Sep 14

PONY PARTY… a.m. driving to work edition, pardners

I don’t think there is anything worse than being stuck in traffic. There’s nothing worse than being behind a Sunday driver on a Monday morning in rush hour. In the left lane of a four lane highway. Coming up to lights with BIG trucks in front of both lights.

Or driving to the beach for a glorious week… dreams smashed as your everyday world anger and frustrations exlode, full blown, sitting in the car, in traffic…and your older car threatening to overheat. And then, and i really loved this, having my ex husband tell: BE HERE NOW.

Be… here… now… BE HERE NOW? No no no… you don’t understand. I don’t want to be here NOW…

You gotta pet peeve. Throw it out there… come on… pony it UP…

go ahead, play, talk, and be excellent to each other. oh and whatever you do, DO NOT push the recommend button on PONY PARTIES… these are here for fun, but we don’t want to take up space on the recommended diary list…

Sep 14

Road to DC Progress Report

Just a quick update on how the trip is going

Skippythebox just called to let the Mom unit know all was OK. jlynne and Joe left Grand Junction about midnight yesterday, picked up Matt and headed to Omaha where we threw Skippy on the bus. They left Omaha about 4:30 yesterday on their way to Chicago, they have picked up pico and are now in the home stretch to DC. The silver juggernaut Hyundai seems to be surprisingly comfortable since it is at its maximum for passengers. At least so far no one has had to run along side. I am hoping they will finally get a good WIFI connection and be able to update you all themselves. In the meantime here is some raw video of the gang picking up skippy in Omaha.

Sep 14

Do you ever wonder

Do you ever wonder? The catch phrase made popular by humorist Andy Rooney. A 60 Minutes staple, he is both funny and thought provoking at the same time.

Please follow me below the fold for my take on that age old question.

Do you ever wonder why gas has dropped more than a dollar a gallon in my area over the last 2 weeks, when the  flooded refinery causing the momentous jump less than a month ago is still off line?

Do you ever wonder why Wall Street was so disappointed in Exxon's recently announced 2nd quarter profits of $10.6 BILLION dollars. The 4th largest quarterly net income ever posted by a publicly traded U.S. company? Do you ever wonder what Exxon's obscene 2006 profits, the largest ever at $39.5 BILLION represents when put in perspective? Well it would fund these Government agencies for a year:

Department of Housing and Urban Development $34.7 billion

Food Stamp Program                                                  $35    billion

Department of Commerce                                          $6.2   billion

Body Armor For Soldiers                          $260  MILLION

Department of Energy                                                 $23    billion

National Institute of Health                                         $28.5  billion

Department of Homeland Security                               $31.9  billion

Department of Interior                                              $10.3  billion

Department of Justice                                              $19.4  billion

State Department                                                    $28.6  billion

Army Corp of Engineers                                             $4.7  billion

EPA                                                                            $7.5 billion

Health Care for 6 million Children                                  $3.5 billion

There are countless other programs that $39.5 billion would fund and of course 3 months of the War in Iraq. AND the what about the combined oil profits last year? Just the biggest of the oil companies had profits of $377 BILLION in 2006, or about $1300 for every man woman and child in this country.

Do you ever wonder why Republicans are against funding universal health care for children? Do they really believe there are no uninsured or poor Republicans in this country. There are 15,869,776 Children in Red states living in poverty, nearly half of all children in Texas, more than 3 million. 55% of all poor children live in Red states.

Do you ever wonder why truth, justice and the American way hasn't been like that since Superman was a kid. Do you ever wonder why Russ Feingold couldn't have come to KOS with some closer to the truth. Like no matter what it may look like we understand the mandate of the last election and we DO have your back.

Do you ever wonder why football commissioner Roger Goodell needs an independent lawyer to look over the Michael Vick indictment to see if Vick has violated ANY NFL policies on personal conduct?  In the mean time Vick misses training camp, we can only hope Goodell does the right thing. Nike and Rebok among others saw no dilemma and sacked him.

Do you ever wonder why breast milk was prohibited on aircraft when a well applied metal ball point pen can be lethal.

Do you ever wonder why when Cheney declared himself the fourth branch of government, Congress didn't bitch slap him by defunding his office. It was a close call, 9 more yea votes would have passed it. Unfortunately of the nay votes  24 of them were Democrats; Bean, Boren, Boyd (FL), Capuano, Cuellar, Edwards, Ellsworth, Gordon, Herseth Sandlin, Kaptur, Klein (FL), Lampson, McDermott ( the good guy from Wa state, Murtha, Obey, Peterson (MN), Ross, Salazar, Sestak, Skelton, Smith (WA), Snyder, Space, Tanner. If they represent YOU, you might want to have a chat.

Do you ever wonder why parents don't seem to tell their children or grandchildren about their heroes? I do, in fact we had a discussion recently about one of my “lefty” heroes, Phil Donahue and his interview with Donald Rumsfeld and others, regarding the Iraq war. The whole idea that we were better off because Saddam was evil, killed thousands of his own people and had WMDs made him bristle. He fearlessly braced Rummy about WMDs and how whatever WMDs Saddam had he got them from us. He reminded Donald how he had met with Saddam in December of 1983, like they were old friends. And then the coup de grâce-when Saddam gassed the Kurds with WMD's we gave him, I didn't hear you crying then Donny.

Do you ever wonder why people seem to have a problem with theories trying to make them facts ahead of their time, or complete discounting them once they become fact. Theories are like a crime scene investigation, you take what you know, what you think you know and what you might imagine happened (this includes but isn't limited to wild assed guesses)and one by one eliminate what doesn't fit until you have the truth. All scientific facts started as theories, as did all factual conclusions of any kind. It is the sum total of what you have until you have all the answers. Global warming is not a theory and neither is the hidden environmental dangers of nuclear power.

