Shades of Blue

Friday, October 10, 2014

What I learned when #Ferguson came to #Shaw last night

Here’s what I learned when #Ferguson came to #Shaw last night.

  1. #Ferguson will likely spawn some political leaders who will be elected to regional offices during the next decade. There are some really passionate individuals who also have charisma, good judgement and determination. That’s a winning combination for electability. I hope some of them transition successfully beyond #Ferguson. Keep your eyes open for @Nettaaaaaaaa.
  1. The #Ferguson movement is fizzling. It  now lacks an identifiable focus. It is all over town, its mainly about the fear and anger of the participants and all the haranguing of those in my Twitter feed has begun to sound desperate and pleading. Bassem Masri wasn’t able to get a single supporter to help him storm SLU hospital where @HotepTNT was being held “hostage” despite multiple emergency tweets. Also, in the middle of the march on South Grand the Cardinal protests organizer and live streamer Mustafa Hussein (Theodore Barrett) was exposed by @ChuckCJohnson to be a registered sex offender, child molester and all around psychopathic bad guy. Ouch!
  1. #Ferguson is unable to fully capitalize on new events. They showed up in Shaw but if you hadn’t heard the news you wouldn’t have learned ANYTHING about Vonderrit Myers at the protest. Vonderrit is already a ghost, the coda for #Ferguson.
  1. My respect for the St. Louis Police Department went through the roof last night. They were cool and professional under some really stressful abuse. I’m a law abider for the most part so I don’t usually have a problem with the popo but I do get the issues. I was young once with waist length hair and I know exactly what it means to get locked up for walking home late at night after work with long hair. Twice. And that was even with me remaining calm and respectful, not talking back or resisting. I get it.
  1. I love my neighborhood even more. We were solid last night. Mostly people stayed in but some folks were out at local drinking establishments, others were out walking, some paying respects, some looking. There were several church services and the one I attended (I know, right?!!!!!!) was inspirational, loving, thoughtful. We did good and we looked good y’all.
  1. Even with the incredible Twitter storm of misinformation and incitement from some in the #Ferguson crowd very little actually happened. I walked around much of the night and there were protesters. There were people from Ferguson looking to create a situation. But there were lots of locals out watching the show, looking for some late night entertainment in 3-D.
  1. I made the right decision when I bought into St. Louis. I already knew that though.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Oh no, not a COMPUTER problem.....

State loses thousands of tax returns
The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state tax returns of as many as 5,000 Oklahomans have been misplaced because of a computer problem, an Oklahoma Tax Commission spokeswoman said.

People who have inquired about missing tax refund checks have been told to fax their returns to the commission, spokeswoman Paula Ross said Tuesday.

"We have tried to work the returns that had a process problem as soon as we were notified," Ross said.

The problem occurred when incorrect bar codes were used by a tax-return company and by some income tax return software products, Ross said. The Tax Commission's computers were unable to read these codes.

Gene Wells of Woodward mailed in his return in January and still has not received his $57 refund. He contacted the Tax Commission and was told to send another copy. He did so, by mail instead of fax, and this put his return in with all the others that arrived by mail in April, and this caused further delays, Ross said.

Ross said he should receive his check next week.

"It's not that much money we're going to get back, but still it bothers me that we're not getting it," said Wells, a 67-year-old electronics technician.

This year, about 98 percent of state tax refunds have been mailed out in less than 30 days, Ross said. The Tax Commission will process between 1.5 million and 1.6 million tax returns this year.

So far, the Tax Commission has processed 1.4 million returns, with about 72 percent of them involving a refund.

The average amount of refunds is $424.34.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Missouri suing Feds over senior's Rx costs

Fifteen states want the U.S. Supreme Court to block the federal government’s plan to bill them for a portion of costs for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit passed by Congress.

The case tests Congress’ power to bill states directly for the costs of a federal program. States not only object to chipping in for the drug benefit for seniors, but they also worry it will set a precedent that Congress could use to force states to pay for federal initiatives in the future.

Five states -- Texas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri and New Jersey -- used a special constitutional provision to go straight to the nation’s highest court to sue the Bush administration in March. They argue Congress is imposing an illegal tax on states.
Ten states have filed papers supporting the challenge to the 2003 Medicare law, calling it an “unprecedented intrusion into each state’s sovereignty.”

click here for the full story

Friday, May 19, 2006

Go Blue, Go!

Hope this trend holds true until August....

10 Primaries oust 25 Legislators From

Pennsylvania's primary results are likely to add to the jitters of political officeholders facing voters in November's mid-term elections.

Seventeen legislators, including the top two Senate leaders, were ousted Tuesday (May 16) in the biggest upheaval in a Keystone State primary in more than a quarter century.

Pennsylvania’s was the latest in a string of early primaries this year in which a total of 25 incumbent legislators, including six high-ranking leaders, have been tossed out – a rare occurrence for sitting state lawmakers who rarely face tough primary competition. In the 10 primaries held so far, powerful legislative leaders also were given the boot in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia.

The election returns are the latest sign that an anti-incumbent mood may be spreading through the electorate. Recent national polls have shown a growing disenchantment among voters with their elected representatives in the Republican-led Congress. While the polls focused on congressional races, the primary elections serve as the first indication that officeholders at the state level also may have reason to worry about re-election.

For the full text, click here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Funding of state effort at issue (TABOR)

And the plot thickens...

The Kansas City Star

The group calls itself Missourians in Charge and is hoping to shape the state’s constitution, particularly as it pertains to government spending and eminent domain.

As it turns out, the group is bankrolled not by Missourians but by a wealthy New York developer named Howard Rich, a man who is not even sure how often he has been to Missouri.

“Oh, many times” he said.

The group he is supporting is led locally by Patrick Tuohey of Kansas City.

Tuohey, 34, recently turned in thousands of signatures to the Missouri secretary of state’s office. He hopes to get a pair of constitutional amendments on the November ballot.

One would prohibit eminent domain in most private development projects, and the other would require statewide voter approval for legislators to exceed certain spending limits.

Reports filed last month with the Missouri Ethics Commission showed that Tuohey’s group received $295,810.08 in donations between January and March. Just more than $810 came from the Institute for Justice, a Libertarian public interest group based in Virginia. The rest — a total of $295,000 — came from a New York group called Fund for Democracy. That group is headed by Rich.

“These are issues that are both very close to my heart,” Rich said. “I’ve been supporting them, not just in Missouri but … in other states.”

What that shows, according to Tom Kruckemeyer, is that Rich’s organization is not focusing specifically on Missouri’s situation.

“This is their standard anti-tax, anti-government agenda,” said Kruckemeyer, chief economist for the Missouri Budget Project, a St. Louis organization that analyzes budget issues and staunchly opposes the restraints on state spending. “These are people who don’t live in Missouri, aren’t familiar with our budget and aren’t familiar with the obstacles we’ve had.”

Tuohey, who has never met Rich, said the source of his organization’s seed money was immaterial. Tuohey sought assistance from a Chicago-based organization called Americans for Limited Government, which helped facilitate the financial arrangement with Rich.

