...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, September 30, 2004
      ( 8:47 PM )

Score a big one for Kerry. Beautiful wiping of the floor with the Resident.

Wasn't Bush supposed to be more prepared than that? My impression was that he didn't want to be there, he thinks we're all idiots, he's happy in his little happy world where everything is wonderful, and his entire demeanor was that engaging with Kerry and the American public was beneath him. Bush had to play defense the whole time - this is a referendum on his presidency and the truth was loud and clear - he's screwed it up and doesn't deserve a second chance.

If you were watching CSPAN, you also may have noted that as soon as Bush left the stage and Kerry was still there, the crowd burst out in massive applause and cheering for him. Nice.

Kerry in a landslide.

p.s. Because Kerry did so well tonight, I think I'll start taking bets on whether we'll get a nice, juicy terror alert from Tom Ridge tomorrow. Any takers?

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      ( 7:42 AM )

Well, here in Portland, we're kind of working on an "every day without hot ash falling on us is a good day" mode lately. But this morning the USGS didn't give us much hope of escape:

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey issued a Level 2 safety alert, indicating that geologic processes likely to trigger hazardous volcanic activity were under way. Level 3, the top and most urgent of warnings, would indicate such an event was imminent or already happening.

They say it's now 70% chance of erruption in the next day or so. The problem for us is that the winds shifted last night and are now coming at us from N/NE - making us the direct recipient of Mt. St. Helen's burp.

But, it could be nothing. Right?

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
      ( 11:53 AM )
The Real Issue to Look For in the Debate

Hesiod sets it up for us. Keep your eyes peeled on Thursday night for the burst of color!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
      ( 7:44 PM )
Oregon Vets Disrespected & More Oregon Guardsmen Killed

A group of Oregon vets showed up in Salem today to try and deliver a letter to Laura Bush, who was speaking to a crowd of Bush lovers. Of course, you could only get into the event if you signed your loyalty in blood... but even the delivery of the letter was rejected. The vets were shoved aside and not allowed anywhere near. After all, the Bush campaign isn't about hearing from Americans and being accountable to the citizens it is supposed to be representing - nope. The Bush campaign is about getting the faithful to ask nice questions and shout their "four more years!" droning.

Terry Kirsch, a Vietnam veteran from Canby, Ore., said he later tried to use a ticket to get into the event, but was told the fire marshal had closed the site.

"It was very disheartening to me as someone who fought in the war and was wounded in the war, and now I'm not allowed to hear my government speak," Kirsch said.

Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, said the decision to close the event had to do with safety, not politics. He also dismissed complaints by Kirsch and other Kerry backers about access to the rally.

"This was a rally for Bush-Cheney supporters," Mannix said. "If people have already made up their minds to support John Kerry, then they are welcome to attend John Kerry's rallies."

How nice. That's what I call respect.

Oh, and we lost another Oregonian in Iraq this week.

It began with a haircut after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. David W. Johnson, a man with orange dreadlocks who had struggled to recover from drug addiction, chose to straighten up and give back to his country.

He joined the Oregon National Guard and was deployed to Baghdad as part of the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry. In May -- adding to his transformation -- the cook-turned-gunner was baptized by a chaplain at the base in Taji, Iraq.

Saturday morning, Johnson, 37, was killed in a roadside bombing northwest of Baghdad. The specialist was riding in the turret of the last Humvee in a convoy to Taji during a supply run. He will be promoted posthumously to sergeant.

Rest in Peace, David.

Meanwhile, they're taking 60 more Oregon guardsmen, to fill in the ranks of those we've already lost. Can our community take much more?

P.S. That makes 75 US killed this month so far, 81 total coalition casualties. That's been about 3 casualties per day - and hundreds of civilians. Is anyone paying attention anymore?

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      ( 7:19 PM )
The Expectations Game

So once again the Rove Machine is spouting this kind of crap:

Bartlett: "Obviously, President Bush has had to practice twice as hard to learn all the different positions that John Kerry has taken on the big issues of the day. But he's ready to hold his own."

