Saturday, January 29, 2005

Friday, January 28, 2005

Dick dresses down.

Got Sox tickets? Yes. June 5 vs. Anaheim. Wahoo!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

You've Got to be Kidding Me

New York Times story today talking about Chile's experience with PRIVATIZING retirement funds. Yes, I said PRIVATIZE, damn it!

Boxer's Spine Gets Her Cut Off at the Knees

Margaret Carlson (Jan. 27, Los Angeles Times)

You wouldn't know it from reading the newspapers, but Sen. Barbara Boxer served her country valiantly last week. In her grilling of Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, Boxer finally named the elephant in the hearing room, which is more than the war itself. It's the lies that got us there.

Finally, a national television audience could watch a member of Congress ask tough questions in language that didn't pussyfoot around. From all the commissions, studies and news reports, we now know pretty much what Rice knew and when she knew it. What we don't yet have is an explanation for why Rice didn't tell us what she knew and at times even told us the opposite.

Boxer asked Rice if "your loyalty to the mission … to sell this war overwhelmed your respect for the truth." Rice, without explaining a thing, coolly accused Boxer of impugning her integrity. No explanation of why her stories of yellowcake uranium, aluminum tubes and a potential Saddam Hussein mushroom cloud did not constitute an (over)selling of the war.

For her trouble, Boxer was blasted — even by those who agreed with her — not so much on substance but on style. Sen. Robert Byrd gets called "irascible." Why can't women get called irascible? It's so much nicer than the other words we get called.

Women don't have a lot of leeway in how they comport themselves. Could any woman behave on TV like Bob Novak or Bill O'Reilly and get her own show? Female pundits are rarely called "sharp and incisive," only "shrill and strident." Women in politics have less margin for error. During his 30 years as a columnist, I can remember William Safire calling only one person a "congenital liar," and it just happened to be Hillary (D-Whitewater).

In the Senate, you still hear women described as "ladylike." The models for admission to the club are Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Dianne Feinstein, in their pumps and matronly dresses. If a woman takes on a man, she must do it in florid language or behind closed doors. If she takes on another woman, she'll be labeled a catfighter, unless she's a white-haired grandmother in triple strand pearls and does it in verse. (Remember when Barbara Bush called Geraldine Ferraro something that "rhymes with witch"?)

In a chamber where they still call each other "esteemed colleague" at the oddest times — as they were killing off Trent Lott, for instance — it was as if Boxer had said "liar, liar, pants on fire," when she hadn't said anything of the sort. If only Boxer could be a couple inches taller, have a deeper voice, do something with her hair — and be, as Henry Higgins sang, more like a man? Well, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), seated a few seats down, is 6 feet 4 with a basso profundo and the best hair in the business, and he couldn't land a punch. Mr. "I Voted For It Before I Voted Against It" lacked what Boxer showed: spine, and the simple courage to call "misinformation" by its right name.

But all she got for it was the pasting of a lifetime. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said such Democratic foolishness risked "adopting our enemy's view of the world." Even Boxer's supporters deducted points for style without adding any for degree of difficulty. She was ridiculed in a skit on "Saturday Night Live," looking like a homeless person with gray hair flying, ranting at the cool, composed, perfectly turned-out Rice.

The Los Angeles Daily News accused Boxer of embarrassing herself with uncivil bombast. "The edge in her voice was jarring," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. The Washington Post's Colbert King took on Boxer for "slurring Rice." In blog- land, Boxer was called, among other things, "old, burnt out, shrill and saggy looking." Perhaps a more diplomatic interrogation could have saved herself some grief. But it's hard to find that pitch-perfect voice within the range of civility on these subjects. On Wednesday, the U.S. suffered its biggest one-day loss in Iraq. The war's body count is at 1,400. Insurgents vow a bloodbath on Sunday. In Washington, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice sail on, and everybody's mad at Barbara Boxer.

Here's a sign that spring MAY eventually come...saw this in Framingham today.

Wit and Wisdom

The first time Bob met my grandmother, she was just leaving a Christmas party at my uncle's house in Kentucky. She looked up at him and without missing a beat, said, "Well, I guess you're gonna miss our wit and wisdom." And she continued out the door. He never forgot that moment and neither have I. It was a perfect example of the strange way my mother's family sometimes talks...and acts.

I was reminded of my crazy family's sense of humor and love of words today when I received one of those silly email lists from my aunt, courtesy of her brother. Presumably it originated with the Washington Post, but who knows? In any event, it's typical of our family's sense of humor. Just for fun, here it is:

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1 Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until yourealize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating. And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Thinking Blue

I'm not sure I like this whole "everybody wear the same bracelet" trend. My hairdresser gave me one of the Lance Armstrong yellow bracelets that all kinds of celebrities and real folks are wearing, but I can't bring myself to actually put it on.

