Sunday, June 14, 2009


Rest in Peace -
It was fun while it lasted, but it's over now.
Not unlike my future....
Don't bother to check back - delete that bookmark.
Where is the dead blog cemetery???
If you know, let me know.
Sayonaro, Adios, Hagoone', Good night...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dueling Word Clouds (Obama v. Cheney)

Yesterday the President spoke and shortly afterwards the Ex-Vice President Cheney droned on and on and on... Their speeches supposedly addressed the same topic (National Security vis-a-vis Guantanamo). No surprises here, Obama supported his initial plan to close Guantanamo with clarity and reason, while the Big Dick (Cheney) threatened all the terrors that await the American people should the detention center at Guantanamo be closed. Here's where my world and the world of Washington DC collide, in the form of Word Clouds which clearly illustrate the difference between the perspectives of the President and the leader of the flailing opposition in the form of an unpopular former shadow president.

Check them out and if these pictures aren't worth the thousand words they display, then I am not a radical militant librarian:

Word Cloud of Obama's Speech (May 21, 2009)

Word Cloud of Cheney's Speech (May 21, 2009)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Trip Down Memory Lane with Steph

Stephanie - Today and Yesterday

Here's Stephanie on a recent episode of Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources:

And then there's a look into Stephie's scary past....
OMG, my two worlds have finally collided - Stephanie IS a Cherokee Princess. Here's proof:

Watch Steph and friends do a wicked send-up of Bewitched. See it hear:
Stephanie Miller as Samantha in Bewitched - the pilot.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stephanie Miller in an Earlier Incarnation

Stephanie as Edith Ann

Stephie Junior & Steph Senior (Steph's Mom)

If you are completely bored on this Saturday morning, why not do what I just did - waste 9 minutes and 40 seconds of your precious life watching this fascinating profile of Stephanie Miller circa 1998. It shows Stephanie when she did the drive-time show for KABC in Los Angeles. Yes Jim and Chris were part of the team back then, but Chris was apparently not an on-air executive producer, rather Steph had Faith Beth Lamont as her sidekick. If you really have nothing better to do - check out this video profile. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Judge Says Woman Must Be Paid Damages Based on 1868 Sioux Treaty

Judge Says Woman Must Be Paid Damages Based on 1868 Sioux Treaty

Matthew Gruchow

A Native American woman from Rapid City has won a historic ruling in federal court based on a century-old treaty between the U.S. government and the Oglala Sioux Tribe after she was sexually assaulted by a military recruiter.

The U.S. government will have to pay Lavetta Elk, formerly of Rapid City, nearly $600,000 in damages after she was sexually assaulted by Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Joseph Kopf in his car January 2003, according to court documents. Judge Francis Allegra based the ruling on a “bad men” provision in the April 29, 1868 treaty between the government and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

That provision of the Fort Laramie Treaty “provides that if ‘bad men’ among the whites commit ‘any wrong’ upon the person or property of any Sioux, the United States will reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained,” according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The judgement against the U.S. government based on the treaty is unprecedented, said Adam Horowitz, Elk’s Miami-based lawyer. It also is a marked change in interpretation of Indian treaties which have historically been construed negatively, he said.

“Never before has this treaty been used to bring such a claim,” Horowitz said. “It creates precedent for Native Americans who belong to tribes with treaties like this in effect.”

Elk, who was 19-years-old at the time of the assault, now is married and lives with her family in California. She could not be reached for comment.

Read more in Thursday's Argus Leader.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Moving Oklahoma Back to the 11th Century

"An Oklahoma man was arrested by FBI agents earlier this month for posting a series of messages on his Twitter account threatening to use a tax day Tea Party protest to commit politically-motivated mass murder."
AP "Tea Party Twitter Arrest: Daniel Hayden Threatened Mass Murder, Cop Killing", Huffington Post, April 26, 2009.

It is no secret that Oklahoma is way behind the rest of the country in its acceptance of the new direction that the nation is moving. It is, after all, the only state that bucked the national trend to move toward a more progressive agenda - for example, every county in the Sooner State voted for McCain/Palin and the republicans gained seats in the state legislature. So with all of this evidence that I am residing in the most bigoted, backwater state in the United States, it should come as no surprise that the Oklahoma State GOP Party Platform reads like a map that will take the people of Oklahoma back to the 11th century, to a theocratic form of government in which sexual orientation is not even acknowledged let alone discussed, history is rewritten so that it invents a Judeo-Christian basis for the foundation of our nation, where taxes are anathema (they support abolishing the IRS), where every promise made to Native Americans is violated and finally cancelled altogether, where English becomes the official language of this country, and where all power and rights exude from the "traditional family," i.e. one woman, one man, and their progeny.

It elevates biblical teachings to levels that surpass known and accepted science (in other words, it mandates the teaching of "intelligent design" along side instruction of evolution). They reject any standardization of teaching, yet they require that all 12th graders be able to demonstrate 12th grade skills - whatever those may be? They place so many regulations on abortion and family planning so as to make them virtually un-implementable or better yet (in the minds of the insane right-wing whackos who drafted this crazy platform) illegal. Bill Maher penned a brilliant op-ed piece that was printed on Friday in the Los Angeles Times. Here it is: The GOP: Divorced from Reality. Read it and have a good lauch, then send me ideas about how I can relocate out of this redneck state of mind that has nothing to do with the reality that I am trying to live.

Here are links to the Oklahoma GOP Party Platform:
Part One & Part Two

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On Tea Parties and Tea-Bagging

"Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged 'tea parties' around the country Wednesday to tap into the collective angst stirred up by a bad economy, government spending and bailouts," Associated Press

The first question that one may like to ask is "Where were all these rabid proresters when the big spending began?" We heard nary a word from Faux News or Glenn Beck or even Newt Gingrich when W. Bush began spending tax dollars like a drunken sailor on shore leave to fund his unnecessay war(s) and to provide his rich cronies (his base "the haves and the have-mores") with tax breaks and a trillion dollar war budget - that we now know was so carelessly spent that there are billions (yes, with a "B") for which the federales cannot account. What is being missed in all this passionate anger that has largely been fomented by the right-wing media (the aforementioned Faux News and right-wing talk radio) is that Obama has lowered taxes for 95% of Americans (the very same people who are out on public property excercising their right to petition their government).

I am not crazy about paying taxes, but I understand that I live in a country that provides my fellow citizens and me with certain benefits - if my house should catch on fire I needn't search the phone book for a private firefighter. If I am the victim of a violent crime, I call the police and they come and take my report. I drive on roads that have been built with public funds. I enjoy parks that are available because of tax dollars. Although I don't have any children, I am glad to support my local school board in the education of the kids who live in my area, because I know the value of a decent public school education, being a product of that system, myself.

I listen incredulously to people being interviewed at these "grass-roots" (or more likely "astro-turf") rallies, and I hear them squawk about how they are sick and tired of paying taxes. Well, what do they propose? That we privatize all services - that worked out so well in Iraq. (Blackwater has had to change their name to "Xe" to continue doing business). Have these knuckleheads ever imagined in their dark, low-life nightmares that it might pay off to invest in this country? Our infrastructure, our highways, bridges, and mass transportation? That it might pay great returns to create jobs that free us from fossil fuels and transfer our energy to wind and solar and other renewalable sources?

