Monday, May 30, 2005



Anyone who is more than remotely acquainted with me knows I am nothing if not all about Detroit. Especially Detroit sports. Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Shock, love em all. I am probably the only guy in America who mourns for the defunct Turbo's of the National Lacrosse League. And the Neon, I really miss the Neon (indoor soccer), and the Vipers (my sons still have their Vipers jerseys). I have a special place in my heart for the world champion Pistons. I love Ben and Chauncey and Rip and 'Sheed and Tayshawn (in a manly sort of way, understand). Having said that, I have to tell you..... the NBA JUST SUCKS!!! It is easily the most boring of all the professional sports!

Last nights game was typical of the NBA. First, the NBA has the highest paid officials in professional sports. They are also by far the worst of any league. They were brutal last night. And the game...even watching on big screen HD didn't help. The last five minutes, DEAR GAWD, the last five minutes of the game took 42 minutes to play (yeah, we counted)! Paint dries faster. And is much more exciting. The only thing that could have made it worse was if Darco had been forced to play.

So bring back the Turbo, the Neon, the Vipers. Let my summer days be spent basking in the sun at Comerica Park. May I spend eternity in a center ice seat at the Joe. But the only damn thing I want to see at the Palace of Auburn Hills is a Bob Seger concert!

Sunday, May 29, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

I was searching the web yesterday for info on the manufacturer of a few pieces of china I have from my mom's original set. One of the Vernon Kilns sites also had some recipes from the Fifty's on it. Boy, did that bring memories flooding back.

Most of you are not old enough to remember the 50's and early 60's. It was a time when most women were full time housewives, and tv and magazines made it clear that good housewives were creative in the kitchen, and meals were never to be boring. And the neighborhood ladies would get together regularly for tea, sandwiches and gossip. And in the 50's and 60's, casseroles ruled the kitchen!

This attention to creativity and presentation led to some of the most gawd awful concoctions known to mankind. Or, they appear to be so to my modern eyes! But, I'm sure that I wouldn't have thought twice about any of these when I was a kid!

I thought you might enjoy seeing how we ate 4 decades ago. If nothing else, it gives you rebuttal material when some geezer like me talks about the good old days!

from “Mary Blake - Favorite Recipes” page 3. Published 1954 by the Carnation Co., Los Angeles CA

Tasty Beef and Corn Bread

Serves 6
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
• 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 2/3 cup (large can) undiluted Carnation Evaporated Milk
• 2/3 cup water
• 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 package (8 ounces) corn muffin mix
• 1 cup cooked green peas

Brown ground beef in butter. Remove from skillet. Add onion, garlic and green pepper; cook until onion is clear.

Stir in flour; add Carnation-water mixture; cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Add meat, salt and pepper; mix well. Place in a 9-inch square pan.

Prepare corn muffin batter according to package directions. Pour batter in 1-inch strip around edge of pan. Fill  center with peas. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) for 25 minutes.

Crown Jewel Pie (I've also seen this called Stained Glass Pie)
from “Joys Of Jell-O” pg 12

Makes 2 9-inch pies.
• 1 package (3 oz.) each: Jello-O Orange, Cherry, and Lime
• 4 cups boiling water
• 1 1/2 cups cold water
• 1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lemon Gelatin
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup pineapple juice
• 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
• 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine*
• 2 envelopes Dream Whip Whipped Topping Mix or 2 cups whipping cream

*or use 16 to 18 ladyfingers, split, to line Pan instead of crumb mixture.

Prepare the three flavors of gelatin separately, using 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water for each- Pour each flavor into an 8-inch square pan. Chill until firm, or overnight.

Then combine the lemon gelatin, sugar, and remaining 1 cup boiling water; stir until gelatin and sugar are dissolved. Stir in pineapple juice. Chill until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, prepare 2 ladyfinger- or crumb-lined 9-inch pie pans. (To line pie pans with ladyfingers, split, use about 18 ladyfingers, split. Line the bottoms of the pans; then cut remaining ladyfingers in half crosswise and line the sides of the pans.)

Cut the firm gelatins into 1/2-inch cubes. Then prepare whipped topping mix as directed on package or whip the cream; blend with lemon gelatin. Fold in gelatin cubes. Pour into pan. Chill at least 5 hours, or overnight. Run knife or spatula between sides of dessert and pan, and remove sides of pan before serving. If desired, spread additional prepared whipped topping or whipped cream on top and sides. Makes 16 servings.

