Monday, March 31, 2008

One more reason why the government, the Pentagon and the intelligence community cannot be trusted

The reason George Bush doesn't make public appearances except in front of handpicked audiences

He'll be booed. As he was throwing out the first pitch at the new Washington Nationals stadium. BTW, the first pitch was reported in the Hartford Courant this morning, but not the booing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The hype of the hyperpartisan hypocrite

Creepy Joe™ Lieberman ran and won his Senate seat in Connecticut promising to work to put a Democrat in the White House. His lie is now obvious.

Creepy Joe™ Lieberman promised to break the partisan politics in Washington, but at every opportunity he voted with the block of votes which has been most steady in its partisanship - Republican Senators. And now, while proclaiming that he is a foe of hyperpartisanship, he is pulling the most partisan and divisive move any "Democrat" could make, denouncing his party at the Republican convention.

One goes up, one comes down, one still looking for tenants

Progress along Main Street in Middletown as the steel frame for Liberty Commons on the corner of Liberty and Main went up this week.

On the other end of Main, the Middletown Press building came down this week to make way for a Rite Aid.

Meanwhile, at Wharfside Commons, the city is still trying to determine the rental patterns. The Redevelopment Commission has asked the Richman Group to provide information on occupancy, how the apartments in each building are distributed amongst income groups, and how many of the market-priced units have actually been rented. Some in town are concerned that market rate units have not been occupied as quickly as units for subsidized units, and that subsidized rentals are being concentrated in the towers which were opened first.

Reports are that the apartments are a huge improvement over rental units formerly available in that neighborhood.

Bragg on internet royalties

I missed this Billy Bragg op-ed in the New York Times last week. He's been a proponent for a new model of support for musicians, and obviously feels betrayed by Bebo founder Michael Birch.

Come you masters of war

An interesting blog over at Politico gives several good reasons why protest songs have not resonated widely in our culture during this long war in Iraq - fragmentation of our listening experience, a volunteer army, a culture obsessed with a "reality" that is not a reality.

Reading the comments attached to the blog, and it's something you must do, it's clear that there are still as many brain-dead Americans as there ever have been who are willing to say, "it's because the songs suck and the singers are traitors"

Well, that's just not true. There were songs which resonated through our culture at the height of the civil rights and anti-war movement of the sixties and seventies: Blowin' In the Wind, Who Will Stop the Rain, Eve of Destruction, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, What's Going On, For What It's Worth, Fortunate Son, Ohio, Abraham, Martin and John, Woodstock. That was at a time when radio playlists where not enforced by corporate owners, and every boy in America was worried about being conscripted into an immoral war. But there were many songs written and played that did not hit the top of the charts, did not become "anthems for a generation" but have become standards in some circles. After all, it wasn't really hip to be singing along with Barry McGuire.

So there was Masters of War by Bob Dylan, I Ain't A Marchin Anymore by Phil Ochs, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by Pete Seeger, Universal Soldier by Buffy Ste. Marie, Sam Stone by John Prine and many more.

This president and this war has inspired thousands of songwriters, some of whom I've written about here before, some who have written great songs. I don't know about the Tori Amos, anti-Bush song, but here are a few I'd check out:

Man of God and Highway 9 - Eliza Gilkyson

Dear Mr. President - Pink

Rich Man's War - Steve Earle
Volunteer and Seeds of Peace - Mark Erelli
Commander - Girlyman

Chickenhawk and Thanks for the Support - Roy Zimmerman

Dad's Gonna Kill Me - Richard Thompson

After the Parade - Dan Bern
Dangerous Times and Liar, Liar - Chuck Brodsky

Some Humans Ain't Human - John Prine

Dress Blues - Jason Isbell

Lives in the Balance (acooustic) - Jackson Browne

The Price of Oil - Billy Bragg

Guantanamo - State Radio

Mr. President - Spicewood Seven

Devils and Dust - Bruce Springsteen

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but an illustration. And another good reason to listen to independent radio stations like WWUH.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Repeat after me: polls are good guesses

So, why in hell does the Hartford Courant give any credence to the opinion of Douglas Schwartz, director of a Quinnipiac poll which show that Chris Dodd's approval numbers have fallen from 60 to 51 per cent.

