Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My cousin, Jack, is blessed with talent in two disciplines--he is a sculptor and he plays the baritone and tenor saxophone [under his "nom de sax", Juan el Mundo] with a local band, The Swamptones. (scroll down to find his photo and write-up). At The Swamptone's homepage, you can click on the link "music" and listen to their sound.
Jack also plays the saxophone in another band, the Guns of Navarone, specializing in Ska and Raggae.

In addition to playing music, Jack has hand-carved, in a variety of woods, sculptures of world-famous jazz musicians such as, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong--a tribute to his love of that genre of music and the artists who make it. The artistry, authenticity, and feeling Jack has perfected in these pieces is stunning in their precision and craftsmanship.

Surf Jack's website and enjoy looking at all of his sculptures.

Also, as a member of New England Sculptors Association, Jack's work is featured in their website.

Check out Jack's two talented sons:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My niece, Sophia, is immensely talented. Here's her latest painting.
One of her other pieces can be seen on the right side of my blog.
We're all proud of you, Sophia!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Next in my continuing coverage of talented relatives is Kevin's brother, Tom. You can read about him and his company, Tom Callahan and Associates, here.

In addition to his music business, Tom is a karate sensei, a SANDAN [second degree, black belt] in Kyokushin karate.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

designs by Xenia Mara

Meet the other half of the talented Callahans of Seattle, Xenia Mara.

Her jewelry designs are exquisite and timeless--I know, I own some of her pieces. Here's a write-up of her original jewelry pieces from a Seattle Times publication.

Among her many other talents, Xenia is also a landscape designer and clothing designer.

She is also, as her photo above demonstrates, a stunning beauty.

Enjoy surfing her jewelry website to discover the artistry and elegance of Xenia's incomparable creations.

Friday, December 26, 2008


During this last week of the year, I'll be doing a series of posts on some of the talented people in my family. Today, we start off with Kevin Callahan. Take a look at his website and learn about this highly respected composer/musician.

From Kevin's website:

While Kevin holds a BA in English literature from Dartmouth College, he pursued harmony, composition and orchestration throughout his undergraduate career. Upon graduating, he returned to his hometown of Boston for private study with Thomas McGah, head of the composition department at Berklee College of Music, and jazz studies with Mitch Coodley and Mick Goodrick. Kevin moved to Seattle in 1983 where studied classical guitar with Gary Bissiri.
At home in a variety of music genres, Kevin has performed or recorded with groups ranging from the Seattle Symphony to the Seattle Guitar Quartet, Dave Koz, Arnold McCuller of the James Taylor band, Greg Adams of Tower of Power, Roger Fisher of Heart, Rita Coolidge, and the peerless Assad Brothers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Journey of the Magi, by TS Eliot

The Journey of the Magi

'A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For the journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.'

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory

All this was a long time ago,

I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set downThis: were we led all that way for

Birth or Death?

There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt.

I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My friend and awesome biographer, Sir Gordon of Minnesota, implied--at least that's my take on it--that I may be buying into conspiracy theories because of my last two posts on Karl Rove's IT Guru, Michael Connell, and his unfortunate AND untimely death.

Now Rush Limbaugh, gasbag extraordinaire and endlessly amusing demagogue, believes President-elect Obama's win in November because of a financial meltdown caused by the Democrats!

Here’s how Limbaugh’s conspiracy theory goes: Schumer caused a run on IndyMac bank in California this summer, in order to create a feeling of financial panic amongst the public. Democrats then capitalized on this panic with electoral wins in the White House and Congress. The purpose of gaining this power, according to Limbaugh, was to nationalize U.S. industries:

LIMBAUGH: Back to this October surprise. I am just wondering — as I say, it can’t be proven — I’m just wondering if a lot of this was by design to create economic panic. Remember now — the Iraq war had dominated everything, and the economy was said to no longer be an issue in the campaign for the first time. Corruption, other things were — ethics (well, the Republicans had those problems) — but the economy wasn’t. They wanted to create economic crisis, a mindset of this.

So Chuck Schumer starts a run — a $1.3 billion run on IndyMac, and then all of a sudden, look what we learn! All these mortgages are worthless. All the mortgage derivatives and the mortgage-backed assets are worthless. Everything was worthless. There was no there there. Every institution, every guy in the institution was an empty suit. We had to bail out this, we had to bail out that; it didn’t help. I just wonder if what was a planned attempt to scare people economically — starting a run on the bank, doing this, that, and the other thing — has spun so far out of control, it’s gone so far beyond what the intention was, just to win an election, that nobody knows what to do about it.

The only mitigating argument against is that the number one, the primary beneficiary of this — and you have to look that even in an economic collapse like ours there are beneficiaries — Who’s benefiting? Aside from the people being bailed out. The Democrat party and Barack Obama are benefiting.

They got elected, they increased their numbers in the House, they increased their numbers in the Senate, they got the White House now, and they’ve got a crisis that people think can only be fixed with the all-mighty and powerful government interceding to save this or to save that, when in fact, the government is going to nationalize the automobile industry. It’s going to nationalize some banks. It’s going to nationalize the mortgage industry, and may end up nationalizing the automobile industry.

So the Obama team and the Democrat party are benefiting tremendously from this, even if it has spun out of control. It’s spun out of control, but they’ll make due with a new crisis they created a la Rahm Emanuel. But the reason I think it has spun a little out of control and gone a little further than they intended is that even the Obama people are saying, “Hey, it’s going to be really bad for a really long time.”

