w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
(Blogged by Brad from the road...)
Bush supporters were invited to enter a slogan for the Bush/Cheney campaign, which would be added to the top of a Bush/Cheney '04 poster that the user could then print out and display proudly...wherever someone might wish to display such a thing.
Funny thing is, the opposition found out about it, and started leaving slogans that were...shall we say...somewhat less than supportive of Bush/Cheney for others to chance upon as the previous slogan was left for the next user to view.
They tried to fix it (as if it was an election, perhaps) by disallowing words such as "Dictator" and "War", etc., but somehow those pesky lovers of free speech (and those with vocabularies larger than the average Republican Webmaster) were able to work around even those restrictions.
Eventually, they gave up, and the Sloganator was finally put out to pasture. But not before some clever folks were able to capture some of the favorites.
I was recently reminded of this when confused "conservative" BRAD BLOG commentor Ed recently emailed me the graphic one the right.
And so, for your enjoyment, I link you to the touching sites and sounds of the Bush/Cheney '04 Sloganator Memorial. (NOTE: Most moving with sound turned up!)
(NOTE: Guest blogged by johnhp)
As a serious leftist there are few politicians in this country one can look to for inspiration. Many of them, long dead, have been forgotten as we pursue dreams of milk and honey. One of these politicians is Bob LaFollette of Wisconsin. As one of the 56 members of congress who voted against entry into the First World War, Senator LaFollette, like many of the radical left, was villified during the time of war fever and red baiting. Speaking not only for himself but for the average person who resisted the war, and knowing full well of the graves of the nameless to be filled, Bob LaFollette adressed the Senate in the following words:
This statement is as poignant today as it was 87 years ago.
Still roaming around the Pacific Northwest, and will continue to do so for the next few weeks, but delightfully tethered to broadband access for the next few days atleast.
Thanks again to Guest Bloggers Johnhp, Jaime and Bryan for covering things here over the last couple of weeks when I was unplugged. No doubt they will be returning shortly to cover things again when I next find myself outside of net range...Until then, I'm back on the job for the next few days...albeit in more limited than usual capacity (so Guest Bloggers, please feel free to plug in anything you like!)
(Blogged by Brad from the road...)
Despite the postive poll numbers that I spoke about in the previous item, the Kerry Camp needs to get their act together when it comes to responding to the scumballs in Team BushCo.
Last week's "Sensitivity" issue is a very good example (I touched on it previously here as well).
The Kerry response to the Bush/Cheney smarminess, as pointed out by Atrios, needs to be much sharper and much better. They are up against professional smear merchants, so unfortunately (for the country) they've got to be just as agile in spinning the spin back towards the truth.
The fact that this is the Vice-President of the United States purposely misleading the country about what Kerry actually said is particularly disgusting, but the Kerry folks better get used to it, and figure out how to counter such skuzzy tactics.
For the record, here's the general exchange (as summarized by AMERICAblog):
"I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history."
What Cheney says Kerry said:
"As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. ... Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed."
So the VEEP doesn't mind twisting Kerry's words to an entirely new meaning and politicizing the War on Tara itself if it gives them a better chance of retaining power. He's willing to make a laugh of it, and the Corporate Media is happy to echo the bullshit.
Never mind in the meanwhile, all the previous --- almost identical --- references to "sensitivity" from all sorts of Adminstration Hawks.
VP: Well, I'm not sure what he meant (laughing). Ah, it strikes me the two words
don't really go together, sensitive and war. If you look at our history, I don't
think any of the wars we've won, were won by us being quote sensitive. I think
of Abraham Lincoln and General Grant, they didn't wage sensitive war. Neither
did Roosevelt, neither did Eisenhower or MacArthur in World War II. A sensitive
war will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans, and who seek
chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more....
HH: Will the Najaf offensive continue until that city is subdued even if that
means a siege of the Imam Ali shrine?
VP: Well, from the standpoint of the shrine, obviously it is a sensitive area,
and we are very much aware of its sensitivity. On the other hand, a lot of
people who worship there feel like Moqtada Sadr is the one who has defiled the
shrine, if you will, and I would expect folks on the scene there, including U.S.
commanders, will work very carefully with the Iraqis so that we minimize the
extent to which the U.S. is involved in any operation that might involve the
What a tool. Anything to win.
