Thursday, September 29, 2005

Frankly, I was beginning to doubt the existence of a Just God (TM)

Until This.

This individual is a piece of work. That's putting it mildly. It's probably more accurate to say that few people have professionalized and mainstreamed thuggery and criminalism like Tom Delay.

Here are a few of my favorite hits from his long and distiguished career as a shakedown artist for the elite:

Here's the thing about Tom Delay--he's arguably the 2nd most powerful person in Washington DC besides President Cheney. And he's as corrupt as the day is long.

He's. Not. Alone.

Time to throw the bastards out.

Cuz, hey the competition just loves Tom Delay.

Monday, September 26, 2005

More Where I Was.

This place was called Black Balsam Knob. It didn't look like anything else I had seen in the mountains. It looked more like places in Ireland I had been to, and in fact it was named for a place in the Scottish highlands. Or so sayeth our tour guide.

Where I was.

Several posts to follow. This first is a few pictures of Looking Glass Rock, which is located in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina. It's country that's so pretty, it almost makes the Chicago suburbs seem like a sprawling wasteland of gridlock and stripmalls.

But really, who could think such a thing?

I just flew in from the deep south, and boy are my arms tired!

I slay me.

Seriously folks. I just spent three days in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Pictures to follow. We were camping to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of a dear friend of mine, and the trip was fantastic. I could not have asked for anything better in the way of quality time with my friends.

More to follow, but for now take comfort in the fact that blogger is back on. And also that George Bush is a flaming moron. That continues unabated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I too, was touched by His Noodly Appendage

Like Atrios, I have seen the glory of His Noodly Appendage (with vegetarian meatballs, of course).

---ps. note the hour. I'm at it early this morning, baby! Whoo!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Why we matter

And by we, I mean those of us left standing in the labor movement.

This story about how the Teamsters are trying to organize port drivers in Miami is well worth your time. Of particular importance to me was the following quote from the owner of a trucking firm, a Mrs. Mercy Torres. Ahem:

The union will register companies interested in hiring the new employee owner-operators.

It shouldn't expect many takers, said Mercy Torres, president of InterFlorida Container Transport, which uses 34 independent drivers.

''Nobody at this point is interested in participating with the Teamsters,'' Mercy said, who added she fired two contractors this week for their plans to register at the (union) hall Saturday.

'I told them, `You can't work here anymore,' '' Mercy said.

Now, this happens to be illegal. You can't fire people for joining a union. In fact, it's one of the few things you can't fire anybody for. The others being race, gender, ethnicity, so forth. But Mrs. Torres probably doesn't have to lose too much sleep about the NLRB raiding her office, swooping in to deliver some labor law justice. Even after she admitted that the reason she fired them was specifically because they joined the Teamsters, she's probably fine.

And people wonder why only 9% of all Americans belong to a union. Hey, your boss breaks the law, no big whoop. It's not like you have any rights when you enter the workplace or anything.

Now, this next bit concerns two unions whose 'jurisdictions' happen to overlap. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) got into a nasty tiff after the SEIU left the AFL-CIO earlier this year. Turns out that a bunch of California home health care workers already had one union (AFSCME) and that the SEIU was trying to woo them into the purple ocean. This agreement puts a halt to such counter-productive wastes of time and helps ensure that the fallout from The Big Split remains minimal. So good news.

Now, if you want to see an example of courage in the workplace, look no further than Glendale CA:

Roughly 20 employees gathered in the parking lot of a restaurant on Central Avenue in Glendale, where they were warned about the possibility of police intervention, then began marching toward the Hilton hotel and the office of their boss.

Juan Mendoza, a waiter who makes minimum wage plus tips after 13 years and pays about $200 a month for medical benefits, walked ahead of Leticia Ceballos. After 11 years in various housekeeping jobs, she makes $8 an hour. The nonunion clock-punchers believe they'd have a better deal with union representation, so despite fear of retribution, they were ready to speak up.

