Sunday, August 31

Michael Moore's Open Letter To God

Sunday, August 31st, 2008An Open Letter to God, from Michael Moore
Dear God,
The other night, the Rev. James Dobson's ministry asked all believers to pray for a storm on Thursday night so that the Obama acceptance speech outdoors in Denver would have to be canceled.
I see that You have answered Rev. Dobson's prayers -- except the storm You have sent to earth is not over Denver, but on its way to New Orleans! In fact, You have scheduled it to hit Louisiana at exactly the moment that George W. Bush is to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention.
Now, heavenly Father, we all know You have a great sense of humor and impeccable timing. To send a hurricane on the third anniversary of the Katrina disaster AND right at the beginning of the Republican Convention was, at first blush, a stroke of divine irony. I don't blame You, I know You're angry that the Republicans tried to blame YOU for Katrina by calling it an "Act of God" -- when the truth was that the hurricane itself caused few casualties in New Orleans. Over a thousand people died because of the mistakes and neglect caused by humans, not You.
Some of us tried to help after Katrina hit, while Bush ate cake with McCain and twiddled his thumbs. I closed my office in New York and sent my entire staff down to New Orleans to help. I asked people on my website to contribute to the relief effort I organized -- and I ended up sending over two million dollars in donations, food, water, and supplies (collected from thousands of fans) to New Orleans while Bush's FEMA ice trucks were still driving around Maine three weeks later.
But this past Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the Republicans had begun making plans to possibly postpone the convention. The AP had reported that there were no shelters set up in New Orleans for this storm, and that the levee repairs have not been adequate. In other words, as the great Ronald Reagan would say, "There you go again!"
So the last thing John McCain and the Republicans needed was to have a split-screen on TVs across America: one side with Bush and McCain partying in St. Paul, and on the other side of the screen, live footage of their Republican administration screwing up once again while New Orleans drowns.
So, yes, You have scared the Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of them, and more than a few million of your followers tip their hats to You.
But now it appears that You haven't been having just a little fun with Bush & Co. It appears that Hurricane Gustav is truly heading to New Orleans and the Gulf coast. We hear You, O Lord, loud and clear, just as we did when Rev. Falwell said You made 9/11 happen because of all those gays and abortions. We beseech You, O Merciful One, not to punish us again as Pat Robertson said You did by giving us Katrina because of America's "wholesale slaughter of unborn children." His sentiments were echoed by other Republicans in 2005.
So this is my plea to you: Don't do this to Louisiana again. The Republicans got your message. They are scrambling and doing the best they can to get planes, trains and buses to New Orleans so that everyone can get out. They haven't sent the entire Louisiana National Guard to Iraq this time -- they are already patrolling the city streets. And, in a nod to I don't know what, Bush's head of FEMA has named a man to help manage the federal government's response. His name is W. Michael Moore. I kid you not, heavenly Father. They have sent a man with both my name AND W's to help save the Gulf Coast.
So please God, let the storm die out at sea. It's done enough damage already. If you do this one favor for me, I promise not to invoke your name again. I'll leave that to the followers of Rev. Dobson and to those gathering this week in St. Paul.
Your faithful servant and former seminarian,
P.S. To all of God's fellow children who are reading this, the city of New Orleans has not yet recovered from Katrina. Please click here for a list of things you can do to help our brothers and sisters on the Gulf Coast. And, if you do live along the Gulf Coast, please take all necessary safety precautions immediately.

Saturday, August 30

Mudflats: What Is McCain Thinking?

This is an insightful, well-written piece about Gov. Sarah Palin from an Alaskan blogger. Since I have never been to Alaska - and we can safely assume that most of the pundits really don't have first-hand knowledge about her career there - I am grateful for this piece. It helps to put all of the information out there into perspective.

