Friday, April 07, 2006

An Appreciation of Bob Dylan

There's this great thread going on over at Blondsense where people are sharing their favorite Bob Dylan lyrics, and I realized that, hell, I could blogjam over there and tie up the entire thread with mine, or I could roll my own.

So roll away.

My favorite lyrical pieced of all time is Idiot Wind....

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can't help it if I'm lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at,
I couldn't believe after all these years, you didn't know me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the backroads headin' south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven't known peace and quiet for so long I can't remember what it's like.
There's a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin' out of a boxcar door,
You didn't know it, you didn't think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin' every battle.

I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin' 'bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are makin' me see stars.
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies.
One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzin' around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,
Blowing through the curtains in your room.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn't enough to change my heart.
Now everything's a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped,
What's good is bad, what's bad is good, you'll find out when you reach the top
You're on the bottom.

I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can't remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes don't look into mine.
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the building burned.
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the springtime turned
Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can't feel you anymore, I can't even touch the books you've read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin' I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin' glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I'm finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You'll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I'll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats,
Blowing through the letters that we wrote.
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves,
We're idiots, babe.
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.
You can feel the anger and remorse practically in the same line. It astounds me.

Another of my favorite songs is Tangled Up In Blue. I guess because I know the places he's talking about in the Village and have my owm memories of them, this one really strikes hard...
Early one mornin' the sun was shinin',
I was layin' in bed
Wond'rin' if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bankbook wasn't big enough.
And I was standin' on the side of the road
Rain fallin' on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through,
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess,
But I used a little too much force.
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best.
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin' away
I heard her say over my shoulder,
"We'll meet again someday on the avenue,"
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin' for a while on a fishin' boat
Right outside of Delacroix.
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind,
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was workin' in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer,
I just kept lookin' at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear.
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I's just about to do the same,
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, "Don't I know your name?"
I muttered somethin' underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
"I thought you'd never say hello," she said
"You look like the silent type."
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin' coal
Pourin' off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs,
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air.
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died.
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside.
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

So now I'm goin' back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.
Thanks, Jersey Cynic!

Please Pilot, Rev The Engine, Just Once?

An Offer To The President

Libby: Bush OK'd leak


April 7, 2006

WASHINGTON -- For more than two years, President George W. Bush has decried leaks and threatened to fire anyone who revealed classified information. But a former White House aide told prosecutors it was Bush himself who authorized him to leak sensitive intelligence to rebut an Iraq war critic.
As you have effectively promised us you would fire yourself, you must be finding yourself in a bit of a pickle.

I mean, if you won't fire yourself, then surely Congress will keep you to your word, especially after the November elections when the Democrats will take back at least the Senate and very likely the House (the only reason the Republicans made gains in the House after the 2004 elections was due to the cynical manipulations of one Tom DeLay in Texas, forcing an illegal redistricting plan to secure more Republican seats, now under review by the SCOTUS).

Now, this may come as a shock to you, Mr. Bush, but you're running out of options to remain in office to complete two terms.

Many on the left take some of the things you've done-- passing the Patriot Act springs to mind-- as a signal that you are preparing to eventually declare the Constitution null and void, possibly after some really devastating "terrorist" attack, staged by you.

I have a simpler, more elegant solution: Declare your self queen. Monarch for lifetime, you can pass it onto Pierce or George the III, hell, your dyna-- I mean, family already has the royal thing in your blood! You're a distant cousin of Elizabeth II, and of Bill Clinton! You and the Clintons can exchange the throne every, say, ten years, as a sop to those pesky patriots who insist that there be free elections, though they don't seem to mind that you basically own the firm that runs them. So you can pull a Saddam and have yourself re-elected, ad infinitum, occasionally allowing Cousin Bill and Cousin Liz a say in who's next.

And check out the cool White House portrait I've painted for you...As Elton John always says, "America loves a good queen"...

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ladies, Have At It!

Nominate and Vote For the Sexiest Male Blogger

Unfortunately, I was forced to nominate myself, since a certain someone...who shall remain nameless but her initials are Miss C, forgot to post this link earlier this week AND didn't nominate me, so y'all can put in seconds for me, and then the voting will commence tomorrow.

