Saturday, October 7, 2006

Really Good Music Alert!

On Friday night, it was my good fortune to catch Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on the season debut of the Sierra Center Stage series on PBS.

This group is great! The series says it's dedicated to 'American Roots Music', but these guys are kinda RootsJazzFusionWTFGrass with just a touch of Celtic and maybe a little Martian. They defy description, other than 'amazing'. They're all outstanding musicians. Fleck is a master banjo picker (oral history here), Victor Wooten, the bass player, is terrific, wind man Jeff Coffin can play anything you can blow air through, and the percussionist, "Futureman", who has the strangest instrument I've ever seen, as well as drums, is not to be missed!

The Sierra Center Stage series starts tomorrow night, Sunday the 8th, on many stations. Don't miss it.


Go click around the Sierra Center Stage site. There'll be twelve shows with twelve different artists, and there are musical video clips for each one. There's going to be some damn good shows!

Bush in closet, back-doors it...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in town for a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum, had a close encounter with a large group of anti-Republican protesters as he was making his way to the Duquesne Club, Downtown.

Protesters said Gov. Bush blew them a kiss, acknowledging the crowd of about 30 chanting pickets that was made up of United Steelworkers and members of Uprise Counter Recruitment, a tour traveling through 22 cities to support anti-war efforts.

I think any man who blows a kiss to steelworkers either wants to give 'em a knob job or get his ass kicked. Or both. Heh.

"We don't want you here," protesters chanted.

Port Authority spokesman Bob Grove said six or seven officers responded to the scene to control the crowds.

As a precaution, the governor was ushered into a T-station supply closet and stayed there until the crowd left. (my em)

Mr. Vandenburgh and Mr. Meieran said they later saw Mr. Bush escorted to the Duquesne Club, which he entered through a back door at about 5 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bush said she was unaware of the incident last night and had no immediate comment.

I wouldn't have had an 'immediate comment' if that were my boss, either! It's hard to comment when you're laughin' yer ass off at him, and you don't want him to see that!

This is getting better and better! A Repuglican governor, brother of the president no less, is now reduced to hiding in a closet to avoid American citizens, and using the back door so he won't be seen.

I think 'closet' and 'back door' are especially apropos in the wake of the House scandal as well. Oh naughty me! (ROF,LAO!)


100 Hours

A transplant, yet a California Girl I'm kinda proud of, Nancy Pelosi lays out her agenda for the House. From AP.

Franklin Roosevelt had his first hundred days.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking 100 hours, time enough, she says, to begin to "drain the swamp"* after more than a decade of Republican rule.

As in the first 100 hours the House meets after Democrats - in her fondest wish - win control in the Nov. 7 midterm elections and Pelosi takes the gavel as the first Madam Speaker in history.

Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds - "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

She understandably left out one teeny detail of what else she might do...

"President Pelosi" has a nice ring to it, huh?

*There's an old adage amongst Service Managers that is universally applicable: When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's sometimes hard to remember that your main objective was to drain the swamp.

Oh for pete's sake,enough of this already...

When I was 14,a male,adult family member tried to molest me(he did not succeed.However,I believe this incident,along with other factors,helped set me up to be abused and raped later on). I never told anyone til I was an adult. I live with that guilt everyday because I know I wasn't his first or last victim. My first response surprised me,I got MAD. Which most likely prevented me from being raped. I scared the shit out of the guy,he was scared of little old 5ft nothing 100 lb me. And the bastard still had the nerve to tell me I was to blame. For wearing shorts. In 90 degree weather. In the middle of August.In a house with no central air conditioning. I looked too good for him to keep it in his pants,yes,that is precisely what he said to me. I was 14,he was in his sixties,over 6 ft tall,close to 300 lbs. Who REALLY had control here?

I was vulnerable mostly because my homelife sucked. I never got told I was loved,special,or treated as though I were precious and respected. I was raised by a mother who was herself abused,raped,beaten,locked in a closet for telling what happened to her. Abuse is transgenerational,passed on. It takes alot of work to break that cycle. Many people fail at breaking that cycle,it's not easy,there is no pill you can take,no simple program to follow.

Sexual predators have a built in radar, they are extremely adept at picking the most vulnerable among us. When it comes to those who prey on kids, they hone in on the kid's need to feel loved,accepted,doted on. This process is known as"grooming". It's a courting process,with gifts,flattery,an understanding ear,even a shoulder to cry on. This needs to be understood by more adults,that someone paying lots of attention to your child,or a neighbor's child,may not have the best of intentions. It's sad,many adults simply love kids(like me),and want to advocate for,mentor and help them. But we've come to a place in this country where you can't trust anyone until they've EARNED it. And you must watch,carefully,closely,and never ignore that little voice inside that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck when something isn't quite right.

I'm focusing on victimology here because it's really time for a wake up call in this country. Sixteen year old boys are not,I repeat NOT men. I know guys like to think they were all manly and stuff at that age,but they still were not men when they were teens. Becoming a Man(or a Woman)is a process,and in this culture,such as it is,teenagers are pushed into being adults way before they're ready for it. It might be a little different if we prepared our kids to be adults sooner,but the fact remains that we do not,and 16 yrs on this planet is not long enough of a time for that preparation. Just because a kid that age is 6ft tall and wears a size 15 shoe doesn't mean his brain contains the adult information needed to make adult decisions,let alone the emotional maturity to be cut loose if something bad happens to them. This time of life is ackward enough,and as a Mother,I'd have to argue that kids need the adults in their lives as much if not more at 16 than they did when they were 6. I'm not talking about smothering a kid with overprotective fears here,I'm saying that as a teen, you need someone to help you navigate the choppy seas of life,until you can learn and do it yourself.

