No MP3 For Me, Just Vinyl And CD

Fred has hit me with this, a list of my 25 favorite tracks on my mp3 player. Well, honestly, I don't have one, although I do have an extensive music collection. This summer, along with the boys, I have spent rebuilding my music collection, both CDs and good old vinyl, so I thought I would limit this list to songs on formats that I have picked up at garage sales over this past summer.
1.Brainwashed-George Harrison
2.La'Vie En Rose-Louis Armstrong
3.Psycho Killer-Talking Heads
4.Mixed Up Confusion-Bob Dylan
5.Heavy Metal Kids-Todd Rundgren
7.Father Of Mine-Everclear
8.King Of The Mountain-Midnight Oil
9.Not Now John-Pink Floyd
10.Needle And The Damage Done-Neil Young
11.Wendell Gee- REM
12.Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)-Bruce Springsteen
13.Rain-The Beatles
14.Walk Don't Run-The Ventures
15.Straight To Hell-The Clash
16.Imagine-A Perfect Circle
18.Why I Sing The Blues-BB King
19.Daughter-Pearl Jam
20.Wish You Were Here-Pink Floyd
21.The Boxer-Simon And Garfunkel
22.Bell-Bottomed Trousers-Tony Pastor
23.Happy-The Rolling Stones
24.I Should Have Known Better-The Beatles
25.Radio Free Europe-REM

If I had these loaded into an MP3, they certainly would be in heavy rotation!
Uh, I tag Ron Nastyand Tom Harper and granpapumpernickle


Feeling Lucky, Punk?

This afternoon, I opened a fortune cookie to find a message inside which read "Three days from now is your lucky day". Now I don't usually take stock in mass produced messages stuffed inside MSG laden treats manufactured in conditions I'd rather not know about, but this one struck me as being so definite, that I placed it in my wallet. I thought about the message, and even imagined what it meant by "lucky day". Would I win the lottery? Maybe I would finally sell my book? Who knows, but then it started me to think some more.
Some days on my way home, on the parkway in front of the Save-A-Lot, there is an older man sitting with a hand lettered cardboard sign, exclaiming how he's sick of being hungry and homeless. And I feel lucky, that I have a job, not necessarily the best paying job, and my boss sometimes can be a jerk (but then whose boss isn't?), but there are aspects of it I enjoy, and it keeps me from being that man. It makes me appreciate the things that I have, which is not much, but then I really don't desire a whole lot anymore, as material things don't matter to me like they used to.
I put the fortune in my wallet between two pictures of my sons. Everyday I think of them, I feel lucky. I may not get to see them as much as I would like, but Im know of other fathers who rarely see their children, so I feel lucky. Then there are the fathers who don't want anything to do with their children, and that makes me feel lucky that I care about mine.
A couple of years ago, I began to take stock of my life, and I realized that it wasn't about accumulating things. There was a time when I thought I was perfect, but then I gave up drugs and realized I was far from it. So I began to try to improve myself, not physically (although, admittedly, I could stand to get in better shape and lose a few pounds)but spiritually. I took an assessment of what was really important, as opposed to what I thought was important, and came upon the conclusion that we all could lose the things we value the most, so it's best just to enjoy what you have while you still have it. The best way to change the world is to change ourselves.
I know sometimes I sit here and gripe and complain about the way the country is headed, but I feel lucky that I can still do that. So I try not to get mired in the negative, because things can always get worse, better to appreciate what I have. So, to parphrase Ed Grimley, everyday is my luckiest of lucky days.


