Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Church of Bruce Springsteen

Imagine driving to work, sitting in traffic on a highway, and not wanting the ride to end. That happened to me one morning last week when I first listened, all the way through, to Bruce Springsteen's newest CD "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions." This CD is a religious experience, a New Orleans dance party, a revival, a history lesson, a hoedown...and it is thrilling. I understand he and the 18-person Seeger Sessions Band are planning to play at next week's New Orleans Jazz Fest, and I am jealous beyond belief that I won't be able to see this band in person.

Folk music? It's more than that, you can almost literally feel this music passing down through the generations of Americans...from colonial seafaring days to the Civil War, to the Dust Bowl, New Orleans gospel and spirituals. It has echoes of Walt Whitman, and of course Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck and Bob Dylan...and if you're looking for the most uplifting hour possible, check it out.

You won't regret it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

War. What Is It Good For?

Big protest march in NYC today. Word has it that around 300,000 people showed up. Would like to have's a picture that gives you an idea of what went on.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gassing Up

I paid $2.91 today, how 'bout you?

Lower than Ever

Just for the record, the Chimp's approval has now dropped to a new low: 32%.

He really does suck.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ambivalence, John Kerry and Me

Ambivalence is a good word. I looked it up and the definition is: "The coexistence of contradictory emotions, attitudes, ideas, or desires with respect to a particular person, object, or situation." This perfectly describes my feeling for the junior senator from Massachusetts, our own John Kerry.

On Saturday, two friends and I took him up on a recent invitation to hear him speak about dissent at Boston's Faneuil Hall. It was an interesting and invigorating speech - my hands hurt afterwards from all the applause.

So, where does the ambivalence come from? On one hand, I backed him enough to become a volunteer for one of his senatorial reelection campaigns back in the 1990s. Yet I couldn't bring myself to support him in the Democratic primary in 2004 when he ran against others in his party.

On the other hand, during the 2004 campaign I thought he did a hell of a job during the debates...make the Chimp look as small-minded and ignorant as any incumbent president could possibly look. Yet his overall campaign was rather lackluster. Do I want him to run again for President? Nah, probably not, but I'll be very happy to continue voting for him as Massachusetts' senator.

So while his speech yesterday was quite came on the 35th anniversary of his Senate testimony as a young Navy veteran ("How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"), it was also a bit of too little, too late.

My friend Julie thinks that the speech "won't change a thing." In reality, it probably won't. If nothing else, it reminds everyone about the hubris of administrations that continue to send young people to die in a war that is clearly a mistake. Do I wish Kerry had made this speech 4 years ago? Undoubtedly. Will I take it now? By all means.

So will it change anything? As Julie says, probably not.

I'm the Decider


This is not a very original post, but if you haven't heard this song based on the Chimp's most recent rumblings about Rumsfeld, you should check it out. It WILL make you laugh!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Raging Against the Lying of the Right

Reading blogs is a fascination of mine...particularly those that stem from the famous, probably the most visited left-leaning blog of all. Nowadays, the mainstream media is taking to profiling the writers behind the posts, and this particular story I found fascinating from the Washington Post:
SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. -- In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day."
I've read some of Maryscott's rants and indeed they are among the harshest, but after reading her full profile, I have a better sense of why she is so angry and I hope her psyche can last the next few years while the Chimp is in office (so to speak). Hopefully, the latest polls will give Maryscott some comfort that the rest of the country is starting to agree with her. From today's Washington Post:
"According to the latest Post-ABC News poll, Bush's overall job approval rating now averages 43 percent in the states where he beat Democratic nominee John Kerry two years ago, while 57 percent disapprove of his performance.

Bush is even marginally unpopular, at least on average, in states where he beat Kerry with relative ease. The poll data suggest that in states where the president's victory margin was greater than five percentage points, his average job approval currently stands at 47 percent. Red? Hardly. A watery pink at best.

And in states where the president's victory margin was five percentage points or less, a clear majority of residents now disapprove of his performance. Color them light blue."

New Rules: Patriot's Day Edition

It's Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts. Although we're supposed to be honoring the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington Green, and the march of British troops from there to Concord in 1775, this important historic moment has become overshadowed by sporting events.

One paricular sporting event actually has the world's focus, and that is the Boston Marathon - and the starting line is about 5 miles from our house. Tens of thousands of runners take off for their 26+ mile-run to downtown at noon, with the first runner crossing the finish line in just a bit over 2 hours. This year, as has been the case for the past decade, two Kenyans won the race.

Simultaneous to the marathon, the Sox play a home game at Fenway, starting at the ungodly hour of 11 a.m. (Yes, the boys won today in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off home run by our new hero, Mark Loretta...aka "Mahk Loretter" in local accent) The game usually takes three hours, making it also end at roughly the exact time as the winners cross the finish line in the Marathon, and only blocks away from each other.