LIMBAUGH: Who’s benefiting? Aside from the people being bailed out. The Democrat party and Barack Obama are benefiting.

They got elected, they increased their numbers in the House, they increased their numbers in the Senate, they got the White House now, and they’ve got a crisis that people think can only be fixed with the all-mighty and powerful government interceding to save this or to save that, when in fact, the government is going to nationalize the automobile industry. It’s going to nationalize some banks. It’s going to nationalize the mortgage industry, and may end up nationalizing the automobile industry.

Some of my regular commenters wondered about my blog posts on Mike Connell's death and whether it was wise to post on an ongoing investigation that may lead to impugning the Bush administration and its possible involvement in POSSIBLE voter fraud in Ohio in 2004.

That's a fair comment, but I stand by my post on this issue and will continue to as the facts are revealed.

I have as regular commenters, what? 6? maybe 10 at the most? TEN.

Rush Limbaugh has 20 MILLION+ dittoheads [listeners] in his audience. TWENTY MILLION.

I expect my friends who objected to my putting this out there as a possible conspiracy theory to go over to Limbaugh's blog and LOUDLY PROTEST about his conspiracy theory.

I mean, let's not be hypocrites and criticize me, with my under a dozen readers, and not be appalled at Limbaugh with his 20 MILLION LISTENERS!!!


How long will it take before those 20 million listeners start telling their millions of friends and family member about this? And since Limbaugh's listeners are called "dittoheads," that means they don't think differently from him, but "ditto" all that he has to say--in other words, no thinking, just parroting the demagogue.

Monday, December 22, 2008



Remember the last election and all the allegation about ACORN? There was never any evidence brought forth to prove that ACORN's involvement affected any election outcome. But that didn't stop rightwing bloggers from posting on that nonstory.

This story is far worse, and it involves the Office of the President of the United States, since Karl Rove is deeply implicated.

Other links:

George Bush aide dies in plane crash

Mystery surrounds the death of a Republican pollster, recently compelled to give evidence about alleged election fraud in the 2004 election in Ohio, after he was killed in a plane crash.

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 8:57PM GMT 21 Dec 2008

Top internet strategist Michael Connell, 45, was the only person in his single-engine private plane that crashed three miles short of the Akron-Canton airport on Friday night as he prepared to land after flying from College Park, Maryland, close to Washington.

He had worked on Mr Bush's two presidential campaigns, advised John McCain this year and was also linked to allegedly missing White House emails in the 2006 controversy over a string of firings of US attorneys.

The death of the married father of four immediately triggered conspiracy theories amid speculation that he had been about to reveal embarrassing details of the complicity of senior members of the Bush administration in fixing an election and destroying incriminating emails.

In a blog posting entitled "One of my sources died in a plane crash last night...", Larisa Alexandrovna of The Raw Story revealed that Mr Connell had been talking to her about the Ohio case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations.

"Mike was getting ready to talk. He was frightened... I am not saying that this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being simply an accident either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot provide an opinion on the matter. What I am saying, however, is that given the context, this event needs to be examined carefully."

A house was damaged in the 6pm crash in freezing conditions but no one apart from the pilot was killed or injured.

"He suffered massive traumatic injuries over his entire body," said Harry Campbell, the local coroner's chief investigator. "His death was instantaneous."

Mr Connell was president of GovTech Solutions and New Media Communications. A web designer, he had created a website for Ohio's secretary of state that presented the results of the 2004 election in real time as they were released.

He had refused to testify or to hand over documents relating to the systems he had created for the 2004 and 2006 elections but was compelled to do so by subpoena in October and appeared in court in Cleveland, Ohio – the state which gave President George W Bush victory in 2004 – to give a deposition the day before Barack Obama won the presidential election.

A lawyer bringing the voter fraud case described Mr Connell as "a high IQ Forrest Gump" because he had been at the scene of so many "crimes" involving Republicans and the Bush administration.

Mr Connel's company website states that he "has served as internet consultant to scores of prominent senators, governors and members of Congress, as well as the Republican National Committee and five Republican National Conventions".



Ohio News
By John Michael Spinelli
Thursday, 24 July 2008

GOP Threatens “Valerie Plame” Style Strike Against Wife of IT Mastermind if He Doesn’t Become Fall Guy for Gaming the 2004 Ohio Election

COLUMBUS, OHIO: The little story about how the GOP cyber-gamed the Ohio presidential election in 2004 is growing by the day, spurred on to greater heights Thursday when an Ohio election attorney asked the Ohio Attorney General to provide immunity protection to Mike Connell, the GOP IT mastermind who built various computer systems they say not only won Ohio for President Bush in 2004 but led to many other wins for Republicans over the years of the Bush Administration.

A key figure in the grand strategy of the Grand Old Party to build a cyber system that could assure permanent control by Republicans of key offices, state and federal, is Mike Connell, an Ohio native some refer to as a “High IQ Forrest Gump” for his brilliance in masterminding the construction of various computer systems associated with election procedures and data security, including the so-called firewall in Congress.

Ohio Attorney General Asked to Protect Key Witness in Election Fraud Case

In an email sent to OhioNewsBureau by lead attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who filed a federal lawsuit in August 2006 asserting the GOP gamed the system and won the state by suppressing the votes of various progressive-leaning groups like students and African Americans and who wants to revive the case to protect the integrity of the 2008 election, Nancy H. Rogers, the former dean of the law school at The Ohio State University and interim Attorney General, was asked to provide immunity protection services to Connell.

