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Friday, June 29, 2007

I Bet the Feeling was Mutual

Brownback harbored ‘hatred’ of Clintons

Brownback writes he once hated the Clintons until realized those thoughts were ‘wrong.’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sam Brownback says he harbored a “hatred” of Bill and Hillary Clinton until he experienced a religious awakening in the mid-1990s.

Brownback, a Republican presidential hopeful, details in a new book how the change in outlook led him to make a stunning apology to Hillary Clinton a few years later during a Senate prayer breakfast.

“I was considering what I should say when I confronted all the anger that I held for the Clintons,” the Kansas senator writes in the book, “From Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion.”

“I thought, I hate them for what they are doing to the country and I feel justified in hating them for it,” he writes.

But Brownback says he realized there is never justification for hating someone regardless of what their actions.

He told the prayer breakfast audience that he used to have a “hatred for Bill and Hillary” because of their politics. He spotted Sen. Clinton in the crowd and, speaking directly to her, said he “realized that those thoughts of hatred were wrong. I apologized to her for them. I don’t know what she thought, but I believe it made a difference.”


Religion permeates nearly every corner of Brownback’s book, written with Jim Nelson Black and officially slated for release July 3. His soul searching began in 1995, hastened by two dramatic events in his personal life. His marriage was in real trouble — he was “on track” to getting divorced — as he devoted all his energy to the conservative agenda that fueled the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.

Even more traumatic was his 1995 bout with cancer and surgery to remove malignant melanoma from his right side. Brownback says he finally found peace when he resolved to devote himself to God.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nurses Like Mike

Knowing that more influential players like big for profit insurance giants and even physicians weren't going to challenge the country to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in this country, nurses have taken the lead in ensuring that Michael Moore's "Sicko" has the backing of a credible group of healthcare providers who are sick and tired of business as usual. I personally have LONG said that we don't necessarily need socialized medicine in this country, but at the very least we should operate in a nonprofit system. I'm proud of my fellow nurses, and plan to go see the movie with a fellow nurse, Kathy, later on this week.

Here's Mike and some nurses at a rally in California:



Here in Portland, "Sicko" is playing at the Nickelodeon on Temple Street. Here's the trailer for the movie:

Animal abuse by Mitt

Another reason not to vote for Mitt Romney, as if you needed one. What a completely stupid fuck, and the Globe is even stupider for not picking up on the implications of the story. If you can't be trusted to properly care for your dog, how in hell can you be trusted with nukes and armed forces?

Romney's Cruel Canine Vacation
Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2007 By ANA MARIE COX

The reporter intended the anecdote that opened part four of the Boston Globe's profile of Mitt Romney to illustrate, as the story said, "emotion-free crisis management": Father deals with minor — but gross — incident during a 1983 family vacation, and saves the day. But the details of the event are more than unseemly — they may, in fact, be illegal.

The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out." The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it's against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and "if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal." And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said "even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we'd hope that people would use common sense...Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate...I can't speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation."

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney's candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident "a lesson in cruelty that was ... wrong for [his children] to witness...Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who's under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured." Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign did not return repeated calls and emails about the treatment of his dog.

As organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Romney came under fire from some animal welfare groups for including a rodeo exhibition as part of the Games' festivities. At the time, he told protesters, "We are working hard to make this as safe a rodeo for cowboys and animals as is humanly possible."

UPDATE 6/29/07: Mitt's response:

“He scrambled up there every time we went on trips, got in all by himself and enjoyed it,” Romney said of the Irish Setter.

Romney also conceded any endorsement of his candidacy by the group was unlikely.

“PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics,” he said in reference to his role as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. “PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”

(Yeah, Mitt. I like fresh air, too, but not while tied down going 60 miles per hour. What's more ignorant, folks-abusing the pet in the first place or defending it over 20 years later? With all the flip-flopping Mitt has done in the past few months, you'd think this would be an obvious one to change your position on. But even if he had, you couldn't trust that he was sincere about it, now, could you?
Massachusetts, this toad was your governor? You elected him to the position? You should be ashamed of yourselves.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bandwagoners

If Richard Lugar were a Red Sox fan, I'd expect him to be wearing a pink cap and asking who Rod Beck was. Check this out, from Monday...