(Blogged by Brad from the road...)
Interesting numbers from the latest Zogby poll (Zogby being the "Official Pollster" for the BRAD BLOG seeing as how they were the only polling organization to get the last two Presidential elections almost exactly right.)
Currently, they've got Kerry over Bush in the head to heads 50% to 43%. When all the other nominees (Nader, Libertarians, Greens, etc.) are factored in, Kerry's lead is 47% to 43%.
Those are national numbers, but as I've pointed out before, it's the Battlegrounds that actually matter. Zogby's previous battleground numbers showed Kerry leading in 13 out of 16 states.
There are a bunch of interesting numbers in the poll's internals, so I suggest you check out the page linked above. Here's a couple items of note that caught my eye:
"The two candidates are in a dead heat among self-identified members of the investor class – Kerry 45% to Bush's 44%. Bush won this group by double digits in 2000. Not only has this group shrunk from almost half of all voters to only 31%, but Bush is now tied among a group he will need for victory.
“Bush leads among men 46% to 43%, while Kerry leads among women 50% to 39%....
“Big city voters favor Kerry 58% to 36%, as do Suburban voters 49% to 41%, while small city voters are with Bush 52% to 38%. Bush leads Kerry among rural voters 42% to 39%.”
I think it's notable that voters without Passports prefer Bush. As you'll recall, Bush had never spent a single day overseas until after becoming "President". So it seems to make some sense that those who have no idea what the rest of the world is like would end up supporting Bush. As well, those in rural areas, who are similarly insular in the way they live their lives, also end up supporting the former Governor of Texas.
(Blogged by Brad from the road...)
From last week's UNITY 2004 Convention of minority journalists when Dubya was asked what he thought "tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century"...
His response, in and of itself, is funny and a classic Bushism.
But being the stupid white guy that I am, I was too busy laughing to even realize the insensitivity and utter ignorance of his response itself until coming across this article. It seems that the soon-to-be-former "President" has managed to alienate yet another sliver of the electorate in the Indian communities due to his brain-dead use of the word "given" in the above quote.
Otherwise, for more swell fresh Bushisms, see today's Doonesbury! (I'd have reposted it here as a 'Sunday Toon of the Moment', but the reduction in size to fit the format here made a few of the best quotes unintelligible --- not that they already aren't...but for different reasons!)
UPDATE: Thanks to alert BB commenter Corey, here's the video of the "sovereignty" quote described above. And he's right, it's even more troubling watching it than reading it! (And funnier too!)
(Blogged by Brad on the road...)
I may have spent the last week in the woods, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...
So here's a bunch of items of note from the past week that I've either been pondering or have only recently come to my attention in the last 12 hours or so...Forgive me if some of this has already been covered or is otherwise old news by now, but I'm catching up on a few things that I've missed while being away from all media at my campsite for the last week (save for some occassional Rightwing Talk Radio as we could pick it up in the woods with our crankable Grundig radio.)
I think it's a fair bet that much of this was not covered on Fox News. And likely in the rest of the lazy Mainstream Media that is supposed to be looking out for you. But isn't.
• Another record for the Bush Administration!
Having celebrated the good news for their record Budget Deficit last week, the gold medals just keep rolling in for the Bush Administration! The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced yesterday that last month's Trade Deficit has also passed a milestone! It was another record for the Bushies as the trade gap was announced as "hitting a record $55.8 billion on the biggest drop in exports in nearly three years and record imports, the government said on Friday." The US Dollar, of course, has plummeted in the wake of this terrific news! Who said those tax cuts didn't come just in time?!
• "Sensitivity" and Desperation
When John Kerry said "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror" he was, of course, speaking of being more sensitive to the needs and requirements of our allies, so that they might be more cooperative in the effort, joining us in the fight, and leading to fewer American Deaths and other such "campaign issues".
Not unlike when George W. Bush, said in March of 2001 aboard the USS Ronald Reagan that "we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence".