The kids most vulnerable to predation are from broken homes,abusive backrounds,those who are overly indulged and overly protected(aka more naive than many of their peers),or those who live with parents who are controlling and overly restrictive(or any combo of the above). These situations leave you with a kid who craves adult approval. Sexual predators who target kids KNOW this,and it's time the rest of us knew it too.

As I've followed the Foley matter,I've noticed it's only been men coming forward to lay blame on the kids. Even Bill Maher did it on his show last night. And I could be mistaken,but all the guys who have tried blaming the kids for this madness haven't raised any kids themselves. They need to STFU and sit down and let parents and victims speak on this. And don't give me any crap about"age of consent"here either. That turd might float IF we taught our kids about the emotional components and impacts of sex and their sexuality,but we don't. If more kids understood this emotional impact early on,perhaps we'd see a bit of a drop in teen sexual activity because we'd be raising up children who can see around corners a bit more. Instead,we pass on our own shame and"dirtiness"about all matters sexual. This teaches nothing useful.

Until you've held a weeping child who gave her boyfriend a blow job because she thought that would make him love her(when instead he bragged about it to all his friends who then called her a whore),or you've been confronted with a teenager who is about to become a father or a mother many years too soon,or had a child come to you and confess to being abused,or have put years into being a good parent,or even read a fucking book about child abuse,don't run your fucking piehole on this subject and blame the kids. They didn't create this fucked up society,adults before them did.

You know what a responsible and mature adult would do when confronted with a kid who came on to them sexually? The first question ought to be this:

What happened to this child? Because it's NOT NORMAL for a kid to behave seductively,especially with an adult decades older than themselves. It's almost a guarantee that kid has been molested. And that should be your invitation to make damn sure this kid gets some help,yesterday. It means you take a deep breath,make some inquiries, and get the professionals on the case. It's not an invite to have sex you moron,it's a cry for help. An abused child will act out until someone intervenes on their behalf. Period,end of story.

Predators ALWAYS have the choice to act or not to act on their impulses. Let's not minimize that. There is NO child on this Earth that has control in a sexual situation with an adult. EVER. I don't give a flying monkey's ASS how"mature" or "precocious"a kid is, they are not the ones in control of the situation.

And let me make one last point,make it perfectly clear:

Anyone who blames the kids in a situation like this IS USING THE SAME DEFENSE THE PREDATOR USES. Got that? By doing this you are no better than the predator,you are DEFENDING what they did. And this kind of shit makes it impossible for kids in these situations to come forward and end the violence. Because that's what child predation is,an act of violence. The predator may never raise a hand to the child in anger,but the result is an attack on the very core of who that child is. No one has the right to do that to another person. Ever.

I'm dead serious about this folks. Anyone who even hints that the kid had it coming needs to be nailed to the wall immediately for using the same defense predators use. Trust me,if that happens enough,these know nothing fuckheads will keep their shitty opinions to themselves. Allowing this to take hold in the American psyche is dangerous,and it's about time to stop it dead in it's tracks.

Proud to be an American

Or, Yankee Go Home. Seen on the main drag in Horta, Azores:

Friday, October 6, 2006

The Case for Taking the Tape Off Our Mouths

Impeachment anyone? TomDispatch lays it out. As per usual, take a lunch. Today's 'must read'.

Never before has the system of government established by the U.S. Constitution been as seriously threatened; never before has the built-in remedy for the sort of threat we face been as badly needed; never before have we had as good an opportunity to use that remedy exactly as it was intended.

Every list of impeachable offenses includes tangential references to other impeachable offenses. The list seems inexhaustible, but here's a quick run-down of the main possible charges:

Eat lunch here. Even a 'quick run-down' of Bush's crimes is pretty long. Try not to get PBJ all over your mouse.

What Would It Take for Impeachment to Happen?

This part is the money shot, folks.

Believe it or not, the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney is perfectly possible, although a number of factors will have to come together for it to happen. The public will is already there, and this is quite remarkable given the lack of action in Congress or mention in the mainstream media. The polling that has been done on impeachment is dramatic. The Washington Post finds that a third of the country wants Bush not just impeached but also removed from office. Zogby finds that, by a margin of 53% to 42%, Americans want Congress to impeach President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq. When Americans were asked, "What 2 or 3 specific changes would have to take place in order to improve your trust in government today?" the winner by far was "personnel changes/impeachment proceedings." When Pennsylvanians were asked whether they would be likely to vote for a congressional candidate who "supports having impeachment proceedings against President Bush," 84.9% of Democrats said yes, while 7.0% said no. Among Independents, 49.3% said yes, while 40.6% said no.

To voters who are paying attention, the "let's hold investigations and see where they go" approach looks disingenuous, given how many impeachable offenses are already public knowledge. I've heard reports from dozens of Congressional representatives, in both parties, who refused to sign onto Conyers' bill for an investigation, and not once has anyone argued that there is too little evidence. The argument always focuses on the "extreme" nature of impeachment or the political agenda behind impeachment. As a result, the Democrats are, for the most part, steering clear even of talk of future investigations.

Quietly, however, Democrats do acknowledge that impeachment is coming (my em). [...]

Ba-Da-Bing! That's the line I've been waiting for since Bush started his criminal war on America!

Impeachment and removal, followed later by indictment and conviction, will be a long struggle. (It will, sadly, slow Congress down for a while in its work of destroying the world.) But it is needed to restore the U.S. Constitution as well as international law, and to establish a standard of accountability for the launching of aggressive wars. So, while the process may need to begin with crimes that Congress has been less complicit in, such as the use of signing statements, it must end with the offenses our world cannot well survive if they are repeated.

The first subpoena sent to the White House will be refused, of course, and the conflict will develop from that point. Democrats and any Republicans of conscience should be prepared for that and have a plan that will see us through to George Bush's removal from office for the highest of high crimes and misdemeanors.

'Refusal of a subpœna' should be followed immediately by the House equivalent of a 'bench warrant' and 'arrest'. The rest will be easy.