Lugar wasn't the only one to have a change of heart-Pete Voinovich of Ohio also threw his hat in the anti-war ring yesterday. Now, that's all good, really. Nothing is going to happen to change course in Iraq until Republicans decide that enough is enough. But what irks me is that Lugar is probably following the numbers more than his heart (although he does seem to be one of the precious few Republicans left standing with a modicum of principle, he is more conservative than he's lead you to believe). A new poll out shows Republican support for the war dropping like a stone-38% of Republicans now say they oppose the war, and 42% think it's time to start bringing at least some troops home, and those numbers are only likely to rise. While Lugar himself is not up for reelection in 2008, he's well aware than over 20 of his Republican peers are, and is using his position as the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations to allow the rest of them to fall in line. This is a coordinated effort by Republican leadership to try to some way end around George Bush and save their party, and who better to stick their toe in the rebel waters than Dick Lugar? It projects the image to other worried Republicans of, if Dick Lugar says it's wrong, well, then, I won't be going too far out on a limb if I say the same thing...and maybe it will help my re-election chances, especially considering the president has an approval rating under thirty percent...

Sincere? Maybe. Calculated, definitely. One notes that Stoogan Collins has not had the fortitude to speak out on this, nor is she likely to (Tom Allen, on the other hand, has been all over the place, noting he was against the war before it was cool to be against the war.)

One only wishes this had all happened five years earlier. Where were all you Republican anti-war bandwagoners then, when you might actually have done some good?

You can read Lugar's entire speech here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Do I Bother...

...watching "Meet the Press?" There is never anybody on there anymore to promote discussion and dialogue-it's always just to promote an agenda, which MTP surely knows and apparently doesn't care as long as it generates an audience.

Today is a good case in point-the issue is the illegal immigration bill, and who does MTP showcase? No one other than that xenophobic, anti-semitic fascist Pat Buchanan, whose hatred of all things foreign and dark is well documented and who could be expected to add nothing of substance to the debate other than his well worn racist dogma, ie, "If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built [with a lot of help from some unwilling Africans, which Pat doesn't mention, ever]. No nation has ever undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived." It's clearly not about national survival with Pat. It's about keeping whites (specifically, white men) in the majority, which keeps them in power. Why does no one in the national media-much less that ass-kissing Tim Russert-ever challenge him on this? Why not call a spade a spade? Are they all afraid of him?

In other words, since we know what Buchanan is going to say (Punishment! Dehumanization! White nationalism!), and it's not going to be seriously challenged, why put him on except to fan the flames?

Pathetic, Tim. And I'm even more pathetic for tuning in. I won't make that mistake again.

(Sent as an email to Meet the Press)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Neocon Bubble Burst

The right wing fringe's capacity for spin is remarkable, although it does have it's limits-nobody but Dick Cheney is claiming now that the war in Iraq has had tremendous successes. It's an unmitigated disaster and to say anything different is to risk ridicule and scorn, a la...well...Dick Cheney.

So what's a right wing pundit to do, as those of us on the left sit with our arms crossed, toe tapping, "I told you so" on our lips, waiting for an apology? Will these guys accept acountability and call out the administration for the tragic consequences of their criminal actions?

Of course not. We got a hint of what was to come when billo pronounced that he "never wanted to hear about Sunnis and Shiites again." It's not Dubya's fault that we're stuck in the Muslim Vietnam...it's the fault of the people themselves. Not only do they hate our freedom...they don't even want our freedom, not even for themselves. It's not Dubya and Cheney's fault the war went sour so quickly. It's the Middle Eastern Way.

If you don't believe me, just ask right wing neanderthal par excellence Jonah Goldberg, who floated such a hypothesis in the NRO this week that was, of course, reprinted in the right wing fringe rag Portland Press Herald yesterday. Goldberg asks a legitimate question that, well, we really should have asked five years ago before we went in and upended all the chairs over there:

"But what if the Arab world just isn’t interested in our path?"

For some reason, it seems that Goldberg is actually floored by this proposition. It's typical American neocon arrogance to think that the rest of the world wants to be just like us and, like Jonah Goldberg, they are shocked to learn that isn't the case. It's not that hard a concept to grasp. Even Americans don't want to be like other Americans of a different region usually. But practically that means also that encouraging democracy in places where everybody hates you is a dicey undertaking for U.S. interests. Maybe the local people elect those who...well...have an anti-American agenda? Who are vowing to blow us off the face of the earth? Another thing the Bushies didn't think of before they went in and upset the apple cart. I don't know why this is so stunning to the right wingers, except that they are natural bigots and xenophobes who took no time to educate themselves about Muslim priorities before deciding that simply ousting a dictator is all they needed to do.

Maybe if we asked the Muslim world earlier what they would like their world to look like, we wouldn't now be asking, why don't they want to be us?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stay Tuned!

