Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MAINERS! Vote NO! on Question 1. Support Equal Rights for Gays.

I have an interest in the upcoming vote on November 3 in the great state of Maine.  Four couples who are members of my family live in Maine; one couple is gay.  They are working diligently to ensure the promise of equal rights for all Americans, which is guaranteed by the Constitution and which is expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

This equal protection under the law shouldn't be an issue in a country that sets itself up as a model of freedom to other nations in the world community.  Sadly, because of religious interference in our secular nation's policies, the US is not now and will not be an exceptional model of freedom until all citizens are given the ultimate freedom of marrying the person they choose to and are given the exact same rights as heterosexuals.  This same idea applies to "Don't Ask; Don't Tell." We cannot brag to the world community that we are the greatest nation on the planet until all of our citizens enjoy all of the freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.


Listen to Philip Spooner, who fought for those freedoms in World War II, express this idea more eloquently than I:

New poll: Gay-marriage supporters in lead

A new poll released today by Pan Atlantic SMS Group of Portland shows a 53-42 percent advantage to supporters of same-sex marriage.

The poll of 400 Maine adults conducted between Oct. 20-22 indicates 53 percent of those surveyed said they were planning to vote “no” on Question 1, which asks voters if they want to reject the state law that allows same-sex couples to marry in Maine.

The margin of error is 5 percent.

A poll on the same question released last week by Public Policy Polling of North Carolina showed a 48-48 percent tie on Question 1. They surveyed 1,130 likely voters.

This and other ballot questions will be part of the Nov. 3 election.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The right, including Rush Limbaugh, fell for a hoax about President Obama's college thesis and ran with it because anything negative--especially made-up, incorrect, erroneous and especially satirical stories about Mr. Obama--is what gets attention in Limbaugh Land where the truth is usually the abused step-child to El-Rushbo's insatiable ego and compelling need to destroy Mr. Obama.  Even when the Hindenburg of Gasbags discovers that he's been duped, he doesn't apologize for his embarrassing but hilarious gullibility that allowed him to believe the apocryphal story.  How did he react to the news that what he passed on to his dittoheads was utterly fake and a hoax?

"Limbaugh noted later on in his show that it seemed the excerpts were fake, though he said he didn't care, both because of a series of quotes falsely attributed to him recently and because, 'I know Obama thinks it.'"

Here are the other cement heads that fell for the hoax.

Pajamas Media
Town Hall
American Thinker
FOX News

Remember, these are conservative outlets where  a lot of people on the Right get their "information," and believe it without ever using critical thinking.  If Rush said it; it must be true.

How  many times have I heard that poor Rush has to provide material for a 3-hour show, 5 days a week every week of the year.  This give us more insight on how Gasbag does it:  He runs with any anti-Obama rumor or lie that's out there, bellows it out over his EIB network, and his millions of dittoheads then nod in unison and approval, because  like Gasbag, they "...know Obama thinks it."

 Note how the Gasbag refers to President Obama as "...this little boy in college..."   We don't have to reach very far back in American history to discover how racist whites referred to Black American men as "boy" in order to demean them, do we.  We can thank Gasbag, again, for reminding us of this ugly part of our history.


Friday, October 23, 2009


A seriously dumb young Republican complained about 1st Amendment infringement by Connecticut Democrats after Twitter, Inc., shut down the Connecticut Republicans' misuse of Twitter's platform and for violating Twitter, Inc.'s  anti-impersonation policy.

State Republican Chairman, Chris Healy, decided to boldly go where dishonest losers always go: 

Dirty Tricks.

Apparently upset over the Obama campaign's deft use of the internet during last year's campaign, Healy decided that a really cool way to show that his team could beat the Dems at their own game was to be underhanded, deceptive, and to deliberately violate Twitter, Inc.'s rules; then, when caught, to squeal like a cornered rat: "Nuh-Uh! The meanie Democrats are taking away our free speech rights!

"Twitter, Inc., shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives. The Republican scheme was to send out posts under the Democrats' names mocking the liberal tax-and-spend bastards.