Do you ever wonder why three years later we can't fix the Gulf Coast. I don't mean the Government or Insurance companies, they will never do it, I mean US, you and me. The first thing we need to do is push HARD for the protection and restoration of Delta wetlands. No single act can do more to protect the Gulf Coast than to protect wetlands and barrier islands, they are hurricane sinks. The other thing we need is a clearing house to connect people who want to help with people who need help. Maybe something like making the whole area the America's new “home town”, adopt a town or rural area to help, sister cities, individuals, churches, colleges, businesses, hell, come one come all. The Government and companies supporting a “national vacation” to encourage business to promote time taken to the Gulf Coast to help. Perhaps even put together employees willing to go and pay their expenses and wage while they do. Construction companies and trades people usually have a slow season, a perfect time to make a visit to one of the most beautiful spots in the world. The Government allowing those businesses and individuals who participate to deduct the cost of their trip on their taxes dollar for dollar and refund any excess. If the Gulf Coast is ever going to be fixed it falls to us to get it done, the good news is, WE CAN DO IT.

Do you ever wonder why increasing terror alerts seem to coincide with increasing problems for W? Oh thats right we figured that out a while back, too bad W continues to embarrass himself by trying to divert our attention.

Do you ever wonder where the real news is and I don't mean Brittany and Lindsay. Here are some news stories you may have missed compliments of Google.

The first induction weekend since the Baseball Hall of Fame promised to honor Buck O’Neil probably will end without any announced tribute.  Mr O'Neil was instrumental in getting 17 Negro League players inducted but was omitted himself. Sadly, he died recently at the age of 94.

Americans make up 36% of users at British news oriented web sites.

The WGA East on Wednesday released a “white paper” study by the guild purporting to show a lowering of news quality at two broadcast networks with which it is locked in protracted and fractious contract talks. Based on interviews with WGA members at ABC and CBS between May 2006 and April, survey results show “the conglomerates have slashed jobs overall, converted full-timers to part-timers and combined jobs,” the guild said. This is part of the cause for the degradation of news reporting.

There was also some good earnings news yesterday. surged $16.93 to $86.18 after the Web retailer said its second-quarter profit more than tripled on strong sales of books, music and electronics worldwide.

Japanese whalers have admitted almost all of the mature female minke whales they killed in Antarctic waters last season were pregnant. But that's good news, they insist, supporting their argument that the population is strong enough to allow a return to commercial whaling.

Merck (nyse: MRK – news – people )told investors that, for the second-quarter, it raked in earnings of $1.68 billion, or 77 cents per share, versus $1.5 billion, or 69 cents per share, for a similar period last year. Pharmaceutical Industry Profits Increase by Over$8 Billion After Medicare Drug Plan Goes Into Effect and nearly 70% of their PAC money goes to Republicans.

Do you ever wonder why on KOS, unlike newspapers, the meat of the diary is below the fold?

Do you ever wonder about DLS and all the terror threats they have so far stopped for us, how they are all a joke. Yet they expect us to take this seriously when clearly in most cases the people are American citizens and either monumentally stupid or innocent of even ignorance and poor planning. Oh, that's right “fight'em there so we don't have to fight'em here” seems to be working based on results from DLS, they have yet to foil a REAL threat.

Do you ever wonder why so many people believe Civil Unions are marriage equality? Or how many are willing to give up the fight and just give in to the Radical Right without ever looking at their argument to see if it holds water? Just a couple of things, first separate is never equal, thought we learned that in the 60's. Secondly, no church has ever been nor will they ever be forced to marry anyone, this isn't about the rights of churches, those rights have never been jeopardized. And lastly the church came very late to the marriage party. Marriage first and foremost is a legal and binding contract for that reason the government has a legitimate interest. In about 550 AD the Justinian Code made marriage a state regulated contract, before then saying you were married was enough. Until the 12th century church marriages were simply blessings with no legal or binding anything. In 1553 the Council of Trent required all Catholic marriages to be performed by a priest, but it wasn't until the 18th century Church weddings became common. Churches simply do not have a dog in this fight.

Do you ever wonder if a President has a defining moment when he actually understands the consequences of his actions and in that moment willingly chooses infamy for his legacy? Take the $1.1 trillion surplus projected by 2008 thanks to President Clinton, how it disappeared to give us a projected $3.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthy? The tax cut according to Bush was to boost an already thriving economy. I have read it would take $1.6 trillion to rebuild this country's ancient infrastructure. (Many of us learned about the importance of infrastructure playing SIM CITY.) For less than half the cost of the tax cut, we could have new highways, ports, power, schools, etc. What a tremendous boost to the economy all those jobs would have been. What a perfect time to start using conductive concrete for road surfaces, building rapid rail, clean energy, clean water and more. All that  and $2.3 trillion left for rebuilding cities and the Gulf Coast, restoring the Delta wetlands, universal health care, getting off oil, clean air, think of the possibilities. I would have given up my measly $300 for any one of these, my guess is you would have too.

Do you ever wonder why reforms of any social program inevitably means fewer needing the help will get it? Welfare reform doesn't need to be a bad thing, but the idea of making it more difficult to get help the first place is wrong headed, it ought to be made EASIER to GET OFF. Programs should be designed to help as many people as possible, make it easy to transition off and understand the only way to get rid of any opportunity to abuse the system is to NOT offer the program, because matter what is done a certain SMALL group will always find a way to scam the government.

Do you ever wonder about the President who when Signing Statements no longer are enough asks Congress to retrofit the law to legitimize his criminality. Constitooshun, we don't need no stink'in Constitooshun.

This is just a few things making little sense to me, feel free to add your own “Do you ever wonder”s to the thread.