NOTE: Other Jell-O Gelatin fruit flavors may be used instead of those suggested in recipe, forming any combination of colors desired. For instance, make all the cubes of Jell-O Black Raspberry or Lime Gelatin and substitute Jell-O Strawberry Gelatin for the lemon gelatin.

(for even worse fare, see the folowing post!)



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
In the 50's my grandmother and mother belonged to THE QUEEN MARY GUILD, a society for English immigres. The ladies would get together once a month at a local hall and make quilts for charity. There was always (of course) tea, and really good deserts like Lady Fingers and Seven Sisters cake. There were also lots of dubious finger sandwiches like these!

from Household Magazine, pg 58, 1955

Stack-a-wich Loaf
Makes 18  2 1/2 inch Sandwiches
Salmon Filling
• 1 can (7 3/4 oz.) red salmon
• 1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 1/2 tsp. Mayonnaise
• Red food coloring

Cheese-Olive Filling
• 3/4 cup finely shredded Roquefort
• 1/4 cup chopped stuffed olives
• Mayonnaise
• Green Food Coloring

Relish Filling
• 3 Tbs. pickle relish, drained
• 2 Tbs. chopped pimiento, drained
• 1 cup shredded American cheese

Carrot-Pimiento Topping
• 3 packages (3-oz. size) pimiento cream
• 1/4 cup cream
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• Few grains salt
• 3 cups finely shredded carrots

Prepare the three sandwich fillings as directed below. Remove crusts from one loaf of unsliced sandwich bread. Cut loaf lengthwise into four even slices. Lightly butter one slice. Spread with Salmon Filling. Add second slice of bread buttered on both sides. Spread with Cheese-Olive Filling. Cover with third slice of bread, buttered on both sides. Spread with Relish Filling. Top with fourth slice of bread, buttered on bottom side only. Wrap tightly in wax paper or aluminum foil. Chill several hours or overnight. A couple of hours before serving time, remove from refrigerator. Prepare Carrot-Pimiento Topping and attractively frost ends, sides, and top of loaf. Sprinkle top generously with reserved shredded carrots.

Salmon Filling
Drain and flake Salmon. Combine with remaining ingredients to moisten. Add red food coloring as desired.

Cheese-Olive Filling
Combine cheese and olives with just enough mayonnaise to moisten. Add green food coloring as desired.

Relish Filling
Combine ingredients, using just enough mayonnaise to moisten.

Carrot-Pimento Topping
Whip Cheese with cream, mayonnaise and salt until mixture is light and fluffy. Fold in 2 cups of the carrots, reserving 1 cup to sprinkle on top loaf.


Friday, May 27, 2005



Sy Hersh
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Seymour Hersh is considered America's top investigative reporter. It was he who first reported the My Lai massacre, He was the first to report the story of the Abu Gharib prisoner abuses. He has been reporting for some time not that the US has ben conducting covert operations in iran, scouting nuclear facilities as possible targets. Both he and Scott Ritter, former Marine intelligence officer and UNSCOM weapons inspector, have reported that plans for a June attack on Iran are on George bush's desk and have been approved.

Now, the Virginia-Pilot (Hampton Roads VA) is reporting:

NORFOLK — The Navy has ordered five ships and 2,800 sailors to deploy on unexpected missions to support anti-terrorism efforts in the Balkans and Middle East. Four of the ships will leave today. The deployments are in response to requests from the European Command and the Central Command and are not exercises, Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of the 2nd Fleet, said Tuesday.

While most ships know several months in advance – sometimes a year or more – when they will deploy, these ships were given between six and eight weeks’ notice to get ready, Fitzgerald said.....

.....The flotilla includes the amphibious assault ship Saipan, amphibious transport dock Nashville and the guided missile frigate Nicholas, all from Norfolk. The guided missile cruiser Philippine Sea will deploy from Mayport, Fla., and the dock landing ship Gunston Hall will join the group from the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach a week later.

The Saipan, Nashville, Nicholas and Philippine Sea will deploy for approximately three months, while the Gunston Hall will remain at sea about six months.