Said Schwartz: "No incumbent wants to start a re-election campaign with numbers that low."

Oh? And Schwartz is a credible source because he's talked to thousands of incumbents? Because his job is like predicting long-term weather conditions? Like writing the Farmer's Almanac? Like scanning the heavens to develop horoscopes? Like flipping through Confucius to compose fortune cookie fortunes?

Face it, the polling business is just that, a business. It's not science because pure research would not be so consumed with getting the brand (Quinnipiac) out there, or making the pollster into the star.

Schwartz's job is to collect numbers, and report numbers. His opinions are of no consequence, at least to me. In fact, his polls are of no consequence to me.

And if the Courant wants to write about an unpopular Senator, how about a piece on the despised Creepy Joe™ Lieberman, traitor to his party and his constituents. At least Dodd is moving about the state with ease. Lieberman slinks in and slinks out, unannounced for fear of being confronted by some of those constituents he has misled.

Huh? Wha the? Say again.

God love her, Helen Thomas pins Dana Perino, and Perino dances around the lies and incompetencies of her boss. (H/T to TPM)

Over at Crooks and Liars, they point out that Bush mourned the announcement of the death of the 4000th US soldier on Easter Sunday by mugging with a 6 foot Easter Bunny on the White House lawn.

Hillary on Nader, Nader on Hillary

When it comes to damaging the hopes of electing a Democrat to the White House this November, Hillary Clinton (and he companion Bill), are doing a great job of boosting Republican candidate John McCain.

Still, Hillary was quick to point the finger when Ralph Nader decided to run again:

“Obviously it’s not helpful to whoever our Democratic nominee is. But it’s a free country,” she said. “I don’t know what party he’ll run on. Where did he run on last time? Does anybody remember? Was it on the Green Party? Well, you know, his being on the Green Party prevented Al Gore from being the greenest president we could have had and I think that’s really unfortunate. I think we paid a big price for it.”

And does Ralph repay the favor? No he defends her right to run.

"I know something about this. Here’s my advice: Don’t listen to people when they tell you not to run anymore. That’s just political bigotry."

Who then is more in the service of democracy?

Scrubbing Creepy Joe™ from the advisory board

I guess somebody reads this blog.

Matt Lesser, member of Middletown's Democratic Town Committee, an alternate on the zoning board of appeals, and an Wesleyan student active in town politics (a rarity indeed) called to let me know that Lieberman's name would be removed from his on-line listing as Democratic Town Committee Advisory Board member.

The listing is still there
as of this posting, but should be removed soon.

Thanks Matt, your attention to this is appreciated (and sorry for not calling right back, I was just returning from some minor surgery, and still a bit groggy.)

Now, let's work on Dan Russo's repudiation of his support of Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont. It was a mistake, wasn't it?

Johnny, are you really sure the surge is working?

John McCain apes George Bush about our successes in the thousand year war in Iraq. But what he doesn't seem to see, or what he isn't allowed to see, is the truth.

How about another jaunt over there for a stay in the Green Zone this week, McCain? And maybe your buddy Creepy Joe™ Lieberman would like to accompany you?

Maher on Catholic hypocrisy

Bill Maher asks a question I asked some weeks ago in this blog (see the last paragraph of that blog).

If Obama should quit his church for the wrongdoings of its leaders, shouldn't the pews in every American Catholic church be empty?

Are they flesh? Do they not bleed?

In a war where 4000 American soldiers have been slaughtered as a result of the ambitions, lies and stubbornness of a delusional President. Thousands more (officially 90,000) perhaps hundreds of thousands more (unoficially 1,190,000), of Iraquis have died. This doesn't include the devastation of injuries, the plight of refugees, or the loss in property and infrastructure. According to George Bush, the light of democracy glows in Iraq, and even the latest Shiite uprising in Basra is a "a defining moment." Ah yes, one more defining moment in the war where we would be greeted as liberators.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The crooked path to justice Alabama style

But as Martin Luther King said, "the arc of justice is long, but it's true."

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is out on bond.

The weather in November

The Hartford Courant is at it again. Front page banner headline above the fold:

McCain-Clinton a Tossup.

Two things wrong with this article.

