Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Color is the Sky in BushWorld?

What is Patrick Fitzgerald smoking? Is there anyone on this planet who believes for one moment that if the jury finds I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby guilty of perjury that Libby will spend one day behind bars?

The lame-duck Decider, holding the lowest ratings of any president in U.S. history, will not hesitate to grant Libby a pardon the moment a guilty verdict is announced. There is no way that Libby will be allowed the opportunity to turn evidence on his former boss, the Dark Lord, Dick Cheney. He would most likely end up in a swamp out in Virginia if he hinted of moving in that direction.

Too much time and preparation has been made well in advance of this verdict. The cloaking of all high crimes and misdemeanors committed by this White House began before September 11, 2001, and continues today. Provisions were made in the Patriot Act that allows the White House to replace federal judges without oversight. Presidential records from Reagan through Dubya have been made secret and can only be made public by their offspring because of an Executive Order signed by the chimpanator.

Even if Libby wanted to bear his soul and gain absolution, there is a darker force working in the Oval Office, and it isn’t Satan but I’m sure he could take a few tips from Cheney and Rove.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thank God It's Friday!

I'm finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It's been a really long week but for the members of the Senate there will be no rest for the wicked. Sen. Harry Reid has decided to stick the Republicans feet to the fire and make them work through the weekend. Serves them right for turning tail on their own bill, especially Sen. Warner.

I'll probably watch the dog and pony show on CSPAN, and keep track of how many times McConnell and the other Cheney lap dogs invoke 9/11 and "not supporting the troops". Not much fun but it beats a root canal. And it's certainly better than doing laundry or cleaning up after the cats.

Good times, good times.

On the plus side, the National Weather Service is saying that some relief is in sight for the few, the proud, the frozen. Warmer winds are supposed to be blowing in from the Pacific and those of us in the Midwest and Northeast will be experiencing a heat wave - temps might actually get above freezing.

And, even though I have been grumbling about lack of sleep, I am only a few hours away from a new record of overtime on my timesheet. I might even be able to splurge and put meat in my Hamburger Helper.

Since I'm always talking about my kids, I figured I'd quit the week with a picture of four of my brats when they were still of managable size.

Big, Buddy, Mittens and Sydney - When they were angels

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Stay warm.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Down On His Knees - But I Doubt He's Praying

Just when you thought John McCain couldn't sink any lower on the food chain, he manages to denegrate himself further.

On February 23, McCain will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon being held by the Discovery Institute, giving "his vision for the United States' role in the world." Now that's a scary thought.

But what is even scarier is that he is condescending himself to speak at this function. For those unfamiliar with the organization, the Discovery Institute is a think tank that started out promoting the idea of creationism/intelligent design. Located in Seattle, Washington, in 2004 the group set up an office in Washington, DC and hired the same public relations firm responsible for the Swift Boat ads, advertising for the RNC, the Christian Coalition and the Contract with America. Discovery has been involved in the Kansas School Board evolution controversy, the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board evolution fiasco, and was behind an amendment on evolution sponsored by the late, great man-on-dog Senator Rick Santorum.

Like most right wing, neoconservative faith based movements, Discovery uses deception and outright fraud to drive home its message. It promotes the idea that evolution is only a theory with no basis in fact. In addition, in Wikipedia, the Discovery Institute is “opposed to assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human genetic manipulation, human cloning, and the animal rights movement. Its economics and legal programs advocate tort reform, lower taxation, and reduced economic regulation of individuals and groups as the best economic policy. The Discovery Institute also maintains a foreign policy program currently focused on Russia and East Asia.”

Sounds like the perfect fit with the current administration. And it's nice to see that they're not boxing themselves in to just that creationism thing.

Discovery has gone so far as to hire professors and scientists (ala ExxonMobil) to prove their view of the world and to further cloud the theory of evolution. Their own website advertises for such positions:

If you have a Ph.D. in engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, or one of the other natural sciences, and you agree with the following statement, "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged," then please contact us at

If you are a medical doctor who is skeptical of Darwinian evolution please visit Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity at and sign their list for doctors who dissent.

So much for intelligent design.

Nice going, John. I doubt anyone is going to take you seriously now.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Official. I'm Sick of Winter

As a kid, I loved winter. Loved everything about snow. My parents used to laugh at how my brother and I would go out for an hour, get cold and soaked, come inside, change and repeat the process all over again. One of our favorite things to do was dig tunnels in the giant snowdrifts outside our house. We'd dig back as far as possible and when it would collapse, we'd pop up through the center and start the process over again.

I'm not that excited about snow anymore. Especially when we are on week two of bad weather with no end in sight – and another storm is on the way.

