Copy the following lines of code and insert it after thetag in your HTML document.
Since 1996, AF&O has reported and editorialized on news, progressive and GLBT activism, politics, society, religion, pop culture, arts, and lifestyle from a peace-and-justice point of view. Much of AF&O focuses on grassroots activism.
What is the "30 Something Hour"?
The "30 Something Hour" is a chance for "30 Something" Members of Congress to talk for an hour on the House floor about issues that affect the next generation of Americans. Click image to submit questions to the group or to find individual member contacts click: Contact information and links...
Marketing George Bush
"You know I could run for governor but I’m basically a media creation. I’ve never done anything. I’ve worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that’s not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office."
To long- time friend from Yale and business partner Roland Betts; then goes on to run as oil tycoon and Vietnam War fighter pilot.
"I hope I’m not here to have to deal with it"
On the 2000 election campaign trail responding to reports from Texas about uncertainties in the state budget and deficiencies in state services that took a backseat to Bush’s $1.7 billion tax cut.
Compilation of News, Multimedia, Op-Ed's
Reach out to Canadian Progressives
Saying it all with visuals
Once again, Joshua Brown has supplied us with the necessary truth serum.
Re: Dubya on the Dubai Port Deal (and the Constitution)
I've written on the importance of listening to George Bush carefully in the past and have been attacked for doubting his "veracity", "truthfulness", and "his way of speaking".
Let's try an experiment. Yesterday, February 21, 2005, he had this to say about the port deal with the United Arab Emirates (or- if one prefers, DP World, a state - owned company):
"I can understand why some in Congress have raised questions about whether or not our country will be less secure as a result of this transaction. But they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully... Again, I repeat, it's - if there is any question as to whether or not this country would be less safe as a result of the transaction, it wouldn't go forward."
Reading that should make clear why he referred to his 2004 "victory" as a "mandate" and his reference to millions of protesters against the Iraq war as "some people" and "focus groups".
First, he refers to "some in Congress".
Question, is he:
1) blissfully unaware of the Congressional (and State) reactions;
2) delusional; or is he
3) intentionally "misleading" that portion of the public that doesn't follow the news but for the times when he speaks (a surprisingly large group for a people supposedly in love with independence).
Second, he refers to the "some" as "raising questions". The line formed to squash this deal on both sides of the aisle is puzzlingly unnerving even to those whose deepest desire is to see bipartisanship return to Washington.
Third, when he says, "... they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully."
How, pray tell, would he know that at the time of making that statement. According to today's press reports, he didn't know about it until he heard it from the press. To further cast doubt on "our government" looking at this carefully consider the following response by Scott McClellan:
"He became aware of it over the last several days," McClellan said. Asked if Bush did not know about it until it was a done deal, McClellan said, "That's correct."
So what part of the "government" is George Bush talking about?
He does say, "our government" and, the last time I checked, we still had 3 branches although two have been trimmed to the point of being nubs that may never sprout leaves or bear fruit again.
We know that Congress wasn't informed and that his spokespeople claim he didn't know about it until after the "filter" of the press informed him. Maybe Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito were informed.
To his credit, he did clarify his statement:
"The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they'll be comforted..."
As Marty Kaplan points out on the Huffington Post, "The founding documents of our nation talk about the government, our government, a government, any government. If my,is used, it's said on behalf of the citizens, not their rulers. "
P.S. the Katrina Review made by the Administration came out. It calls for direct military control in the event of a "natural disaster". Homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, when asked if this would violate the Posse Comitatus law and if it would require new legislation responded that George Bush had been advised by his (presumably) legal staff that he already had the power to do what was recommended in the report.
