Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hey, Can you say Abu Grahib? - Presidential Debate Between President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry:
"KERRY: Well, first of all, I appreciate enormously the personal comments the president just made. And I share them with him. I think only if you're doing this -- and he's done it more than I have in terms of the presidency -- can you begin to get a sense of what it means to your families. And it's tough. And so I acknowledge that his daughters -- I've watched them. 

I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments. 


BUSH: I'm trying to put a leash on them.


KERRY: Well, I know. I've learned not to do that."

Do we really want to be talking about leashes for our grown daughters in the after-math of Abu Grahib? That's just creepy, George.

An Appeal for America to Be American

I received an email from Catholic pacifist activist Kara Speltz, who is my dear friend and a Soulforce colleague. In the missive, she asked me to share with readers the following essay by author, lecturer, peaceworker, and Benedictine nun Joan Chittister, OSB. Of course I will comply with her wish: Wondering what the media are not telling us is something that takes much of my time. Take a read; the full text can be found at the National Catholic Reporter site, but I will post it in its entirety here. I believe you will find Sr. Joan's thoughts fascinating and more than worth your time. And I recommend that you open your eyes and ears to more sources than mainstream ones -- getting the full story (and making up your own mind) will be especially important as we watch the media spin the upcoming presidential debates.

I have discovered that there is a lot you never find out, even about your own country, unless you go somewhere else.

For instance, Aug. 31 during the Republican National Convention, 203 Asian scholars from 13 countries published a public declaration, endorsed by 42 Asian organizations, appealing to U.S. voters "not to vote for a president who will turn Asia and the global society into America's enemy." The statement, they tell us, was released simultaneously in both New York and Japan, a nation that understands first-hand what war can do to a people for generations.

"Another America is possible," the declaration insists.

Maybe you heard about it but I didn't. Instead, they handed the document to me in Tokyo, amazed that I knew nothing about it at all.

Which, it seems to me, too, is strange, given the fact that the declaration purports to be the work of groups such as the International Movement for a Just World, the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, the Friends Service Council, Sociologists Without Borders, the Center for Research on the Environment, the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity group and the Korean Professors Union.

It is embarrassing to have to explain how it is that a "free press" is simply free to disregard so important a story. After all, John Kerry had said early in the campaign that world leaders preferred his presidency to four more years of another Bush regime.

The Bush camp challenged Kerry to prove the assertion, of course. They had no reason to believe that other world leaders weren't fully committed to the policies of George Bush, they insisted, and, in fact, knew that it was just the opposite. It took months before the press even attempted to test the truth of the statement but when they did, lo and behold, they finally announced that "30 out of 35 major countries were solidly pro-Kerry, and only Poland of all the countries of Europe, was pro-Bush."

This statement of Asian concerns they never published at all.

In the light of these recent findings of world-wide defection from present U.S. policies, I read it carefully. After all, even if the American response to such an appeal is "Who cares?" -- which in John Wayne's America, it may well be -- someone ought to at least acknowledge the concerns.

Most surprising of all, perhaps, is the fact that it is neither rant nor screed. It simply appeals to Americans to preserve the moral leadership that Americans have been seen before now to exert. The declaration makes four major points:

  1. With the war in Iraq, America's leadership and its influence have crumbled worldwide. The Iraqi war, they say, is "immoral, unlawful and unjustifiable."

    The real news about such a position as this is not that others are saying what the circumstances clearly demonstrate but that Americans, who claim to be the ultimate defenders of the rule of law, don't seem to mind the fact that they are in violation of international law. Nor does it bother them that the war was launched on insufficient and old -- very, very old --data. Nor does this church-going nation seem to think that the moral dictums they teach their children -- as in "thou shalt not lie," for instance, -- have anything whatsoever to do with politics and the standards we set for our politicians even when thousands and thousands of innocent people die because of it.

  2. The unilateralism and militarism of the United States in this mis-directed war has evoked "broad and seething rejections from all corners of the globe." It is, they argue, only the first attempt of this new kind of United States to achieve US domination of the world.

    Most ironic of all, they maintain, is the fact that because of US militarism, the world is much less safe than it ever was before the US launched its new doctrine of preemption. There is "unprecedented political unrest to the Middle East," they argue. And, most ironic of all, this campaign to "make the world safe for democracy" is now being used as an excuse for whatever political goals other authoritarian governments may have-as in the amendment of the Peace Constitution and the military rearmament of Japan.

    They maintain that in its anger over 9/11, the United States has simply unleashed another arms race all around a world that is now using the fear of "terrorism" to justify it.

