Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 5/11/08 - 5/18/08

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Pam's House Blend" explores the State Blogger selection question

*****UPDATE 2*****************************
Pam also posted this on one of my other favorite blogs, Pandagon. My new "buddy", Frances L. Holland, posted a comment.

It's interesting how no one from the "Afrospear" has commented on why they have not included "Pam's House Blend" with their list of blogs when she revealed that she had applied for inclusion.

I was amused to discover at "African American Political Pundit" that no one deemed to respond to my last comment on that thread and instead started a new, more offensive thread on the same topic.

I encourage everyone to read the blog, including both threads and comments. I'll post my last comment here, in response to AAPP:
"CelticDiva, it appears that you have a chip on your shoulder regarding black bloggers bring this issue of all white blogs being chosen for State Bloggers Corps to to the attention of the DNC (which we have)."
I have no problem with you bringing this issue to the DNC...I encourage you to bring it...I think it's great that you have!

At this time, however, if I were the DNC I'd say/do three things:

1) I'd run down each blog with you and have you correctly identify the ethnicity of each blog owner and blog contributor so that you could prove to me conclusively that Black America is not represented.

2) I'd go over the State Blog criteria with you vs. the General Blog criteria and show you how your blog and Francis' blogs, as examples, are national-oriented and issue-driven blogs that meet the General blog criteria, not State blog.

3) I'd tell you that it would be more appropriate to see the list of General Blogs when they are announced before you make accusations of racial exclusion.

These are the same three issues you will be asked to address continuously by bloggers of every color.

Now, a question from me:

Which of you didn't get chosen? Was it this blog or one of Francis' blogs?

The chip that's weighing heavy on someone's shoulder isn't mine and all the insults and namecalling either one of you want to throw at me isn't going to make it so.

Since I'm now repeating myself, this will be my last comment.

******UPDATE 3*****************************************************

Literally, within the last few hours, "Pam's House Blend" was added to the list of "Afrospear" blogs at "African American Political Pundit".


I emailed Pam Spaulding, owner of "Pam's House Blend" when I started exploring the accusations of some bloggers who are unhappy with the DNCC choices for the State Blogger Corps.

A little while ago, Pam posted on the topic - "Democratic National Convention state blog selection dustup". She and I seem to agree on the main points and she kindly linked to this blog and quoted me.

One area she ventured into that interested me was the politics of blog selection. In a discussion about why one blog was chosen over another, I found this very interesting:
We've been in contact with people who have told us that we were considered for the credential, but were vetoed by someone in Mississippi's Democratic Party. We are attempting to find out who that person is and why they felt we should not represent Mississippi. Any assistance in the matter would be greatly appreciated.

That surprised me because I had never considered that they might talk to Alaska's Democratic Party members before selecting a blog...I thought it was all going to be through a detached, committee. I'm not sure talking to the States Reps is wise.

As I see it, some of the best Progressive bloggers are the ones who also take their Progressive leaders to task. Sometimes that is quite necessary, but politicians are frequently notorious for not taking criticism well.

The days when the blogs were finalized, I was writing several pieces which were also posted to other blogs criticizing our Superdelegates for not declaring and one for openly enjoying the attention. I'm glad that was not held against me.

"Gear Junkies" Editorial of the Week - by Patti Greene

"Gear Junkies" is the free, premier weekly newsletter sent via email to the Alaska music community. In each issue, the Goddess of the Alaska Music Scene, Patti Greene, writes an editorial on "music politics" and we post it here!

Today's piece updates the debate of April 25th when the Daily News thought they would have to do away with the music calendar to save pages/money. Well, all of those emails and phone calls definitely did something!

Patti's Note:

An Update:
In today's Anchorage Daily News you'll see the new, improved "SoundCheck" entertainment section, prominently located on p. 2, inside the front cover, on the same page with the touring shows. This works really well for a number of reasons: it's compact, easy to understand, conveys all the club info, and lists the local entertainers on the same page with the touring acts. Some could say that's actually a promotion as it raises our visibility considerably.

You bet I'll be sending a thank-you note to ADN editor Pat Dougherty PDougherty@adn.com, Play Section editor Josh Niva jniva@adn.com and Calendar Goddess Jessica Bowman play@adn.com. I invite you to do the same if you have a minute.

Thanks for joining in the discussion. It all works pretty well when we refrain from hitting or biting. That applies to everything from ordering French onion soup to diversifying an economy in a changing marketplace. ----- patti.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I love it when I can mix politics and entertainment...GO CALIFORNIA!!!!

So, the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage yesterday (WOOT!)...and of course every righty wing-nut in the state is desperate to stop "the invasion of the gays!!!!"

But let's stay happy and positive right now...

So, one of my favorite entertainers ever, Ms. Ellen DeGeneres made quite a cool announcement to her audience today...per Pam's House Blend...

OK...who cried?

