Sunday, January 28, 2007

Read the book: think for yourself.

"Hello! Earth to Emory!"

President Jimmy Carter has been lambasted by some on the knee-jerk right and some knee-jerks on the left for his latest book. How dare he take a balanced approach to the Israeli/Palestinian issue! Jody Powell writes, in a letter to the editor in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to point out that Carter is definitely not unused to such vitriol: he's endured it since he first began trying to deal with reality in the Middle East as President in 1977:

Strident 'friends' of Israel
never give Carter a break

In her attack on Jimmy Carter's book, Emory Professor Deborah Lipstadt surmises that he is "unused to criticism."

Hello! Earth to Emory! In 1977, I watched with pride and trepidation as he told the American people the truth —- peace for Israel required a "homeland" for Palestinians. The response from self-styled "friends of Israel" was swift and brutal.

In subsequent years, the same chorus retaliated in similar terms when Carter said that multiplying Israeli settlements on Palestinian land was profoundly destructive to prospects for peace.

More recently, Israel and the chorus seem to have concluded that Palestinians do qualify for a homeland and that those settlements were a costly mistake. Apologies from the chorus were no doubt lost in the mail.

Now, Carter has tried to explain why Palestinians are so angry and what must be done to end the shedding of Palestinian, Israeli, and American blood in that holy, misery-stricken land. The professor responds with the same old epithets and innuendo from the same dog-eared script. She accuses him of "anti-Semitic stereotypes" and "traditional anti-Semitic canards," of providing "refuge for scoundrels," "trivializ[ing] the murder of Israelis," and "minimiz[ing] the Holocaust." She notes that a fellow chorus member describes the man who risked his presidency to bring peace between Israel and Egypt as "moronic." In a final bow to civil discourse, the distinguished professor charges Carter with "giving comfort" to Holocaust deniers.

After all that, Lipstadt can't fathom why one might conclude that criticism of Israeli policy will be met with vitriol and intimidation rather than reasoned debate. She also seems unable to comprehend the corrosive damage that such hateful outbursts do to the cause and the country to which she is so obviously devoted.

For those confused and distressed by all this, one small suggestion: Read the book ["Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"] and think for yourself.

Powell served as White House press secretary in the Carter administration.

A Poem to Start the Week: Love that brother!

September 13

I don't want to
because boys
don't write poetry.

Girls do.
So begins Sharon Creech's wonderful little book, Love That Dog. It is another of those books I must read to my fourth-graders each year. Written entirely in verse, it is the story of a boy irritated at his teacher's insistence that he write poetry.

By way of this aggravating instructor, Jack is introduced to William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, William Blake and, most importantly, to Walter Dean Myers. Along the way he changes his mind about poetry. When Jack writes "inspired by" Myers he produces his own little masterpiece poem, the title poem of the book, "Love That Dog".

At the back of the book is a short anthology of the poems mentioned in the book.

After we read it, of course, my students get their own chance to write "inspired by" Walter Dean Myers. My nine and ten year old students have produced lots of "Love That..." poems. My favorite is by Kylee. She added a beautiful little ironic twist.

Here's the first stanza of the poem that inspired Jack.
Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run

I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run

Love to call him in the morning
love to call him

“Hey there, son!”

from "Love That Boy" by Walter Dean Myers

Here's Jack's "inspired by" response:
Love That dog
like a bird loves to fly.

I said I love that dog
like a bird loves to fly.

Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
"Hey there Sky."

by Jack from the book, Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech

And here is Kylee's effort as best I remember it:
Love That Brother
like my Dad loves pink.

I said I love that brother
like my Dad loves pink.

Love to call him in the morning
Love to holler,

"Hey! You stink!"

by Kylee as her teacher remembers it.

Here's the complete Walter Dean Myers poem:
Love that Boy,
Like a rabbit loves to run.

I said I love that boy,
Like a rabbit loves to run.

Love to call him in the morning.
Love to call him,
"Hey there, son!"

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk his his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he's happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I'll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He'll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.

by Walter Dean Myers

I hereby resolve to buy a copy of Brown Angels, Myers's book that includes "Love That Boy". I already own Love That Dog.
I've written before about some of my favorites among children's books here, here, here, here, and here.

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.

By the way, the new Caldecott and Newbery Award were announced this week. I can't wait to get my hands on the Newbery Award winner The Higher Power of Lucky. Cynthia Lord's Rules, one of the three Newbery Honor books this year, also sounds like a interesting book.

Here's a previous Poem to Start the Week: Oh Frabjous Day!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Separated at birth?

Non-political fun!

I Look Like My Dog Winners!

After the fan gets dirty...

I don't mean to make the Limb merely a signpost pointing the way to Oh!Pinion but I so enjoy S.W.'s use of the language and his insight, that I have to frequently holler, "Look at that!" Today he has an artfully worded warning for those who have hitched their wagons to the current denizen of the Executive Mansion: particularly toxic Republican administrations, second- and third-tier White House staffers tend to get the worst of it after the fan gets dirty...
- S.W. Anderson
My response to what has come to light, so far, in the Bush/Libby scandal:

Isn't it interesting to see that during a time when you would have expected a statesman President and all his aides to be concentrated on pacifying Iraq, finding an outstanding and diverse Iraqi leadership group, making his adventure actually work to the national good, this President's team may have been preoccupied with squashing American dissent.

