Saturday, April 30, 2005



that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us! Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes)

This is my nieces AIM away message. Sorry Katiekakes, had to appropriate it!

Friday, April 29, 2005



In spite of what you may have heard, you don't need to have read any of Doug Adams books to enjoy this movie. It a is very funny, quirky, thoroughly enjoyable movie. I don't think I have laughed as hard in the theatre since I saw the premiere of "Escanaba In Da Moonlight"! I won't give away any details, but suffice it to say that Marvin the clinically depressed android is worth the price of the ticket. Very funny stuff!

Edit note: So I sit down at my computer this morning and notice the screen is changed. Gone is the naked Liv Tyler, which was supposed to inspire my daughter on her diet, but was quite frankly, making it very hard for me to get anything done at the computer. Well er, nothing I can .....ah, moving on....

In Liv's place is Marvin the clinically depressed android and the words DON'T PANIC. Her AIM away message says "So long..... and thanks for all the fish". I think she enjoyed the movie!

Thursday, April 28, 2005



I swear, there is something weird going on. I don't know if some terrorist has dumped estrogen in the drinking water, or if it's the revenge of Dr. Frank N. Furter, or what! But men are suddenly being emasculated at an alarming rate! I first noticed this trend on my favorite morning radio show, ESPN"s "Mike and Mike In The Morning" It started innocently enough. In honor of the NFL draft, they started playing ABBA's 'Take A Chance On Me". But very quickly, things got out of hand. Professional football players were singing along to ABBA songs! Lions' Pres. Matt Millen talking about going to see the Broadway show Mama Mia, then singing excerpts from the songs in the show. Then this morning, on the shows TV simulcast, there was just a very disturbing site. There, for the whole world to see, was former Notre Dame and Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Mike Golic singing "Dancing Queen". Trust me, the general populace should NEVER, EVER, EVER be subjected to the sight of a 310 lb. man singing "Dancing Queen"! But it gets worse!

On my lunch hour, I happened to open up iTunes. There is a list of the 10 songs that get the most play on your computer. And THERE IT WAS! Two of the top three were songs by CHER! My god, I am listening to CHER more than anyone else? I might just as well put on a f**king cocktail dress and belt out Ethel Merman showtunes!

I promise to listen to nothing but Leonard Skynard, the Alman Bros, Bob Seger and Jimmy Buffet for the next few weeks, or until my itunes list looks more impressive!

So, here's the list of what's playing most on my computer, what's on yours?

1. Just Like Jesse James CHER
2. Tangled Up In Blue BOB DYLAN
3. If I Could Turn Back Time CHER
5. Kiss Me SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER (okay, this is REALLY embarrassing, but I love this song, and Leigh Nash)
6. Spiders WILCO
7. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams GREEN DAY
8. Damn Good Disguise MENDOZA LINE
9. Evangelina HOYT AXTON
10. Dear John AIMEE MANN

GAWD! 2 Cher's, Aimee Mann, Sixpence: None the Richer....WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO ME?!!!

Speaking of men in dresses... I usually have a lot of respect for local congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich). However, with an emerging oil crisis, social security underfunding, the falling dollar, the trade deficit, falling consumer confidence, a slowing economy, you would think he'd have a lot of very important business to take care of in Congress. But what is the burning issue in Fred's mind? Drug testing in sports! Yeah, Fred's so upset about the steroid thing he is pushing a bill to force all pro sports to conform to the drug test standard of the Olympics.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am against steroid use in sports. I hate cheaters every bit as much as the next guy (unless, of course, they get traded to my team ala Chris Chelios). But we have plenty of laws in place to prosecute drug offenders. And, if the fans care enough (which, judging by skyrocketing baseball attendance, they don't), sports leagues will protect their revenue by cracking down even further.

But really, Fred, DON'T YOU HAVE MORE IMPORTANT FISH TO FRY? Perhaps you might take a stab at something like, oh, THE ENERGY CRISIS!


Monday, April 25, 2005



Former CIA director James Woolsey knows a thing or two about national security. According to Woolsey, the biggest threat to American security is not Al Quida and terrorism, or North Korea, or Iran. The biggest threat to America and our way of life is the looming oil crisis. In an appearance on the Diane Rehm Show this week, he blasted the Bush administration and Congress for their inaction!