"That's unfortunate," was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy's response when told of Twitter, Inc.'s decision. "I'm not quite sure what the issue is, other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech."

Healy's party may have suffered a setback with the loss of its Twitter campaign, but Republicans are still operating the 33 Web sites they created using the names of those same Democratic lawmakers. As far as anyone knows, this is the first time any state party has used such a tactic to mock its state opponents.

"It's our idea, actually," said Healy. He said Republicans want voters to understand how badly they're being screwed by the Democrats who approved billions in new taxes rather than cut spending.

Healy has no intention of shutting those sites down just because of Democratic protests.

"They didn't think of it first, so that's why they're whining," Healy said."

I suggest that before those young Republicans think up more creative ways to show the world how utterly stupid they are, they  re-read the Constitution and exactly what the 1st Amendment's Free Speech is really about.  I find it depressingly predictable that whenever I hear "They're taking away our free speech rights!" from a conservative, they seldom know what they're talking about.

This is not a free speech issue.

This is about unimaginative jerks who can do no better than use trickery and fraud to one-up their opponents.  No wonder they're a dying breed in Connecticut.

"Democrats hold a veto-proof majority in the state House, outnumbering Republicans 114-37. The Democrats also have a 24-12 margin in the state Senate. Those numbers have been frustrating the hell out of GOP leaders, who have seen their share of General Assembly seats shrivel in successive legislative elections."

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Mississippi Delta Blues singer, Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor sings it for us all.

[Certain members of my family--whom I will not name--were born, like Hound Dog Taylor, with 6 fingers on each hand.  While none of them ever achieved the genius of Hound Dog Taylor, we did get a certain satisfaction in saying to them with palm held open in mid-air "Gimme six!"]

You can find the lyrics here.

Mississippi Delta Blues

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Click on charts for larger image.

A Washington Post/ABC News Poll that’s just come out on the public option--a government-run health insurance company to compete with the private insurance companies--shows 57% of the American people support the idea of a public option, 40% opposed.

The poll question:

"Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?"

57% said they supported such a plan compared with 40% who said they opposed it, a net margin of +17, compared to just +6 in August and +13 in September.

From the daily kos:

Washington Post/ABC poll shows that the public does not care very much about what Republicans think about health care reform.
Indeed, Americans by 51-37 percent in this latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they'd rather see a plan pass Congress without Republican support, if it includes a public option based on affordability, than with Republican backing but no such element.

And CNN reports this:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A preliminary estimate from the Congressional Budget Office projects that the House Democrats' health care plan that includes a public option would cost $871 billion over 10 years, according to two Democratic sources.

CBO also found that the Democrats' bill reduces the deficit in the first ten years.

This new CBO estimate, which aides caution is not final, is significantly less than the original $1.1 trillion price tag of the original House bill that passed out of three committees this summer. More importantly, it comes under the $900 billion cap set by President Obama in his joint address to Congress last month.

CBO analyzed what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls a "more robust" public option -- one that ties reimbursement rates for doctors to current Medicare rates, plus a 5 percent increase.
At a meeting with House Democrats on Tuesday night, Pelosi did not release CBO's preliminary numbers, but told members that CBO told leaders the House bill would cost well below $900 billion. Aides say final CBO numbers could be released on Wednesday.

Senior Democratic aides told CNN that House Democratic leaders are likely to put this version of the public option favored by liberal Democrats in the final bill they are drafting. While no final decision has been made, on Tuesday night Speaker Pelosi made the case to House Democrats that this approach saves the most money and would put the House in a better negotiating position when it comes time to negotiate a final health care bill with the Senate.

Pelosi instructed House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, to begin canvassing all House Democrats on Wednesday to determine whether this bill had enough votes to pass in the House. According to several sources in the meeting, Pelosi acknowledged she did not currently have the 218 votes needed to pass this version on the House floor, but believed she was close to having around 200 votes.