Here's where the new rule comes in. Next year, how 'bout moving the finish line to home plate? The runners could come in through the Green Monster (left field wall) and run down the third base line. The winner would be required to slide into home (headfirst, feetfirst...up to the runner).

Sounds good to me, but how to explain this to some really healthy Kenyans?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Libby, Libby, Libby...Leaky, Leaky, Leaky

As certain as rats deserting a sinking ship, Scooter is now protecting himself by "fingering" others in the Plamegate investigation. This story from the Boston Globe resulted from documents filed in Fitzmas-land:

"Libby's request could lead to greater attention on the administration's handling of Iraqi intelligence, and is being made at a time when Bush's past statements about Iraq's weapons have come under renewed scrutiny.

On Sunday the Washington Post reported that when Bush proclaimed, ''We have found the weapons of mass destruction" in May 2003 following the seizure of two trailers he described as mobile bioweapons labs, a team of specialists had already told the White House that the trailers had nothing to do with making weapons."


Well, you know you've gone over the edge when the military starts turning against you. First, it's the generals, now it's West Point graduates.

From the military academy graduates...this will just give you chills:

"Instilled by the Cadet Honor System with a fundamental, longstanding respect for truth, we graduates of the United States Military Academy believe that honor is a basic attribute of character. That we are no longer cadets is irrelevant. We stand appalled by the deceitful behavior of the government of the United States and, in particular, its widely known malefactors. Lying, cheating, stealing, delivering evasive statements and quibbling not only has demeaned these deceivers and the United States of America, but has placed vast numbers of innocent people in deadly peril. We will not serve the lies.

The war in Iraq was launched illegally. It has since killed tens of thousands of innocents, causing incalculable damage to Iraq and the Iraqi people, as well as the reputation of the United States of America. We will not serve the lies.

When we West Point graduates took our commissioning oath of office one past June morning, we swore to protect our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The deceitful connivances of the current administration have resulted in a war catastrophic to our nation’s interests: politically, economically, militarily, and morally. We now stand to protect our nation from these deceivers. We will not serve their lies.

We seek justice for all victims of this illegal war, both servicemen and servicewomen, and the citizens of Iraq.

To our purpose we invoke the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence whereby we too “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, & our sacred Honor.”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Favorite Picture, Part Uno

Since it's actually getting a bit boring to continually list the many problems in Washington these days, I thought I'd take a different tack. Today we begin a new feature: Beckperson's Favorite Photographs.

Here's the first one, taken at a restaurant called "Greens" in San Francisco where we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last year:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vacation Days Ahead

Well, it's still over a month away, but there's nothing like a plan for a trip to get the juices flowing. This year, we're heading west again, but to an entirely new place: Portland, Oregon. My brother has lived there for several years and this is our first opportunity to in addition to exploring a new location, we'll have some quality time with my sister and him. Looking forward to it! We leave May 20!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Department of Repeated Redundancy Again

Well, this is interesting. The Chimp is the Leaker-in-Chief. Imagine.

Once again, a new revelation shows that national security is continuing to be threatened by the very people whose job it is to protect us all. Today's New York Times:

"The [White House] spokesman, Scott McClellan, said a decision was made to declassify and release some information to rebut "irresponsible and unfounded accusations" that the administration had manipulated or misused prewar intelligence to buttress its case for war."
WTF? Now it appears that they can use the power of the national government to justify anything they damn well please.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Scapegoat Wanted

Did you hear that the government is having trouble finding someone to accept the job of FEMA Director? Hard to believe that someone wouldn't want that fun job.

"WASHINGTON, April 1 — The calls went out across the nation, as Bush administration officials asked the country's most seasoned disaster response experts to consider the job of a lifetime: FEMA director. But again and again, the response over the past several months was the same: "No thanks."

Unconvinced that the administration is serious about fixing the Federal Emergency Management Agency or that there is enough time actually to get it done before President Bush's second term ends, seven of these candidates for director or another top FEMA job said in interviews that they had pulled themselves out of the running.

"You don't take the fire chief job after someone has burned down the city unless you are going to be able to do it in the right fashion," said Ellis M. Stanley, general manager of emergency planning in Los Angeles, who said he was one of those called.

Now, with the next hurricane season only two months away, the Bush administration has finally come up with a convenient but somewhat embarrassing solution. Mr. Bush, several former and current FEMA officials said, intends to nominate R. David Paulison, a former fire official who has been filling in for the past seven months, to take on the job permanently."
From yesterday's New York Times.

Opening Day 2006

Well, it's finally here. Baseball season. This year's off-season seemed to take forever. And we're in first place! The Sox and everyone else who won their first game today.

New favorite playah? Coco - without a doubt. Man never stops smiling. That can be contagious. They may be idiots no longer, but they're going to be great fun to watch.

Johnny who?