whole letter without becoming ill, then leave a comment! Enjoy!! (And that goes for any of you who AGREE with what he says, too!)

Dr. Dobson's Newsletter: February, 2005

"Setting the Record Straight"

Dear Friends:

If you had told me a month ago that I’d be devoting my February letter to a cartoon character named SpongeBob SquarePants, I’d have said you were crazy. Nevertheless, by now you probably know that I have been linked to that famous talking sponge by hundreds of media outlets, from the New York Times to "MSNBC" to "Saturday Night Live." The story of how this situation unfolded is somewhat complicated, but it must be told.

In truth, this tale has very little to do with SpongeBob himself, and everything to do with the media’s ability to obscure the facts and to direct lies and scorn toward those of us who care about defending children. It all began on an evening in late January, during Inaugural Week in Washington, D.C. At that time, I spoke briefly to 350 guests attending a banquet hosted by Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Gary Bauer’s American Values. I concluded by sharing a word of concern about a video that will be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools across the nation, for use on the proposed "We Are Family Day," March 11.

The video, which millions of children will soon see, features nearly 100 favorite cartoon characters that kids will instantly recognize, including not only SpongeBob, but also Barney the Dinosaur, the Muppets, Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, Winnie the Pooh, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Jimmy Neutron and Big Bird.1 The video itself is innocent enough and does not mention anything overtly sexual. Rather, it features the children’s cartoon characters singing and dancing along to the popular disco hit "We Are Family."

But while the video is harmless on its own, I believe the agenda behind it is sinister. My brief comments at the FRC gathering were intended to express concern not about SpongeBob or Big Bird or any of their other cartoon friends, but about the way in which those childhood symbols are apparently being hijacked to promote an agenda that involves teaching homosexual propaganda to children. Nevertheless, the media jumped on the story by claiming that I had accused SpongeBob of being "gay."2 Some suggested that I had confused the organization that had created the video with a similarly named gay-rights group.3 In both cases, the press was dead wrong, and I welcome this opportunity to help them get their facts straight.

I want to be clear: the We Are Family Foundation — the organization that sponsored the video featuring SpongeBob and the other characters was, until this flap occurred, making available a variety of explicitly pro-homosexual materials on its Web site. It has since endeavored to hide that fact (more on this later), but my concerns are as legitimate today as they were when I first expressed them in January.

So let us consider the evidence. One of the first resources to catch our attention on the foundation’s Web site was a booklet4 that lists a number of organizational "allies," including five of the largest pro-homosexual organizations in the nation: the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, and Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Also, the Web site made available school lesson plans that suggested teachers ask these questions of students

"How are you affected by homophobia?"
"How would you be affected by your sexual orientation were it different than it is now?"
"How will understanding these definitions change your thinking about compulsory heterosexuality and homophobia?
"How will it change any of your behaviors?"5

From a handout entitled, "Talking About Being Out" there was this:

"Do you know of any people in your school whose sexual orientation differs from yours?"
"How do you know?"
"Are you comfortable with that person or those people?
"What are some factors that might encourage or discourage a person about being ‘out’ as homosexual or bisexual in this class or school?"
"Answer the above questions in regard to people in your class or school who consider themselves atheist."6

One of the lesson plans, titled, Uncovering Attitudes About Sexual Orientation, presents what are deemed "stereotypical definitions" of words that encourage bigotry and bias. If you have any doubt about the pro-homosexual agenda inherent to these materials, check out these loaded terms, which could be coming soon to an elementary school near you. (All are direct quotes.)

Compulsory Heterosexuality: The assumption that women are "naturally" or innately drawn sexually and emotionally toward men, and men toward women; the view that heterosexuality is the "norm" for all sexual relationships. The institutionalization of heterosexuality in all aspects of society includes the idealization of heterosexual orientation, romance, and marriage. Compulsory heterosexuality leads to the notion of women as inherently "weak," and the institutionalized inequality of power: power of men to control women’s sexuality, labor, childbirth and childrearing, physical movement, safety, creativity, and access to knowledge. It can also include legal and social discrimination against homosexuals and the invisibility or intolerance of lesbian and gay existence.