Friday, August 29

This Weekend In San Diego: Little Italy Invitational Stickball Tournament

This is a three-day event happening August 30th through September 1st. The San Diego team will compete against teams from Florida, New Jersey, New York and Puerto Rico. Free admission.
For more information, click the post title or here.

Sarah Palin? Really??

If you care about the environment, this woman cannot be the Vice-President of the United States. She is the anti-Gore. To see what I'm talking about, click here. Scroll down to Vote Match to topic 18. She strongly opposes replacing coal and oil with alternatives. Click on that hyperlink and you get an explanation of what "strongly opposes" means. Wow.

Catch your breath. Then go through the page, issue by issue, and lose it all over again. There is so much I can say about her regarding civil rights and ANWR and caribou. But you can check it out for yourself. Unbelievable!

Wednesday, August 27

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer Delivers

This was an awesome speech that you probably missed - an inspirational and exhilarating speech that attacks McCain on policy. Take a few moments to watch this keynote-quality delivery.

First Amendment Center Releases Frightening Poll Statistics

Here are just a few of the results that made me cringe/scream:

25% said “the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees"

55% believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation

Just 56% believe that the freedom to worship as one chooses extends to all religious groups

These are scary numbers. How can anyone believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation?? How is it even possible to come remotely close to that conclusion? The First Amendment clearly states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". How does one go from that to "The United States of America is a Christian nation"?? And the 44% who believe there are some religions that shouldn't be practiced-what the hell is that about? Actually, that one has piqued my curiosity. Which religions are threatening? Do we need to start giving Quakers a hard time? Rough up a few hundred Humanists? Make sure the Buddhists know their place? Or, are they only concerned about the ones requiring specific forms of headgear?

I am a huge fan of the Constitution. It is a beautifully written document that deserves to be read and respected. It's also just beautiful to look at. Its so pretty! Well, maybe not the original-that's kinda yellow and faded-but my copy is nice. It's a pocket-sized handbook with the American flag on the front. If you don't have a copy, get one here. And remember, Constitution Day is September 17th!

You have heard of Constitution Day, right?

Oh, Lord.

CBS:Cancer Cluster In PA Region

8/27/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"Our country puts $1 billion a year up to help feed the hungry. And we're by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to that, and I'm proud to report that. This isn't a contest of who's the most generous. I'm just telling you as an aside. We're generous. We shouldn't be bragging about it. But we are. We're very generous." -George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 16, 2003

Tuesday, August 26

Morning Joe And Rachel Maddow Convention Clip

He seems so frustrated. It is a permanent expression of exhaustion on his face when Rachel speaks. Or maybe confusion. The cleverly phrased, multi-syllabic words she shoots at him at bullet speed must drive him crazy. You know what I think? I think he is taking mental notes. He really wants to show her up but, alas, he just doesn't have the word power or likability. So, he takes it all in, whines about airtime, and when the cameras are off he practices. Practices his heart out. Maybe he skims a thesaurus. Maybe he practices not looking at her so he doesn't get distracted by that smile of self-confidence she has when she is up against him.
I'm just waiting for actual steam to escape from his ears. Now that would be must-see-TV!

9 Year Old Pitcher Asked To Stop Playing Because He Is Too Good

So, now we are punishing children for working hard and excelling?

Monday, August 25

8/25/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"Arbolist … Look up the word. I don't know, maybe I made it up. Anyway, it's an arbo-tree-ist, somebody who knows about trees." -George W. Bush, as quoted in USA Today, Aug. 21, 2001

Friday, August 22

Quotes From President Eisenhower

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."

"Only Americans can hurt America."

"Controlled, universal disarmament is the imperative of our time. The demand for it by the hundreds of millions whose chief concern is the long future of themselves and their children will, I hope, become so universal and so insistent that no man, no government anywhere, can withstand it."

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

"How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?"

"I deplore the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of constituted courts."

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."

"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... Is freedom."

"In most communities it is illegal to cry "fire" in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?"

"Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. "

"This world of ours... Must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect."

"Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace."

"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war."

He warned us. Too bad we didn't listen.

McCain's Mansions

Thursday, August 21

8/21/08: Random Bushisms Of The Day

"I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess, it's the Mother in me." --George W. Bush, Washington D.C., April 14, 2005

"We look forward to analyzing and working with legislation that will make -- it would hope -- put a free press's mind at ease that you're not being denied information you shouldn't see." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 14, 2005

Tuesday, August 19

Rachel Maddow Gets Her Own Show

I totally dig Rachel Maddow. Everybody does. She is smarter than most of the political pundits out there in TVLand. She is confident enough to go head-to-head with Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough, and anybody else who insists on saying stupid crap. I just signed up for her Air America show a few weeks ago after listening to short clips for a few months. I am interested in finding out if she will continue with that. I hope so but no matter what, this is great news and I wish her much success.

8/19/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"I said I was looking for a book to read, Laura said you ought to try Camus. I also read three Shakespeares. ... I've got a eck-a-lec-tic reading list." --George W. Bush, interview with NBC's Brian Williams, New Orleans, La., Aug. 29, 2006 (Watch video clip)

Democratic Unity 90210

The relationship between this years top two Democratic primary candidates is more drama prone then Dylan and Brenda, more wishy-washy than Zack and Kelly, and has the potential to be either as destructive to the Dems chance at the White House as Angel and Buffy were to Sunnydale, or as awe-inspiring and emotionally uplifting as Cliff and Claire were to middle America. Will they? Won't they? In a week the world will know. Only, like all good dramas, the question will not go away, but simply shift to become: Should they have? Shouldn't they have?

Monday, August 18

8/18/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed in the atmosphere, and they say, man, you're looking pretty." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

Sunday, August 17

Lewinsky Scandal Anniversary

Today is the 10-year anniversary of the day President Bill Clinton finally admitted to an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Feels like yesterday, huh? Almost seven months earlier, he famously denied the relationship at a White House press conference:

Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.

Hillary blamed a right-wing conspiracy and stood by her man. Lewinsky didn't want to testify. He almost got away with it. Then, Lewinsky turned over a semen-stained blue dress. That's right, folks - she never got it cleaned. Ewww. I know this sounds like a plot of a really bad tv show, but it happened. On August 17, 1998 Clinton came clean (no pun intended) in a taped testimony and a nationally televised statement.


This is an excellent post by Brilliant at Breakfast, one of my favorite blogs. It is about the Saddleback Church forum on Saturday with Senator Obama and Senator McCain. More so, it is about what the writer calls "Clean Slate Christianity". There is absolutely no way I could possibly say it better. To read the entire post, go here. Here is a small snippet:

What's always bothered me about the kind of Christianity that's about faith not deeds is that it demands nothing of the believer. Even if I were inclined to believe that a Jewish guy got nailed to a cross 2000 years ago to cleanse the sins of the world, I don't think I'd see it as a free pass to do whatever the hell I want. And yet, for some believers, particularly some of the more holier-than-thou types in politics, believing this doctrine does exactly that. It seems to me that if someone went through that kind of torment for us, the least we should do is strive to be worthy of that kind of sacrifice. And yet, time after time, we have seen so-called Christian politicians invoke the sacrifice of Joshua of Nazareth as a kind of all-purpose cleansing cloth for the soul. "God has forgiven me" or "Jesus died for my sins" doesn't hold anywhere near the moral weight, as far as I'm concerned, as weighing the morality of one's deeds when faced with moral choices, and choosing the moral path just because it's the right thing to do. I wonder if this kind of "clean slate" Christianity just makes it too easy. Whether it's David Vitter patronizing prostitutes in New Orleans and then railing about the sanctity of marriage, or Larry Craig referring to Bill Clinton as "a very nasty boy" and then years later looking for sex with men in an airport rest room, or yes, John Edwards falling for some of the worst pickup lines in recorded history and still not being able to handle the idea of two guys who want to get married, I wonder if this Doctrine of Easy Forgiveness, instead of creating a moral standard to which we should strive to reach, actually creates a sense of infallibility -- that because Jesus died for our sins, we can do whatever the hell we want without consequences. After all, if all you need do to get into heaven is to believe this story, and that deeds don't matter, what's the point of doing good? I mean, if it doesn't buy you, say, a better table at the Pearly Gates Cafeteria, why not have the fun?