The Best Gift A Father Can Give

"As soon as you're born, they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all...."
-"Working Class Hero" by John Lennon
Weekends are busy time for me. My two sons usually come over, and between taking care of them and answering their incessant questions about the Beatles (or just music in general), the only time I get to myself is when they're sleeping.
And I don't mind. I can't really afford to buy them toys, and I've learned that the more toys they get, the less they value them (kind of like the more dollars we pump in the economy the less value they have because there are so many of them floating around). All I really have to give them is my time, which is also their time. They won't be this age forever, so I've made a point of trying to enjoy every second with them.
And my kids have turned out wonderful. But I won't take all the credit for that, just like when people compliment me on how cute they are, I'm only half the gene pool. But they get what children want the most-attention. They're not spoiled, but they're not perfect either.
When I was growing up, my father was in insurance, and so to support my brothers and sisters and I, he really had to hustle, which meant that he didn't get much time to spend individually with us. And then there was the several occaisions where he spanked us, which I will neither condone or condemn, all I know is when I was older, he did express a regret to me that he did using spankings.
There was a time in my late teens where it was just my father and I living at home, and we would spend evenings playing chess, he would buy some beer (after I turned eighteen. He felt that if I was old enough to serve my country in a time of war, than I was old enough to be served a beer)and we would just talk. I asked a lot of questions, because having lost my mother several years prior, I never knew how long my dad would be around. I learned about his first marriage, the one he had before he married my mother, and often wondered how he could have given up his first child completely. Somewhere out there I have a half sister that I'll probably never meet, or, in one of those quirks of fate, probably know as someone else.
It was after my father passed away that I realized what it's all about. We are not here to accumulate wealth or material items, we are here to make the planet a better place. The best possible way to do this is to raise children who are better citizens than you to take your place. The way to raise good children is not by ignoring them, but by spending time with them, teaching them moral lessons and giving them positive memories that will stay with them their lifetime. Pleasant memories last forever in the mind of a child as much as the bad ones, but only the good ones make them better people. Give your child some time today, and we'll all be better for it tomorrow.

Guitar Picture For Lily


Divine Intervention?

First we have the near-smiting of Rudy in the Republican debate. I think its funny that just this week the Tom Ridge Pavilion was hit by lightning... no one hurt. I'm not a big believer of these kinds of things but it saddens me to know that Falwell isn't here to help us draw conclusions.


The Zero-Sum World?

"The people of the Czech Republic don't have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia," Bush said in his stop at this former Soviet satellite. "You can be both. We don't believe in a zero-sum world."

We don't, huh? Cause I thought people were either for us, or against us. I thought we were either for our troops in the way you impose or against them. Must be nice to be the Decider. In the zero-sum world.

What I want to know is: why aren't we more concerned about the transport of nuclear waste in the region? Why aren't we concerned about who can get their hands on this material, who the highest bidders might be? While we spend our billions on misguided folly, we have gaping holes in our security in the hands of a joke agency.


Cindy Sheehan Tribute

A suggestion was made at The Peace Train to post a "tribute" of sorts on our individual blogs, to essentially honor the efforts of Cindy Sheehan and to talk about her efforts, her questions, and her conclusions. It is not necessary for anyone to be all things to all people in order to be appreciated. I happen to personally think she has been courageous. But even if I didn't, I would giver her credit for her years of dedicated activism. The smear tactics don't change the substance of who she has been. They have tried to diminish her personally because they fail in the debate. At one blog, they even stooped to writing about how Code Pink women are not attractive. (um, mirrors, assholes?) Yeah, thats some quality discourse! Change the subject much????

I think her decision is unfortunate, but who could blame her for wanting to go back to her home and live her life? She has been attacked for everything, from her health to accusations of exploiting her own son's tragic death. She has become a participant in a debate frought with partisan bullshit and apologist post-rationalizations. And yet, through all of the chatter, has anyone REALLY answered her question? What is the noble cause? Sum it up, folks! Cut to the chase, let's hear it. Freedom? Well thats like saying the cause is Happiness. It is subjective, and supposedly we are a nation of people that value autonomy over the imposition of what is "best". We do not like being told what is best for our families, do we? These people want local control of schools, state sovereignty, right? But they support one nation deciding another is "wired wrong" and should be destroyed and rebuilt to code?
If we say "to keep America safe"- why cant people really identify how we are accomplishing that when we are doing exactly what terror groups hoped we would do- increase anti-American sentiments? Our occupation has increased their recruitment gains, not weakened them. We know that we can't fight terror by "hunting them down". We know that we can't run from sanctuary to sanctuary smoking them out of their caves, we know that without the hearts and minds of their communities, these sanctuaries will again become friendly to those that hate us.
We know that we are stretching our military too thin, rendering us unprepared for a REAL threat. The fact that amateurs attacked the freakin Pentagon and civilians had to bring down the plane over Pennsylvania instead of military intervention shows that regardless of what you think about that day- there are some REAL problems that remain unfixed. We are not prepared for emergencies, and spending is out of control.
They say we want America to be weak, pussy. I say that strength hardly comes from being driven by fools into the ground.
Is this the noble cause? To become distracted, weakened, partisan-fixated, resource hungry, broke, hated, distrusted, violated- while chickenhawks talk about a war most of them would never fight in? No wonder Cindy Sheehan is disgusted, wondering what the hell is going on, wondering what the "new" congress is doing, wondering what the point is. WHAT IS THE POINT?

