Friday, April 20, 2007

An Excerpt from:


What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be;

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind. -


And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,

Forebode not any severing of our loves!

Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;

I only have relinquished one delight

To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,

Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;

The innocent brightness of a new-born Day

Is lovely yet;

The Clouds that gather round the setting sun

Do take a sober colouring from an eye

That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;

Another race hath been, and other palms are won.

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,

To me the meanest flower that blows can give

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. - -

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Al in 2008.

Laura, The Obtuse Librarian?

I have more than a passing interest in children's books.  I buy them for friends' children and, especially, for my grandchildren.  And so I took note one of my favorites showed up on The Daily Show Monday night.  I couldn't believe my eyes when John Stewart  featured a clip of Laura Bush reading Duck for President, to the kids at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. 

She obviously thinks that because there's one scene of Duck playing saxophone on his way to the White House, that this book mocks (only or primarily) Bill Clinton.  How obtuse! 

I have read this book to children many times.  Indeed, most of the story is a mockery of the kind of candidate that is George W. Bush. 

Duck gets bored.  And he doesn't like being told what to do.  So he runs for office.  When he ultimately won the governorship, he found out that governing was hard work.  Nor does he ever accomplish anything.  And then he ran for president.  That turns out to be so much work that he packs it in for the ranch-- I mean farm.  Sound familiar?

No one ever accused Bill Clinton of not having a work ethic.  And Bill didn't run for president when he had barely won a second term.  He had more than fulfilled his promise to serve as governor. He was focused on his job, even when Republicans tried to distract with impeachment.  When the GOP tried to obstruct him on domestic policy, Clinton set his sights on foreign policy.  It's called doing his job.

But George?  It's hard to tell if he ever really works.  His knowledge of the world would fit in a thimble.  He has no grasp of the consequences of his actions.  He doesn't make sense, even (and especially) when he is trying to set we the voters straight.  His exercise breaks are so long and his evening break so early one wonders if he is pulling a Reagan.  Regan was said to have rarely worked past five in the California governor's mansion.

Bush's pride in being ignorant; his empty, inane  rhetoric; his deer-in-headlights look when he refused to stop reading to kids on 9-11 all make one wonder. What is it with George and Laura and pre-K reading material?  And goats and ducks?

Yes, Bush really reads Camus!  Right!  The book is a mock of presidents like Bush who find out how unprepared and (to a duck) boring the hard work of president really is.  The whole series by Doreen Cronin (including Click, Calck Moo, Giggle Giggle Quack, and the rest) are a collection of progressive books for kids.  Moo even has a bit of pro-labor union "heresy."

So bring it on, Laura.  Keep reading this material to children, any who will listen.  Read the story that even includes a tsk-tsk about hanging chads. Sure, this is sympathetic to Ole George. Wink.

Truthiness and John McCain

Noted film maker Robert Greenwald has made a film about John McCain.

Check it out here: http://therealmccain...

Neil Young's Protest Song List

[Note: Hat tip to presidentialman (and his uncle) over at ]

Here's a list of protest songs

How George W. Bush Ruined My Reading Habits

I know.  It sounds far fetched.  But George W. Bush has helped ruin my reading habits.  Normally an avid front-to-back reader, I have developed a terrible habit.  In the past couple of years, especially since the 2004 election, I've begun reading about half of a nonfiction work and then bailing.  In case you are wondering, I do not have ADD.  Since 2004, it's more painful reading about the state of things.  I have aborted books so often that I developed a formidable backlog -- of yesterday's best sellers, half finished.  It's a real case of libris interruptis.

Enter my New Year's resolution.  Actually, I made three: 1) read my books to the end.  2)Lose 10 pounds.  3) Exercise 6 days a week.)  OK, so I put myself in a double bind with Nos 1 and 3.  That's not the real problem.

But before I worked the backlog of unfinished books, I whetted my appetite with a list of front-to-back complete reads.  The hope was I would use this as the motivation to stay on the straight and narrow.  I'd end this bad habit once and for all.  So, recently I have worked through: Static (Amy and David Goodman),

It Can't Happen Here (Joe Conason),

The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Frank Rich),

American Fascists (Christopher Hedges),

State of War (James Risen),

Cable News Confidential (Jeff Cohen).  I think I've left a couple out (more on these reads in later posts).

