Tuesday, December 02, 2003

NJ: Iraq Vets in Need are not Qualifying for "Veterans' Status"

Iraq Vets in Need are not Qualifying for "Veterans Status" in New Jersey

What's wrong with this picture?

"We go fight for our country, come home and get nothing."

Democracy: Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi Speaks Her Mind

Democracy: Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi Speaks Her Mind

"....freedom, democracy and human rights are not things that can be imposed with bullets, tanks and guns.."

Shirin Ebadi


This is a Muslim woman from Iran who has been harassed, threatened and thrown in jail, then recognized for her courage and determination by winning the Nobel Prize.

She doesn't agree with the Bush foreign policy.

Now, let me ask you...is she "for us" or is she "with the terrorists?"

I guess it depends upon who you ask in America these days, doesn't it?

From the League of Liberals:
Estimated Prophet

I enjoyed reading this recent writing from fellow League of Liberals member Estimated Prophet.
I thought you'd enjoy it, too, dear reader.


Todays's Sesquipedalian says:

"Let me suggest to those of you like me that this year, at least, there is a pre-emptive remedy for all that overwrought Christmas cheer -- an inoculation, as it were, against the holiday blues. It's simple, it costs $8, can be taken with popcorn, Coke and/or candy, and should at least help you coast through for a week or two.
Go see Bad Santa."

I couldn't agree more.
I am in love with just about every project Billy Bob Thornton touches..
and this movie, while definitely not for kids, is hilarious!

I also recommend "Levity", another movie starring Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, and Kirsten Dunst.
In actuality, levity was not even remotely part of the film, but I thought the story was compelling...
and definitely well-acted.
Some might consider the movie rather bleak, but if you "do bleak movies", you'll like this one.
There are two killer songs by the Eels which you can hear as the closing credits roll.

Tuesday Afternoon BlogStream of Consciousness *with links*

Tuesday Afternoon BlogStream of Consciousness *with links*

First, here is the Harvard Crimson's article about the Howard Dean appearance on Hardball last night.

Did you know that the independent daily newspaper at Virginia University, the Cavalier Daily,has a diverse staff of more than 150 students? Or that it's an entirely student-run, non-profit organization with an operating budget accrued solely through advertising?

In a recent opinion piece from the Cavalier, the general thought (pun intended) is that Wesley Clark will not secure the Democratic nomination, but may well serve as a complement to "a Northern Democrat"( pssst-Howard Dean ).

"While the latest Gallup tracking numbers show Clark in a tie with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean among Democrats and Democratic leaners, no one expects Clark to keep pace because of his liabilities and strategic choices.
It's been suggested that Clark would make a good vice-presidential candidate to one of the other Northern Democrats; modern presidential election norms almost dictate a split North-South ticket. As for the presidential nomination, however, the general is outflanked."


Howard Kurtz' latest article about Howard Dean is in the Washington Post today.
A special congratulations to my good friends at Veterans for Dean, who got an honorable mention in the article:
"Front-runner Howard Dean, who has no military experience, has a staff member devoted to courting the veterans' vote, and a group called Veterans for Dean."


Speaking of Veterans for Dean, the latest Paul Krugman titled "Hack the Vote" is on the site today...and well-worth the read.

I heard Howard Dean on NPR's Diane Rehm Show Monday morning voicing his concerns about the legitimacy of these touch-screen voting contraptions with which Diebold Inc.'s Walden O'Dell will be hoping to help "deliver Ohio's electoral votes" to Bush next year. (listen to the Dec 1, 2003 show here).

The UK newspaper "Independent" ran a "hair-raising investigative report" on U.S. touch-screen voting a couple months ago.

In his article, Paul Krugman pulls the Orrin Hatch staff fiasco into the mix of "nasty partisan nature meets unverifiable voting systems".

Orrin Hatch..the same Sen. Hatch who, regarding a memo stolen in October (..yes..STOLEN) from staff of Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller,
said that Sen. Zell Miller was "right to charge that the memo outlining plans by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats to politicize Iraq war intelligence bordered on "treason."

If you must engage in thievery to make a partisan accusation of "treason", what examples are these so-called "leaders" setting for our leaders of tomorrow? After 2000, how can any one of us trust the technical electoral system, knowing that hatred itself will elect the next President no matter who wins...knowing that the very person who runs the touch-screen SHOW itself is a driving force in the electoral college?
It smells like shit to me.
How about you?