Here are the facts. With demand for oil booming in the rapidly growing economies of India, China, and Indonesia, most oil producing countries are producing near or at capacity. Even if oil producing countries had an incentive to build new capacity, which, given high and rising oil prices, they don't, it would take a decade to boost capacity enough to meet demand. Given tight supplies, any major disruption in the supply chain (break in major pipeline, refinery shut down or fire, etc.) would send prices through the roof. This in turn would have a huge effect on everything dependent on oil. Not only the price of fuel, but plastic, herbicides and pesticides, electricity, pharmaceuticals, virtually everything we in modern society depend on.

Add to that the fact that a major terrorist attack on the oil producing facilities in Saudi Arabia would cripple not only our economy, but the worlds. If, for example, someone flew a plane into the cooling towers at the Saudi's major oil facility, world oil production would immediately fall by thirty percent, with a minimum of 6 mos. to get the oil flowing again.

Yet, in spite of the obvious dangers, the Bush administration has done virtually nothing to decrease our dependance on oil. The proposal to drill in Anwar may be a windfall to a couple of oil companies, but will do virtually nothing to decrease our dependance on foreign oil. After all, the US accounts for only about 3% of the worlds oil preserves. We cannot possibly produce our way out of this crisis.

There are steps that could immediately be taken to drastically reduce our dependance on foreign oil. What's more, they depend not on some Manhattan Project on energy, but on technology already in current use. For example:

Hybrid cars. Automobiles use 70% of the petroleum consumed by the transportation industry. Hybrid auto's currently get approximately double the milage of conventional autos. And this milage can be further greatly increased by simple aftermarket plug in kits already available and in wide use on the west coast. By plugging your hybrid into your garage outlet at night (when electricity is in least demand and cheapest) to recharge the batteries, 150 mph around town is easily achievable.

Ethanol. Ethanol is easily manufactured not only from grain, but from prairie grass, cornstalks, recycled newsprint, household garbage, virtually anything containing cellulose. Hybrid cars can, with simple fuel line and computer chip modifications, run on 85% ethanol. If you run a hybrid car on 85% ethanol, you effectively boost your miles per gallon of gasoline to 300-400.

Woolsey has a number of specific recommendations that would immediately begin to drastically reduce our dependance on foreign oil. They include:

The government should offer tax inducements to encourage the auto industry to produce hybrid autos. And it should offer tax incentives to make hybrids (which generally cost $2,000 to 3,000 more than a conventional car) more desirable to consumers.

The government should implement a program to encourage the building of ethanol manufacturing plants, especially those that produce alcohol from cellulose sources such as cornstalks, newsprint, etc.

The government should immediately take steps to protect arable land from urban sprawl. Grain, grasses, and other farm products will become increasingly more vital in our energy future. Yet we continue to consume vast amounts of arable land to build strip malls and subdivisions of overly large, energy inefficient homes. As people move farther and farther out from our urban areas, commutes get longer and longer, consuming even more petroleum and exacerbating the fuel crisis. The government should take immediate steps to end urban sprawl and protect our remaining farm land and forests.

Last, we need nothing short of a Manhattan Project on energy. We must develop all available resources in an environmentally friendly manner!

The Bush administration has make a big show of it's supposed tough national security stance. The time has come for them to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Petroleum is the real national security threat. We cannot seize it through force of arms, because we are incapable of defeating China and India in a war on the Asian continent. We must begin to conserve, and to develop new energy sources. And if the nation is to be truly secure, we must start NOW!

Get a glimpse of the future HERE

Saturday, April 23, 2005



The promised, hopelessly midwestern, ultimate comfort food blog is here! The THE CHURCH POTLUCK is guaranteed to bring back fond memories, make your mouth water, and clog your arteries. Try out our recipes, and feel free to send us yours. But remember, we'll be suspicious of any recipe that purports to be genuine church potluck but contains no cool whip, jello, or cream of mushroom soup!

