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

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
      ( 6:52 AM )
What Now?

The catastrophic tragedy facing Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is hard to even comprehend. Thousands will never be able to go home again. We cannot know now how many have lost their lives and how many continue to suffer. With the levy breached, New Orleans must continue to face rising water because it is below sea level. They knew this was a possibility, though they hoped it would be remote. But to cope should it ever happen, Louisiana's National Guard troops were specially equipped with high water vehicles and special training to deal with such disasters.

Only....Louisiana's National Guard troops are in Iraq. With most of their equipment.

When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

"The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.

In early August, when this article was written, they assumed the state had enough equipment to "get by." But now, in the face of this horrible disaster, we are faced wtih the question that continues to be relevant:

For what noble cause are the sons and daughters of Louisiana in Iraq while their families and their state desperately need them at home?

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Monday, August 29, 2005
      ( 6:40 PM )

For all those caught in Katrina's wake. May those who did not have the resources to get out or adequately protect themselves find some help soon.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005
      ( 6:31 AM )
Actual News...whaa???

Keith Olbermann appears to be the only guy on cable news willing to actually report NEWS. Interesting how this former ESPN anchor (the best one ever - I actually watched SportsCenter religiously when he was on it) seems to be the only one who will actually report the truth behind the glam that the other cable "news" reporters refuse to look at.

Last night, Olbermann revealed that the group who is setting up the Anti-Cindy protests in Cindy Sheehan's hometown, "Move America Forward," is not actually a grassroots group of people fed up with liberal anti-war activities. Oh no, it was set up by a PR firm in California with money from the Republican Party. The transcripts aren't up yet from yesterday, but as soon as they are, I'm betting this will be something that the progressives are going to want to spread far and wide. This whole idea that these media efforts are "grassroots" from the right is ludicrous. We've always known it, but finally someone in Big Media is willing to take them on.

Of course, just for taking on Limbaugh in the mainstream, Olbermann has my love forever. From Olbermann's blog:

Understand this about Limbaugh. He doesn’t believe half the junk he spouts. I’ve met him, and had pleasant enough conversations with him, twice - at the 1980 World Series when he was still a mid-level baseball flunky with a funny name, and once in the mid ‘90s at ESPN when he was just beginning his campaign to get a toehold there. He is a quiet, almost colorless man who, if he could be guaranteed similar success in sportscasting, would sell out the sheep who follow his every word - and would do it before close of business today.

Maybe one day truth will actually be the standard for what goes out over the news airwaves. Maybe one day.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
      ( 3:47 PM )
Defend Yourself

As usual, vets lead the way in personal defense methods. If pictures say 1,000 words, this one (first pointed out to me by Randi Rhodes) is of a vet listening to Bush in Idaho yesterday.

Perhaps we should order up a few more bullshit protectors for all the rest of the country - then some sanity might get restored to our nation.

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      ( 6:21 AM )
Vocab for the New Era

"Pat Robertson":

Definition: an assassination of someone who irritates you.
As in: we had to commit a Pat Robertson against Giggles the Goldfish yesterday because of his brutal abuse and near murder of little Nemo the Goldfish.

Of course both were replaced before the 3 year old returned home, never the wiser. It's never a good thing to expose youngsters to assissination too early on, right? Good Christian values are better exposed through a slow series of examples and sermons rather than just done suddenly.

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Monday, August 22, 2005
      ( 11:38 AM )
Plunging Numbers

Daily Kos summarizes the new poll numbers:

8/18-21. MoE 3% (July results)
Bush approval ratings

Approve 36 (42)
Disapprove 58 (52)

As Think Progress notes, these are lower numbers than Nixon during Watergate.

At this point of his second term, Clinton was at 59 percent. Reagan was at 60 percent. Nixon at 39. (Though to be fair, the Nixon numbers were Gallup, while this poll is ARG.)

So what's causing the downfall? On the domestic front, Bush has had a pretty good last couple of weeks, with passage of the energy and highway bills and CAFTA. So what's causing the meltdown?

Well, his Republican support is starting to crack (down to 77 percent approval). His favorability on the economy is 33 percent despite the administration's economic triumphalism in the past few weeks (down from 38 percent in July). Seems that the public isn't happy with the kind of jobs that are being created.

And Iraq (not addressed in this poll) obviously isn't doing Bush any favors either.

Then again, Bush insists he doesn't make his decisions according to polls. This is a faith-based administration! Anyone's faith being tested yet?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
      ( 10:49 AM )
Reality Bites

Rereading that article I quoted below, another thought was triggered. I thought I could use it again in an altogether different, yet just as poignant comparison.