So I say to all these "tea-baggers" (the double-entendre completely lost on these right-wing ignorant white - and they are overwhelmingly white - people) why don't you just go and run your own country? See who picks up your garbage and digs your sewer lines and paves your roads. And God help you if you lose your job or your child needs medical attention - you'd be up a creek wouldn't you? Nowhere to turn... Try that kind of society for awhile and get back to me and let me know how that works out for you. Go ahead and try.

Take a look at where all this may be heading: DHS Report on Right Wing Extremism. Scary sh*t!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Response to National Organization for Marriage (Extra Crispy Bucket of Lies)

The following video is from Gaytheist Agenda and it is posted as a direct response to the ridiculous, dishonest and misleading video that was recently released by the National Organization for Marriage (only for some people). If you must watch the onerous NOM video first - I completely understand, as I too am fascinated by the dark underside of humanity :) - here it is: NOM Video

Anyway, here is one response to the madness and lies promoted by the aforementioned video:

Monday, April 6, 2009

On Fairness...

This was posted yesterday over on and because I haven't written much on this blog lately I thought I'd post it again. Read it here or there, whatever...

On Fairness

Author: m-hadley Date: 04/05/2009 07:26:29 AM
Every morning I lie in bed and listen to NPR and hear reports on how many people in this country have lost their jobs, and I force myself to get out of bed with a single thought, “At least I still have a job.” But when I was hovering around rock bottom just a couple weeks ago, I was convinced that I was about to lose my job, and I think that I was actually doing things to bring about my own unemployment. I have a tendency to over-relate to the woes of the world. During Hurricane Katrina and its horrifying aftermath, I sat in front of my TV and cried a million tears, distraught with guilt for having a warm, dry house with enough food in it to sustain me for a least a week, a closet-full of clothes that were clean and dry.

Why is this world so filled with inequities? Why are some of us lucky enough to still have a job, a house, a car, a meal, even pets to keep us happy? While others have or are in the process of losing their homes, their jobs, and are having to stand in line at soup kitchens or food banks simply to get a meal? Why them and not me? I imagine that those people who are being evicted from their homes or standing in line for free food are asking the same question in reverse – why or how are others managing during these troubled times while I am not? Why does my neighbor still leave home every morning and go to what I can only assume is a job? Why did I get laid-off and the guy in the cubicle next to me did not?

One on the first truths we learn as children is that life is not fair. After accepting that basic truth – the population basically breaks into two very different groups who take very divergent paths in life. One group accepts the unfairness of life and goes on to take advantage of the inequality in the world and makes the moves that help them do the best that they can, earn as much money as they can, and basically set themselves up in the best situation that they can find for themselves. The other group sees the inequities in the world and dedicate themselves to working to make the world a fairer place. As always, these groups are not mutually exclusive and at various times in a person’s life she/he may change from one group to another. However, there are certain professions that lend themselves to making the world a more equitable place. Some of those careers include teachers, social workers, doctors, and in some cases even lawyers. Yet including the last profession in that list illustrates how it is impossible to assess a person’s contribution to the greater good by considering his/her job alone. Good people do all kinds of work – from computer programmers to comedians – there are all kinds of jobs that can add to hope and justice in this world. It is largely the person who does the job and the attitude that he/she brings to her/his work that makes the difference between creating a world that is just and equitable and those whose primary concern is to just advance themselves and their own interests.

Hedge fund managers verses Red Cross workers – the contrast between these two groups of people may seem obvious to most of us. The former screams self-interest and greed, the latter is the embodiment of selfless, caring concern for others. Yet I am almost certain that there are one or two hedge fund managers who use their monetary gains to help others (I am only guessing, I don’t know this for sure), and there are probably a few Red Cross workers who volunteer for dubious reasons (although I can’t for the life of me imagine what those reasons might be).

Another case in point in the position of the President of the United States - in the case of George W. Bush his motivation (as evidenced by his life lived up to the point when he stole the presidency) was greed and promotion of causes that benefited only the company he keeps, in other words, the wealthiest Americans. Whereas Barack Obama’s motivation (I believe, anyway) is to help the most people in the world, not the wealthiest people in this country. I have taken to referring to President Obama as a president savant (from the French savant "knowing", English since the 18th century, may refer to an expert or wise person). I have come to believe that Barack Obama and his beautiful family are uniquely suited to be the first family at this time in our history. After eight long years of collective suffering, we (as Americans) got something correct – we chose the best person for the job. I, for one, would have liked to see fewer Clinton retreads in Obama’s administration, but I do understand the value of institutional knowledge and memory, and I trust that Obama won’t be afraid to drop dead weight when it floats like scum to the surface during his time in office.

I also think that Obama’s trip to Europe tells us volumes about the difference between those whose actions are motivated by what is best for the most people (Obama) and the former leader (sic) (Bush) who clearly didn’t give a rat about what would be best for the world. People know when a leader is genuine and honest and has their best interest at heart. They hear concern in Obama’s words and see it in his gestures and they can tell from the way his wife looks at him that he is a real leader, one who desperately wants to improve the lives of everyone and restore hope and justice in the world.

Before I am accused of being nothing more than an Obama groupie, I must say that I am waiting along with all the other citizens of this country and the world with my fingers crossed, hoping against hope that the Stimulus Program works. If it doesn’t I am braced for the hot air that will blow in from the right and try to replace our hopes and dreams with fear and bigotry. Yet I will refuse to abandon my hopes and dreams, I will never take the path of greed and selfishness. I always hope to walk on the path that serves myself best by serving others, always keeping in mind that we are all in this together.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Native Ball Player: Shoni Schimmel

In this season of madness, I encourage you all to watch the following video that showcases a rising star in women's basketball:

Go Shoni!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Letterman Does an Ad for the GOP

David Letterman wants to help the ailing GOP and so does this blogger (check the calendar - dear readers ;) ) and last night he did so by producing a new television ad for them called "The Party of Yes." It details their positive stance on issues and tells voters that they will be ready to lead in 2028.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stephanie Does Howard

Stephanie appeared on Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz on Sunday. March 15, 2009.

Here's where you can watch Steph spar with right-wing tool Tucker Carlson (who amazingly enough claimed to not be a partisan - though he served as the right-wing talking point on Crossfire where Jon Stewart handed Tucker his ass in a basket): Part One & Part Two.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rachel Does The View

Rachel Maddow Joins the Women of The View

Rachel Maddow chats with the grrrls on The View. Rachel talks about how she met her partner of ten years, Susan Mikula (she was doing some yard work for her and when Susan came to the door, stars and comets went off and they have been together ever since - awwww). She discusses her thoughts on President Obama (the right person at the right time and a "big thinker"), and her growing up (she was a tomboy with long blond hair who looked like one of the Hanson boys). She also touches on how she came out (in a very obnoxious way at age 17), and how she got her own TV show (she doesn't know - oh, come on?). It's a charming interview (as charming as Rachel herself). Enjoy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Toto, Who Will be the Next Governor of Kansas?