Hey, we can waterboard him now, it's apparently legal, but I would rather get Bush drunk or dose him with maybe 1000 mikes of squiggly and see what he says*. Video and transcript. That's just me, and I'm not nice where war criminals are concerned, particularly a domestic war criminal.

How do we get all this goodness flowing to start Bush on his inexorable trip to Federal prison?


*He might just curl up in a ball and cry. That'd be OK too.

Thousands nationwide protest Bush

USA Today

Hundreds of people called the Bush administration's policies a crime and held up yellow police tape along a three-block stretch in front of the White House on Thursday as part of a nationwide day of protest against the president.

The 500 demonstrators were among many who gathered for similar events in more than 200 cities to protest Bush on issues ranging from global warming to the war in Iraq.

"We are turning the corner in bringing forward a mass movement of resistance to drive out the Bush regime," said organizer Travis Morales with the activist group World Can't Wait.

Hundreds marched in Los Angeles, carrying caskets draped in U.S. flags to a federal courthouse, where protesters held a mock marriage of church and state.

n Reno, Rick Strandlof with World Can't Wait said his coalition opposes "the Bush regime's record of corruption, fear, incompetence and tyranny."

"We are at a defining moment for this country and our people," he said.

I agree, and I for one don't want to be defined by the likes of Bush. Kudos to the protesters.


A special comment about lying

Keith Olbermann lit into Bush big time yesterday. Transcript and video.

The president doesn't just hear what he wants.

He hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president - in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month - has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.

And, of course, inherent in the Pentagon's war-making functions is the regulation of presidential war lust.

Enacting that regulation should include everything up to symbolically wrestling the Chief Executive to the floor.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir.

It is your own - before 9/11 - and (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country - your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party's power. And obviously you'll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats -- piled atop lies about Iraq -- which were piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaida.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries -- as crushing, as immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop -- if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same -- you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country's principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Do not miss this. There's plenty more. Or see at YouTube.

Naval Grafitti

I guess you Squids know about this but this was new to this old AF weenie. We pulled into Ponta Delgado and I saw all this great grafitti on the sea wall on the dock.

I'll have more from our trip to Ponta Delgado tomorrow, after we get done in Horta.

Bottled Lightning

I was awakened this morning about 5 by a flash of light (even through the dark curtains) from my balcony and an excruciatingly painful noise running down our (port) side of the ship. Immediately I grabbed my robe and rushed to the rail, expecting to see the wreckage of a smaller craft, that's how bad it sounded. I looked for flares, or anything else that would indicate a distress signal, and prepared to call the bridge. Two seconds later, a lightning bolt impacted the sea not a hundred yards from my position and then I was nearly knocked over by the peal of thunder directly over the ship. Surprised the shit out of my ass. So did I go back in? Nah, I sat on the balcony with my camera trying to catch the awesome sight for posterity. Neither my relexes nor the camera would cooperate. You can't bottle lightning but I did, however, get a picture of the front we passed through once the sun came up.

I also wrote a long post at Below the Fold on the subject of cruise ships versus ocean liners (yes, there is a distinction) yesterday if you'd like to read it.

We had a great party last night too. There are several live bands performing aboard Noordam and the featured attraction is the Nick Ross Orchestra, one of the tightest big bands I've ever heard. We partied with the usual suspects, a bunch of us who enjoy each others' company. A diverse group who are all lovely people.

Not all were present and I'll introduce you to the absent later on. From left to right. Dave and Martha, (a newlywed couple from Lansing, Michigan whom we have come to adore over the past week and remind us of us when we were 15 years younger), yours truly, Judy (and her husband Glen who's missing because he had a blackjack tournament in the casino) from San Diego, California, the beautiful Mrs. F, and Loretta from Ventura California who is also Judy's aunt (she is one impressive woman who worked for the USO during WW2 at the St. Louis Canteen). Our friend Bob from Columbus, Indiana was also in the casino but a very lovely 83 year old man who was traveling alone until he met up with us. We all manage to close one of the bars on this barge every night.

More later, we're heading out to Punta Gordo Ponta Delgado (I been calling it Punta Gordo all week in honor of our esteemed Jarhead and it just slipped out), the Azores in a little while and I'll have more pics up either tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

"Getting Older"

An e-mail from the Missus:

[-Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98," she replied. "Two years older than me." "So you're 96," the undertaker commented. She responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?"

-Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked. She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

-The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs .

-I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts, have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

-I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

-An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week "

-My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

-Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

-It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffeemaker.

-These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."

-Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old, You grow old because you stop laughing.

--- THE SENILITY PRAYER : Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Now, I think you're supposed to share this with 5 or 6, maybe 10 others Oh well, give it to a bunch of your friends if you can remember who they are!

If not look in your adress book and work out the friends that you don't mind upsetting lol.]

It's funny because none of it's true. Yet.

"Liars for Jesus"

I came across Talk To Action in the normal course of my erratic skiddin' around the Net.

You have arrived here, most likely, out of your concern about the "religious right", the Christian right, Christian nationalism, encroaching theocracy....

You are concerned, you want to know more. You want to know what you can do.

Talk To Action is an online publication, and a forum for discussion, that is focused with unparalleled intensity on the rise of the Christian right as a social and political force - and on what those who are opposed to that movement can do to counter it.

Their motto is "Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith".

The "Liars For Jesus" was the first post I came to, about the revisionist fictitious parallel history of a christian America, which led me right to my very own congresscritter, John Doolittle:

On August 8, 2006,, Talk To Action author moiv began her story entitled The Religious Right's 800-Pound Abortion Gorilla - On the willingness, by leaders on the Christian and religious right, to look the other way as the GOP raked in profits from the Marianas garment industry - despite a de-facto forced abortion regime imposed on the Chinese women migrant laborers in the Marianas sweatshops, and a seedy sex (and sex slave) trade that thrived alongside the garment industry. Now, several Dem. campaigns have put the gathering scandal to political use.