Same goes for all the new blue bracelets that seem to be popping up. Here's an example. I can see the point, but somehow it just seems a little too ... much.

Morning Sedition...I'm hooked

Air America's 'Morning Sedition' is my new favorite early morning radio program...a lot more bite than my old favorites on NPR, which by now has become just another cog in the MSM (mainstream media) machine. Check it out on the web or try a local radio station. In Boston, WKOX 1200 AM and WXKS 1430 AM from 6-9 a.m, on XM Radio, channel 167.

Put some new bird food in the feeder today -- hopefully it won't freeze solid before breakfast!

The Specialist at work...I do the shoveling, he runs the snowblower! All slowly and carefully, of course.

The back steps from today's snowstorm...another 6 inches or so! Apparently, this is the snowiest January on record.

The front walkway

Losing Money by Privitizing Social Security

Interesting article from NBC News showing that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist invested campaign money in the stock market, ending up losing a great deal of his investment when the high tech bubble burst. If he can't protect his money, what makes anyone think that average, non-expert Americans will not lose their personal nesteggs just as easily?

Say no to privitization. Say it loudly. Say it often.

Opposition to Alberto Gonzales

I oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General of the United States, and urge every United States Senator to vote against him.

As the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration, Gonzales's advice led directly to the abandonment of longstanding federal laws, the Geneva Conventions, and the United States Constitution itself. Our country, in following Gonzales's legal opinions, has forsaken its commitment to human rights and the rule of law and shamed itself before the world with our conduct at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The United States, a nation founded on respect for law and human rights, should not have as its Attorney General the architect of the law's undoing.

In January 2002, Gonzales advised the President that the United States Constitution does not apply to his actions as Commander in Chief, and thus the President could declare the Geneva Conventions inoperative. Gonzales's endorsement of the August 2002 Bybee/Yoo Memorandum approved a definition of torture so vague and evasive as to declare it nonexistent. Most shockingly, he has embraced the unacceptable view that the President has the power to ignore the Constitution, laws duly enacted by Congress and International treaties duly ratified by the United States. He has called the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

Legal opinions at the highest level have grave consequences. What were the consequences of Gonzales's actions? The policies for which Gonzales provided a cover of legality - views which he expressly reasserted in his Senate confirmation hearings - inexorably led to abuses that have undermined military discipline and the moral authority our nation once carried. His actions led directly to documented violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and widespread abusive conduct in locales around the world.

Michael Posner of Human Rights First observed: "After the horrific images from Abu Ghraib became public last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted that the world should 'judge us by our actions [and] watch how a democracy deals with the wrongdoing and with scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes.'" We agree. It is because of this that we believe the only proper course of action is for the Senate to reject Alberto Gonzales's nomination for Attorney General. As Posner notes, "[t]he world is indeed watching." Will the Senate condone torture? Will the Senate condone the rejection of the rule of law?

With this nomination, we have arrived at a crossroads as a nation. Now is the time for all citizens of conscience to stand up and take responsibility for what the world saw, and, truly, much that we have not seen, at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him.

Thanks to for the inspiration.

Winning Cases, Losing Voters

I don't know anything about Paul Starr of The American Prospect, but I found his perspective interesting in today's New York Times. He's calling for Democrats to move to the center, saying we've been too dependent on the courts to provide answers to issues like abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action. Now, with the expectation of the courts changing in the years ahead, this option may no longer hold. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Required Reading List: Operation Truth

Want the soldiers' points of view? Check out this very interesting site. Some sad stories, some realism, some youthful vigor...a little of everything. Every American should be required to read this.

Teddy Kennedy may be a lot of things...

...but he is not scared of a fight. And, he's been on the right side of the war question since the very beginning, unlike Massachusetts' junior senator. Read today's heroics here.

Bumper Stickers...and more

Ready to express yourself? Go here.

Stop Republicans from Tying Social Security Benefits to Race and Gender

Sign the Democrat's Petition here.


I don't care what the White House says. Words DO have meaning and this is what they are doing to Social Security -- and I don't want to catch anyone using any other words that are put out by the Repugs. Don't they know we've caught on to them now? Check this out.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Become a Co-sponsor of the Democratic Agenda

Here's the link

Hold Condoleeeeeeeza Accountable

Sign Barbara Boxer's petition.
Read the transcript.
Check out the blog.

Hiding His DUI!

Alberto Gonzalez must be stopped.

Feeling Low Today? You're Not Alone

Today is the worst day of the year.

A Miracle on Russell Avenue

This year, snow removal has become a team project for Bob and me. The weekend blizzard dropped about a foot and a half of snow, so we made plans to attack the snow in a couple of steps. First, I would go out and remove some snow from the back steps, then I'd clean off the cars, and then Bob would get the snow blower going for the major clean-up.