That would be Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson - the person who will succeed Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the next governor of Kansas. He is a Democrat, but you wouldn't know that by reading his biography on the Kansas government web site. In fact, his name was never mentioned in any report that I read today announcing Sebelius's nomination for the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. I had to do some hunting to discover the rules of succession in Kansas when a sitting governor vacates her seat, mid-term.

"The office of the Lieutenant Governor has been substantially restructured in the past two decades, but the most important function still is to succeed to the governorship should that office become vacant."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Budget - the Work of a President Savant

"It has a strong flavor of the Obama philosophy, which is tilting the playing field away from upper income and toward the rest of America,"
Alice M. Rivlin, Brookings Institution Economist

Take a look at President Obama's new budget for 2010. It reflects many of the President's campaign promises and issues that he has always maintained were important to him. In it are funds for education (particularly higher education) and energy, and, lo an behold, science is BACK.

"The blueprint, meanwhile, would overhaul programs across the federal bureaucracy to strengthen assistance for millions of people who have borne the consequences of what Obama called "an era of profound irresponsibility," helping them pay for college, train for better jobs and save for retirement while taking less of their earnings in taxes.

The ambitious agenda for the fiscal year that begins in October would not come cheap. This year's budget deficit, swollen by spending to combat a severe recession, would hit a record $1.75 trillion, or 12.3 percent of the overall economy, under the president's plan, the highest since 1945. While Obama inherited the bulk of that gap, his budget would make room for a fresh round of spending that could hit $750 billion to prop up troubled financial institutions.

Next year's deficit would approach $1.2 trillion. But Obama proposes to cut that figure roughly in half by the end of his first term, in large part by levying nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade on the nation's highest earners, defined as families with gross income of more than $250,000 a year."
NYTimes, February 27, 2009

Here are a few highlights taken directly from the budget 2010:
Dept of Education - Funding Highlights:
• Creates incentives and supports for States to build comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality early childhood “Zero to Five” systems, building on the early childhood investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
• Strengthens and reforms public schools to meet the needs of all students, by helping States to develop high quality, rigorous standards and assessments, vigorously supporting and rewarding effective teaching, and investing in and widely disseminating effective approaches to improving student achievement to help all students make progress toward high standards.
• Expands opportunities for students to go to college and graduate by expanding student aid, shifting resources from banks and middlemen toward students, creating new incentives for colleges to focus on student completion, and expanding access to low-cost Federal student loans.
Dept of Energy - Funding Highlights:
• Begins to build a new economy that is powered by clean and secure energy through funding provided in the 2010 Budget and the $39 billion provided for energy programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
• Provides significant increases in funding for basic research and world-leading scientific user facilities to support transformational discoveries and accelerate solutions to our Nation’s most pressing problems – including the development of clean energy.
• Supports economic investment and positions the United States as the world leader in climate change technology.
• Accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy through increased support of the development and deployment of clean energy technologies such as solar, biomass, geothermal, wind, and low-carbon emission coal power.
• Builds on the $11 billion provided in the Recovery Act for smart grid technologies, transmission system expansion and upgrades, and other investments to modernize and enhance the electric transmission infrastructure to improve energy efficiency and reliability.
• Supports and encourages the early commercial deployment of innovative, clean energy technologies through loan guarantees.
• Reduces security risks through the detection, elimination, and securing of nuclear material and radiological sources worldwide while maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile.
• Continues the Nation’s efforts to reduce environmental risks and safely manage nuclear materials.
Investment in the Sciences:
As part of the President’s plan to double Federal investment in the basic sciences, the 2010 Budget, along with the $1.6 billion provided in the recovery Act for the Department of Energy’s basic science programs, provides substantially increased support for the Office of Science. The Budget increases funding for improving our understanding of climate science and continues the United States’ commitment to international science and energy experiments. The Budget also expands graduate fellowship programs that will train students in critical energy-related fields. Encourages the Early Commercial use of New, innovative Energy Technologies that will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

And now for an explanation of the headline for this post namely the phrase "president savant," (Savant - from the French savant "knowing", English since the 18th century - may refer to an expert or wise person) it seems to me that never before in the history of this country have we had a person who was more uniquely qualified and more uniquely in tune with what this country is hungry for. This fact stands in stark contrast to the past eight years as we were led (sic) by a true idiot (nothing wise about dubya), in a direction that a grim majority of the U.S. population finally saw as wrong (only 17% of the country approved of Bush's handling of the economy during the final year of his presidency). Now we have a true leader, a human being, a man of color who believes with his heart and his head that the gap between the ultra-rich and the very poor is something of which this nation should be ashamed and which this country needs to address post haste. He has proposed a budget that does just that, a budget that begins to even out the playing field, a budget that begins to address some of the glaring inequalities that have marked the policy of Washington D.C. insiders since the era of Ronald Reagan.

"Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness. We should never forget that our workers are more innovative and industrious than any on earth. Our universities are still the envy of the world. We are still home to the most brilliant minds, the most creative entrepreneurs, and the most advanced technology and innovation that history has ever known. And we are still the Nation that has overcome great fears and improbable odds. It will take time, but we can bring change to America. We can rebuild that lost trust and confidence. We can restore opportunity and prosperity. And we can bring about a new sense of responsibility among Americans from every walk of life and from every corner of the country."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pssst, Grampy McSame: You Lost!

It is Sunday morning and I have braced myself in front of the TeeVee and am set to watch Grampy McSame as he tries, insanely in my humble opinion, to tear down Obama's Jobs Bill (AKA, Stimulus Package). He begins by claiming again to represent the people of Arizona (if you are being represented by John McCain, you must be either his wife or a member of her Country Club). He begins by criticizing the TARP - the scheme that he suspended his campaign to return to Washington D.C. to vote for. And the very same scheme that Bush/Cheney told Americans MUST be passed immediately or we would face very dire consequences. But now "[t]he current G.O.P. acts as if it -- and we -- have all the time in the world....If anything, the Republican Congressional leadership seems to be emulating John McCain's September stunt of ''suspending'' his campaign to ''fix'' the Wall Street meltdown. For all his bluster, McCain in the end had no fixes to offer and sat like a pet rock at the White House meeting on the crisis before capitulating to the bailout. His imitators likewise posture in public about their determination to take action, then do nothing while more and more Americans cry for help." (Frank Rich, NYTimes, February 1, 2009). Grampy knows that America is hurting and that we need jobs. McSame apparently objects to spending money when Democrats suggest that we spend money, NOT when Republicans suggest (it is their only suggestion) "tax cuts." Bob Schieffer mentions the timing issue - we need to do something, even if it's wrong. To this McSame falls back on the "this is not bi-partisan - it is just picking off a couple republicans." Schieffer asks the time-honored question "what is it you guys want?" McSame keeps harping on the fact that republicans have not been included in the drafting of the legislation, he never answered the question about what it would take to get him and other rethugs to vote for the damn bill.