Moderate, "blue dog" Democrats in the House largely oppose the robust public option and instead argue for a government run insurance option that could negotiate reimbursement rates directly with doctors and hospitals. CBO's analysis of that approach was not available according to Democratic sources, but aides say the preliminary analysis shows it does not save as much as the approach pushed by Pelosi.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Why Republican Leaders Will Have Trouble Speaking to the Rest of America:

A research paper by Democracy Corps

What these findings uncover is that the conservative base of the Republican Party sincerely believes that:

  • Any criticism of Mr. Obama by conservatives is seen as racist
  • Anger toward Mr. Obama is driven by doubt and fear over his agenda
  • Mr. Obama's presidency is about deception and a hidden agenda
  • Mr. Obama is driving government to the brink financial disaster in order to take total control
  • The ultimate goal of the Obama administration is Socialism and the end of liberties
  • They are an oppressed and mocked minority
  • They possess special knowledge and insight that the majority of Americans do not
  • There is a growing nascent underground movement organizing to stop these threats that they perceive
  • The Republican Party is failing its base

"The independent voters in our groups clearly viewed these issues very, very differently.

They share the conservative Republicans’ disdain for the current Republican Party, but their critique is not that the party has abandoned its conservative principles but instead that it advances
the interests of the rich and big businesses at the expense of the middle class. They worry about
the Democratic Party’s proclivity to spend tax dollars and provide ‘freebies’ to those who do not
do their fair share, but they appreciate the Democrats’ focus on ‘the little people’ (among which
they included themselves) and the fact that ‘it’s not all about the money.’

They view FOX News as another media outlet, decidedly conservative in its point of
view but no more or less biased than any other media outlet; their assumption is that every outlet
has a bias that reflects the interests of its own bottom line. FOX is no different, and certainly not
a source of special insight and information that cannot be gained elsewhere. They generally
laugh at conservative commentators such as Limbaugh (‘overbearing,’ ‘egotistical,’ ‘idiot’) and
Beck (one man called him a ‘crybaby’). When it comes to Sarah Palin, there was almost universal
agreement that she could never be elected president, with most citing her inexperience and
baggage as obstacles too great to overcome. But even more important to them, most felt she was
ultimately driven by greed and ambition more than anything else and would rather use her newfound fame to enrich herself than improve the country.

All of which underscores how much the conservative Republicans are a world apart –
with big consequences for the Republican Party."

Read the entire report here.


The self-identifying conservative Republicans who make up the base of the Republican Party stand a world apart from the rest of America, according to focus groups conducted by Democracy Corps. These base Republican voters dislike Barak Obama to be sure - which is not very surprising as base Democrats had few positive things to say about George Bush - but these voters identify themselves as part of a ‘mocked’ minority with a set of shared beliefs and knowledge, and commitment to oppose Obama that sets them apart from the majority in the country. They believe Obama is ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt the United States and dramatically expand government control to an extent nothing short of socialism. They overwhelmingly view a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of this country’s founding principles and are committed to seeing the president fail.

Key Findings:

Instead of focusing on these intense ideological divisions, the press and elites continue to look for a racial element that drives these voters’ beliefs - but they need to get over it. Conducted on the heels of Joe Wilson’s incendiary comments at the president’s joint session address, we gave these groups of older, white Republican base voters in Georgia full opportunity to bring race into their discussion - but it did not ever become a central element, and indeed, was almost beside the point.


First and foremost, these conservative Republican voters believe Obama is deliberately and ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt our country and dramatically expand government control over all aspects of our daily lives. They view this effort in sweeping terms, and cast a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of the United States as it was conceived by our founders and developed over the past 200 years. This concern combines with a profound sense of collective identity. They readily identify themselves as a minority in this country - a minority whose values are mocked and attacked by a liberal media and class of elites. They also believe they possess a level of knowledge and understanding when it comes to politics and current events, one gained from a rejection of the mainstream media and an embrace of conservative media and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which sets them apart even more.