Sep 14

Hammer Time

Who wants to go here?  I don’t, it isn’t like we haven’t been here before but exorcising the lies and purging the evil is always beneficial and Friday is trash day in my neighborhood so let’s take it out.

Address by the President to the Nation on the Way Forward in Iraq
Oval Office
September 13, 2007
9:01 P.M. EDT

The Greeting:

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character (the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another) of its people. We are now at such a moment. emphasis added

First paragraph establishing the facts before the persuasive arguments are brought forth:

In Iraq, an ally (a friendly (favorably disposed; not antagonistic) nation) of the United States is fighting for its survival. Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world (Specifically who and specifically where dude? This is getting confusing and we are only into the fourth sentence.) are seeking to topple Iraq’s government (the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed……….and wow, I didn’t know Iraq had one of those), dominate the region, and attack us here at home (OH MY GOD……FALLING BUILDINGS AGAIN…….just tell us who they are and where they are attempting to hit and we the population will do everything we can to root these armies we are at war with out!) If Iraq’s young democracy (government based on majority rule and the consent of the governed, the existence of free and fair elections, the protection of political minorities, respect for basic human rights, equality before the law, due process, and political pluralism……….wow, I’m so uninformed and didn’t know Iraq had one of these too) can turn back these enemies, it will mean a more hopeful (inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment……….what’s the something part?) Middle East and a more secure (free from danger or attack………because the Middle East will be inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment) America. This ally (a friendly (favorably disposed; not antagonistic) nation)……….wow, are you sure we still have one of those anymore and by the way, I’m losing the feeling of inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment) has placed its trust in the United States. And tonight, our moral (conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous) and strategic (important or essential in relation to a plan of action………wow, we have one of those too…….I’m getting a headache for some reason) imperatives are one (being a single entity, unit, object………I now have a MIGRAINE): We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours.

I don’t know about you but that’s enough mud hammering for me today.

Sep 14

The Problem With The Netroots Strategy On Iraq

The Netroots has this year focused its fire on Iraq on “moderate” Republicans and what they term Bush Dog Democrats. Move On’s Tom Matzzie “masterminded” a brilliant plan that Move On has implemented this spring and summer of running ads against “moderate” Republicans like Jim Walsh and it worked, Walsh will now favor a toothless “change the course” strategy that Democrats will offer as a “bipartisan” plan. Move On and the Dems have concocted a political position that will give “moderate” Republicans cover on the Iraq issue in 2008 while doing nothing to change the course of the Debacle. Brilliant!

Similarly, the Bush Dog Democrat plan, which threatens to run Netroots-inspired primaries against people like Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) (because I am sure Mississippi Democrats will rise up once some Mississippi progressive is anointed as the Netroots candidate in such a primary), will no doubt make a big dent in Bush’s Iraq policy. Not.

Meanwhile, erstwhile Netroots Dem Joe Sestak (D-PA), once a supporter of a date certain for withdrawal, no longer supports a firm timeline:

Sestak said, Democratic leaders should set aside their demands for immediate withdrawal “and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity for a deliberate redeployment.” . . . Sestak has been among those Democrats who think that setting a “date certain” for withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to assume more responsibility. But he now believes the length of time needed to redeploy, and the potential for the entire Army to “unravel” unless troops are redeployed, require a compromise. . . .

This is indicative of all that was wrong with the progressive activist strategy on Iraq in 2007. Instead of concentrating on growing and holding the group of Dems, once 171 strong in the House, in favor of no funding without timelines, some decided they could pressure Republicans and conservative Dems like Gene Taylor. And we are where we are today in no small measure because of these miscalculations. I repeat, one more time, that it will take pressure on Dems, MAINSTREAM and PROGRESSIVE Dems, to hold the line on no funding without timelines. We need to work for more pledges like this one:

Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.

We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come. . .

The pledge made in this letter should have been the focal point of our activism. Sadly, it was not.

And credit to those Representatives who signed the pledge.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA); Rep. Rush Holt (NJ); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Diane Watson (CA); Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ); Rep. Barney Frank (MA); Rep. Danny Davis (IL); Rep. John Conyers (MI); Rep. John Hall (NY); Rep. Bob Filner (CA); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY); Rep. Bobby Rush (IL); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); Rep. Ed Towns (NY); Rep. Paul Hodes (NH); Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR); Rep. Albert Wynn (MD); Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC); Rep. Hilda Solis (CA); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY); Rep. Michael Honda (CA); Rep. Steve Cohen (TN); Rep. Phil Hare (IL); Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA); Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Julia Carson (IN); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ); Rep. John Olver (MA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. Ed Markey (MA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA); Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ); Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX); Rep. Pete Stark (CA); Rep. Bobby Scott (VA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Betty McCollum (MN); Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN); Rep. Diana DeGette (CO); Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA); Rep. Artur Davis (AL); Rep. Hank Johnson (GA); Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO); Rep. John Lewis (GA); Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI); Rep. Gwen Moore (WI); Rep. Keith Ellison (MN); Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI); Rep. David Scott (GA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL); Lois Capps (CA); Steve Rothman (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Sep 14

Pony Party; Eeny, meeny, miny……mear???

Let me start off this fine, fine morning by saying that I am not monkey-obsessed, nor do I intend to invite monkeys exclusively to the Pony Party.  That’s not how I do.

However, I’m giving myself a pass, as yesterday’s ‘Monkey House’ title was really a reference to Kurt Vonnegut, and not any actual monkeys.  And who doesn’t love monkeys?

Answer: these 2 tigers:

If nothing else, once you’ve watched that you can spend your day serenely pondering how blessed you are not to live near that monkey.  Or near those tigers, really, because I doubt many of us would have the foot- or climbing speed to make that kind of getaway.

May your day be monkey-free, and your ears retain their natural shape at all times!!