Here's a breakdown of the damage that the losers have wrought thus far: (CNN)
Italicized comments added by this blogger.
Partially cut:
• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)
• $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)
• $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)
• $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)
• $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)
• $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)
• $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)
Fully eliminated:
• $55 million for historic preservation
• $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters
• $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization
• $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation (Who needs clean water???)
• $100 million for distance learning
• $98 million for school nutrition(Our kids are fat, okay, this is a time-bomb waiting to blow!)
• $50 million for aquaculture
• $2 billion for broadband (We don't really want to join the 21st century, do we?)
• $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology
• $50 million for detention trustee
• $25 million for Marshalls Construction
• $300 million for federal prisons (The United States incarcerates more people per cap than any other country in the world, so why we would want to spend money on prisons?)
• $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program (I had to google it. Here's a link.)
• $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program
• $10 million state and local law enforcement (Did you want safer neighborhoods? Nah, I didn't think so.)
• $50 million for NASA
• $50 million for aeronautics
• $50 million for exploration
• $50 million for Cross Agency Support (Ever heard anybody say that 9/11 was the failure of communication between agencies?)
• $200 million for National Science Foundation
• $100 million for science (I thought science was back in the new administration, what gives?)
• $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees (Energy, remember that? It's a security issue now.)
• $4.5 billion for General Services Administration
• $89 million General Services Administration operations
• $50 million from Department of Homeland Security (Here's proof: the GOP doesn't want to keep America safe!)
• $200 million Transportation Security Administration
• $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use
• $25 million for Fish and Wildlife
• $55 million for historic preservation
• $20 million for working capital fund
• $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement
• $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management
• $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start (What is this? Giving low-income, minority kids a fighting chance? Not for the GOP!)
• $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity (Health Prevention? May want to reconsider this title, eh?)
• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants
• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind) (The mandate of over-testing and under-funding - what? Fund it, what are they thinking?)
• $16 billion for school construction (Crumbling schools, they were good enough for Grampy, they should be good enough for your kids, too.)
• $3.5 billion for higher education construction (Construction equals JOBS.)
• $1.25 billion for project based rental
• $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization
• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing (Wanna stop homelessness, anybody?)
• $40 billion for state fiscal stabilization (includes $7.5 billion of state incentive grants)(Here's a modest proposal: Any state whose senators vote against the Jobs Bill, gets zero money for their state, watch 'em line up to support this bill.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What Obama Needs To Do...
(Or No More Mr. Niceguy)

Okay, okay, I understand that my role in the Obama Administration amounts to nothing more than a random, midnight blogger who is engaged in sending suggestions to Obama and his Cabinet Members, Congress people and other assorted colleagues. Just a few ideas of topics that I think that Obama should be paying attention to on the news front: 1) JOBS; 2) Afghanistan (I think that your hunch is correct - this will be the next place to blow); 3) Health Care; 4) Did I mention that people need JOBS? [As Thom Hartman says, "Why aren't we calling the Stimulus Bill, the Jobs Creation Bill or more simply, 'THE JOBS BILL'?"] I say, strip the bill down to the essential INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS that will put people to work ASAP: building bridges, upgrading schools, fixing roads, DOING THINGS that will not only put unemployed people to work, but will also result in good, tangible things that will benefit us all. Is it any wonder that the Republicans are reluctant to get behind this package? All the right-wing side of the aisle can seem to do is say an emphatic, "No!" Obama and his Democratic friends can always go back and float a "Tax-cut bill" sometime in the future - I don't think that those of us who voted for Obama expect him to fulfill all of his campaign promises in one sweeping piece of legislation.

If people don't have jobs (i.e. a paycheck coming in on a regular basis), then they can't pay their mortgage or their bills, or buy food and gasoline, let alone Plasma TVs or even rent DVDs. So all the talk from the right-wing blowholes about addressing the home foreclosure situation is putting the cart before the horse - in other words, people need to WORK, so that they can pay their mortgages, or save enough to put a reasonable down payment on a house, and have income to make those payments each month once they qualify for a home loan.

Here a few ideas for making the "Jobs Bill" more effective and ready to go (from an e-mail that I received from CREDO):
--Get rid of a $2 billion provision for "clean coal" plants. Instead, invest this money in green infrastructure and alternative energy development.
--Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Don't reward businesses that got us into this mess with tax cuts that won't create new jobs in the future.
--Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Funding state health care programs for women will protect jobs of health care workers and make sure women living in or on the edge of poverty get the care they need.
--Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes. Don't give Verizon $1.6 billion in tax cuts without generating a single new job. Money originally earmarked to encourage companies to bring high speed Internet to under served low-income and rural communities has turned into a billion dollar giveaway to big telecoms.

Here's the full text of the "Stimulus Bill" as passed by the House of Representatives (without a single Republican vote): HR 1 (111st Cong., 1st Sess. 2009).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

!!! Viva Evo !!!

"Brothers and sisters, the colonial state ends here. Now Bolivia is being re-founded. Here we begin to reach true equality for all Bolivians."
Evo Morales, January 27, 2009, on the passage of a referendum on a new Constitution for Bolivia.

After two unexpected days off due to the slice (combination of sleet and ice, AKA freezing rain) that fell all day yesterday and is still on the ground today in Tulsa (and closed the University where I work), I decided it would be okay if I posted a second entry to my blog this week. It gave me a chance to listen to Stephanie Miller without interruption, and also gave me an opportunity to peruse the newly retooled web site of the Stephanie Miller Show, and set up my StephSpace page.

This unexpected break also provided me with a chance to blog about something that was reported on Monday that I would like to point out and on which I would like to congratulate the people of Bolivia: the successful installment of their new Constitution. The new Constitution of Bolivia seeks to de-colonize a country that has been occupied by people of European ancestry and whose Constitution served those European descendants (a minority of the population) for over four hundred years.

Key elements of proposed new Bolivian constitution
By the Associated Press – Sun Jan 25, 10:47 am ET

Key elements of the new constitution proposed by Bolivian President Evo Morales:

RE-ELECTION — Presidents can serve two consecutive five-year terms. Current constitution permits two terms, but not consecutive. Morales could thus remain in office through 2014.

INDIGENOUS RIGHTS — Recognizes self-determination of 36 distinct Indian "nations." Sets aside seats in Congress for minority indigenous groups but not for the Aymara and Quechua, who together represent the majority in Bolivia's western highlands.

LAND — Voters decide in the referendum whether future land ownership should be capped at 12,000 or 24,000 acres (5,000 or 10,000 hectares). Current holdings are grandfathered in. The state can seize land that doesn't perform a "social function" or was fraudulently obtained.

JUSTICE — Judges on Bolivia's highest court are elected rather than appointed by the president as current law provides. The state recognizes indigenous groups' practice of "community justice" based on traditional customs.

LOCAL AUTONOMY — Eastern lowland provinces are allowed to create state assemblies that control local issues, but not land reform or natural gas revenues. Indigenous groups are granted self-rule on traditional lands inside existing states. All autonomies have "equal rank."

NATURAL RESOURCES — The state controls all mineral and oil and gas reserves. Indigenous groups get control of all renewable resources on their land. Water is a fundamental human right that may not be controlled by private companies.

RELIGION — Both the Christian God and Pachamama, the Andean earth deity, are honored. Church and state are separate. Freedom of religion is guaranteed, and no mention is made of The Roman Catholic Church, a departure from the current constitution.

PRESS FREEDOM — Is guaranteed, though news media must "respect the principles of truth and responsibility."

HOMOSEXUALITY — Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation but refers to marriage as "between a man and a woman."

