Sunday, June 10, 2007

Radio Silence...

The move is mostly done. Phewww. I hate doing the moving thing. Frankly, it sucks. That is - however - how it goes. Moving is one of life's little adventures. It was only across town though - so that's not too hard to live with.

That means I'm not going to have any internet for a while. I was on a cable hookup, which was nice. But, with the move, I'm switching to the dish for my television needs. That leaves me searching for a different internet connection. It's too expensive to do it through the satellite and I'm not putting in a land telephone line.

There's a new company that's hooking up wireless connections in town and that's probably the way I'll be going. It's actually faster or about the same as my cable now, but they don't throttle down on you when you download. We'll see if that will do the trick. But, it will be a while. So, see you all when I become plugged in with some tech.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This car isn't safe

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.” - Winston Churchill

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” - Winston Churchill

What the hell is wrong with this country when we continue to allow the squandering of goodwill in the world? When we allow an arrogant administration and the party that backs it, walking in lock step with it, to weaken our position as leading example for the world?

And why, why, why, is a former leader of the former Soviet Union a far better spokesman for reason, democracy and freedom than the current president of the United States?

Today there was a very good interview with Mikhail Gorbachev on CNN International. It was interesting to hear a reasoned international figure talking about the arrogance of the United States right now. It was clear that he wasn't talking about the country as a whole, but the Bush administration. Despite that, it was also clear that much of the world is beginning to tire of trying to discern the difference.

Bush has cost us a lot already. His administration is a series of failures with no real successes to show for all the bluster and bullying. I asked a conservative friend the other day to name one member of the Bush administration that was competent, much less good, at their job. He had no answer. There's a reason for that. The reason is that this president has chosen cronyism over competence.

And here we are, more than half a year after a resounding rejection of his policies across the board. Has this administration listened to the will of the people? Hell no. The only people this administration cares about are those that are closely allied with it. Those people are the same ones raking in record oil profits, pocketing billions that are supposed to be rebuilding the infrastructure of war-torn Iraq, or socking away much of the money that should be rebuilding our own city of New Orleans and helping those who lost everything in hurricane Katrina. This is an administration with policies built on deception, an administration led by incompetents at best and criminals at worst, and an administration that is making our country less and less safe.

Meanwhile, there are still many in the President's party who refuse to stand up for America and Americans. It's more important to them to help shove the broken ideas of the Bush administration forward despite the obvious lack of wheels, engine, or steering wheel.

This is the wreck of a vehicle that the Republican party wants to tie us to. Screw that. It's time for a new car. And screw the shysters that keep trying to sell us this lemon. Shame on them. Shame on the Republican leadership.

Anyway, back to Gorbachev's interview.

Maybe the most important thing he said was when he was talking about the surplus of goodwill that the United States built up with the then Soviet Union in the 1980s. It was the spirit of partnership that was offered that allowed the Soviet Union to make moves toward democracy, not blustering threats. Keeping that in mind, ask yourself what it means when one of the two men most responsible for ending the Cold War says that the United States has squandered away much of the goodwill it had built up in past decades. He also mentioned one of the above quotes by Winston Churchill - the one about counting on Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.

Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it's very telling.

Either way, the arrogance and carelessness of the Bush administration and his staunch Republican supporters - several of whom can be found in the Republican primary race - is hurting this country's prestige abroad. It's eroding the moral authority we once had. And it's making the world less safe. Is this a path we should continue down? Should this unsafe vehicle be allowed to stay on the road?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You don't have to say the N-word to be a cracker

To set the stage, Charlie Sykes is conservative radio host here in Milwaukee. He has an ongoing feud with several black politicians in the city, particularly a specific member of local government who actually deserves to be feuded with. In addition, he likes to bash the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, the local metro paper - this isn't such a bad thing as the J-S sort of deserves to be bashed for bad coverage. He's also been successfully sued for libel.

And, while he seems to enjoy playing moral arbiter for the greater metro area, he's an adulterer who left his wife and children for another woman. You can bet that didn't slow him down when Bill Clinton was being bashed for getting a blow job though.