Without further ado, the floor is yours….

Don’t recommend the Pony Party essay.

-73v, over and out

Sep 14

“As indigenous people, we have always depended on the environment . . .”

also posted at Truth & Progress

The quote in the title is from a letter which in its English version begins

Dear AES Shareholders:

We are addressing you on behalf of more than 15 indigenous Ngobe communities which live on the banks of the Changuinola River, located in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. We have lived along this river for many years, this river which borders La Amistad International Park – a World Heritage site shared by Panama and Costa Rica. We work the land as our ancestors taught us, cultivating oranges, corn, bananas and other crops which grow together with the small number of animals we raise. But also, the fish and shrimp of the Changuinola River are an important part of our diet and our culture.

Currently, our lifestyle and the ecosystem surrounding us are facing a grave threat: the construction of three hydroelectric dams on the river, located above and below our communities. These dams, called Chan 75, Chan 140, and Chan 220, are being financed and constructed by AES Corporation. While some of us have been temporarily employed to clear trees and prepare the ground for construction, the reality is that in the long term these dams will have disastrous effects for us.

The dams are expected to rapidly eradicate up to eleven species of diadramous fish and shrimp on which the Ngobe traditionally rely. For a technical analysis, see Probable Effects on Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function of Four Proposed Hydroelectric Dams in the Changuinola/Teribe Watershed, Bocas del Toro, Panama, with emphasis on Effects within The La Amistad World Heritage Site (22-page pdf)

AES’s Panama page, which features a smiling young Indian boy, sounds benevolent enough:

. . . we’re not just running a business, we know that the impact of our work goes far beyond that. Bringing electricity to places that never had it before, working for the social good-these are often profound outcomes of our business. Providing electricity can radically improve the quality of life, especially in developing countries, and especially because AES does so reliably, safely and responsibly.

The Center for Biological Diversity and 50 other groups see a contradiction between the rhetoric of AES and the effect these dams, already abandoned by all other investors, will have on indigenous people and on La Amistad park. Here is a snippet from their letter to AES:

The huge social cost to displaced people has been documented around the world for similar hydroelectric projects, and along with the environmental consequences of these dams, this issue carries massive human-rights implications. For instance, relocation discussions have not been conducted following the cultural norms or the native language of the Ngobe; rather discussions have occurred in Spanish, a language many Ngobe do not speak. Furthermore, the Ngobe do not know to where they would be relocated. If they are moved to a city, many do not have the education required to obtain adequate employment to make a living wage. Alternatively, some Ngobe might decide to move onto land inside PILA, thereby increasing the threat of causing harm to its biodiversity. As such, it must be emphasized that the dams’ impacts on the human populations along the Changuinola River and the animal populations throughout the region would be catastrophic.

You decide. If you agree with the Ngobe and the CBD, you can start by sending this letter to AES and Panamanian officials:

Save Panama Biosphere Reserve From Dams

Tomorrow, we’ll bring the question of indigenous rights back home, to Washington state.

Sep 14

The Morning News

Bush preserves big troop level in Iraq
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
1 minute ago

WASHINGTON – President Bush’s claim that progress in Iraq justifies preserving a large U.S. military presence there for at least 10 more months was shadowed by discouraging developments on the security and political fronts.

Friday morning, 12 hours after Bush’s address to the nation, the White House was to report that Iraqi leaders had gained almost no new ground in meeting U.S. benchmarks on bringing about reconciliation and stability. The report being sent to Congress by the White House underscored the difficulty of Bush’s argument that American sacrifice was creating space for political progress by Iraqis.

Other bad news hit 12 hours before Bush’s speech, when Iraqi police reported the assassination in Anbar province of a prominent figure in a local alliance with U.S. troops against al-Qaida. It was a sharp blow to Bush’s frequent celebration of military gains in that region as a model for the rest of the country.

From Yahoo News Another Top Story

Pentagon censors 9/11 suspect’s tape
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has released a censored audiotape of suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – deleting a part officials said could be used to recruit future terrorists.

The tape of Mohammed’s 40-minute hearing before a U.S. military proceeding in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was edited to exclude a 10-minute passage about the kidnap and beheading of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl and Mohammed’s explanation for why Islamic militants are waging jihad against the United States, as well as information the government said was classified.

Most of what was deleted was a long, rambling statement in poor English that often made it hard to understand what Mohammed was trying to say. The public may read that statement in a 26-page transcript previously released by the Defense Department, but after months of debate, officials decided the audio of it should be held back.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

Iraqi PM orders probe into Sunni sheikh’s assassination
59 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered a probe into the slaying of the high-profile Sunni sheikh who fought Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, a statement said Friday.

Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Reesha was killed in a roadside bomb attack near his home outside Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, on Thursday, one day less than a year after he launched the Anbar Awakening Conference.

The Conference brought together 42 Sunni tribes from Anbar to fight Al-Qaeda alongside US forces in the province.

Parliament set to confirm Putin’s PM nominee
by Nick Coleman, AFP
33 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin’s candidate for prime minister, Viktor Zubkov, was to be voted into the post by parliament on Friday amid mounting speculation over possible candidates in Russia’s upcoming presidential succession.

Zubkov, a top financial investigator who has hitherto kept a low profile in Russian politics, was all but certain to be approved in the vote in the lower house of parliament, or Duma.

On Thursday Zubkov won promises of support from a clear majority after meeting leaders of the pro-Kremlin parties United Russia and A Just Russia, as well as the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party. The Communist opposition said it would vote against.

AP Poll: GOP presidential race fluid
By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer
3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – White men, conservatives, evangelicals and other pivotal building blocs of the Republican Party are divided among its leading contenders for president, leaving the race for the 2008 GOP nomination highly fluid, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are each attracting significant support from core GOP groups, based on the poll conducted this week. Even Sen. John McCain of Arizona, whose campaign has been staggered by money problems and staff shake-ups, is backed by solid shares of suburban, college-educated and Midwestern Republican voters.