Bush administration close to shutting down Guantanamo; White House meeting Friday
By Associated Press
Thursday, June 21, 2007 - Updated: 05:25 PM EST

The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.

President Bush’s national security and legal advisers are expected to discuss the move at the White House on Friday and, for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said Thursday.

The advisers will consider a proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum security military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where they could face trial, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations.

UPDATE/EDIT: The White House announced that "there will be no meeting" today about Gitmo after the above was leaked to the press. If I had a Hummer, what do you think I'd do with it at this point? I'd bet it that that leak came from Dick Cheney's office, that's what I'd do. And I'd win.

No Tissue Death, Just Soldier Death

Once again, by vetoing the most recent effort to promote stem cell research-and thus hope for millions of Americans suffering from diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's-George Bush proves he is not interested in doing the will of the people. Most studies, including the one showcased in this CNN report, indicate that between 60-70% of Americans approve of the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. When asked what they thought should be done with the embryos they think they are saving which are just destined for the dustbin anyway, the right wing fringe has no answer, and doesn't care to manufacture one. This is the most purely political issue on their docket, as none of these blastocytes has any hope of finding a hospitable womb).

Then the Republicans in Congress will prove that they also are not interested in the will of their constituents by failing to provide the votes to override the president's veto-are you listening, Stoogan Collins?

Of course, when you consider that the president and Republicans have willfully ignored the people's will in Iraq-where they don't mind the loss of life of thousands of Americans and tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Iraqis, it makes the all-out effort to save a few pieces of tissue even more hypocritical.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mike Gravel is Throwing a Rock and Running for President

I know this space is rented to mock the right wing fringe, but I'm making an exception here...Mike Gravel is, shall we say, unpolished, but I like him, and for some reason this video makes me laugh hysterically:



He's also got another one out where he throws branches into a fire and then watches it burn for over seven minutes.

Mike says that nobody over 30 understands these videos (that explains my reaction to them, I guess-Mike himself is pushing 80). Check out some of the comments posted as well. They're as funny as the videos.

The Puppies Will Thank You

More good news from my Inbox:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for signing the pledge to stop puppy mills! I'm writing today to tell you about a groundbreaking class action lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of members of The Humane Society of the United States against a notorious Florida puppy mill dog dealer.

This lawsuit is the latest step in a multi-year legal battle by The HSUS against a company called Wizard of Claws and its owners in response to widespread reports that this store routinely sells sick and dying puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting customers.

The suit underscores Rule #1 when looking for a new pet: Don't buy unless you see first-hand where the pet came from.

The suit -- filed in Broward County Circuit Court on behalf of more than 100 Wizard of Claws' former customers -- is based on numerous consumer complaints about Wizard of Claws misleading customers and selling unhealthy puppy mill puppies in blatant violation of Florida law. The suit claims that puppies purchased in their stores had serious genetic defects or fell sick or died within days of purchase, and that the retailer refused to either reimburse customers or pay expensive veterinary bills.

The purpose of this class action suit is to prevent Wizard of Claws from selling puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting buyers. And we want to send a powerful signal to other pet stores and Internet retailers that business as usual cannot continue.

With your help, we can advance our fight to stop puppy mills. As The HSUS prepares to battle in court, here are some actions you can take right now:

If you are thinking of bringing a new dog into the family, or know someone who is, request a free copy of our puppy buyer's guide for information on how to find reputable breeders, shelters, and rescue groups.

Download one of our Stop Puppy Mills campaign badges or banners to your own MySpace or Facebook page, blog, or website.

Download Puppy Mill Cruelty flyers and post them or give them out at your neighborhood dog park, to engage fellow dog owners and help spread the word. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: SEE SIDEBAR!)

The puppy mill industry will continue to thrive as long as consumers are kept in the dark about the tactics and conditions employed to mass produce purebred puppies and designer dogs. With your help, we'll shed light on the cruelty of puppy mills and put this brutal industry out of business.

Thank you for your commitment to stopping puppy mills and for all that you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mitt Leads the Pack

LOL at Republican primary voters. Man, if they nominate this pandering loser-and I really, really hope they do-they have shot their load for the next generation for accusing ANYBODY of flip-flopping. John Kerry voted for it before he voted against it? Don't wanna hear it, dude.

It also just goes to show how gullible the average right-winger is. Of COOOOUUUUURSE he came upon all those position flips honestly...it had nothing to DO with the Jesus freak takeover of the GOP! So, go for it, guys. The rest of the country can see right through him, but whatever floats your boat...

