Saturday, December 9, 2006

Slim Gaillard

I thought a little break from politics was in order and a friend of mine brought this video clip to my attention.

"One of the most eccentric vocalists ever to hit the jazz scene, Slim Gaillard became a legendary cult figure thanks to his own privately invented jive dialect “vout," a variation on hipster slang composed of imaginary nonsense words (“oreenie" and “oroonie" being two other examples). Gaillard's comic performances, laid-back cool, and supremely silly songs made him a popular entertainer from the late ‘30s to the early ‘50s, especially on the West Coast, and several of his compositions became genuine hits, including "Flat Foot Floogie" and "Cement Mixer." Versatility was not Gaillard's stock in trade, but he was highly effective at what he did, and his musical ability as a singer, Charlie Christian-style guitarist, and boogie-woogie pianist was perhaps a bit overlooked in comparison to the novelty value of his music."

Apparently he was good friends with Jack Kerouac and a performance of his is described in "On The Road". I can't say for sure that he invented the beat generation lingo, but I'm certain he had a major hand in it. Enjoy the videoroonee, McVootee.

McKinney Submits Impeachment

"With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us," said Congresswoman Cynthina McKinney as she submitted articles of impeachment on Friday against President Bush, VP Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

"President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people."

Read John Nichols' column here, as well as McKinney's entire transcript.

Word of the Year: "Truthiness"

truthiness (noun)
1 : "truth that comes from the gut, not books" (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," October 2005)

2 : "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true" (American Dialect Society, January 2006)

This is the word of the year for 2006 according to Merriam-Webster, which originated on Comedy Central's, The Colbert Report in October, 2005.

As for Stephen Colbert's reaction: "Though I'm no fan of reference books and their fact-based agendas, I am a fan of anyone who chooses to honor me. And what an honor," he said. "Truthiness now joins the lexicographical pantheon with words like `squash,' `merry,' `crumpet,' `the,' `xylophone,' `circuitous,' `others' and others."

Friday, December 8, 2006

Mary Cheney's Baby

(Read to the tune of "Having My Baby" by Paul Anka)

First of all, GOOD FOR HER! It's a wonderful thing when two people can share their lives with each other and raise a child in a loving home... just leave grandpa out of it!

Mary Cheney and Heather Poe, her partner of 15 years, are expecting their first child in the Spring. They moved from Colorado to Virginia a year ago to be closer to the Cheney family. Virginia is one of seven states where voters approved anti-gay-marriage amendments during the midterm election in November. Is that a problem?

From the Dallas Voice:

Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Pride, a national organization that advocates for LGBT people and their families, said news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy exemplifies the inequities faced by LGBT-headed families.“As Mary and Heather enter into the life-changing roles of parents, they will quickly face the reality that no matter how loved their child will be — by its mothers and its grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and close family friends — he or she will never have the same protections that other children born to heterosexual couples enjoy,” Chrisler said in a statement released Wednesday. “Mary and Heather currently live in Virginia. Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child.”

Chrisler accused the vice president of having been “complicit in the largest full-scale attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community in modern history. He, his president and his political party have repeatedly targeted the LGBT community and LGBT families for scapegoating as part of their calculated political strategy and have attacked at all levels the rights and protections his own daughter will need to ensure a strong, healthy, legally protected family.”

And I LOVE this line:

“Grandfather Cheney will no doubt face a lifetime of sleepless nights as he reflects on the irreparable harm he and his administration have done to the millions of American gay and lesbian parents and their children.” Chrisler said.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS?! Obviously she hasn't personally met Dick Cheney. I'm guessing that he probably sleeps soundly on a bed made of human skeletal remains and the mattresses are stuffed with large piles of blood money.
And then you have the other side of the coin:

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy as unconscionable. "It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father," said Crouse, a senior fellow at the group's think tank.

Carrie Gordon Earll, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, expressed empathy for the Cheney family but depicted the pregnancy as unwise.
"Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea," she said. "Love can't replace a mother and a father."

Well, damned if you do, damned if you don't! The gay/lesbian side is pissed because Mary doesn't speak out for gay rights and the Religious Right think it's an abomination. These are the same freaks that were admonishing John Kerry during the 2004 debates for bringing up Mary Cheney and calling it an "invasion of privacy". Damed hypocites!

But wait, there's more!

From the Mike Malloy Show, December 6th, 2006:

Now the hypocrisy of the Bush Crime Family - the hypocrisy of the ruling elite of this country... I wonder if Rick Santorum or Bill Frist or some of these evil sons of bitches are going to send a congratulatory letter to the Cheneys or to Mary Cheney specifically...

Bless them. This is not about them or their baby. This is about the evil sons of bitches in the Republican Party, every single one of them who have demonized the idea of gay or lesbian or transgendered or bisexual or whatever people living normal lives, especially where it concerns children.