Could Bush and Co. really be getting ready to pick a fight with Iran?

read more HERE and HERE


Fascinating second hour of the Diane Rehm show yesterday. Her guest was Andrew Bacevich, author of the book THE NEW AMERICAN MILITARISM (Oxford Press). Bacevich, currently director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a former career Marine and Viet Nam vet, and a conservative Catholic. His new book chronicles the creeping militarism that has overtaken the country, starting with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, and George H. Bush, escalated with the Clinton, and escalated further with George W. Bush.

It has been my contention for some time that we are creeping down the road to fascism. Militarism is an important component of fascism. Perhaps we are moving down that road faster than I thought.

Thursday, May 26, 2005



THIS is why I sometimes sit and stare blankly into space, shaking my head and muttering "what the......"! Other things that cause the same reaction:

Desperate Housewives is most popular in "Bible Belt", least popular on coasts.

Anything uttered by George Bush (either one)

Fux News

Reality Television

NHL strike

Detroit relief pitchers

The Houston Astros (me and every other baseball fan in America) how can any team with Clemens and Oswalt be this horrible?

Logic Monkey

Wednesday, May 25, 2005




Congressman Spencer Bachus wants Bill Maher's show taken off the air. He claims Maher's remarks concerning the Army missing it's recruiting goals "border on treason." He is demanding that Time/Warner pull "REAL TIME with Bill Maher" off the air!

On his May 13th show Maher pointed out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42 percent in April. "More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club," Maher said. "We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

According to Bachus, "I think it borders on treason. In treason, one definition is to undermine the effort or national security of our country."

Replies Maher, I'll just say this: I'm not a congressman, I'm a comedian. There's nothing I can really do to help or hurt our troops (although anyone who's watched my shows or read my books in the last twelve years knows I'm a pretty ardent supporter)".... "these "comments" were part of a longer, scripted comedy piece in the modest proposal tradition. I can see why administration supporters would want to deflect attention away from the gist of the piece, which was this: now that we can't meet our recruiting goals, maybe it's the people who were so gung ho for this war to begin with who should step up and go fight it. But of course it's always easier to distract people."

This is, of course, just another in a long string of attempts by this administration to bully and intimidate it's detractors. The only difference between Bachus and one of Hitler's brownshirts is that this guy is an elected brownshirt.

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Green and Gold Salad

Monday, May 23, 2005



Pat Tillmanimages-1 The parents of former pro football star Pat Tillman are accusing the Army and President Bush of using their sons death for political purposes, as well as lying and covering up the facts surrounding his death. Tillman, who quit the NFL to join the Army Rangers along with his brother and hunt Ossama bin Laden in Afghanistan, was killed in a friendly fire incident. Although they knew almost immediately that he had died at the hands of his comrades, the army made up an elaborate story about Tillman's heroic death. And month's after the Bush Administration knew the facts surrounding his death, the president continued to play up the myth, even offering a taped memorial message honoring Tillman's heroic death before the beginning of an Arizona Cardinal's home game. Which happened to fall just before the November election.

From Salon: According to the parents, as well as Army records, soldiers knew almost instantly that Tillman had been killed by his own troops, but officials sat on the truth -- and in fact created their own mythical narrative about Tillman's heroic death -- until after a nationally televised memorial service last May. "

Said Tillman's father, Patrick, "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this. They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

Incredibly, months later, after senior U.S. military officials clearly knew their cover story about Tillman was a fake, Bush continued to play up the myth, offering a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Phoenix Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election. (end story)

It never ceases to amaze me the depths to which this administration has sunk.

Sunday, May 22, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
I HAVE MY VERY OWN TROLL! But, you all knew that. They say your blog hasn't really arrived until you have one. And Requisicat says she's jealous and wants one of her very own, even though I've offered to share mine.

Sometime trolls can be troublesome. At Dooce, the trolls got so vicious she quit allowing comments. Iddybud has begun moderating her comments because the commentary got personal and vicious. My troll, however, doesn't seem to bright enough to cause any real trouble. And my readers seem to delight in shooting him down! And gawd, has he done wonders for my site traffic! Of course, it's a bit sad, because if he was just civil and actually tried to engage us in intelligent debate, we might all actually learn something.....