Gender: A cultural notion of what it is to be a woman or a man; a construct based on the social shaping of femininity and masculinity. It usually includes identification with males as a class or with females as a class. Gender includes subjective concepts about character traits and expected behaviors that vary from place to place and person to person.

Heterosexism: A system of beliefs, action, advantages, and assumptions in the superiority of heterosexuals or heterosexuality. It includes unrecognized privileges of heterosexual people and the exclusion of nonheterosexual people from policies, procedures, events and decisions about what is important.

Homophobia: Thoughts, feelings, or actions based on fear, dislike, judgment or hatred of gay men and lesbians / of those who love and sexually desire those of the same sex. Homophobia has roots in sexism and can include prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.7

Is this the kind of nonsense you want taught to your kids, especially if the nation’s most popular cartoon characters are used to get across the concepts? I pray not!

If you’re planning on visiting the We Are Family Foundation’s Web site [www.wearefamilyfoundation.org] to verify the accuracy of the above information, don’t bother. In the days since this story broke, the majority of overtly pro-homosexual content has been removed. The founder of the organization, Nile Rodgers, appeared on the "Today Show" and said that we had the wrong site and that they had nothing to do with homosexuality.8 That was Jan. 21. Two days later, most of the homosexual content disappeared or became inaccessible. I will leave it for you to determine the motive behind the mysterious vanishing of such material by the We Are Family Foundation. Suffice to say that we have clear documentation that these materials were being promoted on the Web site as recently as late January, despite denials to the contrary.

I’m sure you can see, now, why I expressed great concern about the intention of the We Are Family Foundation in using SpongeBob and company to promote the theme of "tolerance and diversity," which are almost always buzzwords for homosexual advocacy. It seems evident that had this connection not been exposed, the materials accompanying the video would have promoted a pro-homosexual ideology. Again, why do I believe that? Simply put, it’s because the past is often the best predictor of the future. In addition to the above material, a 2003 manual, produced in partnership with the We Are Family Foundation, featured exercises that attempted to equate homosexuality with immutable characteristics, such as race or gender.9

Of particular significance is a so called "Tolerance Pledge" that appears to complement the pro-homosexual propaganda found within the once available school curricula. The second paragraph of the pledge reads as follows:

"To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."10 [Emphasis added.]

The words "sexual identity" in that last sentence hold the key to understanding what is going on here. They reveal a very clever and subtle intent lying below the water line. The stated purpose, as we have seen, is to teach children to respect each other and to accept those who are different. We are entirely supportive of that message. I have been teaching it for years. There appears to be another agenda operating here, however, that has serious implications for your kids. Quite simply, it is to desensitize very young children to homosexual and bisexual behavior.

During my remarks in Washington, I shared my suspicion about children being coerced into signing this "Tolerance Pledge." My critics quickly sought to marginalize my warning. Nile Rodgers exasperatingly explained to "FOX News’" Bill O’Reilly that, "Even on our Web site, we don’t ask people to sign the pledge."11 Oh really? Prior to my speech, the pledge, as it appeared on the foundation’s Web site, concluded with the following paragraph:

"To fulfill my pledge, I __________________ will examine my own biases and work to overcome them, set a positive example for my family and friends, work for tolerance in my own community, speak out against hate and injustice. We share a world. For all our differences, we share one world. To be tolerant is to welcome the differences and delight in the sharing."12
Once the individual filled in his or her name, there was a "submit" button to the right of the pledge that would, ostensibly, officially record that "pledge" commitment. This portion of the pledge has also disappeared from the Web site.