  3. In a globalized and interdependent world, they insist, they have a right to make this appeal because this election is no longer a local affair.

    What we do politically, as they see it, effects their countries as much -- sometimes more -- than it effects us. If the United States maintains its present policies, they mourn, "peace and democracy in Asia will be only a dream long gone" as other governments use the same tactics to eliminate human rights and suppress their own peoples.

    "By the rest of the world, your country is looked at as an Empire," the document goes on, "looming large over the globe with pre-emptive strike doctrines and blind anti-terrorism policies depending heavily on macho military measures and ignorance of human rights ..."

    It is easy to see how this letter could have been written to Julius Caesar, or Nikita Kruschev. But to George Bush II? To us? Have we really fallen this low? "The United States of American is looked at," the document says, "as the most dangerous and destructive nation in the world by civilized global societies."

  4. Another America is possible, they remind us. The one that struggled against Hitler and Stalin, against Nazism and Communism, for the rights of all people everywhere.

It is an appeal for America to be American.

From where I stand, this is one of the saddest letters I have ever read in my lifetime. What else besides arrogance or ignorance can possibly account for the fact that as a nation these things don't seem to bother us at all? Most of all, how is that such positions never see the light of day in the very democratic country that stands to lose the most by being unaware of such anger, such pain, such global despair?

Sr. Joan suggests some worthwhile documents to read: The Declaration of Asian Intellectuals, a press release explaining the declaration, and an open letter to Americans.

from All Facts and Opinions

Sunday, September 26, 2004

When Republicans Say National Security is Priority #1, They're Lying

If they really cared about national security, would they vote like this?

The latest in an uninterrupted stream of post-9/11 examples of backward GOP priorities came last week, when the Republican Senate blocked attempts to increase funding for more than a dozen programs in the 2005 Homeland Security spending bill. What were the proposed increases? You know, diamond-tiaras-for-black-teenage-mothers-type stuff: $300 million dollars for port security, $146 million for firefighters, $70 million to track shipments of hazardous materials, $50 million for more federal Air Marshals, $70 million to secure chemical plants, $625 million for discretionary grants for high-threat, high-density urban areas, $350 million to improve security at points of entry into the United States.

Those programs, which would help secure our safety, would cost the U.S. taxpayer about $1.6 billion.

What will the government be spending money on instead? Bush, in his weekly radio address, sums it up:

In the next several months, more than $9 billion will be spent on contracts that will help Iraqis rebuild schools, refurbish hospitals and health clinics, repair bridges, upgrade the electrical grid, and modernize the communication system. Prime Minister Allawi and I agree that the pace of reconstruction can and should be accelerated, and we're working toward that goal.

How can anyone who is truly concerned with homeland security vote for these folks?

This post may also be found at Rox Populi.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Top Secret Debate Contract Addendum

As most people know by now, President Bush and Senator Kerry have signed on to a 32 page debate agreement. But few are aware that they also signed a secret addendum to that agreement. Fortunately, has an exclusive copy of that secret addendum, provided by a DC insider whom I will identify only as "Debate Throat."

TOP SECRET ADDENDUM TO ELECTION 2004 DEBATE AGREEMENT, entered into on September 20, 2004 by President George W. Bush (hereinafter referred to as "Bush") and Senator John F. Kerry (hereinafter referred to as "Kerry")

WHEREAS, The interesting thing about being the President is you don't have to explain things;

WHEREAS, If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier; and

WHEREAS, Bush and Kerry have entered into a Debate Agreement and wish to modify it and memorialize certain secret debate terms.

NOW, THEREFORE, Bush and Kerry hereby agree to the following top secret provisions:

1. Kerry shall be required to answer all debate questions in French.

2. Bush shall be required to answer all debate questions in English.

3. Throughout each debate, the backdrop behind Bush shall feature several U.S. flags, the precise number of which is subject to further negotiation.

4. Throughout each debate, the backdrop behind Kerry shall feature a map of Massachusetts and two life-size photos of Kerry with Jane Fonda.

The rest of the Top Secret Debate Contract Addendum is here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Place Your Bets

As we're now in the last full week of September, it's time for the obligatory speculation as to what the October Surprise will be. Some of you will readily volunteer the "surprise" capture of Osama Bin Laden. Well, that's too easy ladies. You're going to have to come up with something better and A LOT MORE SURPRISING than that here

Monday, September 20, 2004

Your or Someone You Know May be Eligible to Vote in Florida

OPERATION: SNOWBIRD is contacting registered voters, especially in New York and New Jersey, who intend to cast their votes for Kerry/Edwards, but who also spend at least part of the year living in Florida. Voting in Florida instead of in the north could definitely impact the outcome in Florida, providing the critical margin of victory for Kerry. [Al Gore lost the popular election in Florida by only 537 votes]
Under Florida law, if you maintain a mailing address in the state of Florida and intend for Florida to be your state of legal residence, then you meet the definition of a Florida resident. You do not have to be a homeowner in Florida, but could be a part-time renter who may reside in two different states during different parts of the year. Of course, one may registered in and may vote in only one state.