The employees entered the high-rise Hilton through the back door and snaked through a service area to the executive offices of the four-star hotel. With them in solidarity was Ana Cortes, a Beverly Hilton housekeeper who said she makes $3 an hour more than her Glendale colleagues for comparable work and gets free medical benefits from her unionized hotel.

Before long, several security guards showed up, along with a gentleman in a gray suit.

Now I have done some courageous things in my life. I have never confronted my boss and demanded he be neutral in my decision to form a union. At work. Knowing I could get fired for doing so.

So let's hear it for the ones who give a damn, who don't have any other choice but to fight, and let's see a little more support for the working men and women of America. They, they don't got it so good just now.

Now, I know that the American Labor Movement Has Its Problems. God, I know it. Intimately. It is, in fact, run by human beings who (it turns out) are completely susceptible to selling out their union brothers and sisters for their own gain. Old story.

But the truth of the matter is that there isn't a force in this nation capable of transforming endemic poverty into economic stability like a strong labor movement. And with it missing, the chance for economic justice--no, strike that, economic survival--remains a fantasy for too many hardworking folks.

Can these people do anything right? Really? Anything. C'mon, gimme somethin'.

You can literally not make this shit up. Here's a guy who has a title no one gives a shit about, but which is actually a fairly powerful position, and uses that position in a way which is harmful to the American people.


And his wife? She's in charge of the committee which would look into this. I'm sure she'll get crackin' on this presently. After dinner. With her husband.

We are now whistling past the graveyard.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why soon no one will know anything worth talking about

Read it and weep. I quote at length (via the invaluable dailykos):

" If big media look like they’re propping up W’s presidency, they are. Because doing so is good for corporate coffers — in the form of government contracts, billion-dollar tax breaks, regulatory relaxations and security favors. At least that wily old codger Sumner Redstone, head of Viacom, parent company of CBS, has admitted what everyone already knows is true: that, while he personally may be a Democrat, “It happens that I vote for Viacom. Viacom is my life, and I do believe that a Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one.”
" Given all of the above, it comes as no surprise that, as early as that first Saturday, certainly by Sunday, inevitably by Monday, and no later than Tuesday, the post-Katrina images and issues were heavily weighted once again toward the power brokers and the predictable. The angry black guys were gone, and the lying white guys were back, hogging all the TV airtime. So many congressional Republicans were lined up on air to denounce the “blame-Bush game” — all the while decrying the Louisiana Democrats-in-charge — that it could have been conga night at the Chevy Chase Country Club."
"Of course, no one could have anticipated that, to their immense credit, TV’s prettiest-boy anchors (CNN’s Anderson Cooper and FNC’s Shep Smith and NBC’s Brian Williams) would be boldly and tearfully relating horror whenever and wherever they found it, no matter if the fault lay with Mother Nature or President Dubya. But the real test of pathos vs. profit is still before us: whether the TV newscasters will spend the fresh reservoir of trust earned with the public to not only rattle Bush’s cage but also battle their own bosses. If not, it won’t be long before TV truth telling will be muzzled permanently."
Read the whole thing, and weep. The memory hole is about to become the memory, whole. There's a bumper sticker that reads "The media are only as liberal as the corporations that own them."

What du hell?

Why is blogger eating my posts?

Weekend Update, starring me as Tina Fey

So this weekend went well. The event yesterday was heavy on nuts-and-bolts political training and hobnobbing. These folks were hosting it. The guest speaker was this guy, who's apparently (as he'd term it) a public servant. He did a good job during his talk, and apologized for his vote on the reprehensible pension deal. We also went back-and-forth about education funding. In other news, I went to a bar and had a few drinks with the Cegelis operatives.

All of 'ems were of age, I swears, ocifer.

Today I went here and met with some striking teachers. They're good people in a tight spot. Then I went some friends here and had some home-grown Illinois wines. There's a reason no one associates wine with Illinois. A very good reason.

In other (not really) shocking news, I miss Mrs. Dr. Inallmyyears and cannot wait for her to grace me with her presence once again.