Let me say it again for emphasis: Every individual is entitled to respect and human dignity, including those with whom we disagree strongly. The problem is not with acceptance or kindness, certainly. But kids should not be taught that homosexuality is just another "lifestyle," or that it is morally equivalent to heterosexuality. Scripture teaches that all overt sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage is sinful and harmful. Children should not be taught otherwise by their teachers, and certainly not if their parents are unaware of the instruction.

This is why I brought up this subject at the FRC banquet, explaining that there is a spiritual dimension to the culture war that many parents and grandparents are too busy to have noticed. It targets the values and attitudes of children, which after 12 years of propaganda in the public schools, can mold and shape the next generation. If a million or more very young children are going to be exposed to an organization through a video that encourages people to sign a "tolerance pledge," shouldn’t their moms and dads be told about it? We are just a few days away from the proposed "We Are Family Day" in the schools. Have you been informed of the discussions that may take place in your child’s elementary school in connection with the video, or the pledge that could possibly be placed before them?

What appears to be the case in the We Are Family program is an effort to replicate nationwide the curricula being implemented in California’s elementary schools. From my perspective, it is terribly dangerous.

Imagine a classroom full of wide-eyed five-year olds, sitting in a circle in front of the teacher. These kindergarteners will believe anything they are told, from the notion that reindeer can fly on Christmas Eve to the idea that bunnies lay candy eggs during "Spring Break." They are vulnerable to whatever adults tell them. In this instance, the kids are not learning about the alphabet or about exciting fairy tales; they are potentially hearing incomprehensible references to adult perverse sexuality. And the rationale for this instruction is "tolerance and diversity." Generations past would have been shocked and outraged by the very thought of such nonsense. Yet many parents either don’t know of the teaching or are passively willing to go along with it.
Well, this is the story behind the SpongeBob issue that outraged the media. There was a New York Times reporter at the banquet who wrote an article based on my comments. His factual representation was not entirely inaccurate, but it was written in such a way as to imply that it was SpongeBob whom I was attacking.13 From there, the story rapidly escalated. You won’t believe the way I was described by major news organizations. Here are a few examples:

MSNBC.com posted a commentary on the matter which read in part, "[T]here is a frightening number of so-called Christians who can be best described as creepy, rigid, arrogant, cruel, know-it-all, pompous, obnoxious and treacherous — better known by the acronym C.R.A.C.K.P.O.T."14

James Carville offered these words of wisdom on "CNN": "You know what I think? I think these people have sponge brains."15

The Los Angeles Times was among the many who mocked my remarks by distorting the truth: "SpongeBob holds hands with his starfish pal Patrick, and likes to watch the imaginary television show ‘The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.’ Evidence enough, to Dobson at any rate, that the guy’s a menace." 16

"MSNBC’s" Keith Olbermann, one of the most hostile of the commentators, characterized my account of the situation as the goofiest story of the day. He cited a lawyer for the We Are Family Foundation who said that critics of this effort "need medication." Olbermann then added, "We here found it hard to argue with him."17

It might not surprise you that when one of my listeners wrote Mr. Olbermann a polite but pointed email in response to his comments, he replied by saying that emails such as hers would be "treated with the lack of respect they deserve." He went on to chastise her, and wrote, "…you might ask yourself if your actions are any different than someone in a cult."18 And some people still wonder why Americans no longer trust the mainstream media!

A columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "Though the cartoon’s gay agenda has forced Dr. Dobson to denounce it in the strongest terms, at least he hasn’t sunk to the level of the Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. No one is talking about marching with signs that read ‘GOD HATES BOB.’ At least, not yet."19

The New York Times published an editorial entitled "Nautical Nonsense" that referred to me as "the intolerant Dr. Dobson."20

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

In response, we received more than 100 requests for interviews within 24 hours from media entities within the United States and around the world, including the "Today Show," "CNN," the "BBC," "ABC News," the CBS "Early Show," "Good Morning America," "MSNBC," "National Public Radio," and "Hannity & Colmes" (the only one I accepted). Some of you heard the bogus story and believed it. We received more than 1,200 e-mails in the first few days, almost all of them critical because of my perceived attack on poor SpongeBob. One more time, let me say that the problem is not with SpongeBob or the other cartoon characters. It is with the way they will be used in the classroom.