So how do you know if your hopelessly Midwestern? According to singer Joel Mabus:

If you like Gerald Ford more than Betty
Think a field of corn looks mighty pretty
and you'd rather go to HELL than New York City
Well, you're hopelessly Midwestern

Friday, April 22, 2005


NEW QUIZ (stole this from BLONDESENSE)

TAKE THE TEST. I DARE YA! (I got 20 outta 21)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005



Missouri Mule: Send over any old cocktail, and fuck the ice!
Blondesense: MM, your one tough broad! How do you fuck ice?
Culture Ghost: Well, first, you always address her as Ms. Coulter!



The Church Potluck Blog! No healthy food allowed! This will be strictly Great Lakes state comfort food. Lots of heavy cream, jello, dream whip! Dozens of creative casseroles! My sister (Mrs. Rev. Tim Patch) and I have access to hundreds of church potluck recipes collected over the last 60 years by my mother and the two of us. So, cholesterol counts be damned (sorry Barb, it slipped), here comes food guaranteed to bring back memories of your childhood, family reunions, and church dinners. The ultimate in upper Midwestern comfort food! Try our recipes, and send us yours!

This actually started out as a joke on a couple of serious cook's blogs, but the more I thought about it, the more fun it sounded. Little sister agreed, so, the launch will be coming soon!



NHL owners met today, reportedly to discuss use of replacement players if the bargaining impasse drags into fall. So tell me... how many of you will pay major league ticket prices to see minor leaguers play? Does wearing Red Wings jerseys suddenly transform the Grand Rapids Griffins into major league hockey players?

I think I may just try to buy season tickets to ND or Michigan and just skip the NHL this year!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005



from the NIAGARA FALLS REORTER (and my current favorite columnist))

By Bill Gallagher
"My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." -- President George W. Bush, March 19, 2003.

DETROIT -- We need reminding just how great the gap is between what President George W. Bush promised us his war in Iraq would bring and the reality of the mess the aggression has created. We did not need to disarm Iraq. Ten years of UN sanctions and the capable inspection work of Hans Blix effectively kept Iraq militarily impotent.

The myth that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction served Bush's purposes in scaring the hell out of enough Americans to provide the political support for the unnecessary invasion of Iraq. The big lie that Saddam was shopping the world for enriched uranium has been thoroughly discredited, along with Condoleezza Rice's false claim that Iraq had specially machined aluminum tubes that could "only be used for nuclear weapons." She also shamelessly used a "mushroom cloud" reference to sell the Saddam-is-a-nuclear-lusting-Satan lie.

Iraq hardly posed any threat to its neighbors. It was a monstrous hyperbole that the war was imperative "to defend the world from grave danger."

Two years later, the volume of lies the Busheviks fed the American people is stunning, and it's staggering how many swallowed the steady diet of deception. Even as the facts have emerged, proving how wrong Bush's arguments for war were, there are still a great many warmongering true believers who are content to cling to the lies rather than engage in the self-reflection that would force them to recognize they were duped. Of course, the president encourages self-deception. It's a way of life for him.

It is for Dick Cheney, too. He's still telling people Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots and al-Qaeda operatives met with some of Saddam's boys in Prague. The Czech government said there was no truth at all to the powwow in Prague, but that won't stop Cheney from spinning that yarn until Judgment Day.

Now, more than two years after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared confidently that we knew "exactly" where Saddam had hidden forbidden weapons, he hasn't told us where he got that phony tip or even tried to explain how he could be so far off the mark.

Rummy's been in charge of Iraq since Saddam's fall and he's never been held accountable for the failure to plan for the long, bloody occupation. He and his pals at the Pentagon wanted nothing to do with State Department types who thought it would be wise to spend an afternoon or two trying to figure out what to do when Saddam's army took a powder.

The Iraqi people are free of Saddam Hussein, but that does not mean they are free. Martial law and indefinite occupation prevent establishing democratic institutions and anything that looks like a functioning central government.

Bombings and civil unrest are unabated. Because of the U.S. military presence, Iraq is a magnet for every Islamist radical on the planet. Iraq's infrastructure cannot be rebuilt with the daily violence. Basic services -- water, sewers and electricity -- are typically unreliable everywhere and unavailable in many parts of the country. Unemployment remains high and normal economic activities are often impossible to carry out. People are angry and frustrated.