Here it the full-text of the Constitucion Nueva del Estado Bolivia.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

President Obama to GOP: "I won."

With the simple declarative sentence, "I won," President Barack Obama left no doubt who is now in charge of the show in Washington D.C. Elections have consequences was a remark made by John McCain during a debate in October of 2008. In a recent search on Westlaw the earliest record of this remark was in 1987 by Rep. Dick Gephart who said at a campaign stop at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa "In America, elections have consequences. If you voted for Ronald Reagan, you voted against your student loans. When you vote, you are not just voting for a candidate or a smile or a television commercial. You are voting for policies that affect your life. I'm not important. What is important is that you get involved. Get out and fight for somebody. Get involved in this election."

"Elections have consequences" is phrase that has been batted back and forth - used by Phil Gramm in 1995 in response to a question about then-President Clinton's nominee for the Supreme Court. It was most famously uttered in recent memory by Senator Barbara Boxer who schooled Jim Inhofe on the ways of the Senate at a hearing with former Vice President Al Gore. No matter who says these unremarkable words - they are no doubt true enough. A win is a win, to the winner go the spoils - my only problem with President Obama's comment is the insertion of the pronoun "I" rather then sticking with his heretofore used "we."

One of the hallmarks of Obama's unprecedentedly successful campaign was his sense of inclusion, his continuous use of the pronoun "we" in place of the omnipresent use of the pronoun "I" by the Republicans. How much more powerful would it have been to hear once again the refrain that marked Obama's campaign as the highly successful campaign it was: "We won" rather than using the pronouns "I' or the equally self-centered "me?"

Didn't "we" win? Wasn't it a collective effort, this monumental race that made history, that broke all previous molds? President Obama, please don't abandon "us" in your role as the first president of color that this country has ever elected. Remember that, in the memorable line brought to us by the late great Molly Ivins, "ya gotta dance with them that brung ya." And you didn't get to where you are on your own - "we" had a lot to do with where you are.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's inaugural speech -

Obama's inaugural speech -

The inauguration came at a difficult time in my life. The trajectory of my life had taken a downward turn, the nadir of which I hoped had been reached a few days before the BIG DAY. The woman I had been dating, though I saw the end coming, brought that end about via an out of the blue e-mail I received in which she essentially and effectively ended our short-lived relationship (one that turns out might not have been a relationship at all). So that was over and with it went my plans to attend an Inaugural Ball at the Greenwood Cultural Center and to have somebody to lie on the futon with while watching the entire coverage of the whole amazing day.

So I spent the day alone with the boyz (Dylan was especially needy and obnoxious today – I know, I know Lynnie, “Just today?”) About sometime mid-morning I discovered that my new digital camera would capture the TV screen and depending on how steadily I held the camera or how quickly the subject was moving, the shots were respectable. So I started shooting like a shutter bug, knowing that I could later delete the images that came out a big blur. I need to find some music to accompany the slide show that I put together of shots that I took myself and need not give any credit for. Here is my favorite line from the political punditry, actually is it from one of Frangela’s (which ever one is married) husband’s comment that he only hopes America is less crappy – leading to the klassic (with a “K”) slogan – “American – Now with less Crap.” Another favorite line came from Reverend Lowery and it was one of the few mentions all day of the plight of Natives across this country: "When the Red Man can get ahead man."

Michelle Obama looked regal today in her golden dress - she is so statuesque and lovely, and her daughters are both adorable and sweet. So young and innocent, knowing that they will come of age in the White House and hoping beyond hope that they can skirt the happenings of the times – the drugs, the drama, depression, or other illnesses – if they can both just stay healthy and grounded they will drive the country into the future as two headlights on the front of the Cadillac in which their Daddy rides around town.

That is another less talked about advantage of being an American: a person can begin his/her own dynasty, build through generations an empire of people who are very good, and smart and well-connected, who can get things done. Joseph Kennedy didn’t come from royalty, neither did George H. Walker [or Prescott] Bush, neither did the Rockefellers for that matter. So what I hope we are seeing here is the beginning of a dynasty, one that will out pace the Clintons’ fame and fortune and will ultimately replace the Kennedys and the Clintons in the Democratic pantheon. And someday even the Obamas will be replaced by the Gomez familia or the Crow Dog tiospaye or the Wong family. And so time will roll on and few of us will have more than a quick ride on that slide toward the meeting with the creator who no doubt will hold most all of us close and whisper in our ears "it will be okay." and voila - it is indeed okay or at least not more than we can handle. Now when we say, "Bring it on..." we are not talking about taunting a foreign sovereign nation; we are talking about the collective nature of our future, we as a nation daring the fates to throw what they have at us and we will stand ready to take on all comers, but if you show us a way forward we will indeed explore it with you... we are willing to talk to the other side now - what a concept.

Then Joe Biden goes and quotes Seamus Heaney.

How Liberal Media Can Go From Whining To Winning : NPR

How Liberal Media Can Go From Whining To Winning : NPR - Steph does NPR!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Making the Perfect the Enemy of the Good

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. (The best is the enemy of the good.)
Voltaire (1772)

I, along with millions of other Americans, am captivated by the historic moment that we have before us. The inauguration of the first president of color will take place in just two days. The expectations are incredibly high and these expectations have the hint of a set up, not just from the usual suspects - the right wing zealots who are waiting in the wings to knock this annointed man off his pedestal, but from more unexpected corners - namely those old Hillary supporters who have decided that since their candidate is not taking the oath of office, they are digging in their flats (sensible shoes ;), and choosing not to celebrate this astounding moment in our nation's history. It is such a shame that those who call themselves yellow dog Democrats will not be there to enjoy the fruits of the labor of millions of heretofore like-minded people. I wonder if those Democrats who have little positive to say about Obama, are not guilty of applying the phrase that Voltaire coined over 200 years ago. Are they making the perfect the enemy of the good? And by that I am NOT suggesting that Hillary Clinton was or is a perfect candidate. In fact, she was far from perfect. She mismanaged her money, her campaign staff and her entire campaign. You may wonder why I am fixated on Hillary Clinton, because she has obviously moved on. Then why, oh why, haven't her fans/groupies moved on, too? I don't know how many of you are out there, but I know that some of you who live within a Metro ride of the Mall in DC, are choosing not to bother to go down to see the historic occasion of the swearing in of the 44th president of the U.S.