And that brings me to the larger issue. It does not matter what the secular media says about me. In the final analysis, who cares? What is vitally important, however, are the children of this country and the effort being made to manipulate them for political purposes. As my father reminded Shirley and me when our daughter was in preschool, "Danae is growing up in a world much farther gone into moral decline than the world into which you were born." How much more true that is today than then!

We just came through a Christmas season where, in many schools, traditional carols were prohibited and the birth of Christ could not be mentioned. Macy’s Department Store in New York City banned any reference to Christmas.21 Bible reading and prayer in schools have been outlawed, and since 1980, the Ten Commandments could not be posted on bulletin boards. The Ninth Circuit Court in California did its best to prohibit the words "under God" from being cited by children in the Pledge of Allegiance. On March 2, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government property.22 Easter has become "Spring Break," and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ cannot be celebrated. But Earth Day can be observed in the curricula. "Father God" is out and "Mother Earth" is in. And in the midst of all this secularism, some schools that are having a hard time teaching kids to read, write and compute are giving precious classroom time to homosexual propaganda. That was the observation that motivated my remarks, not some fictitious cartoon character that children love. If you believed the media after having heard me and read my books for years, the question I would ask is, "Why?"

Parents, I urge you to keep a close eye on your sons and daughters. Watch carefully everything that goes into their little minds. Monitor their textbooks and the words of their teachers. Do not turn them over to harmful television programs. When God’s name is used in vain, or when sex and violence come on the screen, turn off the tube and then read and discuss together the scriptures found in Psalm 101:3: "I will set before my eyes no vile thing" [NIV]. Read uplifting and inspiring stories to your children daily. This obligation to teach your children biblical truths continually is unmistakably written in Deuteronomy 6:6-8, which tells us:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands, and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. [NIV]

Focus on the Family will continue to help you fulfill this task of bringing up your children "in the fear and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). If you have little ones at home, you might consider signing up for our Focus on Your Child program, which provides a wealth of resources that will help parents implement a decidedly Christian approach to raising children. This donor-sponsored service delivers practical, age-appropriate advice and encouragement right to your home each month. In addition to receiving newsletters and audio journals, members have round-the-clock access to a Web site filled with helpful articles and topical advice. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.focusonyourchild.com.

Thank you for helping us continue to nourish and defend the institution of the family. We would appreciate your help in two ways. First, to pray for us as we seek to fulfill this mission, and second, to assist us financially as you can — after you have met your responsibilities to your local church. Together, we can make a difference.

Sincerely in Christ,

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman

Footnotes This Month's Offers Dr. Dobson's Resources

Attention! After the above letter was written, U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, sent a very strong letter of rebuke to the Public Broadcasting System, denouncing the use of federal funds to produce and distribute materials for children wherein cartoon characters were used to promote homosexual ideas and purposes. She wrote, "Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode." Thank you, Mrs. Secretary!

That is precisely the concern that led to my comments in January. At its heart, the issue before us is the "sexual re-orientation" and brainwashing of children by homosexual advocacy groups. It is going on in many schools today, both public and private. Make absolutely sure your child is not being targeted for this purpose. If it happens in his or her classroom, take an army of like-minded parents with you to the next board meeting, and let your voices be heard to the rooftops!

Remember, you heard it here.


from www.mediamatters.org :

During his daily BreakPoint radio commentary, convicted felon and former Nixon special counsel Charles W. Colson suggested on May 11 that "no one [on the political right] has challenged the faith of anybody on the other side" for their opposition to a handful of President Bush's judicial nominees. In fact, numerous conservatives have challenged the faith of opponents of Bush's judicial picks:

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson:
"[Sen.] Patrick Leahy [D-VT] is a 'God's people' hater. I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people" [The Daily Oklahoman, 10/23/04].