RAW Story is showcasing a video clip from a debate in which Democratic challenger Retired Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, candidate for California's 4th District, said the following about his GOP opponent: "Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) knew of and tolerated forced abortions, sex slavery and sweatshop conditions in the Northern Marianas Islands " ( see here for further coverage of Brown's new TV ads making the "slave slavery / forced abortion $ assertions" )

It's good to know someone besides me is watching this and trying to spread the word.

Go see Talk To Action. Extensive site, lots of stuff. Tell us what you think.

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

Go read 'em at Project Censored. Some you've probably heard about, maybe some you haven't.

Get a grip, America!

Andrew Bard Schmookler on how and why the American people got to be such pussies. Today's 'must read'.

How did we ever get to be a nation of such scaredy cats? What happened to American courage so that a mathematically negligible probability of any single one of us being harmed would send the society as a whole scurrying for safety?

In World War II, when American marines stormed onto the beaches of Japanese islands, sometimes a third of those marines would become casualties. But they did their duty. The life-expectancy of a marine landing with a flamethrower mounted on his back was measured in terms of seconds! That's extreme danger.

The Flames guys used to get into big arguments over this with the Radio Operators. They both would brag about it: "Oh, yeah? Ten seconds ain't shit! My life expectancy in combat is eight seconds. Pussy!" But I digress.

How did we become a nation so ruled by fear?

Yes, the present Bushite leadership, unlike its predecessors, deliberately cultivates fear in the American people. No "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" for this gang. More like "The only thing we want from you is fear itself."

But even before the Bushites started their fear-mongering, Americans were swearing off flying in sufficient numbers to send the airline industry into a swoon. And as the earlier Tylenol episode shows, this American proclivity to fearful overreaction did not begin on 9/11.

It is not good to be the slave of fear. Fear is a solvent of rational thought, of sensible perspective.

So now we have a president recovering some in the opinion polls as he plays his only card, the fear card. As the 2006 election approaches, the strategy of Karl Rove (and his boss, and the entire Republican Party) rests on the premise that the power of fear in America can overcome all evidence and logic. Don't pay any attention, they're saying, to those little facts we're hiding behind the curtain of your fears.

They think that it does not matter if there's absolutely no evidence that we have to choose between security and the rule of law in the matter of surveillance. The American people can be made afraid enough that they'll gladly give the president a tyrant's power to snoop at will without any oversight or check.

They think it does not matter if there's no evidence that -to be safe- America has to abandon its long-standing commitments to the rules of war and to the rights of due process and to the system of checks and balances on which our whole system of government rests. If Americans can be frightened enough, they will reward those dismantle our heritage while posturing as our strong protectors, and will dismiss as wimps those who speak in the voice of reason instead of fear.

It is up to the American people to prove them wrong. But to do so, we will first have to stop this unseemly quaking in the face of every danger.

Get a grip, America!

Save fear for when you need it. Fear is a tool to help you overcome danger. It should come to you naturally in moments of peril, not when Rove thinks he needs you to be afraid for his own political purposes.

"...dead quiet and crickets chirping"

Bob Geiger

If there's one thing you have to concede to America's Religious Right, it's that these folks have an amazing media and public relations network and can issue press releases, get on television and radio and, when they really want to, mobilize their lemming-like flock faster than Jack Abramoff can bribe a Republican Congressman.

And yet here we sit, four days after it was revealed that Republican Congressman Mark Foley was using the Internet to go after teenaged boys, and all you can hear from our own little version of the Taliban is dead quiet and crickets chirping.

Odd, isn't it? The same people who can move their followers to boycott any company that believes gay people even have the right to exist, can't muster much outrage over one of their own preying on young boys and, more importantly, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives ignoring it to save their political hides.

So there you have it -- the true face of the Religious Right measured in deeds and not words.

They'll go out of their way to rally their followers to keep gay people from getting married, boycott corporations acknowledging that right, demonize legislators and judges who dare keep Church away from State and even attack children's-television characters.

But nary a word about a Republican Congressman, who is co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, trolling for teen sex partners among Congressional pages, and being protected via a cover-up by the House Republican leadership.

I'm sure the letter-writing campaign to House Speaker Dennis Hastert will begin the minute they've taken care of that Madonna situation.

Heh. I think Bob may be pointing out that the "religious right" is a lot more political than religious. If Foley had been a Democrat, they would have chopped down whole forests to make paper to write indignant letters calling for the expulsion of everyone in Congress who isn't an obedient little christian.

If it shuts up the wingnut christofascists, I think every Repug congressman should be issued their own page to molest. The pages are there to learn about politics, right? What better way to find out what the pols are really doing to the rest of us...

Speaker Hastert should resign, sign the petition!

From my Congressional Candidate Charlie Brown (CA-04) comes a call for Hastert to resign.

Please sign the petition here.


After I signed the petition, I received an e-mail with a link for confirmation. When I clicked to confirm, my computer stopped stock still. I had to unplug it to reboot. I called the Brown campaign and told them. Use your judgment.

Iraq Veterans For Progress

From the Atlanta Progressive News

Iraq Veterans for Progress (IVFP) is supporting the campaigns of four candidates running for the US House and Senate, and creating jobs for veterans at the same time: by sending veterans of the US Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to help the campaigns in any way they can.

Air Force Veteran Tim Goodrich, who also co-founded Iraq Veterans Against the War, is the Executive Director of IVFP, a political action committee that launched a little over one month ago in Los Angeles, California.

Hmmm. I guess these AF weenies are good for something after all. (wink)

Goodrich took part in and witnessed the bombing of Iraq while President Bush was still telling the public diplomacy was the top priority.