Oh, and you want to know a right wing response I heard recently, when someone was complaining about Mitt's flips on issues of choice, stem cell research, everything else? "Well, look at Hillary. Let’s not forget she grew up in Illinois, lived in Arkansas but was a lifelong NY Yankees fan when it was convenient."

Let's see...switching team allegiances for votes vs switching entire life philosophies for votes. Yeah, I guess that just about evens out on the hypocrite scale, don't you?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Fiscal Change of Heart?

This is rich. George Bush, the Deficit President, bitching about fiscal irresponsibility? The man who dishonestly convinced the lemmings that he could responsibly trim the fat, take care of priorities and still cut taxes with all that saved money?

And fight a war on the cheap, all at the same time?

Are there people who are actually going to believe this sudden attack of fiscal conservatism? Yes, probably Elizabeth Hasselback will, but as for the rest of us, like you said yourself, George...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Global Warming is Good for Africa?

I'll never understand the right wing fringe's antipathy to anything that might work to conserve the resources of the planet and extend our existence on it a little longer (note to all anticonservationists: the earth will still be here, no matter what we do to it, and long after we're gone. It's the survival of our own species we have to worry about) but I suspect it's not unlike a white supremacist's view of nonwhites-since the human race is obviously vastly superior to the dirt and trees and animals around, we should have the unbridled right to do anything we goddamn well please with all of it, be it stripmining, dogfighting, or nuclear proliferation. It's really illustrated in this CNN article, where the dickwad landowner says,"Eagles don't pay taxes; I pay taxes...I'm paying taxes, and I can't do anything with the property." Because he pays taxes, the land is "his," (never mind that the land is about five billion years older than he is) and he should be able to do whatever he wants with it. He's not going to be around to see the results of his destruction in 50 years, so what does he care? I can guarantee you, this guy is a card-carrying member of the NRA and thinks we're fighting the terrorists over there so they don't fight us over here.

So, all that brings me, finally, to my point: M.D. Harmon, neocon asshat over at the Portland Press, who never had an original thought in his life but has made a minor name for himself regurgitating the corrupted, unexamined talking points of others (think Richard Perle on much smaller scale), puts forth an interesting theory in today's PH op-ed: Opposition to efforts to reverse global warming is no longer the province of Exxon Mobil and it's pocketed corporatocrats in politics. No, now activities that produce global warming must be protected because it's GOOD FOR THE POOR. The naked attempt to protect corporate interests while appealing to liberal sensibilities is so pathetic and hilarious that it's almost not infuriating. Almost.

As typical of Harmon (and again, he's a little behind the eight ball here-the DDT story is at least several years old, and in terms of global warming the National Review has been trumpeting a similar line of thought since the IPCC report), this article is filled with such complete and utter bullshit that it's hard to know where to begin. First, he perpetuates the tired myth that environmentalist opposition to the use of DDT is the primary force behind an increase in malaria deaths in poverty-stricken nations. Ehhh, no, Peg. The Nation did a fantastic job of exposing that conservative holy grail a few months ago, and the magazine's conclusions are backed up by a major review of the malaria situation in Africa, which notes that it is primarily political apathy that has worsened the problem. However, in typical conservative fashion, Harmon has chosen the path of least resistance and most dire consequences as the best solution. If he's so concerned about the spread of malaria, why not just do a column advocating the eradication of poverty and self-interested tyranny in Africa? Well, because that wouldn't serve stockholder interests, now, would it? Who ever got rich helping poor people? But Harmon's point isn't about malaria or DDT, which I'm sure he couldn't care less about. What he really wants to do is exploit that issue for political advantage to warn us about the evils of trying to reduce global warming:

"But this cautionary tale about unintended consequences has continuing relevance in a time when some powerful forces insist that the world can abandon fossil fuels, reverting to a simpler, more primitive age."

Ok, so that's complete horseshit right off the bat, and blows any further argument completely out of the water. There is no one I know of-not even Al Gore-advocating a total ban on the use of fossil fuels. But since that's typical Harmon blowhardism, you just automatically overlook it, and then look for some examples of how he thinks working to reduce the carbon footprint will give us an equivalent of a global malaria epidemic. He offers us...nothing. He shoots his whole wad on a list of ominous and cherry picked half-truths, and then offers absolutely nothing by way of comparison to what is supposedly his point about what is sure to be the ghastly effects of fighting global warming, given the supposedly ghastly effects of fighting carcinogens. It's like writing a book about Magic Johnson and spending the first 9/10ths of the book on Larry Bird. "That will not come without great social and economic costs -- that will fall most heavily, as the DDT ban did, on the world's poorest people and nations," he warns us gravely, and then...he just drops it, leaving us, he hopes, to imagine the worst. He certainly gives us no inkling about how he thinks this epic catastrophe will strike the poorest of the poor...who are also, by the way, the ones who are suffering most mightily from the effects of global warming-and, unlike what Harmon offers us in his write up, we have concrete proof of that.