**raises hand**

I think it was the standing ovation that did it!

Pam also included this graph reflecting a Gallop Poll that breaks the results down regionally.

So, the pro-gay marriage Massuchusetts and California decisions match their regions, but not the country. That's not depressing, it just shows there is work to be done.

So, I paid a visit to one of my favorite, groovy little virtual towns, Bent, Alaska. (Yes, I've now officially changed the title of your blog with a comma!)

Anyway, E. Ross has a great article with a detailed description of the actual court decision plus reactions from Alaskans to the news out of CA:
Marsha Buck, Treasurer of PFLAG Juneau and Co-Chair of Alaskans Together for Equality
I am incredibly happy about the California decision! I just talked to a friend who said she and her partner spent last evening considering a trip to California to get married. They had already received a call from another couple, who are active in PFLAG Juneau, who have decided FOR SURE to go to California to be married. This good news definitely impacts us personally as Alaskans. Way to go California! I'm sending off several personal checks to make certain this decision is not overturned in November.

That sounds like great advice.


In the "In Case Anyone Cares" category...

I had a discussion about how I would solve the "Marriage Equality" issue and I think my solution is perfect...it would annoy the crap out of everyone!

I personally think that the government should NEVER have been in the "marriage business" as it is a religious issue.

My solution would be to make "marriage licenses" the same as "business licenses." EVERYONE should only be able to get a government license for a "Civil Union" and any two adults should be able to get one.

No one cares who your business partners are, why should the government care with whom you decide to share a household? Buying a license is business...there should be no romantic or sexual connotation drawn from getting a "civil union license." That way, elderly siblings could get a license for health care, estate and other legal issues. Two single-parent friends could get a civil union to join households and raise each others kids together. You see where I'm going with this...

In order to make it a "marriage," that would have to be done through a church...any church.

Like I said, equal upheaval for everyone!

Anger about the "State Blogger Corps" list from some in the blogosphere

*****UPDATE 2*****

Here's the original article from "African American Political Pundit" and my comment. While I originally commented on Francis L. Holland's article (linked below) I decided I didn't want to feature that blog.
"The Clintons have always been skillful at playing the race and gender cards." Now its seems the Democratic National Convention may be playing the "segregation card" with black political bloggers. At this historic moment why are black bloggers excluded? The 2008 DNC Bloggers Corp lacks diversity - You can count the black bloggers on one finger. Francis L. Holland also sees Jim Crow "Whites-Only" Dem. Bloggers in Denver?

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean announced the blogs selected to participate in the DemConvention State Blogger Corps during the four-day event in August.

AAPP: It appears that one black political bloggers may have been selected. Check out the list I could be wrong. Why is it that in 2008 black bloggers get segregated out of the Democratic Convention State blogger Corps? We have history in the making and black bloggers will not be well represented in the State Blogger Corps, to tell the story?

I also liked the response that I left for them better than the other. They weren't snarky so neither was I.

The criteria for the blogs was mostly based on Technarati authority, page impressions and Progressive/Liberal political content. This means generally the blogs chosen were the most-read blogs in each state.

You can also see that most of them were very focused on state issues as well as national politics...many having or referring to their state in the name of the blog. The blogs chosen from the bigger states (generally) were the slick, multiple-contributor websites as they are the most-read blogs.

Actually, a number of the contributors to those websites are black. Doesn't that make sense that the chosen websites would have a variety of voices representing their state including black voices?

Of course, it's frequently impossible to determine the ethnicity, religion...hell, even the gender (Digby) of folks on the Internet, unless you are making these assumptions based on stereotypes. Some people prefer "internet anonymity" because their words are not judged based upon a "category". I don't know how I could authoritatively declare that "there are" or "are not" any "black blogs" in the 50 State Blogger Corps when the ethnicities of many (if not most) of the contributors are impossible to determine based on a one-time or short-time viewing.

Of course, one had to apply or be nominated to be selected in the first place. I know that the two other blogs that applied to represent Alaska were not owned by people of color. Heck, the owners of the most popular blogs in the state...the ones that everyone thought would be chosen...didn't even apply because their work and family schedules prohibited it.

Probably the most important thing NOT to assume is that many of your favorite blogs applied at all.

I think when the list of blogs chosen for the Blog Pool comes out, you will see a cornucopia of diverse blogs - many of which will have more of a national focus and/or be more issue-driven.

I promise you that, if I thought there was any purposeful exclusion of black bloggers happening here, I would be screaming from the mountaintops (literally, I'm in Alaska). I may email Pam of "Pam's House Blend" what her opinion is, since she also writes for one of the chosen blogs "BlueNC."

Celtic Diva

Thursday, May 15, 2008

O'Reilly compared Markos Moulitsas (Kos) to white supremacist David Duke **NWS**

OK...I enjoyed watching the whole "Bill O'Reilly Flips Out" video and especially loved the "Dance Remix" version. However, I wasn't going to bother posting them on the blog.

