Thursday, June 30, 2005



An excerpt from today's NEWSDAY, via Blondesense


Jimmy Breslin
June 29, 2005

If George W. Bush wants young people to get into this war so much, why doesn't he send his two daughters over to Iraq and fight for their country?

Read today what Bush has to say about fighting in Iraq. Read it on a day when we still have three women killed in Iraq, one from the Bronx.

The Bush daughters are 23, and at the Republican National Convention in New York last summer, they were a whirlwind at night. They looked as fit to fight for their country as any high school dropout.

This is an eminently fair thought. We have today the dead body of a young Latina woman from the Bronx. She comes home when it is clear that it is time for Bush to put up his own.

"Exactly! That's what I want to know," says Fiorela Valdez, sister of the dead young woman Marine, Ramona Valdez. "He doesn't have any family over there so he don't care. None of them do. I don't know of one daughter of one of them who's over in Iraq fighting the war."
read rest of column

Breslin is right, it's time for all these Yellow Elephants to stand up for the war they have so loudly called for. It should start with the first family!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005



Tuesday, June 28, 2005




Pre-war March 2003: 0
Handover June 2004: 45
Now: 70
Analysis: Figures should be viewed with caution because US military often does not record attacks if there are no American casualties.

Pre-war March 2003: 0
Handover June 2004: 982
Now: 1,930
Analysis: Number of US troops killed increased sharply during Fallujah fighting in April and November 2004.

Pre-war March 2003: n/a
Handover June 2004: 10,000
Now: 60,800 (includes 23,000 crime-related deaths)
Analysis: Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths have varied widely because the US military does not count them.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY (megwatts generated)
Pre-war March 2003: 3,958
Handover June 2004: 4,293
Now: 4,035
Analysis: Coalition is way behind its goal of providing 6,000 megawatts by July 2004. Most Iraqis do not have a reliable electricity supply.

Pre-war March 2003: n/a
Handover June 2004: 40%
Now: 40%
Analysis: More than a third of young people are unemployed, a cause for social unrest. Many security men stay home, except on payday.

Pre-war March 2003: 833,000 (landlines only)
Handover June 2004: 1.2m (includes mobiles)
Now: 3.1m
Analysis: Landlines are extremely unreliable and mobile phone system could be improved.

Pre-war March 2003: 3.6m
Handover June 2004: 4.3m
Now: n/a
Analysis: 83 per cent of boys and 79 per cent of girls in primary schools. But figures mask declining literacy and failure rate.

OIL PRODUCTION (barrels per day)
Pre-war March 2003: 2.5m
Handover June 2004: 2.29m
Now: 2.20m
Analysis: Sustainability of Iraqi oilfields has been jeopardised to boost output. Oil facilities regularly targeted by insurgents.

28 June 2005 See entire story HERE.


Once again, Pentagon auditors are charging Haliburton with overcharging the US government by 1.4 billion dollars. See the entire story HERE.

Story HERE

Monday, June 27, 2005



Harry Shearer
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

but this was one of those news weekends that makes you want to get up and beat the first republican you see within an inch of his life! Extraordinary Rendition, illegal bombing, Dubya's utter failure to address nations most pressing security problems. But first, something a bit more fun: Harry Shearer catches Rummy in a big lie! Seems Rummy is caught on tape telling Tim Russert that US is not negotiating with any insurgents who have blood on there hands.


Meanwhile, Bill Kristol is on Fox News pointing out:
"On the rebel side were representatives of insurgent groups including Ansar al-Sunna, which has carried out numerous suicide bombings and killed 22 people in the dining hall of an American base at Mosul last Christmas." It's bad when the folks on your own side are calling you a liar!

Now, to those things threatening to turn me violent:

Rant #1: The Chicago Tribune had a great investigative report Saturday revealing the details of how the CIA kidnapped Hassan Osama Nasr, a radical cleric better known as Abu Omar, off the streets of Milan, Italy, and delivered him to Egypt, where he was severely tortured by the Egyptian government for 8 mos., released for 2 weeks, then rearrested, never to be heard from again. If you are unfamiliar with the story, read more here. But the thing that really pissed me off is the fact that it turns out the CIA has conducted over a hundred such kidnapping/tortures (aka Extraordinary Renditions) in the past 25 years. AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THIS VIOLATES EVERY SINGLE MORE THAT MAKES US AMERICAN? Can I be the only one who finds this disgusting and absolutely un-American? Shouldn't this piss off every true American?