Just about everything Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said would happen in Iraq has not. He once said Iraqi oil revenue would actually pay for the war and occupation. Wolfie was only about $200 billion off. But what the hell -- anyone can make a mistake.

Keeping with the Bushevik tradition that nothing is more appreciated than failure and incompetence, Wolfowitz is now the president's choice to head the World Bank. He can now take his neocon fantasies and try them out on developing nations.

I'd watch any numbers he uses, though. Don't forget Wolfie underestimated the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq last year by about 30 percent. At a congressional hearing, he said 500 had been killed, when the number at the time was more than 700. Small details like human lives lost elude Wolfowitz. Bright as he is, he has been more wrong, more often, on more critical issues than anyone in the administration save the president himself. Two years after the invasion, 1,500 Americans are dead, 1,300 of them killed since Bush did his vainglorious aircraft carrier strut under the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Although Gen. Tommy Franks once glibly said, "We don't do body counts," independent groups peg the death toll for Iraqi civilians at more than 17,000.

Around the world, the United States is viewed as a bully, a nation that would wage pre-emptive war over phantom weapons and the fabricated threat of a two-bit dictator.

Even when the reasons for war are proven false, our leader says it was worth it because, left unchecked, Saddam might have thought of doing something bad someday. And besides, our war brought "freedom" to the Iraqi people.

That's the kind of nonsense Bush spews. Even though fewer than half the American people buy that crap, it's unsettling to know so many subscribe to the madness. Those sheep are ready to cheer our troops marching into battle in Iran or Syria or whatever godforsaken outpost Bush declares to be the new frontline in the war on terrorism.

Bush thrives on endless war politically, and it certainly pleases his corporate and religious sponsors. Halliburton's making a killing on the war. Exxon Mobil had its biggest quarter in history, with profits topping $7 billion. Fears of a supply gap because of the Iraq war buoyed profits for the world's largest privately owned oil company. Gasoline at the pump is at an all-time high and the record for a barrel of crude will soon be broken. Texas oilies and Saudi princes are smiling, bringing happiness to Bushworld.

The intolerance and pettiness the war has brought us never stops. From the mindless "freedom fries" to a community college in California dropping an exchange program with Spain because Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq, we see examples every day of Americans saying and doing foolish things to show the world we won't tolerate those who defy Bush's war policies.

The corporate media enabled the Bushevik propaganda machine. It is impossible to count the number of times TV anchors repeated the words, Sept. 11, terrorist attacks, Saddam Hussein and Iraq. That's what Bush was chanting, and the big networks and cable news channels were tripping over one another to prove their loyalty and to support the march to war. Few opposed to the war were heard before the invasion. After the fighting began, hardly a word of dissent was heard until the triumphalism gave way to the grim reality of a long, bitter occupation.

Print media also failed, most notably The New York Times and the Washington Post. Both papers vastly overestimated the threat Saddam posed, based largely on information from sources committed to invading Iraq. They later recognized their failures, but the damage was already done.

This is Holy Week. It's a reminder of the great differences among religious leaders over the war in Iraq.

Pope John Paul II was unequivocal in his opposition to the war and remains a courageous voice in choosing peace over violence.

Bush refused to meet with bishops from the Methodist Church when they wanted to express their opposition to the war. Bush closed the door on them.

But he welcomes war-worshiping evangelistas who see the war in Iraq as a crusade to do the Lord's work in the desert of Islam, planting the seeds of Christian democracy.

I'll never accept George W Bush's war, nor a religion that blesses it.

Sunday, April 17, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
This t-shirt is available at BLONDESENSE.
In case you cant read the captions, it says: NO MORE BUSH: I hate the president so much I'm shaving off my pubic hair!

Saturday, April 16, 2005



Lyndon Johnson once said of the presidents father; "he doesn't know chicken salad from chicken shit!" LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON!!!!