Well, I got out there and did the first part -- no problem. After clearing the steps, however, I came face-to-face with (not a blow hole) but a pile of snow nearly waist high. How the heck was I gonna clear the car that was on the other side of it? The only option I had was to dive in! After cleaning about half my car, knee-deep in snow, two pick-up trucks pulled up to the end of the driveway. A young man shouted "Need some help?" Of course, I did, but I was a little hesitant. So, I yelled back, "how much?"

The two young men in the cab of the truck put their heads together for a quick consultation. I'm thinking, "good lord, how much are they gonna hit me up for?" But they shouted back, almost as a question, "45?" "You gotta deal!" I responded. They didn't know that at this point, I would have paid $145 to get my cold legs out of the snow.

After quickly assessing the situation and pulling the plowed snow from the end of the driveway, they next unleashed four other young men from the second pick-up truck. Very efficiently, they dug out Bob's car, and pushed it out onto the street, with me at the wheel.

Meanwhile, Bob is standing in the house wondering what the heck is going on when he sees his car being moved and a swarm of young men working in the driveway. When I went in to get the checkbook, he hears the story and I could tell he was every bit as pleased as I was to have the guys take care of the situation. All he'll have to do is some minor clean-up and the front walk!

Within 20 minutes, something that would have probably taken us all afternoon to do was nearly finished. I am STILL amazed that the precise moment that we needed help, the answer came in the form of 6 young men who moved snow like it was feathers. For us, it was truly a miracle.

Now I have a business card and a team we can call next time a whoppa' of a storm comes along. Who knows? Could be next weekend!

A large drift against the garage Posted by Hello

The backporch wasn't too snow-covered Posted by Hello

Our cars! Posted by Hello

It looks like an easy walk to the garage, but, it was knee high all the way....luckily it was light and fluffy snow. Posted by Hello

Bob's car before the shoveling, and before the plow came Posted by Hello

looking out the back door Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Blizzard of 2005

We're officially snowbound. Time for old movies, good eats, friendly company, warm home. Supposed to get upwards of 20" of snow. Tried to take pictures this evening out the window, but they didn't turn out. So, tomorrow, I'll document what they are saying could be an historic storm.

Some in black tie; some in body bags.

By: Susan Lenfestey

It's time to party.

As the families of bomb-flattened Fallujah huddle in make-shift refugee camps, drinking from sewage-filled streams, Iraqi policy mastermind Paul Wolfowitz fastens the last stud into his starched collar.

As the Iraq Survey Group ends its search for WMD, concluding that there was no imminent mushroom cloud or even a smoking gun, Condi Rice draws herself a hot bath.

As Sgt. Kevin Benderman, an Army mechanic with nine years of service, refuses a second deployment to Iraq, saying, "You just don't know how bad it is," Colin Powell pours himself a drink.

As Specialist Charles A. Graner, miscreant and major-domo of Abu Ghraib, shuffles off to prison, Donald Rumsfeld straightens the black tie of his tux.

As the 9/11 widow tucks her children into bed, wondering why the recommendations made in "The 9/11 Commission Report" weren't implemented, Tom Ridge tightens his cummerbund.

As prisoners charged with no crimes, and given no recourse, languish in the hellhole of Guantanamo Bay, torture apologist Alberto Gonzales clicks his cufflinks into place.

As Dan Rather retires in disgrace over forged documents, former CIA Director George Tenet, proponent of forged documents about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear program, adjusts the Medal of Freedom around his neck.

As the working mother in Chicago wonders how to keep her child from being left behind now that her special-ed program has been cut, Armstrong Williams polishes his shoes.

As Valerie Plame walks away from a distinguished career as a CIA "operative," destroyed when her identity was revealed by columnist Robert Novak, Mr. Novak walks to his limo.

As Osama bin Laden chuckles in his cave to see America's fortunes sink in the morass of Iraq and as fresh recruits to his cause multiply like flies, Dick Cheney pops the cork on a bottle of Dom Perignon.

As America's trade gap surges and the red ink in the national debt bleeds to a record level, Treasury Secretary Paul Snow finishes shaving and dabs at a spot of blood on his chin.

As the Republican Congress gets ready to underfund everything from Head Start to veterans' benefits, Speaker Dennis Hastert checks his profile in the mirror.

As Pfc. Francis Obaji, oldest son of an immigrant Nigerian family, is zipped into a body bag for the sad journey home, Laura Bush zips up her Oscar de la Renta gown.

And as his corporate pals slide their millions across the table to dance at his ball, forgetting for a moment the bottom line that forces them to ship jobs overseas, George W. Bush pulls on his snakeskin boots.

Susan Lenfestey is a Minneapolis writer.

How many days till spring training? Posted by Hello

Q: How many Bush Administraton officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. And why do you hate freedom, anyway?

(Courtesy of dkos posting)