Saturday, October 14, 2006

Throw Hastert Out Video - Great Stuff

Check out this great TV Spot on YouTube.

Chicken Hawks And Patriots - The List

So for all you folks out there who are wondering about that strong defense the Republicans are always talking about, here is a partial roll-call of the parties and their military service (courtesy of Zonk on AirAmerica blog):


  • Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
  • Tom Delay: did not serve.
  • Roy Blunt: did not serve.
  • Bill Frist: did not serve.
  • Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
  • Rick Santorum: did not serve.
  • Trent Lott: did not serve.
  • Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
  • John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
  • Jeb Bush: did not serve.
  • Karl Rove: did not serve.
  • Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Cleland's patriotism.
  • Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
  • Vin Weber: did not serve.
  • Richard Perle: did not serve.
  • Douglas Feith: did not serve.
  • Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
  • Richard Shelby: did not serve.
  • Jon Kyl: did not serve.
  • Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
  • Christopher Cox: did not serve.
  • Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
  • Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
  • George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
  • Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
  • Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
  • Phil Gramm: did not serve.
  • John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
  • John M. McHugh: did not serve.
  • JC Watts: did not serve.
  • Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
  • Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
  • Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
  • George Pataki: did not serve.
  • Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
  • John Engler: did not serve.
  • Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.


  • Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
  • David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
  • Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
  • Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
  • Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
  • Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
  • John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
  • Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
  • Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
  • Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
  • Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
  • Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
  • Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
  • Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
  • Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
  • Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
  • Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
  • Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
  • Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
  • Chuck Robb: Vietnam
  • Howell Heflin: Silver Star
  • George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
  • Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
  • Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
  • Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
  • John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
  • Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg

And for the pundits, politicos and preachers who rant and rave supporting war:

  • Sean Hannity: did not serve.
  • Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
  • Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
  • Michael Savage: did not serve.
  • George Will: did not serve.
  • Chris Matthews: did not serve.
  • Paul Gigot: did not serve.
  • Bill Bennett: did not serve.
  • Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
  • Bill Kristol: did not serve.
  • Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
  • Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
  • Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
  • Ralph Reed: did not serve.
  • Michael Medved: did not serve.

Eye opening isn’t it?

God, Guns & Gays Tactics Faltering For GOP

Finally there seems to be some kind of crack developing the issue of Gay Marriage for the GOP. A recent story in the NY Times discusses how new ballot measures in 13 states are loosing steam. Seems that the Third "G" of God Guns and Gays may be faltering ni the GOP Playbook.

Speaking of faltering the first "G" might be in trouble as well. In the new tell-all book by former Karl Rove assistant, "Tempting Faith" exposes how Republicans have "duped" the faithful in their campaigns. Additionally, quotes from Karl Rove calling the fundamentalists "nuts" won’t set well with the Religious Right.

That leaves the Gun lobby to hold up the faltering Republican elephant, and somehow I suspect that the NRA vote just won’t carry the elections.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Another GOP Diddling Pages? Jim Kolbe And Pages On Camping Trip

Well now looks like Jim Kolbe, Republican from Arizona is the next up in the gallery of shame. Questions have come up about a camping trip he took with pages 10 years ago. Another neocon in the closet?

NBC has the story, and it sounds like Kolbe may be next to take the perp walk.

Must See Video From ACLU

I was forwarded this flash presentation from the ACLU in my morning email. It is funny and poignant. Take 3 minutes and watch it.

More Sex Scandals In The GOP

I have a little shadenfreude about the Mark Foley thing I admit it, but in the great scheme of things it makes me sad. Foley, a closeted gay man, was living a sham life and acted out by going after vulnerable young men. I do not excuse his behavior, it’s not tolerable, but I understand the reasons he did it.

That said, it seems that the party that waved the flag of decency for so long is finally being examined to see if they live by their words. In other words, do the walk the walk. The answer would seem to be a resounding NO in many cases.

The Washington Post has a list of sex scandal tainted Republicans who are vulnerable because of their actions this year and they all deserve to be examined closely. Remember that this is the party that wraps itself in "family values" and moral decency. They have to be able to withstand the harsh light of examination if they are to uphold that cause. Otherwise, and this is what I really believe, they are just opportunistic hypocrites playing the Fundamentalists for patsies.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Abuse At Guantanamo Bay

Good Morning! How about another fresh batch of US prisoner Abuses at Gitmo for your morning coffee? Here goes another round of investigations. This time just this September, guards at the Guantanamo base prison bragged of bashing prisoners heads into walls and worse.

Read it and try to keep your breakfast down.

Had enough? Vote Democratic.

In Defense Of Foley Republicans Get Desperate

The Republicans must really be on the ropes. Chris Shays, Republican from Connecticut, tried to invoke the specter of Chappaquiddick in defending Foley from charges of sexual impropriety. Instead of working the tasteless and lame statement makes him seem like he is desperate and grasping at straws.