All told, Tuohey’s group turned in more than 208,000 signatures for the eminent domain petition and 195,000 for the government spending amendment. On Tuesday, the secretary of state’s office turned down an attempt by Missourians in Charge to turn in more than 8,000 additional signatures for the two ballot initiatives, saying the law requires that signatures be turned in all at once.

“It’s great if people from other states want to support this discussion,” Tuohey said. “But the discussion itself, the debate itself, ultimately has to be conducted among Missourians.”

Besides, he said, an estimated “couple thousand” dollars in donations now are trickling in from Missourians.

For information on the two proposed amendments, go to .gov/elections/2006petitions/06init_pet.asp.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Power blogging debuts in Utah capitol

Now HERE'S a trend I'd like to start!! Wouldn't this be interesting? Hmmmm - bringing the people's voices directly to their legislators and vice versa. Might be illuminating for both ends...

Utah's state Senate this year became the first legislative body to make online "blogging" a vital tool in lawmaking.

A semi-official Web site launched this year by the Senate Republican majority gave pols and citizens alike a computer screen-size soapbox to rant, rave and wrangle over the session’s hottest topic: how to spend a record $1 billion surplus.

Joining the nation's growing proliferation of political Web logs, or blogs, the Utah site was the first of its kind to strike up a digital dialogue that included entries not just from state Senate Republicans but also from minority Democrats and lawmakers in the opposite chamber. Unfolding comment by comment, the unofficial daily log often paralleled official debate taking place under the dome -- with the added bonus of anonymity.

"This bill makes about as much sense as a screen door in a submarine," wrote a frequent blog commenter identified only as "western liberal warrior" last month in response to a senator's blog entry in favor of a flat income tax. Tax reform was the biggest sticking point of Utah's 2006 legislative session, which ended March 1, and House and Senate leaders still are wrangling over whether to hold a special legislative session in June to cut taxes by an additional $70 million.

With only $150 in start-up costs, the blog billed as the "unofficial voice of the Senate majority" registered about 90,000 hits -- or visits -- in February when the Legislature was in session and more than 400,000 hits since it was launched in September, said Senate aide Ric Cantrell, who maintains the site.

Dan Harrie, political editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's largest newspaper, said much of the blog reads like a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, which controls the Senate 21-8, the House 56-19 and also the governor's office.

But Cantrell insists the blog is changing the traditional media's role by giving senators a venue to go around the Statehouse press corps and dish up their own version of events for daily readers.

"This has been hailed in Utah as the year that new media broke the tradition of old media getting the story out," Cantrell said.

Here's the site: The Senate Site

Lawsuit against voter identification in AZ

Should we take a stand here in the "show-me" state? Just insert your preferred minority interest group - elderly, disabled, low-income, etc - and a trend could be started...

Lawsuit questions legality of ID rules for elections
Law hurts Latinos,groups say

Matthew Benson and Robbie Sherwood The Arizona Republic May. 10, 2006 12:00 AM

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court asks that voter-identification and registration requirements imposed under the 2004 election law known as Proposition 200 be declared unconstitutional.

Several Latino advocacy groups brought the suit on behalf of a handful of Arizona residents. The lawsuit says that Proposition 200, approved by voters, should be stricken down because of its dampening effect on minority voting. It's unclear when the court will decide the issue, but the plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order against Proposition 200, potentially putting the measure on ice for next week's local elections.

Longer term, the suit asks for a court injunction against the measure. Critics say the measure's requirements for proof of citizenship when registering to vote and proper identification when voting have a disproportionate impact on minority voters, who are less likely to meet the requirements.

"By requiring people to have to purchase forms of identification, whether it's a birth certificate or a driver's license, whether it's to register to vote or also to appear and vote in person on Election Day, is a modern-day poll tax," attorney Nina Perales said Tuesday at a news conference.

Here's the MO counterpart: SB1014 - currently in conference

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Senate Passes Bill to Overhaul Emissions Testing

State Sen. John Griesheiemer was all smiles Friday morning. Thursday evening, the Senate gave final approval to legislation sponsored by the Washington Republican overhauling the auto emissions inspection program in Franklin County and the St. Louis area. A few weeks earlier the bill appeared to be dead in the water because of an amendment that was tacked on which would have done away with safety inspections statewide.

Griesheiemer called that amendment a "poison pill" designed to scuttle the bill. But after the House restored the original language of the bill by retaining the safety inspections, the Senate passed the bill in a bipartisan 29-4 vote.Griesheimer said the governor would sign the bill -- possibly in a ceremony in Franklin County -- later this year but that it would not go into effect until Sept. 1, 2007.

"For me this (bill) is the culmination of fighting this program since it first came into existence in 1993. I've fought it ever since," Griesheimer said Friday. "Anyone who has had to get their vehicle's emissions tested knows the nightmare the process can be, so I am grateful to my fellow lawmakers for having recognized the need to make emissions inspections less cumbersome for my constituents."

The bill changes the required emissions testing process by doing away with centralized testing and allowing more shops to do the test if they meet certain requirements. The bill also gives most owners of new vehicles a break from the emissions inspection for the first four years.Under the legislation, the inspection fee is capped at $24.Cars and light-duty pickup trucks and vans with diesel-powered engines will now be subject to the inspection.

To cut down on the number of unnecessary inspections, the legislation includes the following exemptions:New cars for four years after their model year, provided that at the two-year safety inspection, the vehicle has fewer than 40,000 miles on the odometer.Vehicles that are driven fewer than 12,000 miles between biennial safety inspections.Vehicles manufactured before 1996; but they still must undergo a gas-cap pressure test, which would be included in the vehicle safety inspection.Heavy-duty trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 8,500 pounds.

Griesheimer said that he hoped the legislation would create an opportunity for car dealerships, garages and auto-repair shops that currently offer safety inspections to also provide emissions testing."Illinois has already passed similar legislation making it more convenient for consumers to obtain emissions testing so I'm glad we were able to help Missouri residents. This (bill) is justification that the previous program was bad and needed to be changed," Griesheimer added.Griesheimer said that he did not know what would happen to the present state contractors who offer emissions testing but he said that there is a possibility that they might begin to offer safety inspections as well.

The Big Six - Initiatives on the November Ballot

Stem cell protections: The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures - a group made up of universities, research institutions and patient groups - turned in 288,991 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment to protect all forms of embryonic stem cell research allowed under federal law.The petition drive was conducted, in part, in response to the almost annual efforts in the state Legislature by social conservatives to ban certain types of stem cell research. The stem cell backers already have spent more than $4 million and are expected to raise and spend far more than the other ballot proposals. Opponents also have formed a campaign committee, Missourians Against Human Cloning.

Tobacco tax increase: The Committee for a Healthy Future, a group that includes hospitals, health care and patient groups, turned in 238,000 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment to increase Missouri's tobacco tax by 80 cents a pack on cigarettes. The tax would be tripled on other tobacco products. The money would be used to raise money for anti-tobacco and health care programs.