...I know there's an effort here in Georgia to pass a law that bans the adoption of children by gay couples or a gay individual. Aww, you evil sons of bitches, you evil pigs, you really are! But how do you people feel? You right-wingers, who think that the sun rises and sets in one of Dick Cheney's body orifices. How do you feel? I mean, he gives you the finger!

'Oh, vote for us and we'll stop the queers. Oh, by the way, my daughter, who happens to be gay, is pregnant. Yay! We're gonna have a grandchild. You other people? Screw you! You're not gonna have any children. You gay and lesbian people? No, no, you don't get any. We do though, because we're the Cheneys! WE'RE THE POWER STRUCTURE!'

Thursday, December 7, 2006

US Troop Response - Boston Globe

Troops respond to the Iraq Study Group assessment:

1st Lt. Gerard Dow said he agreed with the commission's assessment that the situation in Iraq was "grave and disappointing."

"In Iraq, we try to win the hearts and minds of population," said Dow, 32, of Chicago. "They want Americans out of here. They blame us for all their problems. They look at us as the terrorists and then they turn around and help the terrorists who are trying to kill us."

"There's no way we're leaving in two years no matter what any recommendation says," Spc. Eisenhower Atuatasi, 26, of Westminster, Calif., said. He thought 2012 was more realistic.

This is very disheartening indeed.

The Gates Nomination

My take of the Robert Gates Confirmation Hearings and how he received a unanimous vote from a panel consisting of 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats can be seen in a variety of ways:

1 - ANYONE is better than Don Rumsfeld. This rationale isn't that far from the truth I suppose except for the fact that Gates himself was mired in scandal during the Iran-Contra hearings when he served as CIA Director. Gates, who is well known for his supreme memory, somehow "couldn't recall" answers to certain questions ask of him during the hearings, not once or twice, but THIRTY-THREE times. It is very interesting that Gates' Iran-Contra involvement was not a major theme at the hearings if touched on at all.

2 - Democrats didn't want to cause a ruckus immediately after the stunning mid-term election turnaround just one short month ago. One theory is perhaps they don't want to be perceived as those who will rock the boat at every turn in the eyes of centrists and moderate Republicans who voted Democratic this time around. Another theory is that maybe there is a strategy revolving around future fights being planned once the new Congressional Session begins in January. Now was not the time to come out with guns blazing.

3 - Did Bush make a deal? The Dems wanted Rumsferatu out. Maybe they sign off on Gates in return for Rumsfeld's boot out the door. Or perhaps it was Bolton's ousting. Even though "Mr. Diplomat" had no chance of being confirmed, it was somewhat surprising that W had a bit of a defeated look on his face during the Bolton resignation news conference, instead of his usual pompous air. Bush: "They chose to obstruct his confirmation..." Hmmm...

Only time will tell. I'm sure the "tell all" books will be in abundance in 2009.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Tony the Snow Man

Boy I really don't envy his job. Here is Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary, having to go out to that podium every day and deal with an increasingly volatile press corps, and basically try and spin to such an extent, that he sounds like he's wearing rose-colored glasses while living in Wonderland. I suppose the journalists aren't as trepidacious now that we have an incoming Democratic Congress and a lame duck president.
One simple question is all it takes to start the feeding frenzy, and Snowjob has to work it for all it's worth. Now he's trying to tell us there's more than one definition for the word "winning"due to Robert Gates' assessment that we aren't winning in Iraq.
You really can't make this stuff up!

From the White House Press Briefing of December 5th, 2006:

Q Does the President today believe that we are winning in Iraq? It's a very straightforward question.

MR. SNOW: I know, but I did not ask him the question today. The most recently asked, he said, "yes."

Q Okay, so that might change from day to day. So it may have changed --

MR. SNOW: No, I don't --

Q -- he may no longer believe that we're winning the war in Iraq. You don't know.

MR. SNOW: I have no reason to think it changed, but also, again, go back and take a look at the broader answer that Bob Gates gave and ask yourself, is this consistent or inconsistent with what the President has been saying? I think you're going to find it's very consistent.

Q Why is it consistent if he said -- he said we're neither winning, nor losing. He didn't say we were winning.

MR. SNOW: Then he proceeded to talk about the very challenges the President has been discussing in terms of developing capability on the Iraqi side of an Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself. So what you may have are two guys who are looking at different definitions. I don't know. I don't want to try to read their minds. But what I do think is important in taking a full look at what Bob Gates was doing is then to take a look at when he started drilling down. What did he talk about? Precisely the same things that the President has been discussing for weeks and weeks and weeks.


Q Even though it was precisely the same thing, he said, we are not winning, and --

MR. SNOW: No, he said -- I believe the answer was, either "yes, sir," or "no, sir."

Q And then he went into the fact that "but we're not losing." But this administration has said we are winning. Leading up to the midterm elections, President Bush was asked pointedly at his press conference, are we winning? He said, yes, we're winning, and he went on to explain why. He explained why we're not winning. You from this podium said --

MR. SNOW: No, I don't believe -- what Bob Gates -- I don't believe that Bob Gates said that we were --

Q He supported his statement. And you from that --

MR. SNOW: But how did he support it? Did he support the statement by saying anything that was inconsistent with what the President has said? And I don't think he did.