Last year in an article by Ron Suskind in the New York Times Magazine:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

This week in the Washington Post:

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

That damned reality. It always gets in the way of good, clean empire fun.

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      ( 10:44 AM )
Good Question

In this weekend's Washington Post:

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

The Gold Star Families for Peace: "What was the noble cause our children died for?"

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005
      ( 3:49 PM )
Supporting Cindy

Raw Story has an interview with Cindy Sheehan, conducted by phone last night. In less than a week, this bereft mother has begun a new wave of awareness and action across the country. All she asks is that the President actually pay attention and address those who have sacrificed the most for his war. Rightwingnuts (like my commentator below) insist she is some kind of partisan or that she is "using" her dead son for her own purposes. She is his MOTHER, for godsake. I'm so sick and tired of these people judging a mother who has lost the son she carried in her body, the boy she raised, the man she proudly watched go to serve his country, calling her names, accusing her of being a threat! Not only won't the president talk with her or even acknowledge her - but for some reason there are actually people in this country who are so twisted that they have to defend this administration no matter what lies it tells and no matter how many it hurts, and they defend it by attacking a MOTHER WHO HAS LOST HER SON.

I have a 3 year old son. He came out of my body. He is beautiful and funny and smart and fun - I probably couldn't say anything about him that any mother wouldn't say about her child. When I look in on him sleeping at night (because, like every mother, I do that - every night), he is so peaceful and content. I want to hold him, I want to close him in my arms and protect him from anything that could ever happen to him. I want him to always be happy and funny and adventurous. I love him so much, and I've only known him 3 years. It feels like my heart is breaking every time I think of what Cindy must feel, or the other gold star mothers and fathers and families. I cannot begin to grasp the loss of my son - after knowing him for decades, after loving him and raising him and being his mother.

If Cindy's pain and the pain of mothers like her goes unacknowledged, it stains this entire country. Even more than we already are stained by the very actions that killed her son.

There are thousands of mothers in this country who have lost their sons and daughters in the last 2 years to this war. There are tens of thousands of more Iraqi mothers who have felt the same losses. Who will end it? Obviously not those who aren't risking their own children. So when one mother, one simple woman who just couldn't take it anymore, who has tried what she could, decides she's just going to sit there and do what moms can do really well: watch, why are so many rightist apologists so uncomfortable and so threatened? Because they are unable to take a simple walk in her shoes or sit in her lawn chair. They cannot bear to ask what must it feel like to experience the loss she and other mothers feel because then they will have to ask why. And to ask why would mean that they had to question the artifice upon which their unthinking beliefs are based.

Even if you have lost your child in this war and you cannot agree with Cindy Sheehan's desire to hear from the president what he believes her son's death was worth - you cannot deny her right to seek answers or her right to draw attention to the thing that should make every single American uncomfortable every single day until this war and occupation is over: the ongoing and senseless loss of lives because of what we have done. And don't argue to me about Saddam's wickedness. There were a hundred other things we could have done to stop him that was well within our capabilities. If you can't think through the lies and analyze the truth for yourself, at least take a step back and just say nothing about a woman who has more courage and feeling in her pinky finger than you have in your entire body.

To help Cindy, go here.

To support all the Gold Star Families for Peace, go here.

To read diaries from Cindy, go here.

To be honest with yourself, go here. Remember, the official casualty count is only those who die in Iraq. Anyone who has died on the way out, in Germany, or later in the US has not been included in this count.

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      ( 11:31 AM )

I hope before I die it will be commonplace for everyday folks to go into space. I have always wanted to go up there - as an amateur astronomer, I constantly look into the milky way and wonder what it must be like.

Congrats to the astronauts who made it safely home today. And may NASA get more funding so they can actually build modern space flight vehicles instead of having to rely on clunkers designed in the 70's.

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Monday, August 08, 2005
      ( 1:01 PM )
Mama Power

I am standing with Cindy Sheehan today and as long as it takes. A Mama's broken heart is worth the president's time. For godsake, he's on a 5-week vacation and her son died because of him. Cindy, this mama can't imagine what you've lost, but when I look in the face of my young son and think what he might be required to do because of rich men's greed, I fear for all mamas and their sons and daughters. I'm proud of what Ms. Sheehan is doing and wish I could be with her in person.

P.S. Billmon grasps the truth of what the President's response to this situation is.

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