Friday, August 15

McCain Plan Includes Tax Increase On Employer-Based Healthcare Coverage

San Diego This Weekend

Oceanside Longboard Surf Club Contest: August 15th thru 17th

Encanto Street Fair: Sunday, August 17th

Get Your War On Video: The Race Card

This seems oddly appropriate considering all of that political talk about the race card last week. Did Obama play the race card by mentioning that he looks different from every American president on our currency? Or, did the McCain campaign play the race card by, well, angrily accusing Obama of playing the race card? Whatever. I'm just glad that crap is over. For now.

Wednesday, August 13

DNC Planning To Cage Protesters

Are we so afraid of the First Amendment that we are even entertaining the idea of throwing huddle masses of Americans into warehouse cages without running water and toilets? Coming soon to Denver: “GITMO on the Platte”.

8/13/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"There are some similarities, of course (between Iraq and Vietnam). Death is terrible." --George W. Bush, Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

Tuesday, August 12

8/12/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"All of us in America want there to be fairness when it comes to justice." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2007

Monday, August 11

Letter To Dana Milbank

So, my brother forwarded to me an email he sent to Washington Post writer Dana Milbank. We both enjoyed watching Milbank on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, so to say we are saddened by the recent questionable reporting of Milbank is putting it lightly. I'm not entirely sure if this 2a.m. email was sent because of my bro's passionate disappointment or his extreme boredom at work. Nevertheless, he expresses his feelings well so I have decided to post it here.

Mr. Milbank,
As a loyal viewer of Countdown, I was disappointed today to learn that you had quit the show. Your commentary and analysis of all things political was always both insightful and entertaining. Even more disappointing though was learning the reasons behind your departure, i.e. taking a section of a quote from Senator Obama out of context and using it as a baseline for writing an article criticizing the Senator for being presumptuous and prideful. The irony of this situation cannot escape a man of your wit and intelligence. You accuse Senator Obama of being prideful, find out the quote you based that claim on was taken out of context, then head for the hills rather than admit your mistake. To quote Phoebe Buffet, "Hello pot, this is kettle, your black."

Mr. Milbank, you have had long and successful journalistic career, both in print and visual media. No one would question your journalistic ethics or integrity; however, part of that integrity is admitting when you've made a mistake or used a piece of text or spoken phrase incorrectly. The Senator wasn't saying that he was THE symbol, but merely that he was A symbol, prefaced by a very humble statement speaking to the good in all of us and indeed our nation. However, by the same token that you should own up to your mistake, no one is asking you to retract the entire article if you truly feel Senator Obama is acting as if 300 electoral votes are sitting in his wallet like winning scratch-off tickets that he simply has to wait until November 4th to cash in. To paraphrase someone whose name escapes me at the moment, anyone who thinks that out of 300 million people, they are the most qualified to make the decisions that will affect the other 299, 999,999, is, by definition, a little full of themselves. Anyone who has watched this campaign in its entirety knows that Obama has definitely shown a tendency to have confidence to the third power. However, in this case, he did not. If you would simply admit this, those of us who looked forward to your daily commentary, both in print and media form, and even that warm and cuddly blogosphere ( insert joke here) would forgive and forget. But instead you run away, to retreat inside a blanket of pride and ego that you'll soon find much emptier and colder than the air in the room after Dick Cheney walks in.