But then I did a foolish, but delicious, thing.  When both my daughters asked what I wanted for a recent birthday, I said (you guessed it) certificates.  Do I have a front-to-back reading death wish?  I had long fantasized about ordering a whole slew of books at one time.  I've never shot two whole gift certificates all at once before.  So I did.  I bought

Nemesis (Chalmers Johnson),

Tripple Cross (Peter Lance),

Target Iran (Scott Ritter), Blackwater (Jeremy Scahill),

American Theocracy (Kevin Phillips),

Misquoting Jesus (Bart Ehrman).
What can you say about the depressing nature of most of these titles?  Perhaps I should switch to fiction.  But I'm hooked on non-fiction.  That's not likely to change.  Nor is the depressing content in the next couple of years.  So onward...

Sadly, though, I have moved these new slightly aside, for use as intermittent reinforcers.  I have to complete two, three or four  half-finished works before I'll let myself read one new one: Here's a sample of the Great Unfinisheds, which need such reinforcement:

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (John Perkins --this is scary stuff and not for just before bed),

Digital Destiny (Jeff Chester), Collapse (Jared Diamond),

Guns, Germs and Steel (ditto).  Do you think maybe I should stop ordering depressing Jared Diamond Books?

Fiasco (Thomas Richs),

Chain of Command, (Seymour Hirsh),

Assasin's Gate (George Packer).  The last two on this list (Hersh and Packer have written excellent  recent histories here.  I "love" Seymour Hersh.  Why do I procrastinate?) Maybe the Iraq war is getting on my nerves?

There's more:

Hubris (David Corn and Michael Isakoff, that Monigate reporter from Newsweek).  Do I still harbor a secret impeachment grudge?). And

1000 Years for Revenge (Peter Lance).  I shot myself in the foot by buying yet another Lance book.  I will mend my ways and read them both.

I have determined that I will never, repeat never, read the most recent (or any other) book by Bob Woodward.  Ditto Thomas J. Freidman. I won't even try.

I am now actually finishing both Fiasco and Confessions of an Economic Hit-man.  Then I'll "reward" myself with American Theocracy.  Some reward.  I may need to tweak my incentive program. 

By now you are probably thinking, it's not George W. Bush who ruined my reading habits, but ME!  And you'd be at least partly right.  It's George W. Bush who makes nonfiction content so hard to stomach. Ole George could make things more pleasant for us non-fiction readers, though.  But I'm the culprit for confounding my efforts.  The buck stops here. Within a few short months, hopefully, I will have cured myself of libris interuptis. And maybe even book-aholism.  You can help.  Please, please help me make this happen by electing a Democrat in 2008! 

And shortly thereafter, I can just decline to buy all the books trashing him or her. Then I might just relearn an affinity for fiction.  Or better yet, poetry, preferably borrowed from the library.  How sweet it will be!

(cross-posted at

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Oprah's Unkind, Biased and Misguided High Horse

Oprah's at it again. Sanctimonious, stern, and scolding in tone, she went after Elizabeth Edwards on Friday. Before Edwards appeared from a remote location, Oprah asked whether John Edwards should be running, given his wife's significant health problems. Using the same worn "some say" routine pervasive on FOX and CNN, Oprah trotted out four nasty person-on-the-street critics to stick their nose in Edwards' personal decisions and question whether John should be running. After the four nasties weighed in, Edwards was pretty much asked to defend herself and her husband. She did so with dignity, good will and good cheer. But she did get in one well-deserved jab at the critics. She said we are a judgmental culture. Amen.

We have no earthly business ruminating, obsessing, second-guessing ANY celebrity or politician with respect to their personal lives.

On the other hand, talk show hosts, reporters and pundits NEVER raise an appropriate examination of whether George W. Bush is fit to remain in office. They don't question whether his vulnerability to alcohol has resurfaced, or whether he is currently unstable. He is clearly out of touch, even by many Republican's estimates. Yet few raise any concern.

Instead of national honesty, we get daily trashing of anyone Democratic, and the ongoing vomit of Anna Nichole obsession. Do we really care if teenage mediocrity wins Idol? Every single MSNBC talk show producer seems to think so.