For one reason, it's DEFINITELY not "work safe."

Then, O'Reilly threw the gauntlet:
Summary: Bill O'Reilly compared Markos Moulitsas, founder of the progressive Daily Kos blog, to white supremacist David Duke and criticized Newsweek for its decision to hire Moulitsas as a regular contributor, stating: "And Newsweek magazine, by the way, has legitimized him by giving him a columnist position. I talked to the editor by email, and I said I can't believe that you're -- that's like hiring David Duke. Again, I use Duke too much, but I have to -- the level of hatred coming out of that website is unprecedented."

So here's what happened per Markos on Kos:
O'Reilly is pissed that we're mocking him for his Inside Edition freakout. So he had one of his hapless interns find some diary which juxtaposed images from Jenna's wedding with images of the Iraq War. Apparently, that was The Worst Thing Ever because we must pretend that we're winning and that war has no consequences.

O'Reilly's rant predictably generated a "flood" (like 20) emails from his acolytes. You want to see an "unprecedented level of hatred"? Check out some of those emails:

Well...you can go to the post and read them there. Illiterate white supremacists give me hives.

So, I'm posting the original "Freak Out" first:

Then, the wayyyyy cool remix!!!!

Please post these and email these to everyone you know.

I mean everyone.

All over the world.

Hell...send another copy to O'Reilly.

News from the DNCC...

Kaerick and Monocot live in Denver, CO and are volunteering for the Democratic National Convention. They will be reporting from time to time when they get updates from the Committee.

I don't know how I feel about this initiative. The idea of bike sharing is a great one, and traffic is certain to be congested downtown during the convention. At the same time though, Denver is famous for causing non natives to gasp for oxygen, so I'm not sure that combining flatlander visitors and exercise is a judicious combination. When I first moved to Denver from Florida three years ago, it took me approximately two weeks to get used to breathing at higher altitude.

News from the Convention:


Mile High City teams up with Humana and Bikes Belong to bring 1,000 bikes to Denver to encourage personal and environmental health during convention

Denver, CO - May 14, 2008 - Amid the buzz of national Bike to Work Week, the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and Bikes Belong took steps with - or better yet, pedaled - a new initiative today to encourage bike use as an alternative mode of transportation during the Democratic National Convention.

Denver Host Committee President Elbra Wedgeworth and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper unveiled plans for a bike-sharing program called Freewheelin, part of Denver's efforts to support healthy living and environmental sustainability during the Democratic National Convention.

The Freewheelin program was developed by Humana in partnership with bike industry leaders. As part of the multi-pronged initiative, Humana and the not-for-profit Bikes Belong will bring nearly 1,000 bikes to Denver during the Democratic National Convention in August. The bikes can be used free of charge by anyone looking for an alternative to automobiles while the convention is in town.

"With 300 days of sunshine a year, bicycling remains one of the most viable alternatives to driving in Denver, helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution," said Mayor Hickenlooper. "Denver is one of the healthiest and most active cities in America, so we're excited to pioneer a bike-sharing model that supports a physically and environmentally healthy community. While bicycles are part of our strategy to host the greenest national political convention ever, our commitment to being a bike-friendly city is long-term."

Denver joins a small group of progressive cities establishing bike sharing programs in the United States. Plans for the program call for 1,000 bikes to be sent to the city for use during the Democratic National Convention. Seventy of those bikes and the checkout kiosks will remain after the convention; they will be donated to the city by Humana as part of an ongoing program to support carbon emission reduction and healthy active lifestyles. The program also will establish a lasting legacy and a start to a permanent bike sharing system in Denver.

The legacy program will feature Freewheelin bike racks set up at various points around the city, each housing a collection of the program's proprietary bikes, which are equipped with trip computers. A solar-powered kiosk through which participants can "check-out" a bike will accompany each bike rack. Participants can use the bikes for things such as riding to work or doing errands, or simply taking a leisurely spin.

Once users are finished, they simply return the bike to any Freewheelin rack in the city. Participants can register for the program on the Freewheelin website, and use the site to automatically track things like their mileage, their personal carbon offset and other health information. Riders simply use a credit card or a Freewheelin key fob to check the bike out at no charge during the convention."

Denver is renowned for its commitment to healthy living, so it makes perfect sense that Freewheelin will have a home here," said Dan Oftedahl, Denver-based market president for Humana. "Through bike sharing, Denver residents will not only have the opportunity to contribute toward a cleaner environment while - at the same time, improving their health - but they also will have fun doing it along the way."

Humana piloted the Freewheelin program in Louisville, Ky., in 2008 by installing Freewheelin bikes and racks for use by employees free of charge. More than 2,500 employees registered for the program. Based upon the success of the pilot, Humana is expanding the program to other cities, as well as college and corporate campuses across the country. Bike sharing is a popular alternative used in various European cities including Paris and Amsterdam to encourage "green" and congestion-free transportation."