Rant #2: Turns out that even as the Liar-In-Chief was telling us he had no plans to invade Iraq, the US and the UK were secretly and illegally bombing Iraq in an attempt to provoke Saddam into a reaction that would give us an excuse to invade. This right from the mouth of Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley, who commanded the air campaign during the invasion. Full Story here. My God folks, aren't you fucking sick of the constant drone of lies? As Robert Steinbeck put it in the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinal:

"Do you want to know? That's the only popular division that matters in the United States today: Those who want to determine once and for all if President Bush knowingly "fixed the facts'' regarding Iraq, thereby misleading Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war, and those who will cover their ears and hum loudly in order to maintain their belief that Bush and his advisors remain above reproach."

Final rant: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress are showing signs of complacency about the threat of a terrorist nuclear attack that could cripple a major city and shatter the economy, nuclear security experts said on Monday (see rest of story here).

How can it be that we have spent 400 billion dollars on homeland security, and have virtually ignored the biggest threat our country faces? Doesn't the fact that Bush is making Warren G. Harding look like an over achiever scare you shitless? Cause it damn well should!

Okay, enough ranting...I'm gonna go drown myself in Old Milwaukee (having demolished the Leinies last night).

Rant On!

Sunday, June 26, 2005



Fiddler's Hearth
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Last night we made one of our occasional pilgrimages to Fiddler's Hearth. The occasion was the return of my daughter and her best friend's favorite bluegrass band, Special Concensus. You might find it surprising that two college age girls would have a favorite bluegrass band at all, but if you take a close look at the guitar and bass players, it will become much more clear! Seriously, I am not much of a b'grass fan myself, but I look forward to Special C's occasional visits to South Bend. Their musicianship is just outstanding. Very talented, which explains how the band, in various forms, has been around for thirty years.

Shelley, Cara w/Special Concensus
Cara and Shelley with the band!

We arrived at 7:30 for the 9:00 show, to assure ourselves a good seat, because this show is always crowded. For dinner I decided on Boxty, a kind of potato cake omelet, filled with sauteed leeks and mushrooms and a choice of meat. It is then covered with cheddar cheese and flashed under the broiler. I had mine with corned beef. It was delicious. The girls had Steak and Guinness Pie and Shepherd's Pie. I'm not sure who had what, because they seemed to be sampling each other's entrees. The three of us then split a Chocolate Bomb. The meal was washed down with Murphy's Red Lager. A truly fine meal it was!

Special Consensus

The band took stage around 9 and played till midnight. They were in fine voice and fine humor, joked with the regulars, and even took a few requests. They played a few songs with a local musician, Sally. Sally is a college student here, and a truly fine fiddler. She is blind, and has the most amazing leader dog, a black lab. This is the gentlest, sweetest, most well behaved dog you have ever seen! Even in the midst of all the ruckus and hubbub, this dog was perfectly calm. Shelley says she is going to send Kipper off to Leader Dogs for remedial training!

Between sets, Sally and a couple of band members huddled together while she coached them on some lines from a couple of Celtic songs they are working on after their recent tour of the Isles. It was really amazing to watch them playing together, and then stopping while she played a line, and they worked on picking it up. They were really complex lines, and when they got them, you could see faces light up like neon signs. It was really fun to watch.

We arrived home about 12:30, an excellent time had by all. Special C will be back in December. be assured we will be there too!

Friday, June 24, 2005



Leinie Originals
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
It's Gawd awful hot here in Hoosierville! Mid 90's and humid yesterday, today, tomorrow. Which makes my suffering over the valiant but losing efforts of my Pistons that much worse. My neighbor Liz and I got up early in an attempt to get canoes on and off the water before the worst of the heat. Nice trip, and off the water by 1:30. Sat in back yard for an hour and sucked down a couple of Leinies. Decided it was time to go to the beach. Piled in the S-10 pickup, hit US 30 N, and hit Lake Michigan 35 min later. Got back just after sundown. Took the large capacity bladder, also known as Kipper, for a walk. Returned, sat in backyard, sucked down a couple more Leinies. Decided to go in and blog. Sucked down a couple of more Leinies. Realized I am too "mellow" to blog! So I am gonna steal an Idea from requiscat.