It's all designed so we don't address the disastrous so-called leadership of this country-- pseudo leaders, who don't know the difference between leading and ordering. And these matters do relate to the running of this country. But for media figures to lecture an honorable couple, who set a good example, make a difference, and are giving of themselves so we can health care and general economic fairness, is sickening.

It is not lost on me that Oprah supports Barak Obama and may have had ulterior motives for her meanness. I lean toward Obama myself. But this is NOT the way to garner support for him. Oprah owes the Edwards family -- and all of us--an apology.

Friday, April 06, 2007

For Virginians and the US, The Political World Changed...

[Note: Hat tip to Lowell at Raising Kaine.]

Here's an article about how James Webb changed the political landscape.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shrub's Idea of How to Spend Easter

So much for his asserted faith. Instead of practicing it, Bush spends his Easter break taunting Democrats, makin' stuff up, and sticking his finger in the collective eyeball of the Senate.

Bush has had a near daily rant falsely asserting that the troops won't be supported because of the Dems. It is he who plans to veto the bill, but never mind. Last year the Republican Congress took until June to settle on a funding bill. That never once provoked such a scurrilous series of denunciations. Furthermore, money (lots of it) is in the pipeline for the troops. Note also, the federal fiscal year begins in the fall, not July. Appropriations have been funded and later increased for the current fiscal year. But Bush has designs way beyond next year or even the one after that. Bush has no plans to leave Iraq, ever. And, to be honest, at least one Democratic candidate (Hillary Rodham Clinton) has plans for a permanent base there herself. Now that the public has literally laughed the prevaricating Bush off his Rose garden stage, he comes up with yet another reason we must capitulate: Israel. But Israel is gaining nothing, and losing much, from the mess Bush is making in Iraq.

Additionally, Bush has been bending the ear of any so-called journalist who'll scribe for him that Nancy Pelosi shouldn't be in Syria and that her going there defies him. "Defying White House, Pelosi meets with Assad," read the Roanoke Times headline). He didn't share such an opinion when three Republican members of Congress had meetings with Syrian leaders recently.

Furthermore, Pelosi doesn't defy him. She shows him as the irrelevant, incompetent, out-of-touch lame duck he really is. And, one Republican after another has said Bush is "all alone." If Bush won't try to make peace in the Middle East, some one better. The Iraq Study Group and numerous experts believe the only way toward peace is to talk to all the parties concerned. Not Bush. Not until Syria "changes its behavior." Is this third grade or what? Perhaps Bush should change his behavior too.

All of Bush's nasty aggressiveness is bad enough, but there's more: Yesterday, the fibster-in-chief inserted the false linkage of Saddam to 9-11 once again. He made sure to once again falsely claim that Saddam was a threat to the US (before Bush invaded) as well. Does anyone listen to or believe this man any more?

And then there's the final touch: After the Senate rejected the funder of lying, defamatory creeps, Bush appoints Sam Fox, GOP fund raiser ($50,000 to the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" will buy a lot these days) as Ambassador to Belgium anyway. So there. The only trouble is, this is a country Bush is supposed to be running, not a bully's play-yard.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

That Swishing Sound...

Is the wind going out of Hillary's sails. She is not as "inevitable" as she purports to be. John Edwards is doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire. But it is Obama who has stunned those claiming the race for the Democratic nomination all but over. Obama brought in $25 million dollars during the first quarter of this year. That's only a million less than Hillary. 2008 marks the beginning of a new era. Out with the old... In with the new. Hillary and the Clintonistas wanted anyone but Dean in 2004. I'll return the "favor." Anyone but Hillary or fellow Clintonista Richardson. Go Barack! Go John! (Al?)

Yeh, Things Are So Much Better

John McCain never was the true maverick or straight talker he professes, but two recent examples show just how far rom the truth and straight talk he really is:

First, in a move that at least partially illustrates the emptiness of campaign finance reform, McCain has declined federal funding because he doesn't want to abide by McCain-Feingold (his own bill).

Second, his wreck of a Straight Talk Express, has driven into the figurative ditch. McCain claimed things are so much better in Iraq. However, his supposed market stroll in Iraq this week really showed the opposite of what he was claiming. Shopping with armed guards (our servicemen diverted from their primary mission), armor, helicopters overhead sounds like such a great shopping trip. Read about and watch it here.