I better see some votes up there for me! I know where some of you live!


I REALLY Hate Being Right All The Time...

Remember this little tidbit?
Sunday, April 02, 2006
File This Away For Future Reference...

Rice, Straw in Iraq to break deadlock

That's all I'm saying...until the inevitable failure.
Now comes this:
Iraqi Says Visit by Two Diplomats Backfired

Published: April 6, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 5 — A top adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday that the visit this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain had backfired, prolonging a deadlock over a new government and strengthening Mr. Jaafari's resolve to keep his post.

"Pressure from outside is not helping to speed up any solution," said the adviser, Haider al-Abadi. "All it's doing is hardening the position of people who are supporting Jaafari."

He added, "They shouldn't have come to Baghdad."

His comments were echoed by several political leaders on Wednesday, including Kurds and Sunni Arabs.

[....]The visit by Ms. Rice and Mr. Straw appeared to grate even on politicians who oppose Mr. Jaafari. "They complicated the thing, and now it's more difficult to solve," said Mahmoud Osman, an independent member of the Kurdistan Alliance, speaking Wednesday about Ms. Rice and Mr. Straw. "They shouldn't have come, and they shouldn't have interfered."

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And Your Bird Can Sing...

UK confirms first deadly bird flu case: report
Thu Apr 6, 2006 8:16 AM ET

By Ian MacKenzie
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Tests have shown a wild Mute swan found dead in a Scottish coastal town had the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu -- Britain's first case of the disease, Sky television reported on Thursday.

Officials from the Scottish Department of Environment said they had not yet received the test results from the bird, found last week.

The discovery in the swan of the highly pathogenic strain blamed for 108 human deaths elsewhere since 2003 would make Britain the 14th country in the European Union to find the disease on its territory.
Now, one thing I will say for England: they do seem to have an inordinate fondness for birds. The Tower of London keeps ravens under royal decree (one of the Henrys, I think) and of course, the famous pigeons of Trafalgar spring to mind.

So clearly, avian flu is of the highest concern in United Kingdom, and once it's in Scotland, it's literally a hop, skip and jump, across Greenland and Iceland, to Nova Scotia and the Maritimes and Canada, to the US.
However, Bob McCracken, past president of the British Veterinary Association, said contact between wild birds that may be infected and poultry should be kept to a minimum.

"We also have to work on the assumption that there is some spread among wild birds. "There is no doubt we are getting closer to the day when moving birds indoors will be necessary," he said.

Scientists said they were confident that surveillance for possible cases of the disease was good enough.
Translation: we have no clue what we can do, and so you're on your own, Jack...but see, this isn't the news that scared me. The article that scared me...
Nigerian H5N1 bird flu outbreak spreads to Lagos

By Estelle Shirbon
ABUJA (Reuters) - The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been found in backyard poultry and at a commercial farm in Lagos, Africa's largest city which is home to about 13 million people, health officials said on Thursday.

The latest discovery of the virus hundreds of miles from Nigeria's first infection indicates the disease is defeating measures to contain it and raises the prospect of much wider human contact with infected birds.
13 million humans and goodness knows how many rats, cats (which have now been included in the list of animals that will need protecting from the avian flu), dogs, livestock (it may be a city, but goodness knows what's there), and other transient critters. A highly contagious (and therefore widespread) virus that has defeated all efforts to contain it (Vietnam reported yesterday that chickens infected with the virus had been imported from China, which had claimed to have their outbreak under control), with very good odds of mutating to an infectious form in mammals, and all these mammals around Lagos as incubators.

All this occuring in the place where humans first evolved, and where some basic DNA mutations have not occured that many in the rest of the world have obtained. Any mutation to mammalian form will strike hard at the basic blueprint of humanity, if it happens in Africa.

Now THAT'S scary...