What's most interesting here, though, is not the weak argument itself-that is easily debunked and dismissed-but the right's attempts to frame the argument in humanistic terms. With the fringe's beloved president nearly universally detested by all but the most hard core authoritarianists, they have to try a new tactic, I suppose. It's as if they're trying to say, look, we're not just about the money, we're about the poor, too-we really really are!
Well, when I see an M.D. Harmon article-or a Jonah Goldberg or a Rich Lowry article-that takes to task the forces and circumstances that perpetuate the miseries of the poor and the apathies of the parasites that thrive off them (including the fossil fuel producers), I might take their attacks of conscience a little more seriously. Until then, they're just right wing wolves in sheep's clothing.

Must See TV

Tony Snow, Liar Secretary, outed by Jon Stewart last night:

If the People Will Lead, Will the Leaders Follow?

I love these stories-they're another good indication that there are stirrings of life in the republic, that perhaps the people are slowly regaining the ability to lead after nearly three decades of being brutally whipped into submission by politicians and bloodless corporate hacks. If little bitty Arrowsic, ME-symbolic of the small town average American that the Bushies insist they are looking after-is willing to take this step, can the rest of the union be far behind? Portland, are you listening?

Tiny town takes a stand against Iraq war

Arrowsic votes 71-17 for a resolution to bring the troops home, but an observer calls it just 'a priceless historical anecdote.'

June 15, 2007

— By DENNIS HOEY
Staff Writer

ARROWSIC — There were no signs proclaiming victory. The town office, as it is on most days, was closed.

It was business as usual on the day after Arrowsic became the first community in Maine to endorse a resolution calling on President Bush and Congress to immediately stop all war funding and bring the troops home from Iraq.

Town Clerk Heather Baker said the measure was adopted at Wednesday night's annual town meeting, with 71 residents voting in support and 17 opposed to the resolution.

A petition filed by residents got the resolution on the town meeting warrant, Baker said.

The resolution recognizes the men and women serving in Iraq and their sacrifices, but says the war is taking funds away from basic services at home such as health care and education.

"If there is any question about whether or not this issue is appropriate for our town meeting and discussion at the local level, we only need to consider that if $450 billion is being spent by our country on Iraq, that's $450 billion that is not being spent here at home," said Paul Schlein, the resolution's principal supporter.

Schlein said Arrowsic joins about 300 other communities across the nation that have adopted similar anti-war resolutions.

Town officials said they will send a letter to President Bush and to Congress, explaining the decision.

"I felt it was an opportunity for the people to send a message to the federal government," said Sukey Heard, a selectwoman who voted to place the resolution on the warrant. "But I doubt very much it will change anyone's mind."

Christian Potholm, a Bowdoin College government professor, political author and pollster, said the president won't pay any attention to Arrowsic's stance.

But, he added, "It's a priceless historical anecdote. For the last 30 years I have always referred to Arrowsic as the 'Peoples Republic of Maine.' The town always seems to vote in reverse. If I want to know what is not going to happen in the rest of the state, I turn to Arrowsic."

MaryEllen FitzGerald, president of Critical Insights, a Portland polling firm, said she is not surprised by Arrowsic's support for the resolution. A poll of 600 Maine households in April produced similar results.

She said that poll showed that 73 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way President Bush was handling the war in Iraq. Only 22 percent supported the president's troop surge.

"We have been finding there is very little support in Maine for any aspect of the war," FitzGerald said.

An AP-Ipsos poll released on June 7 reflects widespread discontent with how President Bush is handling the war, with just 28 percent of those surveyed saying they were satisfied.

Baker, Arrowsic's town clerk, opened Town Hall for a few minutes on Thursday to check voting records at the request of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

Baker said the town has 396 registered voters: 162 Democrats, 80 Republicans, 137 unenrolled and 17 Green Party members.

The town office is open only on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings.

When Baker opened the doors and passers-by noticed that cars were parked in the lot, residents stopped to talk about the vote. There's no post office, general store or other natural meeting spot in this tiny midcoast town surrounded by rivers.

Like many Arrowsic residents, Andreas Von Huene works out of his home. Von Huene, a sculptor and engineer, lived in the Middle East for several years. He supported the resolution.

