Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eis und Nebel

When fog meets freeze in the mountains, you get beauty. Figured I'd share some of it with you.

Blindly Into the Bubble

One little post before I head for the coast. Gee, if I replaced the 't's with apostrophes (did it again!) I'd be a hip-hop poet...

A 'must read' Paul Krugman:

When announcing Japan's surrender in 1945, Emperor Hirohito famously explained his decision as follows: "The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage."

There was a definite Hirohito feel to the explanation Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave this week for the Fed's locking-the-barn-door-after-the-horse-is-gone decision to modestly strengthen regulation of the mortgage industry: "Market discipline has in some cases broken down, and the incentives to follow prudent lending procedures have, at times, eroded."

That's quite an understatement. In fact, the explosion of "innovative" home lending that took place in the middle years of this decade was an unmitigated disaster.

In a 1963 essay for Ms. Rand's newsletter, Mr. Greenspan dismissed as a "collectivist" myth the idea that businessmen, left to their own devices, "would attempt to sell unsafe food and drugs, fraudulent securities, and shoddy buildings." On the contrary, he declared, "it is in the self-interest of every businessman to have a reputation for honest dealings and a quality product."

It's no wonder, then, that he brushed off warnings about deceptive lending practices, including those of Edward M. Gramlich, a member of the Federal Reserve board. In Mr. Greenspan's world, predatory lending - like attempts to sell consumers poison toys and tainted seafood - just doesn't happen.

Yeah, they're all little angels. Not.

Of course, now that it has all gone bad, people with ties to the financial industry are rethinking their belief in the perfection of free markets. Mr. Greenspan has come out in favor of, yes, a government bailout. "Cash is available," he says - meaning taxpayer money - "and we should use that in larger amounts, as is necessary, to solve the problems of the stress of this."

Given the role of conservative ideology in the mortgage disaster, it's puzzling that Democrats haven't been more aggressive about making the disaster an issue for the 2008 election. They should be: It's hard to imagine a more graphic demonstration of what's wrong with their opponents' economic beliefs.

Shorter: The Repugs have been, are, and ever shall be just plain wrong about everything. Not only are they wrong, they insist the rest of us go down with their ship, which they can no longer deny is sinking, all the while blaming everyone else for their expensive failures..

They gotta go.

So do I. I'll catch up with ya from Arroyo Grande.

Lame ...

Unabashedly stolen from Brother Lurch.

Can't lose ...

If I did my job like they do, I'd be walking the streets forthwith. Wish the car business worked like Wall Street.

This increase is even better than the pay increases Congress gives itself. You just can't lose on Wall Street, even when you lose billions ...

Saturday whorage

As usual on Saturday, another chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

And, if you want to follow the progress of our trip to my ancestral home, click here.

Let us know what's going on at your place in comments.

The first truth ...

I heard about 'Charlie Wilson's War' since 1983:

... Charlie Wilson and the CIA funneled 3.1 billion dollars to Afghani resistance fighters in the hopes of defeating the Soviets. The thing is, a good chunk of this money went to a fellow named Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, a rabid anti-American who, with the help of his pal Osama bin Laden, used the money to establish a string of terrorist training camps across Afghanistan and Pakistan. At these camps, a group of yahoos got it into their heads that flying planes into the World Trade Center would be a good idea ...

They're still on the payroll, ladies and germs. Let's hope Tom Hanks goes broke on this one.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thought For The Day

From Allison Kilkenny at HuffPo:

The most brilliant trick the rich ever pulled over the poor was when they reinforced fractures between the serving class. The rich have always encouraged the poor to think of themselves tribally. Irish, Italian, Black, Blue-Collar, White-Collar, Asian, Indian, Arab, Christian, Muslim, Man, Woman, Child, Elderly, Northerner, Southerner, West Coast, East Coast. After all, when the poor squabble among themselves, they can't really unite and...ya' know...set fire to the plantation.

A pretty good comment on Repuglican policy.

Have a very ...

White House Christmas. From an email Gord sent me. Definitely not safe for work.


And while we're at it, our pal Skippy dug up another great Christmas message.

Quote of the Day

One of our all-time favorite bloggers, the Rude One:

... For Bush and Cheney and many Republicans and some Democrats, democracy is like being told you can jack off in the corner while this big-dicked stud fucks your wife ...