Maybe if critics of the anti-war movement could stop mocking Sheryl Crow a second and TALK SUBSTANCE they might have some real answers and could perhaps actually answer her question. We're still waiting.


Million Blogs For Peace News

One Million Blogs For Peace is an online effort to recruit bloggers to connect and post topics about the war- many of you have probably seen variations of their "Tuesday Topics" theme. During the month of May, they are having a recruitment drive- and many familiar folks are near the top! (see challenge rankings *here*)
Journeys With Jood is a top contender!
What other actions are going on around the blogosphere?


Something To Remember....

Today is Memorial Day, the one day of the year Americans are supposed to honor the people who sacrificed themselves so that we can watch 217 channels of shit, drive a gas sucking pig of a car, throw garbage in our streets and argue about pointless things like sports and/or movies. Everybody sticks up their flag, attaches another yellow ribbon magnet on their vehicle and never question whatever the almighty television tells them about the world, because to do so would be admittance that their whole lives have been a waste up to this point. Most places have a parade where they trot out whichever war survivors they have left and everybody lines the street and waves flags and thanks them once again for all they did in the service of the corpocracy (except in Grand Rapids, where the Republican conservative are much too busy to take time out from their schedules to actually honor those people, this year, it's been moved to Wednesday evening, where it's more convenient and nobody has to actually get out of bed and sacrifice their pillowtime for the Vets).
In the meantime, for the rest of the year, we stash our war wounded in atrocious conditions such as were witnessed at Walter Reed, until an actual journalist (which, these days, are a dying breed) exposed the atrocities and the Republicans and Democrats both paid lip service to fixing conditions, until the next media distraction came along, and things went back to normal. Nowadays, our Vets have to rely on radio stations to fill the gap left by budget cuts for those who sacrificed themselves for the corpocracy, while the funding for a war that should have never been continues on because neither party wants it to appear as if they don't support our troops, at least while they are overseas fighting.
It was this piece, from a Vet that points out that much hasn't changed since the days of General Smedley Butler. Yes, we will always honor our soldiers, as long as they keep killing or dying for the corpocracy, anything in between is unacceptable.


The Peace Tree

The Peace Tree
I recently discovered The Peace Tree after my hiatus (I know, y'all think I must have been under a blog rock) and I was pleasantly surprised to see affiliation with many bloggers that I am already familiar with like ThePoetryMan, Betmo, Sumo, and others. I am glad to be part of it, too. I am also glad to see that people are still keeping up with their efforts to use words and community to call attention to the current state of things.
I am glad that people are finding new ways to organize, spread ideas, and become engaged- maybe even active- politically. The internet has become a new way for people to find one another, and that's pretty cool.
Memorial Day
I have seen alot of writing about the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and alot of arguing. Is it a time to protest, or honor? Do we honor, or partly blame? Do people "on the left" support the troops, and why is there so much defense regarding patriotism? And why is it still such a common strategy for attack? Is it a time for silent reflection, to honor the dead- or to speak out? Is there a difference in our actions between Veteran's Day...and Memorial Day? Should it involve action at all? These are obviously questions that people have a broad range of opinions about, and strong feelings. It tests our ability to hear one another.
What I wrote last year was that I feel violence and war must be a last resort. I do see a place for DEFENSE and I do see a link between defense and our freedom. But defending our country from attack is not the same as using the military to inititiate aggression. We can respect and honor defense, and condemn preemptive force without justification. I hope that we can look to the future where we can articulate as a nation what our standards are for war and hold those accountable that violate the public trust. That's all I want to say about it, that I want to see us come together to establish a criteria for war- which can already be found in many religions and in many cultures. A Catholic, for example, would be aware that there is a defined set of circumstances that must be met for war to be moral or for killing in the name of war to be justified. Scholars of these "rules" say that they outline the distinctions between defense, and murder. I think it's time for all of us to look at MANY views with a mindset toward preventing power abuses which make EVERYONE (uniform and civilian) victims. We can answer the concerns about defense while working toward the establishment of legal standards.