The desperation revealed by the Bush Campaign to spin Kerry's "sensitive" comment into one of being "sensitive" to our enemies, as Cheney and the Attack Monkeys tried to spin it this week, speaks volumes for itself. But just in case you're still buying that nonsense, here's a boatload of other quotes describing the "sensitive" Bush-Cheney doctrine from such macho toughies as Don Rumsfeld, Gen. Myers, Paul Wolfowitz and more. Courtesy of the Center for American Progress.
The spin may not stop on Fox or O'Reilly, but we do our best to stop it here.
• Kerry Takes Leads in Florida, but Charley may have other ideas...
Speaking of desperation...Team Bush is no doubt celebrating the death and devastation in Florida this week as it'll give the Bush Bros. a much needed chance to shine! And they need it a lot apparently! According to the latest Quinnipiac Poll released this week Kerry has now taken a 47% to 41% lead over Dubya in Florida! Without Nader in the mix, the lead goes to 49% to 42%.
It's the battlegrounds, stupid. But I'm sure Fox and CNN and MSNBC have already explained that to you.
• John O'Neill "Not a Republican"
And speaking of Fox...I understand that John O'Neill, co-author of "Unfit for Command", --- the story of Kerry's "lies" about Vietnam and his swiftboat days --- the anti-Kerry dirty-trickster for the Nixon Administration and clerk for Chief Justice Rehnquist in 1990 said on the "Hannity
and Colmes" show this week that he's "not a Republican". He also said on Crossfire that "I've had no serious involvement in politics of any kind in over 32 years."
But I also understand that neither Fox, Hannity, Colmes or CNN has bothered to challenge that ridiculous idea by pointing out that O'Neill has given some $15,000 to Republican candidates and causes over the past decade. He has given $0, apparently, to Democrat causes or candidacies during that same period.
Jaime did some fine guest blogging here previously describing the other author, Jerome Corsi's record on FreeRepublic.com in the past of posting things like "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters" and describing Kerry as "John F*ing Commie Kerry" prior to Jew Baiting him in the same post.
That's your Republican Party. And there's some real Fair and Balanced for ya.
(P.S. Did anyone see George and Laura on "Larry King" where George explained that he couldn't comment on, much less condemn, as Sen. John McCain has called on him to do, the outrageous commercial put out by the Swiftboat Vets because he "hadn't seen it"? I guess Larry was unable to forego 30 seconds of sychophantic softballs to simply show the spot to the "Commander-in-Chief" then and there to get his opinion on it. By the way, Hannity told you yesterday that Bush has condemned the ad. He hasn't. Hannity lied to you.)
• No Imminent Terror Operations! (Plus, blown intelligence!)
Did Fox or CNN also remember to point out this article? The one where a White House official said "the Bush administration has discovered no evidence of imminent plans by terrorists to attack U.S. buildings"?
On Thursday, the official speaking to "nearly a dozen news organizations...on condition of anonymity" said that he has "not seen an indication of an imminent operation."
That despite Tom Ridge and the rest of the clan having decided that last week was a good time to induce some fresh fear into the electorate just after a very successful DNC Convention.
I have a feeling the bulk of the media may not have covered it.
Nor did they much cover the fact that leaking the identity of our first big "informant" in the War on Terror, has pissed off our allies in both the British and Pakistani Intelligence services since it blew a bigger sting operation that was in progress at the time. Perhaps we should be more "sensitive" to such things in the future.
Oh, well. Better to let Americans think we're fighting a brilliant "War on Terror" rather than actually go about the business of winning it.
•I'll presume they signed the Loyalty Oath before the entrees were served...
While John Kerry drew over 20 thousand folks to an open and public event in Portland, Oregon yesterday (and we were stuck in the traffic leaving Portland to prove it!), George W. was also in town. But his event, which drew about a thousand supporters, was closed to all but Campaign Insiders and Business Folks for some odd reason.
Later that night, Bush raised some $2.4 Million for his campaign at a dinner party at the private lakefront home of former Simpson Timber Chairman Gary Reed here in Washington (where we now are). He made no public appearances here.