Obstructionism, the thing to do ...

Yes, I'm a posting fool this morning because the Mrs. and my cousin are out shopping, professionals both, and I have some free time to get caught up on the blog world. Greenwald's post from yesterday is most enlightening:


As Benen notes, the GOP has used the filibuster as a common tool on virtually every piece of significant legislation, all part of what Trent Lott described as their strategy: "The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail . . . and so far it's working for us."

But this extraordinary obstructionist behavior has hardly been highlighted at all by most journalists covering Congress. Part of the reason for that is the fault of Senate Democrats, who have, in essence, allowed Republicans to filibuster without forcing them actually to filibuster, thus removing the theatrical display of the obstructionism. But the obstructionism is the same, and it ought to be reported as such. But it isn't.


I think the Dem leadership needs a remedial class in Civics 101.


Whereas filibusters were previously used as an extraordinary tool to preserve minority rights in the Senate, and were routinely depicted as "obstructionist" by the press when wielded by Democrats, they have now become the standard course for Republicans. Yet [Washington Post reporter Paul] Kane, and most other Congressional reporters, simply refuse to point that objective fact out -- that Republicans are using this obstructionist tool on virtually every issue at a record rate -- because to point that out would be to violate the Sacred Law of Balance, even though it is true. [my ems]


You can thank Josef Goebbels Rupert Murdoch and his gang of propagandists at Fox Noise for giving the term 'fair and balanced' the aberrant, bastardized meaning it has today. Most of the Washington press corpse wouldn't know either 'fair' or 'balanced' if it bit them in the ass.

Abuse ...

Generally I've learned, over 45 years of life, that people who hold the lives of animals in disregard, or are actively cruel to them, are horrible human beings.

Culling the herd ...

Don't let it hit ya in the ass:

GOP presidential dark horse Tom Tancredo, angry at being called a "dark horse," is cutting and running, abandoning his bid for the presidency.

Back to your cave, asshole.

Local wanderings

We didn't stray too far from home yesterday. We visited an old Jewish cemetery I never knew existed and a castle I used to grovel around in when I was a kid.

If you've missed anything and want to get caught up on the trip so far, just go here and scroll down. I set it up so everything will stay on the main page for the duration.

Justice ...

Charge 'em with murder ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snow Day

We got another foot of snow overnight, so I was out bright and early this morning participating in the Sierra Nevada Homeowner Winter Pentathlon, which consists of:

1. Snow shovelling
2. Ice scraping
3. Snowthrowing, with sub-event
a. Trying to keep the dog's nose out of the augur
4. Stand under a pine tree when it unloads its snow (aced this one! It's all in the timing...)
5. Try to not fall on your ass

I learned something (again) and I'll pass it on: empty the snow out of your hoodie before you put it on your head.

Anyway, after all that exertion, which is good for you, I was taking off my snow boots and felt the dreaded sproinggg! in my lower back. Uh-oh. I basically just got Mrs. G's truck out and had lots more snow to move. I can do it in pain (lotsa practice) but it's no fun.

Mrs. G called and I told her about it. She said, "Gee, it's too bad we don't have one of those Shiatsu massaging cushions."

At this point, the lights came on in my head and I went and (gently) unwrapped her Christmas present.

Fifteen minutes with that thing and three ibuprofens and I'm rarin' to go! If you have need of a back massage, I recommend one of these gadgets. It's a lot cheaper than the alternative, the Japanese massage lady who walks on yer back. Unless she doesn't eat and can sleep standing up in the closet next to the vacuum cleaner, of course.

Did I mention that the storm passed by and the Sun is brightly shining and it's a beautiful day? See ya.


Yes, I remembered to re-wrap Mrs. G's present. Loosely, just in case...

She'll never suspect a thing...

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

AFP via Raw Story

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website (Be patient - no bandwidth, lotta traffic - G).

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.

Note to Russ: Best wishes for you in this endeavor. Let us know how this 'free and independent' shit works out. Might start a trend...

Huckabee Gets Endorsement From Talk Show Host

"Now I understand Mitt Romney's a Mormon - well, isn't that special? Don't Mormons claim that Jesus is the brother of. . .SATAN?"

