April 28, 2008 archive

Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament X

Every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  Through the Darkest of Nights is a story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption.  It is a testament to the progressive values we all believe in, have always defended, and always will defend no matter how long this darkness lasts.          

All installments are available for reading here on Docudharma’s Series page, and also here on Docudharma’s Fiction Page, where refuge from politicians, blogging overload, and one BushCo outrage after another can always be found.

No Backs, No Bras,

just young men and women protesting the war.

In my first ever photo diary.

A couple days ago, I covered the Two War Criminals For The Price Of One protest in Kent, Connecticut. When Glenn Koetzer of the Iraq Moratorium: Cornwall Edition sent me some photographs of the demonstration, I was surprised–to say nothing of delighted–at how many young people had showed up during a weekday to stand against the war-mongering tagteam of Henry Kissinger and George W. Bush.

My most recent piece continued in the same celebratory vein, only younger still. I shared the discovery I had just made that some fifth grade students at the Fratney School in Milwaukee, who’ve been regulars at the Third Friday Iraq Moratorium actions there, have their own website as Kids Against the War.

I sure hope this youth trend in the anti-war movement accelerates–check out the pix and you will too.

Four at Four

  1. The Associated Press reports 2.28 million homes vacant in the United States. “The percentage of vacant homes for sale in the United States set a record high in the first quarter of this year, the government said today. The Census Bureau report shows that shows that 2.9 percent of U.S. homes — excluding rental properties — were vacant and up for sale, compared with 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. It was the highest quarterly number in records going back to 1956. That works out to 2.28 million properties”.

    Reuters adds Homeowner vacancies hit record high. This was “the third quarter in a row in which the vacancy rate increased”. “Analysts attributed the rising vacancy rate to a surge in foreclosures brought on by the subprime mortgage crisis” and “believe home prices will not rebound until 2010.”

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reports the Loan industry is fighting new rules on mortgages. “As the Federal Reserve completes work on rules to root out abuses by lenders, its plan has run into a buzz saw of criticism from bankers, mortgage brokers and other parts of the housing industry. One common industry criticism is that at a time of tight credit, tighter rules could make many mortgages more expensive by creating more paperwork and potentially exposing lenders to more lawsuits.” The NY Times also notes Investments in self-storage stocks are doing well. The industry is being helped by foreclosures and long-term military deployments.

Four at Four continues below the fold with news about Department of Justice’s approval of CIA use of torture, Baghdad’s storm of mortars and sand, and a colossal squid thaw.

Calling For Justice: Can The Netroots Unite To Force Change?

Our government, all branches of it, has failed. Including the Fourth Estate.

Every where we look, brazen corruption and illegality are rampant on the field and riding roughshod over justice, unopposed by a champion of The People.

The latest and lamest outrage can be found here… (h/t Think Progress)

…a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States torturing logic to justify torture by his ideological masters, the Neo-Con Republicans who have usurped our Constitutional government and transformed America into a rogue state that wages illegal war, tortures, and spies on its own citizens. (Including defense lawyers it is opposing in court, fair trial, Hah!)

If you read the blogs, if you are part of the Netroots, if you are paying attention at all, you know how long the list of scandals perpetrated by our out of control, failed government is. The question is….what can we DO about it?

Dumbing Me Down

I left music radio for a REASON.

I wanted to be RELEVANT.

At least, in my own mind.

Here at this radio station, we are capable of driving local policy.

And we have done so.

But today…….

Right now, I’m PISSED.

More below the fold.

Standing together, in groups big and small, for peace

From our friends at the Iraq Moratorium:

Reports from Moratorium Day #8, just over a week ago, are still coming in and being posted on the Iraq Moratorium website, and a few got us thinking. One report, our first ever from Point Arena, CA said:

Three of us came out to honor Iraq Moratorium on Friday, April 18, 2008 in front of the local post office.

We carried a sign and displayed it prominently, and we handed out flyers to interested people.

The weather was very cold and exceptionally windy; I think that kept people away. However, we felt really good about joining people all over the U.S. to stand against the Iraq war.

Looked at in a vacuum, three people doesn’t sound too impressive, does it? Well, we Googled Point Arena. It’s a tiny rural town with a population of 486. Not an easy place to build an anti-war presence. And for us, their conclusion gets to the essence of the Moratorium:

“We felt really good about joining people all over the U.S. to stand against the Iraq war.”