Republican playbook rule #3: If you can’t blame Clinton (rule #1) or the gays (rule #2) dredge up Chappaquiddick.

This is way beyond sad, it's pathetic.

Don't Miss Circus Roncalli - A European Delight

A note from our recent vacation in Europe. While in Vienna, a city I fell in love with, my partner and I took in a performance by Circus Roncalli. This jewel-box of a circus is the brainchild of artistic director Bernhard Paul, and it is classic European Circus at its best. The tent, wagons and concessions all sparkle like they were transported from the early 1900’s. They are preserved and recreated to museum quality standards, something rarely seen anywhere.

The show was an outstanding example of traditional circus. Hosted by one of the finest clowns in the business, David Larible, the performance was a delight. It included traditional equestrian acts such as liberty horses and dressage. The horsemanship was flawless, and coming from a Texan that is a compliment!
This picture above is the Roncalli tent in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) in Vienna.

One of the highlights was the acrobatic duo of Sorellas. These two incredibly handsome men perform trapeze and acrobatics that rival any in the world while providing a sensual and uniquely masculine aura to the whole act.

By the show’s end, the Viennese audience, predominately adults, were on their feet clapping in rhythm and cheering. The shows encores featured performers pulling members of the audience to the right for a waltz, fitting tribute to the city where the waltz was born. The performance has been held over until October 22 and rightly so. This is not a tourist show, it’s entirely in German and intended for European audiences, but if you ever see the tent, buy a ticket and don’t miss this wonderful experience.

Karl Rove Refers To Evangelicals As "The Nuts"

So what I have always though is proving to be the case. Seems the Republicans have just been using the Fundamentalist Christians as their gofers. In a recent book by David Kuo, "Tempting Faith" the author details how Karl Rove often referred to the Fundamentalists as "the nuts".

Nice way to refer to your base isn’t it? Cynical? How about two faced and fraudulent. Bush uses his alleged faith as a tool to whip up the Christian Right and yet his top aids deride those same people as wackos.

I sincerely hope the Fundamentalists realize that Bush and his party are not friends, they are just users, and the so-called Christian Right is being rightly screwed for GOP gains.

Mexico Tensions High In Oaxaca - This Could Get Ugly

With all the latest sex scandals in Washington, it’s hard to focus on other news. However, my eyes have been on Mexico ever since I spent a year living there back in the 1980’s. Our closest neighbor here in Texas lives in a state of illusion. On the face they present a democratic society with a growing economy and a tourist Mecca. In reality, Mexico is a country of contrasts. The rich are "super-rich" and the poor are dirt-poor and the middle class is struggling to keep its head above water.

Politically it’s about as corrupt as it gets. The last election as flawed by anyone’s estimate, and there is a protest shadow government-in-exile of Andrés Manuel López Obrador supporters who are an unrecconed with force in Mexico’s affairs.

In the state of Oaxaca there is a teacher’s strike that has become a full fledged social reform movement and has filled the streets with protestors day and night. The Mexican Army and Navy are standing by and at any moment things could bet very ugly. Obrador supporters have volunteered to be human shields to protect the protestors and tensions are high.

Meanwhile here in the USA, we get almost no news of this really explosive situation on our doorstep. I pray for peace in Mexico and that the two factions can settle their differences peacefully. Otherwise, we may have a full-fledged revolution just south of the border.

Another Republican Scandal - Richard Pombo And Abramoff

Another corrupt Republican politician? I am shocked! Well, not really. In this latest in a long string of corruption charges, California Republican Congressman Richard Pombo gets caught with his hand in the Jack Abramoff cookie jar, and with evidence staring him in the face continues to deny it.

According to Abramoff billing records he met with Pombo several times and bank records show Pombo received over $35,000 from Abramoff clients, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts. You got some ‘splaining to do Ricky!

This case brings to mind the phrase that is on a bumper sticker of my truck, "Had Enough? Vote Democratic".

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More Pages Claim Sexual Abuse By Foley

Ah, those online chat rooms and IM’s are really a problem for the GOP. Seems Mark Foley, already disgraced because of his soliciting sexual favors from an underage page is implicated in further hijinks with at least two more pages. Conversations about penis sizes and what they were wearing make up the juicy tidbits of these latest scandals.

The hypocrisy of the GOP is glaring through in this case and as more and more people are implicated as having known this was going on, the polls keep dropping. Wonder what Karl Rove is ginning up to combat this? I suspect no matter what it is it will look very transparent even to the former loyal religious fundamentalists who blindly followed he GOP as the defenders of morality.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Olbermann Calls Bush A Liar. About Time Someone Did.