Looking at the current political debate, it was evident in our focus group discussions that the divide between conservative Republicans and even the most conservative-leaning independents remains very, very wide. Independents harbor doubts about Obama’s health care reform but are desperate to see some version of health care reform pass this year; the conservative Republicans view any health care reform as a victory for Obama and are militantly opposed. The language they use further reflects this divide. Conservative Republicans fully embrace the ‘socialism’ attacks on Obama and believe it is the best, most accurate way to describe him and his agenda. Independents largely dismiss these attacks as partisan rhetoric detracting from a legitimate debate about what many of them do see as excessive government control and spending.

Friday, October 16, 2009



LOUISIANA JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: Bi-racial children do not do well in American society


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is calling to have Bardwell's license revoked, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is calling for his dismissal -- a notion shared by [Beth] McKay [the woman who asked to be married by Bardwell].

"He's not representing all the people that he is supposed to be representing," McKay said. "He's only representing the people with his same opinions."

The inimitable Capt. Fogg over at The Swash Zone blogged on this today as well.  Go here to read him.

Via HuffPo:

HAMMOND, La. — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.
"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house," Bardwell said. "My main concern is for the children."

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."
I guess Bardwell is unaware of how one very famous bi-racial American citizen has managed to overcome this "situation" and managed to get himself elected President of the United States of America.  Someone needs to clue the clueless JoP . 

The Associated Press:

AP) NEW ORLEANS : A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

[Emphasis mine.  Oy.]--SK

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said. "I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

I'm so glad we're in a post-racial America now that Mr. Obama is president. /sarcasm/

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Majority in U.S. Favors Healthcare Reform This YearControlling costs a higher priority than expanding coverageby Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- As U.S. House leaders unveil a plan to reform the U.S. healthcare system, a USA Today/Gallup poll finds 56% of Americans in favor and 33% opposed to Congress' passing major healthcare reform legislation this year. Support for healthcare reform before the end of the year is sharply split along party lines, with 79% of Democrats in favor, compared with only 23% of Republicans.

On Tuesday, House Democrats held a press conference in which they introduced their version of healthcare legislation. The Senate is still working on its version. With the specific outlines of healthcare reform still far from settled, the July 10-12 survey explored a number of other issues that Congress is considering as it works toward drafting legislation.
A more up-to-date poll from Gallup on health care legislation here.
Why listening to Glenn Beck will "collapse" your brain. 
In this typically nonsensical piece from his show, Beck admonishes Americans to "stand up" to the "brainiacs," who want to change this country--and then he claims NO AMERICANS WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM.  He urges Americans to resist the brainiacs through peaceful means,  and as an example, shows photos from the 1960s of anti-integration southerners turning their fire hoses on African-Americans, as an example of the sort of peaceful resistance Americans should use (never mind the fact that an overwhelming majority of Blacks and other minorities are in favor of health care reform).  Beck warns that if health care reform isn't resisted (peacefully, of course) the brainiacs will win, and then this country will be "rebooted" with their "new America." Y'know, like the "post-segregated" America that the "brainiacs" helped effect?  Like that "new America?"
It's always a challenge to discover any sort of meaning from the sausage-making like processes that pass for Glenn Beck's thinking.  This particular performance piece, I believe, is one of his classics in nincompoopery.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Hindenberg of Gasbags, no matter the gazillions of dollars paid to him for his daily emanations of effluvia, has just learned that he is not beloved by the NFL--owners and players.

The Gasbag apparently believed that his wealth could trump the noxious racism he's been broadcasting over his very long career and allow him to buy an athletic team.  Perhaps the Gasbag believed that people's memories are short and that no one would perform a simple Google search and find what he has said in the past about the NFL and its players:

"Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said this afternoon that the divisive rhetoric of prospective Rams minority owner Rush Limbaugh makes him unappealing.

"I myself couldn't even think of voting for him," said Irsay speaking from the NFL's fall ownership meetings in Boston.