So, in conclusion, FISA doesn't apply to this White House, those pesky quaint Geneva Conventions (or just basic prohibitions against torture) didn't, and don't, apply to this White House, the recently overwhelmingly passed anti- torture legislation doesn't apply to this White House, informing Congress that we're giving the contracts for running our thus- far- still- unsecured ports to a foreign government with a questionable recent history of transferring money to terrorist groups and being the conduit for nuclear information and/or material to members of the "axis of evil" (and others) doesn't apply to this White House, and the general rule on submitting to a police interview after shooting a guy in the face don't apply to this White House, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam...
It must be nice to have one of 'em "my guv'munt" things.
Cheney, Guns, Social Security, Vigilance, and Tort Reform
It's been called everything from an accident to something more conspiratorial.
Both views and/or positions are wrong. The shooting of 78-year- old Harry Whittington by Dick Cheney on Saturday showed 3 things.
First, it unveiled the fallback plan by the Administration in the event that Social Security "privatization" fails again.
Take that AARP!
In taking the action, Cheney exhibited the "bottom-line" approach he touted in 2000 by referring to his background as CEO of Halliburton (now a subsidiary of U.S. Taxpayer Inc.)
During his tenure, the only spot on his record was leaving it teetering on the brink of bankruptcy because, as CEO, he bought Drexel during a hunting trip having done no "due diligence", and leaving Halliburton absorbing Drexel's asbestos litigation which, as Dana Milbank of the Post reported in 2002, "Investors . . . are betting the liability is $8 billion to $9 billion".
Note* Watch the progress of the long- stalled, now quickly moving, Asbestos Trust Fund Bill (asbestos "reform" bill) going through Congress. It will become another subsidiary of U.S. Taxpayer Inc. (kind of like the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and some other fancy names for federal entities that step in when corporation "leaders" raid the… never mind).
Second, he showed why it is always important to stay "vigilant". After all, apparently, the 78-year-old was sneaking up on him. He didn't announce himself and was dressed in orange camouflage.
Taking into account the facts that:
1) Mr. Whittington managed to penetrate the security surrounding Dick;
2) He had a weapon;
3) He gave no warning;
4) He must have been sufficiently familiar with Western culture that, just like in cowboy movies (which depict places like Wyoming but were shot in Italy- "Linguini Westerns" or some such thing), he apparently knew enough to approach Dick with the sun at his back; and
5) Our security agencies failed to "connect the dots" again as Cheney's phalanx of Secret Service agents, the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, and the Starship Enterprise all failed to note Mr. Whittington's ominous "lurking". All of which proves the point that the NSA should've been inside Mr. Whittington's head - just to be on the safe side.
Lastly, the man is (hopefully- not "was") a millionaire attorney. This shows how seriously the Administration takes "tort reform".
While there is a confusion as to the gentleman's field of specialty in the law, it is unlikely (or not) that he was an attorney that represented the "average person" (low to middle-class).
The fact that he is not dead (allegedly) would seem to indicate that Dick's cat-like reflexes and knowledge of gun safety allowed him to "pull-up" in time to only hit Mr. Whittington in the chest, shoulders, and face indicating that he may, or may not have been a corporate lawyer. However, it should be noted that Bill Frist was seen behind a tree clapping when Whittington was hit which might indicate that he practiced "video medical malpractice" and/or specialized in suing those who engage in insider trading.
More likely than not, we'll all be briefed on the matter by Scott McLellan in a week or so. It would be unfair to ask the Administration's Press Secretary to say anything now.
That's because it usually takes Andy Card a week to put events into DVD form for George Bush to understand.
I'm scared. I'm scared. So very, very scared. I'm so scared that scare is a word not enough to define my "scaridness".
"They're lurking". "They're plotting". "They're patient". "They want to take away my way of life".
They want to take away my "scaridness" (not to be mistaken with "truthiness").
I can't let them do that. I love my "scaridness". It's a sacred "scaridness". It lets me know that I'm alive. If I didn't have "scaridness", I'd be dead. Being scared makes me feel alive.