I rarely watch MSNBC, because most of the time I find their journalism lacking in many ways. The lone exception is their commentator Keith Olbermann, whose straightforward criticism of the Bush administration I find refreshing. His opinions are well thought out and his commentaries are backed up with fact.

His latest is startling in its clarity and bluntness. He calls Bush a liar, and then documents the occasions where the President has fabricated statements and outright lied about his critics. It is refreshing to see someone on TV call it like it is. We have a president who is it of touch with reality and perhaps a compulsive liar to boot.

Check out the video of Olbermann's commentary on It is 11 minutes of hard hitting stuff that should give every American pause to think and act in November.

Google, YouTube & Wasting Time

So after the news that Google bought the fledgling YouTube, I decided to check it out. After watching people do absolutely stupid things for about a half an hour, I have decided that the average intelligence level of Americans is somewhere below that of a chimpanzee.

Clips of, and I’m being charitable here, idiots trying to slide down slides standing up, jump between buildings, back-flip from moving playground equipment and just beat each other in the face with folding chairs. It’s convinced me of three things:

1. Give an American a video camera and too much time and you will end up with a home made version of Jackass.

2. The basic laws of physics are not being taught to our children in school. Such as, when you jump off a ledge you will not fly, you will fall and most likely hit your head.

3. Watching people hurt themselves is strangely compelling. Kind of like a train wreck in slow motion. You know it’s going to be bad, but you can’t turn away.

All of which proves that I should have invested in Google or YouTube last year. Oh yea, the other thing is, how long before someone sues Google for copyright infringement from all the unauthorized TV clips ending up on YouTube? Guess that investment was not such a good idea.

Stewart/Colbert '08?

Even though I have often thought of adding a Stewart/Colbert 08 bumper sticker to the growing billboard on the tailgate of my truck, I have resisted. A simple "Had enough? Vote Democratic" sticker will do for now. Stewart, the king of fake news, says of the growing phenomenon, "Nothing says 'I am ashamed of you my government' more than 'Stewart/Colbert '08"

As for me, I think having a comedian as president might not be too bad, after all right now we have a clown.

Monday, October 09, 2006

FBI May Have Covered Up Foley Sex Scandal

Looks like the FBI may be involved in covering up the illicit activities of Republican Congressman Foley.

Emails were turned over to the FBI over 2 months ago took no action. Check the video on CNN.

Kid With AK-47 Symptom Of The "Gun Culture"

Every time I hear of another kid pulling a gun at school I have to believe that this is another example of the "Gun Culture" in our country coming home to roost. We can’t continue to keep teaching our kids that settling their problems with guns is OK. Now before anyone goes and responds to this post with a typical NRA rant, hear me out. We teach our kids this deadly message every time we teach them that revenge is the answer to a problem. We teach them this every time we send a criminal to the death chamber. We show them that problems are solved with killing every time we justify wars. We teach them this every time we take them to a violent movie that is rated Parental Guidance. They learn our morals watching the evening news, when they see that problems in the adult world are often settled with violence.

Kids are impressionable and they are smart. They see our morals better than we do and though we may tell them settling matters with a gun is wrong, we often don’t reflect that in our actions. How often in this allegedly Christian country do kids see Jesus teaching of turning the other cheek put into practice?

When was the last time you settled a disagreement with a calm discussion and tried to reach a consensus instead of winning your point? For me it is a struggle, but I keep reminding myself that if I try, really try to follow Jesus teachings I have more success than when I don’t . Maybe the kid in Missouri with the AK-47 will learn that the only question a gun can answer is one with a deadly result. I pray for a day when guns are only used for target shooting and kids can go to school without walking through metal detectors.

Back From Vacation

My partner and I got back from our European vacation last night and I am still recovering from jet lag. One thing stuck out as remarkable and a big surprise. The city of Vienna. Not only is it a remarkable jewel of European art and culture, it is so clean it was shocking. The sidewalks were sparkling and even though there were smokers everywhere, cigarette butts were at a minimum. The mass transit system is so well run and is so comprehensive that very few people drive. The delightful side effect is that Viennese seem to have nice legs, both men and women!

The dirty little secret of Europe is smoking. It seems that everyone smokes. For that, I am grateful for US smoking regulations. Restaurants in Europe are filled with a hanging haze of second hand smoke. It is a wonder the food tastes as good as it does; I can only imagine how it must be in a tobacco free environment.

Luckily the weather was terrific and we only ate a couple of meals inside the whole two weeks.
Politically Europe seems fairly stable, with the exception of Italy. More than once we heard people talking about Mussolini in fond terms. "He wasn’t such a bad guy" was the quote that disturbed me most. We also got to see a Communist parade in Rome protesting the Iraq war among other things. I thought the Communist party had disappeared, but apparently not in Italy, since they hold a few of seats in the Italian Parliament.

More later, now sleeeeeep!