No worries though. Bush is now down by a full 9 points here in Washington state, (another one of the "battlegrounds") according to the latest poll here.
By the way, the public hearing period is still ongoing in regards to Bush's latest giveaway to allow Timber Companies like Reed's to raid our National Forest. Please take a moment to click here and send your public comment about this new policy. It's all done auto-magically for you! So click it! I'm sure they're paying close attention to your opinions!
• Michael Moore does it again!
In an interview with Bush nominee for CIA Director, Republican Congressman Porter Goss, Michael Moore once again gets the story that the Media fails to get for you.
Said Goss to Moore's people in an interview during the filming of Fahrenheit 9/11: "I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified...I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably...And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day: 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."
And so, that man has been nominated by George W. Bush to head the same CIA that his House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was criticized for failing to have overseen properly prior to 9/11. He was the Committee's chairman at the time.
If it wasn't all unbelievably real, it might be hysterical.
• And Finally...Enough with the Singing Republicans!
First it was Ashcroft singing on camera...and now it's "carpet-bagging", Maryland resident and nominee for the US Senate seat from Illinois, Alan Keyes. "Why, oh, why can't I?"...indeed. (You may need to turn off Pop-Up Blockers to watch the video.)
Phew...That oughta get me caught up for an hour or two!
(NOTE: This entry guest blogged by Bryan)
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court voted 5-2 to void the almost 4,000 same-sex marriages peformed in San Francisco earlier this year. The findings affirmed that Mayor Gavin Newsom had acted outside his legal bounds, which could provide an example for more local officials to begin creating their own legislation, disregarding state and/or federal laws. As a result, the marriages performed between February 12 and March 11 are now considered invalid.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, Newsom included. He was well aware of what laws he was sidestepping in the name of progress and equality, and this action is merely another major step in the fight to secure marital rights for all gay Americans. In the Supreme Court trial back in May, Newsom's attorney Therese M. Stewart chided the state laws as "separate but equal." Defending her client's arguably brave act, she explained, "All public officials owe their allegiance first to the constitution. He did not want to enforce a statute he found unconstitutional, sometimes local officials need to act."
It's important to note that yesterday's decision was based solely on whether Newsom's actions were within his authority, and not whether gay marriage was an acceptable union in California. The real story here is that because public consciousness has been raised, civil suits that might have been tied up are going to proceed straight through the courts, with even more swiftness toward an official state resolution. Newsom is no fool. This is an election year, and these marriages have become a public hot-button --- spawning a national counter-amendment (which was beaten easily), and affecting the campaign agenda of Presidential and Senate/House nominees --- all due to the stand taken by Newsom.
Which begs two questions:
1. At what point is civil disobedience morally justified?
Certainly there's no debating he overlooked the law, and Newsom must have rationalized that his actions would be called out, and eventually struck down. Laws aren't arbitrarily created, there is thought and public opinion and a maintenance of civil order involved. Yet in the past fifty years, there have been marches, rallies, sit-ins, non-violent protests all in the name of progress, and it has enabled civil and social issues to be brought into the foreground and dealt with justly. When groups have broken the law they have done so at their peril, but it is these stands which have nudged our great country further toward equality. The Gay and Lesbian movement has made innumerable strides over the last decade, and Newsom's torch-carrying may provoke the state and federal constitutions to legitimize and honor gay lifestyle in the upcoming years.
So when does it become acceptable to overstep the rules? Ever? Only in moral instances of discrimination? There are as many arguments for such action as there are against. Breaking the law should never be a simple act of defiance, but is it our moral responsibility to act rightfully if it is in our power? At what point should concerned citizenship turn into meddling with laws as they stand? Should Newsom be removed from office, or worse, face jail time for this not-so-quiet act of personal defiance? Or, from another point of view, this harsh act of anarchy?
Think carefully before you answer, because a partisan cheering or condemnation of Newsom's behavior could reveal hypocrisy. I could, in almost the same way, ask that very same question of President Bush and the Iraq war.