Thank God that Bush, Rove, Cheney, and Rumsfeld understand the sanctity of my "scaridness". If it wasn't for them, some a**hole would be holding up a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, or quoting FDR's infamous "All we have to fear is fear itself" crap.
"Scaridness" is something that has served humanity well over the years. It works well.
Damn those people who are trying to take my "scaridness" away. Those who say that it's time to take a pause and look at things like the Patriot Act, warrantless surveillance, torture, and water- boarding are fools. Next they'll be coming after my snowboard.
They even argue about "renditions". Something defined as:
1) The act of rendering.
2) An interpretation of a musical score or a dramatic piece.
3) A performance of a musical or dramatic work.
4) A translation, often interpretive.
5) A surrender.
Only a fool would not understand that a "rendition" is nothing more than a "surrender" to an "interpretive" "musical score" or a "dramatic work". Just like in the movies.
I hope these people who are trying to take my "scaridness" away aren't successful.
I love my "scaridness".
It's all we have. It's "our way of life".
Memories of being 'Outed'
2006 already seems to have much in common with 2005.
2005, with the endless drumbeat of 'the attack on Christianity', the spin-off 'War On Christmas', 'religious leaders' calling for an assassination of a foreign leader, denouncing the right of an entire city to ask for God's help should they need it, pointing to the 'behavior' of a city's residents (often out-of-town visitors) for the reason it drowned, terror at the thought of gay marriage, and other matters purportedly related to religion picked at the scab of a memory I'd tried to suppress.
All I could do was hope for a better year ahead. But 2006, with the kickoff of Pat Robertson's remarks about Sharon and the spectacle of another 'Justice Sunday', seems to be shaping up the same as 2005.
Until that day, only my closest friends really knew my secret. I really made a point of not talking about it or giving any hint about it away. They took it in stride. To them, I was just a guy to have a beer with or work out with. But that day I slipped.
Maybe it was the whole post-election religious right talk that made me drop my guard.
The memory I lived with through much of 2005 is about the day, back in 2001, when I was publicly 'outed' by a complete stranger. I know why she spotted me. It was the way I looked on that day.
Not by my physique. After recovering from an illness, I'd returned to my workout regimen and was benching 425 pounds again. My 'California tan' and bleached-blonde hair (from the sun and surf) might have been a hint- but they certainly weren't what gave me away.
That whole combination meant what it always has meant- I might be or might not be... well... 'different' from what is expected by some.
It broke down to what I was wearing. The problem was that I had on a yellow 'muscle tank-top' that was a gift from my 'better- half'.
That's what gave me away on that fateful summer day of 2001 or, rather, that's what assisted in exposing me.
On that day, upon returning from the grocery store, my 'better- half' informed me I'd bought the wrong toilet paper. Having spent the first 6 years of my life (when basic lessons are learned and lifelong imprints are made) in a place where outhouses were considered luxuries, I didn't quite seem to be able to grasp the different sensitivities of the rear region- particularly when it came to something called 'soft and scented paper'.
I offered to (was gently ordered to) return to the store and, once returning, fell victim to my brain-block on toilet paper again. I drew a blank on the name brand. I blame that on O.S. (Outhouse Syndrome)- the inability to understand the difference between Charmin, Scott's, or any other 'brand'.
I thought a trip down the aisle containing household Explaining thank you very much is a straightforward doctors note react of indicating your thankfulness to person. It takes little effort to make someone's day by saying these magic words. Health care professionals are a crucial part of our own world. Article writing a appreciate it message can be a fantastic gesture to acknowledge their service. It seems, in the present rapidly-paced everyday life, now we have overlooked doctors note to say thanks to many people doctors note for efforts they decide to try make our life considerably better. Eventhough just one covers the support been given on a health professional, lifespan-saving deeds of clinical doctors should not be recorded when considering money. Thankfulness when it comes to them can be established as a result of small-scale functions like thanking them. Just a smaller doctors note appreciate it note doctors note attained using a person makes your doctor really feel wonderful. Medical practitioners, as with all other experienced, work tirelessly to complete their duties. In reality, their effort is a life-saver, therefore, very helpful for men and women in environment doctors note. It is not every day that doctors note people write down a thanks a lot be aware to the doctor. However, when we do, it gives him/her a feeling of satisfaction. Small serves of appreciation something like this propagate joy and happiness on the globe all-around us. paper products would jog my memory as I was not about to call home to say I couldn't remember something relayed to me just moments before (the pride thing before the fall- akin to the 'asking for directions' thing).