To complete a standard Florida voter registration form go to http://election/county/index
The Florida county that one lists on the application must match up with the Florida address listed.

The deadline for registering to vote in Florida for the 2004 Presidential Election is October 4th.

For more details go to

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day 2004

"Gather 'round, lads and lasses! Gather 'round! Remember: in a pirate ship, in pirate waters, in a pirate world, ask no questions. Believe only what you see. No -- Believe half of what you see."

Avast, ye lubbers! This bein' the 3rd annual International Talk Like A Pirate Day an' all, heave to and belay all orders but these:

Fetch the grog and salt pork from the galley! Grab the nearest yardarm! Man the DVD player! Load! Watch The Crimson Pirate!

Aye, this movie's awash in pirate lingo. I'll wager a month's ration o' rum that no finer piratical picture ever sailed the Spanish Main. There be all kind of swashbuckling and buccaneering from beginning to end, plus yer more unusual pirate movie elements includin' hot air balloons, submarines, nitroglycerine bombs and the Captain in drag.

Last but not least, ye'll be fixing yer spyglass on some very fine piratical eye-candy.

Now, ye can spy a fleet o' other jolly jack tars on the silver screen. Some o' me own favorites bein':

Cap'n Jack Sparrow

Captain Peter Blood

the Dread Pirate Roberts

Captain Hook

Long John Silver

...but they're all barnacled bilge rats compared to

Cap'n Vallo an' his scurvy crew.

Now, if ye only knows Burt Lancaster from the likes o' his latter-day roles in Field o' Dreams or classics like Birdman o' Alcatraz, ye might not be acquainted with how he looked back in the early days o' his career.

Take a gander at 'im in 1952. Aye, now I've never bin one t'drool over the musclebound mateys, but if he was to ask me to 'prepare to be boarded' ... Shiver me timbers! Hoist the jolly roger!

...Even in a dress he's a right ...umm... proud beauty! Well, actually I thinks I likes him better without the dress.

May all ye lubbers have a safe and festive TLAP Day.

This post also appears over here. Arrrrrrrr!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

URGENT: Anti-Choice rider being sneaked through Congress!

The Blogging of the President: 2004

Thanks to Shaula Evans at for the heads up. This passed the House with nary a whimper, but if we all get after our Senators, we might be able to stop it.

The Guardian reports that another assault on reproductive freedom has quietly passed the house:
A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency.

Translation: if a woman requires emergency medical care, a hospital can legally turn her away, and state and local governments can't do anything about it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

An Open Letter to the Candidates

This post also appears at Rox Populi.

Dear John Kerry and George "W standing for Women is a lot like Putin standing for Democracy" Bush:

I no longer give a shit about your Vietnam-era exploits. It doesn't matter to me if you were once a drunk-driving, cocaine-tooting mama's boy or if you were an effete BMOC. I worked my way through San Diego State, so your Ivy League, skull-and-crossbones homoerotic initiation service and secret handshake means little to me. I don't care about your windsurfing holidays or what cowboy boots you sport. I don't care if your wife wears Adolfo suits or what beauty products your daughters use. I don't care if you can give CPR to a rodent or which brand of mountain bike you ride.

Here's what I DO care about:

  • I want you to tell me how my niece, who is entering the Air Force next month, is going to receive the best equipment available to protect her from being killed while helping you prop up a culture that relegates women to second-class status.

  • I want you to tell me how my sister, who is in the U.S. Coast Guard, is going to receive the best equipment available to help her do her job to protect people and our shores -- not from illegal immigrants and drug dealers, but from people who mean to do us harm.

  • I want you to tell me how you are going to ensure that the money I've been paying into social security for the last 20 years is still going to be there after the boomers bleed the system and my existence dry. A trip to "carousel" is not something I'm looking forward to, but it's what I expect.

  • I want you to tell me how we're going to be able to compete economically in the future against the EU, China, India and Japan -- governments not currently mired in "red herring" wasteful defense spending.

  • I want you to tell me how the U.S. is going to reduce its dependence on Saudi oil (and our relationship with the Saudi government) by developing cleaner, environment-friendly energy alternatives.