The immunity request from Arnebeck to the Ohio AG was triggered by information from a confidential source that Karl Rove, a kingpin GOP strategist, threatened that if Mike Connell doesn’t go in the tank for cyber-rigging the 2004 election in Ohio, his wife will be sued for lobbying law violations. Using this kind of hardball tactic to rain retribution down on an individual for not allowing himself to be “thrown under the bus” smacks of the identical retaliation tactic used to punish Valerie Plame by outing her as a spy for remarks made by her husband Joe Wilson before the commencement of the war in Iraq that no evidence existed for uranium being sold by Niger to Saddam Hussein.

In an email to the General Mukasey at US Dept. of Justice, Arnebeck said “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to "take the fall" for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations. This appears to be in response to our designation of Rove as the principal perpetrator in the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act/RICO claim with respect to which we issued document hold notices last Thursday to you and to the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform.”

Continuing, Arnebeck said, “I have informed court chambers and am in the process of informing the Ohio Attorney General's and US Attorney's offices in Columbus for the purpose, among other things, of seeking protection for Mr. Connell and his family from this reported attempt to intimidate a witness.

“Concurrently herewith, I am informing Mr. Conyers and Mr. Kucinich in connection with their Congressional oversight responsibilities related to these matters.

“Because of the serious engagement in this matter that began in 2000 of the Ohio Statehouse Press Corps, 60 Minutes, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, C-Span and Jim VandeHei, and the public's right to know of gross attempts to subvert the rule of law, I am forwarding this information to them, as well.”

In an exclusive interview with OhioNewsBureau, Arnebeck said he expects to meet in person next week with attorneys in the Ohio AG’s office on his request for immunity filed today. Stressing that his aim is to enhance his lawsuit of 2006, Arnebeck said, "I’m not trying to screw things up. I want to help not hinder.”

Asked what other offices could play a role, if they chose, in his campaign to unravel the Matrix behind what he and computer experts like Stephen Spoonamore say is going on but no one has yet to prove exists, Arnebeck said the Office of Ohio Secretary of State, the chief of elections, could use its legal authority to interrogate Connell, or initiate her own inquiry into the matter if she wants to hold off on the federal case. Arnebeck said Judge Algenon Marbley, who’s in charge of his case, has had members of his staff informally informed of the direction Arnebeck and his co-counsel, Bob Fitrakis, want to take the case along with their request to recover various emails of Karl Rove and the US Chamber of Commerce they feel makes their case.

“We want to cooperate,” Arnebeck said in a telephone interview today, about working with all offices on finding the truth behind efforts to build an effective but undetectable system that tilts close elections to Republicans.


More information.

Sunday, December 21, 2008



Eight years after arriving in Washington vowing to spread the dream of homeownership, Mr. Bush is leaving office, as he himself said recently, “faced with the prospect of a global meltdown” with roots in the housing sector he so ardently championed.

There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.

But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.

From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.

He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

Mr. Bush did foresee the danger posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants. The president spent years pushing a recalcitrant Congress to toughen regulation of the companies, but was unwilling to compromise when his former Treasury secretary wanted to cut a deal. And the regulator Mr. Bush chose to oversee them — an old prep school buddy — pronounced the companies sound even as they headed toward insolvency.

As early as 2006, top advisers to Mr. Bush dismissed warnings from people inside and outside the White House that housing prices were inflated and that a foreclosure crisis was looming. And when the economy deteriorated, Mr. Bush and his team misdiagnosed the reasons and scope of the downturn; as recently as February, for example, Mr. Bush was still calling it a “rough patch.”
The result was a series of piecemeal policy prescriptions that lagged behind the escalating crisis.
“There is no question we did not recognize the severity of the problems,” said Al Hubbard, Mr. Bush’s former chief economics adviser, who left the White House in December 2007. “Had we, we would have attacked them.”

Looking back, Keith B. Hennessey, Mr. Bush’s current chief economics adviser, says he and his colleagues did the best they could “with the information we had at the time.” But Mr. Hennessey did say he regretted that the administration did not pay more heed to the dangers of easy lending practices. And both Mr. Paulson and his predecessor, John W. Snow, say the housing push went too far.

“The Bush administration took a lot of pride that homeownership had reached historic highs,” Mr. Snow said in an interview. “But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost.”


Friday, December 19, 2008

She pals around with who?

Remember during the campaign when Sarah Palin did her "guilt by association bit" on President-elect Barack Obama? Her logic went this way: President-elect Obama met Bill Ayers at various associations in the political and charitable arena in Chicago, therefore, that meant Obama "palled around with terrorists." Remember that?

Well Anchorage Alaska papers are reporting that Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law has been arrested at her Wasilla home and charged with six felony drug counts. Alaska state troopers then searched the Johnston home for further evidence of narcotics. She was charged with second-degree misconduct for allegedly manufacturing narcotics and a fourth-degree misconduct related to possession.

Sarah and Todd Palin must have met Bristol's future mother-in-law, right? Maybe even had them over to their home. Or they visited Levi's mom at her home.

Well, using Sarah Palin's logic of guilt by association we can therefore conclude that:

Sarah Palin palled around with drug dealers! Her daughter is actually engaged to be married into a family of drug dealers????