This is an exceptional opportunity to show how well bicycling works for short trips in big cities," said Tim Blumenthal, Executive Director of Bikes Belong. "Considering that 41 percent of all trips in automobiles are two miles or less, bikes are an ideal alternative."


New GI Bill Passes the House!

256 Yea, 166 Nay, 12 Did Not Vote

HERE is the list of Congressmen and women and how they voted.

Don Young did his job. Good Don!

Per an email from Patrick Cambell of IAVA:
Earlier this week, we told you that the new GI Bill was facing opposition from a small group of Representatives in the House, who were threatening the bill despite its deep bi-partisan support.

We asked for your help, and you stepped up to the plate. Thousands of you took action by calling your Representatives, signing the petition at www.GIBill2008.org, and spreading the word to your friends and neighbors. Today, your dedication paid off and together, we made history.

There's no question that your efforts had an impact. Referring specifically to the group of Representatives that were standing in the way of the bill, known as the Blue Dogs, the Politico, a Washington-insider newspaper, said that "there had been erosion among Blue Dogs in the face of pressure from veterans groups."1 The leadership you demonstrated in fighting for this bill shows that IAVA is a force to be reckoned with.

I wrote about the "Blue Dogs" and how they were holding the Bill hostage on Tuesday. For those of you who used the info I posted to contact them, thank you very much!!! Look what you did!!! You made those bad dogs HEEL!

As our Shannyn Moore on KUDO 1080 might say, this is what comes when you do your daily dose of "Vitamin D...Vitamin Democracy!"

Things to check out while in Denver

http://www.sustainablelivingassociation.org/ Every year the Rocky Mountain Substainable Living Association hosts a fair in Fort Collins. The event features vendors and educators in the substainable living movement. This past year I attended the event and watched demos on strawbale construction, biodiesel, beekeeping, CSA's, and Wind turbine construction. They also sponsor the Be Local Coupon book, which encourages people to shop at locally owned businesses. This year -beginning Summer through Fall 2008 they are expanding their operations to include workshops in substainable living.

http://www.workshopforwomen.com/ Judy Browne is associated with the Denver Habitat for Humanity chapter and Women Build. The women build projects have a large pool of skilled volunteeers, and build at least one home project each year with a women only work force. Judy teaches classes in Denver on basic home repair, construction, and maintenence. The classes are geared to the novice to allow a transition from watching HGTV to actually participating in the builds. :>

http://www.dug.org/ Denver Urban Gardens sponsors local community gardenening throughout the Denver region. The plots of land allow low to moderate income urban residents to supplement their diet with food grown in the gardens and build and improve their community. They also provide training and education of gardeners, school groups and community based programs for youths and adults. Each year they provide free vegetable seeds and transplants to many residents of the city.


Seattle online news site does a story on me!

Celtic Diva's identity revealed!
Celtic Diva's real name is Linda Kellen Biegel. She's something of a renaissance woman by Lower 48 standards, but she's a lot like other Alaskan women I've met who seem to invent and reinvent themselves in defiance of all prevailing conventions.

Wow, she got all that out of my email!

It's actually a pretty cool website.

Daily Kos Alaska Campaign polls ignore Diane Benson

AK-Sen, AK-AL, AK-Pres: Democrats competitive all around

Kos shows his latest poll information:
If 2008 election for Congress were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Ethan Berkowitz, the Democrat, and Don Young, the Republican?

Young (R) 40 (42)
Berkowitz (D) 50 (49)

If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Mark Begich, the Democrat, and Ted Stevens, the Republican?

Stevens (R) 43 (41)
Begich (D) 48 (47)

He then goes on to look at the results in light of the Rasmusson AK Presidential Poll:
And Alaska is definitely a state where Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket will pay HUGE dividends:

McCain (R) 49
Obama (D) 42

McCain (R) 55
Clinton (D) 37

You better believe Begich and Berkowitz are cheering Obama's primary victory. Meanwhile, Obama is legitimately competitive in the state. That's some map-changing mojo at work.

If you're like me (a Diane Benson supporter) you'll find it irritating that she's been left out of the results altogether. That was also the case in December.

Markos is a contributor to Berkowitz's campaign. You may or may not be surprised that Markos/Kos commissions these polls himself.

What may surprise you is that this is NOT a condemnation of Markos. While I may not like it that the candidate I'm choosing to support is not also receiving support from the largest Progressive blog in the Nation, the reality is just that...it is a blog. Blogs generally have a bias and while usually that bias is more idealogical (Progressive vs. Conservative), there are also biases within those ideologies. For example, it's well known that DailyKos readers (Kossacks) tend to be Obamacans while MyDD readers tend to be Clintonians.

There is nothing wrong with this and as Democrats, it is my belief that we will ALWAYS come together in the end behind the candidate who wins.