Medicaid: A group based in central Missouri called Grass Roots Organizing collected just under 100,000 signatures for its proposed change in state law to restore Medicaid coverage to more than 90,000 Missourians removed from the rolls last year.

Eminent domain: A Kansas City-based group called Missourians in Charge submitted roughly 200,000 signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment to bar governments or public agencies from using eminent domain to take private property for private development, unless the property is condemned or earmarked for certain public uses.

State spending restriction: The same group submitted a similar number of signatures for its proposed constitutional amendment to limit state spending increases to hikes in population and inflation. Any larger increases would require the support of two-thirds of the Legislature and a statewide vote.

Minimum wage: A coalition of labor, religious and community-activist groups called Give Missourians a Raise submitted about 200,000 signatures for its proposed change in state law to increase the state minimum wage to $6.50 an hour, with future increases pegged to inflation.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wow, "we're" going to be busy

So many issues, so many comments..... where does one begin?

New initiatives and key players taken directly from Mayor Slay's April 28, 2006 State of the City address to the Board of Aldermen:
  • I will ask you to appropriate money to fund three new positions in the police department’s crime analysis unit.
  • I propose beefing up the already successful “Most Violent Offenders” program with the addition of 20 police officers.
  • Circuit Attorney’s Office will create a “Career Criminal Unit” to prosecute repeat and violent offenders.
  • The U.S. Attorney’s Office will expand its efforts to prosecute career criminals and will use federal resources to target high crime areas for priority federal prosecutions.
  • the State Division of Probation and Parole will work closely with St. Louis Police to identify repeat offenders who pose risks to our neighborhoods.
  • The City’s Department of Human Services is developing a comprehensive prisoner re-entry program to provide neighborhood and faith based drug and alcohol treatment, access to job training and jobs, housing and social services. I am asking the Missouri General Assembly for one million dollars to test the effectiveness of this approach.
  • I am asking you to appropriate additional funding to expand our very successful Drug Court.
  • I propose we add three investigators to the Sex Crimes Unit so that all sex crimes are channeled to the unit. The Police Department will add an additional advocate for victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. And, they will add a criminologist to the lab so rape kits can be processed faster.
  • I am going to seek your support to add 24 officers to neighborhood patrols.
  • I also propose that you fund an expansion of the Problem Properties and Nuisance Crimes Task Force to more effectively prosecute these new cases and fight problem properties.
  • My office is working with the Missouri Department of Revenue on a pilot project to make it much harder to steal the tags.
  • I am going to ask George Cotton, a well known community activist who organized the Vashon Men’s Initiative a year ago, to work with my Neighborhood Executive, Charles Bryson, to develop a plan to use every resource of our community to keep kids in school and off the streets. The heart of the plan will be zero tolerance to loitering, curfew violations, and truancy.
  • I am also proposing we expand the successful Night Watch program. Police officers will check juvenile offenders who are under court supervision to make sure they are home at night as they should be.
  • I am seeking state legislation that will require the Department of Family Services to intervene when a student misses more than 30 days of school in any semester.
  • That’s why I have set a goal that by 2010, every child in the City of St. Louis — regardless of income — will have access to an after-school program. A strategic plan for a coordinated system of after-school programs will be completed this summer. I have asked ARCHS and St. Louis for Kids to take the lead to implement the plan.
  • I am also proposing that we work together on a funding package to submit to voters this November to build two new recreation centers -- one in North St. Louis and one in South St. Louis.
  • I am seeking authority from the Missouri General Assembly to submit a sales tax increase to voters this November to do more crime fighting.
  • I am going to work with Dr. Williams and the School Board to create new career academies and schools focused on life sciences, information technologies, health care, and other New Century disciplines that will lead to great jobs.
  • I propose that we add additional staff to SLATE and set a goal of doubling the number of City residents who get placed in jobs.
  • I am going to create a special task force to focus on workforce development in demand-driven fields like health care and information technology.
  • I will ask that you pass legislation this year to allow Project Labor Agreements; to increase the number of minority and women apprentices; and to give preference to City businesses in City government contracting.

And the final decisive quote" There are no divisive issues, or people, that should keep us from our agenda for fighting crime and poverty"

Game on...

Pending Missouri Legislation

from Citizens for Missouri's Children (CMC)

Budget & Income SecurityBudget Conference: CMC has learned from the Department of Social Services (DSS) that there may be a shortfall in funding for Foster Care ($2 million) and Performance Based Case Management Contracts ($10 million). We understand that DSS will ask for a supplemental for Foster Care funding if needed. During the Budget Conference so far, it looks like Foster Care will get $31 million and Performance Based Case Management Contracts will get roughly $20 million. We believe the Budget Conference Committee has allocated $850,000 for 7.5 full-time employees for Accreditation efforts.
The Budget Conference has approved the Senate’s recommendation to allocate $300,000 for a new premium relief plan. This additional allocation will mostly help families earning between 186% and 225% of FPL who participate in the Child Health Insurance Plan. The Partnership for Children, CMC and other child advocates worked hard to make this happen.
Normally by this time the Budget Conference work is completed but they are running behind this year. We hope to have more finalized budget information next week.

HB 1905: CMC’s Cathi Martarella attended the Senate Aging, Families, Public & Mental Health Committee’s hearing on HB 1905, which authorizes the Family Support Division within the Department of Social Services to assist elderly individuals who qualify for the Federal Food Stamp Program in obtaining supplemental food stamps. This bill has wide bipartisan support. The Missouri Association of Social Welfare (MASW) and the Missouri Association of Community Action Agencies testified in support of the bill. If HB 1905 passes, it will help a lot of low-income Missourians. MASW has put together a fact sheet on the issue, and here a few interesting points:
- According to the US Department of Agriculture, an estimated 23,000 households in Missouri lived with hunger or the threat of hunger in 2005.
- 54% of food pantry clients in Mid-Missouri have children and 2% of these households include both adults over the age of 65 and children.
- Because federal food stamp benefits are 100 percent federally funded, HB 1905 would have the additional benefit of bringing more federal resources into Missouri. These federal dollars generate economic benefits for state and local economies. USDA indicates that every $5 in Food Stamps generates $9.20 in economic activity.

TABOR: Ballot Signatures are due in Missouri on May 7, 2006. We have learned that TABOR signature gatherers are having difficulty collecting the necessary signatures in Congressional District 2. Missouri advocates can effectively prevent TABOR from reaching the ballot by ensuring that they are unable to get the needed signatures in Congressional District 2 before the May 7th Deadline.
Partners to Protect Missouri’s Future are launching The Decline to Sign Campaign; it will start this Saturday, April 29, 2006 with a training from 12-5 pm for all volunteers who are able to attend. It will take place at:
AFSCME Office9415 Dielman Rock Island Rd.St. Louis, Missouri 63132(314) 995-9707
The office that is used for the training will be "home base" for the week. We assume that individuals will meet at this location to determine where they should locate themselves for the day, and will report back to this location.
We need volunteers all week through Friday May 5th. Volunteers will be sent in a coordinated fashion to locations throughout the 2nd Congressional District where petitioners are located. Volunteers will prevent people from signing the TABOR petitions by distributing information before people sign and talking to members of the public about TABOR.
The following towns are in Congressional District 2: Ballwin, Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Des Peres, Ellisville, Eureka, Florissant, Hazelwood, Kirkwood, Manchester, Maryland Heights, Olivette, St. Charles, St. Peters, Town & Country and Wildwood. If you live in any of these communities and want to become more involved, please contact Jeff Mazur at or Amy Blouin at cell 314-518-8867. We need your help to spread the word!