Friday, September 16, 2005

I have a confession...don't tell anyone, ok?

So the story this weekend is that Mrs. Dr. Inallmyyears is on a professional conference in the vast western wastes, furtherin' her career. Which means that once again, I fly again solo at the helm of this blogship.

Tomorrow I'm headed to something call the Democratic Leaders for the 21st Century kinda workshop thingamabob. It's some kind of kick-down, drag out political training for election nerds like myself. It'll be held at the UNITE HERE Local 1 hall. I've never been there, so I'm looking forward to it. While I haven't been as involved in the York township democrats as I was towards the end of the summer, my involvement with the Cegelis folks remains high. All to the good.

Sunday, I'm out of town with some friends (on a picket line). Until Wednesday when Mrs. Dr. Inallmyyears once again graces me with her kind (not to mention beautiful) presence, it's me, the pooches and my iTunes to hold the fort down.

Tell then, good news for once.

More fun with google!

Step 1: Type the word 'failure' in the search engine.

Step 2: Click 'I'm feeling lucky'.

Step 3: Marvel. In spanish if you prefer.

(hat tip to Josh Marshall and this guy)

A word of caution. It wouldn't be this easy to put such generic Bush-Bashing Bloggness, if hee weren't so damned easy to criticize. Sometimes it seems so easy, so trite, so, done. So, been there, bought the t-shirt.

There's a way for him and his supporters to keep my outrage dial on 1, as opposed to 11. He could quit being such a colossal failure, for starts.

What follows is the sound of me holding my breath for a very, very long time. And of hell freezing over.

The following was picked up by very powerful microphones near the President:

"Boy, ruining a country sure is thirsty work. I mean, can you imagine THIS heat with no AC? Almost as bad as lying on national television. Not quite that bad. Whew, Laura, whip me up a glass of that Jesus-juice. No, I had rhubarb last night, I want boysenberry."

That kind of wisdom can only be followed by the following observation from NBC reporter Brian Williams, checking in after the President (and I use the term loosely) gave his rally 'round my flag' speech.
"I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions."
I mean, it's not as though the President's advance team would set up a photo op of an electrified New Orleans, just for the TV cameras, is it? No, no one's that cunning.

In other news, Karl Rove* is in charge of the cleanup of the Gulf region. Already, they're trying to pin this whole catastrophe on environmental lawsuits against the Army Corps of Engineers.

In other news, my head has just exploded becase I have reached my absolute bullshit capacity. See below:

*Who wins Karl? Harry? And what about the Aryan brotherhood? Are they involved?

Buy the movie ticket and see. And make me a much richer man in the process. Remember, I have the movie copy rights.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

If this is a hoax, at least I got taken in with Reuters

Passed along without comment:

Well, okay one comment. This is the hand of the leader of the free world at a UN Summit. This is the guy in charge. Asking if he can go potty. Note the question mark. Is he not sure? Does Condoleeza need to tell him whether he needs to potty? Would any 9-year old be given this much lattitude in church? I weep for the future.

Hat tip to crooks & liars

Thanks President Bush, may I have another?!

Let it never be said that man isn't inventive in finding ways to screw people. Hot on the heels of his decision to waive the federal law that mandates a prevailaing wage for fedearal construction contracts, Dear Leader (TM) has decided to suspend the prevailing wage laws for service sector employees.

But wait, that's not all! If you call now, you too can have environmental and workplace safety rules waived as well!



Sick genius, that man. Leave no worker unmolested.

After that, a crass request

Please, anyone reading this, click the link below and vote for Christine Cegelis. Democracy for America will be selecting someone to put their support behind, and while I'm sure they're all worthy candidates, some a little more equally worthy than others.

There's a post from Christine up at dailykos:

That is all.

Straight from Marblehead headquarters deep in the sewers of Mexico City, In All My Years is proud to present a guest post.