After editorially excoriating media who used polls as news in New Hampshire, and getting it fiercely wrong, The Hartford Courant once again presents polls as news, polls as fact. This headline will sit on coffee tables, and in honor boxes across the state all day long, creating an impression that is wrong and speculative. They may as well be trying to predict the weather on election day in November.

Another thing, the headline reveals a secondary facet of the story. The real story is that if Barack Obama is the candidate, which evermore so, it appears he will be, then, according to the polls, he is predicted to beat McCain by a whopping 17 points.

Shame on the Courant for once again misusing polls as news. If I never hear "Quinnipiac" for the next seven months, it will be too soon.

NOTE: Had the gall bladder removed today, so liklihood of additional posts is slim.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What George Bush doesn't think about, and doesn't want you to think about

(Caution: the following article and accompanying video express the horrors or war, and the toll it extracts from the men and women who have to do the bidding of commanders without conscience. You may experience nausea, depression, chest pains, anxiety, shortness of breath, an increased pulse and blood pressure, rage and self-loathing. If more people in this country experienced those symptoms, we might not be where we are today.)

The implications of the Homeland Security and Terrorism industry, or did the FBI frame Briana Waters?

You have to look no further than the local "security" presence at any nearby corporation to understand that what began as a friendly guard at the reception desk ten years ago has grown to include scanners, id checks, electronic gates, holding pens and security armies. And that's just at the corporate level.

The attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing hysteria have created a homeland securities industry which has grown in much the same way as the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned about after World War II. In the "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" mode, security firms (you know some by name, like Blackwater) have seen opportunities to blossom and grow into dark armies of the night.

In the federal bureaucracy, the growth has been abetted by congressional acts which have redefined terrorism, and given intelligence organizations frightening new tools.

In a recent trial in Washington State, Briana Waters was convicted of eco-terrorism and faces up to 30 years in prison. However, she maintains her innocence in the face of evidence that the FBI coerced testimony and withheld evidence that may have proven her innocence to the jury (the FBI has demonstrated a considerable lack of restraint in using the new anti-terror tools provided to them - here in Connecticut they went after librarians). Waters, a mother, and a talented fiddler, has had her life torn apart as a result of associations with eco-protest groups in her college years.

Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour a PR sham

It's just like show business. They ride around in a big tour bus. They pretend to be non-partisan. They wave the flag and try to convince high school students that what they're saying is true.

The truth is something else altogether. Just like it is in show business.

The National Heroes Tour is funded by Vets for Freedom, a right-wing Republican lobbying 527.

They're all offended that some high schools are turning them away, when there message is simple and non-partisan: war is glorious. There are no quadraplegics, burn victim or traumatic brain injury vets on the tour.

Tell me how well the surge is working?

The Pentagon PR machine and the administrative scriptwriters can say it as many times as they want, but the vaunted surge seems to have hit a snag.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The press gang

There are 60,000 service men and woman who can't escape their terms in the military.

Because the military has not been able to recruit enough gullible men and women to participate in their unholy wars, the Pentagon has issued "stop loss" orders preventing these young men and women from being released from their military obligation until 6 months after the end of the war.

Of course, the Bush war against terror is without end, so these are soldiers for life, against their wills.

The practice is not unlike the practice of the British Royal Navy who "impressed" recruits through violence and abduction, against the will of the conscribed sailor.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Girl in the war

Want to know what happens to an American kid sent into an immoral war? Read the New Yorker article which explains what happened to Sabrina Harman at Abu Ghraib, and understand that her superiors have never been disciplined.

Chickenhawk profiteers

There's nothing more obscene, more despicable than the promoters of war who wear their patriotism on their sleeves, constantly talk about supporting the troops, opposing terrorism and "Islamic extremists,"while sacrificing absolutely nothing for the cause.

That list begins at the top with Bush and Cheney but trickles down in a murky stream of effluent past blathering sphincters like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and locally Jim Vicevich who have exploited the war, exploited the bravery of the troops, exploited the patriotic feelings of their listeners, exploited bloodlust and fear, exploited terrorism and who have exploited death and destruction for their own ratings, their own book sales, their own punditry fees, their own profit. Though they would deny it, no less than Halliburton or Sikorsky, they have made money at the cost of others lives.