The roughly one-third of Republicans in the poll who said they disapprove of the job President Bush is doing were gravitating around all three of those hopefuls. Overall, the survey underscores that no contender has yet to convincingly make the case that he is the candidate for change that so many voters want as the party searches for its identity and a successor to Bush.

From Yahoo News Most Popular, Most Recommended

Salmon spawn baby trout in experiment
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, Associated Press Writer
14 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Papa salmon plus mama salmon equals … baby trout? Japanese researchers put a new spin on surrogate parenting as they engineered one fish species to produce another, in a quest to preserve endangered fish.

Idaho scientists begin the next big step next month, trying to produce a type of salmon highly endangered in that state – the sockeye – this time using more plentiful trout as surrogate parents.

The new method is “one of the best things that has happened in a long time in bringing something new into conservation biology,” said University of Idaho zoology professor Joseph Cloud, who is leading the U.S. government-funded sockeye project.

From Yahoo News World

A Crippling Blow in Anbar
By MARK KUKIS, Time Magazine
35 minutes ago

Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was gloomy when I met him at his compound in Ramadi last December. A few days earlier a friend of his had died, U.S. Army Capt. Travis Patriquin, the military’s tribal liaison for the area. Patriquin and Sattar had worked closely together late last year, when Sattar first emerged as the leader of a band of tribes around Ramadi coming together to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. Sattar, like other tribal leaders of Anbar Province, had fallen out with al-Qaeda in Iraq after years of complacency and cooperation with insurgents targeting U.S. forces. The longtime pact between tribal leaders and insurgents in Anbar Province had broken down around Ramadi amid squabbling over money, essentially. When insurgents began raiding highways in Sattar’s territory as a means of fundraising, Sittar and his fighters lashed out in defense of their turf. Fighting erupted. By 2006, Sattar found himself in a blood feud with al-Qaeda in Iraq and needed help. He turned first to fellow tribesmen – and then to the Americans.

Patriquin was Sattar’s link to the U.S. military presence in his territory. The two got along quite well by all accounts. Sattar had even made Patriquin an honorary member of his own tribe. But a roadside bomb killed Patriquin and two other Americans, just as U.S. military officials and tribal leaders were seeing the beginnings of gains in their nascent partnership against insurgents.

Iran’s Rich Revolutionary Guard
By AZADEH MOAVENI, Time Magazine
36 minutes ago

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is notorious in the West as the trouble-making arm of the Islamic Republic, accused of supporting Hizballah and other militant groups, destabilizing the Iraqi government, and nurturing a covert nuclear weapons program. Inside Iran itself, however, the image of the Guards is more that of an economic powerhouse, with more influence and assets than even the Tehran bazaar, the institution whose cash has traditionally helped drive the country’s politics.

To conservative supporters, the Guard’s economic clout is neither new nor troublesome. Iran’s constitution authorizes the military to play a peacetime economic role, and with the extensive engineering resources it amassed during the eight-year war with Iraq, it is only fitting, the thinking goes, for the Guard to run a vast financial empire reputedly worth billions of dollars. But to reformists, the Guard is to blame for the poor performance of Iran’s economy, as well as its tattered relations with the international community. “There are elements within the IRGC [the acronym for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] that operate like a private mafia and benefit from Iran’s isolated status,” says Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “That’s why they do their very best to torpedo efforts to improve Iran’s relations with the West.”

Indonesia hit by another earthquake
By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
45 minutes ago

PADANG, Indonesia – The ground shook so hard Yulinar had to grab a table to steady herself. Minutes later, she heard a warning crackling over the speakers of the neighborhood mosque – a tsunami could crash into her fishing village on Indonesia’s Sumatra island at any minute.

But despite the intensity of the shallow undersea earthquake, no waves lashed the beach and the family shack was undamaged. A quirk of nature sent the full force of the tsunami out to sea, preventing a repeat of the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster that killed more than 230,000 people – most of them on Sumatra.

“We heard the mayor’s voice and then ran up a hill,” said Yulinar, a mother of five, of the 8.4-magnitude quake that shook Indonesia on Wednesday. “It was very bad. I was so scared a tsunami was coming.”

From Yahoo News U.S. News

NY Times criticized for ad attacking Petraeus
By Claudia Parsons, Reuters
Thu Sep 13, 4:00 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An ad criticizing the top U.S. general in Iraq raised charges on Thursday that The New York Times slashed its advertising rates for political reasons — an accusation denied by the paper.

The ad by liberal anti-war group ran on Monday, the day of Gen. David Petraeus’s testimony to Congress about the war and how long U.S. forces will stay in Iraq. confirmed it paid $65,000 for the full page ad headlined “General Petraeus or General Betray Us.”

Democrats duck and weave in online ‘debate’
Thu Sep 13, 3:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democratic 2008 presidential hopefuls parried unusual questions about flatulent cows and “spoiled brat” voters, as well as Iraq and health care, in the first exclusively online campaign “debate.”

The “mashup” forum hosted by Yahoo! in partnership with the blog Huffington Post and online magazine Slate, allowed voters to compare responses to similiar questions on burning issues, posed by talk-show host Charlie Rose.

The latest in a seemingly endless series of forums and debates in the gruelling 2008 race, the online showdown was intended to bring candidates closer than ever before to voters.