Now to the second, and perhaps larger, question:
2. Despite the social ramifications, should this even remain a legal battle at all?
Lost in the morality debate, people often neglect what is the real issue here: a traditional yet unconstitutional tie between Church and State. Marriage was, and is, a legally binding contract between a man and a woman to share monies and property. This was its initial purpose centuries ago, a business transaction between families to contain and grow wealth. Yet it's implied that marriage is also something sacred, and its intangible context suggests a spiritual and moral union between partners in love (sometimes under God, depending on your faith). Most people don't want to just believe marriage is the former, to do so would take romance out of it and turn a life of love into a joint bank account. Understanding this, the Church is willing to play into this evenly and steadily. It keeps them right in the thick of the argument, always influencing policy and forwarding their agenda. I don't fault them, but it is worth noting.
While the delineation between the two definitions of marriage is currently unclear, a bird's-eye view reveals that the appropriateness of same-sex marriage shouldn't be a semantic values argument at all, or not for the courts at any rate. It's this word marriage that has tripped us up for the latter half of a decade. In our struggle to define it, our faith in its 'higher purpose' has overshadowed its original practical application. Words like sancitity and tradition have come into play, neglecting that the initial tradition of marriage was far from love-induced. A spiritual debate should ensue to determine whether or not to honor same-sex marriage, hopefully finding for equality, but this discussion belongs in the Church. In the State, it is a non-content issue, a transactional understanding. The word marriage should be removed from legislation altogether to avoid confusion and spare religious zeal.
This simple solution would only require a readjustment of thinking, and a clarification of terms. All current marriages should legally be abolished, and renamed/reinstated as Civil Unions. Then from this point we should set about securing unions for all men and women who wish to be joined together, including women who wish to be joined with women, or men with men. All consenting adults should have equal rights for the sharing of property, monies and livelihood, including health care. Everyone is treated equally because there is no moral quandry --- the religion of marriage is removed from the equation, the union of partnership remaining.
Then the debate can finally end up where it belongs: the Church. Or elsewhere. Save the debates for the Blog world, or the coffee houses, diners and bars of America. Leave them out of the legislation. Those who wish to be joined together before God in marriage should strive for equality where God is the overseer. Having equal rights and equal citizenship, and being noted and respected by the government is a different matter.
(Blogged by Brad from the road...)
It's pushing 100 something here on the parking lot of "Rich's Sew & Vac" store in Salem, Oregon where we're hijacking some wireless internet from the parking lot! Catching up after 5 days or so in the woods with no access (see the previous post for more info on our whereabouts).
It looks like the "President" and the Soon-to-be-President are dogging us all the way up Interstate 5! We blew through Central Point, OR yesterday just an hour or so before Kerry was to speak, then up through Eugene where he next spoke, and today both Kerry and Bush are speaking in Portland where we will be shortly. Tix to Kerry's rally sounded dull, and would slow us from our appointed rounds, but getting to a Bush rally on the otherhand would be worth slowing down for!
Unfortunately, it turns out the Bush's rally is for "Party Supporters/Business Leaders Only". In other words, no actual Americans allowed. Not open to the public. Another fake rally for the Bushies. Oh, well.
I tried to quickly catch up on comments and the items posted by the Guest Bloggers, and noted that our BRAD BLOG Commenter (and our resident Canadian friend) Johanna had some concerns about who might win this fall. Lemme tell ya, from out here on the road, in supposedly "conservative" Oregon, all I see is Kerry/Edwards signs and bumper stickers. For whatever that's worth. I saw only one sign of Bush support so far: A big painted trailer with a burnt out forest and the text "Kerry = Death to the West". Whatever that may mean.
In the meantime, Extremist Conservative Talk Radio (the only thing one can get as they speed through the country) would let you think that things are wonderful for the Bushies. They are lying. But that is their job. Barring any big new events (terrorist attack, Debate blunder, October Bin Laden Surprise), I'm still smelling Kerry blow-out in November. But I understand Johanna's feelings. I think she's voicing "fears" rather than real concern based on anything in particular. Unless she's listening and watching the Extremist and "Liberal" Media in any case, in which case, that's exactly what they'd like you to believe.