The theme of the week: If Bush doesn't drool all over himself, he's won a HUGE victory!!! ...oh, and Kerry is a flipflopper!! What is this? Will Americans fall for this again? It's a bunch of hooey. Not only should there not be lower expectations of Bush, but there shouldn't be low expectations of ANYONE who seeks the office of the president!!

This isn't how we raise our children, why should we rate a president this way? Speaking of children - I need to give my highschool government students some things to look for as they watch the debate. Things they can write down and discuss the next day. Any good ideas?

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Monday, September 27, 2004
      ( 8:08 AM )
Bigotry on Parade

The upcoming election is tense for all kinds of reasons. Here in Portland we have some major ballot initiatives facing the electorate. One is whether to add a constitutional amendment denying gay couples the right to civil union or marriage.

This mama stands clearly and solidly with the NO ON 36 movement - but I'm sure that doesn't surprise my readers. What I have been very disturbed by is the way this ballot initiative has brought out the brutal bigotry that has evidently been smoldering under the surface of our community for a long time. Everywhere you go now, you can see signs spouting "One Man, One Woman - Yes on 36!" Basically, the last acceptable bigotry has now become popular. It is evidently okay to publicly display your prejudice, hatred and belief that some of us are less equal than others of us. It really stabs at my heart every time I see this sign in someone's yard. It's painful to realize that it's actually fine in my state to display bigotry as if it is a benign political position.

We've talked long and hard about this issue in the last year on this blog. My opinion is that there should be no state-sanctioned marriage and only civil unions for everyone - thus keeping the "sacredness" of marriage confined to those who want to add that aspect to it, and allowing the rest of us to enjoy the rights and benefits now afforded to state sanctioned marriages.

Those spouting the filth that "allowing" gays to marry will ruin marriage itself are hiding behind a kind of prejudice that if it were against anyone of color rather than homosexuals, would be shunned from our society. Marriage as an institution is not protected when divorce is rampant, children are neglected and abused and more and more couples simply choose domestic partnership rather than marriage. There is no argument you can give against it that isn't based solely on bigotry and prejudice - even if you have tightly held religious beliefs. There were tightly held religious beliefs (backed by the Bible) for slavery.

Equity and Justice are what this country was meant to strive for. Look how far we haven't come. People have no shame about putting out a yard sign that declares their belief that equity ISN'T what this country is about. And poo poo to justice. Shame on all of you. Shame on us for not fighting harder against this bigotry on parade.

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Saturday, September 25, 2004
      ( 6:37 AM )
Liberty & Justice for All?

Yes, I'm sticking with a theme here. The 40th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is something we should all be considering and pondering - yet I doubt that many will even know this anniversary is here. In this horserace of an election where all that matters is whether Bush can scare people enough or Kerry can reassure people enough, there will likely be no debate on the conditions of civil rights or poverty or the conditions people of color in this country still face. Why? Because despite the passing of 40 years, it's still too easy to pretend that everything is just fine.

The evacuation of New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Ivan looked sinisterly like Strom Thurmond's version of the Rapture. Affluent white people fled the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less -- mainly Black -- were left behind in their below-sea-level shotgun shacks and aging tenements to face the watery wrath.

New Orleans had spent decades preparing for inevitable submersion by the storm surge of a class-five hurricane. Civil defense officials conceded they had ten thousand body bags on hand to deal with the worst-case scenario. But no one seemed to have bothered to devise a plan to evacuate the city's poorest or most infirm residents. The day before the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, New Orlean's daily, the Times-Picayune, ran an alarming story about the "large group…mostly concentrated in poorer neighborhoods" who wanted to evacuate but couldn't.

Only at the last moment, with winds churning Lake Pontchartrain, did Mayor Ray Nagin reluctantly open the Louisiana Superdome and a few schools to desperate residents. He was reportedly worried that lower-class refugees might damage or graffiti the Superdome.

The big business of our nation since 1964 has become big business. The war on poverty was never a serious effort (like the war on drugs or the war on terrorism) - and the overt neglect and discrimination of people of color in this country was not stamped out. The generations that witnessed the Civil Rights Movement made no concerted effort that such a movement would ever be needed again - in fact there has been explicit resistance from day one to equity in schools, equal opportunity in the job market and housing, and a change in our moral language. The generations following, then, have grown up in the same conditions and been fed on the same attitudes and neglect.