Wasilla is a small town. Do we really believe that the Palins wouldn't know what was going on in Levi's mother's home? Come on now. This MUST mean that Sarah Palin KNEW about Levi's mom's illegal drug use and dealing and, what? did nothing about it? GASP!

Sarah! Oh no! Say it isn't so!!!!

See how utterly dishonest and dumb her dishonest and dumb guilt by association claims were during the campaign? Yet, her adoring fans ate it up and agreed with her.

Now the tables are turned. We can apply the same guilt by association related to Palin and her family and Levi Johnston and his family. The association is undeniable. And much, much closer than the Obama/Ayers connection. Sarah's daughter, afterall, will marry into this family. Levi's drug dealing mother will be part of Sarah's family.

But watch her defenders defend her and say there's no comparison. But, of course, there is.

Old saying my grandmother taught me: "Don't spit in the wind, it'll come back and hit you in the face."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Che gelida manina," from La Boheme, sung by Luciano Pavarotti

A beautiful Christmas opera by Puccini, La Boheme is set in Paris. In this gorgeous aria, Rudolfo meets Mimi in his attic apartment where he tells her about himself, his poetry, his dreams and how he feels about the lovely Mimi whom he has just met. Romantic and beautiful. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I can't believe this, but I'm agreeing with Gingrich. He understands that the RNC and all those rightwing bloggers are fools for trying to tie President-elect Obama to Blagojevich's sleaze and possible law breaking.

Every time Obama tries to get away from slimey partisan attacks THE WINGERS TRY TO PULL HIM BACK IN!

Here's Gingrich on the subject:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent a rather scathing letter to Mike Duncan on Tuesday, accusing the RNC chairman of engaging in "a destructive distraction" by attempting to tie Barack Obama to Rod Blagojevich. In particular, Gingrich hit the RNC for putting out a web ad that made it seem as if the President-elect was hiding a nefarious chapter of his personal history with the embattled Illinois Governor.

"The RNC should pull the ad down immediately," Gingrich writes.

I was saddened to learn that at a time of national trial, when a president-elect is preparing to take office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in over seventy years, that the Republican National Committee is engaged in the sort of negative, attack politics that the voters rejected in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

The recent web advertisement, "Questions Remain," is a destructive distraction. Clearly, we should insist that all taped communications regarding the Senate seat should be made public. However, that should be a matter of public policy, not an excuse for political attack.

In a time when America is facing real challenges, Republicans should be working to help the incoming President succeed in meeting them, regardless of his Party.

From now until the inaugural, Republicans should be offering to help the President-elect prepare to take office.

Furthermore, once President Obama takes office, Republicans should be eager to work with him when he is right, and, when he is wrong, offer a better solution, instead of just opposing him.

This is the only way the Republican Party will become known as the "better solutions" party, not just an opposition party. And this is the only way Republicans will ever regain the trust of the voters to return to the majority.

This ad is a terrible signal to be sending about both the goals of the Republican Party in the midst of the nation's troubled economic times and about whether we have actually learned anything from the defeats of 2006 and 2008.

You go Gingrich. I've tried to explain this to my conservative friends but they seem not to want to step away from the old politics of attack and destroy. They seem not to believe that President-elect Obama wants to end that destructive culture and bring this nation together.

Thank you Newt Gingrich and all other reasonable conservatives who understand that we will accomplish nothing if we continue down this path.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Pardon my French. But really. The guy is too dumb to breathe. He's a one trick pony whose raison d'etre is to slime any and all Democrats/liberals. He's an undereducated blowhard who apparently believes his listeners are breathtakingly stupid. He stated on his recent show that it is was "pretty troubling" that "president-elect" was mentioned' 44 times in Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal complaint against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

On the December 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, discussing prosecutor and U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's December 9 press conference on the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), host Sean Hannity stated that "what [Fitzgerald] said was, 'There's no allegation in the complaint that the president-elect was aware,' " adding, "I found that as sort of almost like a parsing of words." As evidence, Hannity asserted that "the word 'president-elect' was mentioned -- what -- I think some 44 times" in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich, and said that "is a pretty high, high number." His comments followed an assertion he made on the December 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, that "the word 'president-elect' is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling."

In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which "president-elect" was used in the complaint actually mentions any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception consisted of an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than "appreciation."

In every other instance, the complaint mentioned "president-elect" in the context of Blagojevich's alleged desires, expectations, or plans for extracting favors in return for the Senate seat; in the context of the president-elect's victory having created an open Senate seat; or in the context of, as in one mention, "media reports indicat[ing] that Senate Candidate 1, an advisor to the President-elect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect."

Someone should tell Hannity that by his dishonest and harebrained logic, one could say that Jesus taught his disciples to pray about "temptation" and "evil," when he taught them the Lord's Prayer. What's the "evidence" of that statement? The words "temptation" and"evil" are mentioned in the prayer. That's really troubling.

Why do people listen to Hannity the branleur?




BAGHDAD — Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets Monday to demand the release of a reporter who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush, as Arabs across many parts of the Middle East hailed the journalist as a hero and praised his insult as a proper send-off to the unpopular U.S. president.

The protests came as suicide bombers and gunmen targeted Iraqi police, U.S.-allied Sunni guards and civilians in a series of attacks Monday that killed at least 17 people and wounded more than a dozen others, officials said.

Journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who was kidnapped by militants last year, was being held by Iraqi security Monday and interrogated about whether anybody paid him to throw his shoes at Bush during a press conference the previous day in Baghdad, said an Iraqi official.