Early Care & EducationSB 1230: The Senate Aging, Families, Public & Mental Health Committee held a hearing on SB 1230 which would raise the eligibility for the child care subsidy program to 185% of FPL. CMC testified in support of SB 1230.

HB 1141: It is still on the perfection calendar but with 10 days remaining in the session we think its passage is doubtful.

HealthProposals to Improve the Affordability Test: CMC’s Cathi Martarella and Pam Rich have devised some alternative tests with Ruth Ehresman of The Missouri Budget Project. The variations focus on bringing the test in line with what Missouri employees pay or basing it on a % of family income.
We are currently presenting these ideas to key leaders in the House and Senate. The Governor’s office and Senator Shields have expressed interest in working with us on revising the test. We and Senator Dougherty will work with members of the Governor’s staff and Senator Shields to find a solution.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wal-Mart--That warm feeling might be the blood running off your mugged head

For everyone who thinks Wal-Mart is a great friend to their family, consider this-- Wal-Mart has one of the worst crime records of all department stores. I don't mean Wal-Mart perpetrates the crimes, they just make it so darn easy for criminals to attack their patrons in the parking lots.

You know all those cameras you see mounted on poles in the lots? Turns out that the vast majority of them are fake. I'm not giving anything away, the criminals already know the cameras are fake. That and that Wal-Mart doesn't patrol their lots because oh, that would cost too much.

If you want to check out the statistics nationally or locally jump on over to the Wal-Mart Crime Report.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

See where you stand politically

This is very interesting .............. see where you stand politically !!

You will be asked just 10 questions, and then it instantly tells you where you stand politically. It shows your position as a red dot on a "political map" so you'll see exactly where you score.
The most interesting thing about the Quiz is that it goes beyond the Democrat, Republican, Independent. The Quiz has gotten a lot of praise. The Washington Post said it has "gained respect as a valid measure of a person's political leanings." The Fraser Institute said it's "a fast, fun, and accurate assessment of a person's overall political views." Suite University said it is the "most concise and accurate political quiz out there."

Again, it's at:

See if you land where you think you are politically.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jeb Bush Denies Nutrients to Poor Kids and Keeps Up the Reptile Republican Family Traditions

So you think may be the Republicans have it right with that "values thing?" You think maybe you should be voting with the Christian (read that Republican) side of the aisle? Unless you're white, rich and ruthless, you better rethink that decision?

Need proof to break through your religiously-based denial? here's some from John Hatch via the Information Clearing House. Here's just the start of his hard-hitting, pull the rose-colored-glasses off editorial, Black Pearl.

Dark Pearl

“We don’t torture.”—George W. Bush (Straussian ‘ignoble lie’)

“We don’t do body counts.”—Gen. Tommy Franks (Straussian ignoble truth)

By John S. Hatch

03/20/06 "ICH" -- -- I don’t believe in Jesus, but I’m starting to believe in the devil. What is it about neo-con, Reptile-Republican Fundamentalist Christian politicians in particular, that accounts for such breath-taking, sadistic, self-indulgent, unnecessary cruelty? How to explain it? Florida Governor Jeb Bush wants to trim the state budget so he can deliver $1.5 in tax cuts to his wealthy friends. How to go about it—auction off some Diebold voting machines? Execute fewer blacks (perhaps just temporarily exclude kids, the mentally handicapped, the mentally ill, or the demonstrably innocent)? No. He is actually denying high-nutrient formula to high-need, high-risk children, such as those with CP or those on dialysis who need to be fed through a stomach tube. Medicaid went from a more expensive version to one which cost $15 for six cans, to nothing. It was suggested that parents and caregivers ‘blenderize’ food and insert that down their sick kids’ tubes, something which most doctors argue is ineffective and dangerous. Maybe just send the kids to Guantanamo, where they know how to deal with picky eaters.

But really. Why would a Governor, a filthy rich guy, a member of the Bush Dynasty, perhaps the next American emperor, a Christian who wears his love o’ Jesus on his sleeve, why would such a man want to deny life-saving nutrients to sick and dying children at a real savings amounting to a virtual nullity, that is a negative number because as they get sicker as a result of his policy, children need more and more expensive medical intervention. Is this the same governor who became girlie-man hysterical over the case of the unfortunate Terri Schiavo who turned out to be deathly impervious to all his incantations and invocations and pious pronouncements about the sanctity of life? Turns out she was as brain dead as the last guy he ushered to the electric chair, just as all the not-so-girlie doctors said. It’s funny the life-and-death distinctions that the reptile republicans draw with such ease. Did I mention that the milk-denied feeding-tube kids happen to be dirt-Katrina poor? Maybe that’s a clue. At the same time as the Schiavo fiasco was unfolding, the exact opposite was taking place with regard to a little girl on a ventilator in another hospital. The insurance company wanted it shut off. The mother did not. Guess who won? And do you think the little girl was white, or black? Seems in Bushland if you’re white (with money) you have a right to life (even if you’re dead). If you’re black, and poor, you have a right to die. Harsh? Katrina, kachink.

Read the rest on Information Clearinghouse.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tuition Tax Credit Vouchers not good

From Missouri ProVote (sorry the links don't work - visit the CityBlue website to look up the legistator's emails and phone numbers)
Join us as we struggle to bring attention to a huge danger to our public schools: Tuition Tax Credit Vouchers.

Late Monday, March 13, the Missouri House of Representatives passed House Bill 1783 out of committee; the bill creates Tuition Tax Credit Vouchers, which would drain $40 million dollars from public education and healthcare. The pro-voucher campaign is financed by out-of-state right wing billionaires who are heirs to the WalMart and AmWay fortunes. See the Missouri Citizen Education Report on All Children Matter for further information.

This bill, now named House Committee Subsitute for House Bill 1783 and 1479 (HCS HB 1783 and 1479), institutingTuition Tax Credit Vouchers could head to the floor as soon as Tuesday, March 28. Call your State Representative NOW and tell them to vote NO! Click here to find your Representative.

Missouri Progressive Vote is working with People for Public Schools, a wide coalition of pro-public education organizations. Click here to read a useful critique of the pro-voucher bill that was prepared by People for Public Schools.

To bring attention to the dangers of vouchers to public schools, rallies were held in St. Loius, Columbia, and Kansas City on March 21, 2006. A bus took ralliers from St. Louis down Interstate 70 to highlight the dangers of vouchers.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who got on the bus or came out to the rallies on Tuesday, March 21, 2006. The bus tour received press around the state. Click here for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. Click here for the Columbia Missourian article. Click here for the Kansas City Star article. See Pro-Vote targeted candidate State Representative Judy Baker's strong opposition to vouchers here.

