Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Well put.

Says atrios:
The simplest and most obvious lesson I've learned in the past few years is that the American press has an incredible bias in favor of whatever our foreign policy happens to be that day. Whoever the government deems as "friends" are the good guys and whoever they deem as "enemies" are the bad guys. The form of government, freedoms, human rights abuses, suffrage, etc... are entirely irrelevant.

There are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about the UAE port deal. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the failure of the Bush administration to follow the law and conduct the appropriate investigation.

It's not racist to object to us cozying up with truly shitty governments. I imagine the people of the UAE might be fine people. But the people who run the country are just a bunch of shitty human rights abusing suffrage opposing terrorist hanging out with assholes. The relevant question is whether these people should be running significant port operations.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Update on Petunia's medical condition

It's not Thursday Night Bassett Blogging, but I have the following for your consideration:

The patient, in recovery.

The contents of that bag actually came out of the dog's intestine. I know that it looks like a class I controlled substance, but it's actually just a chewed up blanket.

The skilled hands of Dr. Mrsinallmyyears.

Hey, Donna Shalala:

Seriously, fuck you. Wow, a promise to 'look' into the wages of 900 contracted workers? Wow, I promise to look into not picking my nose in public any more. While I'm at it, I'm going to look into not kicking my dog. Seriously. I'll take a look into it.

When you're done looking into it, maybe you can take some time away from your precious villa and sit down to bargain with your damned employees.

Don't you have to 'work' to retire?

I mean, I'm glad to hear Cheney's going to be going soon and all, but if I got to retire after doing what he's been doing for the past five years, I don't know how loudly I'd be bragging about it.

Then again, he is the most powerful vice-president in American history. Maybe he's been putting in extra hour declassifying and classifying information, meeting with Halliburton executives, authorizing leaks of CIA operatives, etc. and etc. and etc.

The only question really remaining is, would it be possible for the President to find someone worse than Cheney? Is this the promotion that Rumsfeld has been dreaming of? I bet Condi Rice would to get in vice-president's office, and indeed, it would be a good thing to have a black woman in that office. Of course, it would be better to have a fundamentally decent and competent black woman in there, but hey, I digress.

You can't have it all. Or even anything, in this case.

This week.

Tonight is my first round of bargaining this season, which should be fun. And by fun, I mean no fun at all. Tuesday night I drive down to Carbondale to help out in an organizing campaign, and by Friday I'm back.

We had basset hound health concerns last night. It seems they'll eat anything that doesn't eat them first.

Here's to hoping Petunia has a better day than yesterday. She's at least in good hands. Dr. Mrsinallmyyears is a practitioner of veterinary scientific medicine.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Cegelis Weekend

I spent this afternoon canvassing in my hood, and succeeding in getting two people to put out yard signs.

I takes 'em where I can gets 'em.

That makes a Coffee on Friday night, all day yesterday organizing and canvassing, and today canvassing.

Or, about 20 hours this weekend.


President Bush cannot apparently ride a bike, wave, and speak at the same time.

I'm speechless. But only because I'm also riding a bike and waving at someone. Hey, I'm no dummy. If the President can't do it, probably neither can I.

Man, this is a good idea.

A southern Indian state passed a law admitting pregnant women free access to public transit--making it easier for them to get to the doctor.

We could do it here, but doubtless we'd be regaled by tall tales of minorities hiding basketballs under their shirts to get free bus rides.

Don Knotts joins John Ritter in that bachelor pad in the sky.

Knotts, you'll be missed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's official: Iraq is a fuckin' disaster

When Howard Dean said it, he was a traitor to the nation. When conservative goodfather William F. Buckley, Jr. (who looks more lizardlike as the years progress) says it, Howard Dean is a traitor to the nation.

How I spent my cold Saturday afternoon

I spent it canvassing here in Lombard for Christine, going door-to-door and trying to catch folks. Most weren't home, but I had some good conversations with folks. Last night I worked a neighborhood coffee in nearby Wheaton, and we garnered several volunteers out of the deal. She can almost instantly build relationships with folks in a living room talking about the issues of the day. It's really something to behold.

Tomorrow I'll be working my own precinct.

I'm a glutton for chapped, cracked lips.

Now if those had been Iraqis being sexually degraded on that video, that'd be OK.