Over at firedoglake, attaturk pins war enabler Michael O'Hanlon.

While you were watching dancing with the stars

Frontline's recap of the Iraq and Afghani wars, Bush's War, should be required viewing for anyone who will vote in the next ten years. As evenhanded as it can be, it clearly demonstrates the criminality of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. And the isolation and ineffectuality of Colin Powell.

You can watch the entire first part online at the Frontline website, and if you consider yourself a thinking American, you should.

Oh the surge is working, is it?

Read the important Glenn Greenwald analysis of the imbalanced analysis on the fifth anniversary of the war, here. Be sure to watch the Charlie Rose clip embedded in the article.

Neck deep in the big muddy

And the big fool says to push on.

Marking the death of the 4,000 American soldier (how is it we always leave Iraqui dead out of this equation), we listen to Dick Cheney equivocate and Pete Seeger and Mark Erelli sing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

And the script is staged

John McCain says Iran is training extremists, and now Petraeus is promising evidence that the recent Green Zone attacks were a result of Iranian rockets and training.

Any reason in the world we ought to trust John McCain or the Pentagon.

Priming the pump for a war with Iran? Cheney's looking for the slightest excuse.

Maromas profile in Press

Middletown Press reporter hiked Maromas with John LeShane, and has written about it in the Press yesterday.

This kind of profile helps establish the fact that the character of a town is drawn by a combination of its developed and non-developed spaces. The wisdom to maintain this balance frequently escapes those who carry the Grand List as the most important priority in mind.

One newspaper comes to its senses about Lieberman

The Day, of New London, has rescinded its support of Creepy Joe™ Lieberman.

Will the oldest continually published daily newspaper in the country follow suit?

What about the Peace resolution?

Another thought on the Democratic Town Committee in Middletown. I know the committee voted to condemn George Bush, and the Iraq war, and I know that the Democrats on the town council fought to allow citizens to propose a anti-war resolution to the council.

However, not a single Democratic Town Council (and that's all it would take, a single member) has had the backbone to take the resolution and offer it to the Council for a vote. What's at risk? Someone may claim it's inappropriate, unpatriotic, weak on terrorism. Seems like a small risk on the day it was announced that the 4,000 American had died in Iraq.

I suggested some time ago that a Republican member of the Council offer the resolution and embarass the Democrats into voting for the war, or against it.

For those who think it has nothing to do with our town, consider one simple to understand fact. Middletown's share of war costs, as of today is nearly $137 million dollars.

Re-electing a Joe enabler

At their last meeting, Middletown's Democratic Town Committee re-elected Dan Russo as chairman of the committee.

Russo initially supported Chris Dodd in his run for president, and is now actively campaigning for Barack Obama.

But the significant fact, and it is a significant fact, is that Dan Russo backed Creepy Joe™ Lieberman against Ned Lamont even after Ned Lamont officially won the Democratic nomination for Senator. Let it be known that Russo was not a lone CT supporter of Lieberman (see Spazeboy's list here).

I've always viewed that support as a black eye for Middletown Democrats. The Democrats on the town committee don't seem to think so.

One could draw a syllogism. Dan Russo supported Creepy Joe™ Lieberman's election to the Senate. In doing so, he helped make possible the imbalance of power in the Senate, and has abetted Lieberman's support of a Republican presidential candidate.

I for one would love to hear Russo admit his mistake and apologize, in public. A repudiation of his support for Lieberman would go a long way in gaining back the respect for the Democratic party in Middletown.

BTW, Lieberman is still listed on the Democratic Town Committee website as part of the Advisory Board. What kind of useful advice is errant Senator liable to offer town Dems?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Shipbuilding is a song Elvis Costello wrote for famed English performer and songwriter Robert Wyatt to record. He made a single of it that rose to #35 on the British charts before Costello recorded his own version for the song for his album Punch the Clock.

The song is about the prosperity that sweeps over a dormant port town in Britain during the Falklands invasion of 1982. The key line in the song, of course: "Is it worth it?"

Elvis Costello

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we'll be shipbuilding.......
Well I ask you
The boy said "Dad they're going to take me to task, but I'll be back by Christmas"
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of this shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks they'll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin
Once again
It's all we're skilled in
We will be shipbuilding........
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls.