"I think the war is wrong," Von Huene said.

He said there is little hope the United States can change the situation in Iraq. "Our cultures are close enough that we think we understand one another, but we don't. We are different in some very subtle ways."

Jeremy Blaiklock, a 37-year-old landscaper who is the town's animal control officer, voted in support of the resolution.

"The war in Iraq was a bad idea," Blaiklock said. "I supported the resolution .because every message we can send to our government is important. It may be a drop in the bucket, but if the American people send enough drops, some day the bucket might overflow."

"I voted for the resolution because I feel the war in Iraq is immoral," said Roger Heard, who is chairman of Arrowsic's Planning Board and a volunteer firefighter. "But I also think the vote is a reflection of what is going on in the country."

Mercer Blanchard made a motion to take no action on the war resolution. His effort failed by a vote of 63-31.

"My motion had nothing to do with the resolution or the war issues. I just didn't feel it was relevant to the town's business. This was the wrong place to address it," Blanchard said.

Schlein said the war is putting financial pressure on small towns to raise taxes.

"The war in Iraq underlies and undermines everything we do in this country," Schlein added.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Remind me...

...never to set foot in Albania (I don't know why I'd ever have to go there, but still!) The entire country must be on crack, or perhaps they've mistaken George Bush for Boy George? In any event, it's hard to reconcile this reception with the man we all love to hate. I can't understand a word the reporter is saying, but the unadulterated joy on these people's faces says a lot, mostly that they just don't know what's going on.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

ImpeachMaine Event

From the Inbox...I actually think I can make this one. Anyone want to go with me?

This can be the pivotal event that galvanizes impeachment for all of New England if not the whole Northeastern U.S.

Join us!!

President Bush will be "entertaining" President Vladamir Putin in Kennebunkport, Maine on July 1st and 2nd. Join hundreds - perhaps thousands - of Americans who will greet President Bush in Kennebunkport on July 1 with an impeachment message.

Citizens Summit Rally and Impeachment March
July 1st starting at 1:00 pm
at the Village Green in Kennebunkport, Maine.


Since Putin will be in Kennebunkport we can count on hoards of INTERNATIONAL PRESS, the WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORP and national and local media to be present.
We want to turn out big numbers for this!!
From all over the Northeastern U.S. !!

The theme is TROOPS OUT NOW**BUSH OUT NOW and the Impeachment folks will be really coming out strong for this. Groups and individuals are encouraged to bring banners, flags, signs and noisemakers, as well as water and snacks.

RALLY will begin at 1:00pm but we will have music before the rally.

Keynote speakers include:

· David Swanson, founder of "After Downing Street"

· John Kaminski, President of Maine Lawyers for Democracy

· Melida and Carlos Arredondo , a military family who lost their son Carlos in Iraq on August 25, 2005

· Iraq & Afghanistan War Veterans and many others.

Music by Pat Scanlon and Band, Hannah Marris and others.

After the rally we will march up Ocean Avenue to the BUSH compound at Walker's Point.

"We are marching to demand the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for not only death and destruction in the Middle East but in America as well. From Katrina to the mutilation of our Constitution, the evisceration of habeas corpus, torture and the warrantless surveillance of American Citizens, Bush needs to be held accountable, especially when he is in our backyard!" --Jamilla El-Shafei, event organizer for the Kennebunk PEACE Department

For detailed information about this event, including directions, transportation options to Kennebunkport and camping alternatives, go to http://www.maineimpeach.org/Events.html

For more information contact Jamilla at jamillaelshafei@yahoo.com.

This event is organized by the Kennebunk PEACE Department, Maine Lawyers for Democracy and the Maine Campaign to IMPEACH (www.MaineImpeach.org ).


www.MaineImpeach.org

Preparing a Pardon

Ok, you can file this one under, "You seem smart. What is it about this that you don't get?"

In the LA Times on Friday, reprinted in the MST today, a supposed U.S. pardon attorney and obvious political tin ear named Margaret Colgate Love published this article which attempts to make the point that a pardon to Scooter Libby would not be such a big deal, and that, correctly used, the president could manage to extend some olive branches to the public along with Scooter's "get out of jail free" card. Reading the article, it sounds perfectly reasonable.