Fair and Balanced Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Laws

In a 6 – 3 vote that surprises exactly no one, the Supreme Court today upheld the laws that support picture identification to be presented at the polling place for states that are effected.

From AP:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.

In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.

It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush.

Justice Stevens said that the law was justified to protect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.  

I say that the law discriminates against elderly and poor people that do not have a picture ID and often no way of getting to the DMV to obtain one, or no way of paying for one if they did have a way to get there.  

But, what do I know.  I’m not a Supreme.  I’m just a simple American citizen that believes all registered voters should be able to vote without restriction.

Pony Party, Monday Playoff Updates

Currently, the 2nd round series’ stand as follows:

Eastern:

Montreal and Philly are tied at 1 game each.  Game 3 tonight, 7 p.m. edt

Pittsburgh leads NY 2 games to 0

Western:

Detroit leads Colorado 2 games to 0.  

San Jose trails Dallas 0-2

Combat Vets as Students

The News & Observer has a good report on the returning OIF and OEF Veterans as some transition to Students in Colleges and Universities around the country, reporting on some of the problems they face in that transition from combat soldier to student.


This could have been expanded, as many already have found out as others before you went through the same, to the transition from In-Theater Soldiers to Civilian life not just as Students

.

As tens of thousands of veterans of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq try to collect on their promised college benefits, McKinnon and others are finding that their combat experience complicates the transition from soldier to student.

Docudharma Times Monday April 28



When the stranger came to town

All the people watched with wonder

In their tattered clothes

Gathered ¬Ěround and raised their eyes up from the dirt

Monday’s Headlines:Loan Industry Fighting Rules on Mortgages: Brownsville’s Bad Lie: UN troops ‘armed DR Congo rebels’: Zimbabwe opposition’s hold on parliament confirmed: Apathy dooms plan to save Tempelhof, site of Berlin airlift: Satirical comedian Beppe Grillo may dictate outcome in Rome elections: Israeli attack kills four children of Palestinian family: Warring factions to gather in Iraq: For Chinese Athletes, Western-Style Perks: North Korean officer defects to South: military: Mexico City gives girls a party to remember

The blind man who was given the gift of sight by gene therapy

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Monday, 28 April 2008

A pioneering gene therapy trial has helped a blind man to see in a breakthrough that brings hope to millions affected by eye diseases. British scientists have claimed a world first for the revolutionary treatment, which involved a single injection into the retina at the back of the eye.

Steven Howarth, 18, from Bolton, who has a rare inherited eye disorder which has left him with extremely poor vision and completely unable to see in the dark, improved sufficiently after the treatment to be able to navigate a “maze” in conditions similar to street lighting at night.

Muse in the Morning


Ice

Frozen

Cold raindrops fall

snow clots

into flakes

clumps

into ice

hard as rock

and so cold

Sharp water

cuts at my skin

Does your heart bleed

when the cold

drips from its hardness

as it condenses,

becoming not large enough

to contain any love

for people

different from you?

Ice pellets

from so many eyes

and thoughts

crystallize

into hatred

Are they even

aware of it?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 12, 2008

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

A Political Reform Cleisthenes Could Get Behind

Back in 1999, when everybody from Stephen Jay Gould to Arthur C. Clarke were arguing over whether the 21st Century began in 2000 or 2001, a great deal of discussion was had over what to call the new decade, whichever year kicked it off. But nobody could agree. The Aughts?  The Oughts? The Naughts? The Naught-ies? The Zeroes? Personally, I liked the idea of calling it the “ut-oh” decade. I think I have pretty good grounds for claiming that, so far, it’s lived up to that name beyond a progressive’s worst nightmares.

Being a Gouldian in this affair, it’s my view that since we’ve now just about completed 100 months in the parade of “ut-oh” years, we’re not likely ever to get anybody to agree on a name for this decade. But how about a signature reform before the second decade of this century gets underway?

Ever since the railroad scandals of 140 years ago, Americans have been periodically encouraged to believe that one more round of reformist tinkering will shield elected officials from the bankable temptations of high office and make them all more accountable to us hoi polloi. Fruitless as these attempts to marry politicians and ethics have been, we keep trying. Tinker here. Tinker there.

They’re so clever. Reforms this morning? Loopholes by noon. And before you can say Credit Mobilier or The Keating 5 or Enron or Tom DeLay, some cheeky new crusader is spurring yet another sure-fire reform into the political arena.

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