Great new song off Aimee Mann's upcoming album "The Forgotten Arm"! DEAR JOHN



Yellow Pills was a legendary fanzine that rose to great fame in the early 90's, then flamed out just about as quickly as it caught fire. It's creator, Jordan Oakes, apparently has a huge collection of "power pop" music from obscure groups of the late 70's and early 80's. Reissue label Numero Group has a new compilation CD of thirty three of the best songs of Oakes collection, titled YELLOW PILLS: PREFILL. Although you've probably never heard of any of the 19 bands on this album (I hadn't), it is getting rave reviews from Salon Magazine, usually a pretty reliable source. If the rest of the album is as good as the two free downloads off it, it is indeed an album worthy of your collection!

SON by Toms



The Naming Committee at UNITARIAN JIHAD has assigned me my Jihad name. I am hereby to be known as Brother Cattle Prod of Compassionate Non Dualism!

Thursday, April 14, 2005



I was going to post a rant about how Dubya has admitted he's run the country into bankruptcy. However, then I came across this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. I liked it so much I decided to post it instead.

- Jon Carroll
Thursday, February 21, 2002

HISTORY TEACHES THREE pretty clear messages. One is that all empires die. Second, empires take a long time to die. Finally, the citizens of the empire rarely recognize the warning signs for what they are.

The necessity for change is immutable. Empires by their natures do not change very well. They have had positive feedback for not changing -- usually it's called "standing by our principles" -- for years, even centuries.

Empires think they have beaten the rule of change. They haven't. Empires think size will protect them. It won't. Empires think military might will protect them. It won't. Empires think charismatic leaders will protect them. They won't. Nothing will. The old makes way for the new.

The American empire is beginning to die. We will not see its death, nor will our grandchildren, but it is dying. Its leaders, sensing trouble, are fetishizing the "old ways," the ways that brought us power in a different world, a world in which America was young and the other empires were fading.

They have made denial a national creed. They have made arrogance a national stance. "We do not need the others because we are America," they say. A dying empire is like a dying dinosaur; the only question is how much damage the huge tail will do as it thrashes around.

I have some examples. Our foreign policy is governed by our need for oil, and yet we have no effective formal programs to reduce our need for oil. Instead, we purchase large vehicles that use gasoline with staggering inefficiency. We do it because we can, because God is on our side, and something will happen because something always does.

Dick Cheney is the prophet of this mind-set. Conservation is a hobby; use whatever you want; go to sleep, little citizens, your oil-based politicians will protect you.

WE ARE GRADUALLY killing the earth that gives us succor. We are poisoning the air and the water. We are cutting down the forests that give us life; we are killing the creatures of the ocean that feed us or feed the things we eat and use; we are ignoring the benefits of biodiversity.

Because something will happen. Because God is on our side. Because the scientists are wrong -- indeed, it is important to our whole way of life to marginalize science. Hey, they said we'd all be dead by the year 2000, and here we are. Fools.

We know more about the human body than we ever have. We understand more about nutrition than we ever have. We are a child-centered culture; we worship our little darlings and protect them from all harm. Except that childhood obesity is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes strikes children as young as 10. Only the very rich and very poor are thin.

We know more about the brain than we ever have. We use that knowledge to persuade children to eat food that will make their lives more difficult and place a greater burden on our medical system. This practice exists outside the morality that we are so very proud of.

Inside the morality is discouraging the use of condoms that can stop the spread of disease that also kills children. Death, where is thy sting? We are Americans.

WE ARE PROUD of our fine economic system, and yet our government routinely fails to punish profiteers and cheaters. We are proud of our Constitution, yet our government seeks to suspend parts of it when we enter an armed conflict. We are proud of our military, yet we spend billions on politically mandated weapons systems of no utility.

Maybe this is the way empires die. Maybe they weaken themselves from within. The structure is so rotten that any young and enthusiastic foe can push it over. I dunno. Heck, I've got mine; why should I care?

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a fine speech.

For fifteen years, Jon Carroll has written a daily column for the San Francisco Chronicle. Check out JON CARROLLS HOME PAGE for more columns, bio, etc.

Monday, April 11, 2005



KRAFTY (thanks to gympumpkin for the heads up!)