On the fortieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the United States seems to have returned to degree zero of moral concern for the majority of descendants of slavery and segregation. Whether the Black poor live or die seems to merit only haughty disinterest and indifference. Indeed, in terms of the life-and-death issues that matter most to African-Americans -- structural unemployment, race-based super-incarceration, police brutality, disappearing affirmative action programs, and failing schools -- the present presidential election might as well be taking place in the 1920s.

But not all the blame can be assigned to the current occupant of the former slave-owners' mansion at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The mayor of New Orleans, for example, is a Black Democrat, and Los Angeles County is a famously Democratic bastion. No, the political invisibility of people of color is a strictly bipartisan endeavor. On the Democratic side, it is the culmination of the long crusade waged by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) to exorcise the specter of the 1980s Rainbow Coalition.

The criticism of the Democratic party and the Kerry campaign in this article is well founded. And despite my solid support for the Democrats in this election, I will not shirk my duty to hold accountable those who would seek to represent me. In this case, I stand up and ask why has the Kerry campaign and the DNC allowed itself to be coopted by the DLC when Howard Dean proved that the Democratic candidate didn't need that group of big business, money grubbing corporate whores? Why must we constantly compete with the neoRepublicans on their corrupt turf - we have the higher ground if we return to the roots of what we stood for. The progressive wing of the Democratic party must never turn its back on what is important in this country: and end to the corporate welfare, consumerism and racism that blind us all and keep this country on a path to destruction, not prosperity. We cannot build a nation on inhumanity, discrimination and neglect - we have come so far and grown so little.

The largely African American community in New Orleans was struck by another blow after Ivan swept by - they were completely denied a vote in their primary last week. Their voting machines happened to not turn up in time! It's only a preview of worse to come in November, and when we realize that once again it was was the people of color, the poor and the marginalized who were disenfranchised and denied their votes, will we scream for a real change, or will we once again just sigh and pretend that it didn't happen?

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      ( 6:26 AM )
Land of the Free

It is 40 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed. As of this year it is conservatively estimated that there are 10,000 forced laborers in the U.S. You heard me right.

The study estimates that 47 percent of the victims are prostitutes, 27 percent domestic workers, 10 percent agricultural workers, and 5 percent sweatshop/factory workers. They are defrauded, physically and emotionally abused, and, given their illegal status, language barriers, and financial dependence on their captors, don't see legal recourse as an option. They come from at least 38 countries and tend to live in California, New York and other states with large immigrant communities.


Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves told the San Francisco Chronicle that police departments must do more to catch perpetrators:

"There are 16,000 murders in the U.S. every year. Certainly every police department has a homicide division or authority. There are at least this many cases of trafficking...Yet there are no police departments that have a trafficking division or officers who are trained in investigating or prosecuting crimes like this."

Not only are there millions of hungry people in our country, not only are the working poor the ones who have to prop up our society, and not only do people suffer and die each day because they don't have health care - we also continue to traffic in slaves. Is this what your America should look like? Not mine.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004
      ( 7:17 AM )
Hubris Anniversary

This date in History:

On September 22, 2003 - exactly one year ago today - Richard Perle to the American Enterprise Institute:

And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation.

What that square really looks like today:
More than 130 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq, and at least 26 of them have been killed. Many more Iraqis have also been seized in the chaos since Saddam Hussein was ousted last year, in many cases for ransom.

In new violence Wednesday, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb outside a photocopy shop in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jamiyah where Iraqi National Guard applicants were readying their papers before heading to a nearby recruiting center. The blast killed at least six people and wounded 54, authorities said.

Bloodied bodies, shattered glass and debris littered the street. Residents and relief workers collected human remains and put them into plastic bags.

George W. Bush Square is definitely a sign of liberation and peace.

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Monday, September 20, 2004
      ( 7:54 AM )
Ignorant Nazis

I'm puzzling over this bumper sticker I saw on a pick up truck over the weekend. The rest of the back of the truck (window and bumper) was peppered with "Bush/Cheney" and "W" stickers. So this particular sticker said:

"9 out of 10 terrorists agree: Vote Kerry/Edwards 2004"

What the heck does that mean? Bush is courting the terrorist vote now? And when you get down to it, why would the terrorists want Kerry anyway - Bush has done more to swell their ranks and give them cause than any other American president in recent history.