The same question entered my mind today while reading the compelling story, The Helicopter War, by Eric Gershon in today's Hartford Courant. While the war in Iraq has deepened our indebtedness to China in an alarming way, and has, by many accounts, been the suction which is draining the life from our economy, in Stratford and Bridgeport and Plainville, the war means bombfall profits.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Looking forward to "hard" times with Sam Zell

Apparently Sam Zell has been cruising the newsroom out at the LA Times and making the promise of priapism for the 125 year old daily.

Zell calls himself viagra for the ailing media empire.

I wonder how many of those little blue pills he'll need to get a rise out of the oldest continuing published daily newspaper in America?

And will we see Courant reporters sitting in clawfoot bathtups perched on Avon Mountain peering, dreamy-eyed into the distant landcape of Farmington Valley?

Some deep thinking about race in America

This was sent along by an anonymous commenter, and I didn't want it to get lost in archived posts.

David Kaiser is an author and history teacher in Rhode Island who provides signficant context to the debate on race, or the lack thereor, in this country.

The ventriloquist

Is it just me, or is the relationship between John McCain and Creepy Joe™ Lieberman analogous to Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen, Jerry Mahoney and Paul Winchell and Johnny and Senor Wences?

Just look at the positioning. Lieberman is always just behind McCain as McCain speaks - classic ventriloquist stature, and I swear I can see Lieberman's lips move when McCain speaks.

And it's got to be a comedy routine. McCain says al Quaida forces are being trained in Iran, and Lieberman corrects him. McCain says Purim is the Jewish Halloween, and Lieberman corrects him.

S'all right? S'all right.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What's the Courant got against recycling?

In an editorial today, the Courant scoffs at the idea that residents need incentives to take part in recycling.

Hartford has contracted with RecyleBank, a company that I know a little about, for single-stream recycling. That means that all the trash goes into a single bin, the garbage is weighed by the truck at the curb, and residents receive credit, for cash coupons at participating retailers. What could be wrong with that? The hauler gets money for recylables, the city eventually receives relief on tipping fees, and residents gets incentive for minimal effort to participate.

Right now Hartford residents participate in recycling at a rate of 10%. That was the case in Wilmington Delaware when I helped put together a video piece on RecycleBank there. In six months, the recylcing rate was up to 30% (higher than most cities in the US), and the goal was 50%, where the city would begin to see relief on tipping rates.

An ardent recycling friend told me that the one drawback to single stream recycling is that sorting is not always the best and that contamination (separte recycling items mixed together must be discarded - a bottle in a paper bag for example). However, to get a city to participate at a 20-40% higher rate is a definite win.

When I spoke to Recyclebank president Ron Gonen a few years ago, I suggested we'd love to have his company in Connecticut. Glad to see he's made it here.

Escape to Hartford?

So suggests the New York Times, today.

Notice there's no mention of the hip nightlife, the underground music scene, the lively folk coffeehouse activity, or the search for a supermarket.

I'm surprised they didn't mention taking the Fung Wah bus to the casinos, or heading out to the restaurants in West Hartford.

Hannity gets caught with his hood on

Seems like it's wrong to be associated with a racist if you're a black man running for president. That doesn't seem to be the case with white candidates (McCain is associated with racist hate mongers Hagee and Parsley).

And it certainly doesn't seem to apply to right-wing talk show hosts like Sean Hannity (whose hate comes your way locally on WTIC-AM). Seems like he had a very close relationship with avowed white supremacist Hal Turner.

Wright place, wrong time

Seems like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been around, and if Barack Obama is elected, he won't be the first president Wright has been associated with.

Here's a photo of Wright (behind the IV stand) attending President Johnson prior to surgery when Wright was a Marine corpsman (that's right, the unpatriotic Wright a former Marine).

And here's a shot of Bill Clinton with Wright on the day Bill Clinton "confessed" his sin of blowjoberry to a group of clergy visiting the White House (that right, Wright the minister, a witness to Clinton frailties).

So, the renegade clergyman has been embraced by a few more folks than we thought.

News or not?