So, as I sit here and tip a Leinie to our fighting men and women, I offer in tribute this song, from another war, but just as meaningful today!


The songs of the wars are as old as the hills
They cling like the rust on the cold steel that kills
They tell of the boys who went down to the tracks
In a patriotic manner with the cold steel on their backs

The patriot's dream is as old as the sky
It lives in the lust of a cold callous lie
Let's drink to the men who got caught by the chill
Of the patriotic fever and the cold steel that kills

The train pulled away on that glorious night
The drummer got drunk and the bugler got tight
While the boys in the back sang a song of good cheer
While riding off to glory in the spring of their years

The patriot's dream still lives on today
It makes mothers weep and it makes lovers pray
Let's drink to the men who got caught by the chill
Of the patriotic fever and the cold steel that kills

Well there was a sad, sad lady
Weeping all night long
She received a sad, sad message
From a voice on the telephone
Her children were all sleeping
As she waited out the dawn
How could she tell those children
That their father was shot down
So she took them to her side that day
And she told them one by one
Your father was a good man ten thousand miles from home
He tried to do his duty and it took him straight to hell
He might be in some prison, I hope he's treated well

Well there was a young girl watching in the early afternoon
When she heard the name of someone who said he'd be home soon
And she wondered how they got him, but the papers did not tell
There would be no sweet reunion, there would be no wedding bells
So she took herself into her room and she turned the bed sheets down
And she cried into the silken folds of her new wedding gown
He tried to do his duty and it took him straight to hell
He might be in some prison, I hope he's treated well

The train pulled away on that glorious night
The drummer got drunk and the bugler got tight
While the boys in the back sang a song of good cheer
While riding off to glory in the spring of their years

The patriot's dream still lives on today
It makes mothers weep and it makes lovers pray
Let's drink to the men who got caught by the chill
Of the patriotic fever and the cold steel that kill

by Gordon Lightfoot

p.s. Kudos to the Pizza Hut in Stevensville MI, who proved there is at least one Pizza Hut that can make a pizza good enough to come back for, and didn't bat an eye when this old hippie came in in damp trunks, t-shirt, and sandals (with an emphasis on sand)!

Thursday, June 23, 2005



Jesus' General
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
JESUS' GENERAL may be the funniest political blog around! The following teachings of Republican Jesus are from t-shirts available at THE GENERAL'S STORE.

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle now that we have given Halliburton that multi billion dollar needle enlargement contract"

"Sometimes you can't love your neighbor until you've applied 10,000 volts to his testicles"

"Blessed are those who write memos turning war crimes into acts of bold, resolute leadership, for they are tomorrows judges and cabinet members"

"I hate it when my favorite Fox tv show, THE WORLDS BLOODIEST SMITINGS, is desecrated by a dirty word"

"The leper said "heal me lord", but he was a sodomite so I pulled his nose off and kicked him right in the gonads"

"Thou shalt not bear false witness, unless it is to sell a war or destroy a former employee"

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Beer Butt Turkey

Tuesday, June 21, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
For the fourth month in a row, the US ARMY has failed to meet it's recruiting goals. In an effort to help shore up the Army's rank and file, that great patriot, Gen. JC Christian is promoting a new recruiting campaign. His website, JESUS' GENERAL, has launched OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT, in an effort to recruit more college Republicans.

Here, in his own words, is the General's rational for his campaign:

  OYE-Recruiting poster #1


I suppose that a number of you are wondering if I've been co-opted by the French. After all, one could reasonably assume that OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT is designed to embarrass College Republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm actually trying to help them.

I learned in the last presidential election the importance of turning a weakness into a strength. I think we were all amazed to see a man who had gone AWOL from an undeployable National Guard unit defeat a decorated war hero because he was perceived to have more credibility as a military commander. We can do the same for the College Republicans.

Their greatest weakness is their almost pathological reluctance to fight in the war they demanded. It makes them look cowardly and hypocritical. That's especially true now that our military is suffering a manpower crisis. It'll take bold action on their part to change that perception. That's a tall order. Boldness is an alien trait to Hawks who are too timid to fight. We'll need to provoke them into defending their honor.