Do we really have so many soldiers on hand that we can afford to prosecute seven paratroopers for making a gay porn video together?


Friday, February 24, 2006

Burned by the flames he lit and stoked.

That's how William Grieder sees this whole Dubai port-owning business, and he makes a good point. We've been living in the post 9/11 world (whatever the fuck that means) and Bush is by his own admission, the 'war president'. So having stoked these fears and shoved the coals into the furnace of the popular imagination, Bush is somehow surprised when people are taken aback that a country with actual ties to the 9/11 hijackers and Al-Qaeda might take an owning control of a major portion of our infrastructure.

Bush, meet pitard. You built it. Prepare to be hoisted upon it.

Update: If you want to see the silliness of the White House's response to this whole damn thing, look no further than here. It seems that on the one hand the White House is actually saying that those who are alarmed by the port deal are harming national security, and on the other hand they're saying they wouldn't be opposed to delaying the deal.

I know consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, but this is a little much.

Hey Donna Shalala:

Fuck You.

Reason #2,123 that Clinton Democrats can really suck. And why they can really suck it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Potemkin City Limits of Debate

I recently received this album for my birthday:

I know the picture is teeny, but it's Propagandhi's latest album Potemkin City Limits. I like Propagandhi, a lot, but this album is really disappointing. Not musically, it kicks ass musically. The premise of the album is that folks who work within the system are worse than fools, they're part of the problem. The band specifically calls out the Rock against Bush comps in the ditty "Rock for Sustainable Capitalism," and lays the shit into Fat Mike, who put the comps and subsequent tours together. He also started punkvoter.com, which was an attempt to get the notoriously apathetic young set aware and registered to vote.

Of course his (and our) sin was that the choice to vote Bush out meant an implicit vote for John Kerry. A Democrat.

Here's the thing. I don't like the fact that John Kerry was my only real choice in the last election. I realize that in lots of ways he's not that different from George Bush. I know this. But y'know what? In lots of ways he's not. And even if the consequences of those differences are small in theory, in real world terms, they mean huge outcome changes.

Is Kerry that different than Bush on the Palestinian question? Probably not. But I bet he wouldn't stacked FEMA with cronies rendering the agency nothing more than a farm league for political career hacks. Ask the folks in New Orleans if that would have changed the outcome of any recent events.

What about corporate control of the media? C'mon. You know Kerry isn't breaking any new ground there. But he would have raised the minimum wage slightly, and that would have directly benefited millions of people. He probably would have pushed for Medicaid and Medicare to be adequately funded, which has HUGE real world consequences for old and poor people. He might have raised taxes on the wealthiest among us (and by among us I mean secluded in their gated communities and fortressed high-rise condos). He might have protected high-paying jobs, and actually enforced labor laws on employers. He probably wouldn't have been the radical progressive that I am.

I don't like the shit, but the point is that sometimes I eat what's in front of me while recognizing it for what it is and working to change the options. For me to sit on my high and mighty activist throne and throw away an option because it's not the best option isn't just strategically a bad idea (though it is)--it's immoral.

The progressive response to our problems can never be to sit it out.

Ever. Even if your choices suck, which they too frequently do.

The alternative would be something like what these folks are up to. They're not content to sit and take it on the chin over and over again while waiting for some other folks to swoop in and save us. They're doing it on their own, without anyone's permission. Even if they're just expanding the cage that we all live in, we have to recognize that this means better outcomes for people with shitty options in the present.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

UPS Workers Have Dignity--this just in

This MSNBC piece goes a long way toward explaining how nearly 90,000 US workers have actual pay with benefits in an era of shrinking worker purchasing power.

It's a good read.

Good News!

It happens so rarely, y'know?

Well, Christine netted the endorsement of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) who represent most of the airline workers at O'Hare and have lots of ties within the 6th district.

My favorite tag line:
"We’re tired of middle-of-the-road, get-along, compromise kind of political decision-making in Washington.” He continued, “We need people who understand what’s happening to working families, and who have the courage and the ideas to change that. Christine is one of those people, and we’ll do everything we can to get her elected."
Yup. No thanks to Rahm, Christine continues to earn the respect of progressives everywhere. More democratic activists lay it on the line for Christine--she won the endorsement of Democracy For America, the national arm of the Dean campaign, Dean For America.