A tip o' the Brain to Don

Quote of the Day Zwei

BuzzFlash, in response to "Commander: Al-Qaida still able to attack."

America Under FDR was able to defeat the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and Mussolini in less time, but then he wasn't an imbecile like junior and a megalo-maniac like Cheney, both chickenhawks to boot.

Of course, in those days, war profiteering was merely a side effect of the war, not the main reason for it.

The Army's Other Crisis

Andrew Tilghman in Washington Monthly. Lengthy, but worth a read if you give a shit about what has been done to our military and how and why mid-level officers and NCOs are making career choices with their feet.

Why the best and brightest young officers are leaving

But the greatest concern is how the exodus of the best and brightest will affect the Army's long-term capacity to win wars, counter threats, and keep the peace. Today's lieutenants and captains are the pool from which three- and four-star generals will be chosen twenty years from now. If the sharpest minds aren't in that pool, we could wind up — to put it bluntly — with a senior leadership of dimwits.

Scary. Imagine an Army run by unqualified officers, not that there's ever been any lack of those, just like the present Commander-in-Chief...

Quote (and Quandary) of the Day

Wendy Rochman:

What’s a Teacher to Do? 'No teacher wants to tell her students that their president is a liar and a criminal. And yet, our president is a liar and a criminal. As a teacher, should I tell children the truth, and act to uphold our Constitution and Bill of Rights? I am charged to do just that through the legally binding state and local professional educator standard, requiring me to model the democratic ideal. My failure to do so could be grounds for my dismissal. But here’s the catch: doing so could also be grounds for my dismissal!'

Much more.

I feel for this lady and others like her. I'm damn glad I'm not in her position. I've been fired for telling the truth and was damn glad to be out of a place where that could happen, but there was always another gig down the road a ways.

The truth has a liberal bias, and is therefore not to be taught to the impressionable children who will be paying for this administration's lies for the rest of their lives.

"...keeping the nation hooked on its unbelievably destructive brand of heroin."

Today's 'must read' by Mark Morford:

As part of my ongoing effort to save my own soul and avoid repeatedly stabbing myself in the eye with a fork in screaming frustration, and also because it's Beltway politics and watching it too closely is akin to having your cerebral cortex raped by encephalitic trolls, I've only paid cursory attention to the massive, landmark energy bill that's right now passing like a painful gallstone through Congress and getting snagged here and gutted there and stripped of key provisions over here, all so Dubya won't veto it, given how it might be just too mean to his fat, piggish pals in Big Energy.

Besides, it's an energy bill. It's Congress. It's like saying "altar boys" and "the Vatican." What are the odds of something good coming of it?

It's so brutally hypocritical as to be actually rather insane: We're on track to spend $2 trillion on a failed Iraq war that's tied directly to our appalling oil dependency, and yet we can't even allocate the governmental equivalent of pocket change toward encouraging people to install a solar panel on the condo? What kind of nation are we, really?

Well, the Dems tried. And they failed. They failed because they're not smart enough and they don't play dirty enough and they're completely terrified of Dubya's shiny newfound veto pen, which he apparently just found under his box of Osama finger puppets and private stash of gay stem cells. They failed because, despite their hairbreadth control of Congress, the oil-sucking GOP henchmen are still deeply entrenched and are clinging to their corporate cronyism like a Kentucky teen clings to his meth pipe. Hence, one of the most impressive pieces of legislation in 10 years gets choked to death like a pit bull at Michael Vick's house. What, too harsh? Not even close.

Please read the rest.

Pennies behind the fuses?*

Mrs. G came up with the reason for the fire yesterday in the Cheney area of the Eisenhower office building - all the extra shredding in the effort to keep some of the higher-ups out of jail overloaded the electrical circuits.

*If you don't get that reference, ask your grandparents.

Hangin' wit da kidz ...

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.

Perspectives ...

Or, What a difference a half-century makes.

I was out early, having my morning cigarette (have I mentioned it's fucking cold here?), watching the dawn break, when Mrs. F joined me. She commented how beautiful it was in this valley. I said that I always expect to hear Grieg's Morning playing whenever I step outside.

That thought brought me back to a story my mother used to tell me.