Just more evidence of the lack of brain cells needed to be a Bush supporter.

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      ( 7:52 AM )
Perfect Image

Maru comes up with a winner:

I finally remembered what Bush’s call that ‘the terrists/insurgents “hate freedom!”’ reminds me of: Navin Johnson yelling “The cans! He hates the cans!,” in Steve Martin’s movie The Jerk.


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      ( 7:47 AM )
For Whom Did My Son Die?

Diane Davis Santoriello has decided to say something.

For the last year and a half, the pain in my gut screamed at my head write about this war, speak out against the war! But my aching heart said, "You can't undermine your son's confidence in what he is doing." Memories of people scorning and smearing Vietnam vets ran rampant through my mind. You see, my son, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello Jr., was living his dream. He had fulfilled his dream of becoming a military officer. I thought he was fulfilling his destiny of being a man of purpose, compassion and justice working to make the world a better place.

Now my son is dead. How did he die? According to the Army, he was killed on Aug. 13 in western Iraq when an IED -- an "improvised explosive device" -- detonated near his vehicle. According to me, he was killed by the arrogance and ineptitude of George W. Bush aided by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.


He worried about his men, his stateside friends set to deploy next month. I did not speak out against the war earlier and for this I am angry with myself. My son, a man of incredible honor, died from the actions of dishonorable men. I cannot bring him back. But I speak out now to protect the people still serving, to try to restore honor to our country.

John Kerry was not my first choice for president, but I believe he has demonstrated a willingness to be open-minded. He knows that changing your position is not a character flaw, but a character plus. I believe he is the only person capable of getting the rest of the world to help us clean up the mess created by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the administration's other Iraq hawks.

Please read the entire article. These mothers should be heard.

(thanks to maru for the link)

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      ( 7:32 AM )
Fun with Making a Point

Dad's "Veteran for Kerry" yard sign was stolen off his front yard a couple of days ago. How lame is that? Just this morning I saw on the local news that there has been a rash of this sort of sign-stealing - one guy in Southeast set up a camera and caught the buggers on film. He then bought 100 "Veteran for Kerry" and "Kerry/Edwards" signs and peppered his entire front yard with them. So today I will be purchasing several more signs for dad and we intend to rig them in some way (razor blades?) - the nazis will not get us down!

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Friday, September 17, 2004
      ( 2:51 PM )
One More Word in Solidarity

I can't end the week without mentioning what one American mother faced yesterday at a Laura Bush event.

Sue Niederer wore a shirt with a photo of her son, Army Lt. Seth Dvorin, that read "President Bush You Killed My Son." Dvorin died in February, and Niederer said she asked the first lady why her daughters and the children of other politicians weren't serving in Iraq.

"At that point, it became chaotic and I was pushed and shoved," said Niederer of Hopewell. "They engulfed me. It wasn't plain, ordinary folks but people in suits with earphones."

The crowd chanted "Four more years" as secret service agents surrounded Niederer and escorted her outside. Once outside, Niederer said she was handcuffed and placed in a police van after trying to speak to reporters. She was charged with trespassing.

This article gives comments of some of the crowd - hideous. A grieving mother, full of the pain of her son's death cries out, hoping for some response to why it was her son that had to go and die and not the sons and daughters of those who continue to foment and bungle this escapade in Iraq. And the crowd drowns her out with shouts of "four more years!"

Four more years of what, exactly? Of horrible drones who have no care in their heart for the pain of what so many families have sacrificed the last three years shouting down the legitimate questions of citizens of this country? Four more years of ignoring the cries of those who have sacrificed the most? Four more years of shameful displays of heartless cruelty? How a mother like Laura Bush could stand in front of a crowd that did that and not even offer a word of condolence or understanding is beyond me. How can this group claim to have even a drop of compassion? This heartless demonstration is not the last, I'm sure. But I can tell you the truth, if any ONE of the people in that crowd has a sign or a bumper sticker or even utters the words "I support the troops," I can only hope their karma returns to them and their heartless inhumanity is repaid.