I wish I had.
My 'outer' was in that aisle. I mistook her for my savior (toilet paper- wise). She was 60 something, dressed nicely, and so 'American grandmotherly' that, from a distance, one could imagine her dabbing 'eau-de apple pie' behind each ear in the morning. I decided to ask for her help.
After explaining what I thought my 'better-half' wanted, she smiled understandingly and pointed to the lower shelf behind me and told me which brand was the most desirable.
As I leaned over to reach for the rolls, I heard the troubling words. I closed my eyes for a second trying to think of how she knew and immediately realized it was because of my appearance or, rather, my tank- top which exposed the symbol I wore.
The words she spoke were, "Excuse me sir, are you a Christian?"
I responded, despite the alarm bells going off in my head, "Well, yes I am." But then I added, "I was raised Catholic."
The small gold cross I was wearing had slipped out of my tank top. The cross was my mother's which she gave me prior to her passing.
She looked at me in a way best described as 'sadly' and offered, "Catholic? Really?" She added, "I'm Christian".
Her face was grandmotherly but her eyes said, "J'accuse!"
The alarm bells were getting louder. I struggled with whether to make a quick exit or to defend my being raised a Catholic due to circumstance and later reaffirming that accident of birth while taking many of the best things of all religions to heart.
She spoke again, "We had some Catholics live near us. They were very nice".
4 letters translated into a verbal punch. I wondered if she realized she had just called me a 'they'.
I decided to leave it alone and simply dismiss it by blaming my religion on my ancestry, "Well, I'm of Slavic descent and Catholicism is something I grew up with. I think it's still part of the Christian family- isn't it?"
She quickly responded with, "Oh, we had some Slavs- I think they were Polish- that lived next to us before we moved here." She then got a look on her face that one associates with the initial smell of stench and followed up with, "Nice people but you could smell their food all around the neighborhood when they cooked."
'They' and 'but smell their food'? Verbal punches number two and three.
My ancestry, my studies, and my belief of the sanctity of holding religion private were all being pilloried by this knowing or unknowing conveyance of intolerance.
Although I'm not Polish, I share something in common with Poles (and with certain other select groups of people). We were a favorite choice for the 'eugenics' movement (the U.S. and Germany- circa 1930-45 come to mind) by those who spoke as she did.
Sensing it was time to disengage, I replied, "Thank you for the help with the toilet paper."
She wouldn't let go. She followed me down the aisle.
She asked if I'd been to the new church in town that will remain nameless. Suffice it to say that the word 'Crusade' is on the facade. Without waiting for a response, she pulled out a card- a business card. The name on it, she explained, was her son's. He was the 'lay pastor' of the church.
I bit my lip as I wanted to sarcastically tell her that we had some 'lay priests' in the Catholic church (as evidenced by news reports) but decided against it. Instead, I thanked her and took the card as I made my way out of the store- discarding the card on the way out.
When I got home, I told my girlfriend (my 'better-half') what had happened. She laughed. She knew better than most how seriously I took such things and probably realized how troubled I was by it long before I did.
I learned a lot from that experience. I learned that I shouldn't really talk to strangers about toilet paper because that could lead to a discussion about religion, which these days, seems inevitably to lead to politics. And we all know that nobody should discuss the combination of toilet paper, religion, and politics in polite company.
A discussion such as that can easily lead to talking about outhouses, forced sterilizations, special furnaces, and war.