One of his comments on yesterdays post was: "Oh God, Peter dull. Look your precious 60's are over and done. No more Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling stones. Everything started in the 60's is being much for the hippies! I cannot wait until every last peace creep from that era is dead of old age or, better yet, overdose." Got me to wondering.....

Tickets for Rolling Stone's sold out Aug. 21 Fenway Park (Boston) concert are currently selling from $350-$7500.

Tickets for McCartney's sold out Oct. 10 Air Canada Centre (Toronto) show are currently running $300-$2000. Expect that to triple by Labor Day.

Peter Max paintings currently sell for between $3500 and $8000.

Not bad for guys who are "over and done"

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Crunchy Fudge Sandwiches

Saturday, May 21, 2005



"Cosmic Runner"
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
As I mentioned earlier, I am guest blogging for mister anchovy (see links, on left) this week. He is an artist, currently taking part in a very large exhibition in Toronto. He often posts art work of his own or others on his blog. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to post a number of paintings from my favorite artist, including this one, on his site.

I'm sure he will scream and pull out his hair when he sees I've posted Peter Max paintings on his blog. One should be careful giving access to your blog without setting careful parameters!

Friday, May 20, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
This chart shows the National Debt, adjusted for inflation, since the start of WWII. What is remarkable about this chart is how stable our debt remained throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's. This in spite of the Korean and Viet Nam wars

Then came Reagan, Bush I, and Voodoo economics! In a decade and a half, the national debt triples, after remaining stable for three decades. Notice the brief downward blip that was the Clinton presidency, then comes King George II and the debt skyrocketing faster than ever.

Understand that eventually, this money must be payed back. The majority of this debt is owed to Social Security, insurance companies. private pension plans, public pension plans, state governments, and foreign governments. Your children and grandchildren will be saddled with the burden of this debt. We will be lucky if they avoid collapsing under the burden of it.

So remember, the next time some politician says he is gonna cut your taxes, or build the newest advanced weapon system, or invade a country because, oh hell, we'll think of a reason eventually, it is actually just a form of borrowing against your descendants future!



says of you, my dear readers and commentators, "You really are a sick bunch of selfish filth...." (see comments under my May 4th post "We Were All Wrong")

Meanwhile, Regg-jected! PISTONS WIN!!!!! Yeah, it's not the Wings, but at least we Detroit fans have SOMETHING to cheer about!

Incidentally, yours truly is doing double duty this week. I will be a guest blogger for the vacationing Mister Anchovy. Mr. A. is spending the week canoeing and fishing the remote Sand River in north central Ontario. For an idea of what his trip will be like, click here. I imagine the trip well be a bit longer than described here, because Mr. A. is an avid fly fisherman, and will be in pursuit of the wild "Brookie" along the way!

Now cooking at the The Church Potluck....Easy Chicken and Rice

Thursday, May 19, 2005



An excerpt from Al Franken's post in the blog section of THE HUFFINGTON POST:

Right now Coleman (Sen. Norm Coleman R-MN) is looking into the Oil-for-Food program, which was administered by the Security Council in the U.N., mostly by the U.S. and Britain. That didn’t stop Coleman from demanding Kofi Annan’s resignation without any proof of any wrongdoing on his part. There appears to be anywhere from one to two billion dollars stolen through the program – with most of that going to Saddam. Primarily the U.S. and Britain took it upon themselves to make sure that none of this money went toward making W.M.D.s. They seemed to have done a pretty good job.

Meanwhile, the Coalition Provisional Authority, which we ran, has lost 8.8 billion dollars. By lost, I mean it’s totally unaccounted for. Not only has Congress not "looked into" this $8.8 billion and who might have it now, but it seems that some members are completely unaware that this staggering sum, which was supposed to go toward rebuilding Iraq, is missing. The Sunday morning after the White House Correspondents dinner, I ran into Senator George Allen at a brunch thrown by John McLaughlin and his wife. Allen had never heard of the missing $8.8 billion, or at least that's what he told me. And he's on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Stunned, I went up to Susan Page of USA Today and her husband Carl Lubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News, two veteran Washington political reporters, and told them about Allen’s ignorance of this huge scandal, which has no doubt contributed to hatred for America and the deaths of our troops. There’s less electricity in Iraq now than there was before we invaded Iraq.