It's been kind of interesting to watch people's reactions in the wake of hurricane Katrina. For the first time in my memory, the subject of news reports is poverty, and people really seem kind of shocked. It's as if all the really poor people in this country (and sure enough, there are tons of them) lived in a box that all of us privileged folk could not see into, and Katrina knocked a big hole in the box.

It's deeply troubling to confront this reality. We're so used to believing that America is the land of opportunity, and if you want to work hard, then no one has to remain in poverty. We hear statistics every day that sort of mask the reality of things. Even during the Clinton "boom years" of the late 90's, things weren't really that good. Statistics about employment would come out that made everybody feel great, but those statistics would fail to mention the large number of households in which the breadwinners had to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet (if everybody is working three jobs to make ends meet, there are a lot of jobs being filled!).

Troubling as it is, I am glad that some small recognition is beginning to emerge. Recently, it hit a little closer to home for me. A good friend attempted suicide the other day (the attempt was unsuccessful, I am glad to say, and the friend is beginning to get the help they need). This was a terrible day for me in and of itself, but the trip to the hospital emergency room proved extra terrible.

The emergency room was packed with people at 8 o'clock on Monday morning. Fancy LCD televisions mounted on the wall above the front desk continually scrolled messages about how many people are processed each year, day, and hour in this facility, and how you must be patient in light of this. I watched people (mostly minorities) sit and bleed from open wounds, slump over from exhaustion in wheelchairs, and try to comfort their sick children while they waited for 4 or 5 hours to receive medical attention.

My mother, a staunch Bush supporter and rabid conservative, always answers thusly when we have the conversation about health care availability: "anyone in this country can go to an emergency room, and cannot be turned away." As in, "everyone here has it just as good as Canadians in regard to health care, because no one can be refused care." This is true in a sense, I suppose. You can go to the emergency room, and they will admit you. As I learned while sitting in the waiting room, they will not necessarily admit you right away. They certainly will not admit you in a timely fashion.

Understandably, tensions run high in this environment. For those like my mother who insist that privatization and its gleaming efficiency will address these human issues, I submit the following anecdote about how this privately run health care facility (one of the largest hospitals in my county) deals with the overrun. On each side of the waiting room, there was an enormous $5,000 television upon which looped mindless DVDs like "Dennis the Menace" or some movie about friendly encounters with space aliens. The idea, I suppose, is "instead of investing in facilities to handle these poor people who will likely never pay us even if we ruin their credit and hound them with credit agencies, we will spend a few thousand dollars and try to distract them until we can shuffle them through triage and send them home with a band-aid."

Oh, yes, and then there were the "cops." Standing by the metal detectors at the main entrance were three white, overweight, gun-toting security guards. The purpose of these men became clear when a very sick looking black man in a wheelchair wheeled himself to the front desk and complained in a calm, non-confrontational manner that he had been sitting there for four hours, and was in a good deal of pain, and really needed to see someone. The front desk lady motioned to one of the guards who came over and in a very stern, condescending tone instructed the man that the only way he was going to see a doctor was to wait his turn, and he was going to go back to the waiting area, wasn't he, and be good and quiet, because if he caused any trouble, he was going to be thrown out of the facilities. I'm not making this up. It was hard to watch.

Now, I'm not blaming the security guard, or the receptionist, or the snappy doctors, or even the owners of the hospital who were out finishing off the back nine while basking in the profits from their hospital investment. I do not expect profit driven industry to care about people who cannot pay them for care. What concerns me is that all this occurs while a very sizeable portion of my paycheck leaves my pocket every month bound for the federal government. The federal government is not using that money to take care of its citizens who don't have the means, opportunities, education, or skills to take care of themselves. Instead, I cannot help but notice that every year my money is instead going to the military more than anything else.