Tuesday Topics

"Tuesday Topics" are part of an ongoing effort online to encourage discussion about the war in iraq, and it is also part of an organizing effort called "One Million Blogs For Peace." You can learn more about this effort by using the sidebar links. On Tuesday, they give a topic:
"Over 1,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since three US soldiers were kidnapped in Iraq.
During that time, the predominant focus of thousands of US troops has been to locate those three soldiers.
What does this say to you about the priorities and ethos behind the Iraq War?"

See, here's the thing. There are thousands of Americans who have no problem whatsoever with this statement. There are thousands of Americans who feel that one American life is absolutely worth far more than the lives of people in Iraq and not only do they feel this way- they pursue this as a matter of policy. They think that people who believe otherwise are ridiculous. Criminals. Against the soldiers. never mind the fact that there is another way to look at it- nobody dying.

Point is, they do not feel that this is an issue.
If casualties can be minimized with a bomb for example detonated from a remote location, we know that this saves the lives of soldiers but the odds are not very good for civilians. We are told that efforts are made to select targets, mindful of this reality. Mistakes happen. But the idea is in keeping with the premise that it is worth shifting the risk to prevent casualties even if it means that the tactic might increase civilian death. Look at the use of white phosphorous, as an example. From the standpoint of many in the military, it is worth it to use this chemical for location and threat minimizing purposes even if it might mean the identification of a civilian who is not a threat but is perhaps hiding from violence or who has sought shelter. This is not chemical warfare- they see it as risk reduction. I think we have to wrap our heads around that thinking if we are going to try to understand it.

We have to understand that there are folks out there who remain wholly unmoved by this statement (Tuesday Topic) and in fact, see efforts to bring "humanity" to war as an oxymoron synonymous with treason. These folks see the use of torture, for example, as an unfortunate means to an end and the response to an agenda that we cannot be held responsible for. "If they did not want to be punished, they should not have ____"

Fill in the blanks. They should not have brought those buildings down. They should not have sheltered terrorists. They should not have funded anti-American rogue Islamafascists. They should not dare to suggest that the West is evil, imperialistic, immoral. And so on. No matter how you fill in those blanks, it comes down to a sense that there are categories of the deserving, people who "get what they get".

It does not help to focus on civilians, as they are enablers. Future gun toters. Future enemies stopped sooner, rather than later. They are not moved by the tallies.

It does not help to appeal to humanity. They see "them" as devoid of humanity. It doesn't even seem to matter if we appeal to cost. To the price tag. Part of why this continues despite the will of the people is that there isn't an argument presented on our side that they remotely give a dman about. Change will remain elusive, peace impossible.

That is my response to the Tuesday question, my response is that we know and collectively, we don't care. The people who do care cling to a continuum- ranging from slight discomfort to the die-hard activist. But there are far too many on the "discomfort apathy" end. The key perhaps might be found in tilting the scales. Pushing the "upset, but what can I do?" folks toward the action folks. Engagement. Pulling people into efforts, both big and small.

So- that is part of the idea of One Million Blogs For Peace. That is part of the idea behind marches, rallies, letters, and placards. It is about a hope-that perhaps action will get increasingly more productive, constructive...to affect change.


At Least Get To Know Him...

Ok, maybe you are a realist. Maybe you think that the most important thing is defeating the opposition and think it's like throwing a vote away to support a true left candidate. Maybe you have mixed feelings about lofty concerns like establishing a cabinet level peace department where the people we elect work for us instead of using us and seek alternatives to resource aggression. Maybe you think that's the stuff of "pipe" dreams and drum circles. (for the record, I like drum circles!) Maybe you think that real energy policy will never happen, or maybe you aren't even sure what to believe about the planet, the economy, the war, or the future. Maybe you are just in a rut, and want to disengage because you think it doesn't freakin matter anyway. Well we have to keep ourselves in the equation. When will we see people pound the pavement for peace as much as they do for bigotry? Where's the accountability, where's the outrage?
Consider the fact that the religious right are not a numerical majority and yet we can see that they quite often grab the candidate's ears. They aren't taken for granted, they are courted. Well maybe if we, diverse though we may be, were courted a bit for our support we might see more things on the table! Maybe if candidates see that people are listening to guys like Kucinich, they might take pause. Who knows? Learn about him Here.
Please let me know what you think.It's early, but who are you leaning toward? Why? What do you think is the most pressing issue?