Deadly-force legislation a ‘mess,’ prosecutor says

from the Kansas City Star:

As the House last week debated whether to give Missourians more latitude to use deadly force against intruders, one county prosecutor warned about making a “real mess” of the law.
The warning came from Cape Girardeau County’s H. Morley Swingle, who sent a letter to Rep. Scott Lipke, a Republican from Jackson.
Swingle said the legislation wasn’t necessary and would “completely gum up Missouri’s established justification defenses.”
Under the bill, HB 1461, a person would be justified in using deadly force against someone who illegally entered, attempted to enter or remained in a home or vehicle without permission. The person who used deadly force would not be subject to criminal prosecution or liable for civil damages.
The bill’s supporters said current law required people to flee their homes if someone was breaking in. Swingle begged to differ.
“The people advocating these laws simply do not realize that the Missouri Criminal Code already provides a defense to a person who shoots a person he reasonably believes is burglarizing his home,” Swingle wrote to Lipke. “There is no duty to retreat. You can blast the hell out of someone you reasonably believe is trying to cross the threshold of your home to commit burglary or arson.”
Swingle’s criticism was for naught. The House passed the bill, which now goes to the Senate.
Sen. Chris Koster’s campaign to rein in Medicaid fraud is running into significant resistance from other Republicans.
Koster, of Harrisonville, brought his measure, SB 1210, to the Senate floor last week with dramatic examples of the need to stop fraud against Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor. With losses totaling as much as $600 million a year, he pointed to a federal audit that discovered Missouri medical providers billed taxpayers 98,263 times for treating patients who were dead.
He said three St. Charles nursing homes were fined for inadequate staffing. The reason they weren’t caught sooner: The homes’ administrators routinely paid homeless people to wear staff uniforms and sit around the facilities, making it appear that the homes had enough employees.
Republicans quickly questioned whether the state should provide financial incentives for whistleblowers to report medical providers who steal from the state.
Sen. Luann Ridgeway, a Smithville Republican, said encouraging whistleblowers would lead to more lawsuits, which lawmakers tried to limit last year. Sen. Delbert Scott, a Lowry City Republican, said the law could force innocent medical providers to face lawsuits seeking to recoup the money.
Koster’s retort: “If I have $600 million walking out the door, I would put a lock on the door and wouldn’t begrudge the locksmith his fee.”
One lawmaker is sponsoring a measure that would make English the language “of all official proceedings in the state of Missouri.” The sponsor is Rep. Brian Nieves, a Union Republican who is Hispanic.
Nieves, who has Puerto Rican heritage, said he filed HB 1814 because nothing guarantees public proceedings must be held in English.
Nieves said his bill would not prevent use of interpreters in courts or prohibit government agencies from providing translations.
Before filing the bill, Nieves consulted a trusted Hispanic voice: his 85-year-old grandmother.
“She said it’s absolutely absurd that we do not already have something like this,” he said.

Presidential hopeful criticizes Bush at fundraiser

from the Kansas City Star:

Possible 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Mark Warner on Saturday charged that President Bush failed to ask Americans to “step up” after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina.
Campaigning in Kansas City for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, Warner said that on both occasions Bush should have capitalized on Americans’ willingness to sacrifice.
After Sept. 11, Bush could have moved the country toward a policy of energy independence, the Democrat said. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, he could have called on Americans to rebuild its infrastructure.
Instead, America got politics as usual, he said.
“What this president consistently has not done is never asked Americans to step up,” Warner told a $100-a-plate McCaskill fundraiser at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. McCaskill will face Republican incumbent Jim Talent.
Warner is one of the hot names in Democratic presidential politics based on his robust job-approval ratings after his single term as governor of heavily Republican Virginia. State law barred him from seeking a second term.
One of Warner’s big challenges was a massive budget shortfall. He dealt with that by cutting nearly $1 billion in spending and laying off 1,800 state workers. He then passed a major tax increase with bipartisan support.
Asked how he would transfer his Virginia experience to the nation, Warner said the prerequisite for a debate about finances is demonstrating that “you can cut, that you can save, that you can consolidate, that you can reform.”
That hasn’t happened in Washington, he said, and Warner blamed both parties.
Earlier, Warner appeared in St. Louis and Springfield, where more than 700 tickets were sold for Friday night’s Jackson Days banquet.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Missouri's Theocracy?

Joking with a new neighbor from Boston last night about crazy redstate/bluetown politics, he mentioned a rumor that Missouri was trying to make Christianity the "official" religion of the state. My initial reaction was incredulous sarcasm, haha no way, but then I did a little research - things in the legislature sure are suspiciously heading in the biblical direction. Here's what I found:

Missouri is one of three states considering bills regarding the Bible in schools. Late last month, Georgia lawmakers approved a measure that would financially reward schools that provide elective courses that use the Bible as the core textbook. Alabama legislators are eyeing a bill that would create an elective course known as "The Bible and its Influence" in all school districts.

The bill allows schools to offer classes in which the Bible is taught and gives local school boards the authority to dictate the context of biblical teachings. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, is swiftly making its way through the legislative process.

"I voted for it because it doesn't do anything," Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, said. "It makes a certain segment of the population feel better, that's all it does. It's harmless."

[since when do we pass bills solely on whether it makes people "feel better"? And OMG who gets to choose the privileged few? Maybe a rhetorical questions...]

While schools already are allowed to teach about religions in a historical or literary context, some wonder whether Crowell's bill could do harm by singling out the Bible and not mentioning other religious texts.
Missouri House members last night overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment intended to ensure students can pray privately and voluntarily at public schools.
Supporters say the amendment generally would uphold court precedents about prayer in school. But they insist a specific state constitutional protection is needed to safeguard the freedom of religious expression found in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
"I think faith is under constant attack," said House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles, the lead sponsor of amendment.
The proposal will go before Missouri voters in November if it clears a final House vote and also passes the Senate before the legislative session ends May 12.

[Yeah, wah-wah, your faith is soooooo threatened. Keep using that fear excuse to justify your egocentric values and brainwashed beliefs]

Athiest California Attorney renews his fight against "under God" in allegiance pledge. No matter what the court decides this time, it is almost certain the case will be appealed again to the U.S. Supreme Court, which dismissed the previous suit on procedural grounds. That dismissal left the core issue of the pledge's constitutionality unsettled.

Worried that courts may rule against "under God," U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, is sponsoring the proposed Pledge Protection Act, which already has nearly 200 co-sponsors, including several from Missouri and Kansas.
"The words "under God" are not just there for window dressing," Akin said in a phone interview, "but they address a central aspect of what America is all about: We believe there is a God, even though we don't agree on exactly what his name is. God grants basic rights to people and government's job is to protect those rights. That's why that phrase in our pledge is in need of defense."

[there it is again - that perverted mix of religion and government. Oh wait, I see some misogyny stirred in too!! Yummy!]