Q But his statement is inconsistent with what the administration says. The President has said, we are winning. You from that podium said, we're winning --

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q -- but we haven't won.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q He said -- he agreed that we are not winning. So how is that consistent --

MR. SNOW: And he also said we're not losing.

Q But how is that consistent? The President never said, we're not losing. How is that consistent?

MR. SNOW: Because -- okay, because they may have -- I don't know what the definitions are...

Bolton Bolts

Like rats deserting a sinking ship, John Bolton, US Ambassador (and I use that term loosely) to the United Nations, is the latest resignation of the Bush Administration. Bolton, who once said, "The United States makes the U.N. work when it wants to work.", was Bush's recess appointment to the position when even a Republican controlled Congress would not confirm his nomination. And why wouldn't our worst president ever want a "diplomat" who claimed that the U.N.'s New York headquarters could lose 10 floors without disruption?
In a brief statement, Bush said he was "deeply disappointed that a handful of United States senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate."

"They chose to obstruct his confirmation, even though he enjoys majority support in the Senate, and even though their tactics will disrupt our diplomatic work at a sensitive and important time," Bush said. "This stubborn obstructionism ill serves our country, and discourages men and women of talent from serving their nation."

Bolton fled before being flogged again by a nominating committee. Gee, was it Democrats who had it in for Bolton in W's quest to keep him in his current U.N. position? Apparently not.

"Bolton's fate was sealed when
Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee , REPUBLICAN from Rhode Island, decided to block his nomination in the Foreign Relations Committee, joining with all Democrats on the panel. Administration lawyers explored ways of keeping him in the job by appointing him to a position that does not require Senate confirmation and then making him 'acting ambassador.' "

Trying to skirt around the process again, eh, George? Okay, who's next?!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Webb/Bush Update

So here we are a few days after Bush's prodding regarding Jim Webb's son and it seems that Bush not only knew that Webb's son had been involved in a skirmish that left three of his platoon dead, but he was also told to be sensitive about the situation in a briefing! But I suppose at this point, how can we expect him to be sensitive about anything?

Read here.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Support HR 676

HR 676 (like Social Security and Medicare) is a single - payer plan which would provide health care to every person residing In the U.S. HR 676 would allow patients their choice of doctors whose traditional fees for service would be paid for by the government. It is entitled: "The United States National Health Insurance Act," ("Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act").

HR 676, introduced by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), now has 78 co-signers. This single-payer health care program proposes an effective mechanism for controlling skyrocketing health costs while covering all 46.5 million uninsured Americans and improving health care for everyone.

HR 676 would cover every person in the U.S. for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care. HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save billions annually by eliminating high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMO s, as well as excessive and unnecessary billing expenses of hospitals and doctors' offices.

In country after country, Labor took the lead in championing universal health insurance. Unions here in the United States need to do the same. Labor's participation is essential for achieving health care reform.

As of November 29, 2006, HR 676 is listed as being endorsed by 212 union organizations including 53 Central Labor Councils and area Labor Federations and 15 state AFL-CIO's (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, & NC).

HR 676 envisions everybody in & nobody out. Similarly and ideally, HR 676 will be achieved much sooner if everybody joins in the effort to ratchet up the pressure on Congress to pass this vital legislation. Congress will listen when the people roar. Congress will act when the people roar louder.

A wave of revulsion against the war and occupation of Iraq rippled the political waters recently, resulting in majority leadership changes in both houses of Congress. Hopes are high that resulting policy changes will reflect the peoples' wishes and needs. Constant vigilance and unrelenting, massive pressure will speed Congressional compliance. While politicians, generally, tend to follow the money and legislate accordingly; they are keenly aware that their bread is buttered in the voting booth.

The ball is in the peoples' court. The fate of HR 676 - national health insurance (Medicare for All) is in our hands. We the people everywhere should feel obliged to urge all members of Congress, state legislative bodies and city councils to sign on to effect passage of HR 676 as quickly as possible. Local unions and their Internationals, community, faith and organizations of all sorts should be urged to do the same. Demanding support for HR 676 is in order right now. Contact your representatives and ask them to support this resolution.

Obama To Run?

Wow, does this throw a wrench in the Democratic field for 2008? I personally like Hillary, but I also have reservations that she comes with too much baggage. Of course that's just my opinion, just a gut feeling. I also feel she's been a little too centrist for my taste lately. Obviously, this is an effort to appeal to the masses.
Watching Obama give his Keynote Address at the Democratic Convention in 2004 made me excited about a politician for the first time since Bill Clinton.
Anyone who hasn't listened to or read Obama's speeches should go to his website. There you'll find transcripts and video. You won't be disappointed.