He was also being tested for alcohol and drugs, and his shoes were being held as evidence, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam with their shoes after U.S. Marines toppled it to the ground following the 2003 invasion.

Newspapers across the Arab world on Monday printed front-page photos of Bush ducking the flying shoes, and satellite TV stations repeatedly aired the incident, which provided fodder for jokes and was hailed by the president's many critics in the region.

"Iraq considers Sunday as the international day for shoes," said a joking text message circulating around the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Palestinian journalists in the West Bank town of Ramallah joked about who would be brave enough to toss their shoes at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, another U.S. official widely disliked in the region.


The old guy's got some pretty decent reflexes!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's the Christmas season, and incredibly, we're hearing the news story of a family being turned away from, well not exactly an inn, but a House. And it's the next First Family of the United States of America that is being told "there is no room."

The Obamas hoped to enroll their daughters at the Sidwell School after the Christmas break on January 5th, and inquired if Blair House would be available to them for this special request. According to the WH, Blair House is traditionally made available to the incoming President-elect and family 5 days before the inauguration, which would make that January 15.

White House officials declined to disclose specifically who is using Blair House during that period, for what purpose or how they could take precedence over the president-elect of the United States when it came to government housing; one White House official would say only that it had been booked for “receptions and gatherings” by members of the departing Bush administration. Those receptions, the official said, “don’t make it suitable for full-time occupancy by the Obamas yet.”

So the Obamas are now looking for an alternative place to stay for a few weeks, though they presumably are not searching Craigslist for a sublet.

Obama transition officials, who have been trying hard to highlight how well the Bush and the Obama families have been getting along, were quick to say that they were not angry about being turned away. “The White House has been extremely accommodating to the Obama family needs — and the entire process has been smooth and friendly,” a transition official said.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Capitalist Fools

Behind the debate over remaking U.S. financial policy will be a debate over who’s to blame. It’s crucial to get the history right, writes a Nobel-laureate economist, identifying five key mistakes—under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II—and one national delusion.

There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history—a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it’s crucial to get the history straight.

What were the critical decisions that led to the crisis? Mistakes were made at every fork in the road—we had what engineers call a “system failure,” when not a single decision but a cascade of decisions produce a tragic result. Let’s look at five key moments.

No. 1: Firing the Chairman

In 1987 the Reagan administration decided to remove Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and appoint Alan Greenspan in his place. Volcker had done what central bankers are supposed to do. On his watch, inflation had been brought down from more than 11 percent to under 4 percent. In the world of central banking, that should have earned him a grade of A+++ and assured his re-appointment. But Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.

Greenspan played a double role. The Fed controls the money spigot, and in the early years of this decade, he turned it on full force. But the Fed is also a regulator. If you appoint an anti-regulator as your enforcer, you know what kind of enforcement you’ll get. A flood of liquidity combined with the failed levees of regulation proved disasterous.

Greenspan presided over not one but two financial bubbles. After the high-tech bubble popped, in 2000–2001, he helped inflate the housing bubble. The first responsibility of a central bank should be to maintain the stability of the financial system. If banks lend on the basis of artificially high asset prices, the result can be a meltdown—as we are seeing now, and as Greenspan should have known. He had many of the tools he needed to cope with the situation. To deal with the high-tech bubble, he could have increased margin requirements (the amount of cash people need to put down to buy stock). To deflate the housing bubble, he could have curbed predatory lending to low-income households and prohibited other insidious practices (the no-documentation—or “liar”—loans, the interest-only loans, and so on). This would have gone a long way toward protecting us. If he didn’t have the tools, he could have gone to Congress and asked for them.

Of course, the current problems with our financial system are not solely the result of bad lending. The banks have made mega-bets with one another through complicated instruments such as derivatives, credit-default swaps, and so forth. With these, one party pays another if certain events happen—for instance, if Bear Stearns goes bankrupt, or if the dollar soars. These instruments were originally created to help manage risk—but they can also be used to gamble. Thus, if you felt confident that the dollar was going to fall, you could make a big bet accordingly, and if the dollar indeed fell, your profits would soar. The problem is that, with this complicated intertwining of bets of great magnitude, no one could be sure of the financial position of anyone else—or even of one’s own position. Not surprisingly, the credit markets froze.

Here too Greenspan played a role. When I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, during the Clinton administration, I served on a committee of all the major federal financial regulators, a group that included Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Even then, it was clear that derivatives posed a danger. We didn’t put it as memorably as Warren Buffett—who saw derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction”—but we took his point. And yet, for all the risk, the deregulators in charge of the financial system—at the Fed, at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and elsewhere—decided to do nothing, worried that any action might interfere with “innovation” in the financial system. But innovation, like “change,” has no inherent value. It can be bad (the “liar” loans are a good example) as well as good.

The rest is here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Contrary to the blogs that have been beating the birth certificate non-story to death, a majority--a very healthy, large majority of the American people--are pleased with President-elect Obama.

He's on a honeymoon and he isn't even in the White House yet. But, as Bill Schneider remarked, that's because the country is reeling from the disaster that's been in the WH for 8 years.

This high approval rating won't last forever, as we well know, but it sure feels wonderful in an economic season with very little to feel wonderful about.

December 9, 2008
Obama honeymoon continues, poll shows


Obama is enjoying a nearly 80 percent approval rating.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that Barack Obama's having one heck of a honeymoon.