Turns out that Page and Lubsdorf had also never heard of the unaccounted-for $8.8 billion. For a moment I thought that maybe I had been imagining things.

Then I spotted my friend Norm Ornstein, scholar from the American Enterprise Institute. "Would you believe it if Norm Ornstein told you about the $8.8 billion?" I asked Susan and Carl.


I brought Norm over, and indeed I had not been imagining things. "It was a huge story," Norm told them.

"Was it in the New York Times?" Carl asked Norm.

"Yes," Norm assured him.

What in God’s name is going on?

See the whole post: What in God's name is going on?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005



George Galloway
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Under the "sorry we asked" file, check out British politician George Galloway reaming Sen. Norm Coleman and friends new collective ass holes. DROP AND TUCK, NORM!. (Did YOU know that 52% of the kickback Saddam received in the oil for food program came from US companies?) You gotta see this video!

Also, Arianna Huffington's great new online news magazine.

Also, broken penises and the long promised essay on Dominion theology. (scroll down)




Tuesday, May 17, 2005



James Luther Adams. ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, warned 25 years ago, "fascism will not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. It's ideological inheritors will cloak themselves in the language of the Bible, they will come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance."

Adams was one of the first to see the danger of a new theology that was gaining hold in fundamentalist circles. It is called Dominion theology, and it posses as great a danger to American democracy and freedom as any foreign tyrant or terrorist ever has. This theology was first posited in conservative Presbyterian theologian Rousas John Rushdoony"s book INSTITUTES OF BIBLICAL LAW. His entire theology is based on one verse of the bible, Gen. 1:26, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'" (NIV). The King James version replaces "let them rule" with "give them dominion", hence the name Dominion theology. While most Christians interpret this verse as meaning that God gave mankind dominion over the animal kingdom, Dominion theologians believe that that this verse commands Christians to bring all societies under the rule of the Word of God.

So what do Dominionists believe? First, they believe that all laws governing society must conform to Old Testament biblical law. There goal is to bring a virtual "Kingdom of Heaven" here to earth. It's extreme form, Recontructionism, believes that all non Fundamentalist religious institutions must be repressed, be they Christian or other. Mainstream Christian institutions would no longer be allowed to hold services or proselytize. Society would be ruled and punished as prescribed by the Hebrew Scriptures. Practitioners of any other religious faith would be prosecuted as idolaters. Adultery, blasphemy, and homosexuality would be criminalized.

Even in it's milder forms, Dominionists believe it is there duty to turn this government (and all others) into a Christian government based on biblical laws and principals. They don't believe in separation of church and state, they believe the church IS the state. They are not content with being protected from those who would impose their beliefs on them, they believe it is their divine duty to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

So who believes in this Dominion theology? It has gained wide acceptance in Pentecostal circles. It has gained such prevalence in the Southern Baptist Church that Jimmy Carter has left in protest. Billy Graham has distanced himself from this theology. While it's more extreme forms don't have a great deal of traction (yet) amongst the rank and file of mainstream Evangelicals, it's leadership has been virtually taken over by Dominionists. Focus on the Family, Family Matters, the National Association of Religious Broadcasters, Liberty University (and it's law school), the 700 Club, all run by Dominionist. James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Franklin Graham (Billy's son), all Dominionists. Ditto for some of our most powerful leaders, including Senate majority leader Bill Frist, House Majority leader Tom DeLay, and President of the United States George W. Bush.

So what would a Dominionist United States look like? Dr. Adams points to 1933 Germany. Hitler came to power in promising
to restore moral values. He immediately banned all homosexual and lesbian publications, and ransacked homosexual meeting places. He ransacked the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin and 12,000 volumes of from it's library burned in the bonfires. Adams says that under the Christian right homosexuals and lesbians would be the first "deviants" to be singled out. Wiccans, Muslims and other "deviant religions" would be close behind.

Lest you think this far fetched, check out the website of a prominent Dominionist church whose pastor claims close ties to President Bush WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH, Topeka KS. What's even scarier, over FIVE MILLION PEOPLE have visted this site (!

Hitler took power in Germany with a message almost identical to the one being spouted by the Christian Right. Don't think it can't happen here!