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Republican Family Values

(Hat Tip once more to Miss C)

U.S. official held in Polk sex-sting case

Amy C. Rippel
Sentinel Staff Writer

April 5, 2006

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official was arrested Tuesday after he had sexually explicit conversations with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl, authorities said.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, the federal agency's deputy press secretary, was actually talking to an undercover Polk County Sheriff's Office detective. Investigators said he sent pornographic movie clips to the "girl" over the Internet, used instant messaging to have explicit conversations with her and encouraged her to purchase a Web camera so they could exchange graphic photos.
As disgusting and personally repugnant as this story is, there's a *snark* element to it:

Secretary Ridge Announces "Operation Predator"

March 16, 2006: AG Gonzalez Announces International Child Pornography Ring Busted (hmmm....guess he missed Doyle...)

Now, you'd LIKE to think that the party of family values and religion would be upright and moral and would shun this guy like the plague.

Apparently, the Republicans have a problem with the shunning and the shibollething, and the boingyboingy mit the underage children...macht leben!
Republican Neverland ranch

Posted by: Brad Watkins
Thanks to Merritt for sending me this....yikes...

This list isn't speculation or conspiracy...sadly its a matter of public record.

Please send this out to whomever you deem necessary.

* Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.

* Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

* Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

* Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.

* Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.

* Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

* Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.

* Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.

* Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.

* Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

* Republican activist Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

* Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

* Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

* Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

* Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

* Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

* Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.

* Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.

* Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly had sex with a 16 year old girl when he was 28.

* Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.

* Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.

* Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.

* Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.

* Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.

* Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.

* Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.

* Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.

* Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.

* Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.

* Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.

* Republican politician Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).

* Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was charged with sexual misconduct involving a 15-year old girl.

* Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.

* Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.

* Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.

* Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.

* Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.

* Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.

* Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.

* Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.

* Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.

* Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

* Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.

* Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

* Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was charged with rape for allegedly paying a 15-year old girl for sex. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.

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Thank YOU, Mr. Obvious!

Giuliani: Another terror attack in U.S. likely

By Josh Noel
Tribune staff reporter

April 5, 2006

Speaking in Chicago today at an urban affairs forum, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani warned another large-scale terrorist attack on U.S. soil was likely.

"It's better to assume we will be attacked again and go from there," Giuliani said during a speech at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ya think?

Ya think the failures of the administration that you so whole-heartedly have supported, in stark contradiction to your years of battling fellow Republicans when they simply were wrong, *might* come back to bite us in the ass?

Ya think it's any wonder that the cities and areas with the largest and most dense populations voted for Gore and Kerry ahead of these jackasses?
"It would be irrational not to be afraid of another attack," he said. "But the fear should lead you to do what a police officer does or a firefighter or a soldier or what Mayor (Richard M.) Daley did: prepare."
Oh? You mean terrorizing the shit out of nation whenever you fall behind in the polls is not a good idea? That maybe, eventually, you end up being Chikcken Little, and people ignore you?

What is it with these bozos in the Republican party that they think it's OK to manipulate people until it isn't such a good idea (like, say, after a devastating flood) because it draws attention to their failures?

Why not do what every President should do: be honest with us.

No one expected another 9-11 attack right after the first, even if many of us were scared of one. We sensed that Osama had shot his wad for a while, and guess what? It took him 911 days to attack again, and even then, he had to attack closer to home. And then 7/7/05 happened in London. A little further away.

NOW is the time to have been preparing all along for an attack, but calmly, rationally. We had a terrorist attack, and the best this administration could do was give us a rainbow. And sell duck tape and plastic sheeting, produced, I note, by some heavyweight campaign contributors.

Rudy, as a side note, I really hope you run for President. And get clobbered, which is likely from both sides, because maybe, just maybe, the truth of your mayoralty will become evident to everyone: you are an unprincipled jerk who only knows how to promote yourself at the expense of those who suffer your ego.

(hat tip to Miss C for the're forgiven, officially :-) )

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Check Out The Time On This Post...

That's right...01:02:03 04/05/06!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Whole New Meaning To The "Rubber Chicken Circuit"

Dear Carl,

Tom DeLay announced he's quitting Congress today because he's afraid of losing his seat to a Democrat.

Democracy for America has dogged DeLay for years. With TV commercials and billboards, at rallies and online, DFA has been on the front lines of the battle to clean up Congress. But we didn't think DeLay would "cut and run" like he did.

If he did nothing wrong -- as he claims -- then Tom DeLay shouldn't be afraid of a re-election campaign in a district he drew for himself. But he is quitting by mid-June.

Let's help send Tom DeLay the rubber chicken award he so richly deserves:

For every $50 Democracy for America raises today, we'll send Tom DeLay an authentic rubber chicken for his mantle. It'll be our goodbye present.

If you can't donate today, you can still sign the "Thanks for the Memories" card that will go along with the chickens being delivered to his office in Texas:

My favorite memory is when DeLay called my brother, Howard, "a cruel and extremist demagogue."1 I bet you have a favorite DeLay memory too. Maybe the lobbyist funded golfing trip to Scotland; or the time he spouted, "I AM the federal government," in a Washington restaurant while chomping on a cigar.2

Send Tom DeLay a rubber chicken and a goodbye note today:

In 2006, with your help, the chickens will come home to roost.


Jim Dean
Chair, Democracy for America



Next Time A Fundie Right Winger Gets On Your Case About "Values"...

...remember this quote.

"On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis, Maryland, at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied:
"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible
The room erupted into applause. "

A Quote From Bill Maher

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission Accomplished!

"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just w ondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

"So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.'"

Remember When?

REMEMBER WHEN you displayed your flag on the front porch on the 4th of July, and you didn’t have to worry about whether it would be misinterpreted as support for a corrupt president and his administration?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘Support the Troops’ meant equipping our military with everything necessary for battle, instead of just being a catchy phrase that looked good on a bumper-sticker?

REMEMBER WHEN your tax dollars paid for things like improved education and social programs, instead of making Halliburton shareholders millionaires?

REMEMBER WHEN you watched movies about WWII, and it was the enemy who tortured captured American soldiers, instead of American soldiers torturing the people they’d allegedly ‘liberated’?

REMEMBER WHEN you heard something on the TV news or read something in a newspaper, and you didn’t have to go to the internet to find out just how much of it was fact, and how much of it was ‘spin’?

REMEMBER WHEN a politician was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and he resigned in disgrace, instead of excusing his own behaviour by claiming that his political opponents were equally as guilty of wrongdoing?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘Made in the USA’ labels on products were the norm, and not a total oddity?

REMEMBER WHEN you hitchhiked through Europe as a teenager, and you DIDN’T have to replace the American flag on your knapsack with a Canadian flag in order to be a welcomed guest in a foreign country?

REMEMBER WHEN organized crime figures had to make phone calls from the corner phone booth, because they were the only people who had to worry about wire-taps?

REMEMBER WHEN telling a fellow politician on the floor of the House to ‘go f*ck himself’ was considered behaviour unbecoming an elected official, instead of being accepted as the way a Vice President behaves himself?

REMEMBER WHEN you could pretty well count on the fact that if the president said it, it was based on sound intelligence and was probably true?

REMEMBER WHEN you could rely on your elected representatives to put your interests ahead of the corporations that filled their campaign coffers, or the lobbyists who gave them great basketball tickets?

REMEMBER WHEN you didn’t even KNOW what religion the people you voted for were, because it didn’t really matter? Remember when you didn’t know what party your neighbour belonged to, because that didn’t really matter either?

REMEMBER WHEN the pension you’d worked for your whole life wasn’t in danger of being wiped out by corrupt CEOs, assisted by respected accounting firms that made that corruption almost impossible to detect?

REMEMBER WHEN you could brag that as an American, you were guaranteed things like free speech and due process of law, without checking the nightly news to see whether those rights were still in effect?

REMEMBER WHEN the president upheld the law of the land, instead of coming up with ‘legal loopholes’ to support the idea that he’s above the law?

REMEMBER WHEN you could say, “I’m a proud American,” without qualifying it with a list of all of the things your government is doing that you’re not exactly proud of?

REMEMBER WHEN you actually thought that the people in charge of running your country were smarter than you were?

REMEMBER WHEN your parents worked all their lives to ensure you a better life, instead of worrying about how bad the life they’d be leaving their children might be?

REMEMBER WHEN the importance of clean drinking water and breathable air were unquestionable mandates, and not some crazy hippie agenda to be weighed against corporate profits?

REMEMBER WHEN questioning your government’s policies was seen as ‘participating in the process’, and not ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy’?

REMEMBER WHEN the ‘enemy’ was a country or military force that posed a threat to American democracy, and not a nation of innocent civilians who whose destruction was dismissible as ‘collateral damage’?

REMEMBER WHEN your country went to war based on facts beforehand, instead of constantly-changing suppositions after-the-fact?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘patriotism’ was judged by your words and actions, and not by whether you were a member of the party currently in power?

REMEMBER WHEN the ‘American Dream’ was attainable through diligence and hard work, and not the luck of the ‘outsourcing’ draw?

REMEMBER WHEN the election of a president was considered the result of democracy in action, and not the result of Diebold executives doing the job they were expected to do?

REMEMBER WHEN you sang ‘God Bless America’ as a kid, and never thought you’d grow up to wonder if, in view of your country’s actions, asking God’s blessing was asking a bit too much?

I REMEMBER WHEN … and I wonder if these ideas will become ancient history by the time those of us old enough to recall them are dead and gone.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

File This Away For Future Reference...

Rice, Straw in Iraq to break deadlock

That's all I'm saying...until the inevitable failure.

illegal McImmigrants

I found a few interesting facets of the undocumented worker debate in the following story:
A brogue gets heard in debate

Newsday Staff Writer

April 2, 2006

Tony emigrated from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1996, overstayed his tourist visa when it expired and set up a thriving floor installation business on Long Island.

For a decade now, the New Hyde Park resident has been living in the shadows - an undocumented immigrant who can't even get a driver's license. He hires someone to take him around.
Interesting tidbit #1: Notice that this is someone who's creating jobs (at least one, his driver, but I've installed flooring and unless you're working with tile, you need helpers) and after ten years, can't get a green card despite this fact.
O'Dowd, a Syosset resident who is publisher of the Manhattan-based Irish Voice newspaper, estimates that half the nation's 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants live in the tri-state area, with the others in cities including Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Many of the men work in construction, while the women are nannies.
Gee...nannies I get. It's hard to find native-born American women to work as nannies. But construction workers are hard to come by? Considering what union jobs pay (my dad was a carpenter) and the benefits, I'm shoc--...oh, right, union labor costs real money!
Most have come because Ireland's thriving economy is growing mostly in high-tech areas and excluding many low-skilled workers from the boom.
America, Third World country.

Seriously, we have it ass backwards on our immigration policy. We should be begging for low skill workers to come here, for a couple of reasons.

1) They're here. They're going to continue to come, legally or illegally, and anyone who believes we can seal off the entire border between the US and Mexico AND the US and Canada isn't paying attention to a few facts, not least of which is you would have to seal off the coastlines as well AND inspect each and every cargo container coming into our ports. That's how much people want to come in and work here.

2) They really DO the jobs we won't. Try hiring a teen to mow your lawn, and you'll see what I mean. Maybe if you live in a backwater town in rural America, where odd jobs can actually add up to a living, but not in the suburbs and certainly not in urban America. It's why McDonald's routinely pays higher than minimum wage now in those areas.

3) Let's be honest about this: low wage jobs are the backbone of this nation, like it or not, no matter your delusion about our economy. While Xboxes may put a bump into things, it's the folks who assemble computer parts, bullets, and mops that are the base of the economy. I hold no illusions that, because I move paper around my desk and earn a few bucks off finding discrepancies between what something costs and what it's worth, that I've contributed to the economy. I've merely tweaked it and fine tuned out some of the fat, and as business becomes more and more mechannized, my job will be obsolete soon enough: a computer does most of my number crunching now, and it's left up to me to try to find niches where I can exploit its talents.
Tony said his wife's driver's license expires next year, and they may have to move back to Ireland if immigration laws don't change.

"We have a great life. We love this country," he said. But "the noose is tightening around our throats every day. It's like we're squeezed and squeezed and squeezed slowly out of the country."
Final interesting point: you thnk the next wave of illegal immigration is going to be as dedicated and hard working as Tony?

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