Kinda reminds me of an earlier presidency with a very filthy fan.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Terrible Price

SW Anderson at Oh!Pinion commented on the Brave Humans post immediately below. As usual SW is articulate, eloquent, and right on:
It’s good that you call attention to this terrible price. That you challenge people to not let these lives being sacrificed at a steady trickle become a mere statistic, an abstraction to which people need not relate personally and emotionally.
Click here to read the complete comment.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Life's Work

Brian at Brave Humans has written another thought-provoking post. He has 25 students in his 8 o'clock class:
... Over the weekend twenty-five U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq. The equivalent of my entire 8:00am class in a single day. My entire class. The student who calls Mountain Dew a girlie drink, gone. The one who thinks he knows everything, gone. The one who struggles with math, gone. The one who sits in the back staring at the ceiling only to ask really advanced questions from time to time, gone...

Daddy Through the Eyes of Another Generation

The sweetheart whose advent made me an uncle has written a post about my father. Thanks, Lyn!

Here is an excerpt:
He would do anything in the world for us and to help us. I remember one time he had broken ribs. I don't remember how he broke them. I was a teenager. We went to visit him and he was outside grilling. I snuck up on him and grabbed him from behind in a bear hug. He turned around and greeted me with a huge grin and hug. As I turned to walk away, I looked back and he was wincing. Only then did I remember his broken ribs! He hadn't wanted to show me that I had hurt him. He didn't want me to feel bad.
The thing that I most appreciate about my father was his unconditional love. Each of us knew that he would drop anything and everything to help us if we were truly in need. It's great to have this treat of a look at Daddy through the eyes of my niece.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Senator Webb on the War in Iraq

Senator Jim Webb responded beautifully to the President's speech tonight. Thank you, Virginia, for sending this good man to the Senate. I suspect Webb will be an important figure in the history books that cover the next few years of our national life. Wouldn't it have been great to have someone so thoughtful and serious to deliver the primary address tonight.

Here are the concluding paragraphs that deal with the war in Iraq:
Like so many other Americans, today and throughout our history, we serve and have served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country. On the political issues - those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death - we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us - sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it.

The President took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable - and predicted - disarray that has followed.

The war's costs to our nation have been staggering.


The damage to our reputation around the world.

The lost opportunities to defeat the forces of international terrorism.

And especially the precious blood of our citizens who have stepped forward to serve.

The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought; nor does the majority of our military. We need a new direction.

Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos. But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.

On both of these vital issues, our economy and our national security, it falls upon those of us in elected office to take action.

Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War II. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.

These Presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world.

Tonight we are calling on this President to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.

Thank you for listening. And God bless America.

36 years!

Fort Mountain Georgia
(I found this picture at this site.
I didn't see the photographer's name.
Click on the pic so enlarge it.)

January 23!
This is a very special anniversary for Sheila and me.
I wrote about it, briefly, a year ago.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Flitter Mouse

I certainly felt like a flittering little mouse. Desperately flipping the pages of the score, peering through my bifocals with my head tilted backwards, frantically trying to keep my eyes, my tongue, my tones in place as the pros around me sang precisely and with vivid expression and confident volume, and I sang a beat late, a half-step high or low, and mangled the words. Strauss is spinning in his tomb as I post. I have agreed to a small part in Die Fledermaus. I will be Dr. Blind, the stuttering, incompetent lawyer. I stuttered but my stutters were not in the right places. I am certifiably incompetent, however, and not only in the law. I have surely lost my mind.

Not me.

I will be sixty years old in a couple of months and yesterday I attended my first opera - actually two short operas by Puccini. Shock! I really enjoyed them. I thought that before I performed in an operetta, I should, at least have seen and heard an opera in person. I admit to secretly listening to a few arias from the operatic literature in recent years, and I even asked my voice teacher to help me learn to sing my favorite, Puccini's Nessun Dorma. But I never expected to be asked to perform in an opera - actually an operetta, but it's close enough for me.

So, y'all come. March 8 & 9, 7:30 p.m., Rome City Auditorium. I'm gonna work really hard to avoid making a complete fool of myself.

Please leave your tomatoes at home.

The Groundhog State of the Union

A cousin sent this little funny to me and I can't resist. Given the "humor" on the so-called conservative blogs I s'pose this can't offend.

Once again, Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address will occur only a few days apart.
This year it is an ironic juxtaposition of events: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication...while the other involves a groundhog.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Poem to Start the Week: Oh, Frabjous Day!

"Mr. Shaw! Do you remember me?!"

It happens often -- in the mall, Circuit City, Home Depot, at Kroger. I don't know the fellow shopper/sports fan/fair goer from Adam (or Eve). I've finally reached the point in life that I usually just fess up: "You look mighty familiar -- remind me of your name."

I taught him or her twenty or ten or thirty years ago. We catch up for a minute or two and then she asks: "What was that great book you read about those runaway kids?" (The Lion's Paw by Robb White) or "Can you still recite 'Jabberwocky'?" (by Lewis Carroll).

I love it. They may not remember the lessons but they remember The Lion's Paw and "Jabberwocky".

As most of my regular readers know, I teach nine and ten year old children in public school. My primary duties right now are in science and social studies, but there are a few things too near my heart to ignore, even if I have to stretch things a bit to fit them into my curriculum. I love children's literature and squeeze some oral reading out of homeroom time every day. I've written about some of my favorites among children's books before, here, here, here, and here.

I also love plain ol' storytelling and I do a lot of that. A while back the silent Burton (He really ought to try a post) videoed several of my stories for a DVD we called "Of Beamish Boys and Foolish Frogs". Maybe we'll get around to marketing it one of these days.

Another area of special interest to me is poetry. You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here. I also have a cache of poems that I always recite for my fourth graders during the year - Nash, Millay, Frost, Silverstein, Ciardi, Hughes, and, of course, Carroll.

I discovered a wonderful blog dedicated to Poetry for Children, and it inspired me to want to post an occasional favorite poem here on the Limb.