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
I admit, I haven't paid much attention to Rev. Billy Graham in the 20 or so years since Christianity and I parted ways. But I have to admit, I gained a lot of respect for him after reading the USA Today article (Mon, 5/16) profiling him. Seems he has some issues with the leadership of the Christian right, and they with him. So much so that he was snubbed by the Grand Ayatollah of the Christian right, James Dobson, and not asked to speak at his nationally broadcast JUSTICE SUNDAY event on April 24. This event, which featured virtually every religious-right leader of note, was organized to protest the Democrats plans to filibuster extremist judges. What the Dobsonians call a filibuster against people of faith.

Graham believes in concepts that are anathema to today's Christian right. Like pluralism, inclusion, ecumenism, and tolerance. While the Pat Roberstsons and James Dobsons of the world equate these words with moral relativism, Dr. Graham believes them to be positive. Indeed, his next crusade, in Flushing Meadows, NY, will be sponsored by 1300 Protestant and Catholic churches of every stripe.

Graham makes a strong differentiation between Evangelical and Evangelism, and has strong feelings about mixing the pulpit and politics. "There are a lot of groups that feel a little bit strange around me, because I am inclusive" .... "Evangelism is when the Gospel, which is good news, is preached or presented to ALL people" .... "If I took sides in all these different divisive areas, I would cut off a great part of the people that I really want to reach. So I've felt that the Lord would have me just present the Gospel and stay out of politics", he says.

In the end, Graham equates what is currently going on in the Christian right to a scene from the movie THE SOUND OF MUSIC. In this scene, the Austrian Baron von Trapp is surprised and dismayed when an Austrian teenager hails him with a Heil Hitler salute. Says the Baron sadly, "My world is passing me by."

Actually, I believe Rev. Graham is passing by his!

Monday, May 16, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
The culmination of a frantic week! Shelley wasn't planning on going to prom until 6 days prior to the event. Somehow, we managed to get dress ordered, shipped in, altered, and accessorized in time! Seamstress finished altering the dress 6 hours before the start of the event. Becky Stevenson, we are forever in your debt!

With Shelley is me, my sons girlfriend Sarah, and my son Steven (more commonly known as Shorty). The photo was taken in front of Macri's Italian Bakery and Deli in South Bend

(click on photo to enlarge and/or see more pics)

Saturday, May 14, 2005



This threatens to be one of the biggest challenges to American democracy in our history. As John McCain puts it, "they don't call it the 'nuclear option' for nothing!" has a great primer on the whole filibuster issue HERE! If you want to understand the whole issue, this is the place to go!

Friday, May 13, 2005



Dr. Theresa Ghilarducci
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci was asked to speak at a forum on Social Security issues at the local Unitarian Church last Monday. She is certainly well qualified to do so. An associate professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, she is considered one of the nations leading experts on social insurance and pensions (see brief resume below). Apparently, she is not overly impressed with George W. Bush's plan to reform Social Security. This has drawn the ire of local Republican officials.

Just hours before Dr. Ghilarducci's scheduled appearance at the First Unitarian Church of South Bend, Rev. Lisa Doege, the church's pastor, received a phone call from an official of the Indiana Republican Party. She was informed that the professors appearance might be deemed partisan, and that her church's tax exempt status might be in jeopardy. According to Rev. Doege, "It shook me a little". She informed the church board of the call. To their credit, and hers, the event went on as scheduled.

Luke Messner, executive director of the Indiana Republican Party, denies the intent of the call, apparently made at the behest of St. Joseph Co. Republican Chairman Chris Faulkner, was to intimidate the church or Rev. Doege. When questioned about the incident, Rev. Doege responded, "they called for a reason and maybe that reason was to cut off free speech,"

For anyone with questions as to Dr. Ghilarduci's quafications to speak to the subject, here's a brief resume:
Associate Professor of Economics

Director, Higgins Labor Research Center

Former Member of the Board of Trustees: Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund

Former Advisory Board Member, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance

Mark's note: I recently was mildly chastised for my "loose" use of the term fascist. A prominent part of the modus operandi of fascist movements is the intimidation of those with dissenting views. This week alone we have seen Dr. James Dobson (the Grand Ayatollah of the Christian Right) attempting to intimidate moderate Republicans on the issue of judicial appointments and the Senate filibuster rules, a church expel members for being *gasp* Democrats, and the attempted intimidation of a church whose crime was to bring a leading expert on Social Security to give a talk. The Dominion Movement of the Christian right is CLEARLY a fascist movement. Their continued takeover of the Republican Party can only blow an ill wind across the face of American democracy.