A Bush Speech That Could Backfire
2 hours, 22 minutes ago

President George W. Bush’s decision to give a major speech on Iraq in prime time Thursday night made sense on one level. The news has been relatively positive for a change, what with the stabilization in Anbar province and parts of Baghdad. Earlier in the week, Bush and the Congress got a cautiously upbeat report from Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker that recommended a drawdown of some troops over the next nine months. So after months of asking Americans for patience, the President could finally tell them “that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy,” and that, in turn, he can “begin bringing some of our troops home.”

But Bush’s trumpeting of what he called a “return on success” could end up backfiring. Bringing the war into America’s living rooms is never a safe political bet. And if news of a slow drawdown may be popular, Bush himself still is not. Some key Hill Republicans, in fact, were upset that he returned front and center on the issue at a time when the White House had so carefully ceded the selling of the surge to Petraeus and Crocker. “Why would he threaten the momentum we have?” says one frustrated Capitol Hill Republican strategist with ties to the GOP leadership.

From Yahoo News Politics

Thompson gives no opinion on Schiavo
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 19 minutes ago

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson gave no opinion Thursday when asked about efforts by President Bush and Congress to keep Terri Schiavo alive, saying he does not remember details of the right-to-die case that stirred national debate.

Thompson was asked in an interview for Bay News 9’s “Political Connections” program whether he thought Congress’ intervention to save the life of the brain-damaged woman two years ago was appropriate.

“I can’t pass judgment on it. I know that good people were doing what they thought was best,” Thompson said. “That’s going back in history. I don’t remember the details of it.”

From Yahoo News Business

GM becomes UAW’s target in labor talks
Fri Sep 14, 12:41 AM ET

DETROIT – The United Auto Workers union likely chose General Motors Corp. as the lead company in labor talks with the Detroit Three because GM is considered the healthiest and the UAW wants to prevent the nation’s largest automaker from moving more manufacturing overseas, industry analysts said.

Two local union officials said they received notice Thursday afternoon that GM would be the lead company in the contract negotiations and the UAW’s potential strike target. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

Contracts between the UAW and GM expire Friday at midnight. Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC have agreed to indefinite extensions of their contracts, according to spokeswomen at those automakers. Typically, the union negotiates an agreement with the lead company it chooses, then reaches similar agreements with the other two.

Rivals say Microsoft has not changed its ways
By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Eric Auchard, Reuters
2 hours, 34 minutes ago

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Next week’s European antitrust ruling against Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq:MSFT – news) is a legacy of its past behavior, but competitors say the company’s current strategy is a sign of history repeating itself.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, faces a decision on Monday from Europe’s Court of First Instance on whether the European Commission was justified in ruling the desktop computer software leader abused its near monopoly to push out rivals.

The ruling is the latest in a decade of antitrust cases against the company and it comes two months before the November expiration of most elements of the consent decree that settled a landmark U.S. antitrust case five years ago.

British mortgage lender gets Bank of England bail-out
30 minutes ago

LONDON (AFP) – The Bank of England has stepped in to provide emergency financial support to Britain’s fifth-largest mortgage lender Northern Rock, the latest institution to fall victim to market turmoil, officials confirmed Friday.

In a statement, the Bank of England’s Treasury and Financial Services Authority said: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer has today authorised the Bank of England to provide a liquidity support facility to Northern Rock”.

The move comes after Northern Rock struggled to raise money to finance its lending amid money market volatility in the last few months linked to the sub-prime mortgage sector in the United States.

From Yahoo News Science

Japan says lunar orbiter launch a success
by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, AFP
1 hour, 47 minutes ago

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s first lunar orbiter successfully blasted into space Friday on the largest mission to investigate the moon since the US Apollo programme began nearly four decades ago, the space agency said.

A domestically developed rocket launched with no glitches from a small island in southern Japan at 10:31 am (0131 GMT) carrying the country’s hopes of restoring pride in its troubled space programme.

The orbiter separated from the H-2A rocket about 45 minutes after it took off from the Space Centre on the island of Tanegashima.

First stars could shed light on dark matter: study
Thu Sep 13, 8:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – The formation of the first stars at the birth of the universe could shed light on the nature of dark matter which still baffles scientists, according to a study published Thursday.

Using sophisticated computer simulations, cosmologists at Britain’s Durham University concluded that dark matter, which has been divided into both “warm” and “cold” matter, was key to the formation of the stars.

“Dark matter’s gravity anchored the nascent starts, but its energy affected how and where they were born,” said Joanna Baker, associate editor at Science magazine.

Mauritius parakeet avoids fate of the dodo
By Ed Harris, Reuters
Wed Sep 12, 11:27 AM ET

BLACK RIVER GORGES PARK, Mauritius (Reuters) – In the 1980s, there were only about 10 left alive. But, in a rare success story, a two-decade conservation program in a wooded corner of Mauritius has brought the Echo Parakeet back from the brink of extinction.

Evolving over millions of years on the once-uninhabited Indian Ocean island best known as the site of the dodo’s demise, the green-feathered Echo Parakeet was hit hard by rats, monkeys and the loss of forest that came with the arrival of humans.

But careful breeding, supplementary feeding and the protection of nests have boosted numbers in the wild to more than 320 birds.

Google to finance moon challenge contest
By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer
Thu Sep 13, 6:33 PM ET

LOS ANGELES – Google Inc. is bankrolling a $30 million contest that could significantly boost the commercial space industry and spur the first non-governmental flight to the moon.

Call it Moon 2.0. The bulk of the prize will go to the first private company that can land a robotic rover on the moon and beam back a gigabyte of images and video to Earth, the Internet search leader said Thursday.

Google partnered with the X Prize Foundation for the moon challenge, which is open to companies around the world. The Santa Monica-based nonprofit prize institute is best known for hosting the Ansari X Prize contest, which led to the first manned private spaceflight in 2004.