I implore you Mr. Milbank, don't make the same mistake that you accused, rightly or wrongly, Senator Obama of performing - that of too much ego and not enough id. Remember, “Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them". Wise words for anyone, whether they be presidential nominees, journalists, or simply loyal fans with too much time on their hands. Have a good day Sir.

Saturday, August 9

8/9/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —President George W. Bush, speaking at a gathering of minority journalists, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004

He sounds like a third grade kid trying to fake his way through a vocabulary test! Steve Benen broke it down well here.

Friday, August 8

Get Your War On Video:You Are Loved


It's the next chapter of "Get Your War On," the new animated series based on David Rees' long-running comic! This week, the racial tension is heating up between the black guy and the other one, as their late afternoon office chit-chat veers off from politics and into musical tastes. This election better end fast or there's gonna be a riot in the break room. Why can't everyone realize that in the end, all of us are loved. That's right,

8/8/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

Maria Bartiromo: "I'm curious, have you ever googled anybody? Do you use Google?"President Bush: "Occasionally. One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps. It's very interesting to see -- I've forgot the name of the program -- but you get the satellite, and you can -- like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes." --interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Oct. 24, 2006 (Watch video clip)

Thursday, August 7

3 Charged With Using WMDs In CA Federal Courthouse Explosion

Newsday: Brett Favre Traded To The Jets

Wow! I mean, wow!! Now, I am not the biggest fan of Brett Favre (that would be my best friend Christie), but the guy is always exciting to watch. Historically, this is amazing to me. Wasn't his number supposed to be retired in Green Bay next month? It just seems that if you have the good fortune to play for one team for most of your professional career, when you retire it should be with that team. Isn't it weird to think that when Favre does retire (probably next year), it will be from the New York Jets? Maybe since the uniform is still green, he is hoping his fans won't notice.

Study Finds Young People Remain Apathetic About Office Politics

8/7/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002 (Watch video clip; listen to audio clip)

Wednesday, August 6

The August 6, 2001 Daily Briefing Memo

Well, it seems today is an important anniversary. Seven years ago today, President Bush was handed a daily briefing memo. Titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.", the memo mentioned the suspected plan to hijack airliners. This is one month after an FBI memo claimed that possible terrorists could be receiving training at an Arizona flight school. Apparently, these two memos were not linked together nor were they shared between the FBI and the CIA. Thirty-six days later, two airliners struck the Twin Towers, one hits the Pentagon, and one more goes down in a Pennsylvania field. Although the hijacking of planes was a serious threat, everybody assumed any attack would be on our interests overseas and nobody considered the possibility that planes would be used as missiles. Except, the government had been warned for that scenario also. In 1999.

Monday, August 4

8/4/08: Random Bushism Of The Day

"I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas." --George W. Bush, on the former South African president, who is still very much alive, Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2007

First Walmart Union In China

Friday, August 1

One Year Anniversary Of I-35W Bridge Collapse

Watch the CBS video here about the lack of action repairing our infrastructure in the past year.

Also read the excellent book The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation by Stephen Flynn.

Get Your War On Video: The Watch List

This terrorist watch list issue really bothers me. It begs a lot of questions. First of all, why did over one million names have to get on this Terrorist Watch List before it became a big deal? Seems to me that 100,000 known terrorists should have gotten some attention. Where are these terrorists? Where did the terrorist acts take place? We have their names so the government must know something they did that got them on the list. If someone named Robert Johnson can be stopped and interrogated for being on the list, where is the real terrorist named Robert Johnson and what did this Robert Johnson do? Why are babies on the list? Are these one million terrorists in the United States? What terrorist action did they do?

Damn, am I on the list now??

ACLU: Decriminalizing Marijuana

Details about H.R. 5843, the "Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008", were announced on Wednesday. Jag Davies, of the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Act, writes about why this legislation should be passed in Congress. If you agree, please click the link at the bottom of the article to ask your Congressional Representative to support H.R. 5843.