No, I'm not condemning Markos for his bias. However, I do have a problem with this particular piece of it. While I'm a supporter of Diane Benson, when I do a "candidate roundup" on the blog I at least mention ALL of the Progressive candidates in the races, even if I'm unhappy with one of them, because to do otherwise doesn't tell the whole story.

Markos is treating Diane Benson like she is invisible...something that has happened to Alaska Native Women for much too long. Some of the issues she's fighting for have to do with just that...the treatment of Native people, women and Native women in particular. Markos is playing right into the hands of Alaska Republicans or all of those who would like a lot of those issues to remain invisible.

Most importantly, Diane Benson managed to take 40% of the vote in the 2006 election against Don Young with NO MONEY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. She did far better than ANY opposition Young's had to date.

That alone should have earned Diane some respect.

Additionally, in a poll conducted by Craciun and Associates in November 2007, Benson took 45 percent of the vote against Young with 37. That same poll also showed Berkowitz with 50 percent to Young's 35 percent, which would indicate that Benson has as likely an opportunity to beat him as Berkowitz.

Once again, I'll say that this is NOT a condemnation of Markos' right to favor one candidate over another. I do the same on my blog and will continue to do so leading up to my trip to the Democratic National Convention.

But giving the impression one is analyzing an Alaska race when a perfectly viable Progressive candidate is being virtually ignored isn't a complete (or accurate) analysis at all.

Nice catch by the Begich Campaign

"Home...home on the range..."

Oh wait, that's OUR RANGE!!!!

Folks in the Begich Campaign know our mountain when they see it!!! Spokeswoman Julie Hasquet said this yesterday:
Bob Schaffer, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Colorado, launched his TV ads today. Unfortunately, he used Alaska's Mount McKinley (also called Denali) in the spot. And while Alaskans can understand why Schaffer would promote our beautiful mountain, I hope he doesn't expect Alaska to cede North America's highest peak to the State of Colorado.

It was actually caught and reported in The Denver Post:
A frustrated Dick Wadhams, Schaffer's campaign manager, conceded the mistake and said the ad would be pulled and re-edited with Colorado mountains. Wadhams said that the campaign raised the issue with their media consultant during rough cuts, directing them to make sure the mountain shots were authentic - something that obviously didn't happen. But for an ad meant to underscore Schaffer’s strong ties to his home state, it's exactly the kind of screw-up the campaign doesn’t want to make.


The commercial was yanked from YouTube but you can still see the ad at the Denver Post link.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A mid-week trip through Alaska's Progressive blogosphere...

I've been too excited to really buckle down and do the kind of researchy-type post that I'd like to do. Plus, I've actually had work to do...the kind that generates household cash-flow.

So, I went around and visited some of my favorite fellow-Alaskan blogs and tonight they all have some really great posts!

Philip at Progressive Alaska has had a busy couple of days. Yesterday, he actually posted a guest piece by our favorite 6th Beatle, Vic Kohring, who proceeded to tell us all how that bribery on video was a misunderstanding and that he's totally innocent and shouldn't go to jail.

Yeah, OK...but it was still one heckuva good scoop, Phil!

He also did a nice article on Diane Benson's feature on the Truthout website called "Women in the Running.". Oh yeah, in the piece he did on Ron Senungetuk becoming this year's Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist, he casually mentioned at the bottom: "I was honored with a fellowship that will help me in my work on six ongoing or projected compositions."

Congratulations, Philip!

Moving on to the other blogs, it's polar bears, polar bears, polar bears and the reactions to their new-found 'Threatened' status.

First, we have the serious take. Alaska Politics blog has a story highlighting the reactions of all three very unhappy members of the Congretional Delegation, one less-unhappy Governor and some semi-unhappy conservationists. (Some in the administration are trying to lessen the coverage the polar bears will receive.) Next, we have some humor. Myster at Own the Sidewalk talks about the new "Polar Bear Disneyland" our Congressional Delegation believes we will soon be building. Ishmael at Kodiak Konfidential chooses to look at it through the eyes of a gamer. My kind of guy!!!!

Last but not least our travels take us to that trendy town called "Bent Alaska". (OK, it's not really a town, but it should be.) E. Ross discusses Michigan's same-sex marriage ban and how the State Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the ban: "...prevents governments and universities from providing health insurance to the partners of gay and lesbian workers..." It compared that ruling to the 2005 ruling in Alaska where:
The court unanimously agreed, stating that "denying benefits to the same-sex domestic partners who are absolutely ineligible to become spouses has no demonstrated relationship to the interest of promoting marriage."

Clearly Michigan is a little behind.



OK...I'll calm down...I promise...


Well...maybe not!

He'll be doing so within the hour!



I'M IN!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I get up first thing and go to my email:
Linda -

In about an hour, we’ll announce the blogs selected for the State Blogger Corps at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Congratulations. I’m writing to let you know that Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis will be the credentialed blog from Alaska.
*Scooby Doo doubletake*

Let's read that again...
I’m writing to let you know that Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis will be the credentialed blog from Alaska.