Here's my all-time favorite poem to recite for children. You'll find it in lots of anthologies intended for us older folk as well. It's nonsense and anything but. Several of Lewis Carroll's portmanteaux from this poem -- chortle, galumphing, burbled, whiffling -- have found their way into Webster's during the last century and a quarter.

You're sitting there at your computer, all alone? Read it aloud! It'll be a lot more fun. Come on, loosen up!! Don't hold back. It'll do you good. A kid in the vicinity? Call 'em in. You'll be glad you did.

(Added 1-03-08: Hear my podcast of Jabberwocky here.)


by Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Giving 101%

My friend, the (down)Right Rev. Frank Logue at Irenic Thoughts, has a fun little coded tote board on his blog this Sabbath morning. Since I'm not reverend, I'll just steal it. I'll leave a little of his post unmolested so maybe you folks will visit his blog and see what's left. :-)



Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%


1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you

L- O- V- E O-F G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that while Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, but it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hitting the Nail on Its Head

Peggy Noonan and other apologists for the neo-con/Republican disaster of the last six years point to the verbal gaffes, inelegant vocabulary, and tortured speech patterns of the President as the cause of the remarkable lack of positive response in the public to his much ballyhooed speech last week. That's hogwash in the well-expressed Oh!Pinion of our blogosphere friend SW Anderson:
"Bush’s communication failure and inability to persuade have nothing to do with awkwardness in expressing himself. Rather, the problem is Bush’s record of dishonesty, lack of candor, [and] disrespect for facts..."
I read Oh!Pinion! every day for SW's clear, creative, incisive prose and his well considered analysis. He strikes the nail squarely on the head today.

SW, if you ever make it from (Is it Iowa?) to Rome, Georgia, I hope you will stop by and let Sheila and me treat you to some sweet tea and a good meal.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Day

Lining up along First Avenue today.

Marching up Broad Street last year.

As I have for many consecutive MLK days, at 11 this morning I joined two or three hundred fellow admirers of Martin Luther King to parade and sing and chant for five blocks up Broad Street from the Etowah River to the City Auditorium. On this day, last year I wrote a couple of posts:

Walking for Peace, Justice, and Brotherhood

A Meaningful Mile

Today our crowd was a little larger, I think, than in the past -- maybe because of the unseasonably warm weather. I soon had to roll up my long sleeves. There was never a thought of a jacket. We sang "We Shall Overcome", Kumbayah", and "Ain't Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around". Right past the once segregated, now long closed, lunch counters. Right past the long-closed department stores with their dual water fountains & restrooms.
Under the stony gaze of a granite Rebel soldier who guards Rome from atop Myrtle Hill. Up the wide street where proud and optimistic sons of Rome paraded before heading North to defend our homes from Yankees and where Sherman and his men defeated Rome's bedraggled home guard, in preparation for that final fiery dash across the state to Savannah.

There surely were some folks squirming in their resting places in the soil of Myrtle Hill - the leaders under the grand stones near the summit, the many Confederate and few Union soldiers under uniform stones on the far side, and the common folk, black and white, some under unmarked, rough stones -- One hopes they all "understand it" in the "bye and bye".

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Senator Webb takes on Lindsey Graham & Robert Gates

Craig at Donkey Path points the way this morning to some comments by our new US Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb. Here's a taste:
There's really nothing that's occurred since the invasion and occupation that was not predictable and in fact, most of it was predicted. It was predicted in many cases by people with long backgrounds in national security...and in many cases there were people who saw their military careers destroyed and who were personally demeaned by people who opposed them on the issues, including members of this administration. - Senator Jim Webb

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Is it possible to unscramble an omelette?

At least twelve Republican Senators are now expressing some degree of concern about the Bush escalation of the war in Iraq. Here's one example:

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, decorated Vietnam veteran, to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee-
"Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous. As a matter of fact, I have to say, Madam Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam -- if it's carried out."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why 20,000?

I am no military expert, to state the obvious, but:

I oppose escalation of the war in Iraq, but given that the forces in Iraq are not going to be redeployed by this President, it seems to me that an escalation of 20,000 is just a minor tactical move rather than a real new strategy. If we are serious that we will settle for nothing short of "victory" (I assume that means we insist on a stable, friendly, government in Iraq before we withdraw) doesn't that call for overwhelming force and real sacrifice by the American people? Shouldn't he be asking for a great many more troops? Maybe doubling the troops there? Can we really pacify such a large (and largely hostile) population with such a small escalation (in percentage terms).

On another topic: I notice that John Edwards has called for cutting off funding for the escalation. This is the first time I have been very uneasy with something Edwards has said. Can we force Bush to abandon his plan for escalation or will cutting off funds serve to weaken and make more vulnerable our troops?

These are concerns I'd like to hear discussed by some of my blogging friends.

Our Goal: The Vitalization of Democracy

Why Do the Heathen Rage?
Why Does My District
Always Vote Republican?

What is clear is that when the grassroots speak, via elections, in my district they speak with a loud voice that they prefer Republicans. Such speech baffles me.

Why do the heathen rage? The heathen rage, in the final analysis, I guess, because they dwell in darkness. Part of the problem in dealing with the heathen is that the heathen don’t know that they dwell in darkness; they do they know that they are bound by ignorance. Part of the problem is that the heathen have allegiance to false ideas. And so they rage.

The idea of sending light to free mankind from its darkness has inspired progressives and missionaries throughout the ages. It is through enlightenment that one is educated. Certainly an educated heathen would not habitually rage, and certainly an educated voter would not habitually vote Republican.