Krugman says:
"..... there's nothing paranoid about suggesting that political operatives, given the opportunity, might engage in dirty tricks. Indeed, given the intensity of partisanship these days, one suspects that small dirty tricks are common.
For example, Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently announced that one of his aides had improperly accessed sensitive Democratic computer files that were leaked to the press.
This admission — contradicting an earlier declaration by Senator Hatch that his staff had been cleared of culpability — came on the same day that the Senate police announced that they were hiring a counterespionage expert to investigate the theft. Republican members of the committee have demanded that the expert investigate only how those specific documents were leaked, not whether any other breaches took place. I wonder why.The point is that you don't have to believe in a central conspiracy to worry that partisans will take advantage of an insecure, unverifiable voting system to manipulate election results. Why expose them to temptation?.."

Why, indeed?

What are we going to do to ensure a fair election in 2004?

What CAN we do?

My Comments to TruthLaidBear

My Comments to TruthLaidBear

I'm sure most of you know about the regretful situation.
With much thought, honesty, and care, I posted these words to TTLB today:
(note: typos have been corrected).

I think NZ Bear's decision on this week's contest is fair and I believe his explanation is honest.

The whole "situation" this week has been unfortunate for everyone.

I feel badly for NZ Bear because he's worked so hard for this Ecosphere and now faces credibility questions about the accuracy of the very system for which he's struggled.

I feel worse for those few in the League of Liberals who actually believed their very reputation rested upon the outcome of this scenario.. which basically involved one blogger's questionable activities. I believe their hurt is just as real as anyone else's, even though I do not agree with their "flight" choice.

I hope NZ Bear and the one blogger in question will eventually reach some form of reconciliation.

I am amazed at some of the comments I've read from people impugning over 50 individual members of one group (LoL)...questioning the very character of individuals they do not even KNOW.. over the questions about the ONE blogger's
site-meter habits. Rushing to judgement of the many for the ONE..especially when there was only accusation..was, to me, about the least democratic and American thing some of you could have done.

And shame on 'the Commissar', whose total deception in entering the League of Liberals as an alleged "liberal" showed the least character of all. If any reputation is to be sullied, 'the Commissar' did that nicely...for himself.
His determined effort to cause a fracture in the league itself
caused a minor earthquake. If he takes satisfaction in this accomplishment, I think we need to wonder why. In my book, I call what he has accomplished nothing but outright cheating.
A blogger's virtual Linda Tripp. Only a person with the lowest character might take joy in such accomplishment-- through such tactics.

I wish Kynn the very best. Kriselda, too.
I regret they left the League in the haste and midst of worry over how they, alone, would be perceived. I'll miss them.

I had thought the spirit of a league was being committed to concentrating strength upon a common goal.
Now, IF the common goal of a league is ONLY to best the odds in an internet Showcase competition, I don't think it's the kind of league to which many of us would really wish to belong....do you?
I'm not demeaning TTLB in any way, but I would never leave a league of so many good and talented people over an unfortunate situation such as this. If anything, this unfortunate and challenging situation will help the League to prioritize their reason for being IN league...and will help clarify their common goal.

I, as one of the many League of Liberals, will not stand for the impugning of my reputation nor any of my fellows because of this "he said/he said" fiasco. I find the premise utterly ridiculous in the most universal sense.

Bottom line, I do not speak for the League itself, but I'm still personally willing to trust in NZ Bear and appreciate his work here. It's really quite marvelous..this creation of his. He'll tell you himself he's not perfect.
And that's understandable.

My hope is that the League of Liberals, as time progresses, will continue to be an asset to the promotion of new weblogs alongside our Conservative brethren.
Of course, that will take more than just our cooperation.

I wonder..is that YOUR hope...or do you just wish us to go away?

Let's talk.

This should be an exercise of collegiality.
Anything less only makes it a futile exercise of distrust and irritation.

For all his work, I think that NZ Bear needs to know that we individually appreciate him and to understand that this IS his creation. Although he has not made the "rules" crystal-clear, he is still the proprietor of this
territory and his rules and decisions are..without a shadow of doubt..his rules and decisions-- and they must be respected. (Even if, by trial and error, he is forced to make the rules up as he goes along.)

Yes, this whole experience has been unfortunate for all involved. In many ways, it betrayed us for the human beings we are...each and every one of us. It's not such a bad thing, this "being human" business, is it? There are positive outcomes that can be reached from these lessons.

If we can remember that and move on with appreciation and respect for NZ Bear, we'll all be the better because of it.

These are the times when a person's real character shines through. Measure your words with care.

I would like to end this by simply thanking NZ Bear for all his work with the Ecosystem. He's brought far more enjoyment to our blogging days than suffering. Let the suffering pass, as all things must.

Yours in Blogging,