Now, wait! Before you close your browser, give me a second to explain. This is not going to be a rant about how we need to quit spending money on the military. I am fine with military spending. In fact, in some ways, I think we need to spend more. When I look at how we treat soldiers and their families, particularly those whose service costs them the ability to ever hold down another job, to ever see again, or to even go on living, I think that we don't spend nearly enough. What is a human life worth in monetary terms? I think at least it is worth its earning potential to the children that are left behind. That is a very crass view of it, but we don't even get close to going that far. The best article I have seen in a long time on this subject is by Howard Zinn in The Progressive, and you can read it here.

I'd also like to point out that the "under 2,000 dead" estimate of American casualties in Iraq is only Americans who died on Iraqi soil. If they can get you on a plane and send you to a hospital in, say, Germany before you kick, you don't get counted in that number, even if you died because you took a bullet in Iraq. If you consider those people as well, estimates are closer to 10,000. Also, at least 14,362 Americans so far have been wounded. It's much harder to support your family if you are missing arms, legs, or eyes. These are real costs we need to consider when making out our military budgets. Which brings me to my next point.

Perhaps we could address all of these issues at once. First, you have to cut the outrageous things from the military budget (and this is where most of the money goes anyway). For instance, the Missile Defense Shield. That is such a joke. I remember how everybody used to make fun of the frivolous "Star Wars" spending that Reagan did. I could not believe my ears when I heard that the Bush administration picked up this project again and started funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into it. So that is the first thing that needs to go.

Next, route the money from all those ridiculous projects into better real world training for soldiers. Put more army guys through medical school, and have them use their training here at home to take care of the millions of people who need care every day but have no insurance. Use the available man-hours of our military to rebuild inner cities, run community programs, and take care of elderly shut-ins. Why not make the military the next WPA? They could do combat training one or two weeks a month, and do constructive work for their local communities for the rest of the time. In the process, they would learn valuable skills without risking their lives and still make a decent living. And the upside of all this is that if there ever really were a need for a military force (I think history has revealed with gleaming clarity that almost every military action since WWII has been unnecessary, and some might even say mistaken) we would have a high-morale army of men and women who were well trained, intelligent, and familiar with solving real-world problems.

I suppose this hasn't happened because it would take large chunks of government welfare out of the bloated pockets of defense contractors, and instead distribute it among needy individuals like we see suffering in New Orleans or my local community hospital. I know this rubs a lot of people the wrong way. It rubs the administration the wrong way because of their close ties to Halliburton and similar industry that keeps the skids greased for them. It rubs people like my mother the wrong way, because she views it as the inception of a welfare state where lazy black people suddenly realize they don't have to work because everything will be handed to them on a silver platter by the government, courtesy of my hard-earned paycheck. But I respectfully disagree.

I understand that some of this sort of thing will happen, that opportunists will work the system, and that some of the money will be wasted. But it is a price i am willing to pay. If there are going to be opportunists stealing my money through the government, I prefer them to be needy black people who by the nature of the history of this country have been robbed of economic opportunity for hundreds of years. Better this than rich white military contractors who don't think twice about the targets of the overpriced bombs they are getting rich from selling. Also, I don't think it will be that bad. I think people stop being lazy and shiftless when they think they have a real opportunity to make their lives better. If the odds are stacked against me in a competitive market, I am far more likely to throw in the towel and start selling crack than if I think I have the same chance as the next guy to make things better. To me, real opportunity is the best impetus for productive, healthy work, and real opportunity will not exist without a redistribution of wealth.

In the meantime, I am saddened by the thought that some undefined goal that seems to be hurting far more people than it is helping halfway around the globe is more important than the poverty and lack of opportunity here at home. As I was leaving the hospital, and old man outside in a wheelchair asked me for help. It was hard to understand what he wanted, because he could not speak very well, but finally I realized that he just wanted me to take the brakes off of his wheelchair and turn him around so he could look in the other direction for awhile. I later learned from another friend that the old man had been brought in for care from a homeless shelter, but now the homeless shelter did not have room for him, and there was no place for him to go. The social worker on staff at the emergency room was trying to arrange for transportation to another shelter, but no one wanted to take him, so as I left, the old man just sat outside in the sun in his wheelchair, staring blankly at the ambulances coming and going.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pharmacists to Merge with USWA

So the National Pharmacists Association is merging with the United Steelworkers of America. I suppose that this release from during the last Wal-green's pharmacists ' strike might have been a good heads up. From my very limited vantage, it didn't seem as though the strike went that well for the pharmacists, as I never saw any picket signs anywhere, and there were reports that there were plenty of strikebreaking pharmacists.