College Republicans have a lot to be proud about. Their courageous affirmative action bake sales and immigrant hunts are important elements of the internal phase of our Glorious War to Resubjugate Brown People. Just as important is the role they play in subsidizing our greatest conservative thinkers. People like Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and Michelle Malkin would never get a speaking gig if College Republicans weren't demanding that universities book them. By doing so, the College Republicans free up Scaife money for more important character assassination operations like the Arkansas Project and the Swiftboat Vets.

By attacking them for their war hypocrisy, we are prodding them to stand up and defend themselves. Our assault will provide them with a need to speak publicly about their acts of bravery on the home front, and before long, they'll be seen as the real heroes in this war.

posted by Gen. JC Christian, Patriot
YOUNG REPUBLICANS: recruiting posterOYE-Recruiting poster #2

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Repulican Senator: "White House is completely disconnected from reality" "We're losing In Iraq"

Sen. Chuck Hagell, R-NE
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

from US News and World Report

HIT BY FRIENDLY FIRE: With his polls down, Bush takes flak on Iraq from a host of critics--including some in his own party
By Kevin Whitelaw

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes." "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq." (see entire article HERE)

Saturday, June 18, 2005


WARREN BUFFETT, LOU DOBBS: It's class warfare, the wealthy are winning. They shouldn't be.

Warren Buffett
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Lou Dobbs
Lou Dobbs
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

After Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Warren Buffet is the wealthiest man in the country. Lou Dobbs is Financial Analyst for CNN. In this excerpt from a conversation between the two, they make clear their disdain for the economic and tax policies of the Bush Administration. Both go as far as accusing the powers that be of waging class warfare against working people.

DOBBS: Are you surprised when you focus on the two deficits we just talked about, the trade deficit, and the budget deficit? The budget deficit is 3.6 percent of our GDP. The trade deficit is reaching just almost 6 percent of GDP. And the president is talking about reforming Social Security. Does that surprise you?

BUFFETT: Well, it's an interesting idea that a deficit of $100 billion a year, something, 20 years out, seems to terrify the administration. But the $400-plus billion dollars deficit currently does nothing but draw yawns. I mean the idea that this terrible specter room looms over us 20 years out which is a small fraction of the deficit we happily run now seems kind of interesting to me.

DOBBS: In point of fact, the Congressional Budget Office, which is considered to be the bipartisan objective standard of such things, has research that suggests that the deficit in Social Security would be only 0.4 percent of our GDP over 75 years as compared to the other large deficits percentages that associated with trade in the budget deficit. Do you have, we're talking about fixing the fixes we're in, a quick answer for Social Security?

BUFFETT: I personally would increase the taxable base above the present $90,000. I pay very little in the way of Social Security taxes because I make a lot more than $90,000. And the people in my office pay the full tax. We're already edging up the retirement age a bit. And I would means test ... I get a check for $1,700 or $1,900 or something every month. I'm 74. And I cash it. But I'll eat without it.

DOBBS: You will eat without it. So will literally more than a million other Americans, as well. Means testing, the idea of raising taxes, the payroll tax. In 1983, Alan Greenspan, the Fed chairman, he had a very simple idea: raise taxes. That's what you're saying here.

BUFFETT: Sure. But I wouldn't raise the 12-point and a fraction payroll tax, I would raise the taxable base to above $90,000.

DOBBS: That's a progressive idea. In other words, the rich people would pay more?

BUFFETT: Yeah. The rich people are doing so well in this country. I mean, we never had it so good.

DOBBS: What a radical idea.

BUFFETT: It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be.

DOBBS: Exactly. Your class, as you put it, is winning on estate taxes, which I know you are opposed to. I don't know how your son Howard feels about that. I know you are opposed to it.

At the same week the House passed the estate tax, Congress passed the bankruptcy legislation, which they had the temerity to call bankruptcy reform, Democrats and Republicans passing this legislation, which is onerous to the middle class. Half of the bankruptcies in this country take place, because people fall ill, serious illnesses result in bankruptcy. Nearly half of the people involved. How do you -- you have watched a lot of politics. What is going on in this country?

BUFFETT: The rich are winning. Just take the estate tax, less than 2 percent of all estates pay any tax. A couple million people die every year, 40,000 or so estates get taxed.

We raise, what, $30 billion from the estate tax. And, you know, I would like to hear the congressman say where they are going to get the $30 billion from if they don't get it from the estate tax. It's nice to say, you know, wipe out this tax, but we're running a huge deficit, so who does the $30 billion come from?