CA's Waxman Demands Bush and Henchmen Come Clean on Plame Scandal

If you've heard about Rep. Henry Wazman's letter to Bush requesting that Bush explain his actions in regards to outing an active duty, deep cover CIA agent then you might want to see the letter. Here's the link on

Last time I looked, betrayal of the Bush sort would be called treason. How about that old saw, "loose lips sink ships." In this case those loose Texas lips could sink a continent!

Thanks to Jeannette W. for sending me the link.


Does your head reel when you hear the rightwingers throw around facts that just don't seem to fit together? Do you wonder where you an get some REAL facts, not the mass-produced ones you hear on Fox News or rightwing talk radio? Then this is for you.

Check out CounterSpin. A Project of The Old American Century (POAC), the POAC Counter-spin Site shows the pseudo facts from the right AND the reality.

Here's one example from Counterspin.

The talking point:
Congress and Senate received the same intelligence regarding Iraq before the war as the White house.

The facts:
Bush, Cabinet told on 9/21 that Iraq had no links to 9/11. Bush, Cabinet declined to share this info with Congress, America

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East accuses Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence to go to war with Iraq

BTW, the links don't work here but go to the CounterSpin site for more thorough infomation and hotlinks.

Its always nice to have fact-based facts.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Kudos to Robin Wright Jones

On Wednesday, March 15, the Missouri State House turned its back on low-income women by voting 96-59 against a measure that would have funded family-planning services. These funds could have improved access to birth control and prevented unintended pregnancy, reducing the need for abortion. (HB 1010)
Instead of reaching common ground to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion, a majority of lawmakers bowed to pressure from Missouri Right to Life and the Catholic Conference and voted to limit health care for low-income women, even risking an increase in the number of abortions each year in our state.
Our Rep Robin Wright Jones stood up for low-income women's access to contraception and family planning services by voting against the measure. Please use the following link to send her a letter to thank her for supporting publicly funded contraceptive services.

Great new talk radio format in Town: 1190 AM

Yeah for St. Louis!!

As of March 16, nationally syndicated talk programming, including Don Imus, Neal Boortz, Al Franken, The 2 Live Stews, Jim Cramer and Dave Ramsey can now be heard on St. Louis airwaves - KRFT 1190 AM. Why don't we all call General Manager Evan Crocker at 962-0590 to express our joy!

The radio station also been in the news last week for firing a DJ who used the word "coon" while discussing Condoleeza Rice as a possible NFL commissioner. Here's the story from the P-D.

Jason Hurst Petition website

Dear Friends,

For the past week it has been my privilege as well as a great deal of fun to work with a Disaster Relief team in New Orleans. We gutted the hurricane damaged home of Jason Hurst, a young quadriplegic graduate student. Friends of his are petitioning an ABC program to build Jason's family a new house. The link below will take you to the site. Frankly, I don't know if this petition has "clout". However, I do know that Jason watches it grow and it gives him hope.

Please help me help this courageous young man and his family. I had the privilege of meeting them all and they are very deserving.


Elaine Kidwell
8th Ward

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shame, shame, shame!

It is amazing that Democratic Chairman Brian Wahby is taking credit for heading a design plan to establish Ward Organization based Websites in this P-D article. There has never been a meeting or discussions with the Web Based Organizations. Those Ward Groups made decisions on their own to help enlighten their constituents and show their progressive approach to the way they do their politics. Maybe Mr. Wahby should have complimented those Wards ( Eight, Eleven and Twenty Fourth) for their forward thinking and creative agendas, rather than taking credit for things he had no idea that were coming down the pipe. This approach of not acknowledging others is exactly what we are attempting to squash in within the Party. Come on Brian, admit that you knew nothing of these Websites until they came to fruition. Allow everyone to know that you are the Chairman of an organization with some fairly intelligent members, who do good things on their own without you doing the planning.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wesley Clark Website up and podcasting

For those of you who have been asking, "what about Wesley Clark?" Good news, he's still fighting the good fight. Check out his new website for more information and weekly podcasts.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Censorship in America--Follow the Money

Do you remember Rachel Corrie? She's the young American woman who was crushed under an Israeli bulldozer because she refused to let the Israelis run roughshod over the Palestinians. Corrie was part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group that recruits Westerners to act as human shields against Israeli aggression against Palestinians. Its a peaceful group and Corrie was an idealistic, loving, caring young woman who wanted to change the world peacefully. She died for that belief.

Well now there's a play about her growth as an idealist and activist, "My Name is Rachel Corrie." Alternet passes on an article that was originally printed in the Nation Magazine. It seems that the play has had two very successful runs in London but when the New York Theatre Workshop decided to run the play, it got nixed. In fact, according to the article, you can't even get the original book in the States. You have to go to Amazon UK!

So who is behind this de facto censorship? When the article writer called the board members of the Workshop he got no response. He suggests that a strong and militant Jewish faction (1/3 of the board are Jewish) has decided that this simple yet moving play is just too hot for NY. The article author, who is Jewish, makes the point that a great deal of America's Middle Eastern policy is driven and sustained by the constant Israeli assertion of vicitmization. The play turns this pr push on its head and reveals the dirty, violent underside that would cause an Israeli Army member to drive a bulldozer over a young woman in a peaceful protest.

Wouldn't it be great of a local theatre group picked up the play and produced it here? Now that would be a world class act!

Thanks to Jeannette Ward for bringing this article to my attention.

Friday, March 17, 2006

William Greider -- The Value of Russ Feingold

For those of you who were at last night's Eight Ward Indy Dems Meeting, you'll remember the subject of Russ Feingold's proposed censure of Bush was discussed. Here's a well written appraisal of why what Feingold is doing is so important to all of us. William Greider's article is from the Nation Magazine's website.

This is just the first few paragraphs.

Senator Russ Feingold is an embarrassment to the US Senate, which makes him an authentic hero of the Republic. The Wisconsin senator gets up and says out loud what half of the country is thinking and talks about every day. This President broke the law and lied about it; he trashed the Constitution and hides himself in the flag. Feingold asks: Shouldn't the Senate say something about this, at least express our disapproval? He introduces a resolution of censure and calls for debate.

Well, that tore it in the august chamber of lawmakers. Democrats scurried away like scared rats. And Republicans chortled at the thought. You want to censure our warrior President, the guy who defends us every day against terrorist attacks? Let's have a vote right now, the Republican leader demanded. Yuk, yuk.

The joke is obvious to everyone in the Washington club--politics trumps principle, especially when it is about something as esoteric as the Constitution. It's a nonstory, the club agrees, not a constitutional crisis.

The Washington Post runs an obligatory account on page 8, quoting Mr. Anonymous Democrat Strategist on the unwisdom of Feingold's gesture. The New York Times story on page 24 quotes the esteemed constitutional authority Dick Cheney. The House Repubican leader (who replaced the corrupt House leader who resigned) denounces Feingold's resolution as "political grandstanding of the very worst kind." Like the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton for fellatio in the White House? Go away, Feingold, let us get back to the people's business.