Asked if he'd spoken to other owners about Limbaugh's candidacy, Irsay said, "I haven't and I don't think I would even go to the point of talking to Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Dwight Freeney, talking to those men and seeing what their positions are. I'm very sensitive to know there are scars out there. I think as a nation we need to stop it. Our words do damage and it's something that we don't need. We need to get to a higher level of humanity and we have.
NFL players' union opposes Limbaugh's bid for Rams, says football "overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred"

From an October 11 article:

NFL Players Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on Saturday made a move to solidify the union against a bid by conservative talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh as part of a group that aims to purchase the St. Louis Rams.

In an e-mail to the union's executive committee on Saturday specifically addressing Limbaugh's bid, Smith said, "I've spoken to the Commissioner [Roger Goodell] and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred."

NFL commissioner Goodell: Limbaugh's "divisive comments are not what the N.F.L. is all about"

From an October 13 New York Times report:

Commissioner Roger Goodell cast doubt on Rush Limbaugh's viability as an N.F.L. owner Tuesday, saying that "divisive comments are not what the N.F.L. is all about."

"I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here," Goodell said. Then he continued: "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL -- absolutely not."

Goodell emphasized that the Rosenbloom family, which owns the St. Louis Rams, is not even fully committed to sell its majority stake in the team and that they were extremely early in the process. Limbaugh has teamed with the former Madison Square Garden executive Dave Checketts in a bid for the Rams. But Goodell's comments were a thinly veiled signal that Limbaugh's bid -- even if it were the highest -- would most likely not receive support from owners, who must approve any change in ownership.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Van Beethoven--here's a review of a film about him.  I can't wait to see it.

No post just now.  But close your eyes, and let your heart get lost in this:

Saturday, October 10, 2009


“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
--Milan Kundera

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode.” --The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

UPDATE:  The Wall Street Journal examines the holiday honoring Columbus in a piece titled:  "Is Columbus Day Sailing Off the Calendar?"(Click in this text to read it.)

Columbus Day weekend is upon us, and here in Boston’s North End, where many Italian-Americans live and own businesses, the celebration will begin with a parade on Sunday, October 11th, at 1 pm, which will start at City Hall plaza, proceed around the North End’s Hanover and Endicott Streets, ending at the Waterfront’s Christopher Columbus Park. Columbus Day is a big event for the Italians of New York as well, ususally featuring a well-known Italian celebrity to lead their parade.

For me, it means a three-day weekend of relaxation and maybe some leaf-peeping. For other Americans with an Italian heritage, it is a day of pride and a chance to remind all Americans of the unique contribution by the navigator, Cristoforo Columbo, from Genoa, discoverer of America.

In his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen, examines 12 current text books that deal with our American history, starting with the voyage of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and Columbus’s landing on Hispaniola, which he mistook for India. We all know the stories [myths] that we were taught in grade school. Loewen reports the facts, taken from Columbus’s own logs, and the diaries of Bartolom√© de las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest and writer.

Here is Loewen describing Columbus’ arrival in the New World:

“They [the text books] have the lookout cry ‘Tierra!’ or ‘Land!’ Most of them tell us that Columbus’s first act after going ashore was for ”thanking God for leading them safely across the sea’—even though the surviving summary of Columbus’s own journal states only that ‘before them all, he took possession of the island, as in fact he did, for the King and Queen, his Sovereigns.’ Many of the textbooks tell of Columbus’s three later voyages to the Americas, but most do not find space to tell us how Columbus treated the lands and the people he ‘discovered.’”

“Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass.”

“Columbus’s initial impression of the Arawaks, who inhabited most of the islands in the Caribbean, was quite favorable. He wrote in his journal on October 13, 1492: ‘At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes and very handsome…They are not black, but the color of the inhabitants of the Canaries.’ Columbus went on to describe the Arawaks’ canoes, ‘some large enough to contain 40 or 45 men.’ Finally, he got down to business “I was very attentive to them, and strove to learn if they had any gold. Seeing some of them with little bits of metal hanging at their noses, I gathered from them by signs that by going southward or steering round the island in that direction, there would be found a king who possess great cups full of gold.’