"Howard Dean’s support was extremely helpful two years ago because it gave credibility to a bona fide grassroots campaign that was mobilizing and energizing Democrats who were being under-served and under-represented by the leaders of their own party,” said Cegelis. “This time, the Democratic leadership is still going in another direction, which gives additional value and importance to the DFA endorsement. It’s the everyday Democratic voters and Independents in this District who will make the decision, not the party leadership, and DFA represents the values and the hopes of those voters, just as I do. ”

But that's not all! She also garnered the endorsements of the Mexican-American Political Coalition and the Italian-American Political Coalition.

Way to go Christine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sikorsky workers on strike

Okay look. If the most heavily government subsidized industry in modern times can't afford to provide benefits to its workers, it's seriously time to make this a nationalized program. The fact that the Teamsters were forced out on strike over this is a hugely underreported story. Forget mom and pops stores. Forget school districts like the ones I deal with. Forget Wal-Mart.

This is a fabulously wealthy sector of the economy, which owes its existence to the federal government. And it still doesn't want to provide the basic option for its workers to protect their families without going into penury.


And on that note, one of the founders of the Teamsters passed away this weekend.

More on el Presidente and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

I recently posted a little note about how the prime minister of Malaysia had apparently ponied up the serious dough (to the tune of $1.2 million) for a meeting with Mr. George.

Today, I bring you the hilarious understanding of our political system by an anti-semtic dictator:
“They talked me into meeting Bush because they said I would be able to influence him in some way regarding US policies. "
Ha! How'd that work out for ya?
“I did not touch the money. But, I think somebody paid. That is their practice,” he said. “That is their system. It is not corruption at all. It is very open.”
Nope, it's not corruption at all. It's just the cost of doing bid'ness.
"When the Malays feel less fearful of being overwhelmed economically by non-Malays and compete openly and succeed when they reduce their fears, the policy can be achieved,” he said.
Huh? I got nothing there.

via dailykos.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

James Wolcott ist smart man.

As I recover from last night's birthday festivities (and I am grateful to my friends who chose to spend a night at the end of a long week with me and Dr. Mrsinallyyears) I came across this:

In the brouhahahahaha (ha!) over the recent misadventures with Dick and Buckshot I noticed some discussion of the canned hunt, a term which brought back memories. There was some liberal chatter about how while I don't have anything against hunters in general canned hunting is particularly grotesque and not manly, blah blah blah. I think I even said the same sorta thing.

James Wolcott's piece snapped me back to my damn senses. Hunting is an unnecessary blood sport whose exercise proves two things: bullets are indeed tougher than the outer skin of lots of animals and, men engage in this ritual to manifest themselves as mini-gods, with the final say on who lives and who dies.

Wolcott is one of the absolute bestest writers on the blogonets. I'll leave you with this snippet.
Rich guys pretending to be Jeremiah Johnson is one of the many fascimile editions of rawhide authenticity being successfully peddled in the media with no one willing to stop and say that inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on animals should be a source of sin and shame, and that the decent thing to do would be to break Cheney's shotgun in two before anyone or anything else is harmed by his buffoonery.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cold weather is cool. Not really, but stuff like this helps suffering through it.

These are some neat things that happened around the house when it snowed recently, and the weather warmed to about 37 degrees or so.

My hammock gets snowy!

Our patio furniture gets snowy!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My War

I knew he was a throaty punk rocker guy, but threat to society? Not since '82-'83 or so.

Henry Rollins--you are on the TSA's shit list!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who're you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?

Last week, Dan Bartlett (who makes his living shilling for a boob) told the nation that there were nooooooooo ties betwixt his booby boss and high-priced lobbyin' ho Jack Abramoff.
He doesn’t have a personal relationship with him,” White House counselor Dan Bartlett said of Bush and Abramoff, who recently pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his lobbying practices and has pledged to cooperate with government prosecutors. “We acknowledge he (Abramoff) attended some Hannukuah celebrations,” Bartlett said in an appearance on
NBC’s “Today” show. “Any suggestions by critics or anyone else to suggest the president is doing something nefarious with Abramoff is absurd.”