Perhaps their leadership thought that joining up with the USWA was a good long-term strategic move, I dunno. The Steelworkers have been going after the health care industry recently.

The funny thing is that the National Pharmacists Association used to be affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers (their Retail Wholesale Department Store Union), but left to form their own 'professional association'. I guess they're coming back to the fold after a bad strike.


Pretty much says it all.

The Power of Positive Thinking

If there's one thing that keeps me going, it's the free advertisements for free 'cash-related sites' that keep popping up in my comment box.

It's like, "Gee, is my writing really so good that people are starting to pay attention? Well, it looks like it, I have a comment! Oh, It's a completely automated service which hasn't even bothered to judge the merits of my content on any level whatsoever. Well, beggars can't be choosers, I guess."


Monday, September 12, 2005

A campin'-I-will-go!

So, it's on like Donkey Kong (tm).

I'm going camping to celebrate the impending matrimony about to befall my dearest friend, whom we'll call Marblehead. Marblehead is one of the best people I have had the priviliege of getting to know. I cannot wait to head to the mountains to celebrate our good times and get down to serious business. Like hanging out and having fun.

I'm so stoked. These days, it doesn't take much. But even given that, this would be stupendous. If I had high thresholds of fun, and it took lots to get me excited, this would still be exciting. Marblehead is one of the dearest people, and I'm pretty stoked to be part of his wedding festivities.

The joys of iTunes

I realize I could have downloaded iTunes earlier, but I doubt it would have been this cool. On the iMac, things seem to be flawless. It really is a superior machine.

I'm copying into the hard drive as many of my CD's as I possibly can. It's impossibly fast, and reorganizing these things brings out my inner (or not so inner) music geek.

Playlists, organized by genre, album, time period, feeling, mood, the possibilities are endless!

On another note, we did a wine tasting with cheese tonight with our friends, and I think things went pretty well. That bleu cheese was pretty funky, but the goat cheese (chevre to the unitiated) was tasty. Lots of good wine. I'm full now.

Work today was good.

Damn you people!

I was with a group of friends and we went to this place to go see Red Eye. I didn't think this movie was going to be anything special, but it was a pretty competent thriller. Wes Craven really pulled off a good story. There were parts that devolved into stupid, pointless jokes and silly story lines, but overall the flick was good. It had Cillian Murphy, who is pretty quickly becoming one of my new favorite actors. I thought he was great in 28 Days Later, Batman, and The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and he didn't disappoint in this movie, either. He was effectively sociopathic, but not over-the-top or anything. It was a good role for him.

One problem. The audience was driving me nuts. Toward the end, where most of the suspense has built up and the action finally starts coming into play. There were more hoots and hollers than at a cattle calling contest. For each taut scene there was a guffaw. For each nailbiter there was a "Don't do that!" It ruined the last portion of the movie.

So people, don't do that. Please don't talk in the movie. I know this is a lesson you should have learned in the 3rd grade, but a lid on your pie-hole.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ahh, there we go!

I may get the hang of this yet. So the iMac is up and running, and blogger was giving me some trouble on Safari, so I downloaded Firefox, and all is well. This is the kind of post I used to read, and would very frequently just scratch my head like an orangutan about.

Well, I'm no longer a primate, baby! I'm on the loose.

In other news, I was sick today from something or other and so I didn't walk in the Cegelis contingent of the Winfield parade. Wanker I am, no doubt.

In other news, armed mercenaries are roaming the streets of New Orleans, so that's pretty cool.