Last night MSNBC treated the breach of Barack Obama's passport file as major news devoting at least two hours of programming to the issue and uncovering, as the story unfolded, several strange discrepancies about the issue. Why did it take so long to inform Obama? How could three separate instances of file breach go unreported to top officials? Why were contract employees fired before they could answer questions? What did a former Clinton official have to do with the situation?

Most of these stories are still left unanswered.

But the bigger question is why most major media outlets seem to be downplaying the story. I couldn't find reference to it in the online edition of the NY Times. The Washington Post featured it as a sub-head. And here at home, there's a bullet mention on page 2 of the Hartford Courant, with a slightly more fleshed-out piece on page 4.

This is a leading Presidential contender whose private files were searched by unknown individuals. It seems like a major story to me.

Especially when these same papers can feature stories and scores for late-night NCAA tournament basketball games.

UPDATE: Read Glenn Greenwald on the topic.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What happens when the government can spy on political opponets in secret?

It does.

Reports breaking on TV that Barack Obama's passport file has been breached by State Department "contract employees" in January, and has just been reported to Obama today.

Staying "on script" even when it's absurd

It's not a Eugene Ionesco play, it's a White House press briefing.

Raw Story correspondent Eric Brewer complained a few days ago that he was often left with his hand in the air at White House press briefings by Dana Perino. Yesterday she called on him, and I'm sure she's not thrilled that she did.

Brewer asked Perino a question she couldn't answer. And so, she didn't, instead accusing Brewer of taking one of Bush's statement's out of context. Of course, he hadn't misinterpreted Bush, he had simply pointed out that Bush's scare statement didn't make logical sense, in context or not.

Lip service on Tibet

Jim Vicevich hung up on me again (third time). And he's lying about it as I write this.

To his credit, Vicevich, who hosts a right-wing talk show on WTIC-AM, is trying to bring attention to the crisis in China, in which the government is slaughtering Tibetan protestors. In the process, Vicevich has been haranguing the "mainstream media" for not covering the story. He's wrong on that, as he is on many things, since the story has received prominent placement by most major media outlets. For some strange reason, he's also taking the opportunity to slam liberals for trying to bring attention to genocide in Darfur, while "ignoring" Tibet. I think he'd be surprised to find that support of Tibetans is a longstanding issue in liberal circles.

He has suggested boycotting the Olympics, or at the very least having the athletes skip the opening ceremonies. Both good suggestions. Both suggestions unique for a free market conservative, since most of them are afraid of breaking market ties with China.

But when I called (and I will admit I did use radio "nomme de microphone" Greg from Hartford), and suggested that he could actually make a moral decision and ban all commercials for major Olympic sponsors from his show, or quit, he acknowledged he could do that but it would be a major financial hardship for him. He got angry when I suggested that he could make a decision between life and livelihood, and, for some reason, asked me if I know a single Tibetan. When I said I did (and I do know Bumhba who owns Little Tibet in Middletown), Vicevich hung up on me, and went on for minutes about how I had set a trap for him.

He can call it a trap, but when a radio host spends a good portion of his day accusing "liberals" of not caring, of not having the moral courage to stand by decisions, of not having the guts to walk the walk, then it seems legitimate to question his credibility on an issue he claims to "care" about.

You can talk all you want, but when it comes to making a decision that would involve a sacrifice, well, maybe a few dead Tibetans are less important than the income from a McDonald's ad.

This attitude goes hand in hand with the chickenhawk conservative attitude of supporting any war those conservatives don't have to fight in.

BTW, Vicevich declared, on air, that I had lied about what I wanted to talk about to his screener. That's not true. The screener asked what I wanted to talk about, and I said "Tibet." I did give an alias because Vicevich is reputed to have a blacklist of folks he refuses to talk to on-air. I'd be happy to be on his blacklist, but for a radio host who pretends to want to hear all sides of an issue, it's a strange practice to avoid callers he disagrees with.

My only regret is that I may have upended Vicevich's campaign in support of Tibetans.

For you mystified conservatives

Thanks to Crooks and Liars for pointing us to this editorial cartoon originally printed in Illinois' Springfield Journal-Registar.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Joan Hedrick to receive Governor's Award

I know Joan Hedrick because we're in a few civic organizations together in Middletown. I knew she was a Trinity professor, and I surmised that she is brilliant.