On his return voyage to Spain, Columbus kidnapped some ten to twenty-five ‘Indians,’ only 7 survived alive. Loewen: “When Columbus and his men returned to Hispanola in 1493, they demanded food, gold, spun cotton—whatever the Natives had that they wanted, including sex with their women. To ensure cooperation, Columbus used punishment by example When an Indian committed even a minor offense, the Spanish cut off his ears or nose. Disfigured, the person was sent back to his village as living evidence of the brutality the Spaniards were capable of."

Of course, the Natives resisted, with the Arawaks fighting back, but their sticks and stones were useless against the armed and clothed Spanish. Naturally, the Spanish prevailed.

But after finding no gold, “Columbus had to return some dividend to Spain. Thus began the slave raid—he took 1,500 back to Spain and another 500 were given to the Spaniards who remained on the island to use as slaves.”

Those who could fled the into the interior of the island. “Columbus was excited, writing: ‘In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which could be sold,’…’In Castile, Portugal, Aragon…and the Canary Islands they need many slaves, and I do not think they get enough from Guinea.’”

All of these gruesome facts are available in primary-source material—letters by Columbus and by other members of his expeditions, including the work of Las Casas, the first great historian of the Americas, who relied on primary materials and helped preserve them.

Loewen: “…Columbus installed the encomienda system, in which he granted or ‘commended’ entire Indian villages to individual colonists or groups of colonists…Spain made the encomienda system official policy on Haiti in 1502; other conquistadors subsequently introduced it to Mexico, Peru, and Florida.

“The tribute and encomienda systems caused incredible depopulation. On Haiti, the colonists made the Arawaks mine gold for them, raise Spanish food, carry them everywhere they went. Pedro de Cordoba wrote in a letter to King Ferdinand in 1517, ‘As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide.”

“Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves—about 5,000—than any other individual…A particularly repellent aspect of the slave trade was sexual. As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape…Columbus wrote a friend in 1500 ‘A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.’”

Have a nice Columbus Day.

Friday, October 9, 2009


‘Humbled’ Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Committee says president gives world’s people ‘hope for a better future’

NBC News and news services

OSLO, Norway - President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.

Here's the decision:

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.”

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population,” the citation said.

“For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”


Today I learned that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awards this prize to individuals not only for their accomplishments but for their POTENTIAL as individuals to effect worldwide change toward peaceful solutions to difficult and dangerous problems.

I see this as a prize for all Americans of good will who still hold onto the hope that we can always do better and will always strive to listen to our better angels.

Think about it.  This is an honor for the whole country, and Mr. Obama humbly acknowledged in his speech that he didn't deserve it, but will work diligently for the justice and peace we all yearn for.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The Daily Beast conducted its own study which rates American cities for their "smarts."  Here are the criteria TDB used to determine which of the 55 American cities rated deserve the designation as "smartest:"

"We only ranked metropolitan areas (the cities and their suburbs) of 1 million people or more, using Census data, with the definition of each greater metropolitan area defined by Nielsen. That gave us 55 in all. All data was then organized on a per-capita basis, so that a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, and New York, New York, had equal weight. We’re looking for the brainiest cities, not the biggest.

Then we divided the criteria into two halves: Half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). No credit was given for “some college,” or “some grad school”—we rewarded those who finished the race. The intellectual environmental half had three subparts. First, we looked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. We focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking. We also measured the ratio of institutions of higher education (15 percent), as defined by the federal government—different than just measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities don’t just churn out diplomas, but instead drive the intellectual vigor of cities. 

Finally, many studies link intelligence and political engagement, so we weighed this, too, as measured by the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent). (Our relatively small weighting acknowledges that numerous other local factors can affect turnout.)

Once we had all these comparable, per-capita figures, we ranked the cities in each category, assigning 10 points to those near the very top, and 0 to the bottom, with scores allocated between in a broad bell curve. We then added the totals, and multiplied by two, which made for a perfect score of 200, a wash-out score of 0, and an average score right at 100—close to the exact parameters of a classic IQ test."