Gub'mint Shrub'mint

Shorter David Brooks:

George Bush isn't at fault here! Government just really sucks! You can't seriously expect government to work in a catastrophe! Feel the oncoming Libertarian backlash! It really is about ideology, not competence in elected officials!

The Exec. Dir. of In All My Years has a special message

The blog may go quiet for a few days, as I'm purchasing one of these:

I'm not sure about re-hooking my broadband back up, or what's going to be required with that, so this may take a couple of days to resolve. I'm making the switch kids! Mac ahoy! All those rantings and ravings I had to endure as an undergrad at a computer engineering land-grant college will finally pay off. I too, will sing the praises of Apple like I do my Prius.

I can't wait!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Straight from the department of completely freaking shocking

Recovery contracts are apparently going, get this, to the President's friends and cronies.

I know. That does come as a shock. I mean, you'd have to be some kind of reprehensible individual to try and capitalize on your political connections at a time like this, right?

Fortunately, there's no shortage of folks in this world.

And did I mention that the workers who will actually do the, what's that word, work--will now be making less than the prevailing wage. That's around $9 an hour in them thar parts of the woods.

All because President Bold and Decisive Leader (TM) suspended the Davis-Bacon Act which states that workers on federal contracts must make a decent wage. And his suspension even applies to states not affected by Hurricane Katrina--namely Alabama and Florida.

Ka-Ching! Dick Cheney can almost feel his dead heart beating again at the prospect of those kinds of profit margins.

A neat way to contribute to hurricane relief

Because everyone needs shoes, and lots of folks who did get out of New Orleans and Mississippi probably lost most of their clothes and shoes, No Sweat Apparel is donating their Chuck Taylor lookalikes for $15.

I bought a pair, you should too! Contribute to folks in need and support folks who make a decent wage. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Bloomingdale represent!

As promised, here are some pics of the Bloomingdale Cegelis Contingent.

It was a great walk, and a good time seeing the Cegelis folks. Things are going very well indeed these days, and I'll have more pics up tomorrow.

Devil Dog indeed

You're kidding me. In the annals of bad american policy, this has got to rank pretty high. As someone who not long ago had to fend off the agressive recruiters, I can see how this sales pitch goes:

Recruiter: "I see you've lost everything. Have you ever given the Army a thought?"
Evacuee: "Get out of my sight."
Recruiter: "Let's talk about options. You don't have any."
Evacuee: "Go away."
Recruiter: "We can get you hooked up with a guaranteed state-side gig, no way you'll have to go overseas, and did we talk about the money for college?"
Evacuee: "..."
Recruiter: "Right now, your country needs you."
Evacuee: "I'm going to be very upset in a minute."

A walkin'-I-will go, a walkin'-I-will go...

Heigh ho, the merry-o, a walkin I-will-go.

Today and tomorrow, I'm in Cegelis parades in Bloomingdale and in Winfield. Pictures to follow.

What an exhausting week. Everything only goes to hell all at once. It's good to be back, I suppose, but my caffeine quotient is forced is to skyrocket at times like these.

Oh well, I shouldn't complain. Some people get 'disappeared' for doing what I'm doing. I suppose a hectic schedule is nothing to gripe about.

Not that I'm anyone's idea of a 'labor leader', but you get the point.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

But you used to laugh at danger, and break all the rules. What happened?

What happened?

I'm talking about this:

Against me! are a band that I like (mild understatement). Their first full-length was titled "Reinventing Axl Rose". It was good. In fact, it was one of the best albums I ever paid money for. Real American dollars, mind you. There was something about it that gave me hope, that continues to give hope. The album recognized that hope is often against what I like to term 'real odds', but there was hope in that album. The next album was also good. Also one of the best albums I've ever paid money for. It was called "As the eternal cowboy".

This is to say nothing for their live shows, which are worthy of their own posts. I'm grateful for them.

This album makes me feel funny. It's very honest. It's probably their best album. There is little hope inside it. I like hope. I find enough reasons not to be hopeful on a daily basis. I don't need my music to further depress me. "Reinventing Axl Rose" made me want to struggle, to continue the good fight.