DOBBS: And it is, it's $300 billion in lost tax revenue over the course of the next decade if the estate tax goes through.

You say the rich are winning. The rich are winning in some cases, because they are cheating. The corporate corruption scandals, which burst full upon the country at the end of 2001, Sarbanes-Oxley, new regulations, new efforts to achieve transparency. Has enough been done? Or does more need to be done?

BUFFETT: I think the climate has been changed on that for the better, Lou. Mae West said, "I was Snow White but I drifted." Well, I think corporate America drifted some. But I literally think what has happened has changed the culture somewhat, and for the better. I think that's probably more important than the laws.

DOBBS: Yet we hear the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whining that it's so onerous, so difficult to obey the law and to meet these regulations. What's your reaction?

BUFFETT: Well, right now corporate profits as a percentage of GDP in this country are right at the high. Corporate taxes as a percentage of total taxes raised are very close to the low.

DOBBS: Historically we're talking about.

BUFFETT: Historically. So, you know, corporate America is not suffering, I'll put it that way.

DOBBS: Corporate America is not suffering. In point of fact, those same organizations that I just mentioned, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable representing some of the largest companies are saying "You tax us, you are taxing our consumers, our customers." Do you think corporations in this country should be paying more? Taking some of that burden?

BUFFETT: I think that ... you have seen companies be able to repatriate earnings with a very small tax that were taxed at very low rates abroad. Corporations are doing better in the total tax picture than the people I'm going to walk by on the street when I leave here.

DOBBS: And some of the people you are going to meet are going to say, perhaps this evening and otherwise in business circles, are going to say, Warren, what are you talking about, raise our taxes.

BUFFETT: They are still friends of mine, Lou.

DOBBS: You are going to get along. I know you are going to get along.

BUFFETT: Is there anyone I have forgotten to offend?

See the entire conversation HERE

Still Qing at THE CHURCH POTLUCK! Currently: BBQ Brisket, Texas Style.

Coming Soon: Beer Butt Turkey!

Thursday, June 16, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Note: I will apologize in advance if this rambles. Most times you write because you hope you have something to offer others; news, inspiration, a chuckle or two. But there are those rare times when you need to write for yourself, to sort your thoughts, to be able to step back and look at them with some distance. This is one of those occasions.

For a parent, there is nothing more heart rending, or gut wrenching, then the sound of one of your children sobbing hysterically. Especially when you know there is nothing you can do to help. Which is how my morning started yesterday at 3:45 am, when my daughter came into my room cradling the lifeless form of her 5 day old kitten. The kitten had nursed just fine at 12am and 2am, but at 3:45 the mother cat came to Shelley, meowing frantically. When she went to check on the kitten, it was dead. We buried it in the backyard on my lunch hour.

Shelley spent pretty much the whole day sobbing uncontrollably. She was okay when I was there, but as soon as I left, it started again. She believes herself to be responsible for the kittens death. If only she had known more, studied about kittens more, thought of this, thought of that. If only. Of course, this is utter nonsense. She had no reason to anticipate this. And obviously, there was an unseen medical problem somewhere. But in her mind, it's her fault.

I thought it was a blessing when the cat only had one kitten, but it turned out to be a curse. Had she had a big litter, Shelley wouldn't have been able to become so quickly attached to just one. And the mother cat wouldn't have had time to worry about the missing kitten, it would have too many other mouths to feed. But this way, I am left with a devastated daughter, and a cat that wonders around the house calling, then listening intently for the return cry that will never come.

This whole experience has been extremely disconcerting. I keep wondering, what if she had found me instead of the kitten? It's not beyond the realm of possibility. My health isn't that great, and I am at that age when I am already starting to lose some friends and acquaintances. Would she blame herself for the rest of her life? Would she spend endless time saying "if only I had checked on him", "if only I'd insisted he eat better", "if only I'd done ....."?

I have suddenly come to realize that Shelley is far to dependent on me, not only for her physical requirements like food and shelter, but emotionally as well. And in truth, I have probably become too dependent on her as well. It's certainly understandable. For most of her life, I've been not only father to her, but mother as well. And if not always her best friend, at least her most dependable one. And for the last few years, she has been the pit bull guarding my back from any and all threats.