WALMART! A funny freebee from JOEL MABUS.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005



It is the week of my daughter's senior prom. THANK THE FORCE (or whomever), this is my only female child! The fact that she wasn't going until Sunday night (the prom is Saturday), has made this week a harrowing one. Ordering a gown, getting it shipped here, finding someone to alter it on two days notice! Finding the proper accessories, and on and on and on......

Hopefully, I will get to do some serious blogging in the next couple of days. I especially want to talk about Dominion Theology, it's implications, and why it should scare the bejeezus out of you. Perhaps a discussion of the American Ayatollahs might also be in order!

Sunday, May 08, 2005



With insurgent attacks escalating daily, 300 people, including Americans, dead in the last ten days, and 1600 American soldiers killed since the beginning of the war, support for the war appears to be waning in the Senate. Two of the Senate's most powerful members, Carl Levin (D-MI) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), both members of the armed services committee, spoke bluntly today as news of 7 more GI deaths circulated.

Levin, speaking on ABC's "This Week", said that only 25% of Iraq's 168,000 man security force being armed and trained by the US military "are able and willing to take on the insurgents". He also asserted that political infighting was as big or bigger an obstacle to peace as the insurgents.

Levin (with Hagel concurring) said that Washington would be forced to rethink it's commitment to Iraq if the Iraqis fail to write a new constitution, elect a new government, and develop reliable security forces by early next year.

Even though Emperor Bush, Darth Rummy, and their buddies in the broadcast media would have you believe otherwise, it is becoming clear, even in Washington, that we are losing this war. Washington should have asked us. We could have told them that a year ago.

Saturday, May 07, 2005



Notre Dame has a new hockey coach. And he has an impressive resume! He is Jeff Jackson, currently assistant coach of the New York Islanders and formerly head coach of the Ontario (junior) Hockey League's Guelph Storm and the US under 18 team. Prior to his stint with the US National team, he was the Head Coach at Lake Superior State.

He left Lake Superior State in 1996 to help start the US National Development Team program, but not before he made the Lakers a perennial national power (something they have not been since his leaving), and Division 1 champions in 1992. He has a reputation for developing players, and earns high praise from those who played for him on the US under 18 team. His experience in the US development program should be a big boon to the Irish Youth Hockey program as well!

With former head coach Dave Poulin now working full time on making a $15 million renovation of the north dome a reality, and a proven championship caliber coach on board, things may finally be looking up for hockey fans in South Bend!

Read more about Jeff Jackson HERE and HERE!

Now cooking at the Church Potluck: PARTY HAMBALLS IN BROWN SAUCE

Thursday, May 05, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
That first week of May 1970, I was a 17 year old kid 3 weeks away from graduation. I lived in Union Lake, MI, a suburb of Pontiac. I attended school in Waterford Twp., a place notorious for having the largest Klu Klux Klan chapter north of the Mason-Dixon line. I was raised by conservative parents in an evangelical church. And except for the events of the 4th of May, I might still be that politically conservative evangelical.

It's not that I wasn't giving the politics of the day any thought. I had been impressed with Martin Luther King and was somewhat embarrassed that my church seemed to be on the wrong side of the issue. And I had found Bobby Kennedy to be an inspiring speaker. But I was of the same opinion as my Dad and most others in our neighborhood and church. Anti war protesters and draft dodgers were cowards who would betray their country to save their own skins. Then came the invasion of Cambodia, and the events of May 4th.

My initial reaction to the Kent State Massacre was to side with the governor of Ohio and the National Guard. After all, this was a civil insurrection, there had been looting in town and the campus ROTC building had been burned. I started to have my doubts when it became apparent the guard had fired on an unarmed group of students a full football field away. But that defining moment came a few days later, when Newsweek published "the picture"!

The picture for me was not THE PICTURE, the one of 14 yr. old Mary Ann Vechio kneeling over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller. The picture for me was one of a young man, bare chested and profusely bleeding from a bayonet wound, refusing to back down and in the face of a national guardsman, giving him hell. It hit me like a lightning bolt. This kid is no coward. He is standing down an armed soldier who has already stabbed him. To be brave enough to do that, he must be there because he REALLY BELIEVES in his cause. Maybe I should at least hear him out!