#1  Raleigh-Durham, NC
#2  San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, CA
#3  BOSTON, MA!*

#4  Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
#5  Denver, CO


Image: AP Photo
Metro Area Population: 4,522,858

Daily Beast IQ Score: 162

The Boston area is home to more than 100 universities, so it’s easy to understand why it ranked near the top for graduate degrees per capita. It’s the capital of Massachusetts, drawing in brains that way, too. A competitive intellectual atmosphere may also account for the area ranking in the top 10 percent in nonfiction book sales. “When you go into somebody’s office or you go into their home, one of the things you case out is their bookshelf,” says Fiery Cushman, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Harvard University. “Bostonians have unrealistic expectations about how much reading they can get done.”

The bottom 5, sad to say, are, according to TDB's criteria, these cities:

#51  Memphis, TN
#52  Louisville, KY
#53  San Antonio, TX
#54  Las Vegas, NV
#55  Fresno, CA

Read all the reviews at this link.

Monday, October 5, 2009



I HAD no time to hate, because

The grave would hinder me,

And life was not so ample I

Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,

The little toil of love, I thought,

Was large enough for me.

--Emily Dickinson

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Link is here for the entire column.


"In 2008, after McCain had won his nomination, Limbaugh turned his attention to the Democratic race. He commanded his followers to vote in the Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton because “we need Barack Obama bloodied up politically.” Todd Donovan of Western Washington University has looked at data from 38 states and could find no strong evidence that significant numbers of people actually did what Limbaugh commanded. Rush blared the trumpets, but few of his Dittoheads advanced.

Over the years, I have asked many politicians what happens when Limbaugh and his colleagues attack. The story is always the same. Hundreds of calls come in. The receptionists are miserable. But the numbers back home do not move. There is no effect on the favorability rating or the re-election prospects. In the media world, he is a giant. In the real world, he’s not.

But this is not merely a story of weakness. It is a story of resilience. For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P. They are enabled by lazy pundits who find it easier to argue with showmen than with people whose opinions are based on knowledge. They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America.

So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.

They pay more attention to Rush’s imaginary millions than to the real voters down the street. The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.

The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P. But it’s not because the talk jocks have real power. It’s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time."

Friday, October 2, 2009


Name stealing seems to be a habit some people on the fringes of the right can't resist.  I exposed this a few weeks ago when some rightwing blogger came to my blog and used the name of a Las Vegas DJ, ScottyBoy, and posted his opinion under that name.  I went to the link the poster used for ScottyBoy and found it was a Facebook account.  I wrote to the email on that account and asked if that account was the one posting on my blog.  The real ScottyBoy said that he DID NOT post on my blog and that someone had stolen his identity.

At another time, I caught "Bits by Bob" stealing other people's writings and posting them as his own on his blog and on mine.

And today, some clown used the name "CherryTink08" to post comments in the post below.  It didn't smell right to me, so I did some investigation.  I actually found the REAL CherryTink08 and wrote her an email to tell her what was going on.  I posted my suspicions on the comment section below, and the FRAUD "CherryTink08" wrote this comment:

CherryTink08: said...
wow, you really are a compulsive nut.
You really do have a problem with issues. you've got a lot of rage in you and you seem to be in a imaginary world. like everyone is out to get you. but really, you need to read you comments out loud before you hit that publish button. maybe you'll realize how nutty you sound.
October 2, 2009 9:05 AM

To the FRAUD who wrote this comment:  You are a cheat but you have the little balls to come here and call me a nut because I found out your disgusting cowardly deceit:  that YOU stole someone else's identity and then hid behind it to attack me!

Behold what some fringe wingnuts are about:  Lying, cheating, fraud.  They really don't have the cajones or the courage of their convictions, so they steal other people's identities and then slander people from their theft. These are the same people who call President Obama a liar.

I don't know who the real commenter is, the one who stole CherryTink08's identity, but I do know he or she is a major pathetic creep.   