Change does not happen overnight, nor does it usually happen in one's lifetime, but rather change is an incremental thing, that happens over time. If we are very fortunate, we can sometimes see change materialize out of the ground work that has been laid by an earlier generation. I feel very lucky to witness this historic election of the first person of color to the highest office in the land. This change was brought about on the backs of those fighters, marchers and true patriots who did appeal to the better angels of our nature, those who knew that this country that had enslaved African-Americans and slaughtered Natives and had held women and children as property was better than those atrocious acts. Those fighters knew that one day this country would not continue to deny the right to vote to women and to all people of color. That this country could and would have to change to be the country that it was founded to be - a nation where all people are created equal and are endowed by their creator with the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

We are still not there, yet. As Proposition 8 demonstrated to not just California, but to the entire country, gay and lesbian citizens do not have full rights to their happiness, nor has the federal government lived up to its obligations to the Native people of this country who continue to reside in the poorest counties and reservations in this land that was once theirs. We all have a lot of work to do, we must not rest on our laurels, we must continue to work for change, to achieve true equality and justice for all citizens of not just this country, but of this world. Let us go forward and work to make this world the best place it can be for the creatures who inhabit this planet.
Viva Obama! Viva Democracy! Viva la vida!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Pity You....PUMAs and Rethugs Alike

I sit here on a sunny Saturday morning in Tulsa, OK, knowing that out in the blogosphere there are those who will not join me in celebrating the first president of color to be duly elected in the entire history of our country. Those who will not be celebrating fall into three basic camps: 1) unrepentant Republicans who will likely go to their grave with their McCain/Palin stickers proudly adhered on the back of their gas-guzzling SUVs; 2) ignorant racists and religious zealots who will never accept that an African-American should lead a "Christian" nation; and 3) and this is the group that troubles me the most, those women (and they are mostly, though not entirely, women) who have not let go of the fact that Hillary Clinton was beaten fair and square, and though we will never know for sure, but I maintain that there is a much greater chance that we would be swearing in a President McCain had Hillary gotten the nomination. As I said, we will never know because fortunately that scenario was never tested, but we do know that Barack Obama could and did in fact carry the day on November 4, 2008 and will be sworn in as our 44th President of the United States. That fact seems to be very difficult for those Hillary supporters to accept. Harder still for them to celebrate, I wish that they would have to endure some consequence for their lack of support, their lack of faith in an articulate, intellectual African-American, but that is both a beauty and a disappointment of Democracy. We sink or swim together. We all bore the brunt of the horrible Bush/Cheney years and we all will benefit from the Obama/Biden administration regardless of our vote, our work on behalf of a candidate, or our lack of enthusiasm for the ultimate victor.

Just as a large portion of all of our taxes went to support a war in Iraq that many of us never supported, so too will a portion of all of our taxes go to support the positive programs that President Obama will put into place. It seems fundamentally unfair that I must support with my tax dollars the horrible military-industrial complex that ravaged Iraq and the Gaza strip, and likewise it seems unjust that those who did not support Barack Obama's candidacy will benefit from his programs, but as I said, such is the nature of Democracy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2009: The Year of Science

Science is BACK - YES!

2009 marks 150 years since the publication of Darwin's On The Origin of Species, and the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope to study the skies. M. Lee Allison, the state geologist of Arizona and director of the Arizona Geological Survey, is an organizer of a "Year of Science 2009," a celebration of scientific methods and discoveries.
From NPR's Talk of the Nation, January 2, 2009

As we bid a very fond adieu to the Bush/Cheney Head-Under-a-Bucket Club, and as we welcome in the Obama/Biden Science Club, we receive the added benefit of a renewed emphasis on real science, not the faux science of "abstinence only" sex education or "intelligent design" taught in lieu of evolution. We also welcome the roll-back of such ridiculous rules and regulations as 45 CFR Part 88 Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law; Final Rule [AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS. ACTION: Final rule]. In summary, this rule allows every employee, from the receptionist who makes appointments to the physician overseeing an entire clinic to the pharmacist who fills prescriptions, to refuse to provide health care to a patient (9 times out of 10, a woman) to which they may have moral or religious objections. This includes many methods of birth control, including IUDs or the RU486 (the morning after pill) or any form of birth control if the patient cannot prove that she is married, never mind abortion which is the ultimate target of this onerous rule. Thankfully the Obama team has been keeping an eye on many of these last minute rules enacted by the Bush/Cheney administration and has plans to reverse them as soon as possible.

From global warming to reproductive rights to actual science being taught in schools, we can all look forward to a resurgence of real science returning to our lives. And I propose that it is not a moment too soon as states across the nation seek to inject "intelligent design" and "religious freedom" into school curriculum. For example, the "Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act" a dangerous bill that was reintroduced by the now Republican-controlled legislature in Oklahoma is a case in point. All sound-minded Oklahomans are hoping that the replay of this horrible bill will meet the same fate as its first incarnation, that being a veto by Governor Henry. Lest you shrug off this as an anomaly unique to the reddest of the red states, please keep in mind that similar legislation has already passed in Texas. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky are all considering similar legislation. Furthering the assault on the separation of church and state is the ongoing "intelligent design controversy" a controversy only because some lame-brained zealots have confused science with religion. "Intelligent design" is nothing more than repackaged "creationism" and the insistence by the religious right that it be taught alongside evolution (a scientific tenet) makes a mockery of science education.

The above-mentioned examples are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the assault on science by the Bush/Cheney crime family. The blatant disregard for science can be found in the administration of the CDC (Center for Disease Control), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). See An Assault on Public Protections: Regulatory Policy News in 2008 over at OMB Watch. I have barely touched on the foot-dragging for which the Bush administration has been responsible in the area of Global Warming. See US climate scientists pressured on climate change, 31 January 2007 by New Scientist Environment and Reuters

"We've developed this politicization of science. Public affairs offices should be staffed by professionals, not political appointees, or they become offices of propaganda. I shouldn't be required to parrot some company line. I should give the best information I have."
Dr. James Hansen, Head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University as quoted in House Panel Investigates Bush's Climate Science Manipulations

See: Politics and the Erosion of Federal Scientific Capacity: Restoring Scientific Integrity to Public Health Science This Article published in November 2007, Vol 97, No. 11 of the American Journal of Public Health 1939-1944 © 2007 American Public Health Association
COMMENTARY by Kathleen M. Rest, PhD, MPA and Michael H. Halpern, BA who are with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, Mass.

See the review of the book The Republican War on Science By Chris Mooney.

For more evidence that the manipulation of scientific information in a variety of agencies has hampered our progress as a nation, see: Bush’s Agencies Of Mass Politicization.

Check out the National Center for Science Education: NCSE, a not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education.

Post Script: If the president feels that it is incumbent on his administration to relieve those who object to normal portions of their job because of religious or moral concerns, then I have a serious question for him: I object to war and the senseless killing of innocent civilians on both moral and religious grounds, so following the logic of the Bush/Cheney administration, why should I have to pay for those actions that run so counter so to every fiber of my moral being? I don't expect an answer to this question, but I believe it is a legitimate question and one that I wish the current administration had considered when they came up with this ridiculous and dangerous rule.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just for Fun

A Few New Year's Resolutions Suggested for the Stephanie Miller Show Crew:

-- Jim "Voice Diety" Ward decides sobriety is overrated, Jim resolves to resume drinking with both hands.

-- Rebekah Baker resolves to add an Admiral Stockdale impression to her repertoire.

-- Steph resolves to pursue a serious relationship with Jesus (her yard man NOT THE SON of GOD).

-- The entire crew of the SMS resolves to take every Friday off - giving a whole new meaning to "Fridays with Frangela."

-- Stephanie resolves to stop going to the Abby for Happy Hour (Steph hates that she is often mistaken for Liz Taylor).

-- The number one resolution of the Stephanie Miller Show - more fart jokes, less political analysis!

Happy New Year Steph & Company - keep the laughs coming. We're gonna need 'em :-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happee New Year Everybodee!