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins:
"As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism" [Letter to supporters, April 2005].

Kay Daly of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary:
"[B]eing a Catholic is just fine if you are Sen. Leahy or Sen. Kennedy and selectively follow the doctrines of the faith. But if you actually practice Catholic teaching, you need not apply for a federal judgeship" [Commentary for the Traditional Values Coalition, 7/25/03].

James Hirsen of NewsMax.com:
"The libs found out about [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist's [R-TN] plans and summoned their anti-God squad to warn folks about the scary religious people and their scary speaker. ... The usual suspects -- Senators Harry Reid, Teddy Kennedy and Chuck Schumer [D-NY], the New York Times, People for the American Way -- and even Bill Maher, of all people, expressed consternation" ["Left Coast Report" about a political rally of religious conservatives promoting confirmation of Bush's judicial nominations, 4/19/05].

WorldNetDaily.com columnist Mychal Massie:
Radio host Sean Hannity posed the question: "Is there a liberal bias amongst liberal Democrats against Catholic or Christian judicial nominees?"

My answer -- had he asked it of me -- would have been:
No, not at all. Rather there is a blind hatred by the elite social liberals toward anyone and anything who dares to name the name of Christ, hints at there being absolutes (apart from absolute debauchery), suggests self sufficiency, favors parental rights or is foolish enough to believe that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights granted them by their "Creator" (read God Almighty) ["Liberal bias against Christians? Not a chance!" 8/12/03].

From Colson's May 11 commentary:
COLSON: Those of us who are Christians have been told we are using religion against our opponents. ... Let me tell you something: I've been in Washington most of my life, and this may be the most preposterous charge I've ever heard. I reread what the people have said in this debate, and no one has challenged the faith of anybody on the other side, not [Sens.] Teddy Kennedy [D-MA] or Joseph Biden [D-DE] or [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV]. And to accuse us of doing so is nothing but a smear.

According to Colson's website, BreakPoint is broadcast on more than 1,000 stations to an estimated audience of 1 million listeners.



"Do you believe God belongs in government?"


"Do you believe President Bush is doing The Lord's Work?"

"If so, then show your love for God & the USA!"

Check it out at http://www.bushfish.org/ . This site represents much of what I dislike about the current state of American politics... !


from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich conceded Wednesday that he might run for president in 2008, but said he will spend the coming years focusing on changes needed in the nation and less time talking about his own political ambitions.

“The message I’m trying to send is we need to have a discussion over the next three years about really big changes,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We need some time spent by would-be political leaders talking about their vision for the future and answering big questions — before they run out and hire the consultants and the 30-second attack commercials,” the former Republican lawmaker said.

He said leaders must look at transforming the nation’s health care system, improving its educational system and returning the nation to the days of a balanced budget.

Gingrich made his remarks during a three-day visit to Iowa, where caucuses launch presidential campaigns every four years. His trip included signing copies of his book “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America,” his vision for national change.

By mixing in a series of political appearances during the trip, Gingrich raised questions about his own future. Asked if he would be a candidate in 2008, he said, “I might be, I don’t know.”
He repeatedly returned to his policy proposals and said he wants the debate surrounding the next election to focus on those issues. But Gingrich said he wasn’t optimistic that a debate over ideas is possible in the current media-driven environment.

“Only if we have enormous discipline,” Gingrich said of the wide-open presidential race. “What it lends itself to is 650,000 articles about what consultant got hired and who raised the most money, who has the right pollster and all of the trivial. That is a downside of politics.”

Gingrich was the architect of the “Contract With America,” a conservative, legislative list that helped Republicans win control of the House in 1994. He resigned as House speaker in 1998 and quit Congress after Republicans lost seats in midterm elections that year — even as then-President Clinton dealt with the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.


I know this is from September 22, 2003... but hey, just think about the article, and conjure up some good visuals!! - Snave

Milwaukee (AP) - Cats were literally coming out of the walls of this south side home.