Sep 14

We’re not gonna take it

To the tune of Twisted Sister’s We’re not gonna take it

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

not gonna take it

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

oh NO

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

ain’t gonna take it

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

oh we’re

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
not gonna take it
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sep 14

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

State of the Onion VI

Art Link

The Whittlers

All it took
was for me
to become different
They jumped
at the chance
they sit around
waiting for
to grab their knives
and carve away
at my reputation
my physical body
my possessions
my dignity
my humanity
but inside
I was resolute
tougher than
I would have thought
stubborn to the core
The pain sliced
at the surface
of my soul
but deep inside
I was free
and they were chained

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–February 22, 2006

I do truly believe that everyone has a talent for something.  While the muses named above seem primarily concerned with a limited portion of the human mind,  there are other skills which require a knack as well as knowledge.

Let your talent bloom.  You can share it here.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well.

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days, the stories of doing and making?  And be excellent to one another!

Sep 14

Immanentizing The Eschaton – “A Pot to Piss In”

Yesterday began the search for my own paradise on earth, both in the physical and spiritual sense.  I covered a third of a state in my search, visiting seven pieces of property that could soon become a studio/gallery/workshop/home and small working farm. 

Something made me remember a moment in college just now, my friend Wendy had just completed a “left-handed bacon stretcher” for one of her assignments and I asked her, “What’s next?!” She replied matter-of-factly, “a pot to piss in.”  Sure enough a few days later there was her pot, along with a toiletpaper dispenser and cupholder, created in a rustic Americana style.  Simply perfect.

It took a while for me to realize that an artist needs a home base, preferring instead to create on the fly.  Back then, permanence was of no consequence to me, paper was a fine medium, as the real intent was to uncover my own subconscious in  fleeting glimpses.  Recently there has been a change.

Now the intent is to develop solid structure on top of what has already been learned.  In order for these structures to have room to grow space is required.  How much space?  That’s a good question, right now I’m thinking about 80 acres.  No, I won’t be building an 80 acre studio, but recently it is the land that has captured my attention creatively.

Capturing the human form was what I was best at, but in a larger sense that is a narcisistic effort.  I believe humans have received far too much attention from themselves, especially during the last, let’s say 2007 years. 

My brother introduced me to an artist out West that took some time to talk to me about his work.  He was nationally reknowned and recognized as a master sculptor.  His focus was wildlife in all of it’s forms.  The piece that spoke the most to me was not a sculpture however, but a series of lithographs he did prior to building one of his sculptures.  The lithographs incorporated the form of three different woodland creatures, he would switch out bear eyes for owl eyes or talons for claws.

I asked him about the abstracted pieces and he showed me his final sculpture and said:

“Those visions saved my life. I was on the hospital bed, the doctors had told me there wasn’t much else they could do for me, my family had been told there wasn’t much time left, I drifted into a deep sleep and saw these visions one after another, the power and forces of nature intertwining and I could feel a heeling begin.”

He hadn’t stepped foot in the hospital for 3 years and was creating like a man posessed.  I was touched by his willingness to share these thoughts, and his desire to see some of my own sketches.  Sadly he took his own life a few years later, he will be missed.  But his life was not in vain, he acted as a lighthouse that guided my own thoughts to their new conclusions.

It is these connections of nature, the roots, branches, elements, etc. that hold the key.  I knew it in high school and now I have relearned it through personal experience.  This is my path to the future that was shaped by many a fine creative spirit.  Thanks to all the artists that continue to inspire long after their deaths, thanks for the light.

Sep 14

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment With Jerry Nadler

(great essay – real citizen activism at its finest. – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment with Jerry Nadler

At the end of August Representative Jerry Nadler (Nadler) from New York City’s Congressional District 8 met with about twenty of his constituents to discuss impeachment.  This meeting was arranged in response to letters the Congressman received from his constituents indicating their concern about what is going on with our government and requesting that he support impeachment.  It says volumes that Nadler set aside the time to meet with us and gave us a full hour.  It was clear in how he addressed us and how he ran the meeting that he took our concerns and the issue of impeachment seriously.  What follows is what he and we had to say…


Occurring in New York during the Congressional recess, the meeting was attended by a group of citizen activists some of whom represented Democratic clubs in the city (Village Independent Democrats (VID) and Chelsea Reform Democrats (CRDC)) and organizations like Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and Democracy For New York City (DFNYC).  A good number were from the Chelsea Stand Up Against the War which stands up every Tuesday 6-7pm at the corner of 24th Street and Eighth Avenue (well worth checking out).  From Nadler’s office I was impressed to see not just his District Director for Manhattan, Rob Gottheim, but also his District Director for DC, John Doty as well as a fourth person who I believe was a legislative aide from the DC office.

Nadler opened the meeting by recognizing and respecting our request that several members of the group be allowed to present positions on impeachment.  Many of us had heard the Congressman speak at various club meetings over the recess and were familiar with his stand on impeachment and wanted the opportunity to learn more about it and to tell him where we stood. 

Nadler’s position on impeachment is not easily summed up as simply pro or against. On the one hand, he believes the President and Vice President have committed impeachable offenses and he would like to see them impeached.  On the other, he says that he does not believe that impeachment should happen now and the following explains why and what we can do about it.

Nadler made it clear that he does not see H. Res. 333 as a path to impeachment. He pointed instead to a new resolution that would be drafted by the Judiciary Committee, emphasizing that impeachment would only happen with the support of the Democratic leadership.  He explained that the Rules Committee controls which bills make it onto the agenda.  He also clarified a misconception he had read in the blogs (yes he does read us) that he has the power to move impeachment forward, reiterating that it will not happen without Pelosi and Conyers.  He commended us for holding him accountable and impressed upon us the need to keep the pressure on the Dem leadership.