The second week of May was the last time I ever believed anything just because the church, or the government, or my parents told me it was so. Question everything became my personal motto. That questioning would lead me to a lot of unpleasant revelations about the government, politics, and especially, the church. I would gradually become more disenchanted till, finally, in my early thirties, it became clear I didn't buy any of it anymore. I left, never to look back.

So, I can look back now, and say that my life altering moment came from an event that happened not to me personally, but in a place a whole state away. But alter it it did!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005



Crime in America has fallen dramatically since the early 90's. In fact, crime is down 50% since 1990. Most (but not all) of us are old enough to remember when crime was the #1 concern on everyone's mind. Then crime started to fall dramatically about the time Bill Clinton was elected. Conservatives hailed stricter laws, longer prison sentences, and a much larger number of citizens imprisoned as the reason for the the drop in crime. Turns out, they were mostly wrong! Liberals said "It's the economy, stupid!" We were mostly wrong too! Moderates said it was our successful education campaign that drastically reduced the amount of crack cocaine consumed. You guessed it, they were mostly wrong too!

Steven Levitt is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. One of his areas of study is the economics of crime. Levitt studied the crime statistics and realized that while all the reasons stated above had some marginal affect on the crime rate, none could explain the drastic drop in crime. So he did some digging. What he found is a bit discomforting. The real reason for the drop in crime... legalized abortion. Abortion was legalized in the US in the late 70's. The time these potential unwanted children would have begun hitting their teens coincides with the beginning of the drop in crime.

When you stop and think about it, it makes sense. Social scientists have long known that unwanted children have a high likelihood of becoming criminals. Legalized abortions allowed thousands of single teenage women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Instead of 14, 15, and 16 yr. olds becoming single mothers of an unwanted, unplanned child, most of these young women now were having welcome children as married 20 somethings. The societal impact has obviously been huge.

I must admit, I am a bit uncomfortable with these findings. Even though I am "pro-choice", I have always thought of the impact of abortion being primarily on the individual. I have always thought of it as sometimes being the lesser of two evils. I am not sure how comfortable I am with discovering that legal abortion has actually been a boon to society. But there it is, and the facts speak for themselves.......

Find out more HERE and HERE

Tuesday, May 03, 2005



Once again, the US is turning over the dirty work of torture to it's proxies. With the insurgency growing, it is apparent we are, in fact, losing the war in Iraq. So we have turned to a new tack. The dirty war, El Salvador style. For those of you with short memories, the right wing government of El Salvador, with massive American logistical help, fought a 12 year war with left wing insurgents. The war featured widespread government use of death squads and torture. In many cases, whole villages were massacred. As a result, a country of 6 million people suffered 70,000 dead, mostly civilians. Now the US is exporting this strategy to Iraq. See the story from the Sunday NY Times here.

Now cooking at the potluck, CLASSIC TUNA HOTDISH

Sunday, May 01, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.



The following is an excerpt from a Salon interview with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins:

"We're seeing a rather unholy alliance between the burgeoning theocracy in the U.S. and its allies, the theocrats in the Islamic world. They are fighting the same battle: Christian on one side, Muslim on the other. The very large numbers of people in the United States and in Europe who don't subscribe to that worldview are caught in the middle.

Actually, holy alliance would be a better phrase. Bush and bin Laden are really on the same side: the side of faith and violence against the side of reason and discussion. Both have implacable faith that they are right and the other is evil. Each believes that when he dies he is going to heaven. Each believes that if he could kill the other, his path to paradise in the next world would be even swifter. The delusional "next world" is welcome to both of them. This world would be a much better place without either of them."

Dawkins on his upcoming book THE GOD DELUSION:

"A delusion is something that people believe in despite a total lack of evidence. Religion is scarcely distinguishable from childhood delusions like the "imaginary friend" and the bogeyman under the bed. Unfortunately, the God delusion possesses adults, and not just a minority of unfortunates in an asylum. The word "delusion" also carries negative connotations, and religion has plenty of those."

Read the entire very entertaining interview HERE. You will have to view a brief commercial to get a free one day pass to SALON.

Now cooking at the potluck SIMPLY ELEGANT STEAK

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