*grabs daughter as she's leaving for school so we can do the happy dance*

I am so honored that I will get to provide the blog view for Alaskans directly from the Democratic Convention!!!!! I know that this is a great opportunity and also a great responsibility and I take it VERY seriously.

Of course, my daughter giggled and said, "Will we get to meet Barack Obama?" (My husband and I decided that this was important enough to allow her to miss the first couple days of school.)

Anyway, here's the press release from the DNCC as well as the list of State Blogs. I will be posting them all on my sidebar eventually.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I don't have to say a word...

I'm reposting this from Americablog because it says exactly what I feel.

Go away you horrible human being
by John Aravosis (DC) · 5/13/2008 09:25:00 PM ET


Good God. What is wrong with her? The Clintons and their campaign staff don't give a damn that they are now hurting our electoral chances in the fall against McCain and against the Republicans in Congress. Their campaign isn't happening in some vacuum, and they know it. Our candidates can't fundraise because of her. Obama can't focus on McCain because of her. Obama is wasting money on HER, rather than spending it on McCain, because of her. EMILY's List, and AFSCME, and the American Federation of Teachers and others are wasting their members' money on her now-failed race - money that they could be spending, should be spending, on other real races, races that haven't already lost. She can't win, the math says she lost the nomination, but she doesn't give a damn. She's going to stay in the race like some spoiled hateful egotistical brat.

Why is the media even covering her? The only stories that should be written about Hillary Clinton is how much damage she's causing our party. How she's hurting fundraising at the DNC - they even admitted it, they're not raising the money they need to fight John McCain because of this woman. Why don't you write some stories about how she is hurting our candidates who can't fundraise because of her? How she has forced EMILY's List and AFSCME and the AFT to waste their money because of her. How she has caused a civil war in the Netroots. Five months ago we all felt that we had 3 great candidates. Now, far too many of us loathe Hillary Clinton, and she has done her racist best to ensure that her supporters can't stand Barack Obama either.

The Clintons don't give a damn about our party. Their party, their church, is themselves. To hell with everyone else. I actually liked Hillary up until a few months ago. Other bloggers used to tell me that Joe and I were too nice to Hillary. People just assumed that we were endorsing her. Now I actually loathe her. She makes me yell at the TV like she's George Bush, and no one other than George Bush makes me yell at the TV - until now. I actually can't stand her or her husband any more. I defended her. I defended her husband. And now I'm actually wondering if the Republicans weren't right about them. That's how bad she has damaged her reputation. People who actually liked you, who actually helped you, who actually defended you, LOATHE you now. Call me a Clinton-hater all you like, but people like me were the ones who had your back. And we never will again.

Let me close with what Mike Huckabee just said on MSNBC:

"The happiest person in America tonight is John McCain."

Magistrate's opinion finds in favor of Ft. Rich "conscientious objector"

The Army should be ordered to grant conscientious objector status to Michael Barnes, a Fort Richardson-based paratrooper who had that request denied by the Army last year, U.S. Magistrate John D. Roberts ruled today. In a 26-page decision, Roberts concluded that the government failed to show any "basis in fact" for denying Barnes' request to be honorably discharged due to his religious beliefs. The government has four days to respond to the decision.
This goes before Judge John Sedwick who will choose whether or not to affirm the Magistrate decision.

Pfc. Michael Barnes has been a radio operator in the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team and is the first "conscientious objector" case in Alaska since the Iraq was invaded.

Pfc. Barnes:
"...had his request for conscientious objector status denied by the U.S. Army while serving in Iraq last year appealed that decision in an Anchorage federal court on Monday."

His written testimony describes his reasons:
"Spending my time on this earth killing or supporting killing others is unacceptable to me," Barnes wrote. "Serving Jesus is doing the opposite of participating in war. It is loving your enemy, avoiding conflict, being humble and living peacefully. I am unable to serve the Lord and support war."

Born and raised in Portland, Ore., Barnes was baptized at New Hope Community Church in Portland in 2001.

Shannyn Moore on KUDO 1080 broke this news before the Anchorage Daily News did and the discussion centered around the fact that this man understands what Jesus actually taught in the Gospels as opposed to what the right-wing twist does to those beliefs.

I also don't want the Courts deciding who is "religious enough" and who isn't. Anyone who goes through the hell of bringing this request to the courts with all the abuse that will eventually entail should be granted the status automatically. Since it's a volunteer Army, why would we want to keep folks there who are no longer effective and may actually be a danger to themselves and everyone else if they are forced to fight?

Which "Blue Dogs" should be in the dog house over delaying the GI Bill?