Suddenly, I realize how ill prepared she would be to fend for herself in the real world. She simply doesn't have the educational or life skills necessary to thrive on her own, and it scares me. I work at a job that insurance actuaries consider high risk. What would become of Shelley if something suddenly happened to me?

The problem is, Shelley has no real safety net. Her siblings are grown and building lives of their own. Her mother has proved any number of times that she is not willing to risk the perceived security of her current relationship for Shelley's sake. So, if something were to happen to me, Shelley's fate would be uncertain, at best.

So here is my dilemma. I obviously need to enroll her a crash course in Life Skills 101. But one that accomplishes it without damaging that great big heart of gold. I am open to suggestions.

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: BBQ BRISKET, Texas Style

Monday, June 13, 2005



Fr. John Francis Patrick Mulcahy
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
I can always tell when my buddy Ron has succumbed to the temptation to listen to talk radio. Our Saturday morning breakfast conversations always become interesting. I don't know how the subject came up, but he said he didn't understand why it is that black people get pissed off and start throwing bricks and burning buildings. White people don't do that he says (he apparently has never been to East lansing after a loss to Michigan, but I digress).

I told him it was all about power, who has it, who doesn't. It is bad enough to be a member of a group that is unempowered. It is worse if you feel the group in power isn't listening to or giving credence to your complaints. Rioting is a last ditch effort to get those in power to pay attention to your plight. It would make no sense for white guys to throw rocks through windows. It would be counter productive. Why would they? After all, WHITE GUYS OWN THE FUCKING WINDOWS! I told him to consider it in terms of "the Mulcahy Principle"

The Mulcahy Principle is one of those great little snippets of pop culture that unintentionally contain tremendous wisdom. It was uttered by the chaplain of the 4077 M*A*S*H, Fr. Francis Mulcahy.

The scene is this: The good father, for the umpteenth time, has once again been overlooked for promotion to captain. He blows his cork and goes from being mild mannered confidant to the ultimate cantankerous confessor. He snaps at the surgeons, yells at the clerks, has Hotlips in tears. At one point he tells a pair of feuding Greek and Turkish patients that he can whip them both with one hand tied behind his back, and if they don't pipe down he is going to give them both "a good thrashing"

Soon, the camp's commandant, Col. Potter is on the phone, calling every guy with a star on his shoulder he has ever come in contact with in his 40 years in the army. In desperation, he even tries to call McArthur himself.

In the end, the good father gets his promotion and is made Captain. It is in pondering his experience that he utters those immortal words, the principle that bears his name, which is.... "you know, the meek may inherit the earth... BUT IT'S THE CRABBY WHO GET THINGS DONE!"

Truer words were never spoken!


Saturday, June 11, 2005


How I became PIT KING! (confessions of a BBQ addict)

BBQ'n for a crowd
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
BBQ as a way of life has become a necessity for me. My daughter and I share a 3 bedroom, upstairs apartment in a 130 year old home, situated on the edge of the Notre Dame student ghetto. The entire apartment is cooled by two window air conditioners. It takes hours for these units to catch up if I heat up the kitchen, so in the summer, by necessity, I cook outside.

Fortunately, my backyard is ideal for this. Although small, it is very secluded, thanks to a long neglected fence line that includes 5 trees, a number of shrubs, and a thick quilt of ivy and wild grape covering the ancient chain link fence. In the summer this dense foliage blocks out most of the light from the neighboring security and street lights, giving it a country feel. Throw in the fire pit and some Tiki torches, and it is also a great place to throw a cookout, which we do frequently. In addition to my smoker and grill, my little outdoor party kitchen also features a 3 burner lp stove, and a small fridge for keeping the beer and pop ever ready.

While outdoor cooking is now a necessity for me, it is my father who is responsible for my BBQ addiction. Actually, Dad came to outdoor cooking rather late in life. When I was growing up, he never much cared to cook out. But Dad was an incurable gadget guy. And while I was away at college, he started to hear friends talk about this wonderful new invention called a Weber Kettle. Of course, the folks had to try it, and suddenly, Dad was an outdoor cook par excellance. Not just your standard burgers and hot dogs, mind you. Chicken quarters, steaks, chops, pot roasts, picnic hams, and especially turkeys, all got the Weber touch. Winter, summer, spring, fall, mattered not. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail became Dad's personal BBQ motto. In my entire life there is one picture I most regret not taking. It's the one of Dad in Bermuda shorts and T-shirt, standing just inside the half open garage door, tending to the Christmas turkey as his trusty Weber blazes away in the midst of a near blizzard.