As a mama who is deeply burdened by the thought of what kind of world my child will grow up in, I pledge to make it my mission to do whatever I can to change this country that has allowed people to think that this kind of display is in ANY way appropriate. My heart grieves for all the mamas out there who have children gone to war, children broken and maimed, children never returning - for all the mamas who see their children go hungry every day, who must hide to protect their children from bombs and mortars, and who search daily for a glint of hope for their children.

If we are not about making this world right, what are we doing here?

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      ( 2:03 PM )
There's a Cramp in Your Sample...

Gallup evidently seems to have more phone numbers for republicans than it has for dems. Not surprising and not that national polls are ever that accurate. The Left Coaster explains Gallup (via Atrios):

Because the Gallup Poll, despite its reputation, assumes that this November 40% of those turning out to vote will be Republicans, and only 33% will be Democrat. You read that correctly.

Check out the entire post for the Gallup samples. Meanwhile, Kos notes that Zogby is tired of using telephones altogether:

"The people who are using telephone surveys are in denial," Zogby was saying. "It is similar to the '30s, when they first started polling by telephones and there were people who laughed at that and said you couldn't trust them because not everybody had a home phone. Now they try not to mention cell phones. They don't look or listen. They go ahead with a method that is old and wrong."

Zogby points out that you don't know in which area code the cell phone user lives. Nor do you know what they do. Beyond that, you miss younger people who live on cell phones. If you do a political poll on land-line phones, you miss those from 18 to 25, and there are figures all over the place that show there are 40 million between the ages of 18 and 29, one in five eligible voters.

And the great page-one presidential polls don't come close to reflecting how these younger voters say they might vote. The majority of them use cell phones and nobody ever asks them anything.

Kos goes into some more detail about polling... which is only relevant if you're a hopeless political wonky geek like this Mama.

At any rate, don't pay mind to any polls...it's not over till we get every voter out there on Nov. 2.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004
      ( 10:32 AM )
News from the (Election) Front

The Bush campaign machine doesn't really care about Americans. You're shocked, I know.

Back in February, FoxNews reported that President Bush acknowledged the troublesome job market:

"There are still some people looking for work because of the recession. There are people looking for work because jobs have gone overseas. And we need to act in this country. We need to act to make sure there are more jobs at home, and people are more likely to retain a job," Bush said.

Apparently the RNC hasn't taken Bush's words to heart. Last Friday, Robert X. Cringely wrote in a column in InfoWorld:
It seems the Republican National Committee is such a staunch believer in outsourcing that it used a firm in Maharashtra, India, to create its database of approximately 165 million registered voters.

For the record: The Dems’ voter database was developed by a company, Plus Three, based in a distant suburb of New Delhi, India, called Washington, D.C.

One detail Cringley missed: The DNC's voter database is also bigger than the RNC's — by a margin equal to the population of another distant New Dehli suburb called New York City.

Wonder why Bush doesn't want Americans to work for him?

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      ( 10:19 AM )
Half-time Pep Talk

What Digby says.

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      ( 10:12 AM )
R.I.P. Johnny

Johnny Ramone died last night of a cancer that had been plaguing him for years. Lots of people are sad today - he was very, very cool.

The highly influential guitarist was a co-founder of the seminal group, which many consider the first real punk rock band.

While virtually ignored by mainstream America in the early part of the band's career, The Ramones' hard-charging two-minute, three-chord anthems arguably changed rock music forever. The music industry eventually came around to recognizing the Ramones' contribution to rock in the 1980s, and in 2002 the punk icons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Only the good die young.

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      ( 9:51 AM )
Not That They'd Say Anything...

If you are watching/listening/reading the media this month, you might guess that 10, even 20 US soldiers and marines have been killed in Iraq. Since the 1000 mark, there simply hasn't been a lot of deaths, right?