I received this email from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) yesterday:
Last week, despite enormous momentum, a vote on the GI Bill was delayed by a small group of Democrats in the House. Believe it or not, they're concerned about the cost of the bill, which amounts to less than 0.5% of war funding for the year. This is Washington ineffectiveness at its worst.
"A small group of Democrats in the House" refers to "The Blue Dog Coalition". According to their website:
The 47 conservative and moderate Democrats in the group hail from every region of the country, although the group acknowledges some southern ancestry which accounts for the group's nickname. Taken from the South's longtime description of a party loyalist as one who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat, the "Blue Dog" moniker was taken by members of The Coalition because their moderate-to-conservative-views had been "choked blue" by their party in the years leading up to the 1994 election.

The Coalition was formed in the 104th Congress as a policy-oriented group to give moderate and conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives a common sense, bridge-building voice within the institution.
So, the "fiscally responsible message represented by The Coalition" is being pushed by some of the members NOW, when they've had NO PROBLEM supporting the run-away spending in Iraq:
A small group of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats is threatening to block the emergency war spending bill over a program for veterans’ benefits not offset with tax hikes or spending cuts.

Because of that problem, and the efforts by House Republicans to stall floor action with procedural motions, the vote on the carefully crafted supplemental measure could be delayed until Friday or next week.

“Some of us oppose creating a new entitlement program in an emergency spending bill, whether it’s butchers, bakers or candlestick-makers,” said Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition who serves on the House leadership team as a deputy whip.

They only need 15 members of the house to kill this legislation. There are 47 "Blue Dogs" in the House. However, 36 of those members are signed on as co-sponsors of HB 5740. So, according to Daily Kos diarist BarbinMD:
...either Tanner and Boyd plan to join forces with Republicans to kill this bill, or there are at least 4 Blue Dogs who don't have the courage to stand by their convictions and do the right thing.
The IAVA email requests that we contact our House Rep and encourage them to vote for the Bill. However, Congressman Don Young has actually been on board with the legislation for quite awhile. (Feel free to send him a "thank you" email for that!)

However, what we CAN do is contact the "Blue Dogs" and tell them to "HEEL!"

Kristin Hawn, "Blue Dogs" Communications Director--BlueDog@mail.house.gov

Mike Arcuri: (202) 225-3665
Joe Baca: (202) 225-6161
John Barrow: (202) 225-2823
Melissa Bean: (202) 225-3711
Marion Berry: (202) 225-4076
Sanford Bishop: (202) 225-3631
Dan Boren: (202) 225-2701
Leonard Boswell: (202) 225-3806
Allen Boyd: (202) 225-5235
Dennis Cardoza: (202) 225-6131
Christopher Carney: (202) 225-3731
Ben Chandler: (202) 225-4706
Jim Cooper: (202) 225-4311
Jim Costa: (202) 225-3341
Bud Cramer: (202) 225-4801
Lincoln Davis: (202) 225-6831
Joe Donnelly: (202) 225-3915
Brad Ellsworth: (202) 225-4636
Gabrille Giffords: (202) 225-2542
Kirsten Gillibrand: (202) 225-5614
Bart Gordon: (202) 225-4231
Jane Harman: (202) 225 8220
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: (202) 225-2801
Baron Hill: (202) 225-5315
Tim Holden: (202) 225-5546
Steve Israel: (202) 225-4669
Nick Lampson: (202) 225-5951
Tim Mahoney: (202) 225-5792
Jim Marshal: (202) 225-6531
Jim Matheson: (202) 225-3011
Mike McIntyre: (202) 225-2731
Charlie Melancon: (202) 225-4031
Michael Michaud: (202) 225-6306
Dennis Moore: (202) 225-2865
Patrick Murphy: (202) 225-4276
Collin Peterson: (202) 225-2165
Earl Pomeroy: (202) 225-2611
Mike Ross: 1-800-223-2220
John Salazar: (202) 225-4761
Loretta Sanchez: (202) 225-2965
Adam Schiff: (202) 225-4176
David Scott: (202) 225-2939
Heath Shuler: (202) 225-6401
Zack Space: (202) 225-6265
John Tanner: (202) 225-4714
Gene Taylor: (202) 225-5772
Mike Thompson: (202) 225-3311
Charlie Wilson: (202) 225-5705

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wow...watch the candidates and nail them on their mistakes

I had just read a great-catch diary this morning by NWTerriD where she nailed John McCain on a rather large misinterpretation of the Constitution during a speech at Wake Forest and his campaigns attempts to cover it up.

Less than an hour later while watching MSNBC, I found myself in a laughably similar situation.

In a West Virginia speech, Hillary Clinton claimed that state had "the most Veterans per capita" than any other state.


In a Portland Oregon speech, John McCain, trying to be the "Green Republican," discussed how a National Park in Alaska built a viewing and visitor's center for a glacier, but now that glacier is "gone."


Both of these claims caught my attention as I was watching MSNBC this morning. The reason I noticed them is that neither of them are true.