  • I want you to tell me how you're going to re-vamp the education system so that young citizens become critical thinkers and not prayerful, professional test-takers.

  • I want you to tell me how the elderly homeless lady with the face that's being eaten away by some horrible desease is going to get some help. You know, the one who lives in Lafayette Square (across from the White House)?

  • I want you to start to examine the root causes of problems and do something about those, instead of "swatting at flies."

While you and mainstream media continue to distract us with this BS, Rome is burning. As a country, we're on our way out. One of you needs to do something to change that.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Cheney's E-Bray

We have great news on the jobs front via Dick Cheney: The jobless numbers and other bleak economic factors are no longer meaningful, because so many people are making a killing on eBay. As soon as I heard this I rejoiced ... and wrote a poem:

Cheney's E-Bray
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Be happy and be gay.
It's a fabulous new day.
Things are A-okay.
Cause you're trading on eBay.

Praise Cheney. Don't delay.
Never, ever speak français.
Kerry's so passé.
Cause you're trading on eBay.

Spend money. See a play.
Do not think about Ken Lay...

The rest of Cheney's E-Bray is here.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

TXTMob was created as a tool political activists could use to organize their work, form staff meetings to street protests.
To sign up for TXTMob, users enter their cellphone numbers into the TXTMob Web site, www.txtmob .com.

To thwart spammers, the system uses opt-in registration: a machine-generated authorization code is sent to each registered number and must be re-entered into the Web site to activate the registration. TXTMob is designed to carefully maintain members' privacy, not surprising given why most are using TXTMob.

Of the 142 public groups listed on the TXTMob site, the largest are dedicated to protesting the Bush administration, the Republican Party or the state of the world in general.

...TXTMob had its first major New York workout on the evening of Aug. 27, during the Critical Mass, a loosely organized bicycle ride through Manhattan by anti-Republican protesters. From the start of the ride, participants in a TXTMob group called comms_dispatch sent a slew of messages alerting one another to route changes and warning of traffic snarls. As the ride neared its end, comms_dispatch buzzed with reports of arrests from Second Avenue to 10th Avenue, and around St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Sad News

A truly funny and thoughtful voice in the blogosphere is now silent. Aaron Hawkins of Uppity Negro has passed away. There aren't many details at this time.

Via email from Liza Sabater.

Also posted at Rox Populi.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The ORIGINAL Vote or Die T-Shirt!!!

My son, blogger TheOne True b!X created and marketed the original Vote or Die t-shirt back in 1999 and has been selling them through since. Instead of supporting Macy's and an already-rich guy, support b!X, a really poor guy, and buy his Vote or Die shirts (various colors and shapes) as well as buttons, magnets, mugs, bumper stickers, hats, mouse pads etc. etc. etc. Go HERE check them out.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Quien es Mas Macho?

Jesse: "The delegates, the entire convention, are much more hostile to Democrats than the DNC was to the Republicans. In Boston, it was 'Bush has done a bad job.' In New York, it's 'John Kerry is a scumsucking bitch.'"

Atrios: "Suck it up if you're unemployed. Pussies."

Giblets: "And all this on compassion night! Man, I thought all these speeches were gonna be for pussies."

Kevin Drum: "Overwhelmingly, liberal bloggers seem to feel that if they watch the Republican convention speakers any longer they will explode. So they aren't. Even the ones who are specifically in New York to cover the convention can't stand it and are mostly hanging out and just chatting with each other.

Steve Gilliard: "Bush is a gutless bitch. Yes, this was a campaign stunt, and yes, Cleland has his own grudges against these people, but a real man would have invited Cleland and Rassman up to the ranch house, gave them some sweet tea, taken the letter and let them go. So he hides behind some lackey. Just like he's hidden behind women's skirts his entire life. And he calls himself a Texan. I didn't know Texans were pussies. His father must be cringing. He's done his share of dirt, but personal courage was never something Bush Sr.lacked. His son, sadly, has no courage, no character, and no guts. He talks big, but he's hiding from a triple amputee. It's not like he wore a horse's head."

Now, replace some of the words in bold above with your choice of:
  • jigaboo
  • beaner
  • chink
  • sand-nigger
  • oven-dogger
  • Beastie Boyz
  • vodka pisser

Love the sinners, hate the sin. And before you go searching through my entries, I'll admit that I've been as guilty of it as the next gal. But, no more.

More at desfemmes here, here, here, here, and here.

This entry can also be found here,

What to do with teenagers when roller skating gets old? SkyZone!

As the mother of a teenage daughter, figuring out activities that give ME a break, are nearby, don't involve computers and cell phones...