Nearly eight in ten Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey out Tuesday morning are giving the president-elect the thumbs up when it comes to his handling of the transition. Seventy-nine percent approve of Obama's performance so far during transition, with 18 percent disapproving.

Obama's approval rating is "14 points higher than the approval rating for president-elect Bush in 2001 and 17 points higher than president-elect Clinton's rating in 1992," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland noted.

The president-elect's current approval rating is also more than 50 points higher than Bush's current approval rating, which now stands at 28 percent, with 71 percent disapproving of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

"An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent! That’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush Administration was a national disaster," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

The poll also indicates that 79 percent of the public thinks Obama will do a good job as president. That's up 4 points from last month. Eighteen percent think Obama will do a poor job as president, down 3 points from November.

Seventy-eight percent of those questioned feel Obama will be a uniter, 20 points higher than those who felt the same way 8 years ago about then-president-elect Bush. Twenty percent say Obama will be a divider, 16 points lower than those who said Bush would be a divider.

"Bush came in promising to be a uniter, not a divider. That’s a promise Bush failed to deliver – as he himself acknowledged last week in an interview with ABC news when he said that one of his big disappointments is that the tone in Washington got worse rather than better. Nearly 80 percent describe Obama as a uniter. So far, so good," said Schneider.

Seventy-six percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of Obama.

"And the president-elect is not the only one who is popular right now. Sixty-seven percent have a favorable view of Michelle Obama and 56 percent have a positive view of Vice President-elect Joe Biden ," Holland added.

And the Democratic party continues to be much more popular than the GOP. Six in ten have a favorable view of the Democratic party, while a majority have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican party.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 1-2, with 1,096 adult Americans interviewed by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Court won't review Obama's eligibility to serve
By Tim Jones Tribune correspondent
9:16 AM CST, December 8, 2008

UPDATE: The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth -- his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject -- he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.At least one other appeal over Obama's citizenship remains at the court. Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa., argues that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and the Hawaii secretary of state has confirmed. Berg says Obama also may be a citizen of Indonesia, where he lived as a boy. Federal courts in Pennsylvania have dismissed Berg's laws

‘Shut up about the birth certificate’
By Jay Bookman
Monday, December 8, 2008, 05:36 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Conservative writer David Horowitz, writing in the conservative National Review, advises his fellow conservatives to “shut up about the birth certificate,” as the headline on his article puts it.
“The continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president is embarrassing and destructive,” Horowitz writes. “The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, a demagogue who lost a Senate election to the then-unknown Obama by 42 points, should be a warning in itself….

“It is not conservatism; it is sore loserism and quite radical in its intent,” concludes Horowitz.

“Respect for election results is one of the most durable bulwarks of our unity as a nation. Conservatives need to accept the fact that we lost the election, and get over it; and get on with the important business of reviving our country’s economy and defending its citizens, and — by the way — its Constitution.”

I confess I do have some sympathy for the “birthers,” though. As an outsider, it’s hard to distinguish between the zany arguments that get official approval by the conservative establishment — things like Bill Ayers, Michelle Obama’s infamous “whitey” tape, the claim that Obama is a closet Marxist — and those arguments that are considered beyond the pale. I mean, where does one draw the line between acceptable lunacy and unacceptable lunacy?

Apparently those within the movement have a hard time figuring it out as well, which is why Horowitz had to send out a memo explaining the official ruling.

h/t Illiterate Electorate


I posted this poem over at A Political Glimpse from Ireland the other day, and thought it would be good for more people to read it, since it is fitting for the recession/depression/hard times we're facing.

The Workmans Friend

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night -
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt -
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare -
A pint of plain is your only man.

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life -
A pint of plain is your only man.

-- Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan)

The poem was written by Flann O'Brien/Brian O'Nolan, one of my favorite writers.

These are some of the books he's written that I've loved:

At Swim Two Birds
The Third Policeman
The Dalky Archive
The Hard Life
The Poor Mouth

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ODETTA, December 31, 1930 - December 2, 2008

She had hoped to sing at President-elect Obama's inauguration. RIP Odetta.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


A small but virulent group of rightwing fanatics is hoping the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Donofrio v. Wells, which argues that Obama's placement on the New Jersey presidential election ballot was invalid because he is not a natural born citizen. The justices are expected to dismiss the case.

Undaunted, this tiny, noisy group of deluded nutcases showed up on the steps of the Supreme Court on Friday to pray that the justices will nullify the election, where 67 million Americans voted to have Barack Obama as their next president.

Certain elements on the right have been at this underhanded villany since they tried to get Bill Clinton thrown out of office and nullify that election as well. And then there's the group of agitators in December 2000 who showed up in Florida and bullied and screamed all during the recount. Rush Limbaugh had suggested that Obama's trip to Hawaii to see his ailing grandmother, who died not long after, was somehow connected to the controversy. Others, like Michael Savage, followed Limbaugh's lead, saying Obama was going to Hawaii to alter the record.

It appears that these people, when they lose an election, need to invalidate it at any cost and by any means. When we see this sort of behavior in third world countries, we are aghast and are thankful for the legal and orderly way we conduct our elections. How have these poor, misguided, misinformed losers become the face of the Republican party?
(And what's up with this "praying" that the Supreme Court will hear the case and invalidate Obama's election? Do these people actually believe GOD will step into American politics and somehow influence the SCOTUS to throw out the election results of Nov. 4? Whew! That is serious crazy.)