Shock Jocks On The Naughty Stool

So it's a time out for Opithony, following the Imus fallout. This time, it was XM following rape jokes made during an Opie and Anthony show. The dumbass duo apologized but it's pretty hard to believe that they regret their actions when they characterized the Imus firing as "ruining a career" when he was just trying to "entertain" people. I'm sure they would say that they too were just "entertaining" people. Imus chose to say what he said, how is he a victim? Seems he should suck it up now and deal...just like they tell the people offended all the time. Suck it up, deal with it! Free speech.
Sure, its a free speech issue. And I'm not against free speech. But people that are tired of it have the right to turn it off and companies have the right to cancel their ads and the stations have the right to draw a line. Don't they? It's my free speech to say I dont like rape humor. It seems like anytime people feel offended, they are accused of being PC freaks. Being offended makes a person a tight ass with "issues". But yet, people like to talk about declining moral values and the big loss of respect and the way that "kids today" don't appreciate or acknowlege the value of people. The remedy must be prayer, but certainly not a frank discussion about how it feels to be a belittled victim of a violent crime. Now I understand that humor is a tricky thing, and I myself have participated in or laughed at things that perhaps crossed a line for other people. All lines are different. But at some point, we need to reject some of this because it seems like the Stern copycats of the world are just trying to out-shock each other now. Publicity is money, and they know it. These brats need Super Nanny.
Today I was told that this makes me a hypocrite because I talk about freedom and yet-don't like people that laugh at rape. Well... I don't love robbers or polluters. So? I reserve the right to say I dislike whatever the hell I want to dislike. I am not saying that people can't make their own choices, I am just saying that I am tired of it already. If you make shitty food, your restaurant will close. If your humor is lazy- same concept. Shut up and use the time to think of something original beyond orgasmic cats and belch-a-thons.


Since I Missed The Anti-Theocracy Blogswarm, It's The Least I Could Do

Fred linked to this over at his place, so I thought I'd put one up, too, only over here, where no one ever goes any more (Thanks Lily, wherever you are, for not closing this down!)
I took this picture last fall, for reasons I don't quite remember, then never did much with it (I think it's my avatar at The Peace Train, but since I'm never there, no one sees it. I'm holding my beloved SPOODGE BUCKET, a cheap japanese electir guitar from the sixties that I smashed onstage onetime when I was in a band, only to find out it was more sturdy than I thought. So now I keep it around for the kids to strum until I can get them their own guitar. I'm also pointing to my Daffy Duck "You're Despicable!" pinback button, which I have had for twenty years now and one time refused twenty dollars for from some drunk at a party. AAAh, memories.
Then I took said photo and dinked around with it in my illustration program. Solarize.


Project Censored Media's Top Twenty Five Censored Stories of 2006

#24: Dick Cheney's Halliburton Stock Rose 3000 Percent Last Year.

Read all twenty-five here

Ok I'm tired of being mad

So ok, I didnt accidently delete my blog. I nuked it! Well after pissing around with blogger for along while I finaly got Left Of Center back. Did I learn anything? Hell no... but thats what makes me special. So, it's back, I'm back and things are A OK.