These inconsistent and apparently misleading actions did not sit well with Goodrich, and his thinking on certain issues began to change.

IVFP supports several platforms they see as solutions to ending the US Invasion of Iraq, bringing the troops home in a safe, timely manner, and perhaps preventing this situation from happening in the future.

These goals include: Replacing US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, renouncing the practice of preemptive war, using military intervention only as a last resort, and ensuring Veterans receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Please go read the rest. They have an interesting approach to campaign contributions: they send a Veteran to help.

One of the candidates they're supporting is Jerry McNerney (CA-11) who is running against Richard Pombo (R), one of the most corrupt California congressmen. Bush was in California a couple of days ago stumping for him and my congressman Doolittle, one of the other most corrupt California congressmen. They must be in trouble if the Chimp came to help. It's a good sign.

Doolittle is up against Charlie Brown in CA-04, also an Air Force Vet.

Go check out their program at Iraq Veterans For Progress.

Put on the hip waders kids,it's getting deep

Something's bugging me about this whole Mark Foley business. Ok,alot of things,but this one thing really stands out.

People knew this guy was doing this. Knew about it as early as possibly 1995. And in all that time, not one person got law enforcement involved. Now I don't know about you,but if this was my kid being hit on by an adult, I would have raised all manner of Hell about it. Staffers(adults themselves)warned these kids about Foley and his"overly friendly"ways. Capitol Hill is like a small town,everyone knows everyone,and at least knows some of each other's business. And no one came forward til this year? Something stinks here,and it ain't just Foley.

Which leads me to believe a few key points.

First off,I'd like to know how much money,hush money,has been doled out of GOP coffers to buy silence. Someone's been either paid off and/or threatened,probably many Someones. Sexual predators cannot operate without silence and fear. I also have to wonder how many boys went to someone with this and were given shit for being "teh Gay".

Second,this HAS to go well beyond Mark Foley. Foley wasn't a bigwig on the Hill,he was a backbencher,not well known outside his district and the people who worked with him. He didn't do the talk show circuit, wasn't all over conservative radio, wasn't a big name of the GOP brand. So why all the tapdancing and covering up? They could have forced his resignation and no one outside his district and immediate circles would have batted an eyelash. They could have got way out in front of this one and even used it to their advantage with the"family values voters". With all their money and their big PR firms,spinning this to make themselves look good,heroic even,would have been easy.

In the last few years,we've heard,over and over, how if you have nothing to hide,you shouldn't worry about little things like having your phone tapped,"free speech zones",no fly lists,and your basic civil rights being undermined and destroyed. The GOP has insisted that only "evildoers"would kick up a fuss about anything like that. Well,then I wanna know who else is being protected here. I'd bet my last dollar that Foley is no"bad apple",he's one apple in a big pot of rotten,stinky,disgusting applesauce. If the party of "moral values" has nothing to hide,then why are they hiding so much? I want to know the answer to that question.

Update: Randi Rhodes will be interviewing...holy crap!.... Jeff Gannon, today on her show in the 5pm hour of her show. Oh man,this is going to be interesting.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Riffin' on Pagegate

Since the big news of the day seems to be wall-to-wall all-pedofoleygate-all-the-time, all the really important stuff is relegated to second place. I mean, it's fun to see the Republicans trying to cover their fat hairy white asses. Really fun! Even with all the bullshit normally available in D.C. and on the airwaves, there's an amazing amount of it being thrown around. Smells like a barnyard. Kinda bucolic, actually.

Everybody's blaming everybody else. There's so many fingers pointing in so many directions, someone's gonna get their eye put out. The ooze is spreading far and wide, even though it doesn't appear the page's butt cheeks actually did.

It's just another Repuglican cover-up to hide their true hypocritical natures from their tight-assed hypocritical Puritanical 'base' in an election year. Business as usual.

The circumstances and timing of this scandal are nearly perfect. There is a God!

If Foley had been making hot chat with a young girl, this would have been just a blip. The fundies would have let it pass, even understood. They know a man can easily be seduced by a sexy, tempting young Jezebel, what with those firm, creamy, bouncy, forbidden naughty parts. Vessels of unholiness, the lot of 'em, man's downfall. They need to be exorcised by full immersion baptism in a thin cotton shift. In cold water, to really have the proper effect. Might be the only boner some of the church elders get all year.

For this to involve a pedophiliac closeted homosexual congressman, the pride of Southern manhood from Florida, no less, is more than they can bear. That he was in charge of the committee to protect youngsters from adult predation is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. Given the Repugs' constant gay-bashing and their hypocrisy about 'moral' and 'family' values coming into the light, this whole deal could easily be the biggest nail in their coffin. R.I.P., Repug power.

Blaming Clinton and trying to scare the American public into keeping them in power out of fear of terrorists and Nancy Pelosi ain't gonna work this time. By covering this deal up for a year for sure, perhaps five years, they done pissed off every parent in this country.

It's a little disturbing that this almost-but-not-quite-sex scandal is likely to have more of an effect on the upcoming elections than things like, oh, I don't know, a criminal incompetent president and his band of brigands, not-so-slowly creeping fascism, ownership of the government by Big Oil 'n Pills Etc., the death of Habeus Corpus, and the abrogation of the Constitution, among many other things.

But only a little disturbing. If it works to get these pricks out of power, I'll take it.

Crossing the line

We crossed into the Atlantic about 1 this morning and what a sight. Africa to port, Europe to starboard and we entered into the Straits of Gibraltar. The rock was extraordinary itself, the city lit up below, the rock rising like a black shadow, almost like a jagged back hole was ripped into the horizon. Impressive, but I just wish we would have gone through in the daytime so I could get some pictures.