It almost seemed that speakers who fondly eulogized and reminisced about President Ford were also reminiscing about a former version of Republicanism that has now disappeared. By their character sketches of Ford, implicitly, many speakers negatively contrasted President Ford to President Bush. I was reminded by watching the Ford funeral that Republicanism, as personified by George W. Bush, is certainly much less attractive than Republicanism as personified by Gerald Ford.

I wonder if many of the habitual Republican voters in my district are not really sick of this new Republicanism and that, with the right approach, many could be persuaded to vote Democratic. Truthout republished Bill Moyer’s essay, “For America’s Sake” originally published in The Nation. Moyer writes, “The American public is committed to a set of values that almost perfectly contradicts the conservative agenda that has dominated politics for a generation now.”

So, why does a large potion of the public continue to vote for Republicans who push a conservative agenda? Evidently, many voters really do not understand that the Republican agenda contradicts their own core values. Surprise, surprise: voters make election choices that are based on misconceptions and ignorance.

And so, the answer to ignorance is education, the answer to darkness is light. How easy it is to say, but how difficult to comprehend a coherent vision of what providing education or sending light to the electorate might really mean. The Grassroots Committee needs to think through The Plan that will succeed in freeing those bound by ignorance. The Grassroots Committee has a lot of work to do.

This is the first part of a three part analysis to be presented to The Montgomery County Democratic Grassroots Committee.

The Grassroots Committee:
Specifying Purpose

There are two key questions of purpose that the Grassroots Committee should seek to answer: What are we trying to accomplish? What does accomplishment look like?

Imagine in November, 2008, this Dayton Daily News (DDN) report is published:
County Votes Democratic In Landslide Sweep
A vigorous grassroots movement culminated yesterday in a Montgomery County landslide of Democratic victories. Democrats won in each General Assembly race; a Democratic won the 3rd Congressional District race; and a Democrat won, by an unprecedented margin in this county, in the Presidential race.

The aspect of the story that would seem to me most amazing, is the fact that even those districts most gerrymandered -- districts that habitually vote 65% Republican for General Assembly members -- would vote for a Democrat to go to the General Assembly. It may seem that such an event is impossible, but I think that such an event is, in fact, very feasible. We have a unique conjunction of elements that makes such a result feasible: time -- 2008, place -- Dayton, Ohio; and circumstance -- Ted Strickland is our Governor. What we need is The Plan.

I’m trying to focus my thinking on is the phrase, “grassroots movement.” I am wondering: What in the world would a “movement” look like that could be credited with such a stunning result? What would be its beginnings? What would keep it going?

Milton Friedman on Market Mechanisms
Milton Friedman, the Nobel winning economist who passed away in 2006, wrote about grassroots in terms of “market mechanisms.” He said:
Fundamentally, society's resources can be organized in only one of two ways, or by some mixture of them. One way is by market mechanisms: from the bottom up. The other way is by command: from the top down. The market is one mechanism. Authoritarian organization-the military is a clear example--is the other. The general gives the order, the colonel passes it on to the captain, and so on down the fine. In the market, the orders come the other way. The consumer walks into a store and gives the order and the orders go up. These two mechanisms have very different characteristics and are suited to handle very different problems.

“Market mechanisms,” the force coming from the bottom to the top is what grassroots action refers to. We sometimes hear of a low budget movie, for example, becoming a great success because of word of mouth enthusiasm. We could ascribe the success of such a movie to the power of a “grassroots movement,” because its success happened through a bottom up process.

In an effective democracy, ideally, in the market of ideas, the interests of ordinary citizens, in a bottom up process, would guide the formation of public policies. Ordinary citizens, in a sense, in Friedman’s phrase, should give the orders and the orders should go up. An effective democracy should be all about a vitalized and fully engaged grass roots. Obviously, our democracy falls far short of this ideal.

Vitalizing The Grass Roots
My conclusion is that what we are trying to accomplish, the purpose that should guide The Plan, generally speaking, is the vitalization of the grass roots. The grass roots is not just the 30% of voters who have identified themselves as Democrats, but the grass roots consists of all potential voters. A vitalized grass roots is one that is informed and engaged. To be engaged means much more than simply voting, but the simple gauge of voting gives an indication of the magnitude that grass roots action may involve. A vitalized grass roots in this county easily could translate to 50,000 more votes cast in each election. To seek to vitalize the grass roots, by any measure, is to seek to actualize a huge goal.

The election of Democrats will be a byproduct of a vitalized grassroots, because an educated and engaged grassroots will discover that it is the Democratic party that is inviting ordinary citizens to meaningful participation and it is the Democratic party that is focusing on representing the interests of the grass roots.

Vitalizing Our Democracy
The cynicism, apathy , distrust and even hostility that is directed toward our political system by ordinary citizens is a phenomena that needs to be carefully considered. The cynicism of the electorate reflects a contempt of the political process and a general mistrust of political parties. As a party we should do whatever is possible to address the reasons for cynicism in any way that we can, and, by our actions, gain public trust.

We need to take this attitude: Our point as a political party is not to elect Democrats -- in the sense that we have Democrats on the shelf, ready to go, ready to be marketed -- our point as a major political party is to create opportunities and structures that will facilitate the working of democracy.

As a major political party we have a huge and special responsibility to nourish our democracy. We have the opportunity to engender and inspire leadership that will be truly reflective of and responsive to the grass roots, leadership that will represent a bottom up phenomena. As a major political party, in my judgment, in fact, we have a huge responsibility to encourage and develop effective, responsible, and creative leadership at all levels -- and the most important level to do this is at the grass roots.

Developing Leadership
My basic thought is that transformation at the grass roots level can only happen by transformation at the individual level, more specifically, by the development of and commitment to leadership at the individual level. What is clear is that the vitalization of the grass roots will depend on the efforts of many grass roots leaders. How these many leaders could emerge is a key question.