Here's a quickie for you Fake Conservatives out there: Pete Peterson's Running on Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It. Peterson was Reagan's head of the Federal Reserve, and he's blowing the whistle on the "Conservative's" absurd No Tax and Spend policies that are sure to bankrupt this country in about five years or so. Those Tax Cutting Voodoo Economists (like BRAD BLOG Commentor Paul) are living with their heads in the sand if they think these Tax Cuts are good for this country, as opposed to just good for getting folks elected. He's got plenty criticism for Dems, as well, but unfortunately they're not the ones who control every house of Congress and the Whitehouse and are managing to spend us into oblivion while cutting the tax base and leaving the bill for our kids and grandkids.
But I've already said too much today, and we need to hit the highway again. So check out the book for yourself!
See ya next from....wherever! Thanks everyone for keeping up the good fun here while I'm gone! It's especially fun while I'm gone, ain't it?!
(Blogged by Brad on the road...in the woods...on 8/10/04 at 8:43p PDT)
Not sure when this item will get posted, as I'm writing from site #25 at the Aspen Point campgrounds in Lake of the Woods, Oregon.
The sun is all but set now, though the lake still shimmers from the remains of the day as Desi builds a fire, and I peck out a Blog Item to be posted whenever the Internet and I shall next meet.
The weather here has been exceptional. Each day in the 90's and pushing 100 near the water's edge. But here amongst the towering Ponderos pines, many of them 200 feet or more, (think Styx's Grand Illusion cover meets Stephen King's Any Book That Takes Place in the Woods meets Dirty Dancing) it stays dry and cool all day long.
Our one night stay here has turned into four nights when our calculations determined that we could be here with a great view of the night sky on the night of the 11th, morning of the 12th when the Perseides Meteor Shower is predicted to be in fine and stunning form.
Lake of the Woods is in the Southern part of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. A chain of currently-dormant and spectacular volcanic peaks, cone and lava fields that have left a wonder of a summer playground for those Americans (and otherwise) clever enough to take advantage of them.
Today's day trip took us forty or so minutes north to the breathtaking Crater Lake National Park which has mostly inspired this evening's twilight entry.
For a measly $10 to the shamefully underfunded National Park System we were able to enjoy the entire day slowly working our way around the 33-mile rim road that encircles yet another natural American Marvel. In this case, one I didn't even realize existed until it found it's way onto our imagined path Northward smack dab in the middle of our well worn 2001 Rand-McNally Road Atlas.
Formed some 7700 years ago, when the former Mt. Mazama blew it's literal load and collapsed into itself forming a six-mile wide sinkhole surronded by towering peaks of molten lava, this awe inspiring site spent the next several thousand years collecting rainfall and snowmelt to become the bluest and deepest lake in the United States. And it's such a rich, vibrant --- even unnatural --- color of blue, such as I don't recall seeing before that the only comparison we could come up with was an overdose of Tidy Bowl. Hopefully you get the drift.
Reservations were unavailable for the Restaraunt (with mouth watering menu!) in the elegant old Crater Lake Lodge at the end of the day. So appetizers in the firelit Great Room would have to suffice. And so the day's journey ended at dusk sipping an excellent Red Crater beer (from the great local Deschutes Brewery) and munching on inspired appetizers overlooking the lake a few thousand feet below us.
The inspiration for this entry is not so much to share today's adventure with you, but to once again share some of the news that it took me, personally, and to my own shame, some three decades to discover; The extraordinary National Park and National Forest System that we have in this country.
If you're not taking advantage of these National Treasures whenever possible, you're out of your mind. If you're not doing everything you can to support these "local" Wonders of the World, then you simply must be unaware of their unparalled majesty.
I've heard America described over and over as "the greatest country in the world", but often wonder --- particularly when you hear something like that outta the mouth of the current Resident of the White House, who'd never even travelled across an ocean before becoming installed as "President" --- exactly what it is that makes us so "great".