The essence of the case being appealed to the Supreme Court, Donofrio v. Wells, is that Obama does not meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a natural-born citizen because his Kenyan father was a British Citizen when Obama was born in 1961. Plaintiffs argue that Obama would have had dual US and British citizen when he was born, making him ineligible.Roger Bredow, who traveled to Washington from Bethlehem, GA, helped organize the small protest. He said the case rests on an interpretation of Article II of the Constitution and immigration laws written in 1790 and 1795.

He did acknowledge that citizenship laws had been substantially amended in the last two centuries. But, "The reason that you look at those is to determine the intent of the Founding Fathers," he said.To be clear, the questions of Obama's birth have been roundly and convincingly debunked.

More on this from Slate:

The faux controversy isn't going to go away soon. Yes, Obama was born in Hawaii, and yes, he is eligible to be president. But according to several experts in conspiracy theories, and in the psychology of people who believe in conspiracy theories, there's little chance those people who think Obama is barred from the presidency will ever be convinced otherwise. "There's no amount of evidence or data that will change somebody's mind," says Michael Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a columnist for Scientific American, and who holds an undergraduate and a master's degree in psychology. "The more data you present a person, the more they doubt it ... Once you're committed, especially behaviorally committed or financially committed, the more impossible it becomes to change your mind."

Any inconvenient facts are irrelevant. People who believe in a conspiracy theory "develop a selective perception, their mind refuses to accept contrary evidence," Chip Berlet, a senior analyst with Political Research Associates who studies such theories, says. "As soon as you criticize a conspiracy theory, you become part of the conspiracy."
Evan Harrington, a social psychologist who is an associate professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, agrees. "One of the tendencies of the conspiracy notion, the whole appeal, is that a lot of the information the believer has is secret or special," Harrington says. "The real evidence is out there, [and] you can give them all this evidence, but they'll have convenient ways to discredit [it]."

Whatever can't be ignored can be twisted to fit into the narrative; every new disclosure of something that should, by rights, end the controversy only opens up new questions, identifies new plotters. Perhaps the most common argument of those questioning Obama's eligibility is that he should just release his full, original birth certificate, rather than the shorter certification, which is a copy. His failure to do so only proves there is reason to be suspicious, they say, and if the document was released, the issue would go away. But that's unlikely. It was, after all, the Obama campaign's release of the certification this summer that stoked the fever of conspiracy mongers.

For believers, it works like this: So what if Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the director of Hawaii's Department of Health, released a statement saying she has verified that the state has the original birth certificate on record? So what if she said separately that the certification looks identical to one she was issued for her own Hawaii birth certificate? Why didn't her statement specify Obama's birthplace? So what if a Hawaii Health Department spokeswoman later clarified that Fukino meant that Obama was born in Hawaii? So what if researchers for actually saw the physical copy of the certification and debunked much of the key "evidence" supposedly proving that the image posted online is a forgery? They're not really independent. They're funded by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and Obama once (with Bill Ayers, no less) ran an entirely unrelated program that happened to be paid for with money donated by Walter Annenberg. And on and on and on.

If the long-form birth certificate were released, with its unequivocal identification of Hawaii as Obama's place of birth, the cycle would almost certainly continue. Rush Limbaugh already
suggested that Obama's trip to Hawaii to see his ailing grandmother, who died not long after, was somehow connected to the controversy. Others, like Michael Savage, followed Limbaugh's lead, saying Obama was going to Hawaii to alter the record.

Not surprisingly, almost all of the people who've been most prominent in pushing this story have a history of conspiracist thought. There's Jerome Corsi, who's best known as the co-author of the book that launched the Swift boat vets; he's a chief proponent of the claim that the government is secretly planning to form a "North American Union" with Canada and Mexico.

Philip Berg, who filed the lawsuit that had until now drawn the most public attention, is a 9/11 Truther.

Andy Martin, who's credited with starting the myth that Obama is a Muslim and has been intimately involved in the birth certificate mess as well, was denied admission to the Illinois bar because of a psychiatric evaluation that showed he had "moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character." He also has a long history of anti-Semitism.

Robert Schulz, who's responsible for the ads in the Tribune, is a fairly notorious tax protester. In 2007, a federal judge ordered Schulz to shutter his Web site because he and his organization were, in the words of the Justice Department's Tax Division, using the site to promote "a nationwide tax-fraud scheme."

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Why would Bill-O get angry over a display by Atheists? Doesn't he understand that this is America, and that the government is not supposed to favor one religion or no religion ?

If we nonbelievers go about our business every Christmas and are forced to see public displays of the Christmas story, then why shouldn't nonbelievers be allowed to display their ideas about the winter holiday?
Biblical scholars agree that Jesus wasn't born in December, and that the early Christians encouraged their followers to observe Christ's birth date during the Winter Solstice so that their celebrations would not attract notice during the pagans' celebrations at that time of year.

I have no problem with the celebration of Christmas. I enjoy the season and participate with my family in many aspects of it. It's a great distraction during a very dark and cold time of the year. But make no mistake, a lot of the traditions come directly from paganism. Christmas has always been a blending of Christianity and paganism. Google the traditions of the Christmas tree and mistletoe for example.