One of Nadler’s concerns about moving ahead with impeachment now is that he does not think they have ironclad proof that Bush /Cheney lied us into the war.  He was emphatic about this, and when questioned said that they need to be able to prove that Bush/Cheney deliberately and knowingly lied.  He told us that they are conducting investigations geared towards finding ironclad proof and would continue to carry on investigations seeking more evidence for impeachable offenses, but unless something cataclysmic happened he did not expect to have more evidence until the end of the year.  At the same time, Nadler said that he thinks they have definitive proof on warrantless wiretapping, and that he would vote for it, but did not believe enough of his colleagues would.  He qualified these statements with “right now” saying that he is not closing his mind about it.

Given that he expects investigations to take the rest of the year, if impeachment hearings happen they will start around January/February in the middle of primary season. Nadler questions if it would serve the country’s interest to rivet attention on impeachment when it should be choosing a Presidential candidates.  We of course told him how important it was to introduce the issues surrounding impeachment – the abuse of executive privilege and signing statements, the erosion of civil liberties, the disruption of the balance of power between branches of government, the condoning and permitting of torture – into the Presidential election discussion.  For many of us the issue of precedent is paramount in the impeachment agenda.  Nadler agreed, stating that we needed to vindicate the rule of law and to remove these powers from “the quiver of the next President, Democrat or Republican.”  He also indicated that they are working on legislation to reign in the powers of the Executive.

Nadler’s other concern about impeachment is success in the Senate.  He posed this question almost as if he was thinking out loud:  “What is the point, cost/benefit, of carrying on impeachment proceedings that will not succeed?”  He doesn’t see a good answer to this, but at the same time concedes the importance of addressing the offenses committed by this administration.  It is our firm belief, as we told him, that conducting the hearings and bringing the offenses into the public eye and forcing discussion in the media would be sufficient to garner the support of the country and the Senate.  We also questioned why he would assume out of hand that they would not succeed, impressing upon him that as people became educated about what has been going on with our government, there would be a groundswell of support.  Earlier in the month at a VID meeting, Nadler had discussed the possibility of bringing criminal charges against Bush/Cheney after a Democratic President is in office, but he backed away from it this afternoon acknowledging that a Democratic President would not be likely to back prosecuting the lot, wanting to be considered a uniter not a divider.  At least he was honest about it.

The final concern Nadler expressed was about what impeachment could do to the Democratic Party and how it would play in the media.  We impressed upon him that impeachment could only help the party and talked about how not fighting back had hurt the Dems, particularly Kerry in 2008. We also told him that it would allow the Democrats to take back control of the traditional media as it could not ignore impeachment. As I write this now, watching what is going on with Petraeus’ testimony and the upcoming vote, I am remembering how Nadler emphatically told us at the VID meeting earlier this summer that if Bush vetoed legislation for a fully funded withdrawal this fall, the same bill should be sent right back to him.  I wonder as we watch the Dems praise Petraeus and the Bush Dogs get ready to capitulate, if he might see our point about how important it is to take a strong stand against this administration and how it would benefit the party and the country.  We told him that afternoon that people had lost confidence in the Democratic Party and it’s ability and willingness to stand up for itself, us, and the Constitution.  We are crying out for leadership and strength.

At the close of the meeting, Nadler had another engagement and needed to leave, but we carried on the discussion as he walked out the door.  While leaving he reiterated how we were doing the right thing in pressuring him, but that we needed to reach the leadership.  One of our group asked him if he could help us get to Conyers and Pelosi.  I think we also need to ask him what he can do to pressure the Democratic leadership to carry this forward. 

Personally, I left the meeting feeling as if we had made a small amount of progress with our letters, calls, emails, arguments, etc.  I did feel that he is listening to us and realizes we are a force to be respected.  Part of this is due to who Jerry Nadler is – 1) a progressive Democrat from New York City who recognizes the validity of impeachment and 2) a Congressman who cares about what his constituents think – and part of it was the empowerment that comes with lobbying and being a part of the Democratic process.  Preparing for the meeting required considerable research and planning and it was worth every moment.  I know we reached him and I expect that he will live up to his word to support impeachment if investigations net the standard of proof they need to commence impeachment proceedings.  Nadler was responsive enough to read John Nichols’ book, The Genius of Impeachment, and I will not be surprised to find him responsive to the points raised during our meeting.  I think the two most operative words we heard from him were the qualifiers not “now” and “yet.”

So where does this leave us?  In New York City for the past three Saturdays, the Village Independent Democrats have organized an impeachment table in Union Square where they help people write letters to members of Congress urging them to support impeachment.  Each Saturday they have managed to double the number of letters collected from the week before.  Tomorrow I know of two meetings with members of Congress regarding impeachment.  Chances are there are more that I have not heard about.  Impeachment is not a dead issue – unless we allow it to become one.  It may be our only hope to keep us out of Iran and get us out of Iraq.  Fifteen more months is a long time for this administration to remain in control of our government and our military.  Please, if you support impeachment, write a letter to your Congress/wo/man today.  Even better, set up a meeting with your Rep or the District Director.  And follow though on what Jerry Nadler suggested – contact Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers – tell them it is our country and it is time to TAKE IT BACK.

As a final note, I want to share that Nadler is reading the blogs.  At the VID meeting he quoted from Open Left and when I showed him a graph of the impeachment diaries published on dkos from January 2006 through July 2007 (prepared by plf515) he took note and told me that he too reads dkos.  The graph is memorable with a steep curve – plf515, if you are reading and can post it in the comments, I will be very grateful as I have not yet mastered the art of posting images.  Knowing how many people here are pro-impeachment and how many also want to make change, I hope contributing to instigating impeachment hearings will be part of what Docudharma makes happen.  When I called this essay “The Joy of Lobbying” I meant it.  It is a fiercely empowering experience that I recommend to everyone.

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