One more thing…

Nonfamosi, let’s do our best to spread the word that the Supreme Court should not be packed with people trying to take away our hard-won liberties!

Excerpted from

Dear MoveOn member,

On Monday, President Bush buckled under pressure from the radical right and nominated the extreme right wing Judge Samuel Alito. MoveOn members leapt into action, blowing away our original goal and gathering more than 350,000 signatures in just over 24 hours—a new MoveOn record.

So today we’re aiming to boost the total to half a million signatures, and do it by tomorrow. If we can get there, we’ll run an ad in Roll Call, the newspaper that Congress reads, to show them the new total.

To reach our national goal, we need just 6,044 more signatures from Washington.

Please sign today, if you haven’t already, and remember to forward this note on to friends.

Tomorrow’s an especially important deadline, because the so-called “Gang of 14″—a group of centrist Senators from both parties—will be meeting to discuss the possibility of a filibuster, and whether or not they’ll honor their agreement to keep the “nuclear option” off the table.2 We need to make sure those Senators, and all of Congress, understand that the public is fully engaged and prepared to defend our basic rights.

Can you help us reach 500,000 signers by tomorrow by forwarding this email on to your friends and colleagues? Below we’ve attached our original petition email, which provides some good basic information on Alito, to send around.

Thanks, as always, for all you do.

–Ben, Jennifer, Tanya, Marika and the Political Action Team
Wednesday, November 2nd 2005

P.S. The case against Alito is growing rapidly. Check out this paragraph from Business Week:

“One group is breathing a big sigh of relief: Corporate America. Of the dozen or so names on Bush’s rumored short list of high court candidates, Alito ranked near the top for the boardroom set. In the 800-plus opinions he has penned during his 15 years as a federal judge, Alito consistently has come down on the side of limiting corporate liability, limiting employee rights, and limiting federal regulation.”2


1. “Dems hint at filibuster” The Hill, November 1st 2005

2. “Why Big Business Likes Alito” Business Week, November 1st 2005

Media Without Managers

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) is claiming that they were forced to lock out their employees. Okay. I’m interested in that part of the story, of course, but what’s REALLY intriguing to me is this: the locked out CBC employees are producing a show ANYWAY.

They’re podcasting here. Without management support, they’re making CBC radio. You can download the last two weekend’s podcasts here.

If I was CBC management and I heard this, I’d wonder what the employees need me for. I’m listening because a Canadian friend mentioned that he’d seen a uke player at the protest, but you could listen just because you want to listen to the CBC. I get that it’s not the same as having a job, but it also speaks volumes about what’s in the hands of the people.

Citizen journalist, you have the floor.

Advice to Americans

Educate your people. Don’t be overly dependent or beholden to foreign nations or resources. Loyalty to the nation as a whole should trump party loyalty and personal agenda. Avoid overly concentrating power in one branch of the government. Strive for national unity. If you’re going to have revenue, you have to have taxes, consider them carefully and adminster them fairly. Use an even handed peaceful approach towards international relations. Don’t play favorites on an international scale. The Constitution is not a toy.

Via last night’s interview on Now with Angus King. Nope, they’re not his ideas. They’re paraphrased here (by me) from George Washington’s farewell address to the nation upon stating his intention not to pursue a third term. It’s worth a read. Plus you can’t fail but wonder how we went from such eloquence (okay, it’s pretty flowery, but still) to this.

More with the Germans

From a great blog that I read more than I would like to admit, more chilling comparisons between the US today and Germany under Hitler’s sway. It quotes William Shirer’s journals from his time in Berlin in 1939:

How completely isolated a world the German people live in. A glance at the newspapers yesterday and today reminds you of it. Whereas all the rest of the world considers that the peace is about to be broken by Germany, that it is Germany that is threatening to attack Poland over Danzig, here in Germany, in the world the local newspapers create, the very reverse is being maintained. (Not that it surprises me, but when you are away for a while, you forget.) What the Nazi papers are proclaiming is this: that it is Poland which is disturbing the peace of Europe; Poland which is threatening Germany with armed invasion, and so forth. This is the Germany of last September when the steam was turned on Czechoslavakia.

For perverse perversion of the truth, this is good. You ask: But the German people can’t possibly believe these lies? Then you talk to them. So many do.

Whatever you believe, it is stunning to read the foreign papers… so little of what is accepted as fact by the rest of the world would run in any medium-city daily here. Even the former “papers of record” report from behind the mirror, with the Times defending Judy’s “brave stand” and the Post bankrolling Rummy’s little torchlight parade marking the fourth anniversary of 9/11. It may not be martial law yet, but the Pentagon needs a name and a phone number if you’d like to march in the “America Supports You Freedom Walk,” and I expect a friendly soldier will ask for “your papers” when you show up? How much longer until the GOP morphs into “The Party” of every nightmare of the Kafka-Hitler-Stalin era? To answer my question with another question, how many more Supremes will Bush get to appoint?

I’ll cop to paranoia–fine. But not from anyone whose defense is “it would never happen here.” Because every time an American says that, and pulls the blanket a little higher, we lurch that much closer to the edge.