The commitment to leadership often comes through vision, through inspiration. I remember in 1968 when Robert Kennedy inspired many to individual leadership. What we can offer to inspire grassroots leadership is a powerful idea that should find support in all quarters: the vitalization and the practice of democracy.


Our Plan of Action has two questions to answer:
  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. What does accomplishment look like?
In this Part 1 of this analysis, I suggest that the goal we should seek to accomplish initially may look impossible: an imminent Democratic landslide. I suggest when the grass roots become informed and engaged, such a result will inevitably happen .

Time, place, and circumstance favor the Montgomery County Democrats. This advantage will be short-lived, however, if we fail to implement a long term strategy that centers on building authentic grass roots leadership and that centers on building authentic grass roots community.

My conclusion is that The Plan that we should create and implement, should see as its purpose, its goal, the vitalization of our democracy. Such a purpose should gain widespread grass root support. Working to fulfill such a purpose would mean working to fulfill our mission as a major political party. Advancing such a purpose would result in also advancing the election of Democrats because Democrats have a key advantage: the more that potential voters are educated, enlightened and engaged, the more likely they will vote Democratic.

Achieving the huge goals outlined in this paper will require a commitment of leadership from many people. Part 2 of this analysis will attempt to deal with the key question of leadership: What leadership is and how individuals can be motivated to leadership.

Achieving the goals outlined in this paper requires that we think through workable details of actions so that we can then advance a practical vision of action, The Plan, as a means to recruit, inspire and motivate individuals to leadership. Part 3 of this analysis will attempt to outline ideas for specific actions that The Plan should include, and will give one answer to the question that The Plan must answer: “What does details of The Plan look like? What does accomplishment of The Plan look like?”

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Democratic Support for Bush

Bush's numbers

from Oh!Pinion
...a recent CBS News poll asked 993 people, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?” Respondents made it clear they’ve got The Decider’s number (all in percents):

Overall: approve, 23; disapprove, 72; unsure, 5.

Republicans: approve, 51; disapprove, 42, unsure, 7.

Democrats: approve, 6; disapprove, 93, unsure, 3.

Independents: approve, 18; disapprove, 77, unsure, 5.

6%!!! OK, Zell Miller, but who the heck are those other Democrats?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Innocent Man

Grisham's latest - click on the pic to visit his website.

Every juror, judge, sworn witness, prosecutor, policeman, warden, prison guard, and defense lawyer in America should be required to read John Grisham's latest book before assuming their duties. The Innocent Man lays out in no uncertain terms the miscarriage of justice that can happen when police and prosecutors let their opinions and zeal for retribution, instead of evidence and rigorous attention to a full legal procedures, guide their investigations and prosecution.

I am routinely struck from juries. I have never served. I know too many proscecutors, lawyers, and have taught too many family members of defendants. But should lawyers decide one day that I am less disreputable than all but eleven other potential jurors, they can know that the defendant in the case will be innocent in my mind until the prosecution can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is the guy that actually committed the crime.

I am convinced, beyond reasonable doubt, that O.J. Simpson, for example, killed Nicole and Ron. But I will grimly bear to see an occasional lowlife like OJ slinking around the links and gabbing with the tabloids if that is the price we have to pay to see that our American system of impartial justice for every person accused of a crime is vigorously upheld.

Every accused person should be allowed, with the prosecution, equal access to expert examination of the evidence, always, regardless of mental, financial, or other disability. We all want crime punished, but too often the punishment is misplaced. Because of his wealth and fame, Simpson had immediate access to the best defense lawyers and a squad of experts on every kind of forensics. Ron Williamson had none of that. He was seriously disturbed. He had a history of scaring people with his strange behavior. He, at times, looked like everyone's idea of an alcohol and drug crazed killer. It is easy to see why the police and the prosecutor suspected him.

If Grisham is right, many of the authorities in Oklahoma forgot that, in America, suspicion should not be enough.

PBS Story about Ron

PBS Story about Dennis Fritz

Ward and Fontenot

The Innocence Project

A Different Opinion by Joshua Marquis, the district attorney in Astoria, Ore., and vice president of the National District Attorneys Association.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

January Jonquils!!

Every year here in lovely North Georgia, I venture out on the first day of February to look for Spring. I find great joy in knowing that somewhere about our fair city, if I search long enough, I will find at least one little daffodil shooing away the winter, even if it has to poke above a rare dusting of snow. Here it is, January 6, 2007, and the buds on this little clump of jonquils in my front yard are already showing yellow. And if you look carefully you will see that one little bud has begun to open. Today was the fourth day in a row that Sheila and I (and Lil, twice) have walked a least a couple of miles through downtown in our shirt sleeves. I know these are only anecdotal evidences of warming trends but - I swanie! - there sure have been an awful lot of warm winters lately.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"We have made history. Now, let us make progress..."

Every year we see the President stand where she stood today. We see him thank his handsome family, who stand glowing with pride in the gallery as the cameras pan to them and the Congressmen all stand and applaud. He recognises other special guests in the gallery. He thanks the loyal opposition and makes conciliatory remarks toward them. Then he settles into his vision for America: its foreign policies, energy and environmental proposals, economic ideas, organizational plans... We see the packed House stand with ovations time and again, sometimes both sides of the aisle, sometimes only one side and a few mavericks on the other.

Today I watched with my daughter as Nancy Pelosi gave the inspiring speech. It was very easy to imagine the day when it will be a female President there making such a speech. The images broadcast yesterday cannot help but hasten that day.