In fact, September 2004 is hearding to beat out last April for the bloodiest month since we invaded. We are losing over 3 people a day and in the mere 16 days of this month so far, 47 of ours have been killed. That doesn't include mortally wounded, maimed for life, or emotionally crippled by what they have witnessed. In the same amount of time, the estimates are that civilian Iraqi deaths could be upwards of 15,000 (some european media outlets report it closer to 30,000). Is this what we want our country to be about? Isn't it time to restore some sanity to how we conduct ourselves in the world? Isn't it time to stop killing innocents and stop endangering our own for no purpose?

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      ( 9:36 AM )
From little mouths to The Mouth!

Talk about cool. I reported the other day a Kossack's great rant about Bush's "ownership" - like me, tons of people repeated the quote and the theme, and many more sent it to the Kerry folks. And what do you know.... here is Kerry yesterday:

Mr. Kerry went on: "At that convention in New York the other week, President Bush talked about his ownership society. Well Mr. President, when it comes to your record, we agree you own it."

Wow!! They listened!!!!! It's nice to know that the big guys are listening to what we are saying - almost harkens back to the halcyon days of Himself. Now, if only the media would repeat it over and over again. Not holding my breath.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004
      ( 10:15 AM )
It's a Battle of the Bands... Veeps!

We have a political blackhole occuring here in our very state this week. Today, John Edwards is in Portland holding a town hall meeting and then a fundraiser before he jets off at 5pm this evening. Of course, for most Portlanders, all this really means is they have to leave their houses 1 hour early to negotiate the traffic that will stopped on the only two freeways we have, which will most likely be stopped in order to allow the motorcade to pass unmolested. This is only the first visit by Edwards.

But Dick Cheney is making Oregon a regular habit. After visiting Pendleton ("friendly territory") a few weeks ago, he is now scheduled to appear on Friday in Eugene, of all places. I'm not sure what advisor mentioned to him that Eugene would be a fabulous place to conduct one of his loyalty-oath meetings, but this is bound to bring out the little boys in black with their molotov cocktails.

Jack has given the travel alert, and I suggest all Oregonians contemplate this advisory. My guess is that this is one event horizon that will be better watched from the comfort of your own home. Unless, of course you can actually get in to the Cheney event and manage to get dragged out by your hair in full view of the tv cameras. That might be fun enough to be worth the trouble.

P.S. if you're concerned about the purple-ness that Oregon appears to be sporting, skip over to Blue Oregon and calm yourself.

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      ( 9:51 AM )
Oregon Mourns...Again

Two more members of the Oregon National Guard were killed yesterday in Iraq.

The deaths bring to 31 the number of military service members with ties to Oregon or Southwest Washington who have died in Iraq, along with three civilian contractors.

Not the way to win a battleground state, Mr. President.

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Monday, September 13, 2004
      ( 4:43 PM )

One of Kos' readers has hit on a winner:

"Mr. president, Colin Powell told you about this war that 'if you break it, you own it.' And now you're going around talking about an 'ownership society.' Well, Mr. President, let me tell you what you own. A million jobs lost. You own that. A thousand soldiers lost. You own that. 1.4 million new people living below the poverty line. You own that. 1.2 million less people covered by health insurance. You own that. A seventeen percent medicare increase. You own that. Health care costs skyrocketing. You own that. The tax burden increasing amongst the middle class. You own that. Mr. President, if you want to talk about an ownership society, let's talk about what you own."


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      ( 4:38 PM )
What Nobody's Talking About

With regard to the 9/11 Commission Report - the media is happily ignoring the very harsh findings in there about what went wrong in the year leading up to 9/11. Elizabeth Drew discusses these things in depth in her review of the report. I urge you to read it. What is most disturbing are the constant road blocks the Bush administration put in the way of truth.

The administration fought the commission at nearly every turn—at first denying it sufficient funds, then opposing an extension of time, refusing it documents, trying to prevent Condoleezza Rice from testifying in public. The White House, in a preemptive move, told the commission that Bush would not testify under oath, and insisted that he appear along with Vice President Cheney. The main partisan division within the commission, I was told, was over how hard to press the White House for information that it was holding back. In its effort to achieve a unanimous, bipartisan report, the commission decided not to assign "individual blame" and avoided overt criticism of the President himself. Still, the report is a powerful indictment of the Bush administration for its behavior before and after the attacks of September 11.