When Attilla the Hen and I married, one of the first presents my parents bought us was a Weber of our very own. Within months, we had spread the addiction to our entire church. Soon, no church dinner went without ham and turkey cooked on Webers. Then, someone at church converted their home from oil heat to gas. The oil tank was immediately salvaged and turned into a hog roaster by one of the men. Every year thereafter, Sunday dinner at the annual church campout consisted of a hog roast.

So, you see, my addiction to artery clogging food with a hint of smoke is long and pervasive. Hopefully, no one will try to cure the addiction anytime soon!

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to post some of my best large group cookout recipes on the Church Potluck site, so be sure to check there!

Now cooking at the Church Potluck: Pulled Pork BBQ

Friday, June 10, 2005



Holy Sh*t! Where to begin? So much stuff! Lets start with the report by the Inspector General of the Justice Dept., released yesterday. According to the report by IG Glenn Fine, the FBI had at least five opportunities to stop the 9/11 bombings, and failed to act. See the whole story HERE.

Then, according to US News and World Report, thar's the swamp deal. You may recall the Bush bros., Prez and Gov, bragging about a deal to save the Everglades from mineral and oil exploration a couple of years ago. Under the deal, the Dept. of the Interior would purchase the mineral rights from the current owner for 120 million dollars. Seemed like a great deal, and even those most loathe to credit Bush for anything, the environmentalists, applauded. However, after a scathing report from the Interior Dept's Inspector General, Earl Devaney, Congress has killed the deal.

The intended recipients of $120 million was the Collier family of Naples, Florida. Years ago, this family sold 400,000 acres of Everglades swamp to the Interior Dept. Bear in mind that the Collier family has always been one of the largest financial supporters of the various Bush family political campaigns. The administration was willing to pay out this phenomenal sum in spite of the facts:
a) US Geological Survey says chances of finding significant mineral reserves there are slim to none
b) the Dept. of the Interior had already purchased those rights in a deal years earlier

An angry Sen. Charles Grassley, Senate Finance Committee Chairman, is scheduling hearings on the matter next week. Stay tuned!

Perhaps some other angry Senator might want to look into this one....

(from NY Times) A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents. In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved.

And then there is the Downing Street Memo. This memo hit the desks of top UK officials a couple of days before George W. Bush declared he had no plans to invade Iraq. If you want to know why we are in such a mess there now, this one paragraph should explain it nicely:

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. BUT THE INTELLIGENCE AND FACTS WERE BEING FIXED ARUND THE POLICY. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. THERE WAS LITTLE DISCUSSION IN WASHINGTON OF THE AFTERMATH OF MILITARY ACTION."** See the entire Downing Street Memo HERE (you may have to view a brief ad first).

** caps mine...gwb

Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Chocolate Sheet Cake. Coming soon: Pork BBQ for a Bunch!

Thursday, June 09, 2005



Babykitty with her baby kitty
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
and I promised so much stuff today. But it's been such a busy day! First, I come home on my lunch hour and discover my daughter's cat, Babykitty, has a new litter, of ONE!

Then I come home from work, and it's too hot to cook indoors. So I go to the backyard and fire up the gas grill, and the lp stove, and fix cajun pork steaks, corn on the cob, and boiled baby redskin potatoes. And I break into the company beer, the Heineken, as opposed to the Old Milwaukee I usually serve myself. Then dinner is finished, and I'm sittin in the big plastic chair, with my feet propped up on the matching big plastic ottoman, and I'm sayin to myself "f**k company, they can drink the Old Milwaukee", and proceed to down a few more Heinekens. And next thing you know, it's dark out, and I have been snoring so loud the neighbor's have come over to investigate the strange noise, and to be sure I haven't somehow hurt myself.

So I think the promised goodies may have to wait till tomorrow. Otherwise, I may say something in a semi drunken stupor I'll surely regret!

