July 23, 2008 archive

Four at Four, at Five

Special guest host?  Nah, It’s just me.

Special edition?  You bet.  We’re in Central time now, folks.

Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).

  • Even though he faces arrest after being accused of genocide, Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir held a rally for himself in Darfur, in which he danced on top of his desk.

    With an international indictment looming over him on charges of genocide, Mr. Bashir returned to the scene of his alleged misdeeds in Darfur – on an uncharacteristic charm offensive.

    It was here in El Fasher, on the same airport tarmac where Mr. Bashir was blessed by a hundred elders leaning on canes Wednesday morning, that rebels blew up government planes in 2003, kicking off a conflict that would claim 300,000 lives and perpetually threaten to destabilize an entire region in the heart of Africa.

    But on Wednesday, Mr. Bashir didn’t seem to be feeling too guilty. He was all about peace, development and pleasing the crowds. The minute he stepped off the plane in El Fasher, a white dove was thrust into his hands.

    Mr. Bashir threw the bird toward the sky. It flapped a few times, but didn’t really fly.

  • A major collision between a barge and a tanker has closed the Mississippi River in New Orleans, as roughly 400,000 gallons of fuel spilled into the water.

    The river, a major shipping route between the Midwest and Gulf of Mexico, could be closed for days during the cleanup, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

    More than 30 ships already are queued up along the river, waiting to pass through the closed zone, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jaclyn Young said.

  • President Bush is set to sign the housing bill after all, backing off his promise to veto the bill over portions of the bill that he decided he didn’t like.  He heeded advice from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who warned him that saving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was too urgent a need to veto and make Congress go back to work.

  • Hurricane Dolly hit Texas as a category 2 hurricane, before being quickly downgraded to a category one storm.  The storm missed most oil rigs, but has still left about 61,000 people in southern Texas without power and will likely cause wind and water damage.

Please Welcome Docudharma’s New Contributing Editors

They’re not as young as they used to be, but who among us is?

They are all our children

This is going to be an essay about racism. So if you’d rather not read about that subject or discuss it, I’d suggest you check out the other fine essays on this blog.

It has, however, been suggested that those of us for whom this is an important topic should just move over. I wanted to share some of my personal and professional experience to explain why I won’t do that.

One of the many reasons I loved Molly Ivins is that we shared some significant things in terms of our background. Both of us were raised in East Texas. One of the first things I ever read of Molly’s was an article in Ms. Magazine about her journey out of dysfunctional conservatism (sorry, no link. I’ve looked and can’t find it online). Molly said that as a child, she was told to drink only out of the public water fountain labeled for “whites” because the one for “coloreds” was dirty. In all her childhood innocence, she noticed that the colored water fountain was actually cleaner due to lack of use. It was as a result of this kind of experience that she saw, for the first time, that she was being lied to. Recognizing racism was the beginning of opening her eyes to the way the world really works.

I had a similar experience while going to a conservative christian college with very few black students. I was blessed to be befriended by one of the only African American women attending the school. One day, as we were walking across campus, she said, “Sometimes I just get sooo tired of only seeing white faces around here.” It was like someone hit me over the head with a brick. That was the first time I caught a glimpse of what the world looks like through black eyes and I’ve been curious about it ever since. It was my journey to understand racism that eventually opened my eyes to the political and religious lies I had been told all my life.

If McCain wins, your kids and grandkids will fight his wars

You have a friend or a colleague who has kids?  Or one that has grandkids?  Or is thinking about having kids?

Are they thinking that McCain is “moving to the center” (as I was told by a colleague earlier today)?  Are they considering voting for McCain because Obama “doesn’t necessarily have the right experience” or for some other nonsensical reason?  Do they believe the lies that McCain was “very against the war from the beginning”?  Are they unfamiliar with McCain’s “there will be more wars” comment?  Do they not know about his 100 years in Iraq comment?

If there is no other distinction that people can understand (or care enough about) – even though there are more distinctions than I can easily count to (and I am an accountant), it is this one: if McCain wins, he and his neoconservative buddies will ensure that there are more wars.  Enough of the “more wars” that not only many of us, but our children and grandchildren will be shipped off to fight..

So, I plan on telling one of my closest friends, who is a self described “moderate libertarian” who happens to vote republican because of his wallet (he owns 2 dental practices) that his 7 year old son, 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son (who I am the godfather of) could likely be shipped overseas to fight in one of the many wars that McCain will start or inflame.

And I will tell my parents, who think McCain is not conservative enough that if he wins, they will be setting things up so that my 4 year old niece has a shot at being drafted into the decades long war that he plans on continuing (I will personally flee the country with the little mollusk if need be).  Ditto for my work colleague down the hall who has 2 sons under the age of 6, and all of the people in my neighborhood who have young children, including my next door neighbors who have twin grandchildren who are around 2 years old.

It is that simple to me.  It is that clear.  SCOTUS is of utmost importance, however the damaging impact from McCain SCOTUS picks are not as easy to describe in tangible terms as “McCain would gladly have your kids kill and possibly die halfway across the world – or come back with PTSD or permanent injuries”.

Or the reverse – “Do you want your kids or grandkids to become fodder for McCain’s continuation of failed aggression?”

Either way, it is a very powerful question, and paints a picture in very stark terms of what we can expect under a McCain presidency.  And with there being absolutely no coverage of Iraq on the major news outlets and therefore no talk of the human cost in lost and damaged lives, I can think of no stronger more powerful way to pointedly show what is at stake here.