When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror--understand what you're looking at:  A dastardly craven poltroon! [You'll have to look up that word, because it's a sure bet you don't know what it means.  Have fun!]

It has been written that if you seek the truth, it will free you.  Unfortunately, in your case, it condemns you.

Here is the answer to my email from the young woman who really IS CherryTink08:

[-] CherryTink08 2 hours ago
sry that was not me
Shaw Kenawe
[-] Shaw Kenawe 11 hours ago
Hello CherryTink08,

I left you a message earlier this morning about someone who came to my political blog and posted under your name. If you actually posted the comment, no problem. But I have discovered people who steal other people's identities and post comments with those stolen identities on my blog.

All I ask is that you confirm that you posted the comments today on my blog. Here are the comments you (or someone using your name) placed on my blog today:

CherryTink08 said...

I just got turned on to Glenn Beckand so I sampled a little more today and he seemed like a different Beck but I'll get to that in a sec. So they made fun of him on SNL, that show is so lame and so well past its prime that unless Tina Fey was involved it doesn't even merit a blip. OK so today Beck was talking about the federal government may force your kids to get the new Swine Flu vaccine and he was talking about all those mothers who say HELL NO!! So Beck and his sidekick were hashing this out, this massive distrust of the government thing. Beck said it's not healthy and he divided the mistrustful into two main groups: those who think the government is incompetent and those who think the government is up to something nefarious.

FOLKS, Beck ain't immune to criticism either, he's human and by taking on a kind of fringe element here that even he disagrees with he looks moderate and reasonable by comparison. Point of this blog is not to say Beck is extreme himself but that's the common assumption and perception that's out there thanks in large part to the media although he does use actual quotes of people in making his case, Obama's past statements in interviews about the Constitution doesn't address income redistribution for instance, that's a pretty Marxist thing to say and no SNLer can bury it with parody. So on today's radio show if you just tuned in for the first time and had no clue as to who Glenn Beck is Right on. He's the real deal.

October 2, 2009 7:26 AM

And here is the link where the comments, using your name, can be found:

My blog is here:

my email is

Sorry to bother you, but I think people need to act responsibly and NOT steal other people's identities when they make political statements.

All I ask is that you either confirm or deny that you are the CherryTink08 who commented on my blog today.


Shaw Kenawe



That's too bad, but I appreciate our POTUS and FLOTUS's  efforts on behalf of America.  This will be blown out of proportion by the Right as some sort of evidence of something or other.  But I would like to point out to those who will come here and revel in this setback, that while President Obama was in Denmark--and during the many times he's been in foreign countries in his young administration, no one has thrown shoes at him.

Here is what we'll be seeing from certain people on the Right over this president's willingness to take a chance to win one for America:

October 2, 2009 8:35 AM

Blogger StevensOpinions said...

October 2, 2009 8:40 AM
Shaw Kenawe said...
Let Steven's comment stand for itself: He's happy to announce that he is anti-American. Happy that America lost out. Now there's a real patriot. He hates President Obama more than he loves his country. I salute President Obama for making the effort! Good going. And thank you. But look at it this way folks: No one threw shoes at our president when he was in Denmark.
VIDEO: Conservatives Erupt In Applause Over Chicago's Olympic Bid Failure

Read more at:
Conservative Americans are cheering because the Olympics will not be held here.
In 2005, when NYCity lost out on the Olympics, no one cheered and no one blamed George W. Bush for not getting the IOC to bring the games to New York.
But we now know that certain elements in the GOP are Republicans first--not Americans first and have actually cheered for Brazil's win over America's.

Rooting against America: Beck, other conservatives cheer elimination of Chicago's Olympic bid

Conservative media figures have celebrated the International Olympic Committee's elimination of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and used the event to bash President Obama, who flew to Copenhagen to lobby IOC members on behalf of Chicago's bid. For instance, Glenn Beck called the news that Chicago's bid had failed "so sweet," Rush Limbaugh declared himself "happy" and "gleeful" with the results, and Matt Drudge proclaimed: "World rejects Obama."

Keep it classy, GOP.