Snow, nowadays, means hours of shoveling and sanding. It means driving slower and more defensively because of all the idiots with SUVs who haven’t learned that they have just as much traction on ice as someone without four wheel drive. I plan ahead in case I get stuck at work, which is an hour drive from my house in good weather. I carry an extra bag of clothes and toiletries with me at all times, and have friends that I can stay with, just in case the roads are too bad. There is water, a blanket, extra gloves and granola bars in my car in case I get stranded - and a good book to pass the time. I keep my gas tank filled and my cell phone charged. And all the time I am at work I'm constantly wondering: when is this storm supposed to hit; how much snow are we going to get; will I make it home tonight?

I should be used to this by now. I've worked in Buffalo for seven years now, lived in Western New York all my life. Seen the Blizzards of sixty-six and seventy-seven but thankfully was safe at home when both of them hit. I've been stranded twice at work and survived that inconvenience. And it definitely could be worse - I could live and work in Oneida County, New York where they've gotten over one hundred inches of snow the past week.

But I'm not happy. All I can think of is green grass and spring flowers and a black car that isn't white from the layer of salt spray on it. I’m thinking of all the idiot neocons who are making jokes about global warming in the midst of this cold spell – kind of like when they make jokes about Democrats who say Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with bin Laden and 9-11, or “they were for the war before they were against it”.

While I am waiting for the snow, I will continue to check the radar and Doppler. I will remain cautiously optimistic that my bosses will let us out early enough that the roads aren’t jammed with all the other businesses who were let out early.

And I will ride out this storm, just like all other storms brewing on the horizon.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My World and Welcome To It

Squeaky and Chloe, during a quiet moment

I wish I could say that my week was interesting. The fact that I survived it without dying from frustration is a plus. Right now, while I am attempting to write something - anything - my latest two-hundred-fifty dollar stray cat is doing everything possible to thwart my efforts by stepping on the keyboard.

Squeaky and her sister Chloe, were the two latest emergencies that turned up on my doorstep. Both were very pregnant, possibly only a week or two away from giving birth. Since I already have too many cats, even by humanitarian standards, I did the only rational thing I could do - I had them both spayed, effectively ending this and all future bouts of procreation. And I paid for it dearly. Because my regular old country vet, (who takes pity on me and my blossoming animal shelter) is out on medical leave, I had to find someone else. And the only vet who could take them right away charged me close to five hundred dollars for the convenience of not having any more kittens. Five hundred dollars for two stray cats. It's no wonder the animal shelters are full - the average minimum wage earner can't afford to spay or neuter their pets at those prices. Oh, I know what the conservative would say - if you can't afford it, you shouldn't have it. But does that credo apply to other things as well say a car, a house, children?

Another wonderful occurrence in my life was dealing with the auto mechanic/body shop after my most recent deer strike. This was number four in about fifteen years, third in less than five years. And while my insurance carrier has paid for all my mishaps without complaint, I am quite certain my rate of coverage is higher than most folks, even though my driving record is otherwise exemplary. So even though Bambi is now pushing up daisies, and I was without a car for six very long, frustrating days, my car is now back to its original glory. Now if I could just keep the little bastards from jumping out in front of me.

And finally, more and more, I am depressed about living in the chimpster's a-mer-rika. For the third time in six months, I have been offered overtime and am jumping at it. Even though I will be working six days out of seven, some days more than 12 hours, I simply cannot afford not to do it. This is one of those months where everything comes due at the same time: taxes, insurances, car payment, loans, annual bills, etc. The feeling of not being able to pay everything is like a weight upon my chest at times. The fear of losing everything is more real than ever, particularly in this "ownership society." Even with my good job and benefits, and a second income, the ability to even consider a savings account seems unreasonable most days.

I often consider if I am struggling to meet my obligations, someone without children, what hope does a person have who is working minimum wage jobs with no benefits and a family to support? Again, I guess the conservative thought bubble would read: "if you can't afford it, you shouldn't have it." However, if that were to happen, the folks at the country club would have to carry their own bag, wash their own toilets and pour their own cocktails.

Oh yes, and fight their own wars.

On this Sunday morning, before my day kicks into high gear, I will reflect upon the things I have and not the things I am missing out on. I will pray for the soldiers in Iraq and their safe return home. I will reflect upon the knowledge that with luck the chimp will be out of the White House in less than twenty-three months. And I will try to remain optimistic about the future of this country and my life in general, including my $250 cat.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hugo Chavez: Savior or Tyrant

I had the strangest dream last night. I can't remember what it was about but remember at the end of the dream there was a news report saying that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had been under State arrest for a month. What is really odd is that I don't remember reading or viewing anything about Chavez lately, so it's not like he was in my thought bubble. Still, the idea of Chavez being a target for another coup d'etat is not without merit.

I confess to having mixed feelings about Chavez. I had a roommate in college from Venezuela so I know the problems that existed in that country, particularly with its poorer citizens. There is no doubt the country was being robbed and raped by the upper class and the oil companies that descended upon her. One of the boldest and best moves, in my opinion, was when he nationalized the oil fields. It is a lesson that could be learned in Iraq.