Today we had a port call in Cadiz, Spain and took a bus tour through Cadiz and the city of Jerez de la Frontinera, ending in a stop at the Gonzalez-Bayass Winery (sorry about the darkness of some of the pics from the cellars but they wouldn't let me use the flash), one of the biggest sherry producers in the world. I can't stand the shit, but the Mrs enjoyed herself at the tasting. This will be our last stop on the Iberian Peninsula and mainland Europe. Horta, the Azores is next and another stop in the islands after before heading across the Atlantic to Bermuda.

My plan to take pics of my day aboard ship yesterday fell a little short thanks to birthday celebrations which ended last night this morning at about 2:30. The alarm at 6 to catch the tour was seriously unwelcome. I'll put together my tour of Noordam on my next at sea day, when I have a little more free time and I'm not loaded not that loaded.

The story so far, in case you're following:


Blog who?



Making steam

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Making steam

I am forty-four years old today and life is good. God gave me a present first thing as I stood on my balcony at 0800.

Mrs. F started the party at midnight last night, when she asked the question, as we were sitting in a lounge with 4 other couples 'so, how does it feel to be 44?' We didn't get back to the room until 3. Oy! So it's 10 and I'm sitting at the bar with a Bloody Mary, extra Tabasco. I'm waking up.

We're at sea all day, making best speed for the Straits of Gibraltar. Since we have no port calls, I'll be walking around Noordam with my camera and I'll share pics from my day later.

Bartender, might I have another ...

L'il Fat Denny

I was watching Countdown and rather than wait for a link or cite, I had to share this. I paraphrase just a little:

Keith Olbermann: Are the Republicans going to throw Hastert under the bus on this Foley deal?

Craig Crawford: If he'll fit. Those things don't have much ground clearance.


Monday, October 2, 2006

The Republicans' Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm is a book and movie about a series of weather events that combined in a very rare way to produce a storm of a magnitude very rarely seen. Awesome.

We're seeing it again, and right on time. Or a little late, but just in time.

From the EssEffChron:

One wonders at what point a political edifice starts irredeemably to crumble.

First this.

Then this.

Followed by this.

While Bush administration defenders say critics are drawing the wrong conclusions from the leaked parts of the NIE report, that Bob Woodward's book is full of "myths", and that the Mark Foley affair is no worse than various Democratic congressional and presidential indiscretions, it is hard to see how things won't get worse before they get better (assuming they do) for Republicans, with mid-term elections just four weeks out.

Apart from the fallout from what some will construe as a GOP leadership coverup in the Mark Foley affair -- one Republican has already said House Speaker Dennis Hastert "lied" about what he knew and Connecticut Republican Chris Shays has said anyone in a leadership comes position who knew about it should step down -- along comes a new book about Colin Powell's experiences in the Bush administration which will only add to the "state of denial" flames.

Also lurking out there, in what appears to be an increasingly leak-happy atmosphere is another "damning" Iraq intelligence report, which, California Rep. Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants released.

The Washington Post's excerpts of Bob Woodward's book can be found here.

Bob Woodward interviewed on "60 Minutes" .

The Post's Sunday magazine article on Colin Powell can be found here.

Emails between Rep. Mark Foley and a congressional page can be found here. (page not available. You've seen 'em anyway. G)

IMs from Rep. Foley to the congressional page can be found at a link here.

I mourned the loss of the Andrea Gail. I'll cheer when the Republicans slide stern-first into the depths.

The timing of all this stuff coming out is absolutely impeccable. Who says there's no plan to wrest control of the government back from the Repugs? Ha!

Just tell the truth about 'em all at the same time.

A little light entertainment

Stick a yellow ribbon up your SUV.

Secrets, and the obvious, revealed

Here's some excerpts from Bob Woodward's State of Denial from a review in the LATimes:

One of the more troubling subplots running through "State of Denial" involves Prince Bandar, the long-time Saudi ambassador to the United States. By Woodward's account, when then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush decided to run for president, his worried father enlisted Bandar, an old family friend, to tutor the son on foreign policy. When Bandar arrived in Austin, the younger Bush blithely observed that while he had lots of ideas about domestic policies he didn't have a clue about foreign affairs. The Saudi took him under his wing, but he proved a trying pupil, who addressed his mentor as "asshole" and "smart aleck." (Perhaps this is how hereditary princelings affectionately address each other?) At one point, the younger Bush peevishly demanded to know why he needed "to care about North Korea." Bandar pointed out that, if he became president, he would have 35,000 American troops sitting on the DMZ.

Oh, right....

[...] During a meeting in the Oval Office, according to Woodward, Bush personally thanked Bandar because the Saudis had flooded the world oil market and kept prices down in the run-up to the 2004 general election.

You don't have to be Michael Moore to find all this unsettling. Equally disquieting, Woodward's source for all this has to be Bandar or one of his intimates, acting at the Saudi's behest. What that suggests is that, after decades of arduously cultivating the Bush family, one of the shrewdest operators on the world stage has written off George W. Bush.

I wish they could have written him out.

"State of Denial" is best read in tandem with Joan Didion's assessment of Cheney in the current issue of the New York Review of Books. With that as background, one conclusion that suggests itself is that - from the beginning - Iraq really has been about Vietnam. Cheney and Rumsfeld have been the Iraq war's principle advocates and architects. As Woodward now reveals, they've even introduced Henry Kissinger back into the equation, and he now is Bush's most frequent nongovernmental advisor on foreign policy. Cheney and Rumsfeld were bright young men headed for the top during the Nixon and Ford administrations, both of whom thought of themselves, as others did, as future presidents. Though the disaster in Southeast Asia hardly ruined them, a certain stigma has attached itself ever since.

For them, the Iraq war, the whole wrenching debate over domestic spying, the detainees and unitary executive power is all about Vietnam. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Kissinger all have been convinced for decades that the country drew all the wrong historical and governmental conclusions from Vietnam. The Reagan era intervention in Central America was a first attempt to overturn those conclusions, but it foundered on the arms-for-hostages scandal. Once George W. Bush - for a set of Freudian family issues too tedious to belabor - put himself in their clutches, he became the instrument of a Cheney/Rumsfeld/Kissinger attempt to abolish 30 years of history and their enduring resentment that their youthful exercise of power ended in failure, death and disaster.