The real story--naturally overlooked by cynical editors--is that an honest truth-teller is loose in the fun house and disturbing the clowns. Man bites dog, senator defends Constitution.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Co-Sponsor Feingold's Resolution to Censure the President

I just signed on as a citizen co-sponsor of Senator Feingold's resolution to censure the President for his illegal wiretapping program. Please join me by signing this petition:
With your help, we can begin to make real change.

Instead of War organizes peace rally this Sunday in Forest Park

This is a current list of feeder marches that will converge at the Worlds Fair Pavilion on March 19.

The Feeder MarchesOn March 19, several "feeder marches" are planned that will commence at various locations in or near Forest Park which will simultaneously converge at the Worlds Fair Pavilion for the main rally. Marches will commence at the following times and locations:

Interfaith Feeder March (for religious congregations and faith groups): Convenes at the Jewish Tercentenary Flagpole on Kingshighway between Lindell and West Pine. Please meet at 1:00 p.m. Please bring collected can goods to the march. A vehicle will follow the route of the march to carry your canned goods to the pavilion. Bring banners from your faith group. Parking is available in the lot on the southeast corner of Lindell and Kingshighway. Here is a flyer for the Interfaith Feeder March. For additional information contact Bill Ramsey at

Children (and Families) Peace Parade: Meet at Variety Playground (Dennis and Judith Jones Variety Wonderland), just west of the Visitor's Center and southeast of the History Museum by 1 p.m. Bring hand-made peace signs, toy musical instruments (drums, bells, rattles, horns, kazoos, etc.) and unopened jars of baby food, formula or diapers to donate to a local food pantry - (these will be part of the 100-ft. long food sculpture that says "Feed the People, Not the War" and then will be donated to a food pantry). If you have a wagon, please bring a wagon (in addition to strollers, etc. ) to transport jars of food. Here is a flyer for the Children's Peace Parade. For more information, contact Mira Tanna at lion shall dwell with the lamb and a little child shall lead them...

Artists & Performers Feeder March: Convenes at the Grand Basin off Grand Drive, at the bottom of Art Hill. Please arrive at 1:00 p.m. Here is a flyer for the Artists & Performers Feeder March. (Watch this space for more specific details on location in the coming days. In addition, if you have not already done so, please download and read our call for artists to creatively protest for specific suggestions on what to bring and do.) For additional info, contact Laurie Em at

Labor Feeder March (including St. Louis Labor Against the War): Convenes at Turtle Park (near the corner of Tamm and Oakland). Please arrive at 1:00 p.m. and look for Joan Suarez. Wear Union t-shirts, bring Union signs and other signs; bring canned goods which we will transport from Turtle Park by car to the Worlds Fair Pavilion. Here is a flyer for the Labor Feeder March. For further information, contact

Students & Faculty Feeder March (including high school, trade school, college and graduate students and teachers): Convenes in SW Parking Lot of Forest Park Campus, St. Louis Community College (Near the corner of Oakland and Highlander) Please arrive at 1:00 p.m. Here is a flyer for the Students & Faculty Feeder March. For additional information, students should contact Adam Shriver ( Jamie Kelly ( or Warren Popp (; faculty should contact Chris Mann (

Women's Feeder March (including Code Pink, NOW and WILPF): Convenes at the Missouri Historical Museum (Corner of Lindell and DeBaliviere) Please arrive at 1:00 p.m. Download and distribute this flyer for the Women's Feeder March.Please watch this page for additional updates or announcements as the date approaches.

Call for Peacekeeper VolunteersAs with other large rallies in the past, we are seeking individuals to assist with maintaining a peaceful atmosphere during the marches and the event. If you can help, please volunteer by contacting Mark Fredericks at Please respond to this request early. There will be a training session for those who have not had the peacekeeper training.

Al Franken Now Heard on St. Louis Airwaves

If you've been listening to Air America's Al Franken on your computer well you can turn on the radio!

Thanks to Susan Cunningham for passing this along...

Just want to be sure you know AL FRANKEN can now be heard on St. Louis airwaves. Starting today, he's on from noon to 3 on KRFT 1190 AM. If you want to express your delight :-), consider calling General Manager Evan Crocker at 962-0590.

More info about KRFT's new line-up here:

I think Mr. Crocker deserves to get some friendly calls, don't you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

McCain is NOT a moderate!

If you've been thinking, "hey, I could live with that McCain guy as president," then you may be in for some nasty surprizes. Turns out brother McCain is not the moderate he has been advertised as. In fact, he's just as right wing as the rest of them.

Check out the Paul Krugman article about McCain on TruthOut. Here's the beginning:

It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be.

Mr. McCain's reputation as a moderate may be based on his former opposition to the Bush tax cuts. In 2001 he declared, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us."

But now - at a time of huge budget deficits and an expensive war, when the case against tax cuts for the rich is even stronger - Mr. McCain is happy to shower benefits on the most fortunate. He recently voted to extend tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, an action that will worsen the budget deficit while mainly benefiting people with very high incomes.

Got my attention! How about you?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sandra Day O'Connor Warns Against Encroaching Dicatatorship in US

Well another wild-eyed radical is warning us that we are sliding even closer to a dictatorship here in America. And who is that person you ask? None other than Ronald Reagan's hand-picked ex-Justice of the Supreme Court Sandra Day O'Connor. At a recent speech at Georgetown University in DC, Justice O'Connor warned that we are seeing the rise of violence and threatened violence against judges in order to get them to fall in line with right wing agendas.

Read the complete article at Common Dreams,org.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mind Control works-- CA woman loses her job over Air America bumper sticker

You think the Ridiculous Right isn't dangerous to the everyday person? Think again! A California woman had a very simple Air America bumpersticker on her car. Nothing outrageous or even out of the ordinary. Just the Air America name, logo and the local station that airs it.

But that was enough to get her fired. Alledging that the woman could be a terrorist because she had the audacity to affix the bumper sticker advertising the lefty station to her car, her manager fired her.

I guess that freedom of speech thing only works for crazies protesting at soldiers' funerals.

Read the article on Alternet.

Wonder why Repubs want illegal workers in the US? -- Follow the money!

In an article published on the Information Clearinghouse, Thom Hartmann explains how this supposedly warm, fuzzy issue is really about money, and lots of it! The more illegal workers in the country willing to work for almost nothing, the easier it is to push wages down in general.

And Gosh it seems to be happening... Real income is going down and unions are being eaten away by non-union businesses (uh Wal-Mart for example) . The result is that the richer get richer off the backs of the poor and the middle class falls backwards.

For more information, definitely check out Hartmann's article.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

One Patriot's sacrifice to protest Bush's mishandling of the government

My grandfather and uncle were both career military with my uncle having actually volunteered to go to Vietnam. My father served and was wounded in Korea. The following letter comes from someone I can certainly empathize with and admire. His sacrifice should make others of us realize how little we do to work against the Bush regime.

Thanks to Howard Hoskins of the St. Charles Democrats and Common Sense for passing this on. Thanks also to Susan Cunningham for keeping it moving!