Well, I guess Margaret must've just fallen off the turnip truck, because she obviously has no inkling what this case means or represents beyond the bland recital of facts in her article. This is not Bill Clinton pardoning Mark Rich, or even Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. No, think more along the lines of George H.W. Bush pardoning Casper Weinberger and five other Iran-Contra figures. Except the Libby case is even worse, because, as egregious and political as those pardons were, there was nothing to indicate that Bush I himself broke any laws or ordered anyone to break any laws during Iran-Contra. The Valerie Plame case, in which the name of a covert operative was illegally leaked as part of a political hatchet job, leads directly back to Cheney, Rove, and ultimately the president himself. In other words, Bush II is guilty of complicity in the same crime that ultimately led to the conviction if Scooter Libby and at any other time in our history would have led to the resignations/prosecutions/convictions of the veep and the presidential "advisor."

In other words, George Bush pardoning Scooter Libby would be somewhat akin, as noted by Randi Rhoades a few weeks earlier, to Tony Soprano pardoning Paulie Walnuts, although a more apt comparison would be Richard Nixon pardoning Haldeman, Erhlichman, Mitchell, and Dean. (new version: Gonzales, Condi Rice, Cheney, and Rove?) It would be immoral and obstructionist, and illegal when the president's role in this finally comes out.

But it won't, because to shut him up, King George will pardon him...and then, in true Soprano style, maybe whack him.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Surprisingly High Number?

King George's poll numbers are on the way down again. Most Americans are unhappy with everything about this administration, which in and of itself is not surprising, if you've been paying any attention AT ALL. However, this little tidbit did surprise me: "Only a quarter of those initially identifying themselves as independents expressed satisfaction with the president, about equaling his low with them reached in February. Eight percent of Democrats gave him their approval."

Eight percent of Democrats approve of George Bush's performance? I don't know eight people total who approve of the fool, much less 8% of all Democrats. How can that be? They must all be around 100 years old and voted for Strom Thurmond back in the day.

There are NO self-respecting Democrats who approve of George Bush.

The Only Bigger Pussy Than Roger Clemens...

...is George Bush. See, Clemens was afraid of facing the Boston Red Sox in his much-anticipated comeback, so he faked an injury to be sure he would face a pathetic team (the Pirates) that was easy for even the Yankees to beat.

Well, George Bush has done the same thing. In a move sure to piss off his far-right fringe supporters, and saying essentially, "I'm a-skeered to face those Democrats," Bush end-arounded what was sure to be an embarrassing public spectacle by pulling the renomination of Gen. Peter Pace as Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because of the speculation that someone might ask him some questions about the war in Iraq. What a fucking coward! I'm no fan of Pace, but Bush throwing him under the bus because the president didn't want a public dissection of the Iraq catastrophe is really beyond the pale of shirking accountability, even for this group. "I am disappointed that circumstances make this kind of a decision necessary," Bob Gates said, when announcing the 180-turn on Pace's nomination. What he neglected to mention, however, is that it is this administration's overwhelming intransigence and criminal disregard for the law that allowed those circumstances to propagate.

Let's hope the next one doesn't have such a tin ear, although I don't hold out much hope.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Amazon Defends Animal Fighting and Breaks Law

In my Inbox from the HSUS...I've been planning to blog about Michael Vick soon because this really, really pisses me off.

Incredibly, Amazon Defends Animal Fighting!

Dear Lisa,

For at least two years, online retailer Amazon has been infamously -- and incorrectly -- touting its "right" to sell materials promoting illegal animal fighting, blatantly peddling dogfighting videos as well as cockfighting magazines like The Gamecock and The Feathered Warrior. These materials are not only offensive because of the cruelty they glorify, but their shipment is also a felony under the recently-enacted Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act. The company's decision to defy the new federal law against the reprehensible practices of dogfighting and cockfighting is reckless.

Amazon is falsely claiming its commercial sale of animal fighting publications is protected by the First Amendment. But these cockfighting magazines are selling fighting birds and cockfighting weapons, and those activities are explicitly outlawed under the new federal law! Amazon even says it is within its rights to sell dogfighting videos -- a practice forbidden under two separate federal laws. The First Amendment does not protect companies from selling illegal contraband, and that's exactly what Amazon is doing.

Dogs and chickens suffer grievous injuries in animal fights produced for depraved fun and shameful profit. Even if you have previously contacted the company, please ask Amazon right now to stop selling animal fighting materials. And let your friends and family know how they can help, too.
Thank you for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States


P.S. Get the full story on Amazon and animal fighting on our website.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

BOYCOTT 870AM IN PORTLAND!!!

So, I go to turn on Air America a couple of days ago, and what do I hear? Sports talk. Freakin' sports talk, which you can hear on every other station on the AM dial. What the fuck is going on? So, I flip the dial trying to find the station, and come up with...nothing. Then I find out this:

Portland station drops Air America
Portland (ME) Press-Herald 6/1/07 | Ray Routhier

PORTLAND — Air America Radio, the liberal talk network, has gone off the air in Portland.