I am so glad that I was off work today to watch Speaker Pelosi deliver her inaugural speech as the highest ranking woman in American government in history. I am an unabashed sentimentalist. As the father of two daughters and the brother of five sisters, I got choked up a couple of times today. I couldn't help but think of the marches, letters, phone calls of the campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. That effort eventually failed. Twenty-five years later we have made this much progress anyway: The Speaker of the House, second in line of succession to the Presidency, is a woman.

Just imagine, peering through a window in heaven watching the proceedings today, Abigail Adams, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, Susan B. Anthony, a host of suffragettes, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jeannette Rankin, Rebecca Latimer Felton - our Georgia 2-day Senator, Frances Perkins, Margaret Chase Smith, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisolm, and the recently departed Betty Friedan.

If you missed it, here is the speech:

Thank you, Leader Boehner, Mr. Speaker.

I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship, and I look forward to working with you, Mr. Boehner, and the Republicans in the Congress for the good of the American people.

After giving this gavel away in the first two -- in the last two Congresses, I'm glad someone else has the honor today.

In this House we may be different parties but we serve one country. And our pride and our prayers are united behind our men and women in uniform.

They are working together to protect the American people. And in this Congress we must work together to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.

In this hour we need and pray for the character, courage and civility of a former member of this House: President Ford. He healed the country when it needed healing. This is another time, another war and another trial of our American will, imagination and spirit.

Let us honor his memory not just in eulogy but in dialogue and trust across the aisle.

I want to join Leader Boehner in expressing our condolences and our appreciation to Mrs. Ford and to the entire Ford family for their decades of leadership and service to our country.

With today's convening of the 110th Congress we begin anew. I congratulate all members of Congress on your election. I especially want to congratulate our new members of Congress.

The genius of our founders was that -- let's hear it for our new members of ...

The genius of our founders was that every two years new members would bring to this House their spirit of renewal and hope for the American people. This Congress is reinvigorated, new members, by your optimism and your idealism, and your commitment to our country.

Let us acknowledge your families, whose support have made your leadership possible today -- to your families.

Each of us brings to this Congress our shared values, our commitment to the Constitution, and our personal experience.

My path to Congress and to the speakership began in Baltimore, where my father was the mayor. I was raised in a large family that was devoutly Catholic, deeply patriotic, very proud of our Italian-American heritage and staunchly Democratic.

My parents taught us that public service was a noble calling and that we had a responsibility to help those in need. I viewed them as working on the side of the angels, and now they are with them.

But I am so happy that my brother Tommy D'Alesandro, who was also a mayor of Baltimore, is here leading the D'Alesandro family from Baltimore today.

He's sitting right up there with Tony Bennett.

Forty-three years ago Paul Pelosi and I were married. We raised our five children in San Francisco, where Paul was born and raised. I want to thank Paul and our five children -- Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul Jr. and Alexandra -- and our magnificent grandchildren -- for their love, for their support and the confidence they gave me to go from the kitchen to the Congress.

And I thank my constituents in San Francisco and for the state of California for the privilege of representing them in Congress.

Saint Francis of Assisi is our city's patron saint. And his "Song of Saint Francis" is our city's anthem: "Lord, make me a channel of thy peace; where there is darkness may we bring light, where there is hatred may we bring love, where is despair may we bring hope."

Hope: That is what America is about. And it is in that spirit that I serve in the Congress of the United States.

And today I thank my colleagues. By electing me speaker you have brought us closer to the ideal of equality that is America's heritage and America's hope.

This is an historic moment, and I thank the leader for acknowledging it. Thank you, Mr. Boehner.

It's an historic moment for the Congress. It's an historic moment for the women of America.

It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights.

But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal.

For our daughters and our granddaughters today we have broken the marble ceiling.

For our daughters and our granddaughters now the sky is the limit. Anything is possible for them.

The election of 2006 was a call to change, not merely to change the control of Congress but for a new direction for our country. Nowhere were the American people more clear about the need for a new direction than in the war in Iraq.

The American people rejected an open-ended obligation to a war without end.

Shortly, President Bush will address the nation on the subject of Iraq. It is the responsibility of the president to articulate a new plan for Iraq that makes it clear to the Iraqis that they must defend their own streets and their own security, a plan that promotes stability in the region and a plan that allows us to responsibly redeploy our troops.

Let us work together to be the Congress that rebuilds our military to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century.

Let us be the Congress that strongly honors our responsibility to protect the American people from terrorism.

Let us be the Congress that never forgets our commitment to our veterans and our first responders, always honoring them as the heroes that they are.

The American people also spoke clearly for a new direction here at home. They desire a new vision, a new America built on the values that have made our country great.

Our founders envisioned a new America driven by optimism, opportunity and strength. So confident were they in the America that they were advancing that they put on the seal, the great seal of the United States, "novus ordo seclorum" -- a new order for the centuries -- centuries. They spoke of the centuries -- that they envisioned America as a just and good place, as a fair and efficient society, and as a source of opportunity for all.

This vision has sustained us for over 200 years, and it accounts for what is best in our great nation: liberty, opportunity and justice.

Now it is our responsibility to carry forth that vision of a new America into the 21st century.

A new America that seizes the future and forges 21st-century solutions through discovery, creativity and innovation, sustaining our economic leadership and ensuring our national security.

A new America with a vibrant and strengthened middle class for whom college is affordable, health care is accessible and retirement reliable.

A new America that declares our energy independence, promotes domestic sources of renewable energy and combats climate change. A new America that is strong, secure and a respected leader among the community of nations. And the American people told us they expected us to work together for fiscal responsibility, with the highest ethical standard and with civility and bipartisanship.

After years of historic deficits this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go; no new deficit spending.

Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.

In order to achieve our new America for the 21st century we must return this House to the American people. So our first order of business is passing the toughest congressional ethics reform in history.

This new Congress doesn't have two years or 200 days. Let us join together in the first 100 hours to make this Congress the most honest and open Congress in history.

This openness requires respect for every voice in the Congress. As Thomas Jefferson said, every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.

My colleagues elected me to be speaker of the House, the entire House. Respectful of division of our founders, the expectations of our people and the great challenges that we face, we have an obligation to reach beyond partisanship to work for all America.

Let us stand together to move our country forward, seeking common ground for the common good.

We have made history. Now, let us make progress for the American people.

May God bless our work, and may God bless America.

The nation has great optimism for this Congress and this Speaker, but we shouldn't overstate the possibilities. We have a tough two years, at least, ahead of us. Still January 4, 2007 has been a fine day in our history.

One of my favorite bloggers, S.W. Anderson, has written eloquently on this topic at Oh!pinion.

Another, Craig at Donkey Path, has written two posts about the new speaker.

Still another favorite, The Questing Parson, is a must read on his reaction to our new Speaker.

No religious test...

(One reader seemed to misunderstand part of this post so I have edited it slightly to be better understood. By the way, my outgoing e-mail is still not working, dang it! I know it's just some little setting that's different on this machine.)

From the Constitution of the United States:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under the United States.

That text is very clear and absolute. Any Congressman who tries to institute a religious test for a Member of Congress has broken his oath: He is NOT defending, protecting, supporting the Constitution.

Congressman Keith Ellison, our first Muslim Member of Congress
I congratulate him and wish him well.

My Median Sib, today, a remarkable woman; a loving wife, daughter, mother, and grandmother; and an honored teacher, and a person I respect and love and welcome to rebut what I write here, has, it seems to me in my anything-but-humble opinion, leapt off a cliff, gone off the deep end, climbed out of the pot and into the fire, [fill in your own cliche for "failed to wisely agree with her loving older and wiser brother"]. In reaction to the election of our first Muslim Member of Congress, she has written:
"Muslims worldwide have declared jihad on the United States and ANYONE who is not Muslim. I think it was a mistake to elect an “enemy” to Congress."
I cannot express how saddened I am by that unfortunate statement. And I cannot let it pass without comment.

My Sib's post seems to consider Congressman Keith Ellison an “enemy” simply because he is Muslim. If so, that is an affront to many wonderful loyal Americans, including some of my favorite students and their fine parents and one of the finest co-workers I have (an Iraqi-American Kurd whose brother was murdered by Saddam and who fled Iraq with her husband and children to escape some of the same terrorists that my Sib seems to be lumping her with). It would certainly be an affront to our Muslim-American soldiers past and present.

Would we force a member to be sworn on the Bible when that is not his Book of Faith? Wouldn’t that require him to be hypocritical? Isn't that a "religious test"? Does the Constitution preclude non-Christians from serving in Congress? Should we take away citizenship from those of other faiths?

I am not a Muslim. I am sure there is much to admire in their faith, but I happen to think it contains a lot of hogwash. I also think some elements of Catholicism are largely hogwash. (The saint "worship", the ridiculous veneration of a bit of bone or cloth as a holy relic, pilgrimages to venerate a cookie that vaguely resembles somebody’s idea of what Mary looked like.) And Mormonism, Lord have mercy! Shoot, I’m a Methodist, and I know there are some radical and ridiculous Methodists, too.

Still, I find much to admire in some Mormons, Catholics, and Muslims. Democratic Senator Harry Reid and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch are Mormons -- Do they really believe in Joseph Smith’s golden tablets? And does that strange belief preclude them from office? If Hatch or Reid want to use the Book of Mormon (I know they also claim the Bible) as the Book of Faith that they use for their swearing-in ceremonies, that’s fine with me.

I just want them to mean it when they say:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
Until the Civil War, when Yankee Congressmen were concerned about domestic rebels, the original oath was used:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
That’s simple and to the point, though I like the addition of “defend”: the first duty of a member of Congress is to support and defend the Constitution.

You will note that Madison, et al, neglected to add “so help me God” to the Presidential oath written into the Constitution. They were determined that ours was to be a secular government, as they later specifically pointed out to the Muslim Barbary pirates. The following is part of the treaty read and approved unanimously in the Senate on June 7, 1797. President John Adams, a devout Christian, signed it and proclaimed it to the Nation.
"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

The recounting of the evils of the Islamic governments elsewhere in the world, of course, begs the question and has no legitimate relevance to how we should interpret our Constitution.

I will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone to oppose any Muslim who tries to restrict any American's freedom of religion or speech or any other Constitutional right. But I will also stand with Congressman Ellison, or my co-worker, or my students, against anyone who tries to limit their religious rights.

I know this question sounds harsh, -- no one should take it as a personal shot -- I mean it as beginning point for an honest dialogue: How can we restrict religious speech or non-violent religious practice [that is, disallow the use of the Koran for a swearing-in ceremony] and still support and defend the Constitution of the United States? Such restriction, in my book, is counter to the Constitution and therefore quintessentially un-American.

I absolutely welcome polite debate about this issue.

1-05-07 Note: The Median Sib has written a post to clarify the post that I have responded to here. I won't try to characterize it or comment on it except to invite my readers to visit her blog to better understand her position on the issue of Keith Ellison's election, his use of the Koran, and other things.

Here is a previous post on the separation of church and state.

Funerals: Gerald Ford and Ellen Wilson

Don Rumsfeld and Jimmy Carter each spoke eloquently and from the heart at the "family" funeral service for President Ford. Both found themselves choking back tears.