However, while adored by the common man, Chavez has managed to create many enemies with his policies and his own unique brand of political speech. I will not disagree with Chavez’s assessment of George Bush of being el Diablo, but it casts doubt upon his legitimacy as a world leader. And it creates further political enemies for him within the United States. Add to that his political ideology with Fidel Castro and Bolivian President Juan Morales and it becomes apparent that Chavez’s brand of social democracy leans more towards communism than socialism or democracy.

There are several reports out of South America that cast more doubt upon Chavez’s true intentions. As reported in the Washington Post*, the National Assembly of Venezuela has given Chavez power to create new laws, restructure the government and dictate the flow of Venezuela’s oil profits. He also has been given the power to nationalize other industries such as utilities and telecommunications. And he could change the Country’s constitution to end presidential term limits.

Now substitute Hugo Chavez’s name with George Bush. Doesn’t sound so attractive, does it?

Add to that a growing sentiment of anti-Semitism within the nations of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador** as well as the strengthening of ties between Venezuela, China and Iran and you begin to question just what are Chavez’s true intentions. Unlike Cuba, who was dependent upon the Soviet Union to survive, Venezuela, with its oil fields, can dictate terms to the rest of the world as long as we remain dependent upon oil.

Just one final thought. Chavez has been looked upon as the benevolent savior of many in the northeast United States when he provided inexpensive fuel oil to the poor of Boston and New York City. I’m not sure that there is any significance to it other than the generosity of the act. However, as a military leader, it is possible that Hugo Chavez has learned the one strategic element crucial to winning any war – to win the hearts and minds of the country you want to control.

Again, a lesson George Bush should have learned in Iraq.

* Washington Post, February 2, 2007
**, February 3, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

I am lucky enough to have a job where I only work three days a week. Today is an off day and I am grateful not to be out in the cold. I live in the Northeast and they are predicting record low temps this weekend - highs around 10 degrees, if we're lucky - accompanied by lake effect snows, high winds and generally yucky conditions. Again, I am grateful that I have a couple days off and don't have to be out in the cold.

It is on days like this that I can be lazy and unproductive, and just reflect on things in the universe. I try not to do this too often because the universe right now is a pretty scary place, especially considering that the Dubya is trying to take over the planet. Sadly, I still long for the days of Bill Clinton. Bill might have had a problem with controlling his libedo but at least I never had to worry about him setting off a full scale nuclear war.

And at least Bill knew how to pronounce the word nuclear.

Hillary is running for President and that should give me some comfort. But frankly, it doesn't. She has been a reasonably capable Senator for my state although she is very adept at playing the politician. Hill has made a number of campaign promises which have all quietly fallen by the wayside and probably won't make headlines.

Although I try not to think about it too much, the war in Iraq with its ever increasing sectarian violence is never far from my thoughts. The administration still refuses to call it what it is: a civil war. Stephen Hadley, in his best White House doublespeak has announced that it was more complex than a civil war. What is that phase I'm looking for... a rose by any other name? Still, we are supposed to take some comfort in the fact that this president never makes mistakes. He is just given bad advice.

Finally, I found out this week that the soldier I wrote about in an earlier post had been one of the four hostages taken in the raid on the police headquarters in Karbala - the one where the militiamen had American uniforms, spoke English and drove Humvees. His funeral was on Wednesday and over 2,000 people attended the service. The American soldiers taken were bound and executed, and for what purpose?

At times I wish I could look twenty years into the future and see where this is all going to end up. Will it be worse than Vietnam? How many more soldiers will sacrifice and die? Can the next president mop up this mess of our own making? Will we even have a Republic in 20 years?

Of one thing I am certain. It is a cold world indeed, and it is getting scarier every day.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Good Night Sweet Molly

I heard the news last night on my drive home. Molly Ivins, the champion of the left and Shrub's biggest pain in the side, has lost her battle with breast cancer.

As sad as this news is, it still didn't take the right long to jump on the story and turn loose their hate-filled venom.*

Here are a few of their sentiments on Molly's passing:

i'm glad she is dead. that "thing" did nothing but spew the same old worn out left wing slogans.

the world is now a better place. oh when will cancer take care of hillary?!?!

a sad case -- she couldn't help being ugly and stupid, but she could have kept her mouth shut and her fingers off the keyboard. good riddance.

all that liberal anger and rage against those not like her neocommunist self decayed molly from the inside out. hate kills.

you see molly, when you are so full of hate, the cheap way you attacked the president, no wonder you got cancer. the world is a better place without this vile witch!

sorry that she died of cancer, but i'd have to make the observation that there is now one less whining, bleating liberal.

I guess freedom of the press and standing up for truth and liberty goes against all they believe in. And they say we are the party of intolerance and hatred.

* (Hat tip to Steve Anderson at the Huffington Post)