I know it ain't our "freedoms" here, as many countries I've visited seem to be far "freer". It's certainly not the education or health of our citizenry. Other countries are much "greater" in both of those regards. We've had great victories in war, but also shameless failures in that same regard. We're technologically very clever, but have given up much of our lead in those areas as well. With our current Administration we are losing all sorts of ground in the area of science "greatness". Our economic system is certainly "great" as every country in the world seems to measure theirs against ours, though the seperations between the Have's and Have More's continue to widen and even the International Monetary Fund is taking us to task for our current Tax Cut and Spend Blowout. (Even Warren Buffett is chosing to invest in the Euro, instead of the Dollar! And for good reason!) Our system of government might have been considered "great" until the Stolen Election of 2000 and all the inequalities it revealed.
So what can we regard as "greatness" indeed? The still-mostly-protected wonders of our National Parks and Forests. Why any national politician could fail to see and protect with all their might the greatest of earth's miracles that we've inherited as a nation is far beyond me. The price is so small, given the rewards they present to every strata of American Society.
Teddy Roosevelt knew this of course, when he declared Crater Lake the country's 6th National Park back in 1902, long before there was any danger of Wal-Mart hoping to open up a new super-store on the rim, and even before the Logging Companies had figured out how to "save our forests" from devastating fire by clear-cutting them. FDR continued to understand the importance of these National Icons by pouring funds into them to protect, develop and make them family friendly through many CCC projects that still stand today as testament to a forward thinker and a great American.
I've rambled on enough, the light on my keyboard is gone, and the gnats are now migrating towards my computer screen, so I suppose that's more than enough for this evening.
Point of it all: Hit the roads, enjoy the parks and all that America has to offer. Skip the airplane, bust out an atlas and pay attention to those areas highlighted by a thick purple or red boundary line. They are the best that a Great America has to offer.
And while I'm at it, don't stand for any politician slacking off in their role as temporary proprietor of these Majestic Wonders!
Now back to my campfire. And back to your regularly scheduled fire fight.
UPDATE 8/30/04: Here's me blogging the entry above at Lake of the Woods!
More pictures from Crater Lake and the rest of the Road Trip here!
(Guest blogged by jaime)
Last month, the Democratic National Convention in Boston proudly boasted minority delegates that exceded 40 percent of the total count. The Republicans boast "the most diverse delegation in their history to the Republican National Convention". The GOP points out with fancy facts, figures, and graphs how much more diverse they are than their counterparts.
What many would miss in this graph is not how much less yellow there is than blue, but the fact that the Seventy actually represents the percentage increase in minorities. The actual numbers tell a vastly different story.
Now recent statistics show us minorities make up thirty percent of the American populace. The Republican party's leaps and bounds are old news to the rest of us. We learned from the 2000 Convention that they are willing to go through extraordinary lengthe to hid who they are and whose dog wags whose tail. The tactic of herding up every minority they could find and position them oh so slyly in front of network camera banks highlight their lack of shame.
In contrast the 2004 Democratic National Convention, whatever else you want to say about it, reflected not only what America is, but what it will be. It may have crafted a message of "unity" and "hope" that seemed disengenuous to some, but it was unafraid to hide its true character with such
liberal progressive voices as Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and Al Sharpton taking the platform in or near prime time.
Now the Republicans would have the electorate believe that THEY are the face of moderation trotting out such GOP all-stars as John McCain, Rudy Guiliani, and Ah-nuld himself.
The conservative christian base is now ticked off because the purse strings that put Bush in power are no longer welcome. The Republicans are taking great care to hide it's true nature. Uninvited Pat Robertson told reporters:
Ah-nuld and Guiliani are both decidedly liberal on social issues, yet their Prime Time speaking slots they posses are designed to fool the undecided as to who really pulls the GOP strings. When Representative Jim Kolbe spoke in their 2000 Convention many in the audience bowed their heads, turned their backs and walked out.
Whether Bush is certain his base will follow lockstep or the "mushy middle" will be shocked and awed by his convention smoke and mirrors, all of us on the left know that the face of the Republican Party is less Guiliani and more Robertson. The platform, which will include, Anti-gay amendments to the Constitution, Pro-Choice rollbacks, Blurring of Separation of Church and State, Pro gun laws, Anti-Environmental bills, and the quelching of requested Stem-Cell research funding are the antithesis of the positions of main stream America. But with a little help from his friends Bush may fool some of the people all of the time and...wait...all of them some of the people time...can't get fooled again.
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