One quick item though..NPR's "All Things Considered" had a great investigative piece on how the drug giant Merck knew it's drug Vioxx was dangerous before it even came to market, and how it tried to silence and intimidate it's critics. The piece makes great use of Merck internal documents. It runs in two segments about ten minutes each, and is certainly worth the listen! Go to and click on the All Things Considered link.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005




Congress nixes Bush bros. plot to enrich wealthy campaign donor by $120,000,000.00.

White House caught altering documents on climate change in attempt to downplay the seriousness of the problem.

Blair/Bush at odds on Africa, greenhouse emissions.

Sunday, June 05, 2005



Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.

The following is an impromptu speech delivered by Bobby Kennedy on April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis. This simple, heartfelt speech changed the way Americans viewed RFK, and vaulted him from longshot to odds on favorite to become president of the USA. With the sudden renewed interest in Watergate, one can't help but ponder the "what if" factor.

Kennedy's Indianapolis speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen: I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some very sad news for all of you -- Could you lower those signs, please? -- I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black -- considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible -- you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yeah, it's true -- but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love -- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thank you very much.

Friday, June 03, 2005



Rush Rush Limbaugh opined today that Democrats plans to make election day a national holiday won't help them because "most of their voters don't work anyways." The following is an open letter to Rush. Please fell free to forward it along to him, or any one else.

Dear Rush

I am a Democrat. Like most of my urban neighbors. And like most of my urban neighbors, I have been gainfully employed since the age of sixteen, in my case, some thirty seven years ago. Unlike many of my urban neighbors, I have never done illegal drugs. But, like my urban neighbors, if I did, I would have BALLS enough to hunt down my own, and not ask my immigrant house keeper to risk deportation so I could have my fix. You are the worst kind of coward, the kind that would attack others who's faults mimic (or are lesser than) your own.

Mark Spurrier
South Bend IN


DEEP THROAT (and associated political pornography)

Bernstein and Woodward
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
Hofman and Redford You have probably noticed the paucity of posts emanating from the great white one this week. He was (is) a bit under the weather. However, he couldn't let the week go by without commenting on the outing of that mysterious character of Watergate fame, Deep Throat.

If you've seen the movie ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN (and if you haven't, you must rent it), you remember Hal Holbrooke as Deep Throat, standing in the shadows, breathily telling Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) to "follow the money", which Woodward and Bernstein did, straight to a Pulitzer prize. Their articles in the Washington Post forced Richard Nixon to resign, and saved the Union from a president bent on running roughshod over the legislature and the Constitution.

Now the Nixon loyalists and right wing jackals are all over the news trashing W. Mark Feld, then the #2 man at the FBI, as a traitor. Pat Buchanan, Bill Sapphire, G. Gordon Liddy, Charles Colson, all have had plenty to say about Feld's role as Deep Throat. Notice however, that none of these "gentlemen" has ever apologized for there participation in or support of the greatest act of executive malfeasance in the history of the Union.

Make no mistake, W. Mark Feld was a hero. Nixon had appointed one of his close political insiders (and protege of Attorney General John Mitchell), L. Patrick Grey, as FBI director. It was clearly an attempt to manage the FBI investigation from inside the Oval office. Had Feld attempted to take his case to a grand jury (as Mr. Liddy has suggested), his career, and possibly his life, would have been in serious jeopardy. And L. Patrick Grey would certainly have found a way to quash the investigation. By telling Woodward and Bernstein when they were on the right track, Feld not only brought a group of villains to justice, but saved the Union from the precedents of a rogue presidency (well, till now, anyhow).

The saddest legacy of Watergate isn't that picture of Nixon waving good bye as he stepped on Air Force 1 for the last time, on his way to a long exile on San Clemente island. It is the damage it did to the political landscape and, oddly the press. Within five years, most of the moderate wing of the Republican party was gone. Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford and congressional and senatorial factions they led virtually disappeared. Those left to rebuild the party were radical right wing ideologues, so far from the political mainstream that even Barry Goldwater would have little to do with them. It is these guys who now rule the country.

And the press has been saddled (encouraged by the afore mentioned demagogues), with "Kill The Messenger Syndrome", in which the press gets blamed for bad news, rather than those actually responsible for the bad news. Any time you hear someone bitch about "the liberal media", think "kill the messenger". Gives it a different perspective, doesn't it?

I would encourage all, especially anyone too young to really understand the scandal, to rent ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, and watch Hoffman and Redford as Bernstein and Woodward. It will give you a new perspective on one of the most important events in American history!

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