The state with the most Veterans per capita = Alaska. Per the Veterans Administration, we have 74,500 Veterans in the state (closer to 80,000 after a number of our troops came home from Iraq and Afghanistan) and our state population is 663,661 (2005). That is approximately one Veteran per 8.9 people. (If we stick with the figure still on the website--71,552--that's still 1 veteran per 9.3 folks. If we go with the newest 80,000 estimate, that's 8.3)

Per their VA Office, there are approximately 180,000 veterans in West Virginia. With a population of 1,816,856 (2005) that means they have one veteran per 10.1 people in the state.

Alaska wins.

Secondly, Sen. McCain claims that a glacier is "gone" are also not true. It is likely that he is referring to this New York Times article from 2005. It talks about the Alaska glaciers and how they are receding at an alarming rate. It talks specifically about Portage Glacier:
For tourists, it can mean a thrill at seeing a landscape more dynamic than any place on earth - global warming on hyperspeed! - or disappointment that something so wild and massive is, well, shrinking.

Both reactions were evident at Portage Lake, about 50 miles south of Anchorage. Tour buses packed the parking lot of the big, well-staffed Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. This is where people come by the thousands to see Portage Glacier, one of the most accessible of Alaska's frozen attractions. Except, you can no longer see Portage Glacier from the visitor center. It has disappeared.

The most persistent question to rangers at the station was: Dude, where did Portage Glacier go? A display inside showed that just 11 years ago, the glacier descended down to the end of the lake. But now it is around a distant corner and at the back of the lake, completely out of sight from the center.

First off, we could talk about why Senator McCain's people are depending upon an article from 2005...lazy Googlers, perhaps? Alaska is the center for global warming research so more recent data is easily available.

Secondly, I just saw the glacier last year so I knew it wasn't gone completely and I'll be taking the kids out there again this summer. He could have talked to me or practically anyone else from South-Central Alaska. In my brief check-up on Alaska glaciers, I didn't find any cases where the glaciers were completely "gone," just not easily visible from some of the other visitor centers. There are also plenty of people to call to verify information.

Someone needs to fire their campaign fact-checkers.

I speak straight from the gut, okay? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." -- Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent's Dinner

The truth about autobiographies...

Kodiak Konfidential carries the comic strip "Non-Sequitur" by Wiley and it is a scream.

I was moved to giggles over this one as my family and I have been discussing whether or not I should write a book. My daughter asked me if I would be writing fiction, as she couldn't see how my "real life" could be very interesting to other people.

Authors should ALWAYS keep people around who can call you on your...well...you know...

7.8 Quake Disaster in China - 9,000+ dead

CHONGQING, China - A massive earthquake struck central China on Monday, killing more than 8,500 people and trapping nearly 900 students under the rubble of their school, state media reported.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was among the worst to strike China in decades, devastating a hilly region of small cities and towns in Sichuan and nearby provinces. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan and dozens of other deaths were reported elsewhere
Five minutes ago on MSNBC, they announced that the official word out of China is now a death toll of 9,000+. It's hard to look at the pictures.

I think Alaskans always feel a special empathy for anyone who is hit by a huge earthquake. Alaskans, especially those of us in Anchorage have the Sword of Damocles hanging over us in the form of the 9.2 earthquake from 1964.

This quake also increases my concern for the people of Burma - China was the country allowed to fly aid in from the beginning and was encouraged to talk Burma into allowing more international aid. I can only hope that this makes the government of Burma more open to additional flights from the U.S.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Say cheeeeeese...Mother's Day 2008!

Elementary School stages, when in use, are frantically photographed/videoed by at least a dozen parents so the results can be dragged out at holidays and when subject child brings home a potential spouse.

So, it always amazes me that each school I've been to has a more craptastic sound and lighting system than the last.

My daughter's school does not break that pattern. (If any upper-management from a large oil company just HAPPENS to be reading this right now, PLEASE make a note for your next donation cycle.)

So, it was with some grumpiness today that I managed to do some extreme editing and get one lousy-but-usable picture out of the 15 digitals that I took during my daughter's chorus performance at the end-of-the-year talent show on Friday. You are looking at the result on the top of the page (my daughter is front row, second from the right).

Sadly, the pictures of her earlier performance weren't even salvagable nor were any of the ones I took of my landlord's son (She's out of town).

Luckily, my Mom will just care that it's a picture of her granddaughter on stage. Actually, that's the same reason why I played around so long with the pictures. It didn't matter that the faces are now grainy and spotty as a result...it just matters that I can see my baby's face doing something that she loves.

It's a mom (and grandma) thing.

So Mom, for all those times you made us stand there with frozen smiles until you got the picture just right, then you'd put them in the album anyway when my eyes were closed...I get it now.

Happy Mother's Day!

I don't think Hillary will be promoting THIS Saturday Night Live skit!


Note to Hillary: comedy can turn on you in a heartbeat!