Saturday, April 09, 2005



This is the best Waits in a long time! From his new album Mule Variations....HOLD ON



DENVER....who defeated the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota 4-1, before a sellout crowd at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus! View the details HERE

Friday, April 08, 2005



We all remember the biblical story of Esau. He came home from a hunting trip so hungry he sold his entire inheritance to his kid brother for a bowl of stew. You would think that Evangelical Christians would be familiar enough with this story to heed it's lessons. However, if you would think that, you would be wrong. The predominant church in America has sold it's soul. Cheap! For a very thin bowl of gruel indeed.

The church has formed an unholy political alliance with the secular far right. They have forged this alliance on the basis of two issues; abortion and gay rights.

I am reminded of the old Red Skelton joke, "they say marriage is made in heaven, but that's not where this one came from!" With any rational analysis of this marriage it is immediately apparent that parties involved are badly mismatched. After all, the church worships a man who taught us to love our neighbors above ourselves. Treat others the way you would wish to be treated. Judge not, lest you be judged. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Blessed are the poor. That of faith, hope and charity, the greatest is charity. The man who said "suffer the little children to come to me".

Contrast this with the secular right. Invading a foreign country, killing thousands of its citizens, is an act of self love only if you are a masochist. Most people would not have torture done unto us, so doing it to others should be out of the question, but not for these folks. Jesus believed in worrying about your own life and leaving others to worry about theirs. These people believe it is their right and duty to not only dictate how we should live, but to act as judge, jury and executioner. Jesus believed in community, in watching out for each others needs. These people believe in individual greed and survival of the most ruthless. Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to crawl through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Far from being charitable, these folks have cut aid to the impoverished, cut medical services for poor children, and cut funding to poor schools systems.

So what does each party get in this marriage of convenience? It's certainly a good deal for secular right. They get millions of easily malleable voters to support their agenda of control and greed. People for whom the truth is whatever they desire it to be. People who have been indoctrinated their whole lives with the belief that with enough faith, any fiction becomes fact, and any fact fiction. People who believe that creation science is something other than an oxymoron. Not based on any empirical evidence. Just on faith that it is true. People who can be made to passionately believe that it is their best interest to work against their best interests.

So what does the church get? A few bucks per capita, and the resources of Madison Ave. in their fight against abortions and queers. Not that this is really any sacrifice for their benefactors. These are people who can afford to fly their daughter to the finest Swiss clinic if an abortion is deemed desirable. People who can afford to provide their same sex partners with the benefits most of us rely on the government for.

So in the end, the church is kinda like the girl who runs off to the big city to seek her fortune. In a few weeks, she is so desperate and broke, she trades her favors for the #1 at McDonald's, rather than hold out for more traditional hundred bucks. It appears that the church has settled for a Big Mac, medium fries, and a Coke!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005



You know the old saying! If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, flies like a duck.... IT'S A DUCK! The same principle holds true in politics. If it talks like a fascist, thinks like a fascist, behaves like a fascist, by any other name....IT'S STILL A FASCIST. The truth is that fascism is a growing threat throughout the free world. Their numbers are increasing daily. The political far right is growing in power in Belgium, France, and especially, Italy and Germany. To a lesser extent in the UK. Even Canada is not immune. But nowhere are they more powerful than here in the United States. We don't call them the National Socialists, or Nazis, or Fascists. We call them nice names like Neo-conservative or the Christian Right. But remember, if it quacks like a duck...... And these ducks now hold half the leadership positions in the Republican party. A couple of months ago, I posted links to and briefly wrote about a study that identified 14 characteristics common in all fascist regimes. I will repost that link and hope you take the time to read it. But in the next couple of days, I want to talk about two specific tactics used by fascists to gain control of the state. The first is the co-opting of the dominant religion. It is not a coincidence that Lutherans in Germany watched silently (or actively participated) while Hitler and the Nazi party exterminated millions of Jews and Romas (Gypsies). Hitler would not have risen to power without the help of the Lutheran church. Mussolini and Franco could not have risen to power without the support of the Catholic church. And the Catholic church certainly helped maintain Franco in power for two decades. I will have more to say on this subject soon.