Joseph DuRocher was for 20 years the elected Public Defender of Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties. Since retirement, he's been writing and teaching law at the University of Central Florida and the Barry University School of Law. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s, serving as a Naval Aviator in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. On Monday, Mr. DuRocher returned his Lieutenant's shoulder bars and Navy wings to President Bush, and enclosed the following letter. Mr. DuRocher can be reached at:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President: As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the U. S. Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn "to protect and defend". Today I conclude that you have dishonored our
service and the Constitution and principles of our oath. My dad was buried with full military honors so I cannot act for him. But for myself, I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator's wings.

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to "disappear" them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a "signing statement" that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name. As a citizen, a patriot, a parent and grandparent, a lawyer and law teacher I am left with such a feeling of loss and helplessness.

I think of myself as a good American and I ask myself what can I do when I see the face of evil? Illegal and immoral war, torture and confinement for life without trial have never been part of our Constitutional tradition. But my vote has become meaningless because I live in a safe district drawn by your political party. My congressman is unresponsive to my concerns because his time is filled with lobbyists' largess. Protests are limited to your "free speech zones", out of sight of the parade. Even speaking openly is to risk being labeled un-American, pro-terrorist or anti-troops. And I am a disciplined pacifist, so any violent act is out of the question. Nevertheless, to remain silent is to let you think I approve or support your actions. I do not. So, I am saddened to give up my wings and bars. They were hard won and my parents and wife were as proud as I was when I earned them over forty years ago. But I hate the torture and death you have caused more than I value their symbolism. Giving them up makes me cry for my beloved country.

Joseph W. DuRocher

Who wouldn't listen to Jimmy?

Carter Urges Troop Withdrawal From Iraq
The Associated Press
Thursday 09 March 2006
Seattle - Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the war in Iraq on Wednesday, urging a troop drawdown as the United States enters its fourth year of conflict in Iraq.
"It was a completely unnecessary war. It was an unjust war," said Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner. "It was initiated on the basis of false pretenses. All of those are true, but we can't just pre-emptively withdraw."
He urged the Bush administration to bring home as many troops as possible within the next 12 months.
"The violence is increasing monthly," Carter said. "My prayer is we'll see some kind of democracy eventually evolve."
His comments came at a news conference before a building dedication at the University of Washington.
Carter was the keynote speaker at the dedication of the university's new Genome Sciences and Bioengineering Building in honor of William H. Foege. Foege directed the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during Carter's presidency and later headed The Carter Center, which promotes peace and health programs around the world.
Carter credited Foege with saving the lives of millions of people through his efforts to eradicate smallpox, Guinea worm and river blindness, and by encouraging childhood immunization.
Foege works with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which contributed $50 million for the building.

Monday, March 06, 2006

So help us Margaret Atwood....

an update from NARAL:
The worst has happened: South Dakota has banned abortion.
What does the law do? South Dakota's criminal ban outlaws abortion in almost all cases and does not protect a woman in cases of rape or incest or even when her health is in danger. Doctors who violate the ban could face up to five years in prison.
This is the second time that South Dakota has pushed to ban abortion, and the governor is so anti-choice that he has stated, "[a]bortion...should always be illegal." Even as we see increasing restrictions across the country, it is still a shock to hear that any state has actually passed a law to deny women their constitutional right to choose altogether.
The law is part of a larger anti-choice strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether. To quote the South Dakota House Speaker Matthew Michels, "I think the stars are aligned." [Los Angeles Times, 2/25/06]
According to Governor Rounds, who was just in Washington, DC for a national governors' meeting, he is getting support from his peers: "A lot of governors [are] expressing support and wishing us good luck and saying they may have similar proposals that may be favorably looked upon across the United States." [Keloland TV, 2/26/06]
He's right - this legal strategy isn't just happening in South Dakota. Anti-choice lawmakers are pushing similar unconstitutional legislation in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, all with the intent of ending the right to choose through the courts.
Our opponents may be fired up over this latest victory, but we can't let them achieve their goal of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Please join us in sending a message to U.S. governors asking them to hold the line on a woman's right to choose. Click here to send your governor a message today.

Request for Impeachment petition

Hi All:
The Nation's Discussion Group has decided to hand deliver the letter below to Senators Talent and Bond and to U.S.Representatives Carnahan and Clay. If your group or any individuals from your group agree with these sentiments and would like to support this effort, just send an e-mail to and your name will be added to the list of signatories.
Some members of our group intend to deliver these letters sometime after March 18th. They would be delighted to have anyone who wishes to come along for the delivery. If you would like to help with the delivery, just include this information in your e-mail and we will contact you with time and place of delivery well before the event.
Jeannette Ward

RE: Request for Impeachment
Impeachment is a harsh remedy, but these are desperate times for our country and just such a remedy is required. President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have led our country down the wrong path for five years. They have presided over an administration marked by deception and secrecy, corruption, financial irresponsibility, incompetence and betrayal of the best interests of the American people. They have covered this nation with shame and blood while undermining our Constitution and our democratic way of life. Our nation cannot endure another three years of this abuse.Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D., Mich.) has opened the issue with his House Resolution 635 supported by a report titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War". This excellent and detailed report constitutes a substantial beginning for the wide range of charges that must be brought against this administration. We urge you to support this resolution and to introduce similar action in the Senate.As loyal citizens of the State of Missouri and the United States of America we, the undersigned, plead that the patriots who represent us will take bipartisan action to save our country from disaster by removing the President and Vice-President from office at the earliest possible time. If not, our only recourse will be to work to change the composition of the House and the Senate in the November 2006 elections to include more patriotic Americans willing to defend us from the current administration.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Land-based nuclear weapons being developed in the US -- shooting ourselves in the foot with a REALLY hot one!

Do we never learn? We develop terrorists and aim them at the Russians. The result? The terrorists get done with the Russians and turn around at us. We develop nasty weapons (okay we didn't do it. The military-industrial complex as that radical President Eisenhower called it developed the nasty ones.) then somebody buys them and, oops, aims them at us. Sheesh! Can't we figure out that everytime we devise something ugly or train someone to be uglier than they already are, it gets aimed back at us?

I guess not because now we're allowing the military types to develop jeep-based nuclear bombs. Do these people look beyond their next quarterly earnings? Ever? Did they never see Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears?" Hey, I don't even read his stuff and I got the message! Don't release something you don't want in your own backyard. It was bad enough when the bombs had to be dropped out of planes. Now they want bombs you can load into the back of the family SUV.

Talk about making it easy for the Timothy McVey types! Too bad he's missing the upcoming fun times. This could have made his job soooo much easier! Who meeds Ammonuium Nitrate?

If you want to check out the Australian-made video on this subject, the Information Clearing House has it on their site.

I just keep seeing that scene in the television version of Stephen King's "he Stand" where the character racked with nuclear sickness from hanging out in a nuclear silo and then riding a nuclear bomb back into Las Vegas as an offering to " the Walking Man," (a demon in human form) rides the bomb right into the huge crowd. Talk about your nuclear chickens coming home to rest! For those of you who didn't see that or read the book, the nuclear bomb took out all of Las Vegas and The Walking Man. Hey, could it be that's where these military designers got the idea?

Thanks to Howard Hoskins for passing this on too!