Well, you should all have recovered from your hang-overs by now and just about had your fill of college football (not yet? really, you need to get out more, imho :). My number one resolution this year is to blog less and live more. I am cutting way back on my cable TV subscription (No more MSNBC - buh-bye Rachel, and no more "Intervention"). So this is a fair warning to those of you who read this blog, there will be fewer postings in 2009, fewer rants and less raving about the political scene. This has little to do with the fact that this blogger expects to have much less to rant and rave on about under the Obama administration, although I fully expect that to be the case. Rather it is based on a determination that I am spending too much time in front of my computer. I have virtually quit reading books, except for the excruciatingly long waits in my doctors' offices.

Between FaceCrack and MySpace and my other e-mail account (I decided at some point during late 2007 that I needed a separate account for non-work related e-mails - a very wise decision), I spend hours everyday logged on. So if you are checking this blog daily, first I want to say, "thank you very much." I truly appreciate your loyalty to my blog, and your interest in the opinions, verbiage, photos, collages and quotes that I post on my blog, but please don't expect more than a single post each week. That's all I can manage. I don't know what day of the week it will be when I'll be posting a new entry, so for the time being you'll just have to keep checking in and seeing if there is anything new. I know, I know, I am sure to lose a few loyal readers by making this move, but in my new year's list of priorities my blog has dropped down (way down) on the list of how I want to spend my time. In fact, I have come to believe that most bloggers are little more than self-absorbed, narcissists who check their stat counter a few too many times a day to see who has read their most recent post. There are exceptions to this rule, namely blogs that serve a purpose - like The Huffington Post which serves as a news aggregator, or FourFreedoms which represents an entire community and serves as an online meeting place for those who choose to visit and join in on that site. I am talking more about the solo bloggers out there who imagine the entire online world to be hanging on their every word. I have been there, but no longer want to live there, so I am moving, on...

It is time to put a little distance between myself and all those navel gazers out there who will no doubt continue to post and post ad nauseam... Carry on, and please don't take offense at my opinion of so many bloggers out there. Writers write, and bloggers blog. Me, I'm gonna try a different way of living for awhile...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Year According to Stephanie

Well, as we prepare to say good-bye to 2008, I, along with the brilliant Velveeta Jones who blogs at, feel compelled to sum up the year that we all just lived through, in spite of the fact that we all just experienced the last year and unless we are struck by a nasty case of early onset Alzheimer's we all have the ability to recall the year that just passed.

But unless you are an obsessive fan of the Stephanie Miller Show as is your loyal radical militant librarian/blogger then there may have been a few moments in the last year of the Stephanie Miller Show that you may have missed. Fear not, your radical militant librarian has missed nary a minute of the SMS over the course of 2008. As you may recall, Ms. Miller was not at all happy with the previous year (2007) and took her friend and herself to Telluride, Colorado to shake off the awfulness that was 2007. It was in Telluride where Ms. Miller was rumored to have wed Dan Abrams, but that rumor, in spite of Ms. Miller's every desire, proved to be unfounded. Nevertheless, the year progressed with many TeeVee appearances by Ms. Miller, namely on "The Larr" (Larry King Live) with the occasional appearance on Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources. However, Steph has yet to secure an invitation to her dream man's show Countdown with Keith Olbermann. All the while Steph had to sit on the sidelines, watching as her radio compadre, Rachel Maddow, was awarded her own show in the coveted time slot following Countdown on MSNBC.

Ms. Miller and CC Goldwater ended their run for the White House - we are not sure exactly when the campaign ended (and we assume neither do they). But there is still time to order your Goldwater/Miller gear from the Steph Store - hurry there is no telling how long it will be available. In spite of Ms. Miller's obvious TV appeal, she has yet to be mentioned - outside her own show - as a replacement for Alan Colmes on the now defunct "Hannity and Colmes." Nevertheless, Stephanie continues to pursue her perverse and curious obsession with Sean "Insanity" Hannity, taking text messages from him at all hours of the day and night, thereby underscoring her pathetic social life. Stephanie has been reduced to holding house parties in order to get people into her life - she hosted numerous debate parties, an election night party and even had "friends" over to endure her homemade sauerkraut for Thanksgiving. She is reportedly trying to keep up with her 85 year old Republican mother over the Christmas holiday. She was overheard yelling "fore" at the local WeHo Country Club, and then saw delivered to her tee four boxes of chardonnay by one of the princesses who works the bar at the WeHo CC.

Speaking of WeHo, one of the highlights of Steph's year had to be the fact that she was named the Grand Marshall of the LA Gay Pride Parade in which she was mistaken for a Cher-look-alike drag queen and summarily dragged off the float where she was mugged by the crowd who dissed her make-up and positively laughed at her attempt at fashion (I mean, really, fishnets?).

Anyway, throughout the year Momma remained a loyal supporter of President-Elect Barack Obama and for that we thank you, Stephanie. You were a "Momma for Obama" from the get-go and your loyal support will no doubt NOT go unnoticed by the incoming administration. We will miss you when you move to Washington DC to become the new Wine Czar, but we thank you for all the laughs and wish you well in your new position. Who are we kidding? There are very few positions you haven't tried - am I right? Take care and have a fabulous 2009!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is This Freedom?

"There is still more work to be done. The war is not over," Bush said, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki next to him. "But with the conclusion of this agreement . . . it [the war] is decidedly on its way to being won."

By now we've all seen and heard ad nauseam the video clip of the Iraqi reporter throwing both of his shoes at Bush during Bush's "magical victory tour" of Iraq and Afghanistan. The week before his clandestine trip to Iraq, before the shoes were flung, Bush said:
"When Saddam's regime fell, we refused to take the easy option and install a friendly strongman in his place. Even though it required enormous sacrifice, we stood by the Iraqi people as they elected their own leaders and built a young democracy."

Bush has repeatedly touted the new-found freedom of the Iraqi people and even referred to this "freedom" in his post-shoe-throwing interview. He described it as a bizarre attention grabbing act - an act that would not have been possible in Saddam's Iraq. Perhaps, that is so, but once again Bush obtusely missed the point. The point is that the Iraqi people do not perceive themselves as freer, less oppressed, and any closer to a democracy than they did in 2003 before the United States invaded and subsequently occupied (read destroyed) their country.

One of the most glaring examples of this lack of freedom is the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in a country that was once happily secular. The action of the group of thugs reminds us that there is less and less freedom for women who once had nearly equal rights in Iraq.
Gunmen broke into the house of a women's rights activist in the volatile northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Thursday and beheaded her, police said. The victim was identified as Nahla Hussain, the leader of the women's league of the Kurdish Communist Party. She was alone in the house at the time of her death. It is not known what the circumstances were that led to the attack. Violence against women has been an ongoing problem in Iraq.

The killing comes ahead of next month's provincial elections, a post-Saddam era watershed event that's generating an uptick in civil unrest and political infighting....

...As for the Interior Ministry, a September 2007 report assessing the status of Iraq's security forces slammed it and the National Police, which it operates. The report by the Independent Commission on Security Forces in Iraq, called Interior "a ministry in name only" and said it was "widely regarded as being dysfunctional and sectarian, and suffers from ineffective leadership." It said the National Police force has been "operationally ineffective" and "sectarianism in its units undermines its ability to provide security; the force is not viable in its current form. The National Police should be disbanded and reorganized." The Defense Ministry oversees the military. The 2007 report had promising words for the Iraqi army, special forces, navy and air force, describing them as "increasingly effective" and "capable of assuming greater responsibility for the internal security of Iraq."