One of the commentators on CNN mentioned that such involved funeral rituals as we've seen for Reagan and Ford date to the services for Eisenhower. I wonder if that is true. Here are three pictures of the funeral procession for Mrs. Ellen Axson Wilson here in Rome Georgia.

The hearse.

The President's carriage.

Woodrow Wilson's wife died only a year into his first term. Recently released documents from the estate of his personal physician indicate that he went into a dangerous depression after her death. As you can see the Rome folks turned out in huge numbers to pay thier respects to the First Lady from our hometown and the popular president who had met and courted her here.

Click on the pics to see larger versions.

On your mark ... Go!!!

110th Congress:

New Democratic Members

Here are the men and women who, sometimes against very unfavorable odds, put themselves forward to challenge:
  • those who would limit our freedoms
  • those who would engage in preemptive wars
  • those who would have us fight wars without supporting our soldiers with the necessary tools
  • those who would put the costs of a terrible war on our children while cutting taxes on the wealthiest among us
  • those who would countenance or excuse torture and black sites
  • those who would hold the minimum wage at the same level for a decade
  • those who would deliberately suppress voter turnout
I have great hopes for this group. I wish them well. I call on them to live up to the ideals they have espoused. I gathered a few of their pictures and, I hope, all of their names below.

Harry E. Mitchell (District 5)
Gabrielle Giffords (District 8)


Jerry McNerney (District 11)

Edwin G. Perlmutter (District 7)

Joe Courtney (District 2)

Chris Murphy (District 5)


Kathy Castor (District 11)

Timothy Edward Mahoney (District 16)

Ron Klein (District 22)


Hank Johnson (District 4)


Mazie K. Hirono (District 2)

Philip G. Hare (District 17)

Joe Donnelly (District 2)

Brad Ellsworth (District 8)
Baron Hill (District 9)

Bruce Braley (District 1)
David Loebsack (District 2)


Nancy E. Boyda (District 2)


John A. Yarmuth (District 3)

John Sarbanes (District 3)

Timothy J. Walz (District 1)
Keith Maurice Ellison (District 5)
Amy Klobuchar (Senate)



Senator Jon Tester

New Hampshire
Carol Shea-Porter (District 1)
Paul W. Hodes (District 2)

New York
Yvette D. Clarke (District 11)
John Hall (District 19)
Kirsten E. Gillibrand (District 20)
Michael Arcuri (District 24)

North Carolina

Heath Shuler (District 11)

Charlie Wilson (District 6)
Betty Sue Sutton (District 13)
Zachary T. Space (District 18)

Jason Altmire (District 4)
Joe Sestak, Jr (District 7)
Patrick J. Murphy (District 8)
Chris Carney (District 10)
Senator Bob Casey

Rhode Island

Stephen Ira Cohen (District 9)


Nick Lampson (District 22)
Ciro D. Rodriguez (District 23)

Peter Welch (District 1)


Senator James Webb


Steven Leslie Kagen (District 8)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Say Bye-Bye to these guys....

So Long to some Republicans
who won't be sworn in tomorrow

This is my petty, gloating, unkind post celebrating the departure of a bunch of Republicans who are being replaced by Democratic Members of Congress. A couple of these are admirable folks in many ways, but they are all enablers of the Republican policies of the last six years. Good riddance.

In the Senate:

Chaffee: He's to the left of many Democratic senators on a number of issues, but if his only vote with the other Republicans was a vote for Republican leadership he was an important target for defeat.


Burns: the Republicans' crazy.


Allen - training for a different kind of spitting contest. His presidential campaign is over. I'm proud of all the calls I made to get out the vote in Virginia.

Santorum - Does Tammy Faye buy his ties? Another thwarted Presidential campaign. Yea!

In the House:
AZ-05 - So long to Rush's pompous buddy, JD.

AZ-08 - Jim Kolbe

CA-11 Richard Pombo

CO-07 Bye, bye, Bush Bud Bob Beauprez

CT-05 Nancy Johnson, another moderate enabler of the neo-cons.

FL-16 Mark Foley with Shrub - given subsequent events this pic cracks me up: a metaphor of Bush's respect for the truth.

FL-22 More time to fish for Clay Shaw - we'll be kind to Bush and speculate that Bush (above) is discussing Shaw's hobby instead of Foley's.

IA-01 Jim Nussle early in his Congressional career -- appropriate headgear for all these guys.

IA-02 Jim Leach & the Batmobile

IN-02 Chris Chocola has more time for golf ... FORE!

IN-08 Cheer up, John Hostettler.

IN-09 A desperate Cong. Sodrel tries to get a grip

KS-02 Jim Ryun in better days.

KY-03 Anne Northup heads back to Kaintuck.

MN-01 Class of '74 Gil Gutknecht -
Ain't it nice to see the "Contract on America" crowd going home.

NC-11 Multi-millionaire Charles H. Taylor

NH-01 Jeb Bradley - New Hampshire!! A clean sweep for the Democratic Party!

NH-02 Charles Bass

NY-20 Sweeney the wife choker

OH-18 Poor Bob Ney left early

PA-04 Melissa Hart at the side of the master.

PA-07 Curt Weldon, subject of FBI and Grand Jury probes, and finally reprimanded by his Republican co-horts today - their last day as the majority.

PA-08 Mike Fitzpatrick

PA-10 Don Sherwood, another family values conservative (How much money did his extramarital lover get after November 7?)

TX-22 Bush's indicted buddy, Tom "Hammer" Delay, left early. His Gerrymandering lives on.

Greetings to the Republicans elected
from newly Red Districts:

Whoops! No Republican pick-ups. NONE!!!