Last week, Milwaukee police found 130 felines and a dog in house where trash and cat feces was found up to 3 feet deep.

Inspectors came to the house last week after neighbors complained about smells coming from the three-bedroom house. When they arrived, they found the sinks and bathtubs filled with cat food. The cats had crawled into the walls, ducts and ceilings, said Donn Jacobson, an animal control officer for the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

The cats drank water from the house's three toilets and a leaky basement pipe, he said.

The house has been condemned by the city and may have to be razed.

The house's owner died in 1997, but the woman's adult son returned regularly to feed the animals, said Martin Collins, head of the Department of Neighborhood Services.

"Once the cats breed inside the walls, its economically impossible to clean it up," Collins said. "You can imagine what's inside those walls, and what the house is going to smell like forever."

Jacobson has been trudging through the house twice a day for a week, luring cats into metal cages baited with canned tuna.

"I'm hoping it will end soon," he said. "I'm sick of coming down here."

The cats and the dog all appear to be healthy and have been transported to an animal control facility until authorities can figure out what to do with them, said John McDowell, a field commander for the animal control agency.

The rescue smashes the city record of 82 removed from a home in the late 1980s, Collins said.

Thursday, May 12, 2005



Leonard Pitts
Contra Costa Times

Let's say you join the Army.You go through basic training and are sent to Iraq. One day, your unit comes under fire. Everybody shoots back except you. When your commanding officer demands to know why, you explain that as a Christian, you have moral objections to killing people.

I'd wager most of us would think you a couple companies short of a full battalion. If you agree, then you're going to love what's happening with your local pharmacist.

Well, maybe not. Maybe your pharmacist isn't one of those who are refusing to fill prescriptions on religious grounds, imposing their moral decisions on your medical decisions. Maybe yours isn't one of the crazy ones. If so, count your blessings. Some of your fellow Americans are less fortunate.

I give you the state of Illinois. On the first of this month, Gov. Rod Blagojevich felt compelled to issue an emergency rule requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for the so-called morning-after pill that works by preventing ovulation but can also block fertilization and keep already-fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. He acted after an Illinois pharmacist refused to provide the pills to two women.

This week, Blagojevich moved to make the rule permanent.

But this isn't just Illinois' headache. Though no one seems to have hard numbers, published reports suggest a widespread pattern of so-called Christian pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions with which they disagree. And a chilling report last month in the Washington Post suggests that some have gone even further. It told of pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth-control pills to unmarried women, of those who will not sell contraceptives and of those who won't fill morning-after prescriptions, but who hold the prescriptions hostage, refusing to return them to customers, knowing time is of the essence because the pill is less effective if taken too long after intercourse.

As maddening as all that is, what's more galling is that laws have been passed in four states -- and are under consideration in 12 others -- that legitimize this lunacy, allowing pharmacists with moral objections to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions.

People have an absolute right -- indeed, an absolute duty -- to oppose abortion if conscience so dictates. They have the right to pen letters to the editor, to support politicians who share their views, to demonstrate and agitate.

But no one has the right to refuse to perform some foreseeable aspect of their job.

Just as the soldier in the scenario should have known that shooting people might be part of his day's work, so should a candidate for a pharmacy job understand that she might have to hand out contraceptive pills and devices. She should either resolve to mind her own business or keep searching the want ads.

I mean, what's next? Can the clerk at Blockbuster refuse to rent R-rated movies because he objects to explicit language? Can the vegan who works at McDonald's refuse to take orders for Big Macs? Tobacco kills 440,000 Americans a year. If I work at 7-Eleven, can I refuse to sell Marlboros?

Of course not. So by what right do these activist pharmacists get to impose their morals on the rest of us? And by what logic do lawmakers legitimize their ability do so?

There's no moral puzzler here, folks. In fact, the solution is real simple. You don't like what the job requires? Fine. Get another job.