And Bill-O is an idiot for making a fuss over this harmless, legal sign. But of course, he needs faux controversy and faux indignation to keep people watching his show on FAUX News.
Estimates now are that 12 to 16% of the American population are nonbelievers. That's huge, and nonbelievers have just as much of a right to display their sentiments during the Winter Solstice as do the Christians who celebrate Christmas, and the Jewish community that displays a menorah--especially if public spaces are involved. This is a big country, and there's room for everyone's way of celebrating this time of year.
Bill-O is a bully; and as he bellows over this noncontroversy, we'll just go about our business and enjoy the season of the Winter Solstice. Evoe!

Atheist billboard in Capitol stirs a storm

OLYMPIA -- An anti-religion billboard in the Washington state Capitol has started a firestorm on national television.

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly had an eight-minute segment on his show Tuesday night decrying the inclusion of the atheistic billboard along with a holiday tree and a Christian nativity scene.
Conservative TV personality O'Reilly urged viewers to call Gov. Chris Gregoire's office.
Gregoire spokesman Pearse Edwards says the office has been getting about 200 calls an hour, as well as e-mails.

The Capitol has had a holiday tree, provided by the Association of Washington Business, for 19 years. In 2006, it was joined by a menorah sponsored by a Seattle Jewish group.
That prompted a lawmaker from Spokane to stage a protest at the Capitol, demanding the holiday tree be called a "Christmas tree." It also led a local real estate agent to sue the state to allow the nativity display depicting the birth of Jesus.

Gregoire, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna put out a joint statement Wednesday noting that the federal case led the state to create an inclusive policy:

"The U.S. Supreme Court has been consistent and clear that, under the Constitution's First Amendment, once government admits one religious display or viewpoint onto public property, it may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of nonbelievers."
*Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O'Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.Although the original Festivus took place in February 1966 as a celebration of O'Keefe's first date with his wife, Deborah, most people now celebrate the holiday on December 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike."According to O'Keefe, the name Festivus "just popped into his head." The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. Also, after the Festivus meal, the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday only ending if the head of the household is actually pinned. These conventions originated with the TV episode. The original holiday featured far more peculiar practices, as detailed in the younger Daniel O'Keefe's book The Real Festivus, which provides a first-person account of an early version of the Festivus holiday as celebrated by the O'Keefe family, and how O'Keefe amended or replaced details of his father's invention to create the Seinfeld episode.

Some people, influenced or inspired by Seinfeld, now celebrate the holiday in varying degrees of seriousness; some carefully follow rules from the TV show or books, while others humorously invent their own versions.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I'm well aware of how those on the right feel about our Senior Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy. I've listened to their pathelogical hatred of this man for years as they continue to bring up his past transgressions. These are the same people who call themselves "religious."

Whether they're Christian or not, they have this in common: They do not forgive and will not forget what happened in 1969.

They have no knowledge of how Senator Kennedy reconciled this awful tragedy with his god--and they certainly don't believe in redemtion and the power of good works as penance for past wrongful behavior. This attitude is in direct contradiction to the teachings of their Personal Savior, Jesus Christ. This spiteful, vindictive posture toward Senator Kennedy says more about them and their galloping hypocrisy and anti-Christian behavior than it does Senator Kennedy.

I salute Senator Kennedy and wish that more people had the courage, humility, and forebearance that he has shown over the years.

James Carroll of the Boston Globe writes this about the unique award Harvard University recently conferred on Senator Kennedy:

Ted Kennedy, the champion
By James Carroll
December 1, 2008

HARVARD UNIVERSITY almost never grants honorary degrees outside the spring commencement ceremony. Rare exceptions have included George Washington, Winston Churchill, and Nelson Mandela. Today, such figures will be joined by Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, as he receives an honorary degree at a special Harvard convocation. An unadorned litany of Kennedy's achievements shows exactly why this honor is fitting, and why he belongs in such historic company.

An early champion of civil rights, Kennedy made his first mark by opening America's door with the Immigration Act of 1965, to which the Globe's Peter S. Canellos points as legislation that made this the multi-racial nation that could elect Barack Obama. Kennedy quickly emerged as a leading voice against the Vietnam War, which sealed his skepticism toward military adventures. His support of the desegregation of Boston Public Schools in the contentious 1970s made him controversial among his own core constituents. His back-channel contacts with leaders of the Soviet Union helped lay groundwork for d├ętente and arms control, on which he became one of the Senate's leading voices.

When the conservative tide rolled in with Ronald Reagan, Kennedy came into his own as a new kind of opposition leader - a firmly liberal but supremely pragmatic legislator. He turned back Republican assaults on Social Security, legal aid, and voting rights. Prophetic critic of the "jellybean economics" that play out to this day; denouncer of "catsup-is-a-vegetable" stinginess ("The poor may be out of political fashion, but they are not without human needs"); first supporter of the nuclear freeze movement; wily obstacle in the path of the Reagan wars in Central America; leader of the sanctions movement against apartheid South Africa; derailer-in-chief of the Bork Supreme Court nomination; rare dissenter to what he called "the feel-good invasion" of Panama; clear-eyed critic of the first Gulf War, warning of consequences that, in fact, followed - again and again, history proved a lonely Kennedy to have been right.

The rest of the article is here.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Yes, my friends, certain Christians want to spread this video to all corners of the US of A. These people want you to know that teh gaiii will take over your town if you don't watch out!

This is hilarious, except it really isn't.

After you get over your first reaction of disbelief, then hilarity, it's, well, depressing and then terrifying that in this technologically advanced country in the 21st century, we still have people who think that it's perfectly fine to spread lies and misinformation about their fellow Americans.

These people are frightened and grossly uninformed. What a great combination for doing harm to people.