WLVP (870 AM) dropped Air America at 6 a.m. Friday and replaced it with the national sports network ESPN Radio.

Nassau Broadcasting, owners of WLVP, decided to drop Air America because of significant changes at the network recently, said Patrick Collins, senior vice president for Nassau Broadcasting in Maine.

Collins said the changes, included the departure of Air America’s star personality, Al Franken. By Friday afternoon, Collins said he had gotten a couple dozen phone calls from people protesting the change.

Besides the national programming of ESPN Radio, Collins said 870 AM will also broadcast local high school sports, beginning with football in the fall.


Oh, for Christ's sake. The company tried to do the same thing a few years ago, but made it's intentions known a few weeks before the change, and people howled in protest. This time, in an attempt to end-around that type of bad press, Nassau Broadcasting decided to pull a Robert Irsay on us and sneak it off in the wee hours, before anyone figured out what was going on. What chickenshits. How does this change serve the listening audience in any way, or contribute to the public discourse? There must be fifteen sports talk channels anyone in Portland with decent reception can get on their AM dial, including WEEI out of Boston. Not to mention those with satellite radio...not to mention that as I was flipping channels frantically trying to figure out what happened to Thom and Randi, I was treated to brief moments of the following conversations (I have no idea what the shows were or who the host was, it was heard in passing but it makes my point):

"Yes, America is a land of immigrants, but back then there was no talk of the multi-cultural garbage that we hear now. Those people coming in then assimilated..."

"What people just don't understand is that this war is not just a war in Iraq, but part of the much larger terror war, and Al-Qaeda is just waiting to see how long we'll hang in there before making another move. What we really need to do is bring all our military force to bear if we are interested in preserving our way of life."

Just in randomly flipping the dial, I was treated to not one but two ignorant right-wing rants, with nothing now to balance it. Portland is one of the most pathetic media markets in the country, what with "Radio for Men" 970 AM and all. For years, there was nothing to listen to in this town except NPR, and I guess that's the way it is again.

Fuck it. I'm going to XM.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Asylum Street Spankers Video

This has been floating around a few months so you may already have seen it, but it's one of my all-time favorites.

Barack Gets It


Just another reason to love this guy...he has his priorities straight...

Obama sorry for interrupting Yankees-Sox

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, knows he had stiff competition for attention in New Hampshire Sunday night. He told supporters as he showed up at a viewing party following the debate, “I don’t want to interrupt the Yankee-Red Sox game.”

The crowd chanted “we are part of something great” as a smiling Obama arrived at Murphy’s Tap Room. He shook hands and met supporters for about 15 minutes before saying he had to catch a plane.

He didn’t directly mention his performance in the debate but said, “I hope you are as energized as I am.”



– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Friday, June 1, 2007

Fifty More Years in Iraq?

George Bush wants us to stay in Iraq for 50 more years. Fabulous. Already the surge is failing, and the president wants to commit us to 45 more years of roadside bombings and body bags. Why doesn't he just infect the whole country with HIV? The end result will be the same.

Reminds me of a song...

The problem is all inside your head, George said to me
The answer is easy when your IQ's only three
I don't know why it's something no one else can see
We must spend fifty more years in Iraq

He said it's always been my habit to be wrong
But this time I'm not talking from the inside of a bong
And I'll repeat myself, and I hope you'll go along
We must spend fifty more years in Iraq
Fifty more years in Iraq

You're gonna go back, Jack
Don't make any plans, Stan
Except to deploy, Roy
(We'll never get free)
Just don't make a fuss, Gus
I hope you don't see much
Of the IEDs, Lee
(We'll never get free)

George said, I know this plan must really seem insane
And I'm throwing a harpoon into the GOP's campaign
I said George, you're nuts; and you never will explain
About the fifty years!

He said I'm working on the strategy tonight
And I believe that in the morning you will surely see I'm right
And then he smirked, and I realized that we're in for a fight
Or we'll get fifty more years in Iraq
Fifty more years in Iraq

You're gonna go back, Jack
Don't make any plans, Stan
Except to deploy, Roy
(We'll never get free)
Just don't make a fuss, Gus
I hope you don't see much
Of the IEDs, Lee
(We'll never get free)

You're gonna go back, Jack
Don't make any plans, Stan
Except to deploy, Roy
(We'll never get free)
Just don't make a fuss, Gus
I hope you don't see much
Of the IEDs, Lee
(We'll never get free)