In an attempt to discredit the commission, the White House charged that some of its Democratic members were "partisan," a view some Bush officials expressed in interviews with an obviously phony show of sorrow. "Partisan" meant that certain commissioners, in particular Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democrat and a skilled trial attorney, asked tough questions—as if somehow tough questions weren't in order. Some Republican commissioners—in particular Jim Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman—in appearances on television or in the commission's deliberations, sometimes seemed to be doing the White House's bidding, repeating some of its "talking points." But in the end they didn't attempt to block damning information about the Bush administration's performance from appearing in the final report.

The media found it convenient not to question the rush to war, and now it finds it convenient not to question what led to 9/11 and what is being done about it (nothing). I wonder exactly how the media views itself? Do they have any sense of purpose anymore?

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      ( 4:17 PM )
Tanned...er, Rested... er, READY!!

Sorry for that unscheduled break from blogging. My first week of student teaching and grad school courses contrived to complete suck every brain cell out of my head. I spent the weekend in brain retrieval and am happy to report I'm back on track. Your faithful Mama is back to blogging goodness. I suspect these minor upheavals and mini-disappearances will occur at every new semester as I adjust to my new life and schedule in this coming year, but not to worry - I'm on the blogging job! Thanks for sticking with me (if you're one of my ...uh, two faithful readers...?).

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004
      ( 6:21 AM )
Gotcher Gas Mask?

If you were wondering where stockpiles of chemical weapons really are, you can find them right here in Oregon's lovely countryside. Today, the Umatilla Weapons Depot begins incinerating the 10 percent of the US's chemical and biological weapons that are contained there. After years of battles with the local residents, who have shown time and again that the incinerator leaked, the operation is going forward today anyway. Of course, they say they've put in new "filters," so I don't know what all those people downwind are complaining about.

Barring any last-minute hitches, workers will drain the nerve agent from one of those rockets and send the emptied weapon into a 1,050-degree incinerator today, Army spokeswoman Mary Binder said. The drained sarin will be stored until the Army gathers enough to fire up a different incinerator for liquid chemicals, perhaps in a month.

A gradual start could see perhaps five more rockets drained and burned through Friday, said Dennis Murphey, who oversees Umatilla for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.


After checking with the systems' manufacturers and workers at other chemical weapons incinerators, Umatilla workers determined that it is normal for the monitors to detect traces of such chemicals in the plant's air, Binder said.

"They're (chemical) levels that people breathe every day," she said. "You just don't measure them in your everyday life. Here, we do."

Don't we all feel better now?

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      ( 6:18 AM )
Back to School

First day of school. Yesterday all the freshmen came for their orientation. Many of them are bigger than me. I don't remember my first day of high school. Maybe it was too traumatic. Or noneventful. Either way, today is my first day as a (semi) high school teacher. Nervous? A little. Mostly, I'm wondering how I will snack adequately throughout the day. This mama is a snacker. We'll see.

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Friday, September 03, 2004
      ( 9:37 AM )

The tv and Reuters are reporting that Bill Clinton has been admitted to the hospital today for quadrupal bypass surgery. This is not good for anyone - any kind of heart surgery always carries risks. Luckily, doctors have become very good at this, and I'm sure Clinton will get the best. I hope he does okay during the surgery and that he recovers well and quickly. He is a hero and beloved to many people, so I'm sure many prayers will be said on his behalf (despite Republican claims that democrats are all atheist god-haters). Health to you, Mr. President.

Check in on the thread at Kos for updates, comments and salutes to the Big Dog. Also, it is now out that Clinton actually had a heart attack. And Wolfe Blitzer actually did a mea culpa just now on CNN (rare - check it out on the Kos thread)

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      ( 9:25 AM )

This is what this last week was about. Shameful. Why any veteran would support this group is a mystery to me.

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      ( 9:13 AM )
Hostage Crisis Over

What a horrifing two days in Russia. I can't imagine what that was like for the survivors and as a mama and a new teacher, I'm just shaken with grief for the children and parents and teachers who have been killed and injured. So far, they are predicting 150 dead after the school was raided. Some of the hostage takers escaped (I hope they are quickly found). Children were shot by the terrorists as were women teachers. They did not get food OR water for two days. This crisis and horrible situation is far worse than Columbine or anything that has happened in an American school. I pray for that town and for the people of Russia AND Chechnya.