It was near the end of WW2, late '44 or early '45, and my mother was home for a bit of leave before going back to the field hospital where she was a nurse. The Americans had an artillery battery set up a few miles away on the other side of this mountain.

She said they would lob shells into the town on a regular basis, forcing the residents to seek shelter in their basements. A few miles away, on the other side of town, there was a German anti-air battery set up.

One day, an American fighter plane came in low, from this direction. She thought he was either looking for German supply convoys or was going to line up to do a ground assault on the local train station.

As she watched (from the spot I took these pics), she heard the German AAA open up and they caught him, the plane crashing in a fireball on the mountain in the first pic. Being a nurse, mom didn't think twice, stuffing a bag with supplies and running to the scene. All she found when she got there were the scorched remains of a fighter plane and the pilot's right hand with a wedding ring on the finger.

60 years later, it's almost impossible to believe this place was once a war zone. As I stand here in disbelief, trying to comprehend the inhumanity that took place here, I think of the people in Iraq, also once at peace and, through no doing of their own, are now feeling the effects of the horror we've wrought upon them. This little town, this little slice of heaven on God's Front Porch, knew only horror and death for years thanks to a man named Hitler. The Iraqis know the same horror and death (for it's all the same to the innocent) thanks to a man named Bush.

Hopefully the Iraqis can move on from what we've done to them but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. It is imperative we right the wrongs we've done, just as the Germans did so many years ago. The Iraqis must have their Morning and it's up to us to give it to them.

As always, click on the pics to embiggen. I'm going upstairs to breakfast now, but after thinking about this and my mother's war, I don't think I have an appetite.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ex-Mormon Cartoonist Says Romney Not Telling Truth

Heh. I well understand the feeling Mr. Benson must have about being described as an "Ex-Mormon Cartoonist". I myself have been described in newspaper articles as an "Unemployed Motorcyclist". Praise of the highest order! But I digress...

E & P

As an ex-Mormon, Arizona Republic editorial cartoonist Steve Benson has strong opinions about current Mormon Mitt Romney. He said the Republican candidate's recent speech on religion should not be trusted by media people and other Americans.

He told E&P that, in his view, a Mormon believer is required by church doctrine (as dictated by the church's "living prophet") to "obey God's commands" over anything else. He said "Romney, like all 'temple Mormons,' made his secret vows using Masonic-derived handshakes, passwords, and symbolic death oaths that he promised in the temple never to reveal to the outside world" -- and that Romney also secretly vowed to devote his "time, talents" and more "to the building of the Mormon religion on earth."

"When Mitt says he belongs to a church that doesn't tell him what to do, that's false; it's a 24/7, do-what-you're-told-to-do church," asserted Benson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1993.

That was the year Benson left what he calls the "Mormon cult." [...]

Romney "needs to face an informed member of the media with 'cojones' who has a working and perhaps personal experience with Mormonism," said Benson. "It would be harder for Romney to do his well-practiced duck and dodge."

An informed member of the media with 'cojones'? Fat chance, white boy.

Benson predicted that Romney will not win the Republican presidential nomination. If Romney is nominated, added the cartoonist, he will not defeat his Democratic opponent.

Voters, said Benson, "are not ready for someone in the Oval Office who has committed to absolute obedience to a religion they feel is extremely odd and not in the American mainstream. I trust the rational U.S. electorate, not the weird Mormon God."

I got a sneakin' hunch that the Repug candidate is gonna be None Of The Above, but one thing's fer sure - we damn sure don't need any more Jesus freaks, Godsquadders, or weird racist cultists such as Saints and neocons, in the White House. We got a pretty representative combo of all that right now and it's like to wrecked the joint

House passes Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act

Think Progress

Last month, Iraq war vet Jordan Fox revealed that some wounded soldiers were being asked by the Pentagon to return part of their enlistment bonuses. Today, the House passed the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act to ensure that future soldiers aren’t treated like Fox. The legislation will ensure that members of the armed services who are discharged as a result of combat-related wounds receive the full compensation to which they are entitled by the Department of Defense. Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, spoke on the floor this morning. Watch it:

Thank you, Congressman, but if it gets through the Senate, Bush will probably veto it as being too expensive under his "no pull trigger, no get food" policy for Veterans.