Fox News: Racism Is Their Marketing Plan

O'Reilly Lynching Party

A press conference will be held today at 2:30 outside of the offices of Fox News in New York. The purpose of the gathering is to deliver a petition with over 600,000 names to network executives calling for an end to the racist attacks against black Americans including Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. The petition is the work of Color of Change and MoveOn and asks Fox News CEO Roger Ailes to respond to the allegation that…

“Fox has developed a pattern of airing racially offensive attacks, then apologizing only after controversy erupts. Forced, half-hearted apologies do not demonstrate good faith when the larger pattern of offensive rhetoric continues.”

Crushing the Right

Archangel M is right, we, the Left, have been in a fevered dream for years now.

It is time for the Left to wake up.

Despite all the laughable post-partisan talk right now, this IS our opportunity to crush the Right. Their brand of politics, their hateful and divisive vision for America…but especially their bankrupt and broken ideology.

In the 1960’s, a wave of creative energy intersected with a booming population to create a massive amount of chaotic change. Conservatives don’t like change. So they crafted a decades long backlash against the newly reborn ideas of peace, justice, equality and respect for all and that was so successful we have wound up at its culmination…and demise we fervently hope…with the Worst. President. Ever.

And, not that you need reminding, years of unfettered complete control of Congress. I will say it again, since this needs to be hammered home again and again….The Right had FULL CONTROL to do whatever they want, the Republicans were totally dominant politically for year after year, the Conservatives had the entire government under their sole control, to create whatever reality they wanted to, enact the policies they longed deep in their hearts for….and the America we see today is what they created. This IS the America the Right wants. And when it comes right down to it, all they really care about.

The rich (them) getting richer………and making sure that the lower and middle classes are too powerless, and too cowed, to do anything about it.

Richest Americans See Their Income Share Grow


In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation’s adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years.

Good for them! Bad for everyone else.

Record home losses in California

As foreclosures in the state soar, federal lawmakers may vote Wednesday on a bill seeking to address the mortgage crisis.

The price tag for the nation’s housing crisis escalated again with reports Tuesday that a record number of Californians lost their homes to foreclosure in the last three months and that a potential bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could reach $25 billion.

This is not about revenge, this is about ending…crushing….a destructive political and societal force in America and the world. The Conservative movement, give everything it could possibly ask for to show its worth…. has failed, catastrophically. It is time to end its influence.

And despite what the shameful enablers may say, the first step to doing that is accountability.

After the Deluge

The third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is coming up next month.

Today Dolly has been upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.  And again there are worries about levees:

Coastal officials worried Tuesday that Tropical Storm Dolly may bring so much rain that flooding could break through the levees holding back the Rio Grande.

Some stories don’t ever seem to change.

Again, Lieberman Compares Pastor Hagee To Moses

Enough is enough.  McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman appeared on Tuesday at Pastor John Hagee’s Citizens United For Israel (CUFI) conference and made a disgraceful, pandering speech.  You’ll recall that Hagee’s endorsement of McSame provoked outrage until McCain rejected it.  But, even without all of that, Lieberman’s appearance was a utter disgrace worthy of condemnation.

The Connecticut Post reports:

With a pump of his fist and a wave, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman Tuesday evening greeted the thousands of members of Christians United for Israel who came to the nation’s capital to lobby on behalf of the Jewish state.

“I am your brother Joseph,” Lieberman told the crowd gathered in the cavernous D.C. conference center. They stood up from their dining tables and cheered, waving American and Israeli flags as they warmly embraced him.

Lieberman said that he proudly stands by them as a man of faith, believing in them and believing in the Rev. John Hagee, the controversial Texas televangelist who founded the group. As he did a year ago, Lieberman once again compared Hagee to Moses, but this time in reference to the imbroglio that erupted over remarks the pastor made that had offended Jews and Catholics.

“Even Moses fell short of God’s expectations. He made a mistake and hit the rock rather than speaking to it as God commanded. His sister, the prophetess Miriam, sinned too when she spoke badly about Moses. But this didn’t make Moses and Miriam bad people or failed leaders. Their shortcomings were only part of the larger fabric of their remarkable lives of faith and service. And that’s the way the Bible and those who read it view them,” Lieberman said.

Support the Kucinich Impeachment Hearing on Friday

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has led the fight for impeachment since April 2007, when he defied Speaker Pelosi and courageously introduced 3 Articles of Impeachment (H.Res. 333/799) against Vice President Cheney. On June 10, Kucinich defied Speaker Pelosi again and introduced 35 Articles of Impeachment (H.Res. 1258) against President Bush.

When Pelosi refused to allow hearings on any of the 38 Articles of Impeachment, Kucinich returned to the floor of Congress to introduce one more Article of Impeachment against President Bush (H.Res. 1345).  

Pony Party


~♥~ Pony Party is an Open Thread. Please don’t wRECk the pony. ~♥~


The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Angry Serb nationalists protest Karadzic arrest

By JOVANA GEC, Associated Press Writer

12 minutes ago

BELGRADE, Serbia – Serb nationalists skirmished with riot police in the capital Tuesday, lashing out against the new Western-leaning government that captured war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic’s lawyer vowed to appeal Serbia’s plan to extradite the former Bosnian Serb chief to a U.N. war crimes court.

Riot police deployed in downtown Belgrade to keep about 200 members of the extremist Obraz group under control. The demonstrators threw stones and clay pots at the officers, chanting “treason!” and trying to break through police cordons.

Five demonstrators and a policeman were injured, doctors at Belgrade emergency clinic said.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Dharma is the support of the earth.

Born of compassion and kindness.

It patiently holds the thread

Of creation together.

Understand this and become a person of Truth.

–Sri Guru Nanak Dev,  Hymn 16, Japji Sahib

Phenomena V: Truth

At the Nub



of pretense

scraped down

to the nub

bathed in

the acid

of reality


is coated by

no varnish

No twisting




can alter it

Truth is inviolate

but there are many


–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 12, 2008

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