I didn't know quite how brilliant.

This year, Joan is one of four honorees for the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Culture and Tourism for her work in history at Trinity College, her authorship of acclaimed biographies of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Jack London, and her 1995 Pulitzer Prize for the Stowe biography.

Other honorees include Michael Wilson, artistic director of the Hartford Stage, Gene Wilder, actor, and Vita West Muir, founder of the Litchfield Jazz Festival.

Congratulations to all, but particulary to Joan. Next time we speak, I'll be sure to use complete sentences.

The awards ceremony is Wednesday April 9 at 5:30 pm in the Atrium at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Smells kinda like teen spirit

The bad news: Harp Magazine has declared bankruptcy. With Harp and No Depression gone, the niche of music publications for adults narrows considerably.

The good news: Dave Grohl is running for president. Be on guard for the Nader-like backlash. Foo on yet another third-party candidate.

Jesus, I thought Joe was going to kiss me

I almost elbowed him in the solar plexus, then I realized Joe (Creepy Joe™ Lieberman) was trying to help me. I meant to say "insurgents," I really did. You know, those A-rabs all look the same to me. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Heh-heh. Wow, will you get a load of those camels!

All you need to know about the man

No doubts in his mind? Under the circumstances, five years into a war that's cost the lives of nearly 4000 American soldiers, tens of thousands of Iraqui civilians, and a half trillion dollars poured down a rathole of corruption, waste and futile destruction, you'd have to say the man is delusional, intellectually lazy or evil. Maybe all three.

Buddy learns a new vocabulary term

While much of the rest of the political world praises Barack Obama for his courage, heart and straightforwardness in his speech on race, there are a few dissenters - mostly, as one would predict, on the right wing.

Here in Connecticut, it's radio host Jim "Buddy" Vicevich. He played a hunk of the speech during his show yesterday, and was not really able to cobble together any coherent analysis (read "criticism"). Then he likely went home and read some of the right-wing blogs he so dearly loves to quote and he learned a new phrase - moral relativism, which he has begun to sling around like a high-school freshman with a new thesaurus. And he came up with this.

Seems like Buddy misses the point of the speech completely, and not surprisingly given his aptitude. While the speech is all about confronting racism (and most of the commentators I've read, on the left and right, got that point), Buddy thinks it's about excusing racism.

As for moral relativism, it's a strange term to use by someone whose views so skew the information he presents on his show. For example, it's okay to criticize Obama's incendiary minister, but not McCain's religious supporters Hagee and Parsley. It's okay to question the patriotism of Obama, but not that of a president who continues to execute an immoral war. It's okay to wag a finger at Obama's earmarks, but not to talk about McCain's intimate relationship with lobbyists.

Why, one might accuse Vicevich or criticizing Obama simply because of his race. But I don't think Vicevich hates Obama because he's black. He hates him because he's promises a new way of thinking where rich white men don't control the world. Maybe he's scared of him because he's black, or because he's smart and black.

Back to relativism, Vicevich is famous for hanging up on anyone who disagrees with him (it's happened to me more than once). He consistently says he likes to air all side of the issue, but all his guests are right-wing lunatics, and he never, ever will have anyone on the air live with him who might challenge his feeble arguments. He has a blog which spews invective about his opponents, but he refuses to allow comments which might embrace an opposing opinion. He sputters religiously about the politicians he dislikes not having the courage of their convictions, and yet as a warhawk, he's never served his country (did I hear you say "chickenhawk").

I encourage you to call him during his show today to explain that racism takes several forms, and that his is the most insidious and vituperative. He'll need a few new vocab words to misuse tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I keep faith today

Billy Bragg's first US single from Mr. Love and Justice just went on sale in digital format on iTunes today, along with two non-album cuts, Ash Wednesday and Goodbye.

Why isn't a woman like this running for President?

I'll admit I've got a bit of a crush on Samantha Power. I know she's renounced her lapse of internal editor, but I think Hillary Clinton is a monster too (and in her heart, I know Samantha Power still thinks so).

What a brain. What accomplishments. You're right, she'd be wasted in Washington.