Time drops Kristol, Krauthammer

The New York Observer via Think Progress

Two conservative Time magazine columnists are on their way out the door: Neither William Kristol nor longtime contributor Charles Krauthammer will be on contract with the magazine starting next month. [...]

The exact reasons for the departures of Mr. Krauthammer and Mr. Kristol, both high-profile backers of the Iraq war, are not entirely clear.

Gee, ya don't think it could possibly be because these two warmongering neocon bastards are high-profile backers of the criminal Iraq war, do ya?

The Time spokeswoman would not detail the reasons for ending the contract of Mr. Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, but said that the decision was mutual. Mr. Kristol did not return a call for comment.

Lemme tell ya what 'mutual' means from my experience over five decades of being a mechanic - it means "You're fired", "Fuck you. You can't fire me! I quit!". Mutual. It's the reason toolboxes have wheels.

It took me years to figure out to just let 'em fire me without saying "I quit" so I could get unemployment insurance...

Note to Time: Canning those assholes is a step in the right direction, but that guy Ponuunuunnuuu or whatever that you're considering sounds like you're just replacing two neocon extremists with a garden variety right wing extremist. Watch it.


MFBTGR* has a 'must read' post that will bring a smile to your face.

So why is the Republican establishment suddenly in a state of near-apoplexy about Mike Huckabee? Shouldn't they be happy? They've been cultivating evangelicals and fundamentalists for 30 years. Now they finally have a candidate who's truly part of the movement. So what's the problem?

Actually, that is the problem. The evangelical crowd was fine when it was just a resource to be cynically exploited every few years in demagogic anti-gay get-out-the-vote campaigns. But now the holy-rolling monster the GOP's Dr. Frankensteins have created has thrown off the shackles, fled the lab, and is currently leading in Iowa. And the party doesn't know what to do.

It's actually fun to watch the consternation. Ross Douthat has dubbed this feeling "Huckenfreude," which he defines as "pleasure derived from the outrage of prominent conservative pundits over the rising poll numbers of Mike Huckabee."

Please, please, please go read the rest!

Perhaps it's not Hucklomatic to admit to great Huckenfreude watching the Repugs commit Huckocide, but hey, just Huckin' Huck 'em.

*My Favorite Big-Titted Greek Redhead

Tech note

Just so you all know, I found I can't send email here. I'm looking into it but I'll be coming home in 10 days so it isn't a great priority. So to all those folks who've written (I can receive fine), I'm not ignoring you and I'll respond as soon as I get back Stateside.

That is all.


[As always, a big Brain welcome to Sideshow readers and great thanks to the wonderful Avedon for the linkage.]

C & L has the goods but I loved this line:

“I’ve been asked, what’s the first thing I’d do as president in the year 2009, and January 20th. And I’m going to give you back your Constitution, because this administration has gone out of it’s way to do just the opposite and the Constitution does not belong to a political party or a candidate and they’ve been trampling all over it.”

By the way, thanks to Bush, there are a lot of pissed off Germans here and people aren't shy about telling me what a buncha assholes we've become.


And let me just add, these are people I've known for more than 40 years. People who thought Jack Kennedy was the greatest thing since sliced bread and whose dream it was to come to America. People who used to ask me to send them anything (t-shirts, stuffed animals, posters) with an American flag on it. As far as they're concerned now, we can shove it all up our collective ass. Being they have experience and all ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now, if I could remember my favorite things...

I got this via e-mail from my friend Bev:

[It wouldn't be funny if it wasn't so true!! Julie Andrews turned 69. To commemorate her 69th birthday, the famous actress/vocalist made a special appearance at Manhattan 's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favorite Things" from the legendary movie
"The Sound Of Music." with a few minor changes to the lyrics....

Here are the actual lyrics she used:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, and hearing aids andglasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses;
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings. These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad, I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no need forsinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim, Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

(Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.) Please share Ms. Andrews' clever wit and humor with others who would appreciate it.]


I passed this on, as directed, to some of my over-60 crowd. Alert as ever, my pal Barb got back to me almost instantly. Turns out it apparently ain't true. It's funny anyway.

Soufflenheim and Betschdorf

As promised, we took a trip across the border into the Alsace. First to the town of Betschdorf and then on to Soufflenheim. I posted a few pics from Betschdorf (here) and more from Soufflenheim (here and here).