Turns out, not so much the case. And I love the tie-in the 2004 Kerry campaign. Klassic Karl.
When the government of Malaysia sought to repair its tarnished image in the U.S. by arranging a meeting between President Bush and its controversial prime minister in 2002, it followed the same strategy as many other well-heeled interests in Washington: It called on lobbyist Jack Abramoff for help.It was a tall order. The then-prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had been chastised by the Clinton administration for repeated anti-Semitic statements and for jailing political opponents. But it was important to the Malaysians, according to a former Abramoff associate who attended meetings with the Malaysian mbassador
and the lobbyist.
Mahathir later emerged as an issue in Bush's reelection campaign, as Republicans aggressively courted Jewish voters. One such GOP outreach featured Mahathir pictured beside Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry and
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat above a Kerry quote in which he said "foreign leaders" wanted him to win the election. The campaign mailer suggested Mahathir and Arafat, "renowned for their hatred of the Jewish people," supported Kerry. On one occasion, Abramoff — an orthodox Jew and a supporter of Israel — was asked whether he was comfortable representing a
country led by a man known for anti-Semitic omments.Abramoff responded, "They pay their bills on time."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pork Plant Union: Never say Die!

The NYT has a great article on the most recent round of organizing efforts by the UFCW in Tar Heel, NC. The world's largest pork processing plant is non-union, and its working conditions are brutal, as you might expect. The UFCW held a vote for representation nine years ago. Two years ago, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the vote count should be thrown out, because Smithfield foods (among other things) had a union leader beaten up the night of the vote count.

Think about that. Can you imagine if it took seven years to process regular assault cases in criminal court? People would take to the streets, demanding justice in some other form. And that's pretty much what the union is doing, pressuring the company to remain neutral (that is, respect the rights of employees) during the organizing process. Of course, this isn't news up here in Chicago, it's common practice. But in North Carolina, (my home state) this is groundbreaking.

Full disclosure: In college I used to hang out with some punk rock kids whose families worked at the plant, and they didn't have much good to say about it.

Dick Cheney, you are an indefensibly bad man.

Not because you shot some guy on a hunting trip. God knows, hunting accidents happen. It's one reason not to hunt, in fact. Nope, the reason(s) you are indefensibly bad in this escapde are because of two things:

1) You like canned hunting;
2) Your press people tried to blame the poor sap you shot.

There's only one punishment appropriate for you. I don't relish doing this, but here you go.

Up on Brokeback

It was a good film, but the sex scene just made me laugh. The rest of the story was overwhelming, moving, powerful. The scenery was beautiful. The characters were really well developed (and I don't mean endowed!). There was definitely a lot there going on, especially among the wives of the man characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Republicans aren't cracking down on dissent, really.

It was Sept. 14, 2004, just months before the presidential election, and this was a carefully orchestrated Bush-Cheney campaign rally in a hangar leased by Monaco Coach on Eugene Airport property. Attendees had gotten their free tickets from discriminating volunteers at the Lane County Republican Party headquarters; dissidents were screened out. The VP, dressed cowboy casual and seeming at ease with the crowd, had just finished saying, "Our accomplishments over the last four years have made America stronger, safer and better."
A magical time, I remember it well.
"The word 'no' just came out of my mouth," Patterson recounted later. "I was at that moment visualizing women in different war scenes around the world screaming out for mercy. And I actually felt like my voice didn't come out, because nobody around me was reacting. That's when the men in black came up behind me and took me by the elbows."
Uh-oh. This no loookee so good.
A year and a half later, Patterson faces a charge of second-degree criminal trespass, which could carry a penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail. Municipal Court Judge Alan Leiman had moved to dismiss the charge in September 2005, but city prosecutor Mark Haight appealed the ruling.
Well damn, talk about thin-skinned. And yet again, we see a woman paying a penalty for saying no to Dick. When will the violence against our women end? When Lord?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just checking in

How are you doing? I'm fine, thanks for (not) asking.

Things continue apace. Work continues to consume more of my soul than it should, but there ya go. I'm slowly getting used to living a world where facts simply don't matter and one's definition of normal slowly degrades to meaningless. And by slowly, I mean just this: holy shit the country has gone straight to hell and so quickly it takes your breath away.

But, in other news, I married an incredible woman who depth of compassion, kindness and high regard for her obviously good looking and mostly well-intentioned husband must be witnessed to be believed.