There was a line on that first album from "I still love you Julie" where Tom (the singer type) screamed that he prayed 'this scam could still save us all'. I believe he was referring to the process of writing, recording, and playing music in front of a live audience. At some point, I guess the band decided the scam really couldn't save us all. On the title track, they pined for a band who would 'play loud and hard every night, that doesn't care how many people are counted at the door, that would travel one million miles and ask for nothing for a plate of food a place to rest." I pined for that band too, and I found them in Against me!

On the current album, several songs discuss their disgust with the music industry, drug and alcohol problems well out of control, venereal disease (what, like it doesn't exist?), and self-loathing. And compared with the title track from the first album, today's Against me! are filled with disgust at the prospect of assigning percentages to all the hands that push their music out in the world, and sound ashamed at the bastardized product their hope became. Where their had been solidarity with the audience, now they're not sure if punks don't take music and the music scene a little too seriously.

In other words, a real upbeat number!

The music is solid. It's slow, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I just got the same feeling listening to this album that I did after I saw Requiem for a Dream--it was disturbing. Well made, a good cast, etc. but disturbing. I didn't want to watch it again. I don't know how much I'm going to want to keep listening to "Searching for a former clarity", but that's different from it being a good album.

wait. Did the New York Times, really review Against me!?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Petunia ahoy!

It really is her world, and I am merely permitted to share it. I never saw a dog have such a good time as Petunia did that day, but she paid for it the next day with what's termed 'limp tail'.

Yep, her little wagger went straight out to the back, then a 45 degree angle down. For two days. It's a real medical condition. It's back to its usual waggy perfection now.

Other bonus pictures:

Wild horses. Couldn't drag me away.

Cape Lookout, NC where I dined on delicious sandwiches
and sunbathed. On the other side of that island---the Atlantic Ocean!

Cegelis updates, of sorts


As I get nestled back into the confines of the Starship In All My Years, I have a secret to tell.

George Bush did not handle the hurricane relief effort very well. I think it all will turn out OK for the survivors, whom Barbara Bush rightly points out were mostly poor anyway. The Superdome is a step up for those folks, so quit yer whinin'!

Enough of that (for the time being).

A few weeks ago, I participated in a canvassing effort on behalf of Democracy for Illinois, where we basically did some door to door canvassing. It was a great time, and a blast working with such professional folks. Lots of enthusiastic volunteers were trying to talk to voters about what their top issues are, as well as building a database of block-by-block info of potential voters.

You, know just duplicating the information that the Republicans have since God almighty apparently gave it to them. They are the party of the Christ child, doncha know.

My favorite discussion was with gentleman who couldn't be forced to say anything bad about Rod Blagojevich because they were 'countrymen', but was concerned that we didn't just nuke all of Iraq. Yes, erm. Ahem.

Anywho, below are some pictures from the picnic that followed. We had a pretty big turnout (I couldn't stick around for all of it) and it was a grand affair.

Also, Christine won the endorsement from Carpenters local 588--kudos!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Just like the President, I took the last month off

Unlike the President, it has yet to blow up in my face.

Ahh, the sound of my toes, dipping into the pool of blogdom. Splishy splash.

That's a nice feeling, not too hot, not too cold.

What did I do for that whole time? I worked, I worked some more, and I worked.

And I went on vacation, and it was good. The Lord made Asheville NC, I visited it, and it was good. The Lord made my hometown, I visited it (and my mother) and it was good. The Lord made my wife (for which I am ever grateful), her hometown, her parents, and I visited them. They too, were good. The Lord said, let there be rest, and I said, "Make mine a double!".

The Lord made my job, and it, is, um, err, good. I am back at it, regardless if its inherent goodness. I have several posts in the hopper, including new Cegelis news, hurricane commentary, and lots of other stuff, no one in their right minds would a tenth of mouse fart about.

The joys of the blogosphere! I have a soapbox!