No ostrich routine for me. I will err on the side of vigilence–remember vigilence, that thing that is supposedly the eternal price of freedom? Problem is, vigilence is sad and depressing and way less fun than reading about Tom Cruise flipping out, less gripping than watching the Parade of Missing White Women that is cable news.

I’ll either be wrong and happy, or tucked away wherever they stash the thought criminals… in which case I will have the cold comfort of having been right all along, and of not having to read the news every day.

Another reason to avoid Virginia

A middle-aged couple in Virginia have been sentenced to over 2 years in prison for serving alcohol at their son’s 16th birthday party. That’s down from 8 years on appeal, which is small comfort given the ludicrous sentence for something that should never be a target for prosecution in the first place. (Hat tip: Overlawyered.) Incredibly, the appeal focused on the question on the issue of the arresting policeman not having a warrant to search the home where the party was held, and not that arresting these people is totally counterproductive (not to mention totally fucking stupid). As others have pointed out, isn’t it better that these kids were drinking in a safe environment where parents were supervising and making sure none would drive home drunk, rather than in some parking lot somewhere?

And who was it that thought prohibition was a good idea anyway? When will legislators finally realise that banning things that aren’t directly harmful and that people want or need to do — drink booze, smoke pot, have sex, have an abortion — doesn’t make that activity go away. All these laws serve is to make legislators feel morally superior.

the pope is dead. long live the pope. sigh.

After just a few days of what were, I’m sure, intense deliberations, we have a new pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, or Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope’s choose their papal names, generally to show their intention to carry on the work of a previous pontiff or otherwise define the tone of their papacy. the name Benedict in papal lore is meant to signal a pope of peace, but all indications so far contradict that image. In addition to holding fast to JohnPual II’s archconservative views against birth control, and about the role of women in the church, the new pope takes conservative to an even more frustrating level.

Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth, though a self-proclaimed reluctant one, and served in the Nazi military. He has stated that, while the church deplores violence, violence against gays and lesbians is a result of their own nerve in being who they are. He is also on record as saying that Buddhism would “replace Marxism as the Catholic Church’s main enemy this century.”

I’ve described myself as a “recovering Catholic” for years now, one that acknowledges the ridiculous abuses of the church and it’s hypocrasies, but can’t quite let go of everything. Mainly, those strings that still tether me to the church I was raised in are made of my belief in the tenets of Christ’s teachings–that peace, tolerance, compassion, and understanding are the basis of Chirstianity–and that the church, as a creation of human beings was inevitably fallible. What other strings there were have had to do with nostalgia–with the smell of Our Lady of Sorrows at Christmas Eve Mass, of the ties to my Irish, Italian, and Polish forebears.

But those ties have for years been made of very thin strings. The church may have been right in opposing Bush and Co’s rush to war, but they were absolutely wrong in opposing birth control or women’s ordination or the rights of priests to marry. For every positive I could find in church doctrine, there were multiple other disturbing policies. And John Paul II, as conservative as he was, as disagreeable to my modern, liberal, American viewpoint, as he was, was undeniably a man who did reach out to the poor, and who seemed genuinely to care about the fate of the least of Christ’s brethren.

Benedict XVI, on the other hand, emits no such peace. He was a Nazi, has excused violence against gays, and talks about other systems of belief as enemies of his church. With his election as our new pope, I see very little good coming from the church, and much as I was disappointed in the people of my country for choosing such a divisive and cruel leader in November’s election, so am I disappointed in the Catholic establishment for choosing such a man as their “infallible leader.”

As of today, I no longer consider myself a recovering Catholic. I am an ex-Catholic.

the show’s over

“With no vote to sell, their motto is “couldn’t care less,”

Time was when their plebiscite elected generals, heads of state, commanders of legions:

But now they’ve pulled in their horns,

There’s only two things that concern them: BREAD and CIRCUSES.”


It is not my intention to lecture you or the average American citizen about exercising your rights or fulfilling your duties within our society. Nor is it my purpose to discuss the decline of the plebeian class in Imperial Rome in its final decades before the fall and how this decline may have hastened the destruction of its empire. Instead I would like to add my voice to the meager collection that is decrying the constant frenzy of media attention on things that are better left alone and their neglect of things that need the harsh light of inquiry.
Continue reading “the show’s over”


The media so rarely picks up the huge protests that happen, so one can’t help butwonder if they’re an effective means for change. The reason I like to go to protest marches is to stand surrounded by those that share my politics and feel that I am not alone.

Help “the most vile, despicable human beings in the country”

According to Field Marshall O’Reilly, that would beMedia Matters for America, the watchdog group founded by thoroughly repentant gay ex-Repthuglican David Brock. They need some help with their big year-end fundraising drive–with an endorsement like O’Reilly’s, how could you say no?

For those of you who “circled the wagons” with us the Sunday after the election, this is where we sent the cash you donated. I figured that whatever your top issue is, it is severely impacted by the free pass the wing nuts get in the national media. MMFA takes the media to task and laboriously rights their many wrongs.

It’s hard work. Hard. Pony up some Christmas cash, friends.