So, here we are again.

No shit. And fixin' to lose another war that never should have been started. At least Vietnam had some justification in the beginning. Another clusterfuck that another generation of Americans will be dealing with for the rest of their lives. Maybe a lot longer than that. Iraq is a lot more of a criminal mistake than Vietnam was, and affects a lot more of the world.

Thanks, Rummy and The Dick. You sure made up for Vietnam. Thanks a pile. Bastards.

Old and New

Valencia, Spain (and yes, there are orange trees everywhere) is a beautiful city and the Mrs. and I want to come back and spend some time here. Today we took a bus tour and the counterpoint between the old city (founded 21 BC) and the new is striking and well done. The new is being built in one half of the city and the old is being preserved ever so nicely. Restorations of classic buildings goes on everywhere and the new construction is amazing.

In the late 50s, Valencia was the victim of a horrific flood of the river that flowed through the center of the city. The city fathers decided to divert the river to the outskirts of town and built a long, winding park in the old, now dry, riverbed. The bridges remain.

There is also the new section, characterized by the new opera house, science museum, and aquarium. The park in the dry riverbed connects the old and new sections at each end.

We also stopped at the Lladro factory, where they make all the porcelain figurines. I'm not a fan of the style, but it was most interesting to learn how they created these detailed figures. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me take pics inside (they use proprietary processes) but they did let me go nuts in the showroom.

And of course, some obligatory 'idiot with a camera' photos.

The story so far, in case you're following:


Blog who?



Sunday, October 1, 2006

College Republicans: Liars and Pussies

Ann Arbor News

Everybody agrees last Saturday night in Ann Arbor ended badly for Justin Zatkoff when the Republican student activist was hit in the face so hard that he couldn't recall the attack and would need hours of surgery.

But with weeks left before the November elections, rumors quickly spread in Republican circles that Zatkoff was viciously beaten for his political views in one of the state's bluest of cities.

In the days following the attack, the conservative student Web site Truth Caucus posted photos of his injured face, pronounced the incident a "hate crime," and speculated it was the work of "liberal thugs." A Republican organizer in Michigan e-mailed campus Republicans, warning them to travel in groups until the election was over. And pretty soon, the matter was fodder for major political Web sites, like Wonkette.

Ain't that just the Repug way?

Ann Arbor police said Friday there's no truth to the rumors.

While at a party that began last Saturday night, police said Zatkoff picked a fight with some of his friends, and got punched in the eye. Police interviewed Zatkoff at a hospital the next day and he didn't recall what happened.

People who were at the party told police Zatkoff had too much to drink, said Ann Arbor police Lt. Mike Logghe.

"We interviewed the guy who punched him," said Logghe. "He admitted to punching him. He said he was a friend of his from high school."

Guy gets drunk at a party and lips off to his buddy, and his buddy punches his lights out. I think anybody who hasn't been directly involved in something like that has at least seen it happen. Youth plus booze equals fistfights, folks, many of them of the one-punch variety. Just part of growin' up.

For a wingnut website to instantly blame it on "liberal thugs" is a uniquely Repuglican spin. There's certainly nothing unique about 'em lying and blaming the opposition, but wouldn't liberals 'cut and run'? Couldn't one Young Republican, no doubt a stalwart example of studly moral turpitude rectitude, take a bunch of sissy liberals?

As for the advice to "travel in groups because the beastly liberals are out to get you", whoever came up with that ought to be embarrassed at his own pussitude!

That made my day.


You vill go see The CultureGhost's take on zis. If you do not, ve haff vays of making you, ja?

GOP - Gross Old Perverts

Go read Lurch at Main and Central in the wake of the new wave of outrage at Rep. Foley's conduct. Click the links. Foley ain't the only one by a long shot.

I'm sure that phrases like "What are you wearing?", "Does it make you horny?", and "Did you spank it today?" have their place in some small corner of the adult world, but they're criminally inappropriate from a 50-year-old man to a 16-year-old boy.

Hastert and Boehner's year-long knowledge of Foley's conduct without action is inexcusable. Period. They are accomplices and conspirators after the fact and should be charged as such. They won't be. Repug pervs look out for one another in a veritable protective daisy chain.

Yesterday, the LATimes had an article about a proposed 'colony' for sex offenders. They could just erect a wall around Republican HQ. Make the wall high enough we can't see over it, please.



Foley Built Career as Protector of Children

What a perfect metaphor for the Repuglican party!


Barcelona today ... well ... looking at Barcelona. We had the misfortune, or bad planning, or twist of fate, to land here on a Sunday, the place is very Catholic so not much is open, and on the day they're running the Barcelona Marathon. Vehicle traffic is nonexistant and we didn't feel like walking in. I'm sitting at the bar (11 a.m.) having my Hair of the Dog. The Mrs. and I had too much fun last night and got back to the stateroom about 6 hours ago.

Just a note, this is a themed cruise and it's all about big bands. Excellent music but it attracts an older crowd. There are three children on the ship and the Mrs. and I are among the youngest of the passengers. It's great because I've met a bunch of brothers-in-arms from WW2 and Korea and the stories and rememberances are flowing as freely as the liquor. The bad part is trying to walk through a restaurant at 'buffet time'. I'm dodging walkers, canes, and power chairs and let me tell you, these alte cochers mean business when it comes to a free buffet. I don't know how many times I've heard 'get out of my way, sonny'. They're faster than you'd expect too. Oy!

I posted some pics taken from the ship in lieu of going into town.