Another 50,000 unintended consequences on the march toward Democracy

While the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Cheney, McCain, Lieberman, Graham) troll Iraq searching for some sign that the tender seedlings of Democracy are pushing through the ashes of war, we learn, yet again that Little Georgie's misadventure has really fucked up the world but good.

More collateral damage from Bush and the bloodhounds in Washington.

Made in the shade

Thanks to Anna and Wesleying for pointing out the new Red Stick Ramblers video.

Great video, with some interesting cameos. That's Wilson Savoy of the Pine Leaf Boys on piano, Cedric Watson of the same band delivering hootch, Hadley Castille playing fiddle outdoors, Karl behind the bar. And I know that I've met the moonshiner, I just can't remember his name.

So that's who Kate Nash is

Kate Nash sang A New England with Billy Bragg the other night at Roseland, and apparently it wasn't the first outing.

Since I don't still follow every heartbeat of the pop music world, I wasn't sure who she was, but she has had a big hit album in Britain. Listening to her songs on Myspace, I can see an affinity with Bragg.

BTW, Bragg's new album. Mr. Love and Justice, is wonderful. More thoughts on it in a few days after I've listened a coouple more times. It'll be out in the states on ANTI at the beginning of April.

Race in the race

Barack Obama's hand may have been forced, but this morning, he gave one of the most stirring and powerful speeches I've heard in a long while, addressing the issue of race in America. It's difficult to understand how any of his opponents could find negative aspects of his speech, but, undoubtably, there will be those who will remain in denial about the issues he has raised. The speech was delivered without hyperbole, in a manner that was honest, dignified and powerful. It was, perhaps, the most presidential speech anyone has given over the course of this long campaign.

The entire text of the speech is here.

Army reverses on Freeman Road

The Middletown Press reports today that the Army Corps of Engineeers has de-prioritized the Freeman Road site for their Army Reserve Training Center.

The Press headline indicates: Maromas no longer "priority site" for military.

However, in the body of the story they indicate that a site on River Road, presented by town planner Bill Warner, which is likely a preferred site, is actually in Maromas. At the bottom of the story, Freeman Road residents point out that fact, having submitted several suggested sites of their own.

Jeremiah, Jesus, racism and the "christian" right

I'm happy to see the backlash against the pious critics of Barack Obama and his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Yesterday, Colin McEnroe wrote a great blog, and spoke about the topic at length on his radio show.

In addition, the Courant re-printed a Washington Post story about Obama's congregation and how they are defending Wright, and their freedom to express outrage at the problems of our country.

I have to say that I'd love to attend a sermon by Wright. He's exciting, flamboyant, entertaining, inspiring and controversial - unlike most sermonizers I've ever heard.

In addition, WWUH aired a program about how Dr. Martin Luther King was spied upon by the FBI, and how his opponents questioned his patriotism, his love of country and actually accused him of sedition. A great reminder that a man who changed the course of history, who we celebrate with a Nation Holiday, was once seen as a threat to the status quo.

Meanwhile, the right wing blowhards keep up a relentless drumbeat questioning Wright's creds as a pastor and preacher and man of God (funny they never question George Bush's claims to be a man of god), and against Obama's patriotism (he doesn't wear a flag pin either!!!), his commitment to Jesus and his truthfulness.

And on this last point, the script is out there for the radio zealots. Here in Hartford WTIC's Jim Vicevich (don't try to leave a comment on his blog - the man is too frightened, and likely not confident in his own reporting, to allow comments) repeatedly implied, and sometimes said, that Obama's statement that he had never heard the most inflammatory of Wright's words couldn't be true. Without a shred of evidence to the contrary, he repeated the innuendo again and again. In the following radio slot, Rush Limbaugh did the same. And here's what they're saying on Fox News:

It all comes down to one thing: fear of a black president.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What further evidence is necessary of a totally failed presidency?

Now that financial markets worldwide are plummeting as a result of Bush's incredibly lame-brained economic moves (tax-cuts for the rich, unending war, laissez-faire regulation), the final piece of the president's legacy of incompetence is in place.

Trinity UCC fights back

Barack Obama's congregation has decided not to take the accusations of a lazy press corps, and the insults of a bitter right wing, without shining a bit of light on the truth.

For good measure, here's a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright to consider.