The World Is Run By Crazy Old Men

And that's the problem. Instead of seeking sane solutions to situations, we have crazy old men running things whose grip on reality is tenuous at best. Let me give you a couple of examples:
John McCain
This crazy old turd proposes tough new legislation that would fine blogs up to $300,000 for offensive comments posted by visitors on comment boards. So all it would take is one person determined to shut you down to post a comment at your blog and you're $300,000 in the hole, and we all know how rich we bloggers are getting from this. Somehow, in this crazy old fuck's severely damaged brain, this is supposed to protect children from online sexual predators. Really, it's just the government's way of cracking down on bloggers, who spread information that they'd rather not be out there on the internet. Yes, it's always easier to get the television-watcher, beer swilling NASCAR loving brain dead American to give up their rights by sending fear into them of something totally unrelated, like linking Iraq to 9/11.
Crazy old man #2 isBinyahim Netanyahu
And what has Bibi done to earn his place on this list? he wants to try the Iranian president for genocidein front of the International Court of Justice. Wait a minute, you say, has Mahmoud actually committed genocide? Because if you are going to try someone for a crime, shouldn't there actually be a, you know, crime to try them for?
Crazy old Bibi is doing this to embarrass the Prime minister's office and the Foreign ministry because it has not led to organized international action, such as significant economic sanctions, against Iran. You know, Iran, the country that hasn't committed genocide, being brought to trial by israel, which is committing systematic genocide against the Palestinians? Iran, whose nuclear program has been inspected numerous by the IAEA and found not to be in violation of the NPT, as opposed to israel, which has not signed the NPT and and until last week was in complete denial of it's posession of nuclear weapons, when Prime Minister Olmert let it slip that israel actually does have atomic weapons.
So if bringing Iran before the International court for a crime it did not commit is going to embarass anyone, wouldn't the humiliated party be the one who filed the charges? See, crazy.


For The Love Of Nameless Skeptics

This article is an interesting read. Even if you are not very familiar with Edward Said and his background, the critique is a must read. Especially now- because as we debate Iraq, the ISG release- will we look at some of our prevailing assumptions that sit beneath the surface?
"How Edward Said Took Intellectuals For A Ride" an opinion piece at Salon. Which is not to say that his opinion is our opinion. I dont feel particularly qualified to have an articulate "scholarly"opinion, truth be told-but think that what this does is really introduce us to a critique that seems to be grounded in some relative objectivity. No?I think we need to look at these questions with fresh eyes. All "important books" and views should be subject to the test of time, their validity or relevance under review perpetually.
(Link Here) Gary Kamiya looks at imperialism, the "immutable Middle East", and Robert Irwin's "Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents"
Here are some snippets , but read it if you can.
"In "Orientalism," Said ranged far and wide...He unearthed countless examples of grandiose statements made by Westerners about the mysterious, threatening, promiscuous, God-obsessed, immutable East. These statements were not coincidental or contingent, Said argued, but reflected a universal imperialist discourse that historically governed everything any Westerner could say or think about the Arab world. As Said put it in reference to the 19th century, "It is therefore correct that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric." To the end of his life, he believed that this view of the Arab world still held sway."

"Said's book provoked a furious controversy that still rages today. With America trapped in Iraq, and with the Middle East on the verge of a regional crisis, the debate about "Orientalism" is not a merely academic one. Bush's entire "war on terror," and in particular his bizarre decision to invade Iraq, could be seen as driven by Orientalist beliefs and assumptions. Moreover, ominously and quite predictably, "Orientalist" ideas in Said's sense are beginning to pop up in the national discourse. One of the peculiar ironies of the Iraq war is that its architects used politically correct pieties to justify it. Bush and former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz repeatedly used nameless skeptics, "who say the Arab world isn't ready for democracy," as straw men to give an idealist gloss to their plans for war. Today, disillusioned and angry conservatives are beginning to rebel against these pieties. Rush Limbaugh, as usual, gave crude voice to the inchoate beliefs of millions when he said that we should just "blow the place up." As the Iraq nightmare deepens, these opinions are likely to become louder."

And they are, these sentiments continue. There is something paradoxical and disturbing about how people respond to a hopeless situation. Have we in fact predetermined to a certain extent that the Middle East is impermeable, impenetrable? To some this means stay out of it. To others, it means step up drastic measures. I dont like the sound of that.