Anyway, the other day the J-S ran an editorial saying that felons should be allowed to vote. They even went so far as to say that people released from prison on probation should also be allowed to vote.

I happen to believe that once a person's time has been served, they should be allowed to integrate back into society - and that means being allowed to vote or not vote if they choose. By no means do I believe that those serving time should be allowed the privilege of voting while serving their punishment. That - to me - seems reasonable, but I'm perfectly willing to listen to other viewpoints because there are many sides to an issue like this.

Here's where Charlie boy and I diverged. He was clearly intent on eliminating any real conversation on the subject - most subjects actually - and felt it important to toss out handfuls of bilious statements.

Going from a relatively reasonable point of believing it's not right to allow felons to vote and certainly not those still on probation, Charlie Sykes asked repeatedly who do the listeners think is behind this massive push to enroll felons as voters? Never mind that there hasn't been any push of the kind and the editorial was the lone voice on the subject.

I'll save you the suspense, of course it's the liberals.

So, after several minutes of Charlie Sykes and some callers talking about how 'those people' would all vote Democratic and it's all a jaded move by liberals to topple the righteous regime of conservatism, I had to call in.

Of course, I never get past the screener.

"What do you want to say?"

"I want to say it's a bit disingenuous to not express what Charlie is really trying to say."

"What do you mean sir?"

"I mean, when we're saying that felons will most likely vote Democratic, we're really saying black people."

The screener boy responded with a not-to-surprising 'define sexual relations' statement that Charlie never said black people. He was right of course. Charlie never did say that black people released from prison shouldn't be allowed to vote because they would vote liberal - but you don't have to say the 'N-word' to be a cracker.

Why is it so hard for people to logically defend their arguments?

The screener went of to say that there have been studies done by the Democrats that show that a majority of felons would likely vote Democrat if they had the chance and that's why the liberals want to sign them up.

Huh? What study was that Barney Fife?

Never mind the bullshit about all these major studies done by the Democrats, how about the common sense of the freakin' argument? If the majority of felons would vote liberal, and the majority of the felons in our system are black...does it not stand to reason that we're most likely referring to blacks.

Anyway, that's really all I have to say. I'm just so very tired of the hate-spewing right wing. But, I'm not surprised by the cowardice of Charlie Sykes and his screener boys.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

This and that...all adding up to not much really

Business abounds. Last week was downright brutal. Not an amazingly huge amount of hours, but the fact that it was all switching back and forth between nights and days. Grrrr.

Well, what are you going to do? I have a job and that puts me ahead of a lot of people.

Weather has been pretty nice...until this weekend, of course. I've had a couple of days off and it's been somewhat sunny for short bursts in between the torrential downpours that have been what passes for excitement around these parts.

The crap weather has not been too helpful for the local Seafood Festival. It doesn't break my heart though.

This is one of the ridiculous festivals that communities toss up every year. It has nothing to do with seafood - how could it in an area known for it's blue-collar manufacturing, not it's fishing. We're not part of the Lake Michigan fishing scene and the river that runs through town is only good fishing if you like three-headed carp.

In fact, the only fish you'll find on the menu is some fried, battered cod freshly pulled from the freezer. There's plenty of hot dogs though.

Oh yeah, we've got crafts too. If you need a lovely, homemade candle, let me show you to the stall with the sorry looking woman displaying her fine selection of 10 candles. Not your thing? Then maybe a dreamcatcher made with flourescent yarn? I swear to Great White Buffalo Calf Woman, you could raid the art room at my nephew's elementary school and present a better selection of wares.

Okay, I feel better now.

On another note, Gregg and I are writing a movie. It's a great concept and could really make a good film. More on that later, but for now it's under wraps. Both of us just want to end up with a finished screenplay and see what happens from there. We're both sort of slackers, so teaming up will keep us working a bit more than we would alone.

And, on an even different note, I'm going to be moving across town in the next couple of weeks, so I might be in an internet free zone for a while. Maybe I'll get everything hooked up quickly though. We shall see, we shall indeed see.