Terrorism and horrors have always existed in human history. Only now, the weapons are so deadly and the media so immediate. In the brotherhood of man, I cannot imagine why we do not reach out to the world instead of isolate ourselves from it. I do not see resolution to this kind of inhumanity until those with power lead the way in restoring humanity to those who most miss it.

Most of all, I just pray the surviving children will somehow survive in their hearts and minds after this.

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      ( 9:01 AM )

Well, there's not much to say about Bush's speech last night - I guess it was pretty much what was expected. But I felt really discouraged after it because I felt deflated by seeing so many thousands of people drawn in by his lies and misleading. All those things he promised were fake ideas wrapped up in bright colors. Especially that thing about comp time to allow for family time - that was code for "we don't want to pay you money for your overtime anymore!" And what was that bit in the beginning about more women "have" to work outside the home? Even some of the women delegates looked confused: "Did he mean that we should be home all the time, even if we don't want to?"

More on the speech and reaction to what Bush said over at Kos, including some fact checking by AP (hint: they found some of what Bush said lacking in fact).

Anyway, my waiting was rewarded last night when MSNBC went live to a Kerry/Edwards Rally, and then I switched to CSPAN (because of course MSNBC didn't air the whole thing). Edwards' and Kerry's responses to the GOP Convention of Falshood and Bitterness was right on.

For three days in New York, instead of talking about jobs and the economy, we heard anger and insults from the Republicans. And I'll tell you why. It's because they can't talk about the real issues facing Americans. They can't talk about their record because it's a record of failure.

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.

Just what you've been waiting for.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004
      ( 9:42 PM )
Hot Off the Presses

Salon.com has just released an article for tomorrow's edition on Young George. Finally, some news about The Missing Year. It's pretty much what you would expect.

Allison's account corroborates a Washington Post investigation in February that found no credible witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard that Bush maintains he performed, despite a lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she'd ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: "Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way." Allison also confirmed previously published accounts that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before. (Bush has admitted that he was a heavy drinker in those years, but he has refused to say whether he also used drugs).

"After about a month I asked Jimmy what was Georgie's job, because I couldn't figure it out. I never saw him do anything. He told me it basically consisted of him contacting people who were impressed by his name and asking for contributions and support," Allison said.

C. Murphy Archibald, a nephew of Red Blount by marriage and a Vietnam veteran who volunteered on the campaign from September 1972 until election night, corroborated Allison's recollections, though he doesn't recall that the Bush name carried much cachét in Alabama at the time. "I say that because the scuttlebutt on the campaign was that Allison was very sharp and might actually be able to pull off this difficult race" against the incumbent Democrat, Sen. John Sparkman, Archibald said. "But then no one understood why he brought this young guy from Texas along. It was like, 'Who was this guy who comes in late and leaves early? And why would Jimmy Allison, who was so impressive, bring him on?'"

Read the whole thing. It's worth your time.

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      ( 9:34 PM )
Any CSPAN Junkies Out There?

Is it just me, or does Embarrassing Dancing White Guy appear on the CSPAN camera a little too often? The CSPAN camera operators must have some kind of inside joke going. Evidently Embarrassing Dancing White Guy knows he's on camera now, because he's looking directly into it every so often as he does the Elaine Dance. Man, does that guy love the funky jive.

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      ( 9:05 PM )
Review in the Quick

Here is Mama's quick and dirty review of the convention so far:

Guiliani: "I will not constantly exploit 9/11"

McCain: phoned it in.

Twins: yikes.

The Mrs.: yawn.

Ahnold: lying and misleading never done better - always get the actor on board.
Zell: beyond frightening - what a scary, bitter guy. Atrios sums it up best:

Wow, I never thought Zell would be able to improve on the original German version of Pat Buchanan's '92 speech, but he did.

Cheney: "aaahhh, my minions..." while he was doing his tired "flip flop" speech, did he forget his own boss did the major flip flop just yesterday? It must be nice to live in La La Land.

Check out the Kos threads for some great reviews.

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