R.I.P. Irony


Former President Bill Clinton said Monday that the first thing his wife Hillary will do when she reaches the White House is dispatch him and his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, on an around-the-world mission to repair the damage done to America's reputation by the current president — Bush's son, George W. Bush.

I hope it causes G.H.W. Bush chest pains every time he realizes this whole thing could have been prevented if he'da not been so horny he didn't want to stop at the drugstore that day in '46...

Quote of the Day


From the Senate floor, Ted Kennedy just cut through all the crap:

The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.


Our Town

A few pics from the old cemetery and church in our little town. We're heading into Alsace-Lorraine (the French border is 10 minutes from here) for, why else, so Mrs. F can shop. Soufflenheim, the town we're going to, is known for its handmade pottery and ceramics.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Edwards talks tough. I like it.

Chicago Tribune

"The few, the powerful, the well-financed, they now control the government," John Edwards told a tight crowd of about 350 last week. "They've taken over your democracy. And it affects everything that happens in this country."

"Everything," he emphasized.

At 54, Edwards has jettisoned the polite and unthreatening populism of his 2004 presidential campaign for a sharper edge. The beaming smile, the bluejeans and the open-collar shirt are still a constant. But the "Two Americas" message has been replaced by one America, and it's time, he says, to take that America back.

"I know some people suggest we'll be able to sit at the table with drug companies and oil companies and think they can get their power away. Right," Edwards said dismissively, indirectly referring to the approaches he says Obama and Clinton would take.

"I'll tell you when they'll [corporations] lose their power: when we take it away from them," he told a cheering crowd at the Grinnell Eagles Club.

Finally, someone's tellin' it like it is. Fuck bein' nice to the Repugs and corporate elite. They take, take, take from us and we have to TAKE our country back from them.

They're not going to give up all the money and power without a fight. There might be a few bloody noses along the way, but ya gotta bring some to get some.

I watched the Lord Of The Rings movie "Return Of The King" for the first time last night. Almost a perfect metaphor for what's goin' on in America, and for what needs to be done to correct it. It's no accident that about the meekest guy ever was tasked with destroying the evil ring of all power. Everybody else fought like the blazes to give Frodo the time and space to get 'er done and he came through like a champ in the end.

The Democrats lately have demonstrated that they're about as meek as they come, but I hope they can find as much balls as the Hobbits to do what needs to be done. Edwards ain't exactly Frodo, but perhaps he'll do.

AT&T engineer says Bush Administration sought to implement domestic spying within two weeks of taking office

Raw Story

Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday's New York Times article revealing new details of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”

"9/11 changed everything" my ass. It sure was a good excuse to let them do what they were doing anyway, though, wasn't it?

And everything else Bush wanted to do as well that he was already planning to do, from expanding presidential power to starting his criminal Oil War. Makes ya kinda wonder...

Quoteof the Day

Tony Peyser on the 'steroids in baseball' report:

Even President Bush weighed in: "My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid era of baseball behind us." That's his administration and all Republicans in a nutshell. Whether it's a phony war, real torture, or spying on U.S. citizens, Jeez, don't put it in FRONT of anyone. Are you crazy?

Christmas Market

Went to a Christmas market yesterday evening by train in a beautiful little town called Deidesheim. It was really cold but we had a good time. Shit, anytime Mrs. F can shop is a good time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Guten Morgen!

I took some pics this morning on my way to visit my mom at the family plot. More ot follow when I have time.

Signs of the times

Me 'n Mrs. G just wrapped up what little Christmas shopping that we do, and while we were out I saw some fun stuff I thought I'd share.

At Joby's Music, which also does a fair imitation of a head shop in this day and age, where we got a record and some peace sign earrings for Mrs. G:

"Marilize Legauana"

On some holiday napkins at the best one-stop shopping spot in our little town, distinguished by the smell of fryin' plastic, this ditty which sums up the spirit of the season quite well, I think:

"On Dasher
On Dancer
On Master and Visa"

And at the candy store where we got a white chocolate truffle each to celebrate being over and done with the commercial end of Xmas for another year:

"'Stressed' spelled backwards is 'Desserts'"


Fredo no longer 'Lawyer of the Year'

Raw Story

On Friday, Editor and Publisher of the American Bar Association Journal Edward Adams released a statement saying that fallen Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, previously named "Lawyer of the Year," will now be known as "Newsmaker of the Year."