Peace Be Upon You, Unless You're In A Subdivision

Christmas time is on us once again, and it's a time when people decorate their homes appropriately with lights, yard displays and wreaths. The wreath, originally gathered by the pre-Christian Germanic people, was used as a sign of hope in the coming spring and renewed light. Christians kept these traditions alive by using the wreath as a symbol of their Advent Hope, in Jesus as the Everlasting Light. You know, Jesus, the Prince of Peace?
Well, it seems a woman in Pagosa Springs CO has hit a snag with her homeowners association with her wreath. Apparently some of her neighbors are upset with hers because it is in the shape of a peace sign. The Peace Symbol actually was designed by Gerald Holtom as the logo for the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament. It incorporates the semaphore letters N and D, for nuclear disarmament.
But neighbors of Lisa Jensen, the women who hung the wreath on her home see it as the symbol for the Antichrist, having read too many Jack Chick comics, er, I mean tracts. The association says it does not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive. Because, I guess, some people are opposed to peace?
The President of the homowners association, Bob Kearns, ordered to archetictural design to committee to order her to take it down, when they refused, saying it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything, Mr. Kearns fired all five committee members. Ms. jensen faces fines of $25 a day for leaving it up, but says she doubts they'll be able to make her pay.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I had to swipe this cat from Peace Chick Mary.
It made me laugh so damn hard!
Have a happy holiday. Holidays are about the things we want them to be about. What are you thankful for this year?

Time to make the pumpin bread.


War On Christmas

Now is the time of year where many Americans, in celebration of peace on earth and goodwill toward men, trample each other in a bid to be the first to get the latest step in the ever increasing technology. It's a time when the celebration of the birth of Jesus is usurped by the celebration of glorious Mammon. Show that special someone how much you love them by maxxing out your credit card and going into debt.
It's also the time of year when conservative commentators claim there is a war on Christmas, merely because some advertisers, careful not to offend people of faiths other than Christianity, use the phrases "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays". What they fail to see is that Christmas is war.

It's Only A Game (Platform)
Friday marked the debut of Sony's Playstation 3, a video game slightly better than the previous step in technology. Shoppers celebrated by trampling each other in a mad rush to get one of these games before they all ran out, for Sony failed to manufacture enough Playstation 3s to meet the demand it had created. People waited in line days to be the first to get their hands on one, and some people waiting at a Wal-Martin Putnam Connecticut line were robbed by thugs who shot one shopper who resisted. (That smell in the air is the scent of a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for failing to provide adequate security). Glad tidings my ass!
US Marines vs. Battery Powered Jesus!
The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program rejected one company's offer of 4000 talking Jesus dolls on religious grounds. A spokesperson said that because they don't know if the families they visit are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, they cannot accept any toys of a religious nature. But if they are Muslim or Jewish, would they be celebrating Christmas, a Christian holiday?
Imagine the poor kid, wanting an action figure, instead got one of these. My guess is that it wouldn't last until New Year's day.
National Don't Buy Anything Day
Once again, those wonderful people at Adbusters encourage people not to go shopping at all on the day following Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. Another day when people get up early to stand in line to fight push and shove each other to buy products to give in the name of peace love and understanding. As they put it:

Every November, for 24 hours, we remember that no one was born to shop, we make a small choice to participate by not participating. If you’ve never taken part in Buy Nothing Day, or if you’ve taken part in the past but haven’t really committed to doing it again, consider this: 2006 will go down as the year in which mainstream dialogue about global warming finally reached its critical mass. What better way to bring the Year of Global Warming to a close than to point people in the direction of real and effective alternatives to the unbridled consumption that has created this quagmire?

Another War For Christmas
Finally, we get to the news that the US has four carriers in the Persian Gulf. Is Cheney planning another military action? While the Iraq Study Group has recommended opening a dialogue with Iran over it's nuclear ambitions, it appears that Bush and Cheney have rejected it in favor of military action against Iran. Merry Fucking Christmas.


Incurious George!

I just came from Tumerica (link) and I had to steal this cartoon. Tumerica is a cool blog, if you haven't been over there yet. I think we would have preferred a bit more curiousity from our Commander as opposed to having resources at this administration's disposal paid for by the public that don't seem utilized toward truth or safeguarding America. One would think that the people who are so "committed to security" would at least want to implement those pesky 9/11 commission recommendations! I think this is George pictured with his copy of the report.


So Who Got The Vote Out?