Another means fascists use to consolidate their power is judicial intimidation. Hitler's brownshirts made sure every judge understood the severe price that would be payed for failing to uphold the positions of the Nazi Party. We now hear leaders of the Republican party, specifically House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Texas Sen. John Cornan, openly threatening the judiciary. Not just "liberal activist judges". The entire judiciary. Cornan, on the senate floor, went so far as to expressly state that recent violence against judges was brought on by themselves, the result of a public perception of an unaccountable judiciary. Here, two of the most powerful men in the country are making a statement. They are saying to the US District Courts, the US Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court, "if you don't toe OUR line, your lives, and the lives of your loved ones, are in jeopardy"

The constitution makes the judiciary independent of the executive and legislative branches of government for good reason. It is to act as a check on politicians and political parties run amuck. The independent judiciary is the single greatest safe guard to our constitutional freedoms. Nobody understands this more than those politicians who despise freedom, for whom freedom stands in the way of their power and their cronies unbridled wealth.

It is one of life's truly strange paradoxes. You can't have freedom without democracy, but you can have democracy without freedom. It is why the Founding Fathers added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. To protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. It is the reason they gave us an independent judiciary. And it is the reason that both are under attack by the fascists among us.

Slate's Jurisprudence: Conservatives vs. Fed Courts


Sunday, April 03, 2005



Stole this from DAVE too!



Copped this off Dave Barry's Blog



The RIVER CLEANUP 2005 was a huge success. We had a little over 200 people, with a much younger crowd than usual. We had really good turnout from the local colleges (Notre Dame, IUSB, and Bethel), as well as great turnout from Mishawka H.S. and S.B. Riley H.S. And a heads up to former governor Joe Kernan, who showed up and worked along side everyone (as opposed to mayor Steve Lueke, who showed up just long enough to shake some hands and get a good photo op). Mayor Lueke later made up for his lack of elbow grease by making the promised dumpsters magically appear when Dept. of Sanitation failed to deliver!

In the end, we collected over a ton of trash, consumed 30 lb. of brats, smoked brats and hot dogs, 3 cases of chips, five cases of water and 6 cases of pop. A great time was had by all, especially Kipper, the 6 mos. old airedale who is technically my daughter's. Kipper is on a mission to clear the river front of those pesky geese and ducks. Fortunately for them, they can swim faster than he can. And that flying thing helps too!

Again, a special thanks to all the merchants who helped financially, especially THE LANDING, THE OAKEN BUCKET, and MARTIN'S SUPERMARKETS. And special thanks to Jim and Donna at the Ironwood Blvd. MARTIN'S for not only donating the water and the sausages, but helping me pull together all the needed supplies! Great job folks!

Friday, April 01, 2005



Can't believe it's Friday and I haven't posted since Sunday! Just been SOOOOO busy!

Tomorrow is our tenth annual river bank cleanup. We expect about 150 people to show up, and I am cooking lunch for them all!.

If you have ever been to South Bend, you know that probably the best thing about our fair city is the St. Joseph River, which flows through the heart of town. Because of it, we have a beautiful river walk, a white water course that attracts kayakers form around the world, and a rapidly revitalizing downtown (which is where, I'm proud to say, I live). Unfortunately, some of us appreciate the river more than others! So every year we have a river clean up, and fill two industrial sized dumpsters with refrigerators, tires, trash, and the fetid, abandoned clothes of the homeless. It is a dirty, cold job, and we try to reward those who participate by providing them with a hot meal afterwards. Nothing fancy, just hot dogs, smoked sausage, chips and pop. but the logistics of getting this stuff cooked where there is no potable water or electricity is still a bit of a challenge.

The way we operate the cleanup is a bit interesting. We station work crews with trash bags all along the river. We have two canoes filled with supplies (extra bags, water, rope, etc.) that spend the entire five hours cruising up and down the river. About three hours later, we launch 4 large rafts. These are constructed by strapping 12' x 16' platforms across 2 canoes. We then float the rafts down river, collecting the bags and tires and refrigerators gathered by the workers. The FRIENDS OF THE ST. JOE RIVER have been sponsoring this clean up for ten years now, and are really getting it down to a science! We get great sponsorship help from the local businesses, especially Martins Supermarkets, The Landing nightclub, and the Oaken Bucket restaurant.

I am really looking forward to this event. Not only do you get to hang out with a bunch of great people, but the results are so gratifying! Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate!

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