Family Values My Ass

(Note: I've been scarce the last few days because I'm doing some work on the house and have been looking at real estate farther north of where we live now. Whether this is a blessing or a curse for ya'all is determined by you,lol)

By now,I'm sure most of us have heard of the disgusting exchange of instant messages between Rep Mark Foley(R) and a 16 yr old congressional page. After I spent most of my time yesterday painting,I took a break and looked around the internets to get a feel for what folks are saying about this. Some of what I'm reading disturbs me,beyond the actual content of Foley's IMs to this young man.

1)That 16 yr. olds aren't"children". Bullshit. Babies,no,but children? Yes. Some 16 yr olds are more emotionally mature than others to be sure,but a 16 yr old is not an adult. Just because a kid can drive a car and get an afterschool job doesn't make them grown. There's such a push in this culture to make kids older than their years, and frankly I think that's part of the problem. 16 yr olds can be savvy and manipulative to be sure,but they are not adults. No matter how you spin it. I don't know ANY 16 yr old that I'd consider mature enough to handle adult actions and responsibility. And you know what? That's perfectly OK. Spend some time with teens,listening to them,observing them, and you'll find these are kids trying to make the transition into adulthood,but they are not adults. Much about them is still quite childlike,no matter how grown up they may look or try to act.

2) Foley isn't a pedophile,he's something else. Ok,perhaps technically,from a professional/medical standpoint,because his victims are older children,he's not officially a pedophile,"just creepy". But to file this under"just creepy" is dismissing the damage caused by this kind of lecherous behavior.

When my sister was a teenager,a neighbor to my parents became fixated on her. To show you how fucked up my family is,my parents never confronted the guy after they found out. Which to this day absolutely STUNS me. This shit started when my sis was 13 and didn't end until she left home to get her first apartment-for FIVE YEARS. He watched her come and go from home and would call her,telling her how much he liked her outfits,asking what she did on dates,which led to him trying to pry info out of her about her sexual experiences. My sister was not emotionally equipped to deal with this,and no one protected her. At one point he crossed the line and actually went into my parents' home when they weren't there and tried to force himself on her. And she NEVER TOLD MY PARENTS because she didn't think my parents would take her side since they had done nothing in the past to stop this guy from calling her. She thought it was her fault for dressing a certain way or taking his calls. No blame EVER got placed on this asshole where it belonged. And you can bet your ass this guy went on to do it to other girls too,this kind of preditory fuck doesn't stop unless they are caught and made to pay for what they've done. And even then,they'll still justify it any way they can. So let's not make the mistake of thinking a 16 yr old can control a situation like this, that's nonsense. Mark Foley is 50+ yrs old,do the math for gods sake.

3)Sexual preditors of ALL stripes never get caught the very first time they do what they do. Law enforcement and mental health professionals can tell you that by the time one of these guys(and it is usually men who do this,in spite of all the"hot teacher"stories in the news these days)is caught there's dozens,in some cases hundreds of victims before the one that got them caught. Several news stories have stated that the pages often warned new kids to the program that Foley was a perv,to watch out for him. I'd wager this has been going on at least as long as the guy has been in office,and it likely started earlier than that.

4)This also calls into question the character of the other adults who knew about this and did nothing to protect these kids. Besides the obvious political ass covering going on,I have to wonder if Foley is just one of many who are doing the same thing or worse. You can't convince me that the GOP,with all their money and huge PR firms ,couldn't spin forcing Foley out of office as a BIG score for "family values"the second the GOP leadership knew about this. Instead,they chose to,at best ignore it,at worst cover it up. Which begs the question of who else are they trying to protect here? If the environment exists that allows this to happen,it ain't all to save one guy's political behind.

5)Jokes. Ok,I know some people confront horrors of various types by trying to defuse the ugliness with dark humor. Soldiers and Marines do it, medical professionals do it,anyone who has to deal with the most vile and base things humans do to each other does this. Without that humor,it's likely people who do these jobs would lose it completely. I get that. But I find it rather un-funny when I see folks on the left side of the political divide making jokes about this Foley asshat and his victims. The wingnuts are already trying to blame this kid,making their own ugly insinuations and jokes(one particularly disturbing trend is that the kid"knew what he was doing"), and,while I can't find it yet,a commenter at Kos has said that a wingnut blog has"outed"this kid,putting his info out on the internet. This shit AIN'T FUNNY. Child abuse ain't funny,and it's one of this nation's darkest and dirtiest little secrets that little is done about. There's plenty of other crap to joke about,god knows the GOP practically write the jokes themselves with their day to day antics. I think we can leave the child abuse jokes alone and still find plenty of giggles to go around. Think about it,do you know anyone who hasn't been touched by some sort of abuse? It's a rare thing these days for anyone to not know of at least one person in their lives who has had to deal with this sort of thing. It's not funny,and even less funny when it concerns children who have no voice and cannot protect themselves. THAT'S OUR JOB,to be their voice and protect them. So enough with the jokes. Please.

6)Finally,what the HELL is going on in this country that we seem to producing a HUGE number of sexual preditors?

A few yrs ago I did a little experiment on the internets. Back then we had AOL as our internet provider,and within AOL is a whole slew of chat rooms on every topic you can think of. I posed as a 13 yr old girl just to see if all the crap I had heard about "adult"chat rooms was true. I used the screen name "sunshine13". The second I logged into chat,I was bombarded with messages,literally so many I could not even respond to one.Asking me if I had pubic hair,breast size,if I ever sucked a guy off,if I was a virgin,etc,etc,etc. After a couple of minutes I was so disgusted that I logged off,deleted that screen name and shortly after,we cancelled our AOL service.

Something is wrong with us,and it's not just our politics and policy. We have a culture that not only encourages this behavior,but excuses it. What pisses me off is that if it were a priority to stop this madness,we would have done so by now. It's a very ugly virus we have running amok here and not anywhere near enough resources have been put into breaking this insideous cycle.