"We appreciate the feedback we've received," says Adams, "and we're acting on it."

Heh. That's a nice way of saying "we got our ass handed to us over it".

A more apt award for Gonzales might be "Un-Indicted Co-Conspirator of the Year".

" 'Special Comments' became necessary..."

In case you missed it, Go check out Keith Olbermann on Bill Moyers' show last Friday night.

Moyers was interested in Olbermann’s “Special Comments,” which the MSNBC Countdown host says “became necessary” after former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld equated war opponents with Nazi appeasers.

“I [read] this ridiculous remark and I waited to see somebody respond to it,” he said. “And no one did. I’m thinking, well, you know, somebody with a platform ought to be talking about this. Somebody with a– with an avenue to respond should be– oh, yeah, I have a platform.”

As much as I enjoyed that show, i don't think these gentlemen should appear together very often. One well-placed round could wipe out the two most honest journalists in America, and we can't afford to take that chance.

Latter-Day Republicans vs. the Church of Oprah

Daddy Frank sounds off on Romney's cult, "The O Show", and the hugely undersung matter of race in the coming election. A 'recommended read'.

THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment (go see O'Donnell go off on the Mormon cult! - G) while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”

I love 'The McLaughlin Group'! I call 'em 'The Shouters'. Usually it's Eleanor Clift (be still, my heart!) as the Voice of Sanity against the Forces of Darkness Buchanan and Blankley, moderated, if that's the right word, by curmudgeonly ex-priest McLaughlin. I've been missing it lately since both the PBS stations I get are kinda in a perma pledge drive and shine on this little show in favor of old rerun music from my youth. But I digress...

Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.”

That claim just happens to be true. [...]

The answer is simple. Mr. Romney didn’t fight his church’s institutionalized apartheid, whatever his private misgivings, because that’s his character. Though he is trying to sell himself as a leader, he is actually a follower and a panderer, as confirmed by his flip-flops on nearly every issue.

On to The big O:

But Washington is nothing if not consistent in misreading this election. Even as pundits overstated the significance of “Faith in America,” so they misunderstood and trivialized the other faith-based political show unfolding this holiday season, “Oprahpalooza.” And with the same faulty logic.

“Church free” is the key. This country has had its fill of often hypocritical family-values politicians dictating what is and is not acceptable religious and moral practice. Instead of handing down tablets of what constitutes faith in America, Romney-style, the Oprah-Obama movement practices an American form of ecumenicalism. It preaches a bit of heaven on earth in the form of a unified, live-and-let-live democracy that is greater than the sum of its countless disparate denominations. The pitch — or, to those who are not fans, the shtick — may be corny. “The audacity of hope” is corny too. But corn is preferable to holier-than-thou, and not just in Iowa.

No shit.

For those Americans looking for the most unambiguous way to repudiate politicians who are trying to divide the country by faith, ethnicity, sexuality and race, Mr. Obama is nothing if not the most direct shot. After hearing someone like Mitt Romney preach his narrow, exclusionist idea of “Faith in America,” some Americans may simply see a vote for Mr. Obama as a vote for faith in America itself.

My goodness! That was damn near an endorsement!

As much as I like Bill Richardson, it doesn't look like he's getting much traction. He might be better doing something else anyway. or veep.

I'm startin' to lean toward Edwards. Hillary wants business as usual with Big Corpora, Obama wants to chat pleasantly with them as if that'll work to change the role of Big Money in our country, but so far only Edwards wants to take them on for the evil they are and do by standing in the way of progress for Americans on a wide range of profit-generating issues.

Edwards is a lot nicer about it than I am. When I'm Benign Emperor Of All That's Good, I'd start with an air strike on K Street, followed by an infantry assault and a roundup of lobbyists, CEOs, etc., who would be treated to an unusual (for them) and well-deserved expenditure of taxpayers' money - plane rides to exotic places followed by motivational chats of my own devising which would be fully legal under present administration guidelines.

And God would be on my side, of course...

Election 08: An Unwelcome Endorsement

Got this via e-mail from our pal Lurch: