Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

What Might Have Been

Bill Press says:

I know it’s futile to dwell in the land of what-might-have-been. But these days we just can’t help it.

If only they’d counted all the votes in Florida in 2000. . . . If only we lived in a country where the person who got the most votes won the election. . . . If only the Supreme Court still respected states’ rights. . . . If only the man who deserves to be president were in the Oval Office, how much different — how much better — things would be.

I can well remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the morning of Septemebr 11, 2001. Yes, sick at the horrible news, some of the most horrible thus far in my lifetime, but horrible news is bound to happen, and most folks supposed that terrorists would strike dramatically some day. The added sickness in the pit of my stomach was that we were having to face such horrible events with the least legitimate administration since Hayes, and one led by a very shallow man. Like virtually everyone in my party, I kept that premonition to myself and tried to support an administration I distrusted. In return for that patriotic support I was insulted and belittled by the Republican machine which viewed this horrible event, not as an opportunity to unite the nation and the world, but as a chance to marginalize the opposition and advance itself politically. History continued to turn out worse, afterwards, than I had feared on September 11.

How different history might be if a stateman like Al Gore had been in the office he was elected to. We would have had a shot a prevention. At least there would not have been total inaction on terrorism as there was under Bush. In the aftermath of an attack Gore would have reached out to the other party and to other nations for support and cooperation. He would have recognised the real enemy and focused our response. He might not have been as warm and fuzzy as a Clinton or a Reagan, but he would have been measured, intelligent, open to advice from all sides, cooperative with the opposition and with the rest of the free world, and decisive. When he made mistakes, as surely he would, he would have owned up to them much more readily than Bush, and adjusted his tactics and strategy when necessary.

I will really be torn in 2008 if both John Edwards and Al Gore run for president. Gore would make a potentially great president but he is not a magnificent television-age candidate. Edwards has the comfort 'in his own skin' that I attribute to some of the great politicians like Clinton and Reagan but hasn't the long record of statesmanship that Gore has.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Memorial Day Post

The Lady Speaks eloquently here.
A hat tip to Donkey Path.

Happy Birthday to My Niece!


My sister, Joan of Daddy's Roses, wrote a beautiful tribute to the kid (left) who made me an uncle back in the days of "Camelot". I heartily concur with Joan's sentiments on this topic! (I couldn't resist polishing the old pic a little with iPhoto).

While you're visiting Daddy's Roses, Joan will tickle you with this "stupid" post.

By the way, Joan and her hubby are in the midst of joining the re-accumulation of our dispersed tribe to the promised land, here among the seven hills of Rome. There are six houses of us here now. There's room for more -- Jan, Carol, David, Lyn?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

May, or Maybe Not (from Monthly Marathon)

I wish more folks would get involved with the Monthly Marathon. I need the encouragement! We haven't been very dedicated to it in May. We have walked very sporadically and kept poor to non-existent records.
With graduation for Lil and the usual end-of-year madness for a teacher, time has been short.

A couple of weeks ago I popped into our local Salvation Army Thrift Store, as I do often, to check out the latest book donations. There, among the usual tangle of rusty, warped, and/or dented No-Names and Huffys, were a matching pair of green Raliegh Sprite Bikes, probably 30 -40 years old but in good shape for their age. Knowing they were great bikes in their day I bought 'em for $9.99 each, threw them onto the truck and drove them straight to Bob's Cycle Shop. I told the new Bob (the original Bob sold out a few years ago) to put on new tires and cables and fix 'em up for me. I figured $50 bucks apeice, he estimated $75, the final bill was about $100 each. But, be that as it may, for a little over 200 bucks we have two cool green smooth-running ten-speeds.
Today was our first chance to give them a decent workout. We rode them along the riverwalk to the Braves Stadium and back (9.2 miles). Brannon took our pics as we celebrated with strawberry popsicles on our return. The pic is in our backyard. The Riverwalk is on the levee in the background.

New Old Bikes

This is a cross-post from the Monthly Marathon.
I wish more folks would get involved with the Monthly Marathon. I need the encouragement! We haven't been very dedicated to it in May. We have walked very sporadically and kept poor to non-existent records.
With graduation for Lil and the usual end-of-year madness for a teacher, time has been short.

A couple of weeks ago I popped into our local Salvation Army Thrift Store, as I do often, to check out the latest book donations and other junque. There, among the usual tangle of rusty, warped, and/or dented No-Names and Huffys, were a matching pair of green Raliegh Sprite Bikes, probably 30 -40 years old but in good shape for their age. Knowing they were great bikes in their day I bought 'em for $9.99 each, threw them onto the truck and drove them straight to Bob's Cycle Shop. I told the new Bob (the original Bob sold out a few years ago) to put on new tires and cables and fix 'em up for me. I figured $50 bucks apeice, he estimated $75, the final bill was about $100 each. But, be that as it may, for a little over 200 bucks we have two cool green smooth-running ten-speeds.
Today was our first chance to give them a decent workout. We rode them along the riverwalk to the Braves Stadium and back (9.2 miles). Brannon took our pics as we celebrated with strawberry popsicles on our return. The pic is in our backyard. The Riverwalk is on the levee in the background.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

With Justice For All

With Justice For All

Congress has just passed a $70 billion tax cut bill. This $70 billion give-away to the wealthy is futher evidence that we live in an unfair society, and should be yet another wake-up call that our democracy is in deep trouble.

According to Robert Reich, secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton, writing in CommonDreams.org, 87% of this $70 billion will go to the 14% of American households earning above $100,000 a year and 22% of the benefits will go to the richest two-tenths of one percent of American households -- those earning more than a million dollars a year.

Reich says that the rich are now paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than at any time in the last seventy-five years, and that middle-income workers are now paying a larger share of their incomes than what people with the largest incomes pay. He calls this $70 billion tax cut, “irresponsible and obscene.”

Ben Stein, in an article in The New York Times, writes that, “America is becoming a nation of many rich people,” and that there are close to 10 million millionaire households, and hundreds of thousands of individuals who make more than $1 million each year.” Stein writes, “Good for them. But it is unlovely for them to pay as little tax as the now pay.” He says, “It's about fairness.”

It would seem that a democratic country logically would structure itself so that a majority, and more, of its citizens would concur that that the structure is fair and that the structure protects and advances the concept of justice for the average citizen. It would seem, that in a democracy, a majority of citizens would demand legislative actions that would advance basic fairness -- justice for all -- and that a candidate's understanding of fairness and commitment to fairness would be the biggest factor in determining whether he or she would be elected. It would seem that, in a democracy, a majority of citizens would demand that structures for economic fairness, economic justice, would be advanced and protected.

But, it is obvious, American democracy is not working in any logical way. What is fascinating about American democracy today is that a powerful clique of individuals has gained control of the levers of government to the point that they flaunt their power. This clique has bought and paid for the opportunity to use the levers of governmental power to shamelessly advance a selfish agenda that is patently unfair to the vast majority of citizens. This $70 billion tax cut for the wealthy is just the most recent example.

The fact that our democracy is not working as it should is obvious by what has happened in the last 30 years. In 1967 a book was published by Herman Kahn entitled, “The Year 2000.” In that book, Kahn speculated that in the year 2000, the average work week for American workers would be 20 hours, that the average worker would have much leisure time and that the average worker would have much increased personal wealth. Obviously this has not happened. People today, generally, are now working more hours, not less, and have diminished economic security, compared to 1967.

Kahn came to his predictions about the future by correctly extrapolating spectacular increases in productivity 33 years into the future and by correctly envisioning the great increase in wealth that this increased productivity would produce. The unstated premise of Kahn’s book was that a democracy would assure that this great increase in wealth would be fairly shared by average citizens. Kahn was correct about the increase of wealth but incorrect in his premise that our democracy would see that this increased wealth would be fairly shared. Obviously, the political process that should have protected the interests of average citizens, over time, was subverted for the advantage of the few. Obviously, this huge increase in wealth created since 1967, has not been fairly shared.

This subverting of our democracy for the advantage of the few has accelerated and, in fact, has been exalted in an “in your face” attitude by George W. Bush and his buddies. This $70 billion tax cut, regardless of massive deficits, regardless of a diminishing social safety net for average citizens, aptly demonstrates the arrogance of those who flaunt power, who show disregard for any sense of fairness or justice, and who seek their own selfish advantage.

How American democracy has been subverted, to the detriment of ordinary citizens, should be a key election issue. We need to support candidates who have a passion for “justice for all,” who can articulate a vision for justice and who can and will advance ideas for increasing justice.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Karl Rove indicted?

Truth Out's Jason Leopold is reporting that Rove has been indicted for perjury regarding his involvement in the outing of a CIA agent:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051306W.shtml

I have been expecting this. What a shame we couldn't have verified more of the dirt before the 2004 election. How much longer will it take the Republican Congress to live up to the oath its members swear and and begin real investigations of the many scandals of this administration?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Off the Limb...temporarily

I'll be off the limb and out of the tree for a few days. Maybe Mike will chime in once or twice, If not, y'all check out Oh!Pinion. He waxes eloquent on a variety of issues including, lately, the new CIA chief, "guest workers", Hannity-style concern, and Patrick Kennedy's good example. Oh!pinions are always well-crafted.

Hey, Mike! How about a post or two?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oiloholics

Craig at Donkey Path points us to Cynthia Tucker's column on our oil addiction.


Cynthia says:

"...we are still swilling straight from the bottle -- while lecturing others on the merits on temperance."

Craig says:
"The history of America is not perfect but it's essential to understand that the history of most nations on this Earth has not been perfect. If Americans have an advantage, it's that we have reinvented ourselves several times after making mistakes and then we have moved on. I don't believe we're out of ideas and I don't believe we're out of courage. I have no doubt that we're in for more difficult times but we, the people, are not powerless."
Craig adds insight to Tucker's. Both are worth reading.

Friday, May 05, 2006

In regard to the mainstream media coverage of Ray McGovern's confrontation with Rumsfeld, MCJoan of DailyKos writes:
When does the fact that people are opposed to this administration and are willing to say so loudly and publicly stop becoming the story? Is it too much to ask that the media actually start examining the content of that opposition, and reporting on that? The story is not Stephen Colbert. The story is not Ray McGovern. The story is the lies.
Ad hominem arguments are certainly not exclusive to the Rove-Bush machine (I resolve often to avoid them myself, but it feels sooo good to lambast the so-and-sos occasionally - Rove-Bush machine--ahhh!! And, I suppose, MCJoan could have used "incompatible statements of the two sides" in place of "lies" above.), but the president's folk have perfected this form of distraction from real debate, and seem to carry the main stream media along effortlessly. When an ambassador or general or any Democrat disputes their policy they attack his motives, or patriotism, or sanity, or emotional stability, and barely bother, if at all, to counter his arguments. Whether Bush, or Rove, or Wilson, or Zinni, or McGovern, or Yours Truly, is a blacker sinner is irrelevant. As every good Methodist knows, we are all vile sinners. The rightness of policies is not always directly proportional to the purity of motive of its proponents. Let's debate the message rather than the messengers for a while. And the media should do the same.

Presidential Powers

John Dean writes about a discussion of the powers of the Commander-in-Chief in his post today. He wonders about a legal scholar who wholeheartedly endorses the actions of George Bush, will he:
"...look back on his views the way many of those involved with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II have done - and regretted to their dying day their misguided zealotry."
What I want to ask my Bush-supporting friends is: Would you want Nixon or Clinton to wield such powers?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fear no evil

Need an uplifting, intriquing minute or two? Visit the Questing Parson. It was through him I found this little gem.

My pastor, David Campbell, gives some of the tightest, most deftly constructed sermons of any one around. If you're ever in Rome GA, stop by Trinity United Methodist Church and listen to David. This week he wrote about the Da Vinci Code in our newsletter.

Of course my favorite pastor is my mother. You can read some of her sermons and other writings at Ruthlace.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Brannon's home, Lil's a senior, camp next week, school's winding down, life is busy!

If you need to balance right wing blarney with a little reality, check out Donkey Path, Oh!Pinion, ZenYenta, or one of the other reality-based blogs on the right. Meanwhile, escaping political drama for a bit, take a look at my lovely daughter dolled up for the prom last weekend:




(Click on a picture to see an enlarged version)