What worked? I heard many Republicans say that they no longer felt that the Republicans represented their real concerns, that they were being played as loyal suckers by this administration. Kind of like how the Democrats often take the liberal left for granted because they know damn well they won't go red? Well many "fiscal" conservatives are expressing those kinds of sentiments as well-that there is also too much emphasis on the social issues and not enough on effective government.
I was very impressed by the way both women's groups and gay and lesbian advocacy groups raised money and hit the streets to raise awareness and get out the vote. This was especially true in places like South Dakota where the abortion ban was on the ballot, and in places like Pennsylvania where many mobilized to oust top conservative- Sen. Rick Santorum. While many dwell on the big races and turn out to vote for Presidential elections (well, or American Idol finalists, people manage to fit that in too!) it is important to point out the importance of stopping the escalation of politicians before they have a chance to get to that point by getting out there in ALL races. Eli at Deep Thought did an excellent summary of the rats jumping ship. (here)Kelley Bell has an interesting piece on getting out the vote in Ohio, with Gloria Steinem and Cecile Richards. (here)
TGIF!!! PseudoScience Friday at The Blue Republic And weekly open chat (politics, sports, whatever) will be on Sunday evening. Info Here. Who has a recommendation for a good read this weekend?


OK, Now Let's Keep It Going!

(CNN) Sigh. It seems that we have a little bit of leftover Baked Asshole in the fridge this morning. (See clown on the left) Hungry? Me either. Throw it away.
Let's not rest on our laurels friends, we have to keep up with the momentum and remain engaged. It's always dissappointing to me when we have such good folks turn out to help with the high profile campaigns, but we also need people to stick with it. Even if you pick an issue of importance and just work on raising awareness on that issue- it helps. They get into office and they forget the people that hit the pavement and what we want from them.
Now to be clear, I am not naive and I know that comprimise happens. Sometimes TOO MUCH comprimise. (I'm lookin' at you, freakin Lieberman) So let's keep the heat on with protecting the things that matter to us as individuals. For me, I think we have to be vigilant on Choice as SCOTUS prepares to move on it. I think we have to push for CAFE standards, ways to make fuel efficient vehicles that do not mean lost jobs but insist that the auto manufacturers maximize the options on their end. I think we can look at good examples also of people that are making renewable energy both a win for environmentalists but also a way to create jobs right here, in the US. What else? What do some of you think about what comes next?


A Plan, Dammit!

Don't you know that the people who are not in power are supposed to have a plan for this war, as opposed to the people actually being paid to lead this Nation? It seems that any time somebody asks dear Preznit about this, the answer is "Well, the Democrats don't have a plan!".
Why do we put up with this? Why doesn't anyone ever stand up and shout "Hey, you are being paid to have freakin plans!!!" OH WAIT! That's right. Hecklers get tackled and strangled these days. On second thought, better keep your mouths shut. Especially if you are a liberal blogger.
Good Stuff: Check out Bushmerika2 for some last minute analysis.


November Issues

There are many things at stake. Too many. I guess I have a pet peeve with people that go on about how they all suck, so what's the difference? To a certain extent its true that there are some serious problems here with both sides. But acknowledging problems is not the same as saying "why bother". I can understand the frustration and the sense of futility, but I wont concede that it makes no difference who is in office. Case in point: South Dakota.

Feminist Majority:

What happens in South Dakota in November will affect women nationwide. If the abortion ban ballot initiative were to pass, other states across the nation could use its passage as reasoning for passing their own ban. Twelve other states already have similar bans pending. Moreover, if this draconian ban passes, it will become the test case to reverse Roe v. Wade.

South Dakota Senator Bill Napoli, one of the leading backers of the ban, said on PBS that "brutalized and raped" religious virgins were the only ones deserving of legal abortions, and "there's no time like the present" for South Dakota to lead states in criminalizing abortion.

It DOES matter who is in office. It matters to the woman that loses control over her right to choose. It matters to the environment when we perpetuate the reign of jackasses that are selling out our kids for the lie that they are protecting jobs when we know damn well that saving jobs doesn't matter to them. (or they wouldn't send all their jobs elsewhere to the places where people are the most desperate to work for their near-slave wages.)

I might not like any of the choices or feel that they are ideal. But it matters. Once we give up our vote, whats left? We have so little as citizens now.

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