From Women's Rights Activist Beheaded in Iraq, CNN, December 18, 2008
Nahla Hussain was profiled in a CNN Report (May 15, 2008): "On Deadly Ground: Woman of Iraq."
Rest in Peace Nahla - we will never forget you or your work on behalf of your sisters in Iraq!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Rick Warren May Keep Me Home on January 20, 2009

I sit here reading, admittedly mesmerized by Obama's words that he spoke today in defense of his choice (and by the very nature of his defensive comments acknowledged that it was indeed his decision) to invite Rev. Rick Warren to give a prayer at his inauguration, and I begin shaking my head in agreement, murmuring to myself that he's right, we need to start behaving like grown-ups. After all, in just a few days I will be heading to Indiana where I will spend at least five days with my family - half of whom are Republicans.
Here is Barack Obama defending his invitation:
“I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans....[but] that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign’s been all about; that we’re not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable.”
But then I jumped back into my initial thought. While reading through the comments, I came across these words: "If he's going to invite the religious bigots, where are the racists? Aren't we supposed to include everyone?"

My initial thoughts on the invitation of Rick Warren to the 44th President's Inauguration were not at all excited or even willing to accept Warren's presence at the event. The inauguration, up to the point of this announcement, had been billed as a celebration of change for all Americans. It was in that hopeful spirit that a friend and I decided to drive to Washington D.C. to witness the historic occasion of the swearing in of the first president of color. I contacted a friend who lives near DuPont Circle and works as an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund and made early arrangements to borrow her sofa and floor space for several days. After checking into air fares, we decided to drive to D.C. - taking two days and enjoying the road trip. But lately I have begun to reconsider the trip. I have missed almost five days of work spread out over the last two weeks, trying to shake a case of bronchitis. The cost of the holidays, the issues that my friend and I are working through, and now the inclusion of a hate-filled pastor to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration, turns my stomach, and just may keep me home in January. I don't want to walk blocks and blocks in cold, windy, winter weather amid millions of other people with a friend who admittedly doesn't like crowds (I am not that crazy about being trapped amidst throngs of people, myself), only to listen to the words of a man who would deny my friend and me basic human rights.

Why wouldn't Barack Obama realize what an insult it would be to a group that, for the most part, eagerly supported him and his campaign? The GLBT community voted in overwhelming numbers for the Obama/Biden ticket. So to select a person who so hatefully denounced a basic right for an entire group of people (California's Prop 8) is a punch in the gut for those of us who worked so hard for Obama's election. So I haven't decided whether I will or won't drive to the nation's capital to witness history in the making, or whether I will stay at home and watch history being made with or without me....

Does anybody out there want two tickets to the American Indian Inaugural Ball? I guess I've made up my mind...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So That More May Have a Happy Holiday...

'Tis the season and all that jazz... 'Tis better to give than receive... With the latter sentiment in mind I offer up a small collection of organizations that I have supported over the years, and I have faith that they do the most with whatever donations that they receive to improve life for the planet and all creatures who reside here. Here's my list of suggested organizations that could very much use any extra money you may have at the end of this year:

INDN's List is the organization that is nearest and dearest to my heart. Kalyn Free is a real-life hero to me and thousands of others who want to see Natives have a stronger political voice in this country. Why not support a progressive cause that is truly making a real difference in this nation? Visit the link and see the results that INDN's List has gained in just four years of existence.

Futures for Children is an organization that sponsors Native children in the American Southwest (primarily Navajo and Pueblo), but even if you don't have enough money to mentor a child (about $450.00/year), you can still help in many other ways. One excellent way that you can support the important work of the FFC is by shopping at the FFC online store. They have beautiful handcrafted items such as fetishes, pottery, jewelry, and kachinas. Most of the items are donated by the artists so most of the profit goes directly to helping support the programs that FFC sponsors on reservations and in pueblos across New Mexico and Arizona.

The Native American Rights Fund is a non-profit 501c(3) organization that provides legal representation and technical assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide - a constituency that often lacks access to the justice system. NARF focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations.

Because I am a dog lover, I encourage donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Even if you can't afford to make an outright donation to your local SPCA, at least please remember when you are ready to add a pet to your family, that the SPCA is filled with great potential pets that desperately need a good home.

I was reared in the Quaker faith and although I am loathe to list a religious charity, I can with good conscience recommend the American Friends Service Committee and their sister organization the Friends Committee on National Legislation. I know that both of these organizations will use your donation to promote peace, justice and equality in this country (FCNL) and around the world (AFSC).

That about sums up my message for the holidays. If you are fortunate enough to have a job, a home and people around you who care about you, then count your blessings, and please consider making a donation to one of the above listed organizations or another organization of your choice. There are so many groups who are doing such important work and in these dire times, donations are down, so please give whatever you can. Give until it hurts, just a little bit. I guarantee that it will hurt so good :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sizing up Obama's Team (thus far...)

Here is the run-down of the Obama Team thus far (Updated: Sunday, December 21st, 2008):

Chief of Staff - Rahm Emanuel.
Attorney General - Eric Holder.
White House National Economic Council - Lawrence Summers (Congressional confirmation not needed)
Secretary of Treasury - Timothy Geithner, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
National Security Advisor - Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones.
Secratary of State - Hillary Rodham Clinton (Senate seat filled by NY Gov. David Paterson - Dem. - is Caroline Kennedy a real possibility?).
Secretary of Defense - Bob Gates (since November 2006).
Secretary of Commerce - Bill Richardson (Seat filled by Dem. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish).
Head of Homeland Security (God I hate the name of that department) - Janet Napolitano (Seat filled by AZ Sec. of State Janice K. "Jan" Brewer - Rep. - a right wing nut job. As the Arizona State Constitution does not make provision for the position of Lieutenant Governor, Brewer is first in line to succeed Gov. Janet Napolitano - Dem.).
Office of Management & Budget Director - Peter Orszag, director of Congressional Budget Office.
United Nations Ambassador - Susan Rice, former assistant secretary of state.
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs - General Eric Shinseki.
Secretary of Energy - Steven Chu.
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader.
White House Council on Environmental Quality - Nancy Sutley, the deputy mayor for energy and environment in Los Angeles and the mayor's representative on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is the first prominent gay to earn a senior role in Obama's new administration.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Shaun Donovam, housing commissioner for New York City.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator - Lisa Jackson.
White House Coordinator of Energy and Climate Policy - Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator in the Clinton administration.
White House Press Secretary - Robert Gibbs.
Secretary of Education - Arne Duncan, chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools.
Secretary of Agriculture - Tom Vilsack, former Democratic Governor of Iowa.
Secretary of the Interior - Ken Salazar, Senator (D - CO), Salazar's replacement to be named by Colorado Democratic Governor, Bill Ritter.
Secretary of Labor - Rep. Hilda Solis (D - CA).
Secretary of Transportation - Rep. Ray LaHood (R - IL).
